Blooming with Books

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Books for Adults

Book Reviews for young adult and adult readers

The Sanctuary

The Sanctuary
by Ted Dekker


The Sanctuary is a follow-up to Dekker's The Priest's Graveyard.  The Sanctuary is in true Dekker style - taking a deeper look at the human heart and the necessity of truly knowing one's own self.

Warden Marshall Pape is in-charge of The Sanctuary an experiment of the California Correctional System, properly known as The Basal Institute of Corrections and Rehabilitation.  It is into this environment that Danny Hansen has been transferred into.  Just 3 years into his 50 year sentence for the murder of two abusive men, Danny is determined to refrain from any and all forms of violence no matter the personal cost.

But Warden Pape is determined to break Danny so that he can be fixed.  And in Pape's mind the only way to fix Danny is to get him to admit his true nature and then to confess all his crimes.  But the methods used in Basal are disturbing and nothing happens there without the approval of Pape.  But no one on the outside knows what goes on within the walls of the Sanctuary!

Renee Gilmore is the reason Danny is in prison and someone knows who she is and they are threatening to kill Danny.  Renee is determined to warn Danny but she can't get word to him and no one believes her warning.  In her quest to save the man she loves Renee falls into the very trap from which she is trying to save Danny.

Someone is manipulating everyone and everything around them.  Can Danny and Renee determine the truth before they are destroyed?  Who hates them enough to go to such extremes?

The Sanctuary is a disturbing look at what happens when corrupted power and revenge come together and determine to break a man.  It is well written, but more graphic than my normal reading fare.

I was provided an ARC of the title by the publisher for the purpose of this review, all opinions expressed are my own.

The 13th Tribe

The 13th TribeThe 13th Tribe by Robert Liparulo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The 13th Tribe
The Immortal Files
by Robert Liparulo

Since the time of the Ten Commandments and Israel's betrayal of God at Mt. Sinai a group of immortals has walked the earth. Taken from the twelve tribes this group of 40 were punished with immortality. They became known as Israel's 13th Tribe. Forbidden from entering the Land of Promise they are forever seeking to earn God's forgiveness and entry into Heaven, even if they have to kill every sinner that walks the planet to atone for their sins.


Jagger Baird is a broken man since an accident claimed his best friend, his arm, his memory, and his faith in God. Hoping to heal and restore his relationship with his wife and son, Jagger takes a job as head of security at an archaeological dig at Mt. Sinai.


But soon the Tribe and Jagger are locked in a battle that may cost Jagger everything he still has. When the Tribe tracks one of their own to the Monastery of St Catherine's Jagger, Beth and Tyler get caught in the middle. With Beth and Tyler's lives hanging in the balance Jagger must rely on the help of Owen a man whom he has just met.


But who is Owen and how does he know so much about a secretive group of immortals bent on ridding the earth of evil? Can something in Jagger's forgotten past help him save his family and stop the Tribe? Or will the Tribe achieve their objective and kill millions in a single act of retribution?


Throughout it all Beth remains firm in her faith in God. She shares her belief with members of the Tribe, but can they find the love of God and His freely offered gift of mercy to all.


The 13th Tribe is an exciting thoughtfully written book. Too many try to earn the gift that God offers to us freely. What about you? Have you opened your hand and accepted His gift?


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 . 

Song of My Heart


Song of My Heart



Song of My Heart
by Kim Vogel Sawyer


Sadie Wagner has dreamed of using her gift to honor God. When her cousin Sid writes that there is a position in Goldtree, Kansas as a mercantile clerk and a possible singing position in the town's new opera house it seems to be an answer to prayer. With her step-father injured from a mining accident the family needs the money. With her parents blessing Sadie travels the long distance from Indiana to Kansas.


But Goldtree, Kansas has a hidden side that no one seems to be aware of. Thad McKane has just been hired as Goldtree's first sheriff. Rumors have reached Goldtree's mayor and bank president that an illegal liquor operation is in Goldtree! Secrecy is vital so that Goldtree's reputation is not ruined.


Sid and Sadie were best friends throughout their childhood. But unknown to Sadie, Sid has been secretly in love with her since her was 9 years old. Sid is determined to marry Sadie and with her working in Goldtree Sid expects his dreams to soon come true.


Sadie finds satisfaction in her duties as clerk for the Baxter sisters. When Asa Baxter offers Sadie the singing job it seems this is truly God's plan for Sadie. Sadie's music instantly endears her to the entire town. With two performances every week in the opera house, nightly practices, and singing in the church choir Sadie's life is very full.


But when Asa Baxter demands that Sadie make compromises with her singing Sadie refuses. But when he threatens to take away Sadie's singing job and Sid's delivery job Sadie is left with little choice but to comply – after all her family needs the money her job is bringing in. But when Thad starts courting Sadie, Asa demands that Sadie break it off immediately.


Is there a future for Sadie and Thad? Or will Sadie's compromises destroy their chance at a life together before it ever begins? What is the song of Sadie's heart? Can Sid, Sadie, and Thad trust God enough to listen to His leading?


I found Song of My Heart to be an enjoyable book. Perfect for a nice relaxing weekend read.


I received a free copy of this title from Bethany House Publishers for the purpose of this review. A positive review was not required.




Not This Time

Not This Time: A NovelNot This Time: A Novel by Vicki Hinze
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

NOT THIS TIME
Crossroads Crisis Series #3
by Vicki Hinze


To the outsider Seagrove Village located in western Florida is a quiet small town, but to those that live there danger is lurking around the corner. Detective Jeff Meyer is late arriving for Harvey and Roxy Talbot's remarriage and what he finds when he gets there leaves him stunned. Everyone is laying all over the ground. A chemical smell is quickly dissipating and five of the women have strings tied to their fingers and Clyde Parker is dead. NINA is suspected of being behind the attack.

That night Sara Jones–Tayton is frantic, she hasn't heard from her husband Robert who was on his way to New Orleans. Her best friend and business partner Beth Dawson comes to stay with her until she hears from Robert.

But when Jeff Meyers and Kyle Perry show up at Sara's house before dawn, Beth and Sara both know something is wrong. Robert's rental car has been found in Destin with blood in it. A note was found in the saying Robert had been kidnapped for ransom. Sara then had a severe asthma attack and had to be put into ICU in Pensacola.

With her dislike of Robert well known, Beth is Jeff's top suspect in Robert's kidnapping. Though Beth declares that she would never do something that would hurt Sara, Jeff is skeptical. When two million dollars is demanded for Robert's return, Beth puts up the money so that Sara won't be further stressed.

But as Beth thinks back over the last few weeks and Sara's odd behavior she is confused. Sara is vague and cryptic in her conversations with Beth making her wonder how well she really knows her best friend.

As Beth talks covertly with Joe a member of the Shadow Watchers, he offers her both moral and emotional support. Beth is drawn to Joe against her own better judgment, after all he couldn't be attracted to someone like her.

But as the case continues it becomes obvious that Robert was not who he appeared to be but who exactly is Robert Tayton III? And who is the NINA operative living in Seagrove Village is it a friend or a casual acquaintance? Will the truth be discovered in time or will NINA destroy them all?

With twists that you don't expect Not This Time will keep you in suspense. Who will live to see another day, read Not This Time find out for yourself!

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.


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Blue Moon Promise

Blue Moon Promise (Under Texas Stars)Blue Moon Promise by Colleen Coble
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

BLUE MOON PROMISE
Under Texas Stars book 1
By Colleen Coble

After her father's death and her step–mother's desertion, Lucy Marsh didn't think things could get much worse. But when she loses her job, loses her home and has someone break into her home all in one day, she is left wondering how she can possibly provide for her younger brother and sister.

When, her father's boyhood friend, Henry Stanton arrives with an offer that could solve her immediate problems she is left with a decision. Does she marry by proxy a man she has never met nor heard of before. Concern for Jed and Eileen's safety and welfare, along with pray leads her to accept Henry Stanton's offer. Lucy soon finds herself heading to Texas and her new unsuspecting husband Nate Stanton.

