Friday, October 30, 2015

Forgiven by Terri Rogers with Jeanette Windle - REVIEWED

About the Book:
After a son does the unthinkable, how can a mother go on?

On October 2, 2006, a gunman entered an Amish one-room schoolhouse, shooting ten girls, killing five, then finally taking his own life. This is his mother's story. Not only did she lose her precious son through suicide, but she also lost her understanding of him as an honorable man. It was a trauma that none should ever have to face.

But the biggest headlines came when her Amish neighbors did the unimaginable, reaching out to the family of the shooter with comfort and forgiveness. Today Terri lives in harmony with the Amish and has built lasting relationships beyond what anyone could have thought possible. From the grace that the Amish showed Terri's family from day one, to the visits and ongoing care Terri has given to the victims and their families, no one could have foreseen the love and friendship that have been forged from the fires of tragedy.

My Thoughts:
It was a moment of sudden, healing clarity for me.  Forgiveness is a choice.”  (p. 130)

Terri Roberts received this profound truth as parents who had lost two children in the Nickel Mines’ shooting – perpetrated by her son – offered condolences to her at her son’s funeral.  This entire story chronicles some very brutal and critical relationship choices that Terri had to face time and time again following the consequences of son’s choice to take the life of innocent Amish children.  She briefly chronicles both her life and the life of her son up to that fateful day in 2007, and gives poignant context to this tragedy.  She also chronicles the unbelievable relationships and traditions that were birthed from this tragedy.  In short, you cannot read this book and NOT be challenged to look to your own heart to ferret out any unforgiveness. 

I cannot begin to fathom Terri’s experience.  However, God has allowed this book to intersect my life at a point where I was led to forgive the end of my 22 year marriage.  Infidelity was the fatal bullet to the heart of my marriage, and forgiveness has taken four years of hard work and obedience to God’s gentle leading.  But I can echo Terri with a hearty AMEN!   There is nothing as freeing as forgiveness!! Nothing!! I revel in God’s tender timing of this book’s release and how it coincided so beautifully with my own deliverance from unforgiveness!  PRAISE THE LORD INDEED!!

I HIGHLY recommend this book to everyone, but if you know someone whose life has been touched by tragedy, ask God to direct you to a moment where you can introduce this precious, healing book into their circumstances!

About the Author:
Terri Roberts travels the United States and the world speaking about the Nickel Mines Amish school shooting, forgiveness, and hope. She has been interviewed by CBS News, the Associated Press, and Reuters. Terri is a mother of four sons and a grandmother of eleven, including two step-grandchildren. She and her husband, Chuck, live just south of Strasburg, Pennsylvania. Learn more at

Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Chameleon, a Boy and a Quest by J.A. Myhre - REVIEWED

About the Book:
A Chameleon, a Boy, and a Quest (New Growth Press, October 2015)

A Boy Named Mu, an African Journey, and You

Mu, a ten-year-old orphan, has lived his entire life in the heart of Africa. For as long as he can remember he has served in the household of a great-uncle where he is unloved and ignored. In his drudgery-filled life, Mu has little hope of happiness, and little hope that anything will ever change.

But one day, everything does change. On his way to draw water one morning, Mu is astonished when a chameleon greets him by name and announces that they will embark on a quest together. And what a quest it turns out to be! Mu faces danger and finds unexpected allies as they journey through a fascinating and ever-changing landscape.

A Chameleon, a Boy, and a Quest blends magical realism with a compelling story. The exciting story line combines an orphan's journey to find a home with the plight of child soldiers and the dangers of the Ebola virus and, along the way, highlights universal themes of integrity, loyalty, faith, and love. Written by long-time medical missionary J. A. Myrhe, the artful story is laced with subtle gospel themes and handles cross-cultural issues with grace and sensitivity. Kids will encounter good and evil and learn the truth about hope, happiness, and what it means to be human in this page-turning first book in a new series.

What you'll find in A Chameleon, a Boy, and a Quest:
  • A page-turning children's action and adventure story set in a fictional African land
  • Blends magical realism and compelling storytelling with gospel themes to draw kids gently into the truth
  • Deals with real-life but (seemingly) faraway themes like the plight of orphans, the duties of child soldiers, and the reality of the Ebola virus
  • Written by a long-time medical missionary to Africa who handles cross-cultural issues with grace, sensitivity, and love
My Thoughts:
A Chameleon, a Boy and a Quest is the most unique and pleasant young adult novels I’ve had the pleasure to encounter!  The writing is magnificent, detailed and moving.  You will feel as though you are experiencing everything the 10-year-old protagonist experiences!  Having the story set in Africa only adds to the intrigue, and the character of the Chameleon is brilliant!

This is an analogy in the broadest sense, and it does have spiritual application.  I think it is a book to read aloud and savored with the young people in your life!  I’d target late elementary and early middle school students as my chosen audience.  Yes, and read aloud to them.  Engage in conversation and swapping ideas!  This book is a beautiful opportunity to discuss so very much!! 

