Friday, December 30, 2016

The Wedding Express with Jody Day

Product Details

Sequel to The Washout Express
Inspirational romantic novella

Scott West is about to marry the woman of his dreams, but when delayed grief and a life-or-death event jeopardizes their relationship, Scott is forced to ask himself what kind of man he really is. Can he own up to the truth and risk losing the love of his life? And if he does come clean, will it be enough for Bailey? Discover the power of hope, forgiveness, and love in Wedding Express.

November 2016
Harbourlight Books
Buy on Amazon 

My review:
Scott takes a turn to tell his side of his romance with Bailey. He may have only met her a few months ago, but he’s had a washout engagement years past and knows this time Bailey is the right woman. Whether or not it’s the right time is the big question. When his former fiancé reenters his life in a frighteningly dependent way, both Scott and Bailey play truth or consequences for life.

This story takes up right after Washout Express. Set in a quaint Texas community, readers who love miracles and spectacular weddings will have fun with this story. It’s not necessary to read the first story to fall in love with these characters and their story in the Wedding Express. Told from multiple viewpoints, the reader is carried along by the whirlwind events of loss, a medical emergency, and surprise knots of every kind. It’s short and sweet.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Holiday time read with Jody Day

Washout Express

Washout Express
Jody Day

About the Book
Bailey Brown has just lost her job, her birthright, and her fiancé. Loaded with enough insecurities to fill a suitcase, she prays for God to show her the way and then hits the road feeling like the ultimate loser.

Exit 477: Washout Express.

The roadside sign taunts Bailey. Is God confirming she's expressly washed-up? Or does He have something better for her waiting at the end of the exit ramp?

Ebook 2.99

Inspirational Romance
Short book
Harbourlight Books
June 2013


My Review: 
Looking for a cutie quick holiday read? Jody Day’s Washout Express will fit the bill!

You just know when the story opens with a devastating and cruel breakup, the sweeter the real romance that follows. And that’s exactly what you get.

I love less than twig perfect runway model heroines and six-pack ab heroes. If you like real people doing real, but sweetly heroic things like running into a fire to save mementos and proposing a lot, and realizing that bolstering each other in faith is truly the most important part of any relationship, Washout Express is for you.

Told in dramatic first person, Day’s Bailey Brown will grab your sympathy from page one. The author winds a mystery letter through the story, tantalizing the reader with its contents. Bailey meets the overworked young man, Scott, the owner of the truck wash business on Exit 477 in Texas, who holds the keys to her true purpose. I loved Bailey’s mom, Gwen, and especially Scott’s dad, Peeps. In fact, I enjoyed the story so much I bought the sequel, Wedding Express.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Clash of the Titles Alliance wishes you Merry Christmas with Barbara Britton

It's common knowledge that authors find their muse in many different places, but one author found her muse while teaching Sunday school.

Author Barbara M. Britton recently was featured on the Books of the Month TV program. Today we host the episode, now available online, on demand, courtesy of Preach the Word Worldwide TV Network. Learn how teaching Sunday school to children helped to spur Barbara's story ideas for her now-popular Biblical fiction series "Tribes of Israel."

(if you can't see the video, click here to visit the Preach the Word Worldwide Network TV station page.

Purchase Providence: Hannah's Journey today
Pre-order Building Benjamin: Naomi's Journey

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Fiction from Edie Melson: Alone

Edie Melson

Prism Book Group
November 4, 2016


About the Book
After her family is killed in the cleansing, Bethany’s purpose in life has changed. No longer will she be allowed to work to save her dying planet. As a slave, endurance is her goal as she marks each day as one moment closer to an eternity spent reunited with those she loved. But when her planet is invaded, everything changes. Now she must decide either to align herself with those from her planet who condemned her faith and killed her family, or with the warriors who have conquered her world. Ultimately her choice will mean life or death for more than just her planet’s ecosystem. She alone holds the key to a powerful secret, and the fate of the entire galaxy depends on her decision.

My Review
Reminiscent of the best Robert Heinlein or Arthur C Clarke stories, Melson explores the Christian faith spread through the galaxy. What might it look like over time and adulteration? It’s not all that different from ethnic cleansing on earth.