Meanwhile on the Stars Above Ranch, Nate is dealing with Drew Larson and his hate for the Stanton family. With strangers attempting to start fires in his barn and cattle rustling Nate has his hands full working the ranch.

When Henry Stanton arrives home, Nate assumes the young woman with him is a housekeeper out to snare his father and get money. But when Henry introduce Lucy as Nate's new wife, Nate is understandably shocked and angry. In his anger he says Lucy would be no good as a rancher's wife is too unsuitable and would be unable to pull her own weight. As they argue about it Henry has a heart attack. When the doctor arrives he says that there isn't anything he can do, that Henry's heart is just wearing out and he needs to rest and take it easy. Lucy is determined to prove her worth to Nate at any cost.

Lucy is surprised when she discovers the man feuding with the Stanton family is her Uncle Drew. Drew is angry when his learns that Lucy married a Stanton – the family that ruined him and stole his land. Lucy hopes that she can bridge the animosity between them.

But the danger that drove Lucy from her home, soon resurfaces in Texas. Who is following them and what do they want?

As Lucy and Nate work at being friends will something more develop between them? With the promise of a blue moon between them will they discover love before it is too late? Or will the greed of Henry Stanton destroy them all?

Blue Moon Promise is a lesson in how without realizing it we try to control our lives. We tell God what we think He should do and then do it our way. Blue Moon Promise is also a lesson in what true love is, it is not something we can earn but rather it is a gift given.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

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Babylon's Falling

Babylon's Falling: The Story of Belteshazzar, Also Known as DaniyyelBabylon's Falling: The Story of Belteshazzar, Also Known as Daniyyel by William G. Collins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

BABYLON'S FALLING
by William G. Collins

Babylon's Falling is a fictional work dealing with Daniyyel's life after the fall of Yerushalayim. He and his friends Mishael, Azariah, and Hananiah are taken as prisoner by the Chaldeans. During their transfer from their homeland Daniyyel quickly picks up the Chaldean language and acts as a translator between the Chaldeans and the people of Judah.

In Babylon Daniyyel is renamed Belteshazzar and serves as a wise man, or a seer, in the court of Nebuchadneezar. As Daniyyel's time in Babylon grows into years he forms friendships with various individuals in Babylon including King Nebuchadneezar.

When Daniyyel is sent by Nebuchadneezar to determine the strength and intentions of the Persian Empire, the incident of the fiery furnace takes place. It is during his time in Persia that Daniyyel became friends with King Cyrus and Prince Cambyses.

When Daniyyel returns to Babylon he informs Nebuchadneezar that at present Persia is no threat to his throne. He also interprets a dream for Nebuchadneezar that the king will be made like an animal for seven years. When Daniyyel's interpretation comes true he safeguards the throne until the curse Nebuchadneezar brought upon himself has been lifted by God.

After Nebuchadneezar's death there is a power struggle within Babylon until Nabonidus came to the throne. But while his son Belshazzar was left in charge Babylon fell to the Persian Empire while he held a three day long feast. When the hand of God wrote a message one the wall of the banquet room the fall of Babylon was happening at that moment.

After Babylon's fall Daniyyel was asked by King Cyrus to remain and be one of the three viziers to help rule Babylon. Daniyyel agrees and is soon the target of envy and a plot to end his life. But again God protects Daniyyel sparing his life.

After remaining in Babylon for a couple years under Persian rule Daniyyel requested and received permission to return to Yerushalayim. Along the way the prophet Yehezkiel joins Daniyyel's journey to Yerushalayim. With unexpected delays that take them to unforeseen places the two elderly men return to their homeland to spend their last years with their own people.

Babylon's Falling is an interesting possible history of Daniel and his time in Babylon. It is also an intriguing look at the culture during that era. Babylon's Falling overall was an well read book that I would recommend to Biblical Fiction fans.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

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Beyond Molasses Creek

Beyond Molasses CreekBeyond Molasses Creek by Nicole A. Seitz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Beyond Molasses Creek
By Nicole Seitz

Ally Green has been running from home all her adult life, but her father's death is bringing her home. At 60 no place feels like home and Ally has no peace in her life. Ally's childhood friend and the love of her life, Vesey Washington has lived across Molasses Creek his whole life. Vesey Washington is as different as can be from Ally. Ally has lived a life of privilege compared to Vesey. Ally is white; Vesey is colored. Ally went to college; Vesey dropped out of high school. Ally has a failed marriage; Vesey married for love. Ally has no faith; Vesey believes in God and heaven.

As Ally traveled the world she collected sculptures of gods and goddesses and shipped them home. She is determined to create a garden that will bring her peace. For nearly forty years Ally has tried to escape from her pain, a pain that she fights against with a hope. Ally has no hope in a life to come after this one, she has lost her way. But her father's dying wish is for her to stay along Molasses Creek so that she can rediscover what she lost all those years ago.

Unlike Ally, Vesey has found happiness and peace in his life. Though he has lost his wife and son, Vesey hasn't succumbed to sadness. He instead looks forward to what lays beyond – to heaven and being reunited with those who have gone before. Vesey is determined to help Ally find what he has and what her father had.

Meanwhile in Kathmandu, Nepal a young woman is determined to escape her life of bondage debt. Sunita has lived her life working with rock; as a child crushing gravel and now as a master craver. Sunita creates gods and creatures from the stone. Raised as a Dalit, Sunita is an untouchable and as a woman considered lower than the lowliest insect. As Sunita travels towards what she feels is her destiny, will she be able to better herself and escape what she has known or will she remain unknown in the world?

Beyond Molasses Creek is the story of three very different people who are all somehow connected to Molasses Creek. Told in a series of flashbacks from the various characters perspectives and merging with the present day Beyond Molasses Creek covers a nearly 50 year time period from the 1950s to the present day.

Beyond Molasses Creek looks at how a single decision can change not only our own life but the lives of those around us. When we make a decision do we think about how it will affect others and what is the motivation behind our choice? Are our reasons selfish or are they selfless? We need to remember that God is always there we just need to stop, look and listen.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255


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Beyond the Farthest Star

Beyond the Farthest Star: Closer than You ThinkBeyond the Farthest Star: Closer than You Think by Brodie Thoene
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

BEYOND THE FARTHEST STAR
By Bodie and Brock Thoene
Based on the screenplay by Andrew Librizzi

The Wells family is in tatters living on the dreams of what might have been and keeping secrets that have the power to destroy them or to pull them back together. With one last chance to start over can they save their family? Adam Wells was a child preacher phenomenon and expected to be the next Billy Graham. But life turned out differently than expected and he is headed to the middle of nowhere to Leonard, Texas.
Maureen Wells lives in the world of romance novels and the broken dreams of having a second child. She is unable to motivate herself to do anything beyond picking up her novel. She lives on the laurels of giving the graduation speech in high school.

But it is the life of sixteen year old Anne Wells that is the most tragic. Anne has lost her way and no longer remembers who she use to be. She can no longer remember how to be happy and has attempted to end her own life. Anne has withdrawn from her parents and has taken on a persona as black as her mind. Anne knows that she used to know what lay beyond the farthest star but she can't remember how she knows what she has lost.

Leonard, Texas has become a battle ground as Christmas approaches. Adam Wells has convinced the city to display a Nativity on public property and former Senator John Cutter sees this as his opportunity to regain what he lost 4 years ago. As the small community sleeps John Cutter commits an act of civil disobedience by burning down the Nativity. Meanwhile Anne's friendship with Stephen Miller has put her in the sights of Kyle Tucker, who is jealous of Stephen's friendship with Anne. Kyle is determined to destroy Anne and he begins telling people that Anne is talking about killing people and creating a Columbine type situation in Leonard.

Everything comes to a head when Calvin Clayman, a old school acquaintance of Adam and Maureen's, comes to Leonard on a business trip. Calvin supplies John Cutter with information that will destroy Adam Wells!

But is it too late for the Wells family to recapture what they lost? Or will they all rediscover what lays beyond the farthest star?

