Thursday, August 31, 2017

Join the Flub by Christy Barritt




  • Series: The Worst Detective Ever
  • Paperback: 302 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 25, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 197581410X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1975814106

About the Book:

There’s no business like show business . . . especially when a killer is involved. Joey Darling’s local movie premiere was supposed to be a win-win for everyone involved. All the proceeds would go to the children’s wing at a local hospital, and the online buzz would create positive press for the area’s tourism. But things go awry when the event is sabotaged and Joey’s stunt double is seriously injured. Suspects seem sparser than quality G-rated movies, and police fear the intended target was actually Joey. Detective Jackson Sullivan and neighbor Zane Oakley—two men competing for Joey’s affection—insist on trading off guard duty until the bad guy is behind bars. To make matters even worse, Joey’s ex shows up right before the release of his tell-all book about his life with the Hollywood sweetheart. Someone seems determined to create real-life drama. But Joey isn’t one to be deterred. Though a movie-worthy villain wants to pull the plug on this production—and maybe even on a few people’s lives—Joey is determined that the show must go on.

My Thoughts:

I didn't think it was possible, but Christy Barritt has breathed life into a heroine that I love just as much (if not a smidge more) that Gabby St. Claire, the Squeaky Clean Mysteries heroine that has over a dozen books worth of my love.

Joey Darling is...well, she's just darling!  And she's back in the best of the Worst Detective Ever series, "Join the Flub."  When a publicity stunt goes horribly wrong, the question on everyone's mind is two fold: who did it, and who was the 'it' intended for?

Surely not America's sweetheart!  Oh, wait a minute...that would be Raven Remington, Joey's Hollywood alter ego that everyone loves.  Turns out, Joey has a few enemies of her own, and one of them wants to do her in.

Or is it really that simple?

Barritt also introduces us to the man we all love to not like (hate is such a strong word, but it would be a better choice--trying to play nice here!), Joey's ex-husband, the icky slimeball.  He shows up and naturally he is cast in the role of the perp, i.e., the one whodunit.

Eric is up to something, Zane is up to something, and Jackson is up to something.  Basically, EVERYONE seems to be up to something in "Join the Flub", and do your best to catch the culprit before Joey figures it out...

...just remember, she used to solve crimes for a living...as Raven Remington, that is.  Can the world's worst detective ever figure out who was the target and who committed the crime?  Can she find her father before it's too late?  And can we stop Eric from publishing his tell-all book?

These are the questions that will keep you turning pages into the wee hours of the night--or keep you from laundry, dishes, dusting, and all of the other fun adult stuff in your life.  Once you meet Joey, she will hold you captive until the last page turns.

Combining hilarity, hijinks, and a healthy handful of faith, Christy Barritt has a new hit series once again, and you're going to want to "Join the Flub"!  I'm giving this one my "oh, the feels!" stamp of approval.

"Join the Flub" is available now...so go get a copy today!

Until the next page turns,

Deena

Friday, August 18, 2017

Out of Darkness by Erynn Newman




  • Paperback: 406 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (May 3, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1544261691
  • ISBN-13: 978-1544261690

About the Book:

A bride and a widow in the same day, Elisabeth's prayers are about to be answered . . . if the CIA, international arms dealers, and her best friend don't stand in the way.

Elisabeth Allen gave her heart to Jesus as a little girl and to Drew Marek as a teenager. When their wedding day finally arrives, it's the happiest day of her life--until a bomb transforms her dream come true into a living nightmare.

As Best Man at the wedding, Gabriel Di Salvo promises Drew--his best friend and CIA partner--he'll look after Elisabeth, but he never dreams it will become necessary so soon. As Elisabeth struggles to put the pieces of her life back together without Drew, Gabe becomes her rock, and as they share their grief and begin to heal, their friendship gradually deepens into something more.

Three years later, Gabe and Elisabeth are planning a future together when he receives a shocking call from the one man who can upend his happiness: Drew. Suspecting someone at the CIA is behind his abduction, Drew refuses to come home. Instead, he asks Gabe to bring Elisabeth to him. Now Gabe just has to figure out how to let her go.

Drew and Elisabeth race across Europe, dodging international arms dealers and attempting to reclaim what was stolen from them. But years of captivity and torture have left their mark on Drew. He is no longer the same boy Elisabeth fell in love with, but he is still Elisabeth's husband, and she is determined to build something new and not allow her relationship with Gabe to come between them.