A dying world exploited to the extreme by a small group of powerful people are led by an influence of evil greater than time…a race of appointed spacefarers bent on taking over…an interpretation of moral codes passed down from generation to generation and now at great cost…and the cypher to a great formula the price of which is life as known.

I confess to changing my mind several times about the true identities of the good guys and the bad guys, who was telling the truth, but most importantly, who was trustworthy. Melson’s science fiction draws in echoes of my favorite stories, from Romeo and Juliet to Michael Crichton to CS Lewis. I enjoyed trying to decide whether the people of Bethany’s world understood what was at stake, how I might react if such a thing happened on earth, and whether the warriors were based on stories of the Nephilim from Scripture. I wondered what Bethany would decide to do, and who she would trust. Thought-provoking, action-packed, and well told, those who like Christian science fiction will find much to like in Alone.

 About the Author

Edie Melson is a leading professional in the writing industry. She’s a sought after writing instructor; and her heart to help others define and reach their dreams has connected her with writers all over the country. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, as well as a popular faculty member at numerous others.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Jan Elder's Love Lies and Fireflies book review

Love, Lies, and Fireflies

Love, Lies, and Fireflies
Jan Elder
Prism Book Group
Contemporary romance


Buy on

About the Book
Didi O’Brien is engaged—at least she was an hour ago. Now she’s not so sure. Her fiancé, the suave Kevin Cabot, has just revealed that he’s been unfaithful, and he’s not the least bit sorry. Reeling from the betrayal, with her plans for a happily-ever-after life in doubt, she prays for direction. The answer comes as a complete surprise. God has someone better in mind.

Middle school teacher, Jake Montgomery, is struggling with some issues of his own. Sadly, a year previously his fiancée had been killed in a car crash. Battling anger and despair, in a mountain-top experience, Jake wrestles with the Almighty, and is ready to live again. In his youth, he’d felt an unmistakable call to the ministry but, like the prophet Jonah, since then, he’s been running hard in the wrong direction.

Through a crisis of faith, and glimpses of mercy, Didi and Jake find each other. But can they find the strength to resolve the many obstacles that conspire to keep them apart?

My review
A woman running into a marriage with a mentally disturbed person and a man running fast and hard from his own perceptions of faithfulness find each other. The right timing, interruptions by events out of their control, and self-revelation will either make them stronger together or apart.

When Didi’s attorney fiancé reveals what a cad he is, Didi walks out on their fancy restaurant dinner not realizing she’s caught the attention of a man healing from loss. That man, Jake, has some lessons to struggle through, though, before he can accept the blessings he’s avoiding. They begin a sweet relationship even as Didi’s former fiancé spirals into criminal behavior and Jake opens his ears and heart to his true calling. They may be able to face their past mistakes and save each other, but unless they are each obedient to their first love, God, they can never move forward, either alone or together.

Love is there—maybe even too quickly. Lies—well, justifying our selfish desires, withholding information either intentionally or innocently, and simple naiveté are all shades of misleading. Fireflies are God’s way of showing off, Didi’s father always said. Didi and Jake just need to pay attention.

Told through multiple viewpoints, Elder’s tale of love gone right and wrong is a sweet one with lots of description of food and fun, friendships and everything fun about falling in love is a very nice read.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Prism Book Group Love Is Series Hoping for Joy


Prism Book Group has released another book in the "Love is..." series of romances based on 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.  Hoping for Joy by Penelope Marzec is about love always hoping.

About the Book:
Hannah stares at the diamond ring on her finger. Her hopes for a wedding fade as Logan puts off the date. Does he love her anymore? Should she hand him the ring and move on? Should Hannah stop praying for a fiancé with no faith?

Logan hopes to save his sister from her addiction while helping his father raise his young niece. With his life in turmoil, Logan’s dreams vanish. One night, his sister holds a knife to Hannah’s throat and robs her. Will Hannah forgive him? What will he do with Joy, his sister’s child? Where can he turn for help?

My Review:
One distracted fiancé is an understatement. Logan is so busy trying to get control of not only his life, but also that of his family. In the process, he loses sight of the things and people precious to him, not the least of which is his faith.

When Hannah wonders if there’s any cause to hope for a future with Logan. It takes some family drama and a real close encounter with the depths of despair to help everything see the truth of what’s important.