I found BEYOND THE FARTHEST STAR to be an book unlike what I was expecting. It was described as a Church vs. State fight over a Nativity display and though this is the case the deeper story the heart of it is a family brought together and torn apart by a selfish desire to fulfill expectations and dreams that they are not able to fulfill. When they rediscover what is truly important they are able to rebuild their lives and find true joy and fulfillment.

I received a digital Advanced Reviewer Copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255


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  Movie is due in 2012 for more information check out the website Beyond the Farthest Star Official Movie Site

The Christmas Singing

The Christmas SingingThe Christmas Singing by Cindy Woodsmall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

THE CHRISTMAS SINGING
By Cindy Woodsmall

Three years have passed since Gideon's betrayal broke Mattie's heart. Mattie's moved on leaving her parents, friends, and Gideon behind in Pennsylvania. Living near her older brother in Ohio Mattie's bakery is successful and she has a new boyfriend, one that will never break her heart! But in a moment of forgetfulness Mattie's bakery is gone – destroyed by a fire.

As Mattie waits for the insurance to settle up, she returns to Pennsylvania to visit with the family that she left behind. But it seems that everywhere Mattie goes Gideon is there too. Mattie is conflicted by her feelings for Gideon ndash; she's still drawn to her childhood friend and yet angry at the way he broke off their relationship.

Gideon is still drawn to Mattie, but he knew that she couldn't handle learning the true reason he broke up with her. Gideon felt lying would be kinder to Mattie than telling her that he had Leukemia and he may not survive.

When Mattie learns the truth she loses her temper with Gideon, he didn't trust her enough to make her own choices because he thought she was fragile. Because of Gideon's deception Mattie chose Sol. But Mattie realizes that she chose Sol because he was safe and that she didn't love him. But because of her commitment to Sol Mattie feels she must return to Ohio.

Is it too late for love? Will Mattie follow her heart or will she choose safety?

The Christmas Singing is a lesson in truth. We cannot protect the ones we love with a lie. Lies always hurt and the hurt is worse when the truth is made known. Truth is the most important foundation for any relationship!


I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255


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Marian's Christmas Wish

Marian's Christmas WishMarian's Christmas Wish by Carla Kelly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

MARIAN'S CHRISTMAS WISH

By Carla Kelly


Sixteen year old Marian Wynswich means to enjoy this Christmas as last year's had been one of mourning her father's death. But her plans are soon undone when her mother, Lady Wynswich determines that Ariadne should marry soon and well to save the family from financial ruin! But Ariadne is in love with the local vicar Sam Beddoe who is poor. Marian is determined to save her sister from the fate of a love–less marriage!

When her brother Alastair is sent home from Eton in disgrace, Marian is determined to smooth the way for him. Marian hides Alastair in the second best guest room with a pregnant cat until she can explain Alastair's situation to her oldest brother Percy. But Percy doesn't arrive home until well after midnight and brings two guests instead of one! Marian's secret is quickly discovered when Sir William (who is Ariadne's suitor) runs shrieking from the guest room and faints! Lord Ingraham finds the entire situation amusing and helps Marian remove the mother cat and kittens from the guest room.

When the time comes to make the traditional wish upon the Christmas pudding, Marian's wish is for Lord Ingraham to have the best Christmas ever! What ensues is one hair–brained scheme after another.

Mariam is continually annoying Sir William with her comments and her appetite. It is only through Lord Ingraham's assistance that she doesn't find herself in trouble with Percy. Then Gilbert (Lord Ingraham) determines to grant Marian's wish to save Ariadne from marriage to Sir William. Gilbert has Percy, Ariadne, Lady Wynswich summoned by the family's solicitor and with Alastair's help scares Sir William. The pair manages to convince Sir William that madness runs in the family so he promptly leaves the house! But as Sir William leaves he passes Percy and mentions something about the family's ''mad uncle''

Percy is beside himself, as is Lady Wynswich, when Sam Beddoe bursts into the room declaring his love for Ariadne. That night as the family celebrates the engagement of Ariadne and Sam, Marian tells Alastair that she wishes Gilbert would go home for Christmas. Alastair is determined to fulfill Marian's wish so he drugs Gilbert!

The next morning with the family again visiting their solicitor, Alastair awakens Marian telling her what he has done. The two rush into Lord Ingraham's room where he is still alive but unconscious of his surroundings. So Marian and Alastair borrow money and load Sir Ingraham into the Mail Coach to Bath. But a snow storm waylays them so that they must spend the night beneath the stairs of an inn.

On the morning of Christmas Eve, Lord Ingraham is recovered and determines that the three of them can walk the 10 miles to Bath. The three–some arrive in Bath in time to go to the Christmas Eve service, which Lord Ingraham insists they all do.

Alastair and Marian spend Christmas with Lord Ingraham and his family. Gilbert's sister and brother–in–law manage to make Marian feel like she and her brother are nothing and have no accomplishments to speak of. That night Gilbert challenges Marian to a chess match, which Marian vows to win. To the horror of his family they make a wager on it. If Marian wins she will get a rare book; if it is Gilbert he will get a kiss under the mistletoe! The match goes on for so long, everyone goes to bed before Marian wins. Gilbert asks for a consolation kiss and Marian agrees.

Gilbert then has to go to London and during his Marian realizes that she has fallen in love. But before she can act on her feelings Lady Ingraham tells her that Gilbert is engaged to Lady Amanda Calne! The engagement is expected to be announced at the New Year's Party Marian is helping Gilbert's mother arrange.

But all is not as it appears. Somehow Marian and Alastair have become entangled with spies and their very lives are endangered.

When Lord Ingraham tells Marian what she was longing to hear, will she say yes or will she deny her heart to keep it safe?

But when word reaches Lord Ingraham that Marian and Alastair were attacked by French sympathizers, he rushes to their home. He is determined to marry Marian and to help secure her ''yes'' Marian's family aids Gilbert in his quest.

Overall Marian's Christmas Wish is a delightfully lighthearted story. If you combine Pride and Prejudice's Elizabeth Bennett and Molly Gibson of Wives and Daughter with a quick wit and a pinch of mirth and mischief and you would end up Marian Wynswich – an endearing heroine. Find a quiet spot with a cup of tea and settle in for a good weekend read!


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 I received a digital copy of this book for review purposes.

Click here (Carla Kelly talks with BwB about Marian's Christmas Wish) to be taken to my interview with Author Carla Kelly

The Havest of Grace

The Harvest of GraceThe Harvest of Grace by Cindy Woodsmall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Harvest of Grace
An Ada's House Novel
By Cindy Woodsmall


Three years ago Silvia Fisher told Elam Smoker that she needed time to decide if she was ready for marriage. But when Elam got angry over her hesitation, she never realized that she would be betrayed by those closest to her. When an incident happens with Elam, Silvia is determined to leave her family's dairy farm and the shame of her sin behind.

Silvia gets a job on the Blank farm, she handles the dairy herd and is determined to make it profitable. But someone stands in Silvia's hopes and dreams – Aaron Blank. Aaron has just returned home after months in rehab and he is determined to get his parents to sell the farm and move to Owl's Perch. Can two determined people move pass their goals and work together? Or will their pasts keep them from accepting what God has put before them?

Meanwhile in Hope Crossing Cara Moore is studying so she can join the Amish faith and marry Ephraim Mast, but her anger and resentment towards her father stand in her way. Can she learn to forgive before it is too late?

The Harvest of Grace is just that a Harvest of Grace. Those in the Amish community learn that without God's grace we are unable to let go of our hurt, shame, and anger. Grace is something that none of us deserve, but God gives it to us freely and we in turn must give it to others.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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Christmas Stories: Heartwarming Classics of Angels, a Manager, and the Birth of Hope

 

  Christmas Stories: Heartwarming Classics of Angels, a Manager, and the Birth of HopeChristmas Stories: Heartwarming Classics of Angels, a Manager, and the Birth of Hope by Max Lucado
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

CHRISTMAS STORIES

By Max Lucado


A compilation of Christmas stories by Max Lucado celebrating the joy and wonder of the season. Some titles have been previously published, but are well worth another read.

The Christmas Candle is a story of faith, forgiveness, and miracles. When an accident happens who will receive the lost candle that will make their needed miracle come true?