When their enemies close in and the threat of a terrorist attack escalates, Gabe may be the only person they can trust. Drew, Elisabeth, and Gabe are thrown into a fight for their lives--one that will test their loyalties to God, country . . . and each other.

My Thoughts:

WOW!  What a roller-coaster of a read!  "Out of Darkness" is an outstanding work of suspense from debut author Erynn Newman.  I was angry through most of the pages, and entertained through all of them.  Newman knows how to really pack a fictional punch, and I'm almost jealous of those who've yet to discover her novel!

But this story is more than mere entertainment.  Newman captures the power of a life lived for God, existing in the shadow of the Holy Spirit.  Because, quite honestly, this tale would have been a messy soap opera without God in the picture.

Genuine emotion paints every character in bright, vivid hues, and the drama is the most realistic I've come across in some time.  I mean, c'mon...a story that opens with a wedding and a bomb in the opening pages??  How can you NOT love that?

Erynn Newman is going to be a force in the world of fiction, and I couldn't be happier about that fact. Please, whatever you do, whatever you read, do NOT miss "Out of Darkness".  This stellar debut receives me "Oh, the Feels!" and "Packs a Punch" awards of excellence.  I found my copy on Amazon.com--and "Out of Darkness" is available from booksellers everywhere right now.

Until the next page turns,

Deena

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Strains of Silence by Bethany Kaczmarek




  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Pelican Book Group (August 1, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1611169666
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611169669

About the Book:

Music was her driving passion and the truest expression of her faith, but three months before her wedding, twenty-year-old Kasia Bernolak can’t even pick up her guitar. Feeling like a fraud who will ruin her dad’s pastoral reputation, she can barely meet his eyes. When Kasia finds the strength to break off her engagement, she still doesn’t realize the dangerous truth: Blake Hamilton isn’t ready to say goodbye. And he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her.

Alexander “Zan” Maddox has seen what a domineering man can do to an unsuspecting woman, and Zan is sick of injustice. He gave up a college baseball scholarship so he could protect his sister from her abusive husband. When he rescues Kasia from her ex-fiancĂ©, he instinctively appoints himself her personal bodyguard. Now, all he has to do is keep from falling for her himself.

Kasia and Zan become fast friends, but true healing and justice might cost more than either of them is willing to pay.

My Thoughts:

"Strains of Silence"is a very powerful and emotional story. I've been around abuse and have been abused, so this one triggered a LOT of tears. I had moments when I had to put the book down and just sob. Kaczmarek took a huge risk with a very volatile topic and it most definitely paid off. 

The relationships between the characters are rich and deep, and these imaginary people explore the ramifications of relationships, abuse, and assault without fear.  Zan's experiences help draw the poison out of Kasia's soul, and vice versa.

Be warned: the story is VERY realistic.  Some scenes may trigger strong emotions, but trust me when I say that the pain is worth the journey to the end.  I was very satisfied by the end, and I believe you will be as well.  And great healing can come from great fiction, so don't miss out on "Strains of Silence".

My one issue with the book is minute, but the foreign names and some unfamiliar language was different, and I would have loved a glossary page. But the story is exquisite and very well crafted.

I am eager to see what Kaczmarek writes next!  "Strains of Silence" receives my "Oh, the Feels!" and "Packs a Punch" marks of excellence.  My thanks to NetGalley for an advance copy with no obligations promised in return.  

Until the next page turns,

Deena

Monday, August 7, 2017

#Truth by Josh McDowell



  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Shiloh Run Press (August 1, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1634099753
  • ISBN-13: 978-1634099752

About the Book:

Inspire. . . Challenge. . .  Fuel Your Faith.

This daily devotional from Josh McDowell unpacks spiritual truths that will inspire, challenge, and fuel your soul every day of the year--from January 1 to December 31.
Practical and relevant, each month of devotional readings shares a common theme—

January: THE TRUTH THAT GOD EXISTS
February: THE TRUTH ABOUT GOD'S WORD
March: THE TRUTH ABOUT ORIGINAL SIN
April: THE TRUTH ABOUT GOD BECOMING HUMAN
May: THE TRUTH ABOUT CHRIST'S ATONEMENT FOR SIN
June: THE TRUTH ABOUT JUSTIFICATION THROUGH FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST
July: THE TRUTH ABOUT LIVING THE TRANSFORMED LIFE
August: THE TRUTH ABOUT JESUS' BODILY RESURRECTION
September: THE TRUTH ABOUT THE TRINITY
October: THE TRUTH ABOUT GOD'S KINGDOM
November: THE TRUTH ABOUT THE CHURCH
December: THE TRUTH ABOUT CHRIST'S RETURN.

