Sunday, September 25, 2011

Acclaimed romance writer Maggie Brendan’s latest offering from the “Blue Willow Bride” series, Deeply Devoted (ISBN: 978-0-8007-3462-6, $14.99, 336 pages, September), introduces readers to Catharine Olsen, a mail-order bride arriving in America from Holland. She carries not only the anticipation of her marriage to Peter Andersen but also the residual pain of a tragic past, her mother’s Blue Willow china, and has her two younger sisters in tow. The fact is, in Wyoming, the single men outnumber the women five to one, so Catharine’s surpassing beauty and willing spirit are priceless gifts for Peter.

In spite of initial culture shock and necessary adjustments, Catharine finds a love with Peter that enraptures both her heart and mind. She is greatly troubled by Peter’s mother’s endeavors to sabotage their precious marriage. Catharine becomes terrified that her haunting past will be discovered, as the story unfolds with tremendous detail and extraordinary characterization.

Brendan’s previous work has received high rankings and praise in the Romantic Times, and she has also received the Atlanta Persistence Award from the American Christian Writers. Author Julie Lessman commented, “Maggie Brendan’s gentle style of prairie romance is reminiscent of Janette Oke, capturing the heart of both the Old West and the reader with romance that will make you sigh.”

Deeply Devoted is sure to captivate readers with its page-turning thrills and the hope of a deeply redemptive story.

Maggie Brendan is the author of No Place for a Lady, The Jewel of His Heart, and A Love of Her Own. A member of American Christian Writers and the American Fiction Writers Association, Maggie lives in Georgia.

Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offers practical books that bring the Christian faith to everyday life. They publish resources from a variety of well-known brands and authors, including their partnership with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and Hungry Planet.

Deeply DevotedDeeply Devoted by Maggie Brendan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

DEEPLY DEVOTED was an enjoyable mail-order bride novel, that seemed to have a little extra something.

Catherine Olsen has left her native Holland to start a new life in America. Unbeknownst to her betrothed, her sisters are coming with her. Leaving a tragic past behind, Catherine wants nothing more than to fall in love and have a happily ever after.

Peter Anderson is anxious to meet Catherine, with whom he has fallen in love with through correspondence. What he isn’t expecting is the immediate family he gets with Catherine’s sisters in tow. Wondering if he will be able to support them all, he makes a go of it and falls for the beautiful Catherine. That is, until his meddlesome mother makes accusations about Catherine and he begins wonder what else she hasn’t told him.

I really enjoyed DEEPLY DEVOTED. As in most mail-order bride novels, the bride arrives with secrets, but Brendan somehow takes the expected and crafts it into something fresh and new. I will continue with the The Blue Willow Bride series as it becomes available.

“Available September 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Naked Heat (Nikki Heat #2)Naked Heat by Richard Castle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

NAKED HEAT the second installment of the Richard Castle books, made popular by the ABC show Castle was good, but nothing will compare to the chemistry of the T.V. characters portrayed by Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic.

Being a fan of the television show, and an avid reader, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to read the books spoken about in the T.V. show. And while the books read like an episode of Castle, you just don’t get the same spark from paper that you do from Richard Castle and Kate Beckett.

Since I usually read Christian fiction so that I can avoid gratuitous sex scenes or unnecessary language, I prepared myself for language and sensuality I would consider comparable to a television program. I did not expect to find the F-word in the dialogue, and some of the other questionable content I found to be cruder than I expected. I am an adult, and can over look these things, but I hope they don’t escalate as the series continues.

A good mystery overall. The crimes being solved and the twists that involved so many suspects was calculated and intriguing. And yes, you could see Castle and Beckett in your minds eyes as you read along. It would be nice, if in future installments, the characters depicting Ryan and Esposito were expounded upon since they all make such a good team. Enjoyable!

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Monday, September 19, 2011

A blizzard in Amish country ends up in a weekend of Christmas miracles

A search and rescue for a lost little boy brings two couples--worlds apart--together in a test of faith, fortitude and discovery.

Jaime Fitzpatrick has a plan. She quit her job and is preparing to launch her photography career in New York City—with or without her husband, C.J. Mattie Riehl has problems of her own. A recent miscarriage has plunged her into feelings of despair that baffle her husband, Sol. He likes problems he can fell like trees.