I have to say this again….this book is unique, intriguing and captivating!! Share this with the young people in your life today!

Purchase you copy HERE!

J. A. Myhre serves as a doctor with Serge in East Africa where she has worked for over two decades. She is passionate about health care for the poor, training local doctors and nurses, promoting childhood nutrition and development, and being the hands of Jesus in the hardest places. She is married to her best friend and colleague Scott, and together they have raised four children for whom many of her stories were written as Christmas presents.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Murder at the Courthouse by A.H. Gabhart - REVIEWED

About the Book:
Welcome to Hidden Springs
732 731
Michael Keane's stressful days as a Columbus police officer are done. He's ready to relax into his new position as deputy sheriff in his sleepy hometown. Nothing ever happens in Hidden Springs, Kentucky--and that's just fine with Michael. 

Nothing, that is, until a dead body is discovered on the courthouse steps. As Michael works to solve the case, it seems that every nosy resident in town has a theory. When the sheriff insists Michael check out one of these harebrained theories, his surprising discovery sends him on a bewildering search for a mysterious killer that has him questioning everything he has ever believed about life in Hidden Springs.

Bringing with her a knack for creating settings you want to visit and an uncanny ability to bring characters to life, A. H. Gabhart pens a whodunit that will keep you guessing.

My Thoughts:
Michael saw past the fluffy blanket of lies she was pulling up over herself for appearances to the painful truth she knew inside.”  (p 296)

The words that Michael spoke after this descriptive and accurate depiction of his neighbor’s reaction to  the death of another of Hidden Springs’ resident is very telling; “Sometimes it’s hard to do the right thing.”

Indeed, in the town of Hidden Springs there have been a series of murders that have gone unexplained until this revealing moment in time.  And, truth is indeed stranger than fiction.  The town reels in the revelation of the truth, and yet still maintains some semblance of total denial throughout the entire, ghastly ordeal.

Truly, this mirrors the human spirit on a deep level.  All of us tend to choose a more pleasant version of the truth – as a comforting fluffy blanket – rather than deal with life’s harsh realities.  A.H Garhart captures this truth in the context of small town USA right down to the nuance of the barber’s tabby cat!  The people of Hidden Springs come alive on the page!  From the female Presbyterian minister to the deputy who is thin enough to stand under a clothes line to stay dry in a rainstorm, this eclectic group of characters will be like neighbors to you by the time you reach the end of this novel! And Michael’s revelation about this deceptive “covering” really makes him question his purpose in serving this town’s residents.

This is a terrific beginning to the Hidden Springs Mystery series!  I can’t wait to see what happens next!!

About the Author:
A. H. Gabhart is Ann H. Gabhart, bestselling author of many novels, including Angel SisterSmall Town Girl, and Love Comes Home, and several popular Shaker novels such as The OutsiderThe Believer, and The Innocent. Ann grew up in a small rural town in Kentucky much like Hidden Springs, but she is happy to report nobody was ever murdered on her hometown's courthouse steps. Ann and her husband still live on a farm near that same little town in Kentucky. Learn more at

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Love Casts Out Fear by Brother Nathan with Davie Culross - REVIEWED

About the Book:
A true story of forgiveness and God's incredible provision
As a boy in Egypt, Brother Nathan witnessed an unthinkable attack on his father, a Christian pastor in a majority-Muslim country. After the attack Nathan sought revenge and vowed to avenge his father. As a man, by God's incredible provision, Nathan ministers in the village where his father was targeted, as well as in countless other cities and villages across Egypt and throughout the Middle East.

Love Casts Out Fear tells a gripping true story of danger, overwhelming anger, and forgiveness that's beyond comprehension. Through Nathan's experiences in Egypt, his beloved homeland, you'll see firsthand the joys and difficulties Christians face in the persecuted church in the Middle East. And you'll marvel at God's ability to care for those who follow his call and to change hearts in one of the most dangerous places in the world to claim Christ as Lord.

My Thoughts:
And there is one final truth that I believe today more than ever; God’s only Son Jesus is he answer for everything we face – both for today and for all of our tomorrows.  He will always be the answer….”   (p. 189)

I don’t know how many Christ followers reach the freedom from fear that love overcomes in this lifetime.  Brother Nathan has lived and still lives in one of the most dangerous places on the planet to practice the life of a Christian.  He doesn’t just work and take care of his family and call himself a Christian, he preaches and teaches others without fear even though doing so may cost him his life at any moment.  In fact, he has witnessed the death of a loved one – slaughtered in the street – for doing exactly what he is doing today.

That is the power of love and forgiveness.  Sometimes I wonder why we (I include myself in this) as believers in the greatest country on earth, stumble in our faith so much of our lives.  Why do we allow fear to control our faith – our daily walk with Christ?  This book is a resounding reminder that we are called to do so much more in our lifetimes!!  We settle for far less because of fear and forgiveness!

Don’t settle!  Allow the message in Brother Nathan’s story settle in your heart and challenge you to do and be more than you ever imagined you could be in your walk with Christ!!

