Wednesday, July 31, 2013


by Brock Eastman
P&R Publishers

The Wikk kids are in a high stakes adventure in the quest to find their parents. Flying to Evad in their ship, the Phoenix, as indicated by their parent's e-journal, they uncover amazing technology on the planet. Exploring the dense jungle, they push forward for answers. They encounter more dangers then ever before, with time running out every second they linger over new discoveries. With numerous ziggurats to explore, a forest full of wild animals, and the ever-present danger of the Ubel - the responsibility to bring the family back together rests solely on the Wikk kids. 

Oliver is struggling to keep his younger twin brother under control, as Austin's escapades are continually endangering the mission. Tiffany is trying to keep everyone safe and alive. And Mason is, as always, caught betwixt and between the schemes and false bravery that Austin insists on portraying. Will Austin put the rest of the family at risk when he goes rouge to rescue his parents from Captain Vedrick? Or will they all manage to stay one step ahead of their parents' captors despite the fact that they are continually being separated? 

This was, once again, a stellar novel from Eastman. He doesn't just deliver good reading material, he will take your imagination on the ride of your life. It doesn't matter how old you are, you will drawn like a moth to a flame to the high adrenaline adventures (and sometimes misadventures!) the Wikk kids keep stepping into. The descriptions of the fantastical sights are portrayed with just enough detail to keep you informed and excited about the scenery, but are never overdone or overly tedious. This one kept me up way past my bedtime despite my best intentions, and I promise the same will happen to you until you turn the very last page. Recommended to anyone who can read, you will not be disappointed!

This book was provided for free by P&R Publishers in exchange for an honest review. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Gone South

by Meg Moseley
Multnomah Publishers

Thirty-five year old Letitia McComb is the exact opposite of a southern girl, with no place to truly call her home. Her father was a great adventurer while still alive, constantly moving the family from place to place, and  always thinking the next move would get him his American Dream. Tish is a lot more simple than that. She is like her mother and is practical, responsible and has lived in the same apartment for years. But when an opportunity to buy a house from her ancestors in Alabama comes up, like her father, she pulls up roots in Michigan and settles in the charming little town of Noble. 

But things are never what they seem. Before Tish has even been there a week, she discovers that the townspeople are not fond of the McCombs. Determined to find out what her true roots are, Tish begins to ask questions about the woman she was named after, as well as her husband Nathan. She finds a friend in the local antique store owner, George Zorbas, who provides her with some information on the McCombs. She also meets Melanie Hamilton, a homeless girl who has tried to go home and is rejected by her family. With only a handful of people to call her friends, will Tish ever figure out how to earn the town's trust? Or will harboring Mel bring about more consequences than she is willing to pay?  

I loved this book if only for the reason that it is a modern re-telling of the biblical story of the prodigal son. But it is so much more than that. It is a beautiful story of a woman who has survived the punches life has thrown her way without becoming bitter. Tish has every reason to be angry and resentful of the past and it's hurts, and yet she reaches out to a needy girl without judgement. The people in this story will become familiar to you, and you will be sorry to see the story end. A winner from the first page, Moseley has created a masterpiece of literary value. 

This book was provided by Waterbrook Multnomah for free in exchange for an honest review. 

Friday, July 26, 2013


by Brock Eastman
P&R Publishers

The Wikk family lives in a futuristic time and world, where the past is the key to the future. As archaeologists, the Wikk parents are constantly on one adventure after another. With their eldest son in the Academy, and the three younger children at school, they prepare to go on a dig that will expose the truth of their origins. But just as the plan is falling into place, a man in black, Captain Vedrick, interferes with the family's departure. Taken hostage by a man involved with a sinister group that has more money and resources save the Republic they are a part of, the Wikk parents have no choice but to order their son to escape with the younger children. 

At seventeen, Oliver firmly believe that he is a man. When his parents are kidnapped by a wicked man and his band of soldiers, Oliver has no choice but to take charge of the family. Completely confident that he can handle his twin brothers and a sister two years his junior, Oliver sits behind the controls of the newly refurbished ship - the Phoenix. Things go awry from the very beginning. Never having actually flown a ship before, but with a year's training at the Academy under his belt, he outmaneuvers the solders to escape. But time is running out, and the longer they take figuring out the clues, the less likely they are to find and rescue their parents. Will the children be able to climb every hurdle thrown at them? Or will they fall to the same fate as their parents; capture and then disappearance into thin air? 

I was somewhat skeptical coming into this book. Despite all the good reviews, how attention catching can young adult fiction really be? Either I'm a kid at heart or Eastman is just that good. I loved every moment of this book; the story, the characters, the made up weapons and technology, just everything. The writing was imaginative, creative and absolutely believable. This story is not just for kids, it is for adults of any age.

This book was provided by P&R Publishers for free in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Against The Gates Of Hell

by Mylow Young
Lift Every Voice Books

Herby and Kirby Wilson are twins that couldn't be more different. Raised by a God fearing preacher and wonderful mother, they both know exactly what God expects of them. Somewhere along the way, after their parents are killed, both men have strayed from the path they used to follow.

Kirby used to be a cop, but when something goes terribly wrong on a routine drug raid, he escapes to the criminal life that mirrors the people he used to put away. Lost, left by a wife that used to mean everything to him, and using drugs to escape the pain, will Kirby ever find the Way, the Truth and the Life? Or has he thrown his life away - and any chance of redemption - for good?

Herby is the complete opposite. Also a police officer, he walks the straight and narrow with seemingly no difficulties. He has a beautiful wife, supportive family, and a church he grew up in to validate his righteous life. Disappointed in his twin and feeling that Kirby continually shames them all, Herby struggles to show his brother the love of Christ. Will these two brothers ever be truly reunited? Or is it too late to bring Kirby back from the reckless life he's living?

This book was so different than what I was expecting. I was expecting somewhat of a cautionary tale of what drugs can do to ruin a person's life, etc. But Young gives us much more, something much more profound than that. He shows us the humanity, the emptiness, and the desperation that brings people to this point. This book make it plain to whoever reads it that everyone deserves God's mercy, God's grace, and a second chance. I didn't think I'd ever sympathize with a crackhead, but the characters are so real and human that you almost don't realize till the end of the story that is a work of fiction. I give it 5 stars despite occasional rough editing.

This book was provided by the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013


by Mel Odom
Tyndale House Publishers

Pike Morgan's childhood in the foster care system has made him rebellious, cynical and hard. His rough exterior and disregard for the judicial system has the police department on his doorstep more often than he would like. With his faith in vigilante justice and himself, Pike is part of the Marine Reservists and it gives him a sense of purpose he wouldn't otherwise have. Eager for another deployment, he is anxious for another tour.

When his deployment finally comes, he and his team find themselves in a peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan. What they find is a war zone in a country reaching it's breaking point. When an American journalist is kidnapped, finding the al Qaeda terrorist responsible becomes their top priority. When the terrorist makes a break for neighboring Pakistan, will Pike find himself alone in completing his mission? Or is it too late to save the hapless journalist and convince his team that completing the mission is vital?

This was a great second installment in the Called to Serve series by Odom. I was very excited to read a book with Pike being the primary character, and Odom delivers all the fast paced action and adrenaline rush I've come to anticipate. I love how we get a look into the "bad guys" perspective and point of view. Everyone has their own reasons for doing things and you almost sympathize with both sides of the story; and at the very least understand what drives and motivates them to action. This is the kind of book you don't want to end because it just was that good.

This book was provided by Tyndale House Publishers for free in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Redeeming Love

by Francine Rivers
Multnomah Books

It is the 1850 in California, and the gold rush is well underway. Men are in overabundance, and the few women that reside there live in brothels and pleasure palaces. Angel is one such woman, though not by choice. Sold to a man in a brothel as a child, she barely remembers the happier days before her mother died. She is haunted by memories of her father, her broken-hearted mother, her cruel grandparents and life in the enchanting little cottage before everything went wrong.  

