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Showing posts from August, 2013

Book Review: Severed Trust by Margaret Daley

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Severed Trust by Margaret Daley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



- I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

In the small town of Summerton, life is normal. Kids go to school, parents go to work . . . and people pop prescription pills for fun. Kelly discovers the hard way that being accepted into a pill party isn't all it's cracked up to be, especially when another attendee ends up dead. But she's too scared to talk, not even to her best friend Lexie, and certainly not to Lexie's Uncle Ethan who just happens to be a Texas Ranger. Secrets and lies pile up and Ethan is desperate to get to the bottom of the mystery, especially before someone he loves gets hurt.

This is one of those books with a plot so true-to-life that it's terrifying. Pill parties are real. Kids don't just take heroine or cocaine to get high. It can just be a combination of pills snitched from their parents. So, in this regard, Margaret Daley addresses a ver…

Book Review: Rules of Murder by Julianna Deering

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Rules of Murder by Julianna Deering

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



- I received a free, advance copy of Rules of Murder from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Drew Farthering, wealthy heir to the Farlinford Processing company, adores murder mysteries. He even has the latest Agatha Christie novel on standing order from the local bookstore. But he never imagined that murder would show up on his own doorstep on the night of a glamorous party, and not just one murder, but two. And now, since murder has assaulted his homestead (huge though it may be), Drew takes it upon himself to put his nose for mystery to good use. With his closest friend Nick Dennison (son to the Farthering's family retainer) in tow, Drew determines to outwit the criminal mind wreaking havoc on his family. Add to the mix the lovely Madeline Parker (niece to Drew's stepfather) and the author has created the perfect concoction for a 1930s English mystery.

For anyone who enjoys the era of Wodehou…

Book Review: Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden

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Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



- Reviewed for Bethany House as a free advance copy in exchange for an honest review, which I have given.

Mollie Knox never imagined her precise, orderly world would ever shatter, but shatter it did, on a dry day at the beginning of October in 1871 when fire ignited all of the Chicago skyline. Running her father's watch business might have never been something she would have chosen for herself, but she excels at the fine craftsmanship and, better yet, the accounting aspect of the 57th Illinois Watch Company, named after her father's time during the Civil War. That night, as the fire blazes, Mollie finds herself fleeing for her life with Zack Kazmarek, the attorney for Hartman's, Inc. who purchased the majority of her watches for resale. Yet, despite the upheaval of losing almost everything, Mollie determines to start her life afresh, refusing to wallow in self-pity, she determines to rebuild her father's co…

Book Review: Critical Pursuit by Janice Cantore

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Critical Pursuit by Janice Cantore

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Two things exist in K-9 Officer Brinna Caruso's world: her scent-trained dog Hero and her hunt for child predators. Photos she's dubbed the Wall of Slime cover one section of her office, the faces of those child predators reminding her to be ever vigilant. Why? Because Brinna Caruso was once a six-year-old child, handcuffed to a post at an abandoned shack in the desert by a child molester, left to die. Except she was rescued, and even though Brinna's faith in God died that day, His compassion and use for her continues on in her calling as a police officer.

When a lawsuit crops up against her involving the death of a minor, Brinna is temporarily busted down to patrol. And her partner is none other than Jack O'Reilly, local basket-case who ended up "five fries short of a happy meal" when his pregnant wife died in a head-on collision with a drunk driver. She must leave Hero at home and work with a man sh…

Book Review: Trapped: Caught in a Lie by Melody Carlson

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Trapped: Caught in a Lie by Melody Carlson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



GraceAnn's parents graduated from USC and are prestigious and wealthy doctors. She's well on her way to an acceptance letter from Stanford by the end of her senior year. But when her boyfriend, Clayton, breaks up with her, accusing her of being too demanding and high maintenance, her grades plummet for one week, a single week, and in only two classes. Unfortunately, the bell curve for grading results in an F for both exams and GraceAnn's dreams of Stanford grow dim. Until she catches a classmate cheating and suddenly a possibility open before her. Ask to retake the test, using the confiscated answers from her classmate, or just accept the bad grades. the good Christian girl is faced with a choice and before she knows it, GraceAnn is caught up in a web of lying.

I don't get the whole pressure to excel in school. Cheating as a homeschooler was impossible since there was no one to cheat off of other than m…

Book Review: Damaged: A Violated Trust by Melody Carlson

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Damaged: A Violated Trust by Melody Carlson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



Just as I was moved to grief by Enticed and Forgotten, Damaged reminds me of how desperately victims of sexual abuse need support and compassion. When Haley petitions the court to live with her dad, she's hoping that this will be the start of new beginnings. Sure, dad has a girlfriend who's closer to her age than his, but it's awesome being able to dress in clothes she likes and have a little freedom from her mother's overprotective nature. Within a few days of being at a new school, it feels like she's finding acceptance amongst the in-crowd. Never mind that they don't know the real Haley, the Haley who can't stand action movies or vinegar on her fish and chips, the Haley who really doesn't like football and listens to Taylor Swift. And that's the first step down a very dangerous road of pretending to be something she's not just so she can fit in. And when Harris Stephens casts…

Book Review: Out of Control by Mary Connealy

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Out of Control by Mary Connealy

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


I don't mind flawed characters in Christian fiction. What I mind are those supposed spunky heroines who don't have a lick of good sense and run off into danger at the drop of a hat paying no never-mind whatsoever to their sweetheart's words of advice. That's what I hate and that's what describes uppity Miss Julia Gilliland. The thing is, I believe the author intended us to like Julia. I'm sure she must have because no author really sets out intending their readers to dislike their heroine. So, I give Mary Connealy the benefit of the doubt that she didn't want me to dislike Julia. But I do. She comes off as, at best, distracted to the point of recklessness. I like my heroines to be relatively practical and Julie does not fit that requirement.

Then there is the supposed hero of this mixed-up historic romance, the dashing Rafe Kincaid. I disliked him already when he started bossing around a woman he had …

Book Review: I, Claudia: A Tale of Pontius Pilate by Charity Bishop

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I, Claudia: A Tale of Pontius Pilate by Charity Bishop

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



I've been a fan of biblical fiction since I was a teenager and gulped down every book that Darlene Mindrup ever wrote. But none of the fiction I've read, not then, and not in recent years, can compare to the emotional impact of I, Claudia: A Tale of Pontius Pilate.

This tale follows the life of Claudia, wife of Pilate, from before they were even married. Its historic setting rings true in every respect, and the author does her best to give reasons to Pilate's choices, such as the brutal beatings of the Jews when they rioted against the building of the aqueducts using temple funds in Caesarea. The book paints an intimate picture of a man whose history in the Bible is limited to washing his hands of Jesus' blood despite knowing His innocence.

Charity compels the reader by giving a name to certain Biblical characters who are well known, such as the centurion whose faith in Jesus was so strong h…