Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Everstone Chronicles book 3 The Captive Imposter

The Captive Imposter 
November 2015, Everstone Chronicles Book3
Whitaker House

The Captive Imposter (The Everstone Chronicles, #3)
buy on Amazon

About the Book:
What's in a name? For her own protection following the murder of her brother Will, hotel heiress Estella Everstone assumes the alias of Elle Stoneburner and takes a job as companion to an elderly widow. Never did she imagine that her position would lead her back to her beloved Everston, a picturesque resort property tucked away in the rugged mountains of Maine. Living below her station in a guise of anonymity has its struggles, but her spirits are buoyed by a newfound friendship with the hotel manager, Dexter Blakeley. And his distaste for the spoiled socialites who frequent his hotel causes her to take a close look at her own priorities and past lifestyle. When Estella finds herself in need of help, Dexter comes to the rescue with an offer of employment she can't refuse. As the two interact and open up to each other, Estella feels a growing attraction to Dexter--and increasing discomfort over concealing her identity. Yet, in spite of the false pretense she's putting forth, she's never felt freer to be herself than in his presence. But will he still love her when he learns the truth about who she is?

My review:
Crandall’s tale of presumptive and mistaken identity is a charming addition to the Everstone Chronicles. The setting at the end of the nineteenth century at a Maine resort adds a fresh feel to romance in which the journey drives the story to the expected happily-ever-after ending.

A few twists in this inspirational historical romance add page-turning intrigue. The reader knows this is the third in a series, but as the reasons for assumed identity are gradually revealed, never feel as though stepping into the middle of a story. Both hero and heroine begin their relationship under assumptions about the other, ala the mistaken identity trope, to sweet affect when Elle learns the truth about Dexter long before he learns her secret. Readers are tossed headlong into an old family fray and Elle grows up quickly as she learns more about her older siblings, the family past and present and their connections that were kept under the carpet.

Secrets and misunderstandings, adventure, danger and the past come together in this spiritual romance where angst over telling the truth may hurt worse than keeping a potentially life-saving secret. Told in first person throughout, readers of romantic historical fiction set in high society will enjoy Captive Imposter and the rest of the Everstone Chronicles. Book 4, The Cautious Maiden, released October 2016 and will be reviewed on this site on December 13. The Bound Heart was reviewed here.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Near future Christian Fiction from Judy DuCharme

Society of the L.A.M.B.
Judy DuCharme


Prism Book Group, 2016
$3.99 eBook
$11.99 Print
buy on Amazon

Society of the L.A.M.B.: Love. Authority. Mercy. Boldness.

In a raucous colony of those who celebrate dark desires, Josiah and other LAMBers who believe King Glory lives are hunted and imprisoned…or worse. But hope and truth endure in the midst of total danger. After fleeing the colony, Josiah finds light and hope at his grandfather's house, where a secret gathering of LAMBers have escaped the watchers. After learning of the power of the shout within himself, Josiah is chosen to carry the truth to others. But how can he return to the colony without being captured and put to death? The shout cannot be denied. Josiah knows his mission.

My review:
I honestly didn’t know what to think the first time I read this book. On the second reading, I wondered if I knew this place, this too-near, impossible, frightening future when Christianity is forced underground and grunge rules. Not if, but when.

DuCharme paints a grim picture of a time when active persecution against authority or show of faith is taking place in America. The persecution doesn’t even stem from a cohesive structure or face, but is a pervasive mentality which is somehow more frightening. It’s easy to fight something that has a name. Faith never dies, but emerges more determined than ever to show itself through Love that conquers, Authority over evil, Mercy toward the undeserving, and Boldness of witness.

A small but growing group of faithful Christ-followers are determined to retake their lives and battle near anarchy. Under the wing of the newly-awakened Josiah who returned to the fold of his grandfather, those who hear and practice the Shout gleefully strip the Over Garments of chaos and restore colonists, when possible, to Jajireh. With the help of an amazing angel band who has just as much joy overcoming every obstacle the evil one sets up, the Lambers rescue the kidnapped and retrain the near-lost.

Told mostly from Josiah’s perspective, the Society of the L.A.M.B. is sure to spark great conversation.

Judy DuCharme
Judy DuCharme is a retired fifth-grade teacher (22 years at Gibraltar School in Fish Creek, Wisconsin, with an emphasis in science), former Christian radio announcer, Bible study teacher, speaker, author, and a great fan of the Green Bay Packers. She obtained her B.A. from Michigan State University in Communication Arts and her teaching degree through the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Judy s passion in all she does is to see people strong in the Lord and the power of His might. Her first published book, The Cheesehead Devotional earned her the Best New Writer Award (2013) at the prestigious Write-to-Publish Conference. Judy lives in Wisconsin with her family.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Clash of the Titles holiday CLASH!

It's the end of our CLASH year, and we've lined up some awesome holiday reading (and gift ideas!) for this month's Clash of the Titles.
Vote for your Ideal curl up in front of a fire read!

Scroll through these releases and cast your vote for your perfect idea of a next read.
It's a tough choice, but it's up to you to determine our Clash Champion!