Lovingly told romantic story of realigning life’s purpose and realizing we can’t and shouldn’t try to be in control of everything. Multiple viewpoints, nice short, but not simple read.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Barbara Britton and Tribes of Israel

It's common knowledge that authors find their muse in many different places, but one author found her muse while teaching Sunday school.

Author Barbara M. Britton recently was featured on the Books of the Month TV program. Today we host the episode, now available online, on demand, courtesy of Preach the Word Worldwide TV Network. Learn how teaching Sunday school to children helped to spur Barbara's story ideas for her now-popular Biblical fiction series "Tribes of Israel."

(if you can't see the video, click here to visit the Preach the Word Worldwide Network TV station page.)

Purchase Providence: Hannah's Journey today
Pre-order Building Benjamin: Naomi's Journey

Friday, December 16, 2016

In Times Like These with Gail Kittleson

In Times Like These (The Cedar Valley Girls #1)

In Times Like These


About the book:
Pearl Harbor attacked! The United States is at war. But Addie fights her own battles on the Iowa home front. Her controlling husband Harold vents his rage on her when his father's stroke prevents him from joining the military. He degrades Addie, ridicules her productive victory garden, and even labels her childlessness as God's punishment. When he manipulates his way into a military unit bound for Normandy, Addie learns that her best friend Kate's pilot husband has died on a mission, leaving her stranded in London in desperate straits. Will Addie be able to help Kate, and find courage to trust God with her future?

My review:
Many characters made the start slightly puzzling, but once I sorted out who belonged to whom, the pages almost turned themselves. Great period piece exploring family dynamics and interpersonal relationships as well as the growth of self-esteem and the importance of friendship.

In Times Like These is a lesson of intergenerational frustration on one front, and love and healing on another. Addie grows up oddly innocent and sheltered in a terribly dysfunctional family, while her husband, Harold, likewise grows up watching his father verbally and emotionally abuse his mother, though not to the extent his own righteousness led him to act out on the wife he settled for and the life he felt was dealt to him. Instead of doing his best, Harold felt victimized when things didn’t go his way, and took out his selfishness on those around him. Addie, with her poor self-image, learned through the help of her neighbors and friends, to stand up for herself.

This story proves the importance of self-revelation based on an intimate faith in God, not the interpretations of Scripture and faith practices of others where “right,” “wrong,” and “justifiable” are usually in the eye of the beholder.

Loved it and would read it again. Great for discussion groups and those who like well-researched WWII era on the US side and female character growth.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Everstone Chronicles book 4 The Cautious Maiden

The Cautious Maiden, book 4 of the Everstone Chronicles
Whitaker House, October 2016
The Cautious Maiden (The Everstone Chronicles #4)
buy on Amazon

Violet Hawthorne is beyond mortified when her brother Ezra turns their deceased parents' New England country inn into a brothel to accommodate the nearby lumberjacks but when Violet's own reputation is compromised, the inn becomes the least of her worries. In an effort to salvage her good name, Violet is forced into an engagement with a taciturn acquaintance, Vance Everstone.

As she prepares for a society wedding, Violet learns that her brother had staked her hand in marriage in a heated poker game with the unsavory Rowen Steele, and Ezra had lost. Now Rowen is determined to cash in on his IOU.

With danger stalking her and a new fiancé who hides both his emotion and his past, Violet must decide who to trust, and who to leave behind.

My review:
I read The Bound Heart, book 2 in the series, just before this one. Technically out of order, I’m glad I did, as this book carries on with the rogue, Vance Everstone’s, story. We left him wounded after his brother-in-law attempted to seek misguided revenge, and murdered Vance’s brother. Such devastation caused a complete spiritual change, which can be understandable with what Vance witnessed. While the books stand alone and feature different characters, they are all tied together and I would recommend reading at least The Bound Heart with this book.

Starting with a shocking attack, Crandall dives right in to contrast Violet’s depraved sibling with the former rake, Vance, who steps right into gentle heroism with great aplomb. Vance’s reformation comes with a new ability to see past his own carnal desires, and find his soul mate. The problem comes when he has to convince her of his true intentions despite her brother’s interference, and without scaring her off, especially since a good man who loves her might make a better choice. Vance tries to sacrifice his love for her, but his nature of getting what he wants resurfaces. Fortunately for Violet, Vance’s altruism and reconditioned heart works in time to prevent another tragedy.

