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Thursday, August 4, 2016

When Death Draws Near: A Gwen Marcey Novel

Carrie Stuart Parks is a Christy finalist as well as a Carol award-winning author. She has won numerous awards for her fine art as well. An internationally known forensic artist, she travels with her husband, Rick, across the US and Canada teaching courses in forensic art to law enforcement professionals. The author/illustrator of numerous books on drawing and painting, Carrie continues to create dramatic watercolors from her studio in the mountains of Idaho.


About the book: 

When Death Draws Near (Thomas Nelson, August 2016)

Death has always been part of Gwen Marcey's job. But when faced with her own mortality, everything takes on a different hue.

Forensic artist Gwen Marcey is between jobs and homes when she accepts temporary work in Pikeville, Kentucky. The Eastern Kentucky town, located deep in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, has been plagued by a serial rapist and a series of unexplained deaths. Before Gwen can develop a composite drawing, the latest witness vanishes, just like all the previous victims.

Turning her attention to sketching the face of an unidentified body, she discovers a link between his death and a Pentecostal serpent-handling church. Serpent-handling is illegal in Kentucky, and the churches have gone underground to avoid the authorities and continue to worship as they believe. Gwen is offered a handsome reward to infiltrate the renegade members, a reward she desperately needs as it seems her breast cancer has returned.

Joined by her digitally-obsessed, Generation Z daughter, Gwen goes undercover to a nineteenth century revival, planning to draw the faces of the snake handlers so they can be identified and arrested. Instead she uncovers a murderous plot and a festering evil.


Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/2auSB8Y

To see what others are saying about the book, you can visit HERE.

My Thoughts:
I was immediately drawn to the character of Gwen Marcey in the previous book to When Death Draws Near titled The Bones Will Speak.  The very first book in this series is A Cry From The Dust.
Carrie Parks's (author) writing is superbly engaging.  Gwen is so relatable and genuine.  I really appreciate the humor Parks interjects into her story.  The mother-daughter relationship between Gwen and her daughter, Aynslee, is captured beautifully and true-to-life.  As in her previous books, Parks masterfully touches on several themes and brings them together fluidly: Faith, Family Dynamics, Religion, Murder, Suspense, Mystery.  I enjoyed learning about Forensic Artistry as Parks peppers the story with an inside look at Gwen's craft. This one sure is a page turner that you can not figure out with twists and turns and an unexpected ending.  Parks's next book, Portraits of Vengeance, releases August 2017.

*I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

When Death Draws Near Carrie Stuart Parks

Happy Reading Ya'll,
Jennifer

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Missing


Lisa Harris is a bestselling author, a Christy Award winner, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2011 from Romantic Times.  She is the author of nearly thirty books, including the Southern Crimes series and Vendetta, winner of the Romantic Times Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2015.  Harris and her family have spent twelve years living as missionaries in southern Africa.

You can learn more about Lisa and her writing at www.lisaharriswrites.com.






Nikki Boyd isn't usually called in on homicides; her forte is missing persons.  But when a case with two murdered and two missing pops u on a quiet suburban street, she's ready to start the investigation and find missing homeowners Mac and Lucy Hudson.  When the first clues lead her to the boat of her friend Tyler Grant - and another dead body - Nikki must untangle what ties Tyler to the Hudsons.  The clues pull her into a deadly maze of counterfeit drugs and a killer who will stop at nothing to silence anyone who threatens his business - including Nikki.






My Thoughts:
Lisa Harris introduces readers to Nikki Boyd in the first book of The Nikki Boyd Files, Vendetta.  I read Vendetta and was hooked!  Harris establishes Nikki's character in Vendetta and I would recommend reading that book first and then moving on to Missing, the second book in the series.  Harris is a master storyteller who hits the ground running and draws readers in on page one.  In Missing, Harris continues with multiple story lines.  You have the current missing persons case, Nikki and Tyler's relationship and the hunt for Nikki's sister's, Sarah, abductior, which was not resolved from Vendetta. Harris provides complex and well-developed characters.  I would be reading and say to myself, "Just one more chapter." only to realize breathlessly that I had finished the book.  So, head on over to Amazon or your favorite bookstore and purchase Vendetta and Missing so you will be ready for book three in the series, Pursued, due out Spring 2017!

*I received a complimentary copy of the book for the purpose of giving my honest review.

Happy Reading Ya'll,
Jennifer

Delilah

Angela hunt has published more than one hundred books, with sales nearing five million copies worldwide.  She's the New York Times bestselling author of The Tale of Three Trees, The Note and The Nativity Story.  Angela's novels have won or been nominated for several prestigious industry awards, such as the RITA Award, the Christy Award, the ECPA Christian Book Award, and the HOLT Medallion Award.  Romantic Times Book Club presented her with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.  She holds both a doctorate in Biblical Studies and a Th.D degree.  Angela and her husband live in Florida, along with their mastiffs.

