Friday, November 22, 2013

Critical Reaction by Todd M. Johnson

While I know a good bit about Nukes, I have to start this by saying that Mr. Johnson wrote this so anyone can understand it. This is the first book I have read by this author. Enter a time frame that, at this moment would have been just last month, of this year! Out in the still dark night, rocks cloud of some kind at the Hanford Nuclear Plant, and and explosion that isn't talked about. Two men were working hard that night when something extremely strange occurred.

Poppy, his nickname, and Kieran are happy to be alive. However, not even their brush with death adds up to the coughing that hasn't stopped, and the fact that every single doctor tells them they have not been exposed to any radiation. They wouldn't mind believing that, if they hadn't seen all the radiation warning lights turn red, and their badges surely should have registered something. It would be easier to wrap their minds around if the doctors or the company had said they had a low level of exposure, instead of none at all. So if it wasn't radiation, what were they exposed to and why hide it?

Kieran is the younger of the two men, and he has had enough law school training that he knows things are really far off base. So he hires a lawyer, and starts a law suit. He doesn't get too far before his lawyer know she needs him to have someone strong, more powerful on this case. This leads Kieran to turn to his friend from collage, Emily. Emily is an Attorney as was her mother. Her father is in the process of retiring, but now if he wants to strengthen his fragile bonds with Emily, he needs to take on this case and find out what really happened that night out at the Hanford Plant. There are secrets here, and ones that may lead way deeper than anyone has imagined.Will it be worth the risk to dig in and fight for the rights of those harmed?

Critical Reaction is quite well written, easy to read, and a book I didn't want to put down. I haven't quite finished the end of it, but I already would love to read The Deposit Slip.

Carol :)

This week, the

is introducing

Bethany House Publishers (November 19, 2013)



Todd M. Johnson has practiced as an attorney for over 30 years, specializing as a trial lawyer. Todd's career experience blends with his passion for writing in his novels published through Bethany House.

A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Minnesota Law School, he also taught for two years as an adjunct professor of International Law, and served as a US diplomat in Hong Kong.

The Deposit Slip, Mr. Johnson's first novel, debuted in 2012.  Todd's second novel, Critical Reaction, will be released in November 2013.

Todd lives outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife Cathy and children Ian and Libby.


After decades of turning out plutonium for the arms race, the Hanford Nuclear Facility has long been shuttered, though its deadly legacy cannot be fully contained. The men who guard the facility from sabotage or monitor its buildings for radiation leaks are told the risks are under control. They believe it, until the worst happens: a thunderous explosion in the dead of night.

Two workers, lifer Poppy Martin and new hire Kieran Mullaney, believe themselves lucky to survive the blast. But as the debris is cleared, they discover their safety is not assured. Dead ends and closed doors halt their efforts to discover what really happened--and what radiation may have poisoned them. When stalling and threats force them into the hands of experienced trial lawyer Ryan Hart, they learn that theirs is no ordinary lawsuit. There is something still hidden in the desert of eastern Washington, and someone is willing to go to extreme lengths to make sure it never sees the light of day.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Critical Reaction, go HERE.

Todd can be reached through the Contact link on his Website 

The book link is: 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Christmas at Harmony Hill by Ann H Gabhart

Ann H. Gabhart's new book is a Shaker Christmas story. Your not going to find many of these, much less this well written. I have read several of Ann's books, including one other with Shakers.

Heather is following the Union army. She is one of their washerwomen, because her husband is in this awful war. He is fighting and Heather is exhausted from the blood and death, but she wouldn't leave her husband if she didn't have to. It's not the least bit easy to leave Gideon to God's care and go home to have her baby, especially since her Father didn't approve of her union to a Yankee. However, her Mother's letters have kept her hope alive, and using all the faith she can muster Heather goes home. When she gets there, there are good things, and bad things. All things considered though, there is no way she can have her baby at home with her family. Her Mother left her a letter, and told her to go to her kin, Aunt Sophrena. One catch, Aunt Sophrena is Sister Sophrena; she is a Shaker.