The Cautious Maiden is historical romance with a little sauce, some pretty passionate kissing and devastating swoon-worthy heroism. As a history lover, I appreciated the details of this era of late nineteenth century New England, but would also have enjoyed some more sense of the exciting accomplishments taking place in medicine and technology and world events to more firmly set the Victorian feel. The story could have been plopped into any era, but that was okay with the richly drawn characters. Book 3, The Captive Imposter, is reviewed on this site.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

October November Releases Clash Champion

Congratulations to Kara Isaacs, with 
Can't Help Falling


Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes and Noble

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.

Emelia Mason has spent her career finding the dirt on the rich and famous. But deep down past this fearless tabloid-reporter façade, there’s a nerdy Narnia-obsessed girl who still can’t resist climbing into wardrobes to check for the magical land on the other side. When a story she writes produces tragic results, she flees to Oxford, England—home to C.S. Lewis—to try and make amends for the damage she has caused.

Peter Carlisle was on his way to become one of Great Britain’s best rowers—until he injured his shoulder and lost his chance at glory. He’s determined to fight his way back to the top even if it means risking permanent disability to do so. It’s the only way he can find his way past failing the one person who never stopped believing in his Olympic dream.

When Peter and Emelia cross paths on her first night in Oxford, the attraction is instant and they find common ground in their shared love of Narnia. But can the lessons from a fantasyland be enough to hold them together when secrets of the real world threaten to tear them apart? Cobblestone streets, an aristocratic estate, and an antique shop with curious a wardrobe bring the world of Narnia to life in Kara Isaac’s inspiring and romantic story about second chances.

What Voters Had to Say:

These authors are all a blessing! Please keep writing...You encourage us all!

The cover alone makes me want to read the book, which sounds like a wonderful read. :)

Loved Can't Help Falling. More please! :)

Keep writing, Kara! Love your books!

Kara Isaac, I have just discovered your books and love them. Keep it up! 

I loved Kara Isaac's first book, Close to You, so am really looking forward to reading Can't Help Falling. I enjoy her style of writing. I recommended Close to You to my book club, so hopefully we'll be reading and discussing it sometime in 2017.

I have read, and enjoyed, Can't Help Falling. As far as the covers, I have to vote for this one because what little you see of the guy's face, it looks like my son!!

I won Kara Isaac's Can't Help Falling on a Facebook giveaway and was wonderfully surprised at how much I loved this book! The cover is amazing and it really catches the eye!

Kara has a zany unique writing style that combines substance with heartfelt laughter

I'm not familiar with some of these authors but really like some of them!  Keep up the good work!

Kara Isaac, you have such a gift bringing comedy, romance, and meaning to your stories. I love them!!

Wish I could have picked two books here, because Can't Help Falling caught me just by the description. I'll be looking for this one!

About the Author:

Kara Isaac
Kara Isaac lives in Wellington, New Zealand. When she's not working her day job as a public servant, chasing around a ninja preschooler and his feisty toddler sister, she spends her time writing horribly bad first drafts and wishing you could get Double Stuf Oreos in New Zealand. Her debut romantic comedy, Close To You, released April 2016. Her sophomore novel, Can't Help Falling, released in October 2016 and is an RT Reviews Top Pick. She loves to connect with readers on GoodReads, Twitter, Facebook and through her website.

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.

Friday, November 11, 2016


November 11, 2016 from Prism Book Group
From the Back cover:

When nobody loves you, you have nothing to lose.

Lily Masters is not getting involved with any fake job scheme covering a sex trafficking operation supposedly cooked up by her stepbrother, prison guard Art Townsend. Hoping to get help at a friend’s place deep in the woods of northern Wisconsin before a blizzard, Lily loses her way. At first, she doesn’t realize how fortunate she is to be found by Cam Taylor, a poetry-spouting former lit professor. Cam has his own reasons to hide while writing a biography of his Civil Rights activist grandparents and accidentally stirs up a cold case murder involving a potential Supreme Court judge. When trouble follows, either of them is the likely target.

