Category Archives: Book Reviews

These book reviews are written by me (Debbie, former Media Center Director) and I ask that while you read them you will take into consideration that I’m not a writer. I just love books and I am going to do my best in reviewing books that I have read in the Media Center and other books I’ve read on my Kindle or iPad and plan on buying for the Media Center.
I am hoping to have some guest book reviewers from time to time also. Thank you for visiting this page and I pray that these book reviews will encourage you to come into the Media Center and check out the book. Or if you are not a member of our church and visiting this blog, that you will like what you read and go buy a copy of the book for yourself. Happy Reading!

Lone Witness (Atlanta Justice, Book 2) by Rachel Dylan – 5 Stars

Superb legal thriller full of suspense and plot twists!  Rachel Dylan did an excellent job on this sequel in her Atlanta Justice series.  The story is stand-alone, but some minor characters in this story were main characters in the first book, Deadly Proof, so if you don’t like knowing what happens to characters, then read these in order.  Version 2

Three friends, Rachel, Kate, and Mia are all lawyers in Atlanta, GA.  This novel centers on Rachel and two cases she’s involved with.  Both cases are exciting and Rachel has to do some heavy duty work to dig deep in order to make her case.  Of course, there’s danger, always danger, and her father hires a private security firm to offer protection for his daughter, Rachel.  Cooper Knight had met Rachel before and thought very highly of her, but he has no intentions of getting romantically involved with any woman because of his past.  But he’s an excellent PI and he’s not going to let anyone hurt Rachel on his watch.  Only, when you are dealing with dangerous men, anything can happen.  And happen it does!  

I highly recommend this book (and previous book) if you like legal thrillers full of suspense.  You will get involved in the story from the beginning and it will be hard to put down until it ends.  You will fall in love with some characters and be ready to put others behind bars for the rest of their lives.  You will also be shocked and thrilled! 

Thanks, Rachel Dylan, for another wonderful read!

Ways to connect with Rachel Dylan:

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

Beneath Copper Falls (A Rock Harbor Novel #6) by Colleen Coble

It’s SO GOOD to be back in Rock Harbor!!  I loved the Rock Harbor series with Bree and her rescue dog and all the other great characters and now I’m excited to be back with them, new characters, old characters, and a new and exciting mystery.  This book had me IMG_3653from the Prologue and didn’t let go until the very end.  Colleen Coble hasn’t lost her touch with these characters or with the ability to keep the suspense going full speed.

Dana Newell is a 911 operator living in Washington State and let’s just say she needs to get away from her fiancé in a hurry.  She had spent most of her youth in Rock Harbor and had met up with Bree and her rescue dog, Samson, recently and thought going back would be just the thing she needs.  Trouble is everywhere though, but at least she has friends who care, a new job, and her brother Chris.  But looks are not always as they seem. And Dana finds that out pretty soon when she meets Boone.  

That’s all I’m telling.  No spoilers from me.  If you read the Rock Harbor novels then you need to read this one also. If you haven’t read them, technically you don’t need to, but I would, since the characters in the book have changed since the first book, Without A Trace, and I’d hate for you to already know how some things turned out.  I’m a sucker for a total surprise, so I rarely read the description on the back of the book if I know the author. 

So just get this book and enjoy the ride.  It’s full of suspense and a twisting mystery that will almost make you dizzy trying to solve it.  

Find out more about Colleen Coble and her books here:

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

Grace in Strange Disguise by Christine Dillon

This is the first book I’ve read by Christine Dillon.  She writes a very heavy evangelical story and although this is not what I read all the time, I did enjoy this book.  She did a great job of keeping me interested in the storyline, while at the same time the message of Jesus was flowing so effortlessly.  51duHRML94L

This is about a young woman, Esther, who finds out she has cancer.  Her father is a very well known pastor of a mega church in Australia and he believes that through prayer, faith, and repented sin, Esther will be healed.  And if she isn’t then something is wrong in her life.  He is a very legalistic person and throughout the book you wonder if he even knows the true Christ.  

Esther’s life is completely turned upside down by this diagnosis and events happen that make her start to rethink her faith in Jesus.  Why is God letting this happen?  Why won’t He heal her?  What’s wrong with her that is keeping healing from happening?  Wonderful questions that we ask all the time and Christine Dillon does a wonderful job of weaving the story of Jesus and His love for us throughout this book. It’s a book I won’t forget soon.  I may keep in on my kindle for future reference.  It would be a great book for anyone who is struggling with their faith or health problems or just wanting to know how to go about sharing Jesus with others.  It’s a different kind of novel.  Fiction, yes, but you learn so much, it’s almost like a non-fiction book too. 

One quote from the book, “It’s a package deal.  I can’t pick and choose the bits of the Bible I like.  It’s either all God’s word or it isn’t.  If it isn’t, then I’m wasting my time and deluding others.”  That’s so true.  You can’t just pick out verses and make it work for you and ignore the others.  It’s all God Word and it’s all about God and His love and redemption for us.

Thank you, Christine Dillon, for a very different and powerful novel. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

Fly Away by Lynn Austin

What can I say to describe this relatively small book now that I’m finished.  From the author’s note at the beginning telling about all the heartbreaking events that were going on in her life when she wrote this book to the Epilogue it was a wonderful journey.  It was one of her first books and it is amazing!  When I started the first chapter I thought it was okay and maybe a little slow, but “Hey, this is one of her first books, so I’ll give her a pass because she’s an excellent writer and she had to start somewhere, right?”  Well, don’t let the beginning of this book fool you.  It is powerful, it is amazing, it is life changing, it is one of her best books!51+MEMMc5FL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

Wilhelmina Brewster was forced to retire from her teaching position at Faith College.  That was her whole life.  She’d played the piano from childhood to retirement and she didn’t know how to do anything else.  Literally, she had never had a life apart from the piano.  While other kids were playing and going places and having fun, Wilhelmina was playing the piano.  Now, her life as she has always known it, was over.  She’s mad at God for letting this happen.  Yes, she’s a Christian, yet she never fully knew how to truly live the abundant life that God promised.  

Mike Dolan, a regular man, not educated like Wilhelmina, just down to earth and full of life, gets some bad news.  His cancer is back.  But even with that death sentence staring him in the face, he is still full of life and caring of others, and always wanting to do something fun.  He’s not a Christian.  Yet, his life is overflowing in joy and Wilhelmina’s life is stagnant. So, how can Wilhelmina tell him about Jesus? 

These two meet and the story picks up and you’ll laugh, you’ll find yourself questioning your life, you’ll rejoice, you’ll cry, you’ll never be the same.  One good quote from this book, “We have two choices, you and I; we can lose ourselves in despair or find ourselves in Christ.”

I can’t say anymore other than this book is worth reading.  It’s worth sharing.  It’s an amazing story of how God can take two people and change their lives so dramatically, and you can sit, read and watch the whole process as it unwinds.  Even be able to see how past prayers can still be heard. 

Our Summer Book Club will be discussing this book next week and I can’t wait to talk about it with everyone.

Visit the author:


Filed under Book Reviews

The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

This is the debut novel by an amazing author, Jaime Jo Wright.  The book cover is beautiful in it’s mystery and I just knew I had to give this book a try.  Oh boy, am I glad I did!

This is a very interesting Christian suspense novel that is set in two different times about two different women, Ivy and Kaine.  They each have a mystery to solve and danger lurks at every turn.  Ivy, 1906, is a memory keeper of those that died in her town.  Her father was the town doctor and Ivy felt like it was important to keep their story alive and not forget them.  Even the unknown one, Gabriella.  Ivy’s past catches up with her when Joel comes back to town and the mystery of Gabriella becomes more and more dangerous.  Kaine, current time, is a women who is trying to heal after the death of her husband.  She moves to the town Ivy lived in and bought the house on Foster Hill and her story is filled with sadness, mystery, suspense, and some romance. I won’t tell anymore of the story…you just need to read it!