The Christmas Child is a story of family and forgiveness. When an accident takes a life and changes two others will a family torn apart ever come together?

The Answer is Yes is a story of love, rebellion, and forgiveness. It is an allegory of our Heavenly Father's love of us and the forgiveness He offers to us His rebellious children.

The North Pole or the Manger? Ponders the man behind the myth of Santa Claus and the God who became Man. Comparing Jesus with Santa we see where we should seek eternal gifts.

Gabriel's Question ponders the mode of Jesus' coming. A peasant girl? A stable? For the Son of God?


The Night in the Stable dwells on Joseph and his feelings on the night of Jesus&# birth.

No Room in the Inn

Jacob's Gift is a giving up of one's dreams by giving what you have to one who is without, a story of sacrifice.

An Angel's Story is story about the conflict to stop Jesus' coming birth. Lucifer is shown as a conniver who will stop at nothing to thwart God's plan for redemption, including a battle in Heaven and on Earth for the soul of humanity.

Tiny Mouth, Tiny Feet is Mary's prayer for her newborn son who will soon be her Savior and King.

Includes an excerpt of GOD CAME NEAR

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Longing

Longing (Bailey Flanigan #3)Longing by Karen Kingsbury
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

LONGING

Bailey Flanigan Series Book #3

By Karen Kingsbury


Thanksgiving has come and Bailey and her new boyfriend Brandon Paul are spending it with the Flanigan family in Bloomington, Indiana. It's been a while since Bailey has seen or talked to Cody, but when she hears that he is coaching the Lyle Buckaroos in Friday’s State Championship her emotions are mixed. Does she want to see him or avoid him as he's been avoiding her for the last year.

At the State Championship, Cody’s eyes are drawn to the stands, looking for Bailey. When he sees her they connect just as if they are the only two in the stadium. But while Cody looks for Bailey, Cheyenne notices him watching Bailey. After the game which the Buckaroos win, Bailey avoids Cody and heads straight to the car and waits for her parents.

With Jenny Flanigan's permission, Cody heads over to the Flanigan home for a talk with Bailey. They talk about what drove them apart, and Bailey tells Cody that she has moved on and now loves Brandon. As he leaves Cody realizes that he hasn't moved on, that he still loves Bailey and his fear of losing her is what made him distance himself from her. Cody heads home determined to have a talk with Cheyenne the next morning, but he receives a phone call from Tara. Cheyenne is being admitted to the hospital – something is terribly wrong! When it is discovered that Cheyenne has an aggressive brain tumor, Cody decides to not tell her about his feelings for Bailey.


Because of work schedules Brandon and Bailey have to spend Christmas in New York. On Christmas Eve acting on an impulse Brandon decides to buy an engagement ring for Bailey, but Tiffany's is closed for the holiday. So instead of proposing Brandon, Bailey and 5 of her Hairspray cast members go to Christmas Eve service. There Gerald is moved by the message and takes a step closer to God.

As Cheyenne get weaker from the cancer and chemo, Cody's talent as a coach is recognized by both ESPN and Sports Illustrated. Cody and Demetri are invited to New York for a series of interviews. After the interviews are over they are given tickets to see Hairspray. Cody is startled to realize that this is the first time he has ever seen Bailey on stage. This realization causes him to be angry at his indifference to her passion when he still loves her deeply.

When Cody is offered the coaching job at Clear Creek High he feels lead to accept it. But just as everything starts looking up for Cody, Bailey learns that Hairspray has been cancelled. Brandon tells Bailey that his agent has just told him about a part that Bailey would be perfect for and the audition is in February.

When Hairspray ends Bailey goes home for a couple of weeks. But just as she gets ready to leave, Cheyenne dies and Cody wants to talk. He tells Bailey of a talk that he and Cheyenne had before her death. Cheyenne thought that they were not meant to be together, because if Cody truly loved Bailey he wouldn't keep running away from her. Though what Cody is says hurts, Bailey agrees with Cheyenne's assessment of their relationship.

When Bailey finally gets to L.A. her mother begins to wonder if Brandon is who God has in mind for Bailey instead of Cody.

Longing is more than longing for the perfect someone in your life or for the perfect life. Longing is instead about longing after what God wants for your life.

I am eagerly awaiting the fourth and final book of the Bailey Flanigan series LOVING.

Advanced Reader Copy in Digital Format provided by the Publisher for review purposes only.


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The Crossing

The CrossingThe Crossing by Serita Ann Jakes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

THE CROSSING
By Serita Jakes


Ten years have passed since BJ Remington was murdered on a school bus full of high school athletes, but the repercussions of that day still haunt some.

Claudia Campbell is caught in a re–occurring nightmare from that day. The nightmares began to affect Claudia's daily life two years ago when she miscarried. Claudia is driving her family into financial ruin with her constant spending. Claudia's husband Vic is determined to save both Claudia and their marriage from the quagmire Claudia is drowning in, but can he discover the truth in time?

Casio Hightower was headed to a career in the NFL until that night ten years ago when he was shot and his dreams shattered. He is taking his anger and despair out on his girlfriend Harper Abott. But when he takes his anger too far and physically assaults her, he could loss everything. Can Casio mend his ways or will he continue to blame Harper for his abuse?

When Casio finagles his way into Victor's investigation he little realizes that he is closer to the killer than anyone ever believed. Lies have warped and distorted the lives of everyone involved in ways that they never could have imagined.

The old statement about tangled webs being weaved when we deceive is so true where The Crossing is concerned. Pre–marital relations, extra–marital relations, lust, greed, selfishness, abuse are all the fruit of deceit and when these seeds are sown everyone around us suffers for it.

The Crossing was well written, but I can honestly say I would not want to live in their city!

The story switches back and forth between BJ Remington's final thoughts and the actions of those around her and the lives of these same people today and the issues they are facing.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review


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The Scroll

The Scroll: A NovelThe Scroll: A Novel by Grant R. Jeffrey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

THE SCROLL
By Grant R Jeffery
and
Alton L Gansky


Archaeologist Dr. David Chambers has made an extraordinary find – the tunnel of Herod the Great hidden beneath Jerusalem! But as amazing as this find is it will be his last dig in Israel because he has lost his faith.

Nine months have passed since the discovery of Herod's tunnel, when David receives a call from his old friend Abram Ben–Judah asking him to join one last expedition in Israel. The search will be for the lost treasures of the Temple – the treasure described in the Copper Scroll.

A month later David finds himself flying to Israel with the last person he wants to be with Dr. Nuri Aumann a fellow archaeologist. Dr. Amber Rogers, David's former fiancee, has also been asked to join this elite team of archaeologists headed by Abram Ben–Judah and funded by John Trent with a backing of $200 million!

But shortly after the group has their initial meeting a student is found and there is evidence that someone, possibly Dr. Hussein Al–Malik, is trying to spy on them! The already tight security is increased under a no–nonsense man – Landau.

As the team makes progress they make an incredible find – a chest filled with silver from the ancient Jewish Temple. But unorthodox methods are needed to secure the find as quickly as possible, methods that are frowned upon by those in the field of archaeology. But when the team attempts to further study the site disaster strikes. A bomb destroys the chamber instantly killing 4 team members. David is injured as he attempts to save Abram Ben–Judah!

When David awakes in the hospital he receives the stunning news that Abram Ben–Judah is expected to die from his injuries before the night is past. The attack is believed to be tied to Al–Malik and that he is getting his information from a mole within the group.

David, Amber, Landau, John Trent, and the Israeli Prime Minister are among a small handful of people who know that Abram Ben–Judah is still alive and sequestered within the private wing of the hospital. Abram tells David and Amber that they must focus their search on the priestly treasures mentioned in the scroll rather than the ones of monetary worth. Israel plans to rebuild the Temple and they need the spiritual treasures as soon as possible.

When a hidden passage is discovered within Herod's Tunnel the find is what Abram was hoping for, but the workers helping David and Amber are attacked and killed and only Landau is able to save David and Amber.