Risking Love
Brenda S. Anderson

A play-it-safe bank employee falls for a down-on-his-luck, risk-taking widower. Can she risk loving a man whose home she may have to take away?


An Unexpected Role
Leslea Wahl

Josie's island getaway becomes the summer of her dreams as friendships grow, romance blossoms and a series of thefts surround her with excitement. But as she sets out to solve the mystery she has become entangled in, she not only realizes the importance of relying on her faith but along the way also discovers her true self.


Forest Child
Heather Day Gilbert

Historically based on the Icelandic Sagas, Forest Child brings the memorable, conflicted persona of Freydis Eiriksdottir to life and is Book Two in the bestselling Vikings of the New World Saga.


Can't Help Falling
Kara Isaac

A funny, heartfelt romance about how an antique shop, a wardrobe, and a mysterious tea cup bring two C.S. Lewis fans together in a snowy and picturesque Oxford, England.


The Cautious Maiden
Dawn Crandall

In an effort to salvage her good name, Violet is forced into an engagement with a taciturn acquaintance; Vance Everstone. With danger stalking her and a new fiance who hides both his emotion and his past, Violet must decide who to trust and who to leave behind. 


The Thorn Healer
Pepper D. Basham

A wounded nurse battles resentment against a German prisoner as the two work together to save an Appalachian town from deception and disease in the wake of World War 1.


If you have trouble viewing the entire survey Click Here to load a dedicated page to the survey. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Historical Romance debut from Lindsay Barlow


Beneath the Heavens
Lindsey Barlow

ISBN-13: 978-1611531473
October 2016
Light Message Publishing
Historical inspirational romance

ebook $7.99
Print $14.99
Buy on Amazon 

About the Book
When the beautiful and coddled Abigail Silvers is sent from her parents’ lush Texas ranch to the untamed wilds of Tall Pine, Colorado, her mother is hoping that Abigail will learn independence and self-reliance. What Abigail finds among the Colorado mountain people is a community built on hard work, faith, and family––she also finds the handsome Pastor Will who, much to her dismay, seems only to have eyes for Esther, the community’s midwife hiding from a dark past. Fiercely protective of her young son Michael, Esther’s determined not to let anyone ­close enough to hurt them––even if that means sacrificing true love. But when the Texas Ranger Joseph Silver, Abigail’s brother, shows up, Esther’s past is unearthed and her heart is exposed. Abigail and Joseph’s brash Texas manners rattle the people of Tall Pine, but ultimately the brother and sister may be an answer to prayer the townspeople didn’t know they needed. Lindsey Barlow’s inspirational debut introduces readers to a rich cast of characters and picturesque scenery that will leave readers falling for Tall Pine.

My review
The power of women generally makes for great reads, and Barlow shows her storytelling chops in this debut novel. More than a romance, Beneath the Heavens is a story of four women attempting a new life on the late nineteenth century mountains of Colorado. Each represents choices of womanhood, and a challenge to rise above and become the person God calls into being.

The midwife who scorns men, remains aloof and independent, learns her lesson when her son reminds her that he, too, will someday become a man. The frilly rich man’s daughter is showered with with hard love, but learns her true worth is more than a trophy wife. The spunky dress shop owner gets over herself and accepts true admiration and love, and finally, a hard-knock Bonnie who chooses her Clyde over everything gets what she wants.

Lovingly fleshed-out characters in a beautiful setting with a wealth of detail that brings the reader into the story keep the reader turning pages. Unforgettable hardship, lessons in self-determination, both positive and negative, balance faith elements that fall naturally. Blossoming love unfolds for a preacher who is looking for the right kind of wife, and a hardened Texas Ranger who wasn’t looking for a wife at all. A kindhearted baker and fool of a slimy criminal round out the cast. Told from multiple viewpoints of the two female and male protagonists, there is a fair amount of leaping from one perspective to another without warning, but it’s nice to hear all sides and watch the growth. Fair warning: there is some limited cursing and suggestive imagery, along with mild fist fighting and shooting.

I especially enjoyed the youthful pastor who is not a typical city preacher, but a charming and hard-working single man who is willing to listen to a teacher he respects, and the lawman who goes to the ground for a child. Barlow can only grow her skills from here. Good job. Those who love prairie dramas with grit and teeth will enjoy Beneath the Heavens.

About the Author
Lindsey Barlow has a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities and Religious Studies from California Sacramento State University. She has traveled throughout Eastern Europe as a missionary teaching English and serving those in need. She has worked in the Saint Petersburg Hermitage Museum and has visited the Mayan ruins in Mexico. When Lindsey is not writing, she enjoys discovering new bookstores, going on hikes with her children, and pretending she knows how to sew. Lindsey resides in northern California with her husband and children in a house with too many books.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Everstone Chronicles book 2 The Bound Heart

The Bound Heart October 2015, Everstone Chronicles Book2
Whitaker House
Buy on Amazon

About the Book:
One accidental kiss from Lawry Hampton. That was all it took to throw Meredyth Summercourt's world upside down. Determined to marry the ever-elusive Vance Everstone, she simply doesn't have the time or desire to fall for her best friend Lawry Hampton. But with Vance out of the country, and with Lawry at her side nearly every day, teaching her what the world is like through the eyes of a little orphan girl named Wynn. Now Meredyth can't deny that what's holding her to Vance is nothing more than a desire to redeem herself from her past. Will she marry Vance once he returns from Europe? Or will she be strong enough to break free from the tangled web she's convinced she deserves, and accept that God's plan for her life includes redemption...and, quite possibly, Lawry Hampton?