This novel caught my attention from the very first chapter and it got better and better.  There was really no “boring time” during any of this book.  It is more descriptive than I usually like, but the author does such a wonderful job with everything.  It’s full of mystery and suspense from both timelines and it couldn’t have been told any better!  I loved it.  It will keep you reading and keep you guessing until the end.  I wholeheartedly recommend this book.  I can’t wait to read Jaime Jo Wright’s next novel.34020199

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

Crossed Off (A Holly Novel Book 3) by C.C. Warrens

Just when you think a series can’t get any better…BAM! This book had me from the first sentence and didUnknownn’t let go until the end. Wait! It didn’t even let go then…I want MORE!!!

First let me say that this is Book 3 in a series and they must be read in order. So if you haven’t read, Criss Cross and Cross Fire yet, then buy them and start this amazing, thrilling, rollercoaster ride of suspense, mystery, humor and God’s mercy! This 3rd book continues with Holly, Marx, Jordan, Jace, and of course, Collin. If you read book 2, then you can imagine how this book will start. And start with a bang, yes! Emotions in high gear from the start and it only intensifies from there.

This is the book we’ve been waiting for. The one where Collin is finally finished with toying with Holly. He’s ready to get down to business and he doesn’t care who is hurt in his quest to destroy Holly. Holly is surrounded by many people who love and care for her, Marx, Jordan, Jace, Sam and she’s trying her best to keep them safe from Collin as well. There are so many touching scenes in this book. I probably highlighted at least a third of the book. One minute you will find yourself crying from sadness, then laughing at something quirky Holly does, then on to holding your breath and hanging on for life. This book does get gritty. The author, C.C. Warrens, does it in a very compassionate, tasteful way and although the horrible scenes will have you gasping for breath, she always ends it and gives you plenty of time to breath and compose yourself. Holly, even when she’s on the brink of despair, she can always come back with something to be thankful for or some witty comeback that will ease the tension.

This is Christian fiction, but it’s not “preachy”. It’s real. It’s about life and how dirty it can get. It’s about how even at our worst, God is with us. He never leaves. Holly’s relationship with Jesus is woven throughout the whole series and is not overpowering. So don’t let this being Christian ficition stop you from reading these amazing books. I think you will love them!

C.C. Warrens is an excellent writer and I’m so thankful that I found her books. Because I love a book that will totally capture me and not let go. It’s full of surprises and not your typical mystery that you figure out before you’re halfway through. You will fall in love with the characters and the story, you will be exhausted from the suspense, you will laugh out loud at Holly, you will end each book saying “I can’t wait until the next one!”

You can find more about C.C. Warrens at these links:


Filed under Book Reviews

Cross Fire (A Holly Novel #2) by C.C. Warrens

Oh my! Holly Cross does seem to have trouble follow her every where she goes. This second book in the series picks up where Criss Cross left off. Only now there is more trouble for Holly to get mixed up in. Her detective friend, Marx, is involved with gangs and murders. And of course, Holly gets involved and things turn very, very dangerous. Not only for her, but for her long-time friend, Jordan, who returns to help protect Holly from Collin, her nightmare…the man that only wants to continue to torture Holly. The suspense of the current danger that Holly, Marx and Jordan are in and add to it the deeper suspense of wondering when and where Collin will show himself, is edge-of-your seat tension. If this were a movie, I would cover my eyes and peak through my fingers to see what’s coming next!

Author C.C. Warrens did an excellent job on continuing Holly’s story. She has really developed the characters even more as they continue on in this novel with new dangers. I had a hard time putting this book down, yet at the same time, I would stop reading just because I wanted it to last longer. Holly is still a quirky, witty, thankful woman. But she is still haunted by her past and is still having a hard time letting the people that care for her do just that…care for her! Holly still has boundaries but is slowly trying very hard to overcome the horrors of the past. But some horrors never seem to go away…Collin!

If you read, Criss Cross, then you know you will have to continue reading about Holly to find out how things turned out. And if you haven’t read the first book, Criss Cross, then do! Please do! If you like mystery/suspense, very little romance, quirky characters and funny, witty characters, then this is the book series for you. No bad language, no sex scenes, and that is important for me. This is a Christian book, but there’s not preachy scenes, just a good balance of a wounded life and how Jesus is always there for Holly.

The third book, Crossed Off, is expected to be released in April 2018. And C.C. Warrens is giving Marx his own book to tell his story, which I’m eager to read also.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

Criss Cross (A Holly Novel #1) by C. C. Warrens (5 Stars)


C. C. Warrens is a new Christian Fiction author and if she continues to write novels like her first, Criss Cross, I will continue reading them. The book is full of edge-of-your-seat, hold-your-breath suspense. And you don’t know the whole story until much later in the novel, which I love! That’s true suspense. If you are worried about bad language or sexual scenes, don’t. It’s a very clean novel, yet deals with tough situations and yet the author writes in such a way that you don’t miss the bad language that most secular novelist think they must include to captivate the reader. The main character is a Christian, but the book is not overtly Christian, so I feel anyone could read this and love it.

Holly, the main character, is a photographer that lives completly off the grid. She has many quirks and a past that will not let go of her. Her quick, witty banter with her best friend, Jace, and later with Detective Marx is totally wonderful. A very tense situation can turn funny with the wit of Holly.

Holly’s past has caught up with her and she needs help, yet due to her past, she is reluctant to accept it. She isolates herself and likes, no demands, her personal space. And getting her to trust is very hard, but totally worth it.

You will find yourself holding your breath because you are so scared for her and you will be sitting on the edge of your favorite reading chair wondering what’s going to happen and how will it turn out. But you will also smile and a few times laugh and the funny things that happen during tense moments of suspense.

And the ending? Oh my goodness!!! I can’t wait until Book 2, Cross Fire, comes out in November 2017. And I believe there will be a Book 3 also. Yeah!!!! Love this new author and her novel. Looking forward to reading many more books to come.

You can find C. C. Warrens on FaceBook and Goodreads and find out more about her book and upcoming books. She also has a blog, so visit her at

One of my favorite quotes from the book.  Holly has just asked Detective Marx if he believes in God…

“I’ve seen a lot of bad things with my job.  And I’ve asked God why, if He exists, He allows them to happen. I never get an answer.”

“Do you ask Him why He allows the good things to happen?”

A thoughtful line formed between his eyebrows.  “Can’t say that I have.”

“If you’re gonna hold God accountable for the bad things, you should hold Him accountable for the good things too.  There’s a lot more good than bad, but if all you do is pile the bad at His feet, you’ll never be able to see past it to the good things.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

Silenced (Alaskan Courage #4) by Dani Pettrey – 5 Stars!

Another Thrilling Ride Through Alaska (5 Stars)


Silenced (Alaskan Courage #4) by Dani Pettrey
Bethany House Publishers (2014)

Here we are back with the McKenna family and another breathtaking mixture of suspense and romance. It was great to be back with the McKenna siblings and see how Dani Pettrey worked through the tough-hearted Kayden McKenna to finally soften her up and lead her through a very exciting mystery and then open her heart to love.

This is a series you really need to read in order. Each book has one of the McKenna siblings as the center focus, but with one…you get all. And you really do want to know the back story of all the other family, because they cross over to the next books. So if you haven’t read, Submerged #1, Shattered #2, Stranded #3, then I willl strongly suggest you get started. Each novel is excellent and you’ll be drawn into mystery and romance from the start and it will be hard to put down until you are finished.

In Silenced #4, we begin to get the full story of Kayden McKenna. She’s the tough sister, quiet, strong and not interested in romance. She is an excellent rock climber and the book starts with her on a climb and finding something very disturbing. She gets involved with the mystery, along with Jake Westin. He’s an ex-lawman and was in earlier books with a past that was full of secrets. Now, Kayden and Jake are thrown together to solve this mystery, but it turns out to be a deadly adventure and lives are at stake.

The mystery will keep you going until the end, full of excitement and wondering how it will finally end. But there’s the romance that had began to secretly develop in the previous book and now, as much as Kayden doesn’t want to get close to anyone, this time she has no other choice but to trust Jake with her life and her heart.

I’m waiting to see if there is a Book 5 to finish telling the stories of the last McKenna sibling. Dani Pettrey is an excellent author who knows how to mix excitement, suspense, and romance all together just perfectly!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Baker Publishing Group & Bethany House for my honest opinion and did not receive any compensation for a favorable review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Let’s meet Dani:


Short Bio:
Dani Pettrey is a wife, home-schooling mom, and the acclaimed author of the romantic suspense series Alaskan Courage, which includes her bestselling novels Submerged, Shattered, Stranded, and her latest release, Silenced. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves–the thrill of adventure, nail biting suspense, the deepening of her characters’ faith, and plenty of romance. She and her husband reside in Maryland, where they enjoy time with their daughters, son-in-law, and super adorable grandson.

I invite you to check out her website and browse around and take a look at some of her YouTube videos under the “Press” section.


Filed under Book Reviews

A Christmas Gift for Rose by Tricia Goyer – 5 Stars

Deeply Moving Amish Novella (5 Stars)

cover35047-mediumA Christmas Gift for Rose by Tricia Goyer (Zondervan – 2013)

This is a sweet, deeply emotional story about a young Amish woman named Rose, who finds out something about her past that devastates her to her very core.  And on top of that she is angry at Jonathan Fisher, the man she planned on marrying.  He is Amish, yet he joined the Army, not to fight, but to go as a Medic to help those who were wounded.  The Amish community doesn’t know exactly what to do now that he’s back and Rose doesn’t know how this is going to affect her.  But when she learns the truth about herself, she is really confused.

There are two other english men, one who is really suffering from what we know today as PTSD, and Jonathan and the other ex-soldier, Curtis, visits him with hopes of helping him deal with the devastation of all he saw in the war.  All the while, Rose is trying to deal with her own problems and trying to figure out if there is a future for her and Jonathan after all.

This novella is wonderful.  I loved every minute and had a hard time putting it down. I think anyone who reads this sweet story will be touched.

I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley for my honest opinion and did not receive any compensation for a favorable review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 Please take the time to click on Tricia’s name and Zondervan’s name under the picture of the book and check out their websites.


Filed under Book Reviews

Captain Jack’s Treasure by Max Elliot Anderson (5 Stars)

Ahoy, Come Aboard for a Great Adventure! (5 Stars)

We will be giving away a copy of this book, Dec. 1-6, 2013.  So stop by and read the interview with the author and make a comment to that post to enter.

We will be giving away a copy of this book, Dec. 1-6, 2013. So stop by and read the interview with the author and make a comment to that post to enter.

Captain Jack’s Treasure (A Sam Cooper Adventure #2) by Max Elliot Anderson

Three boys, best friends, Summertime, the ocean, treasure hunting, and Captain Jack!  Ahoy, matey’s!  You are in for a treat reading this second adventure with Sam Cooper and his friends Tony and Tyler.

They live in Harper’s Inlet, FL and Tony’s dad own’s a marina.  They are out of school for the summer and Sam’s dad surprises him with a metal detector.  Now Sam is obsessed with finding buried treasure.  So he gets his friends involved and they set looking for adventure.  After a long time digging, all they came up with was an empty metal drum.  But then at the marina they meet up with an old “crusty” sailor, named Captain Jack.  He’s just bought and old dilapidated boat and ask the boys if they want to work for him this summer in fixing the boat up.  Of course they jump on that offer and off they go on a grand adventure on finding out Captain Jack’s secret and Sam’s getting more and more obsessed with finding treasure. Captain Jack always offers the boys a wonderful “tale” after each work day and the boys just eat it up, just like the pizza Captain Jack gives them.

Sam’s dad explains to him that earthly treasure are only temporary and true treasure is things that last.  Sam finds out the hard way what his dad was trying to teach him.

The morals in this story are wonderful and the excitement is good enough for any young boy, maybe 4th grade through middle school even.  Even I, an old grandma, enjoyed the story.

You don’t have to read the stories in sequence but I would recommend it.  This story refers to the boys harrowing adventure in the first book that I’m going to have to read now!  And I’m sure Book 3 will be just as good.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from in return for my honest opinion and did not receive any compensation for a favorable review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Remember, to come back on December 1-6, 2013 and read our interview with Max Elliot Anderson and comment on THAT post to be entered to win a copy of this book.  It would make a great Christmas present for some blessed young boy in your life.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

GREAT NEWS- This Deal/Giveaway Has Been Extended Through Cyber Monday! Black Friday Blog Blitz – Fire Storm by Mackenzie Dare



First-time author, Mackenzie Dare has written a thrilling mystery novel.  I have read it, although I haven’t had a chance to write my review yet. I will try and get it posted next week.  The novel will keep you guessing and will present the gospel message in a wonderful way.  I thought Mackenzie did a wonderful job on her first novel.  The mystery kept me going and there were lots of twists and turns and it was action packed.  So, when Mackenzie asked if I would post this on our blog, I said “sure”!  It’s a good deal and you can enter to win a free copy at the link she shares below.  DO NOT ENTER ON MY BLOG, I’M NOT RUNNING THE GIVEAWAY, SHE IS, SO FOLLOW HER DIRECTIONS.  Thanks!  Enjoy the interview and reading the first chapter listed below.


“But we have no enemies!”… Why would a young mother, happily married and safely nestled amongst the cornfields of small town Illinois suddenly start finding murder attempts around every corner? 
A fireman, Jim thrives on danger, that is until it creeps closer than he ever expected – not to him, but to the one he loves more than life itself – his wife. Who and why? How can the “protector” keep his most cherished possession from this unseen killer?

Totally innocent – untouched by evil, Jess cannot explain or understand the incidents threatening her very existence. Holding on to her husband and clinging to her knowledge of a powerful God, she can only strive to keep trust in her soul and a smile in her heart, as the icy fingers of death lurk, coiled behind every corner. Safe in innocence, secure in love – marked for murder! God bless our home – if it doesn’t blow up!




Hi! Thanks for stoppin’ by to participate in our “Black Friday Blog Blitz!”

Other Blogs That Are Participating  In This Black Friday Blog Blitz:


Today only, get your copy of “FIRE STORM” for 60% off the retail price by following the “special sale link” below!


Enter for a chance to win a free e-book of Fire Storm by copy and pasting one of the messages below and emailing it to: fiction4christians(at)gmail(dot)com

Hi, I stopped by (blog name), and would like to enter for a chance to win a free e-book of FIRE STORM. 

Please also sign me up to receive your monthly newsletter.


Hi, I stopped by (blog name), and would like to enter for a chance to win a free e-book of FIRE STORM. 

I would rather not receive your monthly newsletter at this time.

Your name will then be assigned a number, which will then be put in a hat to be drawn out by an unbiased third party.

Enter to win a $25 – $50 prepaid Visa card by following the link below sharing our Facebook page.

A $25 gift card will be awarded if our page receives under 500 shares.

A $50 card will be the prize if our page receives over 500 shares.

You may share this page as many times as you wish as long as each share is one hour apart. Your name will be entered again for each share.

Each entry will be assigned a number, which will be put in a hat to be drawn out by an unbiased third party

Below read this review along with an interview of the author and the first chapter of Fire Storm.

