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The Remaining
The Remaining
by Travis Thrasher
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.31
46 used & new from $7.30

4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling End Time Horror Novel, December 19, 2014
This review is from: The Remaining (Paperback)
This compelling novel puts a whole different spin on end times fiction. The rapture doesn't leave behind empty clothing, instead it leaves behind bodies. Lots of bodies, and lots of destruction and a whole bunch of terror.

In other post rapture fictionalizations there is the opportunity to gradually have questions about God answered and time to study and even do some research. Not so much in The Remaining. This is a adrenaline laced page turner with twists and unexpected turns.

Prepare to feel unsettled if not out right horrified. However, fans of suspense, horror and make-you-think fiction might want to put this one on their must read list.


Making Marion
Making Marion
Price: $1.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Charming Novel With Wistful Whimsy and Lots of Heart, November 23, 2014
This review is from: Making Marion (Kindle Edition)
Marion stops at a little, quaint trailer holiday park to ask for directions but instead ends up with a job and a complete and total makeover. This is a well-written, entertaining and slightly wistful read with plenty of humor and a ton of heart.

Marion is a little lost girl in a woman's body and she's looking to connect with her deceased father. So she visits the Robin Hood festival where clues connected to her father in his distant past. As she uncovers more clues she discovers more about herself. Miss Scarlett, the charming camp site owner, loves on Marion and introduces her to a whole new world that includes community and friendship and loads of quirky and charming characters. As in all good books, Marion discovers far more than she set out to find and finds her true self in the process.

Readers who like their inspirational fiction to be clearly Christ focused and pure as the driven snow might struggle with Making Marion. However, I found it to be a charming read full of sweet characters struggling through complicated challenges.


Prime of Life: A Novel
Prime of Life: A Novel
Price: $3.03

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars QUIRKY Characters and Snappy Writing. Surprisingly Thoughtful and Sweet, too. Charming Read., November 23, 2014
This novel was a huge surprise for me. Okay. Call me judgmental but my expectations weren't high. It's written by a doctor. (I work in medicine, and though my docs are brilliant and wonderful and all that, the focus and dedication to medicine doesn't leave a lot of time for the focus and dedication required to write well, just saying.) My interest was piqued, however, since purchasing this book makes a donation to a terrific cause. Because I constantly am reading more than one book at a time, I usually have a book in my purse for wait times during my activities of daily living, and I usually chose a book I don’t think I’m going to adore. That’s where Prime of Life went. Purse book.

I loved the cover and the plot line sounded interesting. A doctor who has escaped his life and now is a janitor at a retirement community. But still, it was destined for the purse.

However, once I began reading the novel it became a must-finish-this-book-as-soon-as-possible read. The writing clips along. The characters are quirky with a capital Q. Prime of Life is a charming read. Moments of deep or melancholy pepper the book along with loads of humor and sarcasm. I adore quirky characters and sarcasm even more. This one was right up my alley. The one caution I have is that there is a little bit of curmudgeonly humor/language that might offend more sensitive readers.


Thief of Glory: A Novel
Thief of Glory: A Novel
by Sigmund Brouwer
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.66
73 used & new from $6.56

5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful Story, Powerful Writing, November 18, 2014
Wow.

I have a confession. There are books I won't read. My list includes books I think will be sappy or cheesy, or one dimensional. I kind of avoid sci-fi/fantasy because I have enough trouble remembering the important details in the real world. Lastly, I avoid books set in times of war. Now. I also have this bizarre deep vein of melancholy that loves a book that indelibly etches itself on my soul through the characters and writing. That may be one of the reasons I avoid wartime novels. Sometimes those novels are just so painful to read, and without hope.

Imagine my surprise when I opened the mail and discovered a copy of Sigmund Brouwer's latest novel and set it aside to read. I've read him before and I like his voice and the back cover description compelled me to hang onto it. I cracked the cover and was lost in a world that was brutal beyond understanding. A world that was as foreign to me as sci-fi is but a world that held a minute seed of hope and life in it's clutches.

Brouwer's tale is inspired from the research he did into the lives of his parents and grandparents in the brutal setting of World War II. Jeremiah, 10 years old, already with an old soul, finds that he needs to grow into a man well before he should. A man who won't cry and will never give up. The conditions of his life are unbearable and horrific. I've always been shocked at how far evil will go. It seems that there should be a limit, some stopping point. But I guess that's the nature of evil and why the good news of Christ's sacrifice and offer of salvation is so very beautiful.

The characterization in this novel is rich and vivid. Brouwer's writing is powerful. Jeremiah's story is hideously beautiful. War is hell, love is the antidote. Use caution if you are easily disturbed. There is brutality and horror of many kinds in this novel. But if you are on the lookout for a story where love triumphs and changes those it touches, pick up a copy.


The Covered Deep
The Covered Deep
by Brandy Vallance
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.20
51 used & new from $2.40

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Page Turning Historical. Impressive Debut, November 4, 2014
This review is from: The Covered Deep (Paperback)
The Covered Deep is a very well written piece of fiction. A winner of Operation First Novel, author Brandy Vallance put a daunting amount of research into this one. Not only did she have to study late 1880’s Appalachia, she had to study London, ships, and the Middle East.

Her characters are well-read and studied and the knowledge they have is a fun way Ms. Vallance shares some of her historical tid bits.

Often, a book’s first chapter is the polished and best written section of the entire book, but I found that the further I traveled with Bianca Marshal, the more I enjoyed the smoothness of the prose.

As I said, this novel is historically rich including customs, apparel, social interactions and events. Several museums factor in and there is a wealth of great historical material covered. Spiritually, the novel is rich without being too preachy.

Even better than the history is the plotline and characters. This novel is full of some cat and mouse intrigue. One of the characters is a bit of a game player and the intensity of the simple story that could have been is ramped up with tension. My favorite character is the male lead and there were moments where I grew a little frustrated with Bianca as she struggled with him.

I’d love to see a sequel and I hope there is one in the works. There are situations I’d love to follow up on and think there is plenty of material to build on and come up with even a third book. I don’t want to drop any spoilers so I feel like I’m being vague. So here’s my bottom line. This is definitely a great read, a terrific Christmas present for a historical fiction fan, and I recommend it to those who love historicals.


An Insider's Guide to Spiritual Warfare: 30 Battle-Tested Strategies from Behind Enemy Lines
An Insider's Guide to Spiritual Warfare: 30 Battle-Tested Strategies from Behind Enemy Lines
by Kristine McGuire
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.46
43 used & new from $7.50

4.0 out of 5 stars A Grace Filled View of Spiritual Warfare, October 21, 2014
I have made a whole lot of mistakes in my life. I really don't like learning things the hard way. So, it's always refreshing to be able to learn from someone else's journey.

Enter Kristine McGuire. McGuire spent years immersed in the Occult and even transitioned herself into a unique blend of Christianity and witchcraft. God actually opened her eyes to the choice she needed to make between Him and evil while she was knee deep in ghost hunting.

McGuire even has toxic legalism in her background as well so she has spent time in the religious realm, darkness and now has a deep understanding of grace.

An Insider's Guide to Spiritual Warfare includes a grace-filled approach to spiritual warfare. There is a lack of fear, terror and looking for a demon in every bush and an abundance of truth. The biggest element of truth running throughout the handbook is the reality that living in Christ is the answer. However, there are so many details that McGuire gleaned from her journey that paints a picture of what that might look like in various situations. From things that permeate our culture that are open doors into evil, to our provided spiritual armor, to the destructive attitudes that are open doors for self and demonic deception.

With questions for self-assessment and consideration at the end of each chapter and plenty of help on handling different scenarios, I think this would be a terrific book for independent or group study. Overall, even though McGuire shares some detail of her dabbling the overall glorification is of God and His power and character. A curious teen should probably have a parent or another trusted adult go over the study and details of the book with them.


Driftwood Tides
Driftwood Tides
by Gina Holmes
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.71
69 used & new from $3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A Deep and Riveting Read, October 16, 2014
This review is from: Driftwood Tides (Paperback)
Gina Holmes has produced her best novel yet. I love escaping into fiction where the author's voice enhances the story but doesn't intrude. Holmes has done this with Driftwood Tides. I didn't think about her previous books and compare. I was pulled into the story of a young woman who discovers a shocking secret and who's life gets turned upside down.

Holmes tackles heavy subjects and produces deep characters. Her debut was a woman coming home to die and to find a family for her daughter. Her second novel was about the destruction and tentative rebuilding of a marriage, her third domestic violence. So, those who prefer inspirational escapism aren't likely to find Gina Holmes an easy author to read. But for those who want reality, even ugly, and to see the ever hopeful evidence of God's character find so much to love in Holmes's novels.

Driftwood Tides dives deeply into human dysfunction and deception. The characters have chosen so many unhealthy different ways of coping with life's disappointments. But hope wins. If you have loved any of Gina Holmes previous work you should love Driftwood Tides.


Chapel Springs Revival
Chapel Springs Revival
by Ane Mulligan
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.95
20 used & new from $9.95

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Charming, Sweet and So Glad I'm Miles Away from Claire..., September 25, 2014
This review is from: Chapel Springs Revival (Paperback)
I am always a little apprehensive when someone I know offers me a book for a review.

I've known Ane Mulligan for years and she has been a staple and mentor in my writing and blogging journey.

Ane's new book Chapel Springs Revival is a long time coming. Mulligan has worked the craft and networks involved in writing. If anyone deserves to be published just because she has given so much to other writers it would be Ane.

But Mulligan isn't just a good writing citizen, she's a good writer with stories to tell that only she can.

Ane introduces us to Claire and Patsy and their lives in a sleepy little village. But even sleepy villages often have underlying currents and pleasant, tranquil settings sometimes need a little shot of passion and life. Chapel Springs is exactly there, and Patsy and Claire are treading in marital currents.

Both women discover that their long marriages have begun to look a lot like the formerly charming town square. Used-to-be, lackluster, dull and barely functional. The ladies, along with some friends and frenemies, set out to refurbish pretty much everything.

Claire, unfortunately, has a special knack for getting into hot water, so as the clean-up and self-improvement campaigns begin, Claire finds herself getting a little too immersed into the projects. My visual of Claire while reading about her antics is a mental merge of Lucille Ball in a panic, Tomb Raider's Lora Croft on a mission, and Mrs. Doubtfire with Mr. Mom on their learning curves. Let's just say that if something could go wrong and Claire is there it will go wrong in the worst way. My favorite scene in the book is at the end when she innocently has a mishap that lands her in an all dressed-up-and-no-way-out pickle.

This story is sweet escapism but there are teaching elements that I appreciated as well. After all, I'm at a certain age and been married for a long while and have struggled with some of the same concerns discussed by Patsy and Claire. I mean, reality isn't a romance novel, it's a whole lot more like working late, worrying about family members and different interests most of the time. So while I loved the escapism and the fact that the book is very well written, I also appreciated the depth and realistic issues faced by the characters.

I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.


Hands of Darkness: A Novel (Lure of the Serpent)
Hands of Darkness: A Novel (Lure of the Serpent)
by Heather James
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.55
44 used & new from $5.83

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Taut, Tense Powerful Read, July 17, 2014
This is the second book in this series, and the second I've read of Heather James's novels. I can't shout from the mountaintop that every person needs to read this book. Just like the first one, Unholy Hunger, the theme of the novel is dark, heavy and almost unbearable.

However, the stories have been powerful and the writing is impressive. James is succinct but descriptive in her narrative. The timing is perfect with tense page turning moments followed by pages where the reader can catch a breath, or slow a heart rate. James even manages to intersperse quite a bit of humor into the storyline, though it could be considered darker in nature as it's the type of coping humor often seen in recovery rooms or station houses.

The main character, Evelyn, is brash and offensive and sarcastic but underneath has a broken heart that has begun to heal again. Cheering her on toward hope and happiness feels right. In the midst of overcoming her own horror from the recent past, reclaiming her marriage and rejoicing in the birth of their new baby, she collides with a serial murderer rapist and is thrown back into a nightmare. It's not just a generic nightmare because of her position as a police consultant either, her friend lands into the path of the monster and Evelyn finds herself clawing against the serpent as he attempts to take more innocent lives.

If you crave suspense, crime drama, police or legal procedurals, or gritty Christian fiction and love a tautly and well written story give it a shot. If you need light and inspirational reading material, steer away.


Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus
Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus
by Kyle Idleman
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.99
334 used & new from $1.52

5.0 out of 5 stars Toe Crushing Read That Should Be A Must..., May 25, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
A great title for one of the most convicting books I've ever read on the "art" of Christian living. This topical book covers many aspects of the American Christian's walk. Because in reality American Christianity isn't exactly lining up with the early church. (Not the clothing/food/lack of travel but the belief, the commitment, the Christlikeness.)

Kyle Idleman handles this sticky wicket subject with self-deprecating humor and uncomfortably squirm-producing honesty. The fan vs follower outline sheds light on areas where we may think we are uber committed and rockin this Christianity thing but in reality we leave our guts and His glory out of the equation. Fans dress the part, they scream until they blow out their vocal chords, they will dress like a mascot and wear odd hats, but when it's all said and done, they don't leave their DNA on the field. Followers. Well... Idleman clearly points out the difference. Kind of like a joke I heard once, what's the difference between a cheese omelette and bacon? Commitment.

You might not agree with all of Idleman's theology. But this is the kind of slap upside the head that every Christian should read. The reality is, the world has a laundry list of hypocriticism, sins and ugliness perpetuated by the "church," don't we who think we are Christ followers be willing to make sure we really are followers?


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