About the Author:

Brother Nathan is a Christian leader currently working in Egypt, where Christians are a small minority and face difficult and challenging situations on a daily basis. He graduated from university as a veterinary surgeon, but followed the call of God he felt on his life by leaving his job in 1986 to study at New Life Bible School in New Zealand. Upon completion of his studies, he returned to Egypt to begin his ministry. He and his wife have three children.

David Culross 
has been involved in various ministries for over forty years, including church music ministry and sacred and symphonic music publication. His global mission work has taken him to more than sixty countries around the world. His up close and personal encounters with Christians all over the world give him unique insight into the persecuted church. He currently lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with his wife, Sharon.

Monday, October 26, 2015

An Interview with DiAnn Mills - Deadlock!!

1. How did you become interested in writing?
 I can’t remember when I wasn’t in fiction mode. Before I could hold a pencil, I created stories. After I could hold a pencil, I wrote stories. The power of the written word intrigued me then as now—the sound of words, the look of them on the written page, the ways words are used to entertain, inspire, and encourage others.

 2. What can you tell us about the setting of this novel?
Deadlock, a romantic suspense, is set in Houston, Texas. My city. My home. Familiar landscapes add more authenticity.

 3. Who are the main characters?
 Special Agent Bethany Sanchez steps into the violent crime division of Houston’s FBI. She’s a bit of a perfectionist, and her own worst critic. However, she has reservations about her new partner, the same man who put her brother in jail. To make matters worse, he has a reputation of getting the job done, no nonsense, and a womanizer. Are the rumors true?

 4. Special Agent Thatcher Graves is ready to work with his new partner, but she’s hard to get to know. He’s uncertain if he can trust her, and he has to know she has his back. Recently he made a decision to become a Christian, but his past party-image stops him from revealing the changes in his life.

 5. Which of the characters surprised you the most in this story, and how so?
Bethany refused to give up on her relationship with her family, even though they chose her felon brother over her.

 6. How did the writing of this story impact you as a person or as an author?
Definitely the family dynamics. We all have family members who don’t share our beliefs or values. This deepened my awareness of unconditional love woven with obedience to God’s principles.

 7. Why is this story important to you?
Three reasons: 1. The complexities of dealing with a depraved mind. 2. Showing the cultural differences between Bethany and Thatcher and their friendship resulting in love. 3. Creating an action-packed story about Houston’s FBI, their dedication and commitment to keeping people safe.

 8. What would you like your readers to take away from this story?
God’s sovereignty in all situations of life—family, career, friendships, love, and obeying laws that correspond with God’s principles.

 9. Are there some specific lessons you hope readers will learn and apply to their lives after reading your book?
God is bigger than our problems - whether that be career, spiritual, or personal. In Deadlock, not only did professional problems attack my hero and heroine, but family dynamics.

 10. When you are not writing, what do you like to do? Do you have any hobbies?
 I enjoy reading, cooking, gardening, and grandkids! I’m very much into good health and exercise to keep my body and mind in the best shape possible.

 11. What can you tell us about Deadlock?
 Two murders have rocked the city of Houston. Are they the work of a serial killer, or is a copycat trying to get away with murder? That is the question facing Special Agent Bethany Sanchez, who is eager for her new assignment in violent crimes but anxious about meeting her new partner. Special Agent Thatcher Graves once arrested her brother, and he has a reputation for being a maverick. Plus, their investigative styles couldn’t be more opposite: he operates on instinct, while she goes by the book. When hot leads soon fizzle out, their differences threaten to leave them deadlocked. But an attempt on their lives turns up the heat and brings them closer together, and a third victim might yield the clue that will help them zero in on a killer. This could be the case of their careers . . . if they can survive long enough to solve it. 

Where can readers find you on the Internet? Sign up for my blog on my website! I love to hear from readers!

Deadlock by Diann Mills - REVEIWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing

About the Book: 
Two murders have rocked the city of Houston. Are they the work of a serial killer, or is a copycat trying to get away with murder?

That is the question facing Special Agent Bethany Sanchez, who is eager for her new assignment in violent crimes but anxious about meeting her new partner. Special Agent Thatcher Graves once arrested her brother, and he has a reputation for being a maverick. Plus, their investigative styles couldn’t be more opposite: he operates on instinct, while she goes by the book.

When hot leads soon fizzle out, their differences threaten to leave them deadlocked. But an attempt on their lives turns up the heat and brings them closer together, and a third victim might yield the clue that will help them zero in on a killer. This could be the case of their careers . . . if they can survive long enough to solve it. 

My Thoughts:
Time and evidence would reveal the truth.”  (p. 55)

There were time during my reading of Deadlock that I seriously wondered whether or not Agent Bethany Sanchez or Agent Thatcher Graves really wanted to know the truth. Yes, they are always eager to get to the bottom of the case to reveal the serial killer that is wrecking havoc on their city, but in their own personal lives, they seem almost too content to keep their secrets to themselves.  Like their most recent case pursuing the Scorpion, time and evidence reveals the truth behind their personal lives that gives them motivation for great success in their professional lives.

