Tuesday, April 29, 2014

"The Third Day" by Alex Webb-Peploe (Illustrator)

Written for teens, this graphic novel illustrates the events of Luke 22 - 24. The change from "comic book" to graphic novel has been interesting, with graphics and text being honed for specific age groups. Christian publishers are finding, and filling, the need for Christian young people to have this type of novel for their own. Through the text and illustrations, teens can get a realistic feel of Easter, for the crucifixion of Christ;  a feel that may help bring its reality to life for them. This is a Bible story told in a new and different way and is only about 48 pages long.  

I wasn't sure what I would think about this book when I signed up to review it, but found myself drawn in differently to the story I know so well. I wasn't sure if I liked the idea of making the Bible into a graphic novel, but I was pleasantly surprised! It was fun to read, touched my heart, and conveyed its message. Isn't that what we want when we ask our children to read the Bible?  If you have young people in your home who enjoy graphic novels, this would probably be a great selection for you. And, with more to hopefully follow, it could provide the beginning of a library your teens will love to revisit.  I received my review copy from Cross Focused Reviews for an honest review.

"Critical Condition" by Richard L Mabry, MD

Life as she knows it continually goes from bad to worse, and now Dr. Shannon Frasier is trying to stay alive. How did this happen to her life? Will she survive?

Shannon Frasier is a doctor who seems to have it all, but really doesn't. Her life has its ups and downs, but when she finds a body on her lawn, it starts to spiral down more quickly. Faster than she knows it, Shannon finds herself alone without the support she needs to deal with someone threatening her life. Can Shannon help get her sister back on track? Will she ever commit to Mark? What will happen with her father? And, why was the man killed on her lawn and who is threatening her? All these questions are answered between the covers of "Critical Condition."

This book is a real treat for those of us who like medical suspense stories. From the minute I opened the book, I was hooked. Each successive situation had me asking, "How much more can she handle?" The characters and story line are wonderfully put together, and it was fun to try to figure out what was happening. If you enjoy medical suspense and thrillers, this book is for you. I received my review copy from Litfuse Publicity for participation in the blog tour.

About the Book

About the book: Dr. Frasier couldn't save the gunshot victim on her front lawn. Now she's fighting for her own life.
It began as a quiet dinner party honoring Dr. Shannon Frasier's colleague, but became a nightmare when a man was shot on her lawn, reviving emotions from a similar episode a decade ago. Then a midnightcall from her sister, Megan, causes Shannon to fear that her sister is on drugs again.
Her "almost-fiancĂ©" Dr. Mark Gilbert's support only adds to Shannon's feelings of guilt, since she can't bring herself to fully commit to him. She turns for help to her pastor-father, only to learn that he's just been diagnosed with leukemia. Shannon thought it couldn't get any worse. Then the late-night, threatening phone calls begin, the rough voice asking, "What did he say before he died?"
With everything around her in a critical state, simply staying alive will require all the resources and focus Shannon has.

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/vyZt6

About the Author: A retired physician, Dr. Richard Mabry is the author of four critically acclaimed novels of medical suspense. His previous works have been finalists for the Carol Award and Romantic Times Reader's Choice Award, and have won the Selah Award. He is a past Vice-President of American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of the International Thriller Writers. He and his wife live in North Texas.

Connect with Richard at: http://rmabry.com
 Blog tour schedule

Thursday, April 24, 2014

"Afterparty" by Daryl Gregory

afterpary.jpgTwo patients in a mental hospital, one lives and one dies; a brain altering drug called Numinous, and the search to find the remaining creators of the drug form the basis of this new book by Daryl Gregory. Is there any way to stop the rise of the drug's use?

Numinous is a drug created by "Little Sprout," a group of five people that included Lyda Rose. It was meant to help eradicate schizophrenia, but had a side effect that made those who took it believe in some type of God. The five decided to never let the drug out to the public because of that side effect. As an atheist, Lyda had great difficulty dealing with the angel that she saw and that landed her in a mental institution, which is where she found out that someone had let the drug out. Another Numinous victim ended up there - a seventeen year old girl who took the drug as a sacrament in a church, was arrested, lost her supply, and killed herself for lack of the drug. Lyda really woke up to the consequences of the drug and decided to find the others who helped her create Numinous and "put the genie back in the bottle." There were only three of them left. Could she find them and convince them to help her get rid of the drug? How did it get out? Would they find a cure?