With time running out and hostilities towards the archaeologists becoming more threatening can they discover the truth in time or will the hidden danger within their team destroy them all? Can David rediscover his faith or will he forever turn his back on God? When a team member is kidnapped and the treasure of the Temple is demanded, who or what will be sacrificed?

The Scroll is a book of thrills and thought. Can we ever truly experience what life has for us if we are angry at the world and at God?


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I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review

A Sound Among the Trees

A Sound Among the Trees: A NovelA Sound Among the Trees: A Novel by Susan Meissner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A SOUND AMONG THE TREES
By Susan Meissner


A SOUND AMONG THE TREES is two stories in one. The first belongs to Marielle and Adelaide, the second belongs to Susannah. Susannah's story is woven into Marielle and Adelaide's.

When Marielle marries widower Carson Bishop, she doesn't fully realize what she is marrying into. Carson lives at Holly Oak, the ancestral home of his first wife Sara, with Sara's grandmother Adelaide and his children Hudson and Brette. But Holly Oak's a has secret, a secret hidden by time and lost in superstition and twisted by rumor.

Can Marielle discover the truth about Susannah Page, Adelaide's great–grandmother, or will she too fall under the curse that follows the women of Holly Oak?

Adelaide believes the house seeks penance, while others believe it is haunted by Susannah. But who is Susannah and what sin did she commit that left the women of Holly Oak cursed? What is Susannah's connection to Holly Oak's legacy of sorrow and loss?

Marielle is determined to discover the truth, but she doesn't want to upset her new husband or Adelaide. When she hears about letters Susannah wrote during the early 1860s, she's determined to find them, but they seem to have been lost to time.

When Adelaide's wayward daughter Caroline shows up everything changes. Caroline is determined to save Holly Oak and its residents from the time trap that they have allowed themselves to be caught up in. Caroline shows Marielle the letters that Susannah had written. She is then able to show Marielle and Adelaide Susannah as she really was. Susannah was a strong, brave young woman who sacrificed for love and was rewarded with love discovered.

At the end of A Sound Among the Trees there is a reader's guide with reflective questions. This is a well crafted book that draws the reader in. Susan Meissner has again delighted with her pen!

I received this Advanced Reader Copy for free from WaterBrook Multunomah Publishing Group for this review.


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Sunrise on the Battery

Sunrise on the BatterySunrise on the Battery by Beth Webb Hart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

SUNRISE ON THE BATTERY

By Beth Webb Hart



Mary Lynn Scoville seems to have it all, and is on the verge of being invited into the last club that polite Charleston society has to offer. But when Mary Lynn experiences a miracle on Christmas Eve, she prays that her husband and three daughters will experience God's touch as well. But when her prayer is answered in a way she never expected can Mary Lynn every truly be happy and what will her happiness cost? And will Charleston, South Carolina ever be the same?

Sunrise on the Battery looks at life and what is important. Are accolades of human achievement all important in living a fulfilling life? Is it possible to heal old wounds by climbing the social ladder? The Scoville family is about to find out what is truly important. The pinnacles of society, the homeless on the street who will have the biggest impact?

Sunrise on the Battery also touches on teen substance abuse – drinking and pharming.

Sunrise on the Battery looks at friendship and what true friendship really is. Is it tied to your checkbook? Your address? Who your parents are? Or is it a giving of oneself just because with no strings attached?

Sunrise on the Battery is an enjoyable read that has a lesson to teach.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.


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The Genesis Key

The Genesis KeyThe Genesis Key by James Barney
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

THE GENESIS KEY

By James Barney



In September of 1979 Daniel and Becky Talbot are on the cusp of discovery. They have given the last 5 years of their life to an archaeological dig at Tell-Fara, Iraq to prove that Tell-Fara is more than a Ziggurat. But on the eve of Saddam Hussein's rise to power their dreams may be short lived.

Dr Kathleen Sainsbury, a world class biologist, works at Quantum Life Sciences(QLS) trying to find a cure for Alzheimer's and other age related dementias. When Washington Post reporter Bryce Whittaker does a story on new biology start-ups in the D.C. area, QLS is on the list, but when the interview is over he asks Kathleen out. Kathleen has never had good luck in the dating game so she reluctantly agrees to go out with him. Later that night, while Kathleen and her QLS co-workers are celebrating the Post interview, Kathleen is secretly photographed by Semion Zafer.

After Kathleen's date with Bryce there is a message on her phone from Tariq Al-Fulani who claims to have known her parents and that it is urgent that they meet tonight! With misgivings Kathleen goes to the location he mentioned and finds out that he is not who he claims to be. Rather he is Hakeem Abdul Sargon the former Director of Antiquites in Iraq until 1979. Sargon's family was murdered the day Saddam Hussein came to power, the day before Kathleen's parents were murdered! Sargon witnessed the attack on the Talbots and then killed their murderers. While he searched the rubble for his friends he discovered the hidden chamber that Becky and Daniel believed was there. The ziggurat was no ziggurat but instead a massive tomb with a massive sarcophagus. Within the sarcophagus Sargon found an object that he has kept hidden all these years, an object that he feels he must give to Kathleen. He asks Kathleen to come in the morning, that there is more to tell. But overnight Sargon dies under suspicious circumstances and Kathlenn is questioned by the FBI.

Kathleen then searches for a Dr Charles Eskridge whom Sargon mentioned. When Kathleen finds him she shows him the symbol Sargon found on the sarcophagus. A symbol that Dr Eskridge translates as THE LAST NEPHILIM. Dr. Eskridge then reads Genesis 6:1–4 to Kathleen which speaks of the Nephilim as a human&ndashhybrid which would have explained the longevity of humanity before the Great Flood. Does the tooth that Sargon found in an ancient tomb hold the key that Kathleen has been searching for?

When Kathleen returns to QLS she tasks Julie and Jeremy with testing the tooth searching for its DNA! While Kathleen spends Easter Sunday with Bryce and her Grandfather who suffers from Alzheimer's Jeremy is hard at work. While Bryce and Kathleen are still in Annapolis, Jeremy calls. He's found a complete intact DNA strand! But after hanging up Jeremy is attacked by Zafer, who demands the DNA sample! As Jeremy tries to escape Zafer shoots him in the back. As he comes heads toward Jeremy, Kathleen arrives to check out Jeremy's progress and Zafer leaves.

While the FBI assists with Jeremy's shooting because Kathleen is a common factor in two crimes, Julie and Kathleen work on sequencing the DNA strand Jeremy found. Hours later they find the longevity gene an ancient deactivated retrovirus hidden away by time.

But when Bryce Whittaker breaks a story that QLS has found the gene for long life everything begins to comes apart. Kathleen's life is on the line and her trust in many people is shattered. There are secret organizations and governments out to control what she has found. What could be a miracle to some is seen as financial collapse by major world governments and a perversion of the human race to many people. Will her discovery see the light of day or will it be stolen away in the night?

While Kathleen struggles to decide what she should do, she is in a fight for her life as some of the very people she thought were trying to protect her seem to have turned against her. Who can she turn to as the sample that could give her Grandfather his life back is destroying so many that get in its path? Does Genesis hold the key that will lead her to the truth?

This exciting fast paced debut novel is sure to capture even the most reluctant reader's attention. This is excitement at its best and hopefully the start of many equally thrilling works from a talented new author.
I, for one, look forward to James Barney's next work.



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Book provided by Author for review purposes.  Thanks for a great read!

 Check out this interview with James Barney as he talks about his debut novel THE GENESIS KEY.  Click the link below to hear it:

Interview with Author James Barney

 

Heather Song

Heather SongHeather Song by Michael Phillips
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

HEATHER SONG
Angel Harp Series book 2
By Michael Phillips


When you remember a dream what do you do? Do you let it die or do you fulfill it?

Angel Dawn Marie has just turned 40 when she remembers a dream from long ago. This remembrance breaks the lethargy of drifting from year to year. Feeling a pull she packs her harp and heads to Scotland.