Review By Caitlyn Santi

May 23, 2013

5 of 5 stars

Oh. My! I absolutely, completely, totally loved this book! I
don’t know if I can put into words how much I loved it, but I will try!
As a Christian, small town, horse crazy, farm girl, I was thrilled to
find a Christian suspense book that was set in a small town where the
main characters live on a horse farm, needless to say I found myself
completely relating to so many aspects of this book! The romance, true
love, and devotion between the married couples was so sweet, their were
times that it made my heart swell and my stomach flutter! I loved Jim
and Jessica, Wade and Mellissa, and through the skillful writing of the
author I grew to love Derrick as well! And of course Morgan was just oh
so adorable. Fire Storm grabbed me on page one and didn’t release me
until I reached the end! I usually am able to guess who the killer is,
but with this one I had no clue who it was, so it was a big surprise
for me when the killer’s identity was revealed! And the suspense, oh my
goodness it was SO amazing, just when I thought it couldn’t get any
crazier (In a good way!) it did!!!

There is one thing I would like to point out and that is that Fire
Storm is told from a number of different characters view points, while
this did not bother me and I personally feel that it helped to tell the
story perfectly, I know that there are people who don’t like this way
of telling a story, but I would highly recommend that they read it
anyway because it is so worth reading!!!

Fire Storm has touched my life and my heart and I feel truly blessed to
have had the opportunity to read it! It is now on my list of all time
favorite books and I know I will reread it many times in the future!
And I highly anticipate this author’s next book!
In closing, Fire Storm is an amazing read, which I highly recommend to
anyone and everyone!!!
It is one of those rare finds that as soon as you finish it, you desire
nothing more than to start it again, it’s that good!!! 🙂

I received this book from the author, in exchange for my honest review.
The above is my honest opinion.
All thoughts and opinions are one hundred percent my own.


Author Interview

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? 

I don’t remember a conscious decision. I think that’s just the way the Lord made me. I’ve always loved writing and making stories up in my head for as long as I can remember.  Every once in a while, I’ll find a page of an ancient second or third grade short story and chuckle as I read it and try to decipher the context.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing? 

Right now, I’m self-employed, so I can just flip flop my schedule around to what works best.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

Like I have any writing quirks…. 😉  Probably my most interesting one is the fact that my characters refuse to ever conform to my outline. Sure, I start out with a neat and detailed plan, but by mid-story, sometimes before, my characters are all running every which-a-way in their own directions. Sometimes the “good guys” turn into bad guys. Sometimes scenes from the end move up to the middle. Sometimes the wrong people fall in love, and even other times a deep, dark secret that I didn’t even know about will just pop up from somebody’s past. Surprises… that’s what makes writing so fun!

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love life! One of my favorite things to do is to run outside, especially on a dew-glistening, bird-singing, apple-blossomed, spring morning… just to run toward a painted sunrise and feel absorbed in the beauty of God’s creation! I love riding my horse down the gravel road or through the cornfields. I love chilly fall days… a cool breeze floating in a slightly open window and feeling the warm apple-scented  steam as you slide a crusty, golden, apple pie out of the oven just as a drip of cinnamon syrup bubbles out and sizzles. I like a crisp, breezy walk through a pumpkin patch or a swim in a Wisconsin lake. I like camping in the North Woods or browsing souvenir shops. I’ve enjoyed climbing cliffs in the Blue Ridge and drivin’ by buffalo in Yellowstone. I love findin’ deals at garage sales and hangin’ out with my family… cookout style or pizza and popcorn movie nights. My favorite time is Christmas… It’s A Wonderful Life in the DVD player, a fire crackling in the corner, the pop of popcorn, and the sweet aroma of hot chocolate as we hang ornaments and wrap lights around our Christmas tree and nativity scene. I love seeing the Lord work in my life and teach me new things. I love Him because He first loved me. He’s shown me this sooo many times in my life! One of my favorite verses is “Thy gentleness hath made me great.” He’s the giver of life, the one who makes daffodils smile and the thunderclouds clap. I love life, love, loyalty, and laughter.

What does your family think of your writing? 

They are all very supportive and encouraging! I loved giving them my new book and hearing what they thought of it. I really appreciated their suggestions before I was satisfied with my final copy.

Do you have any suggestions to help readers interested in writing become better?  If so, what are they?

Always pray about your writing. You couldn’t get a better teacher.

Just keep writing. Progress can be amazing if you just keep practicing until you get the hang of it.

Make it fun, and keep it fun. If you get bored with it or lose track of where you’re going, you’ll likely stop.

Start with an outline for structure, but then add some surprises to keep yourself guessing.

Do you hear from your readers much?

Sometimes. I always enjoy hearing from them.

What do you think makes a good story? 

Action, a good plot, likeable and admirable characters, emotion, human interaction, purity of relationships, cleanness in language, mystery… but most of all, it needs to honor God. I loved writing this book, but it would always feel empty and useless to me if there wasn’t a higher purpose in writing it than making money. If you pray about it and are truly writing for Him, I believe He will cause everything else to fall into place

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

Be a teacher…or a vet…a nurse… or a fireman… a restaurant owner… or a mom with 12 kids….

For viewers who have not read, but are interested in your book, can you describe it please? 

Fire Storm is about a couple of young families living excessively normal lives in a small-town, farming community in Northern Illinois. Wade is a paramedic. His wife, Mellissa, works in a lawyer’s office, and they are expecting a baby very soon. Their best friends, Jim and Jessica, live on a small horse farm out in the country. Jim is a fireman. Jess is a stay-at-home mom with her recently born little girl. Life is fun and carefree till… Jess starts running into threats at every turn. Are they even threats or just accidents? The thought of a killer being after Jess just seems so ridiculous… though not so much… when she comes eye to eye with murder! Who and Why? What about Wade ‘n Mellissa? Will they remain safe in their young existence as they embark in the beginnings of life’s journey, or will the epidemic of murder spread? How far does it reach? What are the secrets?

 How and when did you become a Christian? 

When I was five, I prayed with my mom after hearing a Christian radio testimony, then I prayed the same prayer quite a few times after that whenever doubts arose after a salvation message. I got complete assurance of my salvation when I was eight and started growing in the Lord. I know I was saved before that. That is just when the Lord removed all doubt. So, I can’t honestly point to an exact date, but I’m 100% sure that I’m in God’s family, that He watches over me, protecting me many times, that He loves me, blessing me with countless surprises that are much more then luck, that He teaches me, not only spiritual but also physical things, and that He’s always there whenever I need Him.

How does God affect your writing? 

He gave me the talent to write. He gave me an imagination and a love for stories. He put me in a strongly Christian home where I received wisdom about spiritual things and knowledge of true love, sacrifice, and care. He saved me and gave me a reason to write. Fire Storm was written for Him and dedicated to Him, and by His grace, I pray that every book I write will always point heavenward and never downward toward worldly lusts.

Who is your favorite character in your book?

That’s hard to say. I like all my characters. They are all different and unique.  I like variety. The world needs rich and poor, plain and fancy, strong and weak, dream-chasers and content daily laborers, business women and stay-at-home moms, flippant and flighty and rigid work-a-holics. If there was one “right” type of person or one perfect race, the world would be sooo dull. Everyone fiction or real has their very own story.

What was the hardest part to write in the book? 

The Salvation message. It carries the greatest responsibility.


Chapter 1

Bright autumn leaves whirled around an even brighter red F-150 spurting down the gravel road. At the wheel, Jim Richards, enjoying the cool breeze ruffling his hair and the warm sun tanning the side of his face, had his arm through the open window. In his opinion, northern Illinois was at its peak in the fall. He glanced around at the walls of corn drying on either side of the road, brown with just a hint of green. They’ll harvest ‘em pretty soon.

Jim returned a wave from the driver of an oncoming car. He didn’t know who it was. People were just friendly like that in this small-town, farming community. He and his wife, Jessica, farmed a few acres of hay and bred a small herd on a little horse farm between the village of Oak Creek and the larger town of Spring Valley.