In Suzanne Woods Fisher’s new A Lancaster County Christmas (ISBN: 978-0-8007-1995-1, $15.99, 208 pages, September), the path of these two couples collide as a winter storm blows Jaime and C.J. off-course and into the Riehl’s home on Christmas Eve, including Tucker, C.J.’s Search and Rescue dog,

Awkward and uncomfortable at first, an unlikely alliance develops as Mattie and Sol’s only child wanders off and disappears in the storm. As C.J., Sol and Tucker search for the child, Jaime and Mattie confront fears they had been avoiding. And both women discover the true meaning of Christmas.

With her trademark plot twists and attention to detail, Fisher offers readers a beautiful story of love, forgiveness, and the miracle of Christmas.

“Fisher weaves a touching story of hope and renewal when two worlds collide at Christmas time.”

—Mary Ann Kinsinger, “A Joyful Chaos” blog.

Suzanne Woods Fisher is a bestselling author of Amish fiction and nonfiction. In less than two years, she has sold over 350,000 books. Suzanne is the host of the widely popular weekly radio program called Amish Wisdom. She has a great admiration for the Plain people and believes they provide wonderful examples to the world. Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, W. D. Benedict, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Benedict eventually became publisher of Christianity Today magazine. She lives in California with her family where she raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind in her spare time.

Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offers practical books that bring the Christian faith to everyday life. They publish resources from a variety of well-known brands and authors, including their partnership with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and Hungry Planet.

A Lancaster County ChristmasA Lancaster County Christmas by Suzanne Woods Fisher

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A LANCASTER COUNTY CHRISTMAS was a heartfelt story, and one of few Amish books that I would recommend to my friends. I am not a fan of Amish themed books, and shy away from them most times. I took a chance on A LANCASTER COUNTY CHRISTMAS, and I am glad I did. This book follows the lives of two couples, an Amish couple, Mattie and Sol, and an English couple, Jaime and C.J.

Mattie and Sol live a simple life in their Amish community. They love God and trust Him with their lives. Their little boy, Danny is their treasure in life. And though they desire to have a full house, they continue to struggle in their attempts to conceive.

Jaime and C.J. are drifting apart. C.J. loves his job as a teacher, and has no desire to move up into administration, while Jaime has big plans for her photography and the desire to move to New York to make it happen. C.J. loves his life the way it is, but does not love the way Jaime’s absentee father suddenly shows up and offers Jaime the world. As Jaime begins to reevaluate what she wants in life, she and C.J. have a car accident on their way to a Christmas cruise to the Caribbean. They are helped by Mattie and Sol, and put up for the night because of the weather. Their stay with the Amish couple forces Jaime to re-examine what is truly important in life, and Mattie finds a new commitment to her faith as she tries to show Jaime God’s love.

As stated before, the Amish genre of fiction is not something I usually enjoy reading. I think what made this book different, is the introduction of the English family into the Amish setting. The contrast between the two is what kept the book interesting for me. Each couple learned something about themselves as they examined the lives of their counterparts. This was a quick read, only taking hours to finish it. I’m glad I took a chance on this book.

“Available September 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

DEADLY PURSUIT - Available now!

Bestselling author Irene Hannon returns with the second novel in her “Guardians of Justice” series, Deadly Pursuit (ISBN: 978-0-8007-3457-2, $14.99, 352 pages, September). Hannon is the recipient of several high honors in her literary genre. As Library Journal has stated, “RITA Award winner Hannon is a master at character development.”

Alison Taylor is a young, single social worker recovering from a serious accident and a broken relationship, kept busy by her demanding job and her faithful canine companion, Bert. But when her police-detective brother pushes her into a blind date with his new colleague, ex-Navy SEAL Mitch Morgan, she’s not sorry—and neither is Mitch. When she begins to receive anonymous calls and threatening gifts, however, their relationship shifts into professional mode as well. And as Mitch works to protect the woman who is fast stealing his heart, he can only pray they’ll find her tormentor before the man’s game turns deadly.