Truth Is. . . 365 Youth Devotions Connecting Life and Faith will lead you to understand the truths of God and how living them out is beneficial in your everyday life.

My Thoughts:

Few authors in today's inspirational marketplace belong in a category I call "autobuy"--that is to say that if that particular person wrote the book, I'd automatically purchase it simply because of his or her reputation.  Even fewer exist in the non-fiction inspirational marketplace.

Josh McDowell is one of those authors.

His latest book is geared perfectly toward today's youth.  "#Truth" is a collection of 365 daily readings that are organized by topic, and per month.  That might seem inconsequential, but it's actually an important aspect of the book.

But choosing a particular truth from Scripture and then building on that truth day by day for an entire 28-31 days, McDowell's goal is to cement that truth in the soul of the reader.  We've all heard that it takes 30 days to create a new habit--in this case, 30 days cements a new truth from an ageless Book.

Each daily reading is very brief; some aren't even a full page in length.  But each opens with a carefully selected Scripture passage and closes with a section called "Truth is".  The daily reading is followed with a prayer that applies the topic to action, and action helps the reader to be a doer of the Word and not merely a person that listens and then forgets.

McDowell has chosen to focus on 12 truths, and these are the truths being challenged by today's culture. Is it true that God really exists?  Is it really true that Jesus was also God, becoming human for our sake? Is the teaching of the Trinity of God true, that God is The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit, while still being just one God?

Our teen years are our most formative years.  We learn to think critically, and we begin to make things our own, including our faith--or lack of faith.  "#Truth" enables even the busiest teen to gather evidence to support the basic tenets of Scripture and the Christian faith.  Josh McDowell is a man who truly knows what he's talking about...

...and he's walked the talk for over 50 years.  So I trust him.  But, as the Bereans did, I take his teaching to Scripture, and he hasn't had a swing and a miss yet.  My thanks to my friends at Barbour Publishing (Shiloh Run Press) for my complimentary copy with no services or obligation promised in return.

"#Truth" is stamped with my "For Such a Time" mark of approval.  We need more books like McDowell's for a questioning and searching generation, and I'm extremely thankful for "#Truth".

Until the next page turns,

Deena

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber



  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (June 6, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718080904
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718080907

About the Book:

For fans of ENDER'S GAME, THE HUNGER GAMES, and BLADE RUNNER, comes a story of video gaming, blood, and power.
 
Ever since the Delonese ice-planet arrived eleven years ago, Sofi's dreams have been vivid. Alien. In a system where Earth's corporations rule in place of governments and the humanoid race orbiting the moon are allies, her only constant has been her younger brother, Shilo. As an online gamer, Sofi battles behind the scenes of Earth's Fantasy Fighting arena where Shilo is forced to compete in a mix of real and virtual blood sport. But when a bomb takes out a quarter of the arena, Sofi's the only one who believes Shilo survived. She has dreams of him. And she's convinced he's been taken to the ice-planet.
 
Except no one but ambassadors are allowed there.
 
For Miguel--Earth's charming young playboy--the games are of a different sort. As Ambassador to the Delonese, his career has been built on trading secrets and seduction. Until the Fantasy Fight's bomb goes off. Now the tables have turned and he's a target for blackmail. The game is simple: Help the blackmailers, or lose more than anyone can fathom, or Earth can afford.
 
From the award-winning author of the Storm Siren Trilogy, step into a diverse cast of characters spanning from the electric metropolises of earth to the chilling alien planet above, in a story of re-finding yourself in the midst of losing the one thing you love. Before it all evaporates.

My Thoughts:

"The Evaporation of Sofi Snow" was a mixed bag read for me.  I fell in love with Weber's first novel, Storm Siren" and found the story engaging and exciting.  But with Sofi, I kind of felt like I'd missed the first half of the story and wandered through the pages confused and looking for something I never found.

We know little about this mysterious race, the Delonese, and I needed more.  They show up, the earth is in desperate need of assistance, and BOOM!  The action kicks off in chapter one.  But who are these Delonese, and why are they here, and how did this game system evolve?