In Scotland Marie travels until she gets to Port Scarnose which overlooks Moray Firth and the North Sea. Here she finds friendship and love. Her first friend is Iain Barclay - the local curate. She also meets Gwendolyn and her aunt Olivia. Marie teaches Gwendolyn the harp, but the music Gwendolyn plays is her own and is from her soul. Marie also meets Ranald Bain, a local shepherd whose life whose life has a mystery about it concerning his wife and daughter's deaths many years before. The most mysterious of Marie's encounters surrounds Duke Alasdair Reidhaven an odd man whom mystery, sadness, evil seem to keep company with. The Duke is also the seldom seen father of Gwendolyn. But in Port Scarnose not all is as it seems. This ancient land is under the power of old superstitions that are perpetrated by Olivia, the hateful younger sister of the Duke.

Marie manages to bring Gwendolyn and Alasdair together but shortly after their reunion Gwendolyn succumbs to her condition. After Gwendolyn's death Marie realizes that she is in love with both Alasdair and Iain and flees back to her home in Canada. But you cannot run from love or decisions they follow you.

When Marie goes back to Scotland she marries Alasdair and becomes the Duchess. But before they marry Marie insists on a prenuptial agreement so everyone would know she married Alasdair for love and not position and wealth. As Marie becomes more involved in the community she manages to break Olivia's hold on many, but not all. Olivia's hold is based on fear and the power that gives her over others.

Marie and Alasdair are happy in their life and because of Marie, Alasdair becomes very involved in the community helping those that need help. They open the estate to the people, sharing what they have with those around them. But soon the very condition that took Gwendolyn takes hold of Alasdair. At the very time that Alasdair is fading Marie receives a letter from her father asking her to come see him as he is dying from cancer.

After Alasdair's death Marie returns home and then goes see her father. While they visit Marie realizes that she misjudged her father when she was younger and she was equally to blame for their non-existent relationship. Marie awakening feelings of love for her father result in her staying with him so that he can live and die in his home.

But while Marie is away from Scotland Olivia has been busy. She has moved into the castle and is establishing her center of power. With pleas for her to return to Scotland to stop Olivia and with developments in Alasdair's estate that seem to leave everything to Marie she heads back to Scotland. But in a legal tug–of–war Marie must sneak into the castle in the dead of night so as to stop Olivia from locking her out of the castle until the suit goes to court.

As the legal process continues, Olivia begins making accusations against Marie and the motives behind her various friendships in Scarnose and even about her marriage to Alasdair. As the case comes to court Ranald shows up and is to be a witness for Marie. At the sight of him Olivia becomes agitated and demands he be removed. During a recess Ranald and Olivia speak privately and Olivia withdraws her suit.

But Olivia is not finished trying to lay claim upon the estate and in fact attempts to kill Marie along the rocky coast. But Ranald distrusting Olivia's motives in asking Marie to go for a walk, thwarts Olivia's attempts and rescues Marie.

When Marie gets word that Olivia is dying from cancer she again extends the olive branch to her sister–in–law. She offers Olivia a home in the castle with care so that she is not among strangers. Olivia's very presence seems to bring a spirit of discontent to the castle. Iain warns Marie that there is a look in Olivia's eyes, a look that bodes evil that she is contemplating.

But one day Olivia suddenly disappears, she is no where to be found. The castle, the estate and the surrounding communities are searched. After days of searching she is presumed to be dead, perhaps falling from the coastal cliffs to her death. Then in the night Marie hears faint harp music. As she investigates the music takes her beneath the castle to a hidden passageway that was lost in time. It is in this passage that Marie finds her lost harp hidden away in a crypt. And the harp is being plucked by Olivia and at her feet is a sight that leaves no doubt about Olivia's evil spirit.

Olivia rushes out of the room locking Marie in the hidden vault with the remains of Ranald's daughter. Olivia then slips back into her room and says she was there all along. But those in the castle suspect Olivia of foul play when it is discovered that Marie is missing.

For three days Ranald, Iain, the police and the castle staff search for Marie. But Olivia refuses to divulge what she knows. Iain remembering a long ago incident involving Olivia, Alasdair and himself searches the long ago ruins that are normally inaccessible due to the tide and there he hear harp music – the Angel Song that Marie plays. As the music draws him deeper into the ruins, finds Marie. She is inaccessible, but she tells him how to find her in the basement.

After Marie is rescued, she goes to see Olivia who refuses to admit she has ever done anything wrong. She refuses to make peace with anyone even God and see no reason for anyone to offer her forgiveness or to ask God for His.

HEATHER SONG is in keeping with all of Michael Phillip's other works. It is a delightful read filled with Scottish lore, yet it subtlety teaches a lesson in the power of fear over our lives and the power of love – God's love to break fears hold on us.

Publisher provided Advanced Reviewer Copy in Digital Format for revciew purposes

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Attracted to Fire

 

  Attracted to FireAttracted to Fire by DiAnn Mills
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

ATTRACTED TO FIRE

By DiAnn Mills


Special Agents Meghan Connors and Bob Lawson have just received their new assignment. They are part of a 6 person security detail for Lindsay Hall under Ash Zinder. Lindsay Hall is the daughter of Presidential hopeful – Vice President Hall and she is the media's newest shock sensation with her out of control behavior. Lindsey is being sent to a working ranch in Texas for therapy and to hide her away from whoever is threatening her life.

But somehow, someway the stalker seems to be following her – sending her emails and text messages from an ''unknown sender'' who cannot be answered or traced. When Lindsey's car is blown up outside her apartment the Columbian cartel is suspected. But when people start dying on the ranch the threat becomes personal. Can the agents save Lindsey or will they all be struck down by the unknown stalker?

As the case becomes more personal Meghan Connors and Ash Zinder are drawn closer as they focus on those on the ranch as the source of the betrayal that took one of their own. Meghan is convinced Lindsey holds the key to the threats and that she knows her stalker. Little does anyone realize just how far Lindsey's enemy will go and just how close he is to her and those she loves.

Attracted to Fire is an exciting book and fans of DiAnn Mills other works will not be disappointed.

Publisher provided digital advanced reader copy for review purposes only.

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Forbidden (The Books of Mortals #1)

Forbidden (The Books of Mortals, #1)Forbidden by Ted Dekker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Books of Mortals: FORBIDDEN

By Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee


2005 was the year that changed everything, because in that year the gene that controls fear was discovered. Soon the genes that controlled the other emotions were discovered. This breakthrough was put to use after humanity was nearly destroyed by a war of cataclysmic proportions. All emotions except fear were removed. For the last 480 years the human race has lived in peace, peace brought by fear. But this is a world without joy, love, sorrow, or violent crime.


This is about to change...


It is in this world that Rom lives. He lives in Byzantium – the governing center of the world since the Age of Chaos. It is into this world that Feyn Cerelia is about to be inaugurated as Sovereign, the first Sovereign to take power from a parent since this age began. Rom is drawn into something that could cost him his very life. A strange older man who knows his dead father gives him a packet and tells him he must learn its secret. Then the stranger is murdered before Rom's eyes by the Citadel Guard. In his fear Rom runs when the Guards turn on him.


Because of her association to him Rom's mother is murdered by the Guard in their home. Again Rom escapes and goes to his friend Avra's home. He convinces Avra that they must hide or she too will be murdered because she knows him. Together Rom and Avra examine the packet which contains a vial of blood and a sheet of parchment written in a language neither can understand. When Rom drinks from the vial he is changed. His emotions are awakened.


Meanwhile Feny's half brother Saric has been given a serum by Corban and Pravus (members of Alchemy's secret sect). This serum awakens Saric's dark emotions hatred, jealousy, lust, and ambition. Saric is the tool that the alchemists hope will bring them power.


Avra drinks from the vial and her emotions are awakened. Unable to decide what to do or how to proceed Avra and Rom seek help from Neah and Triphon. Triphon willingly drinks from the vial and takes more than one portion. Avra and Rom force Neah to drink a portion so she will not turn them over to the Guard.


Hidden beneath the Citadel are the dungeons and within the dungeon is the Keeper also called the Book. Both Feyn and Rom seek the Keeper and because of what he says to them they are drawn together. Rom kidnaps Feyn and gives her the blood that is left. Because Feyn's portion was not a full portion she soon loses the emotions that she gains. Feyn translates the parchment that was with the vial. Soon Rom and Feyn learn the true history of their world and the treachery that brought it into being. As Feyn feels her emotions slipping away from her, she promises to help Rom and protect him as he searches for the boy who would restore emotion to the world.