For an average-size guy, Jim’s frame sported a lot of solid muscle. He liked to work and enjoyed a healthy lifestyle. His blond hair was dark, almost brown, cut short and combed to the side. His eyes were a soft, sky-blue and held a mixture of humor, determination, kindness, compassion, or anger – whatever the situation called for.

Giant, white cotton ball clouds made the sky seem bluer than normal. Jim glanced down at the clock. Better hurry. You’re gonna be late for work. Pushing down on the accelerator, he knew he was going a little faster than he should on these curvy, gravel roads, but he told himself he had grown up around here and knew the area like the back of his hand.

He slowed to the speed limit as he turned onto the main drag going into Spring Valley.

Jim flipped off the radio. It never took him very long to get annoyed with it. It was always on the Chicago “all-news” station, and he really couldn’t care less how the traffic was moving on the Eisenhower or the Kennedy. If there was anything else on that station, he never knew, since he always turned if off before he heard it.

Huh, car in my spot, he thought to himself, as he pulled into the parking lot of the Spring Valley Fire Station.

Jim walked into the locker room. “Hey, Thundercloud, exactly what are you doing in my parking place?” Jim asked his best friend, jokingly.

Your parking place? Your deed of ownership, please?” Wade Thundercloud held out his hand.

“Squatter’s rights, my brother. Everyone knows that is my parking place.” Jim took his uniform shirt out of his locker.

“Uh oh, looks like another storm’s a brewin’ between Jim and Big Chief Thundercloud,” Carlos laughed.

“Did I miss something?” a fireman Jim didn’t know asked.

“It’s relentless persecution for my name,” Wade grumbled, buckling his belt.

“His name’s Wade Thundercloud. In case you haven’t noticed, the boy’s a full blooded redskin,” Carlos, a brawny, Hispanic fireman, explained as he buttoned his shirt.

Wade rolled his eyes. “Isn’t that a racist statement?”

Carlos laughed, “Awww…we hurt the little guy’s feelings.”

Wade threw his shirt at Carlos. “Oh, it’s on.”

“Yeah, maybe we should change the subject,” Jim suggested.

“Hey, I was kinda enjoying it. The guys at my last station were, like, way too serious,” the new guy protested.

“Yeah, talkin’ ‘bout that, who are you anyway? Derrick get kicked out or something?” Jim put his foot on the paint-chipped bench to tie his shoelace.

“Name’s Travis. Derrick’s sick or something, so I got called over as his replacement.”

Jim nodded and began to tie his other shoe.

“Yeah, well, it’ll be nice to be partnered with a guy that has a little more experience.” Wade straightened his collar. “Derrick’s been out of the academy for almost two years, but he’s only twenty-one.” He buttoned his cuffs. “He graduated from high school a year early when he was sixteen, took one year of paramedic training, quit for a year, then took the last year when he was nineteen.”

“Why’d he quit for a year?”

“Who knows with that kid.”

Jim gave Wade a sideways glance of disapproval.

“By the way, Jim.” Carlos tucked in his shirt. “Cap’s gone at more divorce proceedings so we got Captain Johnson.”

Jim grunted an acknowledgment and then closed his locker door. He was glad to be back to work and was ready for action

Today was hay-stacking day. Jessica Richards really didn’t mind. She loved being out in the barn with the smell of hay. Besides, throwing hay bales all day was one way of keeping in shape, and what girl didn’t want that? Of course, if her husband had been home, she would have conned him into doing it or at least into helping.

She grabbed a bail in each hand and climbed the ladder to the loft. People had commented that she was stronger than she looked. She was only five-foot-three and one-hundred pounds. Her chestnut hair fell thick and shiny to the middle of her back, and her deep brown eyes danced with joy and excitement more often than not. At twenty-three, she was a year younger than her husband and the proud mother of their beautiful baby girl.

After two hours of strenuous hay-stacking, Jess was beginning to wonder if the horses were worth all this trouble. She plopped down on a bale of hay in the loft and sighed. Halfway done.

She just sat there a moment, leaning against the stack of hay bales. She seriously contemplated just backing the hay wagon into the lower half of the hay shed and calling it quits for the day. Why not just leave the wagon there permanently and save all this trouble? After all, they never used this barn for anything other than hay, anyway. She smiled to herself as she imagined Jim’s reaction to that idea. That item of business would never make its way to a serious discussion bu-ut… She chuckled at some humorous mental images of his likely aghast response and filed the topic away in her memory as a good conversation starter to lighten the mood some likely evening. Smile weakening, she huffed a sigh. Un-for-tun-ately… that topic would have to keep for a while since he would not be coming home tonight.

She stretched. Maybe I should go inside, get a glass of cool lemonade, and see how Morgan’s doin’. Mrs. Robinson, an older lady from church, had offered to watch Morgan so she could get some chores done. She wiped her face with her sleeve. It felt good to sweat again. She hadn’t done much really hard labor since before she had Morgan.

As she got up to go down, the smell of smoke drifted up to her. She looked down the ladder. A thick cloud of dark gray smoke filled the barn. Breathing into her sleeve, Jess practically jumped down the ladder, frantic to get out. She raced for the door, but bright, daunting, orange flames already billowed across that escape route. Smoke burned her eyes. She darted for the back, but it was no good. Fire devoured the entire frame. Every wall blazed. Her lungs burned from the smoke.

She turned a full circle but saw fire in every direction. I have to get out, now! Lord, please, please give me a way out! The loft! Spinning around, she raced for the ladder. The heat grew more intense. Flames crept around the ladder, but she knew she had to go for it. As she raced to the top, the heat nearly overwhelmed her. Her lungs screamed for air. Relief flooded her when she saw that the loft door wasn’t engulfed. Thank you, Lord. 

Kicking the wooden doors open, she jumped, bracing herself for the impact. Pain and gladness swept over her as she hit the ground. Gasping for air, she was so glad to be alive. Thank you, Lord. Thank you.

Jim sniffed the air as he walked into the kitchen. “What’s that smell?”

“Wade’s cooking lunch today. We’ll probably all end up in the ER with food poisoning,” Dan, their oldest firefighter at forty-three, replied.

“Hey, don’t criticize my stew.”


“Yeah, I found a prize-winning stew recipe and a prize-winning soup recipe. I’m just gonna mix everything together, and you won’t believe what I come up with.”

“I’m sure of that.”

“Just wait. You’ll love it.” Wade stirred the concoction.

Jim looked skeptical. “Did you burn something?”

“Well, the rice got a little done.”

BURRRUZZZ… The deafening fire bell sounded. Wade switched off the stove and hurried after the crowd out to the trucks. The address came over the loud speaker. Jim froze as he grabbed his helmet. “That’s my house!” Carlos shoved Jim into the engine, flipped on the sirens, and followed the squad out onto the road.

Jim’s heart raced, and his adrenaline pumped in overdrive. What happened? How did it start? Are Jess and Morgan okay? Did they get out? Jim clutched the handle near the door until his knuckles turned white. Faster! Faster!

He could see the smoke billowing as they turned onto the gravel road.

Fear invaded him as he saw flames plume above the hay barn. NO! Jess was going to be in there stacking hay today! His heart pounded.

The engine swung into the driveway. The barn looked like a lost cause. Jim’s eyes wildly scanned the area, looking for Jess. She stood in the grass with the elderly babysitter a little ways from the barn, holding their baby. Relief swept over him. They’re okay.

As the engine came to a stop in the front of the barn, they all piled out. Jim raced to his wife. As soon as he reached her, Jess handed the baby to Mrs. Robinson and fell into his arms. He could smell the strong odor of smoke on her. She hid her face in his shoulder. Now that she was in her husband’s strong arms, she let tears flow and allowed herself some quiet sobs.

Jim could feel her shaking. He held her tight, resting his cheekbone on her head. “Are you all right? I almost went crazy when I heard the address and saw….” His voice trailed off.