This is an interesting and relevant book in our world today. So many people look to drugs for answers to problems, not really taking into account the side effects. If you enjoy different types of books that make you think, this book is for you. There are light-hearted moments mixed in with the seriousness, which brings the characters and story to life. It is an interesting mix of chemistry and religion.:

Afterparty by Daryl Gregory (April 22, 2014, Tor Books) is part science fiction, part thriller and completely mind-bending.
This futuristic novel opens in Toronto, in the years after the smart drug revolution where all you need is a chemjet and Internet connection to print—or invent—drugs. One such drug is the brain-altering Numinous, new to the street drug scene.  Credited with leading people to God, it is being used as a sacrament by a new church that preys on the underclass. 
After Francine, a 17-year-old street girl and victim of that church, is thrown into a detention facility and in withdrawal from Numinous, she meets Lyda Rose who has a dark secret: she is one of the original creators of the drug that she thought no longer existed. After Francine commits suicide, Lyda sets out to make things right.
With the help of an ex-government agent and an imaginary, drug-induced doctor, Lyda begins a fast-paced chase across Canada and the United States to find the other survivors who created Numinous—and stop whoever is making the drug.
This thought-provoking novel about neuroscience, drugs, crime and God is one unique, exhilarating adventure; it has been featured by Kirkus Reviews and Publisher’s Weekly.
About the Author:Daryl Gregory is an award-winning writer of genre-mixing novels, stories, and comics. His first novel, Pandemonium, won the Crawford Award and was nominated for a World Fantasy Award. His other novels include The Devil’s Alphabet (a Philip K. Dick award finalist), Raising Stony Mayhall (a Library Journal best SF book of the year)and the upcoming Afterparty. Many of his short stories are collected in Unpossible and Other Stories, which was named one of the best books of 2011 by Publishers Weekly. He lives in State College, PA.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"Mom Seeks God" by Julia Roller

Mothers are so busy all the time. There are children to care for, a house to clean, food to cook, and on and on it goes. While it is a rewarding life, time with God can come up short. How can you find time to communicate with Him through His Word and prayer while juggling everything else? 

Julia Roller is a mother who found herself trying to find a way to do it all, yet feeling there had to be a better way. This book details her year-long journey to find and build a closer relationship with God. She shares her wisdom and knowledge while letting mothers know it is possible to have a rich and full life. The ten disciplines she studied are: prayer, fellowship, submission, study, simplicity, silence, worship, fasting, service, and celebration. Each is an essential part of a Christian walk, and each is a vibrant part of the Christian life. Through the pages of the book, mothers can find a way to regain a close walk with God by truly seeking Him. 

This is a powerful book about paying attention to our spiritual walk and our relationship with God. I found a great deal of information applicable to my life even though my children are no longer small. If you, or someone you know, are struggling with making it all "happen," this book would be a great place to start. I also think it would make a wonderful study for new/young mothers' groups. I received my review copy from Litfuse in exchange for participation in the blog tour.


Author: Julia Roller
Mom Seeks God by Julia Roller offers a highly relatable story and useful advice to help new moms grow in their faith as they address life changes with grace, patience, and prayer. As readers discover ten essential faith practices, they’ll learn that motherhood itself is a spiritual discipline and can be God’s most effective technique for forming a more Christ-like life.
Julia is celebrating the book’s release with a fun giveaway and connecting with moms during a live Facebook author chat.
One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle HDX
  • Mom Seeks God by Julia Roller
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 1st. Winner will be announced at “Moms’ May Day” Facebook Party on May 1st. Connect with Julia for an encouraging discussion on spiritual discipline and finding joy in the middle of motherhood. Win prizes, connect with other moms, and be inspired.
So grab your copy of Mom Seeks God and join Julia on the evening of May 1st for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)


Book info for your blog
About the book: The first months and years of motherhood can be the most challenging and disorienting of your life---and faith. When you're surrounded by the happy chaos of children, how do you spend quiet time with God if the only quiet time you get is while you sleep? How can you demonstrate a solid spiritual life to your children if you don't have time to pursue one yourself?
When Julia Roller discovered that her spiritual growth had been stunted by the busyness of life with her toddler, she embarked on a yearlong journey through ten spiritual disciplines: prayer, fellowship, submission, study, simplicity, silence, worship, fasting, service, and celebration. As she focused on each discipline, she discovered practical ways to observe them---even in the chaos of her every day.