For that matter, what IS this game system?  I saw nothing resembling "Blade Runner", and very little resemblance to "The Hunger Games" (which didn't bother me in the least).  I didn't connect with the main characters until about half way through the book, but I was in love with the background characters from the start...

especially the....oops, almost dropped a spoiler!  At least, I think it's a spoiler.  I'm not quite sure.  I received a copy of "The Evaporation of Sofi Snow" from my friends at Thomas Nelson with no services or obligations promised in return.

So, I'm giving "The Evaporation of Sofi Snow" my "One to Watch" stamp, and hoping Weber can clear some things up with the sequel.  Otherwise, I will be one extremely disappointed reader.

Until the next page turns,

Deena

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Unraveling by Sara Ella


  • Series: The Unblemished Trilogy
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (July 11, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 071808103X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718081034

About the Book:

What happens when happily ever after starts to unravel?
Eliyana Ember doesn’t believe in true love. Not anymore. After defeating her grandfather and saving the Second Reflection, El only trusts what’s right in front of her. The tangible. The real. Not some unexplained Kiss of Infinity she once shared with the ghost of a boy she’s trying to forget. She has more important things to worry about—like becoming queen of the Second Reflection, a role she is so not prepared to fill.
Now that the Verity is intertwined with her soul and Joshua’s finally by her side, El is ready to learn more about her mysterious birth land, the land she now rules. So why does she feel like something—or someone—is missing?
When the thresholds begin to drain and the Callings, those powerful magical gifts, begin to fail, El wonders if her link to Ky Rhyen may have something to do with it. For light and darkness cannot coexist. She needs answers before the Callings disappear altogether. Can El find a way to sever her connection to Ky and save the Reflections—and keep herself from falling for him in the process?

My Thoughts:

I tried.  Oh, how I tried to take my sweet time reading Sara Ella's newest release, "Unraveling".  In fact, to savor the moment, I re-read "Unblemished" before I even cracked the gorgeous cover of the second novel in her trilogy.  May I just give a shout out to the designer of the latest line of YA covers in the inspirational marketplace??

The beauty of today's inspirational YA fiction is how it transcends being merely fiction of faith, but instead these books serve as ambassadors of hope to the entire market.  Okay, that was a freebie...now, on to the book!

"Unraveling" picks up pretty much where "Unblemished" stranded us.  Ky is gone, Joshua has taken his rightful place by Eliyana's side in the royal court.  And all is now well in the Reflections...right?

Oh, no...most definitely not right!  The Callings are diminishing in power, and the Reflections seem to be evaporating, for lack of a better word.  And future queen El has no clue what has happened.  She thought she'd been told all she needed to know in order to prepare to rule her new kingdom.

Turns out her boys are keeping secrets still.  And these secrets could destroy everything.

Once I cracked the cover, I plowed through the pages of "Unblemished".  I couldn't help myself.  I intended to read one chapter each night, savoring the words, knowing the wait for the final novel would be excruciating.  

But my 'just one more' moniker appeared and kicked into high gear, and before I could barely blink, I was done.  And I was left wanting.

More.  Please, Sara Ella, I wants some more...and that's why "Unraveling" gets my "Oh, the Feels!" stamp of approval.  My thanks to my friends at Thomas Nelson for my complimentary copy with no services or obligations promised in return.

Until the next page turns,

Deena

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Ascension of Larks by Rachel Linden


  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (June 20, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718095731
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718095734

About the Book:

When globetrotting photographer Magdalena Henry loses the only man she’s ever loved, she risks her stellar career to care for his widow and young children on a remote island in the Pacific Northwest.
Free-spirited and fiercely independent, Maggie adores her life of travel and adventure. But she has a secret. She can’t let go of her first and only love, renowned architect Marco Firelli, now married to her best friend Lena.
When Marco drowns in a kayaking accident, Maggie rushes to the Firelli family’s summer home on San Juan Island. Once there she discovers that Marco was hiding something that could destroy his family. As fragile, perfectionistic Lena slowly falls apart, Maggie tries to provide stability for Marco and Lena’s three young children.
When Maggie is offered a once-in-a-lifetime chance to compete in the world’s most prestigious photography competition, she thinks she’s found the answer to their problems. Then Lena makes a choice with unexpected and devastating consequences, forcing Maggie to grapple with an agonizing decision. Does she sacrifice the golden opportunity of her career or abandon the Firellis just when they need her the most?
Gradually the island begins to work its magic. A century-old ritual to beckon loved ones home offers hope in the midst of sorrow. And a guilt-ridden yet compelling stranger hiding on the island may offer Maggie a second chance at love, but only if she can relinquish the past and move forward to find joy in unexpected places.