“I’m fine. Twisted my ankle. Just gla… I’m just glad to be alive.” Her voice shook.

“What happened?” He didn’t want to let go.

Wade put his hand on Jim’s shoulder. “They need your help, man. We’ll take care of her.” Reluctantly, Jim surrendered her to the paramedics and, after a final kiss, left to help with the fire.

The barn was so far gone that they decided just to contain it. Jim thanked the Lord that there was no wind and that the fire had not spread to the main barn or the house.

After the fire was out, Jim took off his helmet and began looking around for his wife. Seeing her seated on the ground leaning against the squad, he took his equipment back to the truck and joined her.

“So how ya doin’?”

“I have been diagnosed with a twisted ankle and mild smoke inhalation.” She coughed into her arm. “For a minute I thought I was a goner, but the Lord showed me a way out.”

“I’m just so glad you weren’t hurt any worse.” He put his arm around her and pulled her into a hug.

She leaned her head against his shoulder, feeling so much safer with him there. “Do they know how it started?”

Jim broke away from her gaze, glancing back at what had been their barn. “They think it was arson.”

“Arson?” Jess sat up straight and stared at him.

“Yeah…they say that someone soaked the walls with accelerant, then came back later and lit it.”

“Why would anyone do that?” She paused. “You mean they came back and lit it while I was in there? They were trying to…?” Her voice quivered.

“That’s not why. Most likely, they got scared off the first time and then came back. It’s probably just teens doing it for kicks. You were up in the loft. They must not have seen you.”

She glanced down at her hands. “I hope you’re right. I just can’t imagine anyone doing something like that for fun. It doesn’t make sense.”

“Some people don’t make sense.”

Wade came over and knelt down in front of Jess. “Are you sure that you don’t want to go to the hospital?”

“Yeah. Mrs. Robinson will drive me to my own doctor after I’ve had a chance to calm down.”

“Do you want me to try and get off work to go with you?” Jim asked.

“No. I’ll be fine. Just so whoever this was doesn’t come back.”

“It was probably just some jerk….”

“I know.… That’s what Jim said.”

“Of course, on the other hand…” Jim lowered his voice and shifted his eyes back and forth. “…it could be the ghost of some long lost second or third cousin seeking vengeance.”

Jess rolled her eyes. “Right.”

“Vengeance for what?” Wade grinned.

“Only the shadow knows.”

“Uh-huh.” Jess held out her hand to Jim who stood in front of her. He pulled her up.

“I better go find Mrs. Robinson and the baby. I’m pretty sure they went inside.” She reached to put her arms around her husband’s neck. Jim bent down. Usually, she stood on her toes, but that wasn’t going to work with a twisted ankle. Jim really wasn’t that tall. She was just that short.

“I’ll see ya tomorrow.” She finished the hug.

“Yeah, okay.” He kissed her and let her go. “Do you need help getting to the house?”

“No, I’ll be fine.” She smiled and began hobbling toward the house. As she went, she heard the alarm sound on the engine’s radio. Turning, she watched everyone pile in and the trucks speed out of the drive.

Not seeing Jim for twenty-four hours at a time was what she disliked most about his job, but it was what he really wanted to do, so she put up with it. She limped up the porch and into the house.

Mrs. Robinson sat in a recliner, rocking the baby. “Did Jim leave already?”

“Yeah. They had another call.” Jess coughed into her elbow. She still felt a little shaky, but she was calming down. “Oh, give me my little girl,” she said softly, bending down to gather her little one into her arms.

“Here you go.” Mrs. Robinson smiled as she handed her to her Mama.

“And how’s my little Morgan?” Jess swung the baby over her head, causing the little girl to wiggle and giggle. Sitting down, Jess put Morgan down in her lap as another coughing fit struck.

Mrs. Robinson headed for the phone in the kitchen. “Do you want me to make an appointment with your doctor?”

“I suppose. … Maybe she won’t have any openings today.”

“Jess-i-ca.” Mrs. Robinson put her hands on her hips reprovingly.

“Well… Can I help it if I’m not crazy about doctors?”

“Jim must be rubbing off on you. I’ll call.”

Jess just stared a moment into the bright, lively blue eyes of her beautiful girl, just so thankful that she could.


Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

Strait of Hormuz (A Marc Royce Adventure #3) by Davis Bunn

Excitingly Paced Thriller (5 Stars)


Strait of Hormuz (A Marc Royce Adventure #3) by Davis Bunn (Bethany House)

Marc Royce once again finds himself in the middle of a life and death situation, the only problem this time is that he has been fired from the US agency he was working from and he has not authority nor backup.  Yet, not all is lost.  His friend and supervisor from the U.S. State Department called him and wanted him to help.

So once again Marc is going from the Mideast to Asia and all over Europe to find the bad guys who are involved in nuclear warfare and bring them to justice.  His friend Carter Dawes shows up for back up once again and helps him.  And he is surprised by seeing Kitra Korban, from Bunn’s second book, Rare Earth, show up.

Let’s just say this whole book is a whirlwind of espionage, government agencies, and high tech weapons, desperate situations and romance.  It was a great book!  I enjoyed every minute and I’m sure you will too.  But I strongly recommend reading the series in order.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House for my honest opinion and did not receive any compensation for a favorable review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

This book will be donated to our Media Center for our patrons to come and check out.  We have all three books in the series now!

Very interesting information to read, so be sure to click on each of these links:

Book announcement

Questions and Answers with Davis Bunn

Download an excerpt


Filed under Book Reviews

When Mountains Move (Sequel to, Into the Free) by Julie Cantrell (5 Stars)

This Story Draws You Right Inside the Pages  (5 Stars)


When Mountains Move (Sequel to Into The Free) by Julie Cantrell (David C Cook)

This is the sequel to, Into the Free, so you have to read that book first or in my opinion you will not understand the depths of this book.

It’s now May 7, 1943 and church bells are ringing for Millie and Bump (Kenneth).  After all that happened to her in the first book, Bump was her lifeline!  He brought her back to living and loving.  Yet, she is still holding back.  She’s keeping secrets.  But one thing she knows is Bump loves her and she loves Bump.

Their rodeo boss wants them to go out west to run an old cattle/horse ranch he bought and that where they take off to.  Only when they get there they see that it’s going to be much more work than they could possibly imagine.  But with Bumps encouragement, Millie was all in. It seems like they take turns, when one is down, the other is up, and visa versa.  They are the perfect couple.  That is until a certain woman, Kat, enters the picture.  Will she drive a wedge between them?  Will Bump discover Millie’s secret before she can ever get the nerve to tell him?  And what ever happened to River?  You’ll know who this is from Into the Free.

This book was hard to put down.  It pulled me inside the pages and I felt like I was right there with them.  Even though I love lots of dialogue, and this book had less than I usually like, it still captivated me.  I loved this book.  You’ll love this book.  But, you have to read, Into the Free, first.

I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley for my honest opinion and did not receive any compensation for a favorable review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Let’s Meet Julie:


Julie Cantrell is the New York Times andUSA Today bestselling author of Into the Free, which won Christy Awards for Best Debut Novel and for Book of the Year 2013. Cantrell has served as editor-in-chief of the Southern Literary Review and is a recipient of the Mississippi Arts Commission Literary Fellowship. She and her family live in Mississippi, where they operate Valley House Farm. Her new novel, When Mountains Move, hits shelves September 1, 2013.