Purchase a copy and find out more about Julia at: http://www.juliaroller.com

About the Author: Julia Roller is an author and editor. Her books include Mom Seeks God(Abingdon Press), A Year with God(with Richard J. Foster), A Year with Aslan, and 25 Books Every Christian Should Read. Working with RenovarĂ©, she has also co-authored four spiritual formation guides. She has written study guides for authors such as Desmond Tutu, Richard J. Foster, Henri Nouwen, Jenna Bush, and Rob Bell. Her articles have appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, Street Spirit, Group, Rev.!, and Children's Ministry. She and her family live in San Diego, California.
 Blog tour schedule

Monday, April 7, 2014

"Maybelle in Stitches" by Joyce Magnin

A quilt, a woman who can't really sew, a military husband gone missing, and and interesting family history are all parts of this new book by Joyce Magrin. Is Maybelle right holding on to her belief that Holden will come back to her? 

Quilting was not something Maybelle thought she would do because she couldn't sew. But as she attempted to fill her time after her new husband went off to war, she went to the attic to explore. One of the things she found was an unfinished quilt and she decided it was time to try sewing. As her lonely nights stretched on, Maybelle found comfort in not only the quilting, but also in the story her family through the quilt. There were many things she didn't know. Will Maybelle hear anything good about Holden? Will the quilt remain the activity that keeps her sane? Come and learn more about Maybelle, Holden, and the family quilt.

Another wonderful book in the "Quilts of Love" series! I enjoyed the characters and story line, and I was constantly rooting for news about Holden. It was also fun to read about Maybelle's growth in sewing and the comfort it gave her. I have always loved quilting and these books bring the process alive. If you enjoy books that have a historical setting, with compelling characters, and the process of making it through the day by day struggle we all face, this book is for you. I received my review copy from Litfuse in exchange for participation in the blog tour.
Book Info

About Quilts of Love: Quilts tell stories of love and loss, hope and faith, tradition and new beginnings. TheQuilts of Love series focuses on the women who quilted all of these things into their family histories. A new book releases each month and features contemporary and historical romances as well as women's fiction and the occasional light mystery. You will be drawn into the endearing characters of this series and be touched by their stories.

About the book: Maybelle Kazinzki can't sew. She was after all, the only girl in the seventh grade Home Economics class to sew the zipper in the neck hole of the A-Line dress they were supposed to make. But when she finds an unfinished quilt in the attic of her mother's house she gets the crazy idea to finish it---somehow, come heck or high water. She thinks it will help fill the lonely nights while her husband, Holden, is serving overseas during World War II.

Her recently departed mother's quilt is made from scraps of material Maybelle traces back to her mother's childhood, her grandmother's childhood and her own childhood. She tries to add one of Holden's stripes to it but the sewing is not going well and neither is her life. After receiving some harsh news, Maybelle's faith falters and she puts the quilt away and stops trusting God. But God is faithful---no matter what. And it'll take a group of neighborhood women armed with quilting needles to help Maybelle believe that.

Learn more about this book and the series at the Quilts of Love website.

About the Author: Joyce Magnin is the author of the Bright's Pond novels, including the award-winning The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow. A member of the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Fellowship, Joyce is a frequent workshop leader and the organizer of the StoryCrafters fiction group. She lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Learn more about Joyce at: http://joycemagnin.blogspot.com

 Blog Tour Schedule


Saturday, April 5, 2014

"Shadow Hand" by Anne Elizabeth Stengl

In this sixth book of her "Tales of Goldstone Wood" series,  Anne E. Stengl's recounts more of the story of Lady Daylily, Lionheart, and Prince Foxbrush. Will Lady Daylily be forced to marry someone she doesn't love, or will the one she loves save the day? 

Lady Daylily is miserable as she thinks about the loss of Lionheart and her upcoming arranged marriage to Prince Foxbrush.  So, what did she do? She ran away to the Wilderlands to hide but was followed. Who followed her and who is in the Wilderlands? As the story continues, readers are treated to many interesting characters and themes (redemption, love, hope, mercy, etc.). It is truly another captivating book in the series, and the questions readers have from Book 5 will be answered!