I am always amazed at the dynamite that explodes from DiAnn Mills’ pen!  She never ceases to amaze and confound me when I read her work!  She is gifted to be able to weave a realistic personal side into the complexities of the plot that drives the lives of her characters.  All of her characters begin to walk a fine line when their personal lives inadvertently affect their professional careers as FBI agents. 

Bethany and Thatcher are no exception.  They seem to be a little more broken and imperfect than some of Mills’ characters, but, in the end, it is that brokenness that lends reality to their life choices, their faith, and their relationship.  I believe we will see them again in the future as undercover agents with a superlative track record!  They certainly survived enough in Deadlock to earn that privilege!  

About the Author:
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne du Maurier, Inspirational Reader's Choice, and Carol Award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian fiction category for Firewall.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; the 2015 president of the Romance Writers of America's Faith, Hope & Love chapter; and a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association and International Thriller Writers. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at

Friday, October 23, 2015

99 Prayer for Children by Juliet David; illustrated by Elina Ellis - REVIEWED

About the Book:
A companion prayer book to 99 Stories from the Bible with delightful illustrations in a strong vibrant style and prayers for all occasions. The prayers are a combination of traditional and modern and provide an introduction to family prayer time with young children, bringing talking to God to life in the heart of every child.  

My Thoughts:

From Robert Lewis Stevenson to Francis of Assisi from bedtime prayers to holiday prayers of gratitude, 99 Prayers for Children is a beautifully illustrated introduction to prayer as a way of life.  To teach children to go first to God with everything from their fears to their peaceful sleep is to teach them a lifetime of conversing with their Creator God in an intimate, natural way that will open their hearts and minds to receive all that God has for them in this lifetime.

Truly, this is a rather complete offering that is well organized into easy to find topics ranging from thankfulness and praise to mealtimes and protection.  It seems you could offer this book to a wide range of youngsters reaching from early toddlers through early elementary.  The illustrations only add to the prayers with their whimsical facial features and pastel palette.

I would offer this book as a shower gift, birthday gift or a holiday surprise.  It is appropriate for a variety of occasions!  I am happy to recommend this beautiful book to everyone!

About the Author:

Juliet David has written many children's stories and Bible activity books. Her other interests include painting, music, and travel to Israel and other Bible lands. This experienced author lives in London with her family.

Elina Ellis is originally from Zaporozhye, Ukraine, but now lives in Cornwall. She has been drawing pictures all her life. After Elina finished at university she drew for newspapers and magazines, then moved on to design greeting cards, and now illustrates children's books. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Promise to Keep by Elizabeth Younts - REVEIWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Promise to Keep
Howard Books (October 13, 2015)
Elizabeth Younts


A Word from the Author:

I’m Elizabeth, a blessed child of The King. I’m a middle-born daughter, military officer’s wife, homeschooling mama, writer, closet DIYer, and, dare I say it, Downton Abbey addict. May I also mention that I love both my history and my coffee rich.

I am formerly Amish and my heritage is very dear to me and thankful to be so accepted among my still Amish family. I can still speak PA Dutch, too! You can learn more about my Amish family in my first book Seasons: A Real Story of an Amish Girl.

My three book series with Howard Books (a division of Simon & Schuster) is a dream come true. The series is titled The Promise of Sunrise. In this series you will live through World War 2 from an Amish perspective and experience their unique struggles as conscientious objectors during wartime. What happened if one of their members enlisted? What was it like to serve at the Civilian Public Service Camps for years with almost no compensation? How did Amish women and families cope when a son or father was drafted? I look forward to taking you back into the richness of these years of Amish history through fiction.


World War II Marine Joe Garrison returns home from war longing to be a father to his deaf daughter, Daisy, only to find that she is attached to Esther Detweiler, the Amish woman who has raised her since his wife’s death in this touching historical romance.

Orphaned as a child, Esther Detweiler is used to caring for herself and her ailing grandmother. They made the best out of a hard life and poverty without asking for help. They even take in her shunned cousin’s deaf daughter, Daisy, when her mother dies and her father goes off to war. When Esther’s grandmother dies, Daisy is all she has.

When war veteran Joe Garrison returns, all he can think about is recovering from the horrors of war and building a relationship with his seven-year-old daughter. Daisy, however, is unwilling to leave Esther, whom she loves. Joe and Daisy get to know each other again, but Joe struggles with nightmares and fatherhood is proving to be more difficult than he imagined. Esther loves Daisy and despite her Amish ways, Joe finds himself drawn to her as a woman and not just a caregiver.

As their love blossoms, Joe decides to send Daisy away to a school for the deaf which propels their lives into turmoil and a battle for love and family.

My Thoughts:
Don’t look for your answers; just wait for them.  Now rest.”  (p. 334)

Esther Detweiler had reached the end of herself by the time her friend uttered these words. So much loss, and pain, so much relational hardship and confusion – Esther has been through much.  Fostering a friend’s deaf child, having her father practically come back from the dead, falling in love with someone suffering from PTSD, there are few tragedy’s that have passed by Esther’s life.