Julie is represented by Greg Johnson of WordServe Literary. Learn more about the realm of publishing by following the WordServe Watercooler, where Julie joins more than 70 authors to discuss the writing life. You can also find Julie blogging weekly with the Southern Belles, a group of southern female authors who gather on the cyberporch each day to chat about family, faith, fiction, food, and fun:


Filed under Book Reviews

Critical Reaction by Todd M. Johnson (3.5 Stars)

Modern Day Nuclear Disaster Thriller  (3.5 Stars)


Critical Reaction by Todd M. Johnson (Bethany House – Publication Date November 19, 2013)

Real time…the book starts on October 16, 2013…A nuclear site, called Hansford Nuclear Reservation…and explosions, strange colored clouds…and cover-ups!  This is the start of the book.  Kieran Mullaney, 25 years old, is right in the middle of this whole explosion and cover-up.  He’s sick, but no one at Hansford believes him.  They “tested” all his clothes, his blood work, etc.  All is well.  But why is he still sick?  And there is also a missing guard, and another sick worker.  Kieran files a lawsuit, but is quickly realizing that he’s up against a much bigger opponent than he realized.  He calls an old friend to take over as his lawyer.  She gets involved and soon believes him and calls her estranged father to help her with this trial.  Things get tense and more people are drawn into the story and that’s all you’ll get from me.  I don’t want to give away any spoilers.

There’s a lot going on in this book, many characters, and not as much dialogue as I like, but finally halfway in the book things started coming together and I got caught up in the intrigue.  It’s scary, because it sounds like something that could happen, maybe has happened and it was covered up, who knows!!!  If you enjoy a conspiracy mystery, you’ll enjoy this book.  If it doesn’t grab you at first, stick with it. Just because it didn’t grab me at the start, doesn’t mean it won’t grab you!  This was the authors second book and his first book, The Deposit Slip, is good from start to finish!  So, I’ll keep reading books by Todd M. Johnson.

I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley for my honest opinion and did not receive any compensation for a favorable review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Let’s meet the author:

Todd M. Johnson

Todd M. Johnson

Todd M. Johnson has practiced as an attorney for over 30 years, specializing as a trial lawyer. Todd’s career experience blends with his passion for writing in his novels published through Bethany House.
A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Minnesota Law School, he also taught for two years as an adjunct professor of International Law, and served as a US diplomat in Hong Kong.

The Deposit Slip, Mr. Johnson’s first novel, debuted in 2012.  Todd’s second novel, Critical Reaction, will be released in November 2013.

Todd lives outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife Cathy and children Ian and Libby.

Click on these links to connect with Todd and learn more about him and his books:

Todd M. Johnson website

Todd’s Twitter

Todd’s FaceBook

Out Media Center has Todd’s book, The Deposit Slip, so come in and check it out!

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

Christmas at Harmony Hill by Ann Gabhart (4 Stars)


This is the story of Heather Worth who married a man her father did not approve of because he was a Yankee and was fighting on the wrong side, according to her father.  Heather went with her husband, Gideon, traveling with him as the company’s laundress.  She was not happy with the war, but she was happy that she was with Gideon.  But this was no place for a woman to have a baby, so Gideon talked Heather into going home.  She traveled for days and finally, finally she saw home.  So excited to see her family, only the closer she got, she realized that things had changed and she was not welcome.  One of her brothers and her sister helped her as she was forced to stay in the barn, and  they gave her a letter that her mom had written to her.  Her mom told her to go see her Aunt Sophrena who lived at a Shaker village and that Sophrena would help her.

With this being Heather’s only choice, she headed out again into the unknown.  When she arrived, she immediately discovered that the Shakers were very different from her and she didn’t understand them at all.  But it was their policy to help people, so they let her in and since she was pregnant, they let her have a small cabin and let her Aunt stay with her.  I can’t tell you anymore about the book, because I love surprises and I don’t want to know what’s going to happen when reading a book.  Just know that you will really enjoy this book.

This book is filled with different beliefs and how God works in people’s lives to save them, whether they are on the battlefield, a father who hates his daughter, or a Shaker who is having doubts.  And though this is not a typical Christmas story, Ann weaves Christ’s birth into the story beautifully.

Special note:  Come back on between November 1-7, 2013 and read a WONDERFUL Christmas interview with Ann Gabhart.  She’s sharing Christmas memories, photos, and recipes!  And Ann is giving away an autographed copy of this book.  You can’t enter to win on this post, so come back during Nov. 1-7 and make a comment at the end of the interview to be entered to win this really wonderful novel.  Hope to see you in a couple of days!!!

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

Traces of Mercy (Mercy Medallion Trilogy, Book 1) by Michael Landon, Jr. and Cindy Kelley (4 Stars)


In this suspenseful historical novel, it’s April 1865 during the Civil War and we have a Confederate sniper, a Union officer, a wounded woman who has amnesia who ends up living in a convent, Little Sisters of Hope, with Mother Helena trying to help her find out who she is.  Since she has no memory of what her name is, she comes up with Mercy.

Mercy is obviously upset about her memory loss and Mother Helena gives her a journal to start writing down her thoughts and things she is doing now, so she will have them as memories and maybe one day something will spark her memory.  Mercy writes in her journal almost nightly.  She writes down things that happen and things she discovers that she knows or is good at.  One thing she is good at is horses.  The horse that the sisters bought before Mercy came was always giving them trouble, but then Mercy stepped in and the horse immediately calmed down.  She even discovered she was a good shot, when after she met Rand Prescott, a local wealthy young man, he brings her to his home for a party.  The men were going on a hunt and Rand knew she loved to ride, so he gives her a gun to teach her to shoot.  Let’s just say she didn’t need lessons!

This is a wonderful novel full of mystery, and ups and downs for Mercy.  Trying to discover who she is and afraid of finding out all at the same time.  I totally enjoyed reading this book , and I can’t wait until the second book in this series comes out.  This is a great novel for those who like history, romance, and suspense and mystery.

I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley for my honest opinion and did not receive any compensation for a favorable review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Click here to be directed to the author’s/publishers websites:

Michael Landon, Jr.

Cindy Kelley

David C Cook


Filed under Book Reviews

Christmas in Apple Ridge by Cindy Woodsmall (5 Stars)

Wonderful Amish Christmas Novels (5 Stars for each one!)


The Sound of Sleigh Bells:  This is a heart-warming story of Beth Hertzler who has been hiding herself from love, ever since her fiancé died.  She wears black and avoids all the single’s activities and has resigned herself to never fall in love again.  She lives with her Aunt Lizzy, helps her run their store and she takes care of all the ordering and selling.  One day her Aunt Lizzy ends up in another Amish community and sees a beautiful wood carving and she buys it and brings it home.  Beth is immediately drawn to the beauty of the carving, it’s the most excitement Lizzy has seen in her niece in a very long time.  Lizzy uses a bit of creative manipulation in getting Beth and the carver, Jonah “who is called the Old Man” to write each other.  This is a wonderful “pen-pal” type of relationship and they immediately connect.  But each one thinks they are writing to someone else.  What will happen when they discover who they are really writing too?  And will the hurt and trickery be something they can overcome?  This is a wonderful love story, one of hurts, pain, disappointments and how letting God touch your very soul can heal anything and bring joy in the most unexpected ways.  Here’s a wonderful quote  from the book:

“Well, time and medicine and family would have eventually helped, but during the worst of it, I caught a glimpse of how Jesus let go of His anger.  Just a fraction of a second, mind you, but I saw Him on the cross, looking beyond the people who’d put Him there and to the Father He trusted.  It seemed that He didn’t hold the people accountable because He wasn’t looking at them.  When in the worst pain, He kept his focus on everything above.”

The Christmas Singing:  This was a delicious novel because the main character, Mattie, is the owner of Mattie Cakes.  She designs and bakes specialty cakes and all other types of delicious sweets!  She has a notebook full of drawings, magazine clippings, and notes that she has been collecting since she was a young girl.  And Gideon, her best friend, helped her with her notebook and listened to her talk about her dreams.  They were bound to fall in love, then something happened and Gideon broke Mattie’s heart.  She left Apple Ridge and moved to Ohio to another Amish community and lived near her brother and sister-in-law and their family.  She even met a new man, Sol.  He seemed perfect for her.  Yet, nothing was like it was with Gideon!  Then a tragedy struck Mattie and her life was suddenly turned upside down.  Who would really be there for her, Sol or Gideon?  Could she trust Gideon and what was he hiding?  You’ll love this book!  I think this may be my favorite!  Could it be all the delicious cakes????