With fervent prayers that she will be allowed to stay in the Shaker community, and that they will not take her child from her, Heather follows God and her Mother's advice and enters into a world unlike any other. Like the baby that was born to save us, Heather struggles to understand the Shaker ways of not having marriages and raising babies away from their parents. If God sends Gideon back home, she will not have to live here, possibly become a Shaker like her Aunt. However, if he perishes on the battlefield, Heather and her baby might not have any other option.

They keep their hands busy, "Hands to work, Hearts to God" as is the Shaker way. Thus while sewing, Heather prays and waits, and contemplates with Sister Aunt Sophrena about the joy and miracle of life, much like Mary might have done when carrying baby Jesus. Will Heather's simple trust in God and his plan for her life transform the Shakers, or will their ways change hers?

Christmas at Harmony Hill was very well written. Christ, forgiveness, dealing with our deepest pains, and great joy was all interwoven into this very nice short read.

Carol :)

A stirring story of healing, hope, and home at Christmas

She stared up at the Shaker buildings. They took in those in need. That was why she was riding into their village. But she couldn't stay here. Not forever. They divided families. She'd heard her grandmother speak harshly of the way Shakers didn't believe in marriage and had special houses where children were kept from their parents.

Heather put a hand over the swell of her baby inside her. Surely they wouldn't take a newborn from his mother's bosom. Heather's mother couldn't have imagined that happening or she'd have never told her to come . . .

It is 1864 and the nation is torn apart by civil war when Heather Worth discovers she is with child. With her husband at the front and nowhere else to turn, she seeks refuge in the Shaker village of Harmony Hill. Amid the tumult of the times, Heather yearns for the peace she sees in this strange community. But can this longing really be fulfilled amid these people with their peculiar beliefs about family?

As Christmas approaches, the joy of new life and the love that is born of forgiveness may hold the answer.

Join bestselling author Ann HGabhart for a peek into the world of the Shakers--and the world of the human heart.

Want to read some? Click HERE!

Where to Purchase

Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of several Shaker novels--The OutsiderThe BelieverThe SeekerThe Blessed, and The Gifted--as well as other historical novels, including Angel Sister,Small Town Girl, and Words Spoken True. She lives with her husband a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky. Find out more at
  1. Ann H. Gabhart
    © Scott Campbell Photography

    Ann H. Gabhart

    Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of Angel SisterSmall Town Girl, and Words Spoken True, as well as several Shaker novels--The OutsiderThe BelieverThe SeekerThe Blessed, and The Gifted--and...
    Continue reading about Ann H. Gabhart


"Gabhart has created two protagonists to root for while poignantly capturing the anxious heartache combat soldiers and their wives have suffered throughout history. The novel's depiction of Shaker spirituality and communal lifestyle provides a fascinating glimpse into a vanished sect."  RT Book Reviews

Available November 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

A Simple Christmas Wish by Melody Carlson

Rachel was spending time with her niece, Holly, this Christmas. Holly and Rachel get along very well, and Rachel loves her dearly. Holly's parents are on their 10th anniversary trip. While they are gone these two are having a wonderful time! I loved what they did with their time and the tree, and some other things you will read about. Then something major occurs. Rachel has to find a way to tell Holly and before they know it they are in Amish Country in Ohio trying to sort out what is going to happen next. If things go the way they were told legally, then Rachel's life as she knows it is totaled. That isn't very agreeable, so soon Rachel finds herself wearing an Amish dress that belonged to someone she loved greatly, all while asking God about what his next plans are, and if they include her giving up another someone she loves with all her heart.

Meanwhile it is Holly's Birthday and Christmas wish for herself to be able to have the best of both worlds. To not loose the family she loves, nor the family she had gained. It is going to take God working a miracle for Holly's Christmas wish  to come to pass, and it might not work out in the way you had thought that it would.

With quite a few twists, turns and memorable settings and conversations, A Simple Christmas wish is a lovely fast read for any age old enough to listen to good stories.

Carol :)

One girl in need of a home. One woman in search of a home for her heart. One Christmas where it all seems possible.
It felt strange to be out here in the middle of the night, still wearing the Amish dress--a dress that had belonged to Miri. Rachel's footsteps crunched in the snow, and halfway between the barn and the house, she paused to look up at the night sky, wondering if more snow was in store, but all she saw was velvety black and stars. Millions of twinkling stars. She had never seen stars like that before, so bright and so close, almost as if she could touch them with her hand.

Rachel Milligan never imagined that she and her seven-year-old niece would spend the week before Christmas on a quaint Amish farm in Ohio. But with so many unexpected occurrences of late, perhaps she shouldn't have been surprised.

With her young niece Holly in tow, Rachel anxiously makes her way from Chicago to Ohio's Amish country. As love begins to blossom, family secrets emerge, and old wounds are healed, Rachel realizes that she will do whatever it takes to ensure that Holly has the loving family she needs.

Join bestselling author Melody Carlson on an emotional journey into the heart of what family truly means at Christmastime.

Want to read some? Click HERE!

Where to Purchase

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books with sales of more than five million. She is the author of several Christmas books, including the bestselling The Christmas Bus,The Christmas DogChristmas at Harrington's, and The Christmas Pony. She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series and Finding Alice. She and her husband live in central Oregon. For more information about Melody visit her website at
  1. Melody Carlson

    Melody Carlson

    Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books with sales of more than five million. She is the author of several Christmas books from Revell, including the bestselling The Christmas BusThe Christmas Dog

    Continue reading about Melody Carlson and Christmas...

Available November 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Shadow Lamp by Stephen R. Lawhead (Book 4 - Bright Empires Series)

The Skin Map is the first.
The Bone House is second.
The Spirit Well is the third.
The Shadow Lamp is the fourth book in this series.

This is a series that just gets better and better. Burleigh, and the bad guys, are still in pursuit of the map and worse than ever. Our whole scattered group is now rejoining and it is a good thing too! They really do have to find The Spirit Well again, well before things get more complicated or worse. Stunning big secrets are coming out in this book, that are really making lots of things fall into place as an over all whole. The pace has really really picked up, and at the same time we have Scientific discussions that are always fun in Lawhead's books. We have visits to Egypt, and have you heard of drowning in the desert? Oh and wait until you meet The Zetetic Society! Book 5 will wrap up this whole amazing series, and I can't wait to read it.

Carol :)

The Shadow Lamp - 
Author Website
Author Facebook page -

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. 

Participants’ links:
Julie Bihn
Red Bissell
Thomas Clayton Booher
Thomas Fletcher Booher
Beckie Burnham
Jeff Chapman
Karri Compton
Theresa Dunlap
April Erwin
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Becky Jesse
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Rebekah Loper
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirriam Neal
Writer Rani
Nathan Reimer
Chawna Schroeder
Jojo Sutis
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Rachel Wyant
Phyllis Wheele
Deborah Wilson

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Singularity by Steven James

Steven James is another writer who had never bored me. In this book, Singularity he picked up where Placebo left and and went to a whole next level! You could read this book with out having read the first one I think. Even so, this is a super strong second book!

We pick back up with Jev, and his friends. They have just lost someone they deeply care about, in a most unusual manor, and it was a murder. While they are trying to work on what exactly happened there, we are also reading about a man who has no problem playing God. That would be Derek Byrne, Akinsanya from the first book. He is taking Science to the next evolutionary level for humans, and it is something most people probably didn't see coming at first. Derek isn't afraid to take his desire to live certain ways the extreme. Wait till you find out what the grey stuff  Derek keeps adding to his coffee is. (That was um, different that I expected it to be!)

This book is not for the faint of heart. It covers some real, what if- and oh that would SO not be good possibilities. Just one of the issues tackled is when are people in a comma really dead, when or if they should be released from their physically bodies? What if they are just trapped unable to respond? What if the insertion of drastic measures could cause them to be functional again? Questions of ethics, morals, and possibilities unfold in page after page, while still sharing the story of Jev, his friends and the one person they are still working to stop before more lives are lost.

Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys these kinds of books like I do! (PS- though it might impact some people more the way Steven James does it, I don't find his work any more graphic than most crime solving style TV series. I think what causes most people to feel that his work is "gruesome" is that he has not spared showing how evil Evil can really be.)

Carol :)


Jevin Banks is searching for a killer--and answers to terrifying questions he never even thought to ask.
Cover ArtWhen his friend is murdered, illusionist Jevin Banks is determined to find out what really happened. Drawn deep into a web of conspiracy and top-secret research on human consciousness, Jevin won't stop digging until the truth is revealed. Soon he uncovers a dark secret that could change the very fabric--and future--of human life on the planet.

Based on frightening scientific realities and bristling with mystery, suspense, and intrigue, Singularity is the riveting sequel to Placebo.

Want a  sample ... click HERE! 

"Steven James knows how to tell a story that gets under your skin and challenges the way you think as only the most talented writers can. If you're looking for a mind-bending tale, strap in and take the ride with Singularity. I can't recommend it highly enough."
Ted DekkerNew York Times bestselling author


  1. Steven James
    © Dan Davis Photography

    Steven James

    Critically acclaimed author Steven James has written more than thirty books, including Placebo and the bestselling Bowers Files thriller series. He is a contributing editor to Writer's Digest. Steven lives in Tennessee with his wife and three daughters.
    Continue reading about Steven James

    Available November 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Friday, November 8, 2013

White As Snow: A Christmas Story by Donna Westover Gallup (Mysterious Ways Series)

The Author has a video below that is such a good summery of this book! Please do listen to it! 
Ok. Now, you probably know I have the paperback copy of this book, but Audio is never the same to me as reading. First of all, I had a few challenges, and thus I am going to make some suggestions. 

First, update your Kindle software first. My poor dear little Kindle, it had to have THREE software upgrades in this process. Then, I was shocked to find myself so challenged that I couldn't find White As Snow once I knew I had downloaded it. When you get an audio book using Amazon for your Kindle, go to "Mange My Kindle" on a PC inside of Amazon and you will find an section called Audible. Once there, you send the book (audio) to your Kindle. This was quite a learning curve for me, and that is odd since I am normally very computer savvy. 

Once I had my copy in my Kindle, the fun started! I have a Kindle Touch, so on my model I have a nice little volume control, pause, play, and I can back up or move forward 30 seconds at a time. That was quite useful if the phone rang while I was driving and listening to White As Snow. My screen saver did kick in, so that little jump back feature was VERY handy while I was struggling to get the screen back to push pause. There is probably a short cut I don't know of yet. ;) 

Meanwhile, I have really been enjoying having my Kindle "read to me"! Our lives are so busy that we are often in transit, and while I love the phone calls I get or make and singing with my CD's, it is also wonderful to hear a story like it is on the radio, but with no commercials. I started this practice from some long trips, but I was renting big long audio books on CD that had to be returned. This has benefits that it can go with you, you can even put it by your pillow and listen as you get sleepy. What a wonderful blessing for those with eye issues or who are just tired! 

I wasn't sure about the person reading this book at first, and that is probably because I read it and have "voices" that I hear when I read of each character, but the longer Mr. Graydon Schlichter read and used different voices for the characters, the more fun and more impressed I was. I could tell he put great effort into this. 

I really enjoyed this, and I hope you will get a copy and listen to it as well! I hope to be able to get more audio copies of wonderful books like this one as finances permit. 

Carol :) 
for Nov. 1 - 12, 2013

WHITE AS SNOW: A Christmas Story (Mysterious Ways #1)
Author: Donna Westover Gallup
Read by: Graydon Schlichter
Length: 3 hrs. 47 min.
Story Synopsis:
COLORADO TERRITORY 1864 ~ Young Charlie is alone on the ranch that sits between the empty prairie and the Rocky Mountains. As he cares for his dying grandpa and tries to figure out how to survive the winter, he keeps remembering the old man's words: "Failure is not an option, son."
As the first storm of the season hits, a mysterious mountain man shows up at the isolated ranch and good things start to happen. But can Charlie trust the giant stranger with his one terrible secret? Then, on Christmas Day, he learns what trust really means. An entertaining and heartwarming story for the entire family to enjoy during the holiday season and all year.

Listen to Excerpt: Here
Buy/Download at:,,
Find More About the Book
Enter the Publisher's Drawing for a Free Audio Book
Author Video:

Monday, November 4, 2013

Made To Last by Melissa Tagg

I am glad I didn't miss Made To Last, because it was very good. It is not your "run of the mill" fluffy romance. Instead, this is about the life of Miranda, Randi Woodruff. She is the star of her own show, which focuses on wood working and mostly on do-it-yourself house fixing or building projects. To her viewers she is the tomboy darling, but in her real life, Randi has a past. She has secrets eating her alive.

With the threat of the last thing she holds dear, From The Ground Up being canceled, Randi takes steps to save her show and her employee's that she never dreamed she would take. She agrees to present a man who isn't her husband, as her husband on camera to the whole world. Why would she do that? Well back when she started her show she was engaged, and instead of telling the whole wild world where he went, the myth of her husband continued on the show. However, she is totally under the gun. She has a reporter who gets to her like no one else has for a long time who is her constant shadow, and a fake "husband" living in her house with her. The three of them are becoming constant companions and the truth isn't going to stay hidden easily.
Coming forth with her "husband" is the only thing that might save her show, and all those jobs.

Matthew just came because his niece loves Randi's show so much, and he is suppose to do a "tell all" on her. Dig up her secrets and lay them bare to the world in odder to make a come-back from some major past mistakes that wound up hurting people very close to him. He never though he would wind up with the depths of what he has stumbled into with Randi! Not to mention her husband Blaze. And where is her first fiance, Robbie? The chain of events has lots of twists and turns, and moral and ethical factors to it. Melissa Tagg did a great job on this book, and I was quite pleased with the depth of the character's issues, and complexities.

Carol :)


Miranda Woodruff has it all. At least, that's how it looks when she's starring in her home-building television show, From the Ground Up. So when her network begins to talk about making cuts, she'll do anything to boost ratings and save her show--even if it means pretending to be married to a man who's definitely not the fiance who ran out on her three years ago.

When a handsome reporter starts shadowing Miranda's every move, all his digging into her personal life brings him a little too close to the truth--and to her. Can the girl whose entire identity is wrapped up in her on-screen persona finally find the nerve to set the record straight? And if she does, will the life she's built come crashing down just as she's found a love to last?


A Word From The Author:

I’m a former reporter turned author who loves all things funny and romancey. My debut novel, a romantic comedy titled Made to Last, releases from Bethany House in September 2013. In addition to my nonprofit day job, I’m also the marketing/events coordinator for My Book Therapy, a craft and coaching community for novelists.

It all started when my dad, at the ripe old age of sixteen, picked up my mom up for their first date. She was thirteen. Thirteen!* Dad drove a cherry red car up the lane to my grandparents big ol’ green house and honked his horn…whereupon Mom jumped out of the apple tree she’d been waiting in and off they went…fishing. True story. (I’d give more details, but I’m saving it for a novella I plan to entitle Two Leaves. Mom, I really hope you read this.)

Four years of college, a few trips abroad and a stint as a reporter later, that dream is soon to be a reality. My debut novel, a romantic comedy titled Made to Last, is now out from Bethany House. Book two, Here to Stay, comes out on May 1, 2014.

In between writing and staring out the window brainstorming, I also work as a grant-writer at one of Iowa’s largest private nonprofits and serve as the marketing/events coordinator for My Book Therapy, a craft and coaching community for novelists founded by Susan May Warren.

And I love, love, love talking about finding our purpose and identity in Christ. (And well, okay, food, old movies, boots and scarves, my awesome nephew Ollie, and, fine, Tim Tebow, too.)

Melissa can be reached through the Contact link on her Website 

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Made to Last, go HERE.

The book link is:

My copy of this book was sent for me for free, for me to review by Bethany House Publishers. Thank you!