However, in all of these trials, she has hung onto God’s promise that everything in her life serves a greater purpose. A higher purpose.  She places her faith in that promise, and when she is told to rest and wait for her answers, she realizes that she has been striving a long time to find the answers she seeks.  What her answers will be is uncertain, but she is finally able to rest while she waits.

Elizabeth Byler Younts brings a unique perspective to Amish fiction as the Amish faith is part of her life history.  Promise to Keep brings The Promise of Sunrise series to a close, and does so with a solid message of hope in the face of very realistic life challenges that all readers will be able to identify with on some level.  Readers will fall in love with Younts’ characters and will be sad to see the series come to a close.  

I am happy to recommend this book and entire series to readers who enjoy realistic and faith challenging fiction!

If you would like to read the first chapter of Promise to Keep, go HERE.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Mary-Kathryn - Wonders in the Deep - REVIEWED

My Thoughts:
And I see You where I am
And I know You are with me
I don’t have to fear
No, I don’t have to fear
You’re with me  - - - You’re With Me – chorus

Mary-Kathryn’s Wonders in the Deep, is an exotic blend of acoustic melodies, electronic undertones and haunting melodies.  Her voice is strong and compelling and can weave a melody around your heart like few others I’ve ever listened to.  She uses phrases of Scripture in many songs on this album, and that, to me, makes it even more powerful and compelling.  You actually worship to Scripture – are bathed in its truth while you listen.

This is a worship album like none I’ve ever experienced.  It is unique and beautiful.  It’s different…not a cookie-cutter praise and worship album that mirrors popular song on the local Christian radio stations.  If you want something powerful and unique, pick up or download your copy of Mary-Kathryn’s Wonders in the Deep!  You are in for quite a treat!

From the Publicist:
On her fifth album, Wonders in the Deep, Mary-Kathryn blends elements of soft pop, New Age and folk with world music influences as diverse as the continents to create a spiritual amalgam that transcends musical boundaries. Delving deep into the world music realm, Mary-Kathryn paints word pictures on an aural canvas with exotic instrumentation, adroit production, and lyrics that stir the spirit and excite the imagination. But as one Billboard Magazine reviewer so aptly put it, “the most affecting instrument…is Mary-Kathryn’s lovely voice.”

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Spendor of Ordinary Days by Jeff High - REVIEWED

About The Book: (from the publisher)

Readers of Jan Karon’s Mitford series and Patrick Taylor’s Irish Country series will fall in love with Jeff High’s funny, heartfelt Watervalley series.

The pastoral charm of small-town Watervalley, Tennesse, can be deceptive, as young Dr. Luke Bradford discovers when he’s caught in the fallout of a decades-old conflict…

After a rocky start as Watervalley’s only doctor, Luke Bradford has decided to stay in town, honoring the three-year commitment he made to pay off his medical school debts. But even as his friendships with the quirky townsfolk deepen, and he pursues a romance with lovely schoolteacher Christine Chambers, several military veterans’ emotional wounds trigger anger and unrest in Watervalley.

At the center of the clash is the curmudgeonly publisher of the local newspaper, Luther Whitmore. Luther grew up in Watervalley, but he returned from combat in Vietnam a changed man. He fenced in beautiful Moon Lake, posting “Keep Out” notices at the beloved spot, and provokes the townspeople with his incendiary newspaper.  
As Luke struggles to understand Luther’s past, and restore harmony in Watervalley, an unforeseen crisis shatters a relationship he values dearly. Suddenly Luke must answer life’s toughest questions about service, courage, love, and sacrifice.


My Thoughts:
“…and as the years pass, we lose sight of the splendor of ordinary day.”  (p.121)

When Leyland speaks these words to Luke Bradford, I like to think it was a bit prophetic, because Luke’s thoughts were jumbled about a lot of things at that point in the story.  He gained some much needed perspective from this older but wiser man of Watervalley.  Luke returned to his town and their people with a renewed sense of transparency and purpose.  What he learns in the aftermath of this realization changes his life in profound ways.

Well, I’ve been introduced to another set of eclectic characters that I’ve fallen in love with!  Watervalley is filled with interesting people like the reclusive but peaceful Leyland and curmudgeons like the editor of the town’s paper, Luther. There is conflict and mystery between Watervalley and the neighboring Mennonite community.  There is a tender romance blossoming between Luke and Christine.  This is a town that you can feel at home in, and a place that welcomes you like a comfortable blanket.

This novel is my introduction to Jeff High’s writing, and I am a fan!!  Granted, Leyland’s language leaves a lot to be desired, but the source of his vitriolic personality is something that has changed the landscape of several lives.  He is a very realistic picture of what bitterness does to change someone’s life.  In short, all of Jeff High’s characters are very easy to know and recognize – and love.  He paints beautiful word pictures and his story touches your heart over and over again.