My review:
The title offers a great glimpse into what readers can expect in this sisters about a powerful and elite New England family at the close of the nineteenth century. The Everstones have everything…particularly heir to the hotel and lumber empire, Vance Everstone, who lives more like a Regency-era rake and gets almost everything he desires. The somewhat spoiled Meredyth Summercourt, family friend, harbors a secret for years that keeps her emotionally stunted and too blinded to her ambition of pretending marriage will redeem her from a bad choice.

When a man from her past returns with one goal in mind, Meredyth is thrown into a kaleidoscope of pieces of her life swirling out of control. The secrets were never as concealed as she had always believed, and their revelation is her absolution or her shame.

Told through Meredyth’s perspective, this historical drama of past, present, and future love meld in a passionate romance right under her nose. Our choices can both haunt and free us, and journeying with the author’s characters as they learn their lesson and that God is bigger than any dilemma, is a page-turning delight. I enjoyed the historical elements, but also wished for a greater world-wide picture to help solidify the time period.

Book 3, The Captive Imposter, will be reviewed on this site in December.
Book 4, The Cautious Maiden, is now available, and will be reviewed on this site in December.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Provoctive missionary fiction from Jim Baton

Someone Has to Die

Peace Trilogy book 1
Jim Baton
June 2012

In the midst of a global clash between international terrorism and an American congressman’s peacemaking effort, a poor Muslim-majority neighborhood in Indonesia holds the keys to victory. While some in the neighborhood are making efforts to understand the truth behind the Muslim-Christian divide and build new bridges across it, others are determined to perpetuate and intensify the hatred that has plagued the region for years.

When a tragedy reveals an unexpected villain, it will be up to two unlikely heroes to set aside their differences and save the day. What will it take to keep hope alive? And who will be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of peace?

This intense thriller will encourage you to reexamine your understanding of love and forgiveness, and reconsider what it means to be a true hero.

ISBN-13: 978-1616389222
$2.99 eBook
$14.99 Print

Amazon US 
Lisa's review:
Provocative, thought-provoking, challenging. Jim Baton, long time missionary to Asia, writes a call to action in his novels. Aptly named Peace Trilogy, the first two novels in the series are a virtual visit to life in the streets of a little-known nation torn by differing faith practices. Baton explores why Muslim youth are able to be drawn into jihad, especially those who have nothing but themselves.

I read the books in reverse order, not necessarily on purpose, but also to see how they stand up. A Way Out of Hell (read about the book and my review here), is a story of the result of actions taken by families in a close-knit neighborhood in this book. The reader is drawn into Indonesian culture at its most intimate level, from intact family life, to single parentage to second wife status, from making a living, to education and religious life. Readers can’t help but empathize with the widows who live on handouts, the angry youth who feel purposeless, the women who must keep their deepest secrets, teens with a Romeo and Juliet story, and especially the fear of anything that rocks the status quo. When a neighborhood matron takes charge of bridging the gap and getting to know the neighborhood Christian lady better, she opens a Pandora’s Box of woe that drives a storm of retaliation across the planet. Who will step into the miasma of hatred and show what love can do?

The amount of detail was both wonderful and frustrating as I was sometimes impatient to find out what would happen next. For those who love detailed virtual visits to exotic places where you can live with the natives, the books of the Peace Trilogy will meet your expectations. A bonus is Baton’s character’s struggle with how to practice what they believe, an in-depth look at the misunderstandings and lies that have kept people of different religions and denominations within the religions in hate. There is no pussy-footing around American or Christian values for that matter, but love is the foundation of miracles. Told in multiple viewpoints. Nicely done.

About the Author
Jim Baton (pen name) has spent the last 20 years living in the Muslim world, where he’s been involved in a variety of peace and reconciliation activities including interfaith dialogue, training elementary through university students in peace principles, and bringing Christians and Muslims together to pray.  His real name and photo won’t appear on this site to protect his identity from radical groups where he lives out his faith.  When in America, Jim is available to speak to groups that have a heart for loving those of the other religion and can protect his identity.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

New Gift Package offer from The Man with the Black Box

The Black GIFT Box

New from the author of The Black Box

A special holiday or anytime gift package!
What a great idea for the book lover in your life.

The Black GIFT Box

Give the spine chilling gift of mystery. Perfect for any holiday, birthday or just for a thrill.

What’s in the black GIFT box?

  • A signed copy of The Man with the Black Box by Colin P. Cahoon
  • A Bookmark with special recipe for “The Jenkins” cocktail
  • A 4 oz bag of “The Jenkins Blend,” a custom tea created by The Cultured Cup of Dallas, TX
**Order received after December 15th may not arrive before Christmas.

$36.95. Visit Colin's website to order the package.
Buy the book on Amazon.