Once again, Hannon delivers an accelerating thrill ride that will keep readers up late into the night.

Irene Hannon is the author of more than 35 novels, including the CBA bestsellers Against All Odds, An Eye for an Eye, In Harm's Way and Fatal Judgment. Her books have been honored with the coveted RITA Award from Romance Writers of America (she’s a five-time finalist), the HOLT Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier award, and two Reviewer's Choice Awards from Romantic Times Book Reviews magazine. She lives in Missouri. For more information about Irene and her books, visit her website at

Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offers practical books that bring the Christian faith to everyday life. They publish resources from a variety of well-known brands and authors, including their partnership with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and Hungry Planet.
Deadly Pursuit: A Novel (Guardians of Justice)Deadly Pursuit: A Novel by Irene Hannon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another top notch novel from Irene Hannon! DEADLY PURSUIT, the second installment of the Guardians of Justice series was a great read, captivating me from the very start.

Alison Taylor pursues justice like her brothers, just without a badge. As a Social worker, Alison does her best to fight for women who’ve had a bad run of luck. She does everything she can to help these women get their children back and out of the social system. A noble cause. But someone doesn’t agree. Daryl Barnes, the ex-boyfriend of one of Alison’s clients, blames her for sending him to prison and ruining his life. Now it’s time for him to get even.

Mitch Morgan, ex-Navy SEAL, ex-SWAT team member, is now a St. Louis Police Detective, living in his hometown, caring for his ailing father. When he is set up on a mercy date with Cole Taylor’s sister, Alison, the date becomes much more than a mercy mission when he is smitten with the strong and beautiful woman. When she becomes the target of what appears to be a dangerous prank, he takes a personal interest. Not just because she is Cole Taylor’s sister, but because he knows she is the woman he wants in his future.

Irene Hannon does a great job of balancing romance and suspense. Her characters are genuine and people you are immediately drawn to. She weaves a great tale, and the relationship between Alison and her brothers is warm and sweet. Another great book from Hannon. Can’t wait for the next book in the series to release.

“Available September 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

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Monday, September 12, 2011


Murder in a small town has worldwide implications
The Queen is the latest Patrick Bowers thriller
from the author Publishers Weekly calls a “master storyteller at the peak of his game.”

It’s freezing in a small, Northern Wisconsin town when Patrick Bowers is called in to investigate a double homicide not far from his brother’s home. The local law enforcement thinks this is an open-and-shut case: a family is murdered and the missing father is their main suspect.

Once on scene, Bowers suspects there’s more to the story. For one thing, it’s only been a few hours and the Chief of Naval Operations is pressuring the FBI Director to have agents look into the case.

The high-tech conspiracy Bowers uncovers ties together long-buried Cold War secrets with present-day tensions in the Middle East and rocks one small town. The Queen (ISBN: 978-0-8007-1920-3, $14.99, 528 pages, September) by Steven James will have readers turning pages as they try to keep up with Bowers.

Praise for Steven James’s novels:

“Steven James continues to raise the bar in suspense writing. The Queen takes readers to a new level of suspense and is the best book in the Patrick Bowers series hands down!”—Suspense Magazine

“Thriller writing at its highest level.”—

“James clearly knows how to spin a yarn.”—Booklist

“Exquisite.”—Fiction Fanatics Only

“Pulse-pounding suspense.”—

“John Sanford might have to start looking over his shoulder.”—Crimespree magazine

“Exhilarating.”—Mysterious Reviews

“Seriously intense.”—Pop Culture Tuesday

“Steven James has mastered the thriller.”—The Suspense Zone

Critically acclaimed author Steven James has written four other award-winning Patrick Bowers novels as well as many works of nonfiction. He has a master’s degree in storytelling and has taught writing and creative storytelling on three continents. He lives near the Blue Ridge Mountains of Tennessee with his wife and three daughters.
To learn more about Steve visit him at:
The Queen: A Patrick Bowers Thriller (The Bowers Files)The Queen: A Patrick Bowers Thriller by Steven James

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My quest to read all of Steven James’ Patrick Bowers Thriller novels started on August 18th, twenty-six days ago . . . and I enjoyed every minute of it! This series has taken me for quite a ride. Mind-bending, thought provoking, amazing characters, complex relationships, are just some of the words I would use to describe this series.