I’ll be revisiting this series – and catching up with the other books of Watervalley very soon!

About the Author:
After growing up on a farm in rural Tennessee, Jeff High attained degrees in literature and nursing. He is the three-time winner, in fiction and poetry, of an annual writing contest held by Vanderbilt Medical Center. He lived in Nashville for many years, and throughout the country as a travel nurse, before returning to his original hometown, near where he now works as an operating room RN in open-heart surgery. He is the author of the Watervalley novels, including More Things in Heaven and Earth and Each Shining Hour.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

David Britton Christmas - REVEIWED

World class baritone and Shadowlands Music recording artist David Britton has been busy prepping for the brick & mortar release of his holiday themed full-length CD, Christmas, which released October 9, 2015. The project, which is distributed through New Day Distribution, follows on the heels of Britton's impressive patriotic EP, American Glory

Christmas, which released digitally last year, showcases the unique ability of the classically trained Britton, who has performed at Carnegie Hall and with opera companies around the world, to effortlessly merge his diverse influences. He wraps his incredibly rich pop-classical sound (with a twist of anthemic rock) into and around these timeless holiday classics. The result is a poignant collection of cozy favorites and a blend of powerful yet intimate moments, custom made for the Christmas season.
The project launches with a creative new arrangement of the classic carol, "Joy to the World," which features heady rock 'n' roll undergirding classical piano and the added bonus of a gospel choir. Fans of Trans-Siberian Orchestra will love it! Britton pulls back for a reverent rendition of the more melancholy contemporary Christmas hymn, "Mary, Did You Know." He draws on the classic crooners like Bing Crosby for inspiration on the old school classic, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," then presents a breathtaking, intimate rendition of the beloved carol, "O Holy Night," one of the signature songs from his live shows.
"Angels We Have Heard On High" gets an updated treatment, as Britton is once again backed by a gospel choir, giving listeners the idea that they may indeed be listening to angels from on high, extolling the birth of the Savior. Angels continue to take center stage on "Whispers," an original Christmas hymn co-written by Britton and producer Billy Smiley describing the miraculous events of the first Christmas morning from the perspective of the mighty warrior angels who heralded the Messiah's birth.
"The First Noel" starts on a low and tranquil note before building to a soul stirring crescendo. Britton displays his jazz chops on a happy version of "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year," then mellows out for the richly orchestrated holiday favorite, "I'll Be Home For Christmas." The 12th century hymn, "The Wexford Carol," merges ancient melodies with contemporary instruments to create an audience favorite, while "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" allows the fresh arrangement to underscore the mystery of the Christmas story.
Britton encourages listeners to get cozy with his warm and inviting rendition of "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting)," before closing the project with another original, "Sing Noel," written by Billy Smiley and CCM legend Scott Wesley Brown. On this lovely Christmas hymn, Britton shares the microphone with Christine Dente from Out of the Grey.
"In a world that is full of so much turmoil and pain, it is my goal to use music to shed a glimmer of light; to bring comfort to those that grieve, peace to those at war, hope to those that fail, encouragement to those that feel alone, joy to those in despair," says Britton. "I am grateful for the opportunity to create music that does not fit within any specific genre, that allows me to leverage the unorthodox musical influences of my life, that people of all generations and tastes may find something that speaks to them. Above all else, it is my desire that those who listen may see past me to the One who created all things."

For more information about Britton and Christmas, visit

My Thoughts:
If you enjoy Christmas music, you REALLY want a copy of this beautiful project!!  David Britton's voice is clear,pure and passionate.  You will be swept away with traditional carols and modern songs familiar from your childhood. This project captures the rich quality of a trained vocalist, but also the tender intimacy of the relationship that was gifted to us through the birth and death of Christ.

I've been a long time fan of Christmas music, and I must say, this is a special and beautiful addition to any collection.  I am happy to recommend this to everyone!  It is absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!! 

About David Britton
Growing up in a missionary family afforded David Britton the unique opportunity to experience a broad range of cultures, to gain language skills in English, Italian, French and German, and to sing in churches around the world. The experience fostered a love for classical music and spurred him to study classical voice at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. This led to Britton receiving his Master's Degree in Vocal Performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.  
Britton has performed with Opera San Jose, Opera Santa Barbara, Festival Opera, Intermountain Opera, Livermore Valley Opera, and the North Bay Opera. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in New York as Townsend Harris in The Dawn of Japan by Toroku Takagi with the Orchestra of St. Luke's.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Lightning by Bonnie S. Calhoun - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing

About The Book:
Selah's past and her future are about to collide . . . and time is running out.
Selah Rishon thought that finding her real father would solve her problems. Instead it has created a host of new ones. She is feeling strange, destructive flashes of power within her body. The family she left behind is being sequestered in the Mountain. And if her father and his team cannot find the key to the West and make contact with the Third Protocol of Landers, Selah will fracture.

Selah is trying to accept this new world, but none of the facts she's learned about novarium or Landers are adding up. Determined to find answers, she launches a new rescue effort to the Mountain. But will the prison that holds her family become Selah's grave?

My Thoughts:
“Then what does novarium mean?”

“It means you are the new one.  The one who holds the keys to the kingdom.”  (p. 48)

When Glade speaks these words to Selah early in the book, she becomes frustrated and angry.  She couldn’t begin to understand the gravity of her place in this post-apocalyptic world.  Once again, Bonnie Calhoun has written an action-packed novel filled with twists and turns that have all of the main characters in the cross-hairs of deadly force time and time again.  Some survive….others aren’t so fortunate.  The journey that begins in this novel is one that sets Selah on a countdown toward her own, unavoidable demise.  The indicators of this become more and more apparent throughout the novel, adding another layer of urgency to every action taken by each character.

More than action, Lightning is a novel filled with satisfying relationships.  Some secrets that have been hidden for year come to light, and the consequences are never clean, but rather complicated and messy.  Whether historical, modern-day or, in this case, futuristic, human relationships are timeless in the way challenges force change upon us.  Sometimes these changes are necessary, but the journey through is uncomfortable and calls for sacrifice.  Deception abounds, and that only adds another layer of complexity to this action-packed novel.

Young adults will totally engage with this novel!  There are many realistic life lessons to be learned as the characters race to forge a path to the West.  This is a rich, vibrant and multi-layered story that offers much to readers of all ages!  I am happy to recommend this to readers!

About The Author:
Bonnie S. Calhoun is the author of Thunderand Lightning, the first two books in the Stone Braide Chronicles. She loves to write, but it doesn't make her happy unless there are the three Bs: body count, blood, and blowing things up. She also has mad skills at coding HTML and website design. Bonnie lives in a log cabin in the woods with fifteen acres and a pond full of bass. But she'd rather buy fish, ready to eat and under plastic, at the grocery store. She shares her domain with a husband, a dog, and two cats, all of whom think she is waitstaff. Learn more at

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Poet's Secret by Keneth Zak - a debut novel

About the Book:
In The Poet’s Secret, young lit student Elia Aloundra sets off to a remote Caribbean island in search of the reclusive poet Cameron Beck, longing to know the man whose words move her so. What she doesn’t know is that as her quest begins, Beck is perched atop a cliff on his exotic island hideaway and about to attempt suicide. Elia soon finds herself swept up in the mystery surrounding his muse, but what she cannot fathom is that Beck’s secret will change both their lives forever.
An island tale filled with mystical sea turtles and sunken treasure, The Poet’s Secret was conceived in a mountaintop village on the Greek isle of Crete while the author was on a three­-year sabbatical. For every copy of The Poet’s Secret sold, $1 will also be donated to The Surfrider Foundation, an organization dedicated to preserving the earth’s oceans, waves and beaches.
The Poet’s Secret will appeal to fans of both Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient and the Cusslers’ Dirk Pitt series. 
About the Author:
Born in Parma, Ohio, Kenneth Zak is an aquatic nomad of Bohemian-Polish ancestry. As a lad, he dove into Lake Erie in search of a silver coin. Decades later, he surfaced off the island of Crete with a tale filled with mystical sea turtles, sunken treasure and a young woman’s search for a reclusive poet, his muse and the myth of eternal love.

A summa cum laude graduate of The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business and special interest in Art History, Zak went on to receive his Juris Doctor and follow the waves to California. He eventually shut down a successful law practice in quest of a deeper purpose, freeing his creative self in a mountaintop village in Crete where he began his debut novel, The Poet’s Secret, continuing work on the manuscript and his poetry in Bali, Costa Rica, Thailand, Cambodia and South America.

 An avid surfer and free diver, Ken’s passions also include reading, music, ocean swimming, the Tibetan Rites and yoga. He currently serves as General Counsel for a large private brokerage company and resides in San Diego, California. Learn more at

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Methuselah Project by Rick Barry - REVIEWED

About the Book: 
Nazi scientists started many experiments. One never ended. 

Roger Greene is a war hero. Raised in an orphanage, the only birthright he knows is the feeling that he was born to fly. Flying against the Axis Powers in World War II is everything he always dreamed--until the day he's shot down and lands in the hands of the enemy. 

When Allied bombs destroy both his prison and the mad genius experimenting on POWs, Roger survives. Within hours, his wounds miraculously heal, thanks to those experiments. The Methuselah Project is a success--but this ace is still not free. Seventy years later, Roger hasn't aged a day, but he has nearly gone insane. This isn't Captain America--just a lousy existence only made passable by a newfound faith. The Bible provides the only reliable anchor for Roger's sanity and his soul. When he finally escapes, there's no angelic promise or personal prophecy of deliverance, just confusion. It's 2015--and the world has become an unrecognizable place. 

Katherine Mueller--crack shot, genius, and real Southern Belle--offers to help him find his way home. Can he convince her of the truth of his crazy story? Can he continue to trust her when he finds out she works for the very organization he's trying to flee? 