As Rom completes his task some will fall to the sword. But the boy – Jason must survive at all costs, he must become Sovereign instead of Feyn. If the dead are to be brought to life death is the cost.


Who will live and who live die? Can the Prophecy be fulfilled? Forbidden leaves you eagerly anticipating Mortal coming in 2012.


If you are familiar with Ted Dekker's Circle, Lost Books, and Paradise Series you know what to expect. If you have never read any of Ted Dekker's work you are in for an adventure unlike any you have before experienced. Dekker's work is an allegorical thriller that uses blood symbolically and literally to move the story along.


Advanced Reader Copy provided by the Publisher in Digital Format for review purposes.

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The Last Cavaliers: The Sword

 

  The Sword (The Last Cavaliers)The Sword by Gilbert Morris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

THE SWORD
By Gilbert Morris

Spanning approximately 10 years, The Sword is the story of Jeb and Flora Stuart, Chantel Fortier, Jacob Steiner, and Clay Tremayne. The story focuses on the years leading up to the American Civil War and the war itself. Seen mainly from a southern view point there are glimpses of Northern thoughts and strategies.

The main story is Jeb and Flora's marriage and love for one another. Woven through out is the story of Chantel, Jacob and Clay. Through it all is the message of God's saving grace and that it is a choice each person must make for themselves. It cannot be forced on a person.

Gilbert Morris is an expert at bringing historical events to life while weaving in the fictional aspects of the story in a seamless flowing pattern. He makes you care for all the people involved and takes you along for the journey.

The Sword shows the illusion that both North and South had about the reality of war. When the truth comes out both realize that war against their brothers will not be a picnic or just few weeks. War will divide them in ways they don't realize and death and destruction will result.

Throughout Jacob is a beacon seeking to draw people to God. His generosity and faith are a source of comfort to all who meet him. Chantel is seen as an angel to the Southern troops and to the Stuart family as she care and ministers to the ill and wounded. Clay is drawn by both Jacob and Chantel but he is a man with a past that includes gambling, fighting, drinking and women.

What they see and experience will lead Chantel and Clay to eventually seek God and His saving grace. But who will be left when the war ends and what will they do?

Advanced Reader Copy provided in Digital edition for review purposes only.


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The Constantine Codex

The Constantine CodexThe Constantine Codex by Paul L. Maier
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Constantine Codex

By Paul L Maier


While on a dig at Pella, Shannon Jennings Weber makes a remarkable find within the Greek Orthodox Church of St. James the Just. Hidden within Eusebius' HISTORIA EKKLESIATICA were five pages of the lost HEGESIPPUS CODEX.

Meanwhile her husband, Jon Weber is about to be caught up in an error that puts fatwa on both their heads. His book, LIFE OF JESUS has one word mistranslated in the Arabic version. What follows leads Jon and Shannon to Turkey and a Muslim-Christian debate held in the Hagia Sophia.

While in Turkey Jon and Shannon study the ancient manuscript collection held by the Eastern Orthodox Church, there they make a discovery that could change the Christian world. Hidden away is a Codex that contains not only the missing verses from the last chapter of the Gospel of Mark, but an 67th Book of the Bible - the Second Book of Acts!

But someone will stop at nothing to keep the truth hidden. Various attempts at stealing or destroying the Codex or silencing Jon and Shannon follow.

Will the Constantine Codex be revealed to the world or will it be revealed as an elaborate Christian hoax? Only time will tell in this thrilling book!


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The Guardian

 

  The GuardianThe Guardian by Robbie Cheuvront
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

THE GUARDIAN
By Robbie Cheuvront with Erik Reed

When the Apostle John received the Revelation from God 2,000 years ago he also received a scroll that he and his descendants have been guarding ever since. It is into this world that Anna Riley, the newest Guardian and Jason Lang, her protector have been drawn. It is a world of treachery and danger that could cost them their very lives and the lives of those closest to them.

But to secure the scroll and the secret it hides they must first discover the clues and riddles left for them by Anna's grandfather. In a race against time and the human disciples of Lucifer they must cross oceans and continents to prevent Lucifer from gaining control of the Papal seat of power.

But the journey Anna is on is also a journey of the soul. What does she believe in and where does she place her faith? Who is Anna Riley? As Jason and others aid her in her quest they also open her eyes to the plan and purpose God has for each of us. We must all play our part in His plan. It is only when we put our total trust and faith in Him and die to the world that we realize our full potential.

Over the centuries many have attempted to steal the scroll in their quest for power and dominion, but Anna and Jason discover the truth. The scroll has no power in and of itself. The true power lies in the words, the truth given by Jesus to the Apostle John.

''To him that has ears, let him hear''

Anna and Jason's quest leads them back to the beginning. Before sin began there was God's perfect created world and it is to this place that the truth of the scroll takes them. Can they reach their final destination before it is too late?

The Guardian is an exciting page turner with a valuable lesson in faith. Where will your faith take you in your life journey?

At the end of the book are discussion questions to help you examine your own life.


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Masters & Slayers: Tales of Starlight

Masters & Slayers (Tales Of Starlight, #1)Masters & Slayers by Bryan Davis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

MASTERS & SLAYERS
Tales of Starlight #1
By Bryan Davis


Masters & Slayers follows the same basic plot as Davis's Starlighter (Dragons of Starlight) but it follows the adult members of the story – Adrian Masters and Marcelle, instead of the teenage members.

Masters & Slayers also begins where Starlighter began with the Blood Tournament. But Masters & Slayers is more grown up as it deals with more of the political under currents that make Major Four what it is. Yet the mission is the same – to find the ''lost ones'' the people who were stolen away and forced to serve the dragons of Dracon.

Adrian Masters's mission is more personal as he is also searching for his missing brother Frederick, while Marcelle's double purpose is to find the man responsible for her mother's murder years ago. But before this can happen they must find the portal to Dracon. Aiding them is a glowing being who takes the appearance of a 15 year old girl. This being is named Cassabrie and she is the dragon's messenger. But when Cassabrie returns to Dracon, Marcelle leaps through the portal with her and meets Arxad. Arxad takes Marcelle to the Southlands where the human slaves live.

Meanwhile Cassabrie goes back for Adrian and Edison Masters. When they arrive at Dracon danger soon strikes and Adrian and Edison are almost killed attempting to cross a frozen river. They are saved by the white dragon the King of the Northlands.

On Major Four Drexel finds the other portal to Dracon and has the genetic keys needed to open it – the fingers of a descendant who escaped Dracon. Once on Dracon he locates some of the slaves and promptly kills the four adults. He plans to take two of the five children back to Major Four with him. Drexel's only goal is to be worshipped as a hero!

When Marcelle and Adrian meet up, Adrian is inhabited by Cassabrie as she guides them on their quest. They enter the cattle camps were the youngest slaves are forced to survive. Against Adrian's advice Marcelle attacks the dragon overseer and Adrian is forced to help her. To save Marcelle and the children Adrian gives himself up to the dragon who comes to punish the camp. Marcelle then realizes that her temper and lack of thinking have gotten them into this situation.

Marcelle attempts to rescue Adrian though Cassabrie wants him give up so that they can be together forever. What will Adrian choose and who will be lost in this battle for Starlight?

Masters & Slayers is an exciting addition to the Starlight world. This book is most definitely intended for adults and older teens.

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Dinner with a Perfect Stranger

 

  Dinner with a Perfect Stranger: An Invitation Worth ConsideringDinner with a Perfect Stranger: An Invitation Worth Considering by David Gregory
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dinner with a Perfect Stranger
By David Gregory

Nick Cominsky has received an invitation to dinner with Jesus of Nazareth. Thinking that he is the target of a practical joke Nick shows up. What follows is nothing like what Nick expected.

Who is this man claiming to be Jesus? As Jesus asks and answers questions, Nick is forced to admit that much of what the world offers is empty and meaningless. Then Jesus tells him that God restores relationships - God's with humanity. To restore this relationship a person must accept a free gift from God - the gift of forgiveness and eternal life.