The only thing that keeps her alive is her hatred. Hatred towards the man who bought her, hatred towards the men she is forced to take care of, and hatred towards God Himself for giving her life and then keeping her alive. Even after she is free of her original master, she ends up in Pair-A-Dice working in another brothel because she knows no other way to live. 

Then Michael Hosea rides into town. Intrigued by the cold, hard, icy demeanor of a woman so young and beautiful, he is compelled by Someone greater than himself to seek her out and marry her. It is a mission that he himself is scarcely prepared to carry out. Despite Michael's tender love for the prostitute he only knows as "Angel" and his patience in waiting for her to be ready to receive his love as it was meant to be - she continually runs away from him. Again and again she leaves Michael behind. At first, she leaves him because she doesn't want to belong to another man. Then she leaves him because she loves him. Will Michael ever be able to demonstrate God's love to a woman who refuses to see the truth and be helped? And will Angel ever willingly receive love from the Father who will never let her down? 

I read this book ten years ago, and it is just the kind of book you want to read over and over again. No matter what point you are in your life, this book is such a wonderful reminder that God's love for us never changes, expires, or wavers. Angel is the lowest of the low, yet God raises her up to be the woman He intended her to be. Obviously, one has questions as to how God allows horrible things to happen to people. But God has a plan in everything, and no matter what happens in our lives, God is there, He is watching, and He is in control. Rivers has written a book that is for everybody, regardless of age, race, denomination, or sex. It will open your eyes to God's love and will remind you that no matter what, God is always present. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Rosemary Cottage

by Colleen Coble
Thomas Nelson Publishers

Rosemary Cottage on Hope Beach Island is exactly the place Amy Lange needs to grieve her brother Ben, who was out catching a wave one morning and just vanished. Amy wonders if foul play is involved, because somehow she doesn't believe that is was an accident. She is a practicing midwife, and has always been encouraged to go where the need was greatest. She sincerely feels that the need is great on the remote island where women have to cross on ferry to get to a doctor. So when Amy discovers something that makes her decision to stay on the island permanently more than just a great idea, she snatches up the chance to not only stay for her midwifery, but so she can also investigate Ben's death. 

Curtis Ireland is a Coast Guard, and he is raising his niece, Raine, after his sister Gina's death. Gina was run down by a boat and killed, so there is no mystery surrounding her death. But when Amy shows up and starts planting seeds of doubt, he can't help but begin to wonder if their sibling's deaths are somehow connected. Will the evidence they find prove that the death of Ben and Gina was no accident? Or was it just a game all along? 

I have to admit, this book held my interest from the first page. It's been a while since I've so greatly anticipated the release of a book in a series, but Coble does such a good job of writing romantic mysteries I couldn't help myself!! I was completely surprised by a couple twists in the story; so I can't gloat this time that I saw it coming. I read so much that I can usually guess where the story is going, but Coble does us a solid with clean romance, mystery, suspense, and of course, the beautiful scenery of the island that will forever remain a place we want to visit.  

This book was provided by the publishers for free in exchange for an honest review. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Still Life in Shadows

by Alice Wisler
River North Publishers

Gideon Miller doesn't have a lot of answers to life hard questions. But one thing he's absolutely sure about, is that the Amish life is not for him. Fifteen years after leaving home, he works at an auto shop and helps many young people make the transition from being Amish to the real world. Wanting to get them away from the strict lifestyle and potentially bad home situations, Gideon does everything in his power to get them on their feet.

When a autistic teenager come to the shop looking for work, Gideon is at a loss for what to do with her. Kiki seems to be a handful, and despite Gideon's attraction to her older sister Mari, he is reluctant to hire Kiki and take responsibility for her.

Then his brother, Moriah, makes an appearance at the shop. Gideon wants to help his brother, but when things take a turn for the worse, Gideon finds himself unable to help his brother. Fighting the demons of the past, Gideon has nowhere to turn. Will he be able to resolve the hurt of the past - or is it just too late?