My Thoughts:
From the fight between American and German pilots in WWII to the modern day world of the 21st century, Rick Warren has written a novel rich in details and great characters.  I would encourage readers of all ages to suspend their disbelief for a while and enjoy this intriguing novel!  Warren develops believable friendships, faith and conflict within the pages of his novel, and the plot line maintains a comfortable but intensifying pace that keeps the pages turning.

I think a lot of the science presented are ideas that are as old as time itself.  Man has always strived to achieve eternal life in the natural and eternal life separate from the gospel.  That unbelief touches faith in a realistic way in this novel, and that thread of faith is what lends believably to the characters.  There is no rational explanation, only faith,  that can describe Roger Greene’s survival through this story.

This is a novel that requires disbelief to some extent, but the writing is fabulous, the characters are realistic, and as a whole, this is just a really well told story that will keep you entertained.  I am happy to recommend this novel to everyone!

About the Author:
Rick Barry is the author of Gunner's Run, another World War II novel, Kiriath's Quest, and over 200 articles and fiction stories. In addition to being a World War II buff, he is the director of church planting ministries at BIEM, a Christian ministry operating in Eastern Europe. He holds a degree in foreign languages, speaks Russian, and has visited Europe more than fifty times. Rick and his wife Pam live in Indianapolis, Indiana. Visit him at, or on Twitter (@WriterRickBarry).

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Waking Up - How I Found My Faith By Losing It by Ted Dekker - REVIEWED

About the Book:
Waking up is a vulnerable 38-page expose of the personal journey the author and most who call themselves Christian find themselves on in this life. A journey full of inconsistencies that are unsustainable and eventually lead to a fractured worldview. And yet that same journey can lead to a radical rediscovery of love, peace and identity in a world blurred by confusion, unworthiness and anxiety. 

"If there is one elephant in the room among most of us who call ourselves Christian, it is that what we think and say we believe and what we actually experience are all too often two, radically different realities," the author writes. "Ironically, we ourselves are often the last to see this disparity." 

We claim to be saved in the next life, but can we find peace in the storms that rise up against us in this life? The answer is an unequivocal yes. But that yes means looking at ourselves and the world around us differently which leads to a new way of being in the world. So take a look. See what millions of Christians are now seeing. 

My Thoughts:
What matters isn’t our stated belief and doctrine by how we live and what we experience in the story of our lives, as Jesus, John, James and Paul all make so abundantly clear.  It’s our actual experience and expression of life that shows us and the world what we truly believe and to what extend we truly love, not what we say we believe or who we say we love.  If we say we have faith, but the workings of our life don’t reflect that faith, that faith is either asleep or dead.” 

I have read Ted Dekker for many years.  I’ve met him and interviewed him and have traveled to distant book stores to hear him speak and garner and autograph.  When I read Waking Up my heart rejoiced, because I am one who has been awakened in the way Ted describes in this brief expose of faith.  I just want to shout and rejoice to know that this man and his brilliant talent are couched in the truth of God’s great love, and that he is sharing that love with the world through novels like A.D 30 and A.D. 33

I challenge you to read Ted’s declaration of faith within the story of his own life experiences.  Your heart will be challenged – and changed!  I have much respect for Ted and his work, and I praise GOD that he has shared his heart with all of us!  This has made my own heart rejoice!

About the Author:
TED DEKKER is a New York Times bestselling thriller author. Heralded as a "master of suspense" by Library Journal, Dekker has sold millions worldwide, establishing himself as one of the most widely recognized author brands.

He began his career writing fantasy novels that explored spirituality (Black, Red and White) and has since become a major force in the mainstream fiction arena with his recent thrillers, "Adam," "Thr3e," "Skin," "Obsessed," "BoneMan's Daughters," which landed in the #10 on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list in 2009, and "The Bride Collector". Dekker has been honored with a Christy Award as well as a Gold Medallion Award for Best Fiction. "Thr3e" and his novel "House" became feature films. 

Dekker was born to missionaries and grew up among cannibals of Indonesia, and his peculiar upbringing gives him a unique perspective outside the cultural bubble, allowing him the freedom to share provocative insights in his fiction. After leaving Indonesia, Dekker graduated from a multi-cultural high school and took up permanent residence in the United States, earning his B.A. in philosophy and religion, and then went into business. 

In the early nineties, Dekker decided to pursue his desire to write fiction, selling his company, moving his family to the mountains of western Colorado, and writing full-time. Two years and three books later his first novel, a supernatural thriller called Heaven's Wager, was published. Dekker proceeded to write 6 more supernatural thrillers, rising to the top of many bestsellers lists and earning himself critical acclaim and legions of fans. "Thr3e" heralded his launch into mainstream fiction and was followed by "Obsessed," "Skin," "Adam," and "BoneMan's Daughters," all of which hit the New York Times bestseller list. 

Ted Dekker's fans are comprised of readers of all ages, backgrounds, and belief systems who love his compulsively readable stories, authentic characters, and universal and relatable themes that he explores from a unique point of view. 

He resides in Austin, Texas with his wife and children. You can find him at and