My Thoughts:

I wasn't sure what I was going to find in the pages of Rachel Linden's debut novel, "Ascension of Larks", but I was drawn in by the gorgeous cover art, and soon found myself lost in the world of Maggie, Marco, and Lena.

This is a complex drama, filled with emotion and powerful relationships.  Linden explores the bonds of friendship, the intricate design of family, and the conflict of loving too much.  The reader will find someone to identify with amid the characters of the story: Maggie, unable to put down roots yet craving stability--Marco, driven and passionate about his talent, but unaware of the cost to his loved ones--Lena, the anchor of the trio and yet the weakest of the three.

The children are fun and multi-layered as well, and you'll meet many, many more imaginary people as you travel through the pages of "Ascension of Larks".  I received a complimentary copy of the book from my friends at Thomas Nelson with no services or obligation promised in return.

Rachel Linden is an author to watch, and her debut receives my "Oh, the Feels!" stamp of approval.  I will most definitely be picking up her next novel with great anticipation.

Until the next page turns,

Deena

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

In 27 Days by Alison Gervais


  • Series: Blink
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Blink (July 25, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310759056
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310759058

About the Book:

Hadley Jamison is shocked when she hears that her classmate, Archer Morales, has committed suicide. She didn’t know the quiet, reserved guy very well, but that doesn’t stop her from feeling there was something she could have done to help him. Hoping to find some sense of closure, Hadley attends Archer’s funeral. There, Hadley is approached by a man who calls himself Death and offers her a deal. If Hadley accepts, she will be sent back 27 days in time to prevent Archer from killing himself. But when Hadley agrees to Death’s terms and goes back to right the past, she quickly learns her mission is harder than she ever could have known.
Hadley soon discovers Archer’s reasons for being alone, and Archer realizes that having someone to confide in isn’t as bad as he’d always thought. But when a series of dangerous accidents starts pushing them apart, Hadley must decide whether she is ready to risk everything—including her life—to keep Archer safe.
From award-winning Wattpad author Alison Gervais (HonorInTheRain) comes In 27 Days, a story of redemption, first love, and the strength it takes to change the future.
My Thoughts:


A well-known but controversial Netflix drama has taken our nation by storm.  Perhaps you've heard of '13 Reasons Why'?  This episodic drama and the book the show is based on has put a spotlight on teen suicide, and many are not happy with the outcome.

Enter "In 27 Days" by Alison Gervais.  Gervais' novel also shines a spotlight on teen suicide, but shines on the side of hope rather than despair.  When Hadley learns of Archer's death, she's moved...which is odd, considering the fact that she barely knew him when he was alive.

She's not content with how she feels, so when a deal comes her way via supernatural means, Hadley rises the occasion, steps out of her own comfort zone and social circle, and takes a risk on loner Archer Morales.

What follows is an intense story about how one life can change another, for good or for not so good.  And that change does not come easily.  Hadley ends up investing far more than she expected, but she receives so much more in return.

Gervais also points out, through her story, that having it all isn't what it's cracked up to be.  Compared to Archer's life, Hadley's should be a cake walk with extra sprinkles.  But by the end of the book, the tables seem to be turned.  The remaining question, which you can only answer by reading the book, is what the cost will be for both Hadley and Archer.

Change one thing in the universe, and something else must change as well.

I thoroughly enjoyed "In 27 Days" and plan to keep my eyes open for any novel from debut writer Alison Gervais.  I read her book, and I watched the Netflix drama.  With viewing, I found despair, but with reading I found hope...and so much more.

I received a complimentary copy of "In 27 Days" from my friends at Blink YA Books (Zondervan Publishing) with no services or obligations promised in return.  I highly recommend "In 27 Days", and give it my "For Such a Time" stamp of endorsement.  Find someone who's seen '13 Reasons' and gift him or her a copy of "In 27 Days."

They'll be glad you did.  

Until the next page turns,

Deena
 

Just One More Published @ 2014 by Ipietoon