Beneath every story is layer upon layer of trust and lies. Who can they believe when things go from surreal to devastating?

$3.99 eBook

JOIN ME FROM 2-2:30 EST for a book discussion 
and giveaway

The underlying theme of UnderStory is prejudice—how we look and perceive others and judge them and ourselves by the way they look, whether we can see the physical or emotional scars. Lily Masters is born with a genetic condition, Poland’s syndrome, which colors her world, makes her feel unloved and unwanted, and although she’s learned to hide her condition and feelings, get a good job and function in public, she can never again connect with someone who would learn about her physical problem and reject her. When Lily is rescued by a biracial Literature professor, Cam Taylor, who is dealing with prejudice on so many levels, and they are stranded together, she begins to learn not to judge people and situations by what others say or even by her own standards. Lily and Cam’s journeys are about learning that shame is a reaction they choose based on others’ perceptions and standards, not something they have to accept. Learning to free herself from the bonds of self-loathing, Lily realizes how to be strong and fight for her family and how to accept love as well as give it. Cam comes to a peaceful place as he learns to see the world through what is, not through what he anticipates.

Endorsements sample:
Lisa Lickel weaves together a masterful tale of intrigue and romance, and the multilayers of complexity will leave the reader turning the pages. The characters are well-developed, and overarching themes involving racism and prejudice will resonate with the reader. The story takes place in the Midwest—in a small town that harbors a big secret—perhaps more common than anyone dares to imagine. UnderStory is one of those rare books that’s not only a great read but makes a statement about what’s most important—in the midst of depravity, unfairness, and greed.
—Lorilyn Roberts, award-winning author and founder of the John 3:16 Marketing Network

Drugs, human trafficking, and corruption all play their part in Lisa Lickel’s atmospheric thriller, UnderStory, but it’s the characters and the love story you’ll remember most. In some ways, the book reminded me of the movie Fargo—quirky locals, investigators facing not only ruthless criminals but also a frozen winter landscape of snow and ice in an isolated far north town. The blizzard is the catalyst that brings together two emotionally damaged strangers when Cam finds the mysterious Lily unconscious near his isolated cabin. When he brings her inside, he becomes involved in both love and dangers he never expected when he hid himself away in the woods.
—Robin Johns Grant, author of Summer’s Winter.

Here's an Excerpt
Cam had borrowed Lily’s car to get home last night. As he drove back into Barter Valley in the morning, slipping around on the car’s bald tires, for his appointment with Minerva Thorsten, he kept a running commentary of his current situation spiraling in his head. Stone cold stupid. This whole deal with him and the Internet and research was a separate thing going down from the case Forbes was on, just like the man said. Cam could not believe him at first.
Uncle Sam was monitoring his personal business. But Cam had beaten a mess before. He’d been acquitted. He wasn’t on any sex-offender registry or felon watch-list. He didn’t think so, anyway. How ripped from the headlines was that? “Illegal Wire Tapping in Small Town Library.” “Free Speech Rights Stomped Again.” “Sex Trafficking Stopped.” All of Matt’s dreams would come true when he broke both stories. And if Matt was right, this Minerva was the perfect legal representation for a person whose constitutional rights were being violated.
He parked, pulled up his hood and jumped frozen waist-high piles of snow to get to the newspaper office. At least the weather was changing. The high temp might make zero today. The dogs would be all right. They’d stay together, keep warm. He’d water them later. What day was it? Logan possibly had his truck ready. He caught a glimpse of a shadow on the walk, the prickle that something was in his way. He stopped and looked up. And swallowed. “Hi, there, Ole. What’s happening?”
Ole took off his gloves and cracked his knuckles. He slowly pulled the gloves back on. “Lily isn’t like the other girls around here. She sorta got a little stuck-up from living in the cities, but she’s still a nice girl.”
After the big guy’s little display of assumed prowess, Cam decided to refrain from eye-rolling, sighing, or any other possibly misunderstood gesture of superiority. Besides, he liked Ole and felt a little sorry about maybe taking Lily away from him…if he could even pretend like that. “I agree she’s a nice girl. Pretty early in the morning for a conversation like this, pal. And I’m on my way to an appointment. Spot you a coffee later?”
Ole plunged right on. “And good. She’s not going back there with you, all alone, to stay at your place again.”
At this, Cam let out a chuckle. “I agree she’s not going back there alone.” He watched Ole’s jaw muscles clench and held up a hand. “It’s not what you think, man. I care about her safety, and it’s not safe out there.”
The other man snorted as he breathed in. His mouth opened. “I kin keep her safe.”
Cam nodded as if he agreed and said softly, “Or your mother can.”
Ole’s apple cheeks turned an even darker shade of red, while his expression became wounded.
“Just so we understand each other, brother,” Cam said. “I trust you. Lily trusts you. We don’t trust anyone else.”
Cam swallowed and wiped his mouth as he watched Ole stride away, each step like a league, until he disappeared around a corner. A hugely smiling fox-faced Sven drove the snowplow past and honked.
They had to have been fraternal twins.
Ten seconds later, Matt moved his face from the computer screen at the Freeman office to notice Cam stood at his side. “Buddy! I gotta tell ya, this is the third most exciting thing to happen in Barter Valley. Since I can remember, anyhoo. Take a load off.”