The only thing I felt was missing from this book was more resolution at the end. It was a wonderful novel, but the end felt rushed and unresolved. There was lots of anticipation and tension between the characters, but then the plot just fizzled out. I enjoyed this novel a lot, but I just wish there would have been more instead of cutting it short. While  I enjoy a story that move along and doesn't drag; realistically, I don't want it to fly by after all the great buildup with the story and characters. 

This book was provided by the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Grave Consequences

by Lisa Bergren
David C. Cook Publishers

Cora is on the Grand Tour of a lifetime. Traveling through France, Austria, and Italy with her new family; she is slowly discovering more about herself and who she is. Her heart is at risk of falling in love with a dashing Frenchman who bestows every attention upon her - but instead finds herself drawn to a man that is  expressly off limits.

Every decision she makes will directly affect her future and family. Time is running out, as an unforeseen foe stealthy tracks their progress and threatens to cut the exciting trip short. Will the decisions she makes ultimately win her family's respect or drive them away? And which man will be worthy of having her by his side forever? How can she possibly know she's making the right choices for her life?

The story just gets better and better. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, something would happen that would completely throw me off track. I read through the early morning hours because I had to know where the adventure would lead. This novel was breathlessly captivating and beautiful in detail and style of writing by Bergren. Everything we dream about in one place was present: danger, intrigue, romance, and a peek into the past. A wonderful story and a must read for anyone who believes in love.

This book was provided by the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Glamorous Illusions

by Lisa T. Bergren
David C. Cook Publishers

Cora Kensington is perfectly happy with her life. On a bankrupt farm in 1913 Montana, her mama and papa are struggling to eek out a life while Cora is away at college. Returning home for the summer, Cara has big dreams for her future. But she finds that her parents are barely making ends meet and have heavily borrowed so she can go to school. When a family member suddenly falls ill she has no choice, but to work sunup to sundown to keep the farm alive. Cora has no choice but to give up her dreams to be a teacher to take care of her family.

But in the story strongly reminiscent of Cinderella, a stranger arrives at their door with the news that Cora is not who she think she is. Pulled away into the fascinating world that is made of unfathomable riches, half siblings, and a father she didn't know she had, Cora faces the biggest challenge of her life. Who is she?  Who is she meant to become? But more importantly - why?

Following Cora and her family as they are on a Grand Tour is exciting, and pumped my veins with adventure. I am such a homebody, but this novel inspired me to see the world for myself. Reading of Cora's struggle to fit in, to try to make the best of her circumstances is beyond commendable. She may be a fictional character, but Bergren has crafted a woman that will long remain in my memory. Truly a book that must be shared with the world.

This book was provided by the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Home Run

novelization by Travis Thrasher
David C. Cook Publishers

Cory Brand was born to win baseball. To hit home runs that seemed impossible, to be the hero his father could never be. It was his purpose in life, despite the cruelty of his childhood. Running from his past and spiraling out of control despite his insistence to the contrary, he finally gets the reality check he's had coming for years - and gets suspended from the team. Regrets of the past overshadow him like a dark cloud and frustration with present circumstances keep him from realizing how far he has fallen.

Cory's agent, Helene, has arranged a deal with his team that he will complete an eight week recovery program and get his life back on track. When coaching Little League becomes a part of his very public reformation, he is anxious to get things over and done with.What he doesn't expect is what he finds when he returns home. A woman he loved so much, yet betrayed. A brother and family he never has time for. And a boy who may never know who his father is. Will Cory be able to find redemption for his sins? Will he be able to take the second chance he's been given? Or is it too late for someone like him?

This novelization by Thrasher shows exactly how far you can fall, and how God can lift you back up in spite of yourself. It shows us that no matter what we've done, or how much of our life we have destroyed, there is always grace and redemption for us from the Father. The characters were very real and believable, because while we may not suffer their particular afflictions, we are all in need of saving no matter who we are or what we've done. Thrasher has captured the essence and spirit of those who are in the midst of their struggle, and you come to care for each and every one of the people in the story. It is hard to read in places, but it is realistic and honest. No sugar coating. And because of that, I recommend it to anyone who has survived their addictions, or even if they find themselves in the thick of it.

