Friday, December 31, 2010

Love on Assignment by Cara Lynn James

As soon as I saw that the setting for this book was Newport, Rhode Island in the year 1900 I knew I had to read it and I am so glad that I had the opportunity to do so. Charlotte Hale is working in a newspaper office and aspiring to become a reporter, an unheard of thing for a woman in the early 20th century. Her boss assigns her to her first real job, to find dirt on a local college professor who happens to be a very outspoken Christian. He helps her gain employment in the home of the professor under the guise of being a governess to his two children. Charlotte enters this new employment with deception and finds that one lie leads into another until she is in so deep she doesn't know how she'll get back out.
This book is very well written and engaging, I didn't want to put it down. The characters came to life and I found myself hoping that Charlotte would make the right decisions. I can't wait to read more from this author.
About the book:
While Charlotte is focusing on uncovering sordid information on columnist Daniel Wilmot, her heart leads her into uncharted territory.
During the summer of 1900 Charlotte Hale, a native Newporter and secretary for the Rhode Island Reporter, accepts an undercover assignment as temporary governess to Daniel Wilmont's children in order to secretly gather evidence against him. As he helps her rediscover God, Charlotte learns that Daniel is an honorable man. They unexpectedly fall in love despite their different backgrounds and social positions. Charlotte soon realizes she must defend Daniel against the forces set against him—a willful student with a romantic crush and the newspaper editor determined to destroy his reputation.
About the author:
Cara Lynn James is the award winning author of Love on a Dime. She resides in Florida with her husband, Jim. Learn more about this new author and her books at her website.
Thanks to the folks at Thomas Nelson for this review copy, given to me through Booksneeze.
Thanks, Cara, for this CLEAN READ!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Driven by Shellie Neumeier

From the back cover:

Robyn can’t help but notice the handsome new guy at her school. She ignores, however, the arrival of another being at Brookfield Central High School—a demon assigned to destroy her…

Robyn loves her friends, enjoys her youth group, and looks forward to meeting cute Caleb Montague. But when a caustic news reporter challenges her school’s prayer team, Robyn must choose: defend their right to meet on campus and pray for whomever they wish or back down at the principal’s request.

Now she must learn what God wants her to do. And she had better learn fast, because there’s a supernatural enemy in town whose sole mission is to stop her—no matter the cost.

Watch a trailer for this book here. Get to know Shellie and DRIVEN here.

This book will be released in the spring of 2011. Watch for it! It's perfect for the teen book lovers in your life.

Shellie Neumeier is a debut author with twenty-one years of experience in youth and children's ministries. She lives in Jackson, Wisconsin.

Friday, December 24, 2010

An Unlikely Blessing by Judy Baer

An Unlikely Blessing by Judy Baer is the first book in the A Forever Hilltop series by Guideposts. This book introduces us to Pastor Alex Armstrong as he meets the people who attend Hilltop Church and All Saints Church. Two very different congregations, in a remote part of North Dakota, they've anticipated the arrival of this preacher, even though they are the start of his ministry experience. He's forty-two, single and starting over after leaving his career as a college professor. He's not sure what to expect and keeps hearing stories that one congregation tells of the other, will he be able to bring the two together? What separated them to begin with? He quickly makes new friends, turns the eyes of the single women in town and even adopts a three-legged dog.
This book was a nice, relaxing read. Not too much drama or conflict, this is obviously the beginning of a new series that has many plots and subplots to draw from. The author has written several recipes into this book, which is always fun.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Flight Plan by Lee Burns & Braxton Brady

Flight Plan by Lee Burns & Braxton Brady is subtitled as "Your mission to become a man," and is a how-to guide that these two have put together for young teens to read and learn from. I was not impressed by this book. I found it to be rather boring and if it didn't hold my attention what are the odds that it would hold the attention of a young teen boy? One chapter I'm sure would hold their attention, however, is the chapter on sex which I found to be awfully graphic. This is one chapter that I would not want my son to read (or my daughter, for that matter!) I understand that many young men aren't learning the facts of life at home, but this book went into a little too much detail. I was hoping to pass this on to my son, thinking he might glean a thing or two from it, but after reading through it, there's little chance of me passing it on to anyone.

I did appreciate the frank talk about pornography and the advice to abstain from all forms of it (especially the Victoria's Secret catalogs!) and how one little look can embed itself and cause a lifetime of regret. Kudo's to the authors for addressing this epidemic.

I really don't enjoy giving a non-recommendation for a book. I wish every book that fell into my hands was one I could share with gladness, this is one book that I would not recommend to any Christian parent unless they read through it first so they'll know exactly what is getting into the mind of their young man.

This book was provided for review by The B&B Media Group.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Flight of Shadows by Sigmund Brouwer

I didn't get this book at all. Maybe I've read too many historicals lately to be able to immerse myself fully into an apocolyptic one. This story continues Caitlyn's quest for freedom where Broken Angel left off. She's in Appalachia and befriends a street-wise man named Razor. She's captured but is able to escape with Razor's help. He then helps her dig into her past, hoping to finally know the truth about who she really is.
For most of this book I just sat scratching my head and saying, "huh?" Perhaps this genre isn't for me. Fans of sci-fi would probably enjoy reading this series.
From the back cover:
Her genetic secret could change humanity forever. Her DNA grants her the ultimate power. But all she wants is to disappