Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bridge to a Distant Star by Carolyn Williford

Hi Readers,

This book was not what I expected. I really got into the "book one" part. I can totally understand why Carolyn Williford did what she did, but I was down right aggravated when I got abruptly thrust into "book two". Just so I don't loose anyone, these are labeled inside of this same book- Bridge To A Distant Star.

I had a TERRIBLE time getting into book two. Sports aren't my thing, and while I understood it was the set up of some important things, it was really hard to read through all that part. Once major things started happening with the son, Charlie, I was able to read it with much more understanding and interest. I wasn't thrown for a loop when "book three" started, because now I expected that. I also was "into" book three with out any problems. I related the most to "book one" and "book three".

All that said, this was not an easy topic to write about, and the pain of loosing children came through sharp and clear. It was not written with out passion or feeling, and it is gripping. I just didn't do a well with this book for some reason. I think it is just me. I didn't do so great with most of the Titanic movies either. I know people drown, they die, and others live.

I think I wanted more about the ones that lived at the end. A "book four" with how God transformed their lives after such horrible tragedies would be more to my liking. It was almost like we got to know them, and then some lived, some died, and then they all lived happily ever after. And it just didn't sit with me the way I wished it had. Mrs. Williford did a very nice job of tying the threads together at the end of the book, and yet I was left feeling empty and somehow bereft of something that I can't quite name.

I feel bad to say such blunt words when I know so much is poured into our writing, but this is my honest review of how this book made me feel.


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Bridge to a Distant Star
David C. Cook; New edition (June 1, 2011)
Carolyn Williford

Carolyn Williford has authored seven books, including Jordan's Bend, Devotions for Families That Can't Sit Still, and Faith Tango, as well as numerous articles. She and her husband, Craig, live in Deerfield, Illinois, where he serves as president of Trinity International University. They have two children and four grandchildren.

It All Comes Tumbling Down

As a storm rages in the night, unwary drivers venture onto Tampa Bay’s most renowned bridge. No one sees the danger ahead. No one notices the jagged gap hidden by the darkness and rain. Yet when the bridge collapses vehicles careen into the churning waters of the bay below.

In that one catastrophic moment, three powerful stories converge: a family ravaged by their child’s heartbreaking news, a marriage threatened by its own facade, and a college student burdened by self doubt. As each story unfolds, the characters move steadily closer to that fateful moment on the bridge. And while each character searches for grace, the storms in their lives loom as large as the storm that awaits them above the bay.

When these characters intersect in Carolyn Williford’s gripping and moving volume of three novellas, they also collide with the transforming truth of Christ: Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Bridge to a Distant Star, go HERE.

The book link is: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1434767035

Monday, June 20, 2011

Darkness Follows by Mike Dellosso

Have you read it yet? 

Alright friends, if you haven't read Darkness Follows yet from my last posting of it, then you need to catch up with the rest of us so we can read your thoughts on this book! My first review of it can be found here:

This review will add more of my thoughts since I got to read it earlier. When I think about this book, I tend to think about how well Mr. Dellosso captured the mind of someone who is afraid they are loosing their sanity. I am impressed with how well he portrayed what can happen with what I was raised to call a generational curse. That is a Spiritual issue, a curse, since it is NOT a blessing, that came down to haunt/pester you through your family line. 

In Darkness Follows Sam is dealing with a generation curse. The interesting thing is that I know a family who has major generational issues all dealing with the mind and spirt. Most of them are diagnosed Bi-Polar or Bi-Polar and schizophrenic as well, but I firmly believe it has a spiritual aspect that can not be ignored if the one suffering is to ever be free, well, or whole. I feel that this was very nicely covered in this book. 

You see, Sam is hearing voices that he can't tell if they are real, or not. Then he winds up writing a story that he doesn't remember writing! So is he schizophrenic, loosing his mind, or just fighting the spiritual battle of a lifetime? His darling daughter wants him to know how much Jesus loves him. The more she tells him, the more he seems to feel like running away. The "Darkness" speaks, and the Light fights. Jacob keeps telling his daughter Eva what she needs to do, and how to pray, but her family brushes her off thinking she is just imagining things because of the trauma of her Daddy's accident at work. Meanwhile, Sam's mental and emotional condition continue to worsen at an alarming rate. 

Things only get way worse when people Sam knows start being murdered, and he is so out of his mind with issues he never dealt with from his completely dysfunctional childhood that those closest to him begin to wonder if he will be lost to them forever. Lost in the darkness of his mind, the darkness of his soul, and the darkness that is trying to consume his spirit. 

Darkness Follows is a gripping book, and for those who read it they should gain a deeper understanding to the fine lines we walk between the Spirit realm and our own sanity. And while my battles have not been this one, I  know I have dealt with enough that I too can speak the words of a famous quote:  
"There but for the grace of God, go I."  

Stay in the Light of His Love!


Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Mike now lives in Hanover, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Jen, and their three daughters. He writes a monthly column for Writer . . .Interrupted, was a newspaper correspondent/columnist for over three years, has published several articles for The Candle of Prayer inspirational booklets, and has edited and contributed to numerous Christian-themed Web sites and e-newsletters. Mike is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, the Relief Writer's Network, the International Christian Writers, and International Thriller Writers. His short stories have appeared with Amazon Shorts and in Coach's Midnight Diner genre anthology. He received his BA degree in sports exercise and medicine from Messiah College and his MBS degree in theology from Master's Graduate School of Divinity.

Mike Dellosso writes novels of suspense for both the mind and the soul. He writes to both entertain and challenge. In addition to his novels, Mike is also an adjunct professor at Lancaster Bible College and a faculty member at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writer's Conference.

Sam Travis lives in a Civil War era farmhouse in Gettysburg, PA, where he awakens one morning to find an old journal with an entry by a Union soldier, Lt. Whiting…written in Sam’s own handwriting. When this happens several more times, both at night and during waking “trances,” Sam begins to question his own sanity while becoming obsessed with Lt. Whiting and his bone-chilling journal entries. As the entries begin to mimic Sam’s own life, he is drawn into an evil plot that could cost many lives, including his own.

Can the unconditional love of Sam's daughter, Eva, break through his hardened heart before a killer on the loose catches up with them and Sam’s past spurs him to do the unthinkable?

If you would like to read the Prologue and first chapter of Darkness Follows, go HERE

Watch the book video:

Author’s web site - http://mikedellosso.wordpress.com/

 In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
{Only this time since I had a copy, I did not order a second one, that didn't seem fair!} 

Participants’ links:

Noah Arsenault
Red Bissell
Thomas Clayton Booher
Beckie Burnham
Melissa Carswell
Karri Compton
CSFF Blog Tour
Chris Deane
Cynthia Dyer
Nikole Hahn
Katie Hart
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Inae Kyo
Shannon McDermott
Allen McGraw
Shannon McNear
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
Sarah Sawyer
Kathleen Smith
Jessica Thomas
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler

Double Take by Melody Carlson

Review Time You All!

What a fun book! I really enjoyed this upbeat, but very Christ centered book. I think many teen-age girls will enjoy this book a great deal too! Anna and Madison meet in a small Amish town and decide to switch lives for a week. Quite a feat considering one is a Manhattan socialite, and the other an exasperated Amish girl.
Anna is wanting to find her lost sweetheart who didn't come back after his rumspringa. Madison is wanting to escape her families tug-of-war over the direction her life should go next. Trading places sounds like the perfect solution, but it is also quite complicated.

A very nicely detailed book with both Amish life, and the big city. I enjoyed reading it, and I enjoyed the way that both girls grew closer to God through their experiences. I also really liked how things wound up for Aunt Rachel.


Young Socialite Switches Places with Amish Girl to Escape Manhattan Scene!
Why does everything have to be so complicated?” Madison shook her Blackberry at her mom…
“I’m sick of it…I can’t take it anymore…”
Anna Fisher was bored. But she knew better than to say that out loud – especially when everyone was busy with farming and fixing and all the additional chores that came with springtime.

Bestselling author Melody Carlson takes readers into the worlds of a socialite and an Amish girl struggling with who they are in Double Take (ISBN: 978-0-8007-1964-7, June 2011, $9.99). Have you ever wondered what would happen if you could switch your life with someone else for just one day? Readers will live the one-week experiences of a bored Amish girl and stressed out socialite when they decide to switch places in Double Take.  
Spring break has arrived. It’s her senior year, and Madison VanBuren is fed up with her surroundings and the pressures of life. Stressed out over choosing an Ivy League school that will please her parents, their marital problems, and her boyfriend's pressure, Madison gets in her car and drives west.
Meanwhile, eighteen-year-old Anna Fisher wants to escape the so-called simple life--which for her consists of caring for younger siblings, sewing, cooking, and gardening--and she's well aware that her future will simply be more of the same with a man she doesn't love.
Madison and Anna stumble into each other in a small town. Realizing their looks are uncannily similar, they both think their lives are boring. Thinking the grass is greener on the other side, they make a decision that will transform them forever and switch lives for one week.
Readers will love this funny and provocative tale of switching places from bestselling author Melody Carlson. As they get a glimpse and understanding of these two very different worlds. They may find themselves happy to be just who they are, and where they are.

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books, several of them Christmas novellas from Revell, including her much-loved and bestselling books, Christmas at Harrington’s and The Christmas Bus. She also writes many teen books, including Just Another Girl, Anything but Normal, the Diary of a Teenage Girl series, the TrueColors series, and the Carter House Girls series. Melody was nominated for a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her books, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series and several books which  are being considered for TV movies. She and her husband serve on the Young Life adult committee in central Oregon.

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.

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

Thank you Ms. Donna and Revell for my copy of this book to review!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pompii (City On Fire) by T. L. Higley

Oh Readers!

What a fascinating book Pompii is! I realized it as a real place, that had a horrible demise, but the title of Pompii City On Fire captured my attention, and this book did not disappoint me at all. This is the first book by T.L. Higley that I have read, and now I would really like to read more of them to see how they compare to this one.

Ariella is a young Jewish girl when she see the temple burned, and her life and family crumble before her in one days time. Before long, she is a slave to a horrible master. Not just one that uses her as a slave, but basically uses her as a sex slave. It makes her heart and soul sick, and she is sure the God of her fathers has left her, and left the Jews to perish. Rome is in great power, and with it many false idols and false god. With these empty religions comes a great deal of debauchery, and just out right excuses for horrible crimes and sins. Ariella can't bear to keep living life like this, so when her time comes, she makes an incredible exit. She becomes known as a boy, and is a member of a team of gladiators. Not an easy life at all, to go from being a beautiful girl to a young male fighter, but Ari is determined to gain her freedom once and for all.

At the same time Cato has moved to Pompii with his mother and sisters. Things in Rome didn't go as he had planned, so he figures he will start over and try his hand at wine. He has a vineyard with good prospects, and a decent store. Surely with this a man can start over and have a good life. And so he would have, had the city not been under the control of Maius. Maius takes an instant dislike to Cato, and that is where his new troubles start!

Meanwhile, Cato can't figure out why  he is so drawn to the young fighter Ari. That is, until he learns he is really a woman! But not just any woman, a woman with both physical fighting skills, and a spirit that is quite untamed in many areas. A woman who has been exposed to the worst things in mankind, who is now starting to see things from God in man as well. Before long Cato's destiny is entangled with Ariella's in more ways than just one, and the mountain that over sees the city they call home, is getting ready to become an active erupting volcano.

A wonderful book, full of many details of Roman life, and beautifully interwoven with the Gospel of Christ, and contrasted with the evil and sin that comes with any god that isn't the One true God. It hadn't been that long since Christ walked on Earth that this story took place. The settings are not dull, the descriptions lack nothing, and the plot and characters are motivating and fascinating. Then there is the mountain herself which is also a vital part of the history of this place. Pompii is a recommended read.


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
B&H Books (June 1, 2011)
T.L. Higley

A fiction aficionado since grade school, T.L. Higley, author of Pompeii: City on Fire (B&H Publishing House, June 2011) started her first novel at the age of eight.

Now the author of nine historical fiction novels, including the popular Seven Wonders series, Higley isn’t just transporting readers: She’s transporting herself, too.

“My Iifelong interest in history and mythology has taken me to Italy, Greece, Egypt, Rome, Turkey, Jordan and Israel, where I’ve gotten to study those ancient cultures in rich detail,” says Higley. “It’s my desire to shine the light of the gospel into the cultures of the past, and I figure what better way to do that than to visit the cultures themselves?”

In addition to her accomplished novelist career, Higley is a business entrepreneur and a mother. In fact, for Pompeii, she brought her daughter along with her to Italy for the research trip.

“We gave it to her as a graduation present, not only because Italy is terrific, but because I believe in exposing children to global cultures,” says Higley, who became a student herself again this year. She’s now a graduate student at American Public University, earning her master’s degree in Ancient and Classical Studies.

When Higley isn’t traveling on research trips, writing her novels, or studying for class, she operates four online retail companies, including KoolStuff4Kids.com – a family-run business that began as a way for her oldest daughter to make some extra money for camp. Today, it is a go-to site for parents, children and teachers all over the country, looking for beads and other kid-friendly craft supplies.

Higley lives with her husband and her three other children (aforementioned daughter now in college) just outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  

Pompeii, a city that's many things to many people. For Cato, it's the perfect escape from a failed political career in Rome. A place to start again, become a winemaker. But when a corrupt politician wrongfully jails Cato's sister, he must oust the man from power to save her.

For Ariella, Pompeii is a means to an end. As a young Jew, she escaped the fall of Jerusalem only to endure slavery to a cruel Roman general. She ends up in Pompeii, disguised as a young man and sold into a gladiator troupe. Her anger fuels her to fight well, hoping to win the arena crowds and reveal her gender at the perfect time. Perhaps then she will win true freedom.

But evil creeps through the streets of Pompeii. Political corruption, religious persecution, and family peril threaten to destroy Ariella and Cato, who are thrown together in the battle to survive. As Vesuvius churns with deadly intent, the two must bridge their differences to save the lives of those they love, before the fiery ash buries Pompeii, leaving the city lost to the world.

Watch the book trailer:

If you would like to read the Prologue of Pompeii, go HERE.

The book link is: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0373442726

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

How Huge The Night by Heather Munn and Lydia Munn

Hello out there!

I have read many a book that has Nazis in them. What they did to the Jews, and so many others, is one of the worst atrocities we hear of in history. I was sort of hesitant to read one more book about it, but found this one very different. Nina and Gustav are a sister and brother who have to flee home when their father dies. As Jews, they will soon be on the list to be killed. Nina disguise herself as a boy, and changes her name to Niko.
But gender alone doesn't keep one safe when the world you live in is being taken over by a mad man.

How Huge The Night follows two story lines, the travels and struggles of Nina and Gustav, as well as the day to day issues of a boy named Julien. Julien lives in France, but even France isn't safe from Hitler's reach.
In-between day to day chores and school, Julien just flat struggles to find out what God wants him to do, and what his life is about. He has to work hard to do the right thing, and he makes a few steps forward, and some backwards as well.

This is a book written to show how the wars effected teens growing up in this time frame. We have many books on how it effected adults, but this is the first one I have read showing how it changed the young people.
A good, but rather somber read, with God and scripture present through out.


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
How Huge the Night
Kregel Publications (March 9, 2011)
Heather Munn and Lydia Munn

Heather Munn was born in Northern Ireland of American parents and grew up in the south of France. She decided to be a writer at the age of five when her mother read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books aloud, but worried that she couldn’t write about her childhood since she didn’t remember it. When she was young, her favorite time of day was after supper when the family would gather and her father would read a chapter from a novel. Heather went to French school until her teens, and grew up hearing the story of Le Chambonsur-Lignon, only an hour’s drive away. She now lives in rural Illinois with her husband, Paul, where they offer free spiritual retreats to people coming out of homelessness and addiction. She enjoys wandering in the woods, gardening, writing, and splitting wood.

Lydia Munn was homeschooled for five years because there was no school where her family served as missionaries in the savannahs of northern Brazil. There was no public library either, but Lydia read every book she could get her hands on. This led naturally to her choice of an English major at Wheaton College. Her original plan to teach high school English gradually transitioned into a lifelong love of teaching the Bible to both adults and young people as a missionary in France. She and her husband, Jim, have two children: their son, Robin, and their daughter, Heather.

Fifteen-year-old Julien Losier just wants to fit in. But after his family moves to a small village in central France in hopes of outrunning the Nazis, he is suddenly faced with bigger challenges than the taunting of local teens.

Nina Krenkel left her country to obey her father's dying command: Take your brother and leave Austria. Burn your papers. Tell no one you are Jews. Alone and on the run, she arrives in Tanieux, France, dangerously ill and in despair.

Thrown together by the chaos of war, Julien begins to feel the terrible weight of the looming conflict and Nina fights to survive. As France falls to the Nazis, Julien struggles with doing what is right, even if it is not enough-and wonders whether or not he really can save Nina from almost certain death.

Based on the true story of the town of Le Chambon-the only French town honored by Israel for rescuing Jews from the Holocaust-How Huge the Night is a compelling, coming-of-age drama that will keep teens turning the pages as it teaches them about a fascinating period of history and inspires them to think more deeply about their everyday choices.

“The Munns have written an engrossing historical novel that is faithful to the actual events of World War II in western Europe during the tumultuous year 1940. But How Huge the Night is more than good history; it is particularly refreshing because the reader sees the conflict through the lives of teenagers who are forced to grapple with their honest questions about the existence and goodness of God in the midst of community, family, and ethnic tensions in war-ravaged France.”—Lyle W. Dorsett, Billy Graham Professor of Evangelism, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University

“Seldom have the horrors of war upon adolescents—or the heroism of which they are capable—been so clearly portrayed. I loved this coming-of-age story.”—Patricia Sprinkle, author of Hold Up the Sky

“The book expertly weaves together the lives of its characters at a frightening moment in conflicted times. As we read of their moral dilemmas and of their choices, we too wonder, Would I do has these in the story have done?”—Karen Mains, Director, Hungry Souls
If you would like to read an excerpt from How Huge the Night, go HERE

Watch the book video:

The book link is: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/082543310X