This book was provided by the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Dark Faith

by Jeremiah W. Montgomery
P &R Publishing

Morumus knows firsthand of the evil that lurks in the realm. At a tender young age, those of the Dark Faith destroyed the world as he knew it. Now as an adult, he is a devout monk and he has a very specific mission: translate the Holy Writ to the people who practice the Dark Faith. Thinking his task will be an easy one, he sets out to bring Light to those who are drowning in Darkness. 

Embarking on the journey with him are two monks that are neither friend not foe. Eager to get his life's work finally started, Morumus is not expecting the obstacles he faces. Danger hides behind every bend, and it whispers to him from the trees. Who are these people of the Dark Faith that are constantly eluding capture? And if he is the only one that has seen their evil work that remains alive, what is his life worth? 

This novel takes us to a land that could have existed in the past to a place we are curious about but never wish to visit. I really enjoyed this novel because I felt as if I was right alongside them fighting for the truth. The one thing I like the most about this story, is that not everybody had a happy ending. So many books now have trite, fluffy lives for everybody that always seem to work out, but Montgomery makes it true to the time period it could have been in and makes it as realistic as possible. I absolutely loved it.

This book was provided for free by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Prairie Song

by Mona Hodgson 
WaterBrook Press 

The Civil War has destroyed the Goben family's last hope, in the form of the death of Anna's brother, Dedrick. Leaving Missouri and her quilting circle will be hard; but as Anna's mother constantly grieves over her lost son, her drinking has gotten out of control, while Anna's grandfather has become a silent bag of bones. Anna's only hope in keeping the family together is to escort them to California, with the hope that the trip west will neither break them apart or kill them in the process. 

Bones Lick Company wagon train is just the solution Anna is looking for. Caleb Reger is in charge of the safety of the travelers, and he plans on keeping his head down and minding his own business. He is guarding secrets about his past, and he is running away from God's will for his life. Caleb and Anna want avoid each other studiously, but circumstances do not permit such luxuries. Will roaming across the prairie break their spirit? Or will God's mercy sustain them all through the trials they are sure to face? 

This novel was such a beautiful example of the human spirit and God's grace to all people throughout the ages. These people represent the indomitable spirit of immigrants everywhere, and the things they endured to make their dreams come true. The characters Hodgson portrays inspire you to believe that determination, constant prayer, and faith will see you through anything. A book well written, inspiring, and a recommend read for your fall must-read list. 

This book was provided for free by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Tidewater Inn

by Colleen Coble
Thomas Nelson Publishers

Libby Holladay is a historic preservationist with no idea of her own roots. When her business partner, Nicole, uncovers some information regarding an inheritance on a remote island, Libby is thrilled to be the owner of a beautiful, old inn. Not only did her father leave her a dream renovation on a private beach, he left behind a family for Libby to get acquainted with. 

But things are not as they seem. Libby's half siblings, Vanessa and Brent are not welcoming, and Nicole is kidnapped before she can give tell Libby what she knows. Now Libby is under suspicion for the crime, and things in the past are coming up at the most inopportune times. She has no way to prove her innocence, and time is running out as the evidence mounts against her. Even the helpful Coast Guard lieutenant who is cousin to the sheriff may not be able to help her. Will Libby be able to prove she didn't hurt Nicole? Will anyone be able to find out who did? And will the hurt between her and her father's children every be bridged? 

This book was an attention grabber from the first page. I loved the setting, although I will admit it took a little while to enjoy the setting at first. But Bree and Samson won me over, as did the rumors of Blackbeard's treasure. The characters were a fun bunch, especially misguided, grieving Zach. But of course, everything works out in the end. I've learned the hard way to enjoy the happy endings, because some writers seem to not take that into consideration. Coble gives us just the right mixture of suspense mystery, and of course, romance.