The Dawn of Christmas: This book is about Sadie Yoder.  She was marrying Daniel Miller until he broke her heart before the wedding.  Then she decided she was through with men and would devote her life to mission work.  She’d already been to Peru once and was back home making crafts saving money to go back again.  But her family would not let up…they kept trying their best to matchmake and she was so tired of it.  Many miles away, back in “The Sound of Sleigh Bells”, there was Levi.  He lived with his brother and nephew.  He decided women were not worth the trouble either and was tired of his family matchmaking.  Then Sadie and Levi met and forged a strange friendship.  They came up with a scheme to keep both of their families off their backs about marriage.  But would this plan backfire?  Probably.  And what of Sadie’s old boyfriend, Daniel?  This is a great novel, full of doubt, love, distrust, and the learning of how to love and trust again…and who to trust because some people lie so well.

You’ll love each one of these books.  They are sold separately, but I loved reading them all together in this order.  They are separate books with separate stories, but the characters and communities are the same in all three books and it’s neat to be able to see the lives of the other character’s as you read the next book.

I received a copy of this book for free from Blogging for Books, WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for the purpose of this review and for my honest opinion and did not receive any compensation for a favorable review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Please take the time to click on these links to learn more about Cindy and her books!  You can even read an excerpt from the first chapter free!  You’ll enjoy looking at each one of these links, I know I did.

Cindy Woodsmall’s website

Cindy Woodsmall’s Bio

More Info about the books from WaterBrook Multnomah

Read an excerpt from the first chapter


Filed under Book Reviews

A Talent for Trouble (The Ladies of Distinction, Book 3) by Jen Turano (5 Stars)

Delightful Romance with a Little Mystery & Suspense (5 Stars)


A Talent for Trouble (The Ladies of Distinction, Book 3) by Jen Turano (Bethany House)

Felicia Murdock’s middle name is “trouble”, make that with a capital “T”!  She is the most delightful young woman who was in Book 2, A Most Peculiar Circumstance, and now she is center stage in this book, completely run-a-muck!

She has shed her rather flashy wardrobe and settled down to more stylish clothing, and that has brought her much more attention from the gentlemen.  But the only gentleman she can’t seem to get her mind off of, is Grayson Sumner (Lord Sefton).  He wants nothing to do with women nor marriage, his past has plummeted him with deep regrets and guilt and he can’t seem to get past them.  Then along comes Felicia!  A most troublesome woman, who can aggravate him and amuse him at the same time.  The adventures they, along with some friends and family, get into are sometime so funny you laugh out loud and then sometimes quite suspenseful.

You will quite frequently find yourself laughing at the circumstances that Felicia seems to get involved in and then you’ll find yourself on the edge of your seat wondering how they can possibly escape some very dangerous trouble.

I promise, that if you love a great historical, most times amusing, and sometimes a bit suspenseful read, you’ll love this book.  I was told that this series can be read as stand-alone books, but since the major characters carry over into the next book as secondary characters with backgrounds of their own, I recommend you read this series in order.  I have read Books 2 & 3…and now I’ve got to read Book 1.  And I can’t wait!!!  Yes, I did what I’m telling you not to do, but when I started I didn’t realize it was a series.  But each story is wonderful.  Jen Turano is now one of my favorite authors and I will read anything she writes without even looking at the description…I know that she cannot possibly write a bad book!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers for my honest opinion and did not receive any compensation for a favorable review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Let’s meet Jen: 


Jen grew up in the small town of St. Clairsville, Ohio, where she spent an idyllic childhood riding her purple spider bike, ice-skating on a little pond and reading Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon books in her tree house. High School was, surprisingly enough, fabulous as Jen spent time with her girlfriends. She headed off to college with no idea of what she wanted to be when she grew up, but settled on pursuing a career in fashion because she thought it sounded glamorous. Her parents thought she’d lost her mind, but they resigned themselves to her choice and after earning a BA degree in Clothing and Textiles, Jen set off to take the fashion world by storm, only to discover retail was certainly not the glamorous career she’d imagined it would be. She moved to Buffalo, New York to take a job in the buying office of a large department store, learning all there was to know about cookware, which again, was hardly glamorous, especially to a girl who did not have a knack for cooking. She met her future husband, Al, a few months after taking this job and eight months later, they were married. After moving into management at another department store and working that for a few years, the company went out of business and Jen decided she’d had enough. One year later her son was born and Jen hung up her heels for good and concentrated on being a mom.

She began dabbling in writing when her son, then in elementary school, said he liked her made up stories as much as those in his books. It was then that she  fired up the computer and never looked back.

Jen loves to write humorous stories with quirky characters and a dash of intrigue and finds historical romances especially appealing, seeing as how she’s been reading them since she was a teenager. Her mother gave her a copy of Kathleen Woodiwiss, The Flame and the Flower, and Jen was hooked on the genre. When not reading romance, she loves to read mysteries, young adult and her favorite series of all time, Harry Potter.

Besides writing, Jen enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

You can connect with Jen at:


Filed under Book Reviews

Every Waking Moment by Chris Fabry (5 Stars)

Superbly Emotional Novel (5 Stars)


Every Waking Moment by Chris Fabry (Tyndale House Publishers)

Treha (Tray-uh) Langsam has no recollection of her past.  She takes stories from other people, people she works with at a nursing home, Desert Gardens of Tucson, Arizona.  Miriam Howard is the director and she’s the one who hired Treha to work there as a janitor.  But when she began to see how she interacted with the patients, she pretty much gave her free reign on letting her work with them.  She could bring them out of a mad rage, or out of a spell of complete silence.  Treha had talent.  She just had no confidence in herself and she had no past.

Then a couple of men, Devin Hills and Jonah Verwer, come by wanting to do a documentary on the older generation, to hear their stories and to put it all on film.  They knew the importance of what the older generation had gone through and all the knowledge they had accumulated over the many years they had been on this earth.  And they wanted to be the one to tell their stories.

When they first saw Treha in action they knew they had stumbled on something special.  So special they wanted to get it on video and then they, along with the director, Miriam, start trying to find out information on Treha and where she came from.  But before they could get to far, things changed at Desert Gardens and the changes were not good.

This is all you’re getting from me.  This book is so special, I can’t tell you anymore, you just have to read it, absorb it, live it, and let it soak in.  One very special scene will stick with me for life and I think sharing this quote will not hinder anything or spoil you reading the book.  Here goes:  “That verse going over and over in my head-the one people use to say God won’t give us more than we can handle.  1 Corinthians 10:13.  They think temptation and the hard stuff of life are the same.  I don’t believe that for a minute.  He does give us more than we can handle.  He lets us go through deeper waters so that we cling to him; that’s the whole point of having faith.  If we could handle everything, there would be no reason for us to need God.”  So, so true.

You have to read this book, it’s pretty different than anything I’ve read before and there are twists and turns all the way to the end.

I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley for my honest opinion and did not receive any compensation for a favorable review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Let’s meet the author:


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

Chris’ novels, which include DogwoodJune BugAlmost HeavenNot in the HeartBorders of the Heart, and his latest release, Every Waking Moment, have won three Christy Awards and an ECPA Christian Book Award, but it’s his lyrical prose and tales of redemption that keep readers returning for more.

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

Here is the book trailer that I’m sure you’ll enjoy watching:

Our Women’s Book Club has had the privilege to read several of his books and we are currently reading this one for our November 2013 meeting.  I can’t wait to talk about this book with everyone!  We have a copy of this book in our Media Center for our patrons to read, but it will be held in reserve for our Book Club members until after 11/9/13.


Filed under Book Reviews