Cam set his coat on the back of a chair and rubbed his hands. “Third?”

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Jazz Age Fiction Guide Me Home by Connie Cortright

Guide Me Home  Book one of the Grace Alone series
Connie J Cortright

ISBN 978-0996844109
Milk Door Publications
November 5, 2015

Buy on Amazon 

About the Book
What comes to mind when you hear the 1920s? Flappers? Jazz? Speakeasies? Bobbed haircuts? Cloche hats? Roaring Twenties?
In 1926, this answer wasn’t so simple for a Christian school teacher. A young, naïve Emma Ehlke left her family’s Wisconsin farm and took up a new teaching post at a parochial school in Racine. Excited by the prospect of leaving her dodgy rural life, she looked forward to experiencing life in the Jazz Age. Emma soon fell under the charms of her dashing neighbor Freddie, who offered to be Emma’s guide to the exciting adventures ahead. Under his guidance, she experienced a life she’d only dreamed about.
However, she didn’t take into consideration her actions in light of her new career. Newly ordained and single minister, Pastor Neil Hannemann was left to deal with Emma’s impetuous actions as she attempted to join the Jazz Age. He longed to take her under his wing, but not like Freddie! He was forced to confront Emma about her naïve decisions and pointed out to her that a Christian’s life in the Roaring Twenties should be totally different than how she was acting. Under his shepherding, Neil attempted to guide her home by the godly course.
Emma found herself torn. Should she choose the novelties and excitement offered by Freddie, or the faithful path on which Pastor Neil wanted to lead her?

My Review
Cortright’s fiction explores a side of the excitement of the Roaring Twenties that is often neglected. How does the community of faith respond to the exuberance and overindulgence of an era of good times?
Newly adult Emma Ehlke, fresh from college with her teaching degree under her arm, leaves home for her first job in a new community. She soon learns how classroom preparation and the real world meet only through experience. She also realizes how much she has to learn about the real world and how to handle the opinionated members of her Lutheran congregation. When her neighbor begins a carefully crafted seduction, Emma takes much of the story to learn the truth of the necessity of relying on God first, her gut and conscience always, and the people who have her best interest and her true heart in mind, forever.
Emma’s neighbor, Freddie, might be the admirer her self-esteem preens for, but the man whose admiration grows in her soul proves that true love might just lie nearer than next door.
Told in multiple viewpoints with delightful historicity in a familiar community in Racine, Kenosha, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Cortright’s multi-layered historical romantic fiction explores the reliability of true faith and friendship, the heart and spirit of an exciting period of time, and the nature of unconditional love.

About the Author
Connie Cortright has been a history buff all her life, reading biographies and history since grade school. Naturally, when she considered writing a story, her first thoughts turned toward historical fiction. Her novels are set in America's Midwest and reflect her own Wisconsin farming roots. Snippets of her childhood experiences pop up in her stories. Her life has been the fulfillment of her girlhood dreams: becoming a Lutheran school teacher, marrying a pastor, and having lots of children. Her life has taken her to both coasts (California and New Jersey) as she followed her pastor-husband in his service to various churches with their four sons.