You can learn more about Angela's writing and connect with her at www.angelahuntbooks.com.


A complex and compelling glimpse at one of the Bible's most notorious women

Life is not easy in Philistia, especially not for a woman and child alone.  When beautiful, wounded Delilah finds herself begging for food to survive, she resolves that she will find a way to defeat all the men who have taken advantage of her.  She will overcome the roadblocks life has set before her, and she will find riches and victory for herself.

When she meets a legendary man called Samson, she senses that in him lies the means for he victory.  By winning, seducing, and betraying the hero of the Hebrews, she will attain a position of national prominence.  After all, she is beautiful, she is charming, and she is smart.  No man, not even a supernaturally gifted strongman, can best her in a war of wits.

My Thoughts:
Hunt's previous Treacherous Beauty novels have covered Esther and Bathsheba.  I was excited about the opportunity to read Delilah having never read a fiction book that covered her story.  Unfortunately, this novel fell a little short for me.  Hunt is a master at characterization in these books that stay true to what is revealed in Scripture; however, Delilah's story simply was a little sluggish.  The story is told from both Delilah's and Samson's perspective.  The research Hunt put into her writing is evident.  The story just seemed to drag on a bit and seemed like more of an effort to reach word-count.  I'm still a believer in Hunt's books and will continue to read.  This one just didn't meet expectations for me.

*I received a complimentary copy of the book for the purpose of giving an honest review.

Happy Reading Ya'll,
Jennifer

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Midwife's Dilemma



Delia Parr (pen name) is the author of seventeen historical and inspirational historical romance novels, including The Midwife's Tale, Hearts Awakening, Love's First Bloom and Hidden Affections.  The mother of three grown children, she was a longtime high school teacher in southern New Jersey before retiring to Florida's sunny west coast.  In between visits to her grandchildren in several different states, she spends her time writing and volunteering alongside other women who share a bond of sisterhood as sisters of faith.






A season of change brings uncertainty but also the promise of even better things to come.

Midwife Martha Cade has made up her mind.  When Mayor Thomas Dillon returns in February, she is finally going to marry him.  Unfortunately, that's the only decision in life in which she feels confident these days.  Everything else around her feels like it's changing too fast - from her daughter's obvious affection for the town's young doctor to Martha's growing realization she'll soon need to pass her role as midwife to someone younger.  Even her beloved town of Trinity seems to be changing daily.

It is a season that will set the course for the rest of her life.  Martha will need every ounce of confidence, courage, and faith she possesses to overcome the obstacles that will no doubt arise to make the changes in her life far more challenging and difficult than she can dare to imagine.

My Thoughts:
The Midwife's Dilemma is the third book in the At Home in Trinity series.  I have so enjoyed following the story of Martha Cade in this endearing series by Parr.  I appreciate Parr's handling of the series in that she doesn't retell the story over and over, but offers new situations for Cade to navigate in each book.  Parr touches on family dynamics between Martha and her daughter as well as Martha's personal growth.  The character development throughout the series has been exceptional.  I don't think I'm ready to leave Trinity!

*I was given a complimentary copy of the book for the purpose of giving this review.

Happy Reading Ya'll,
Jennifer

Finding God In The Hard Times: Choosing to Trust and Hope When You Can't See the Way



Matt and Beth Redman received the Dove Award for Worship Song of the Year for "Blessed Be Your Name".  In addition to being a full-time worship leader and writing and recording music, Matt is the author of The Unquenchable Worshipper and Facedown.  Beth is the author of Soul Sister and Beautiful.  Matt, Beth and their children live in West Sussex, England.

You can learn more at www.mattredman.com.





On the road marked with suffering...
How will you respond?

Come rain or shine, hardship or ease, confusion or clarity, worship is always a choice.  But what does it look like when worship meets suffering?  How can God be good when it seems the world is collapsing around you?

In this inspiring book, Matt and Beth Redman draw on their experiences to explore how to offer praise even in the face of hardship and pain.  Focusing on the psalms, they reveal how difficult or tragic circumstances, and the choices you make can propel you toward God or away from him.  Learn how to weather the storms of life with a cry of "blessed be you name" on your lips.


My Thoughts:
Finding God in the Hard Times is the perfect blend of personal story and Biblical exhortation from the Redmans.  The book is a solid challenge and encouragement to always have praise to the One True God on our lips.  Matt and Beth do not offer the typical Christian cliches, but offer readers Scriptural context and practical life examples for finding joy in the most difficult circumstances.  With just five short chapters and a discussion guide included in the book, Finding God in the Hard Times is the perfect resource for use with small groups in your church or personal study.

*I was given a complimentary copy of the book for the purpose of giving this review.

Blessings Ya'll,
Jennifer

Friday, July 15, 2016

Like A River From It's Course/Kindle Fire Giveaway

Kelli Stuart is the coauthor of Dare 2B Wise and has written for several brands including Disney, American Girl, and Short Fiction Break. She has served as editor-in-chief for the St. Louis Bloggers Guild and as a board member for the St. Louis Women in Media. In addition to her writing, Kelli has spent twenty years studying Ukranian culture. Kelli lives in Florida.





Like a River from Its Course (Kregel, June 2016)

An epic novel exposing the ugliness of war and the beauty of hope.

The city of Kiev was bombed in Hitler's blitzkrieg across the Soviet Union, but the constant siege was only the beginning for her citizens. In this sweeping historical saga, Kelli Stuart takes the reader on a captivating journey into the little-known history of Ukraine's tragedies through the eyes of four compelling characters who experience the same story from different perspectives.

Maria Ivanovna is only fourteen when the bombing begins and not much older when she is forced into work at a German labor camp. She must fight to survive and to make her way back to her beloved Ukraine.

Ivan Kyrilovich is falsely mistaken for a Jew and lined up with 34,000 other men, women, and children who are to be shot at the edge of Babi Yar, the "killing ditch." He survives, but not without devastating consequences.

Luda is sixteen when German soldiers rape her. Now pregnant with the child of the enemy, she is abandoned by her father, alone, and in pain. She must learn to trust family and friends again and find her own strength in order to discover the redemption that awaits.

Frederick Hermann is sure in his knowledge that the F├╝hrer's plans for domination
are right and just. He is driven to succeed by a desire to please a demanding father and by his own blind faith in the ideals of Nazism. 
Based on true stories gathered from fifteen years of research and interviews with Ukrainian World War II survivors, Like a River from Its Course is a story of love, war, heartache, forgiveness, and redemption.

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/28YOXRu

My Thoughts:
Every once in a while an author and story come along that absolutely slays the reader.  Like A River From It's Course and Kelli Stuart fall into this category for me. The stories of Frederick, Luda, Ivan and Maria ("Masha") touched a place deep within my heart and soul and left me spent by the end of the book.  Their stories are ugly but yet beautiful.  Holding nothing back, Stuart adeptly gives the reader a picture of the tragedies of war in the Ukraine, covering 1941-1947.  The story is told in the voice of the characters themselves, adding a depth to the book that would have been lost otherwise.  At times I thought, "I just can't read another line!" However, Stuart urges readers own through complex characters and a story that you can't help but be invested in from page one.  I encourage you to read this book written from over 15 years of the author's research and study.  You will walk away changed and believe it or not very, very hopeful.

*I received a complimentary copy of the book for the purpose of giving an honest review.


Like a River from Its Course Kelli Stuart

Blessings and Happy Reading Ya'll,
Jennifer

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Traces of Guilt: An Evie Blackwell Cold Case



Dee Henderson is the author of numerous novels, including Taken, Undetected, Unspoken, Full Disclosure, and the acclaimed O'Malley series.  Her books have won or been nominated for several prestigious industry awards, such as the RITA Award, the Christy Award, and the ECPA Gold Medallion.

You can visit with her and learn more about her writing at DeeHenderson.com.






She's turning up the heat on Carin County's Cold Cases.

Evie Blackwell loves her life as an Illinois State Police detective...mostly.  She's very skilled  at investigations and has steadily moved up through the ranks.  She would like to find Mr. Right, but she has a hard time imagining how marriage could work, considering the demands of her job.

Gabriel Thane grew up in Carin County and is now its sheriff, a job he loves.  Gabe is committed to upholding the law and cares deeply for the residents he's sworn to protect.  He too would like to find a lifetime companion, a marriage like his parents have...

When Evie arrives in Carin, Illinois, it's to help launch a new task force focused on unsolved crimes across the state.  She will work with the sheriff's department on a couple of its most troubling missing-persons cases.  As she studies old evidence to pull out a few tenuous new leads, she unearths surprising connections.  One way or another, she knows Gabriel Thane and his family will be key to the answers she seeks.

My Thoughts:
Short and sweet...if Dee Henderson writes it I read it!  Henderson always has intriguing story lines involving complex and well-developed characters and dizzying with twists and turns.  Traces of Guilt certainly did not disappoint.  I really enjoyed that Henderson included some of my favorite people from past books...Paul and Ann Falcon.  Also appreciated was the way Henderson told the story from varying character perspectives.  Henderson's stories aren't always neat and tidy and I love that about her writing.  You don't always get all the answers and for me as an avid reader, it keeps me engaged and coming back to each new thing she writes.  She leaves you hanging a bit with this one.  I can't wait to see what happens next for Evie Blackwell!
* I received a complimentary copy of the book for the purpose of providing an honest review.

Happy Reading Ya'll,
Jennifer