At the end of this Dinner with a Perfect Stranger, Nick is left with a decision. Will he let Jesus into his life or leave Him on the outside knocking on the door his heart.

What would you do? Join Nick for a night contemplation and heart-to-heart self examination.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.


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Bound By Guilt

Bound by GuiltBound by Guilt by C.J. Darlington
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


BOUND BY GUILT

By C.J. Darlington


What would you do for love and something to call your own? This is the question that haunts 16 year old Roxi Gold. Forgotten by her mother, passed through the foster care system, and scarred by her life Roxi may finally have found a place to call home. But life with her aunt and cousin goes wrong, so wrong that Roxi is Bound by Guilt. Will she ever find the life she seek?

Meanwhile Abby Dawson and Christy Williams are reeling from the murder of Hunter Dawson. Abby is determined to find her brother's killer, but at what cost?

When Roxi, Abby, and Christy are brought together what will happen? Will they forever be Bound by Guilty or will they be set free?

A thought provoking story that will cause the reader to look beneath the surface. What truths lie behind the faces that you see each day? Dig deeper and show that you care, it may save a life!

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Her Daughter's Dream

 

  Her Daughter's Dream (Marta's Legacy, #2)Her Daughter's Dream by Francine Rivers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

HER DAUGHTER'S DREAM

By Francine Rivers



What drives us to push away those who love us the most? This multi-generational story delves into the dangers of tough love and its far reaching affects.


What Marta did out of love for her daughter Hildemara has far reaching consequences that affect the third and fourth generation. Carolyn, Hildemara's daughter, feeling that her parents lack of attention is due to a lack of love looks for love in all the wrong places. As a result Carolyn becomes a single mom to May Flower Dawn. But Dawn's birth does not bring the mothers and daughters closer, instead it brings a fourth generation into the ever widening rift.


When she is older Dawn sees the hurt that her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother suffer while being unable to let the other know the love they feel for the other. Can Dawn figure out how to bridge the gap between her Mother and Grandmother so that they can all discover the love that's been there all along? Or will a fifth generation be caught up in the rift as well?


Her Daughter's Dream is the conclusion of the 2 book series Marta's Legacy. Taking up the story in 1951 it continues through to the present day. Celebrate the joys and sorrow in the tragedies as Marta's legacy is discovered!

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False Witness

False WitnessFalse Witness by Randy Singer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

FALSE WITNESS

By Randy Singer



What would you do if you had the world's most powerful algorithm? Would you use it? Would you sell it? Or would you give it away? Professor Dagan develops the Abacus Algorithm which can determine large prime numbers in a matter of minutes rather than in years. He wants to sell it and use the proceeds to help the underground church in China.



What follows is a tangled web of lies, kidnappings, murder, torture, and subterfuge. Caught up in this web are three college students – Jamie Brock, Isaiah Haywood, and Wellington Farnsworth. And they are out of their element and out of their league, especially when danger lands on their doorstep. Who will survive the deadly will survive the deadly struggle between the U.S. Government and the Chinese mafia over an encrypted algorithm? When the time for answers comes will the truth come out or will a false witness step forward?



False Witness is a thrilling read that shows a shady underside of life that each person must ask themselves, ''Would I be willing to do that if it was me?'' The answer if given truthfully will reveal something of yourself to yourself. What will you do for justice?

I did not care for the death of Jamie's dog Snowball, that was my one big problem with the book.
But otherwise it was very well written and interest grabbing.

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A Log Cabin Christmas 9-in-1 Collection

A Log Cabin Christmas: 9 Nine Romances of American Pioneer ChristmasesA Log Cabin Christmas: 9 Nine Romances of American Pioneer Christmases by Margaret Brownley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A LOG CABIN CHRISTMAS COLLECTION

Nine Romances of American Pioneer Christmases
By various authors


A Log Cabin Christmas Collection is a compilation of nine heart–warming Christian romances by favorite authors created for the Christmas season. In this 9-in-1 book you have the following stories:

1) SNOW ANGEL by Margret Brownley set in Texas in 1885. Miss Maddie Parker is the new school teacher straight from Boston. When personalities clash and a snow storm traps the young teacher, three students, and Sheriff Brad Donovan in an old mine cabin sparks are bound to fly.

2) THE CHRITMAS SECRET by Wanda E. Brunsetter is set in Allenstown, Pennsylvania in 1880. Elizabeth Canning and David Stinner are perfect for each other and are planning a Christmas wedding, but when a secret from the past is brought to light will they ever have a happily ever after?

3) CHRISTMAS TRAPS AND TRIMMINGS by Kelly Eileen Hake. Mina Montrose is determined to protect her inheritance and not be forced into marriage with her cousin Elton, but to accomplish this she must escape London and make her way to Kentucky and her guardian – Sam Carver. As Mina and her nurse Belinda turn Sam's cabin into something cozy they disrupt his life. When an earthquake strikes the region more than their cabin gets shaken!

4) A STAR IN THE NIGHT by Liz Johnson is set in Franklin, Tennessee in 1864. The Civil War is raging and Cora Sinclair has just found a wounded Yankee soldier near her home, as she and her grandfather care for Jed Harrington she relives the horrors of war that she has seen. As Jed and Cora help each other they fight to keep from falling in love because they both know that the war will soon take Jed away. When Jed leaves on Christmas Eve, both are left wondering what the future holds for them.

5) THE COURTING QUILT by Jane Kirkpatrick is set in 1867 Oregon. Mary Bishop runs the local mercantile, but times are changing and competition is moving in. When salesman Richard Taylor arrives trying sell her wares for her store it seems an answer to prayer. Mary and Richard form a partnership he will take her cart to the surrounding areas and sell her wares as he travels. As Mary's traveling mercantile makes the rounds Richard somehow manages to convince half the ladies that he is going to propose to them if them ''meet the test'' as a quilter. Everything comes a head at the Church Bazaar when the ladies get together. Who will Richard choose or will he be left quilt–less when the ladies are done with him?

6) UNDER HIS WINGS by Liz Tolsma takes place in Camp Twelve, Wisconsin in 1875. When Adie O'Connell's father dies in a logging accident she is the lone woman in the camp and without protection. Noah Mitchell who was Quinn O'Connell's partner agreed to protect Adie if anything should happen to Quinn, little realizing just how big a promise he was making. But Adie is convinced she doesn't need protecting. Can Noah protect Adie from her own stubbornness and the threats that surround her?

7) DOGTROT CHRISTMAS by Michelle Ule is set in East Texas in 1836. Molly and her brother, James Faires are building a ''dog trot'' cabin on their new claim. But their new claim was never put up for sale by the owner Luis Vasco de Carvajal. Who is in the right and who will keep the land? Can Luis forgive his brother–in–law Manuel or will peace elude him? Can Molly's kindness help a soul damaged by war?

8) A GRAND COUNTRY CHRISTMAS by Debra Ullrich. What do you do when your father has been murdered and all of your winter supplies stolen? This is the reality that confronts Awyna? As Awyna hunts for more food to survive the winter, Amadeus Josef stops her from shooting his pet deer. As a snow storm has moved in Amadeus then takes her back to his home with his mother and three children. As Awyna stays with the family she helps them start to heal from their mother's death. But when Awyna returns to her home, she finds that everything she possessed was stolen during the time she was away. Can Amadeus and Awyna make a home together and become a family?

9) CHRISTMAS SERVICE by Erica Vetsch takes place in the Minnesota North Woods in 1875. Beth Sorenson is convinced that she can only be a minister's wife and Todd Rambek, a mere blacksmith, will never do. After all her family has been ministers and wives of ministers for several generations and as a minister's wife she can be in service. The Christmas program that Beth is putting together can only be done by her, no one else is capable of doing it right. But when the unexpected happens and everything seems ruined can Beth learn a valuable lesson in service and see what is right in front of her? Or will Beth drive away those who care for her with her attitude?

Publisher provided an Advance Reader Copy in Digital Format for review purposes only.

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