FBI Special Agent Patrick Bowers is once again embroiled in a case that starts off as a double homicide but soon snowballs into what could be the onset of World War III. While trying to decipher a fray of clues that he knows somehow adds up to more than just a domestic violence case, Patrick is also dealing with the complexity of family issues that have been buried for years. Throw in a teenage daughter dealing with her own demons, and a woman that Patrick knows he loves but isn’t sure if he can commit to, and you have an intense story with both intellectual and emotional threads pulling at your senses.

Now, I must admit THE QUEEN had a slower beginning than the other books. While James was trying to educate the reader with technical and political information, the added terminology and in-depth explanations slowed the story, and at times were a bit confusing. But once James laid the groundwork, and added a little back story for the reader unfamiliar with the series, the story took off and became a labyrinth of twists and turns that kept me turning page after page.

This is a great series for the suspense reader. Now, I know some people question the fact that this is a Christian novel with very little Gospel substance to it. But, I look at it as an entertaining series free from explicit language, gratuitous sex, and other liberties that you would find from a secular publisher.

“Available September 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

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Thursday, September 08, 2011

The Bishop (The Patrick Bowers Files, #4)The Bishop by Steven James

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

THE BISHOP, book four in the Patrick Bowers Thriller series, continued the pace of the previous three, while upping the ante with intensity and an even darker undertone, if that is possible. We meet the murderous duo on the very first page, and follow them through their bizarre and psychotic killing spree. While trying to piece together the clues Bowers unearths, I found myself swaying from one possible suspect to another. With so many twists and turns, red herrings and rabbit trails, I wasn’t able to guess one of the assailants at all, while the other one seemed unfathomable but never far from thought.

The relationship between Bowers and his step-daughter, Tessa, continued to mature even though Tessa connected with her biological father. With all the pretenses Tessa has shown, it was great to see her feelings for Bowers deepen. Her wit and intelligence moved her past the bratty teenager stage into the realm of being a great sparing opponent for Patrick. Their growing bond made their characters so rich and attractive.

Though Patrick continues to fumble through his relationships with the opposite sex, I tried not to hold that against Steven James. I’ve yet to read a novel from a male author that could deliver the romance women are looking for. But then again, all is forgiven when a writer can deliver such an intense and tightly woven thriller.

Onto THE QUEEN, the fifth installment

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Friday, September 02, 2011

Out of Control (The Kincaid Brides, #1)Out of Control by Mary Connealy

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

OUT OF CONTROL by Mary Connealy was amusing, but not a book that captured me from the start.

Julia Gilliland is a unique character. Self-raised, she pretty much is a free spirit that does what she likes, but is also very protective of her stepmother and baby sister. She’s survived a nomadic upbringing from her uncaring father, which is the reason for her resilience and her stubbornness. But, her fascination with fossils is her true passion and her biggest character flaw. Willing to do anything to find, study, and write about her findings, she is at most times obstinate and unwilling to listen to reason regarding her desire to search out dangerous areas.

Rafe Kincaid is a rancher haunted by his past. When he finds Julia stuck in a cavern on his property, he struggles with the memory of his young brother’s life-changing accident. Thought Julia is a bit of a firecracker, Rafe is quickly drawn to her. When he discovers the hovel she and her family have been living in, and realizes her father is nothing more than a selfish derelict, he decides he needs to take matters into his own hands and give Julia, her pregnant stepmother, and baby sister some stability. What he is not expecting is a reunion with one of his brothers, finding a hidden valley amongst the caverns, and a menace that is out to hurt Julia. Feeling pulled on every side, the always in control Rafe soon realizes how out of control his life is becoming.

I enjoyed OUT OF CONTROL, though I felt the entire book was just a set-up for a future book. This book laid a lot of groundwork, but also left a lot of questions unanswered. I liked the characters Ms. Connealy created. They were unique and by no means cookie cutter. I just didn’t find myself attaching to them like I would’ve expected. Again, this is just book one in a series, so I am hoping book two is more satisfying.

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