I really enjoy Anne E. Stengl's writing style. Her characters continue to amaze me, and her story lines and settings are captivating. If you enjoy series books that are challenging yet enthralling, this series is for you. I recommend that you read the books from the beginning so that you are up on the characters, story line, and settings. I received my free review copy from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

"By Faith Isaac" by Elsa Henderson

Abraham and Isaac, father and son, begin this new book by Elsa Henderson. Isaac becomes the focus in order to discover the reason he is mentioned in the "faith hall of fame." Through the use of flashbacks, readers will see how Isaac's faith grew throughout his lifetime.

Flashback - Isaac is a child with many questions about Yahweh as the book begins. Abraham patiently and lovingly explains who God is and why He is important. Flashback - Rebecca and Isaac meet, falling in love instantly. More flashbacks show the way Isaac has grown in faith. There were many situations that had tested him, some where he succeeded and others not so well, but each brought Isaac closer to the God he loved. From his childhood, to his loving marriage to Rebecca, to his defeat of Kedorlaomer's army, and even through pretending that Rebecca was his sister and not his wife, Isaac grew in faith. His example, lovingly retold in this book, offers encouragement and light for our way. 

This is a book about faith and the wonderful things that come from that faith. Yes, there were times when Isaac wasn't as steadfast in his faith as he should have been, but God used each of those instances for good. It is a good example for Christians everywhere. This fictional retelling will delight readers of every age and will make a great discussion book for reading groups. I received my free review copy from Book Look in exchange for an honest review.

"The Queen's Handmaid" by Tracy Higley

An orphan who served in Cleopatra's palace has an extremely important package to keep safe. There are those who would like to find, and destroy, these scrolls of Daniel. As Lydia travels to Jerusalem and begins work in the house of Herod, will they find her and destroy this vital information?

Lydia was orphaned at an early age and her options were few. She was taken to Cleopatra's palace and put to work. She wanted to keep to herself, stay out of harm's way, but was befriended by Samuel and a cook in the kitchen. But, Samuel was attacked and before he died, he gave Lydia an important job. He gave her the scrolls of Daniel and instructed her to give them to a specific person in the temple of Jerusalem. How would she get there? God intervened when Herod saw her with Cleopatra's children and took her to work in his house. Now in Jerusalem, Lydia had to keep herself and the scrolls safe. Would her enemies discover her identity and the location of the scrolls? Would Lydia find the man who would take the burden from her? 

This is a really interesting historical novel. You can tell that Tracy Higley did her research because the scenes and characters are realistic. It is like taking a step back in time. This book will not only make a wonderful selection for readers of historical fiction, but I also think book clubs would enjoy discussing the intricacies of the book. I received my free review copy in exchange for honest participation in the Litfuse blog tour.  

About the Giveaway 


Author: Tracy L. Higley

The Queen’s Handmaid is the latest from author Tracy L. Higley. CBA Retailers gave it this glowing review: “Rich in historic detail, Higley’s vivid writing brings to life the plots and intrigues that swirled through the ancient world as alliances were built and broken on the calculated schemes of power-mad monarchs.”
Tracy is celebrating the release with a fun giveaway.
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • The Queen’s Handmaid by Tracy L. Higley
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 19th. Winner will be announced April 21st on Tracy’s blog.


Book Info

About the book: From the servant halls of Cleopatra's Egyptian palace to the courts of Herod the Great, Lydia will serve two queens to see prophecy fulfilled.
Alexandria, Egypt 39 BC
Orphaned at birth, Lydia was raised as a servant in Cleopatra's palace, working hard to please while keeping everyone at arm's length. She's been rejected and left with a broken heart too many times in her short life.
But then her dying mentor entrusts her with secret writings of the prophet Daniel and charges her to deliver this vital information to those watching for the promised King of Israel. Lydia must leave the nearest thing she's had to a family and flee to Jerusalem. Once in the Holy City, she attaches herself to the newly appointed king, Herod the Great, as handmaid to Queen Mariamme.
Trapped among the scheming women of Herod's political family---his sister, his wife, and their mothers---and forced to serve in the palace to protect her treasure, Lydia must deliver the scrolls before dark forces warring against the truth destroy all hope of the coming Messiah.

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/uKKQP

About the Author: Tracy L. Higley started her first novel at age eight and has been hooked on writing ever since. She has authored many novels, includingGarden of Madness and So Shines the Night. Tracy is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Ancient History and has traveled through Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Italy, researching her novels and falling into adventures. 

See Tracy's travel journals and more at: tracyhigley.com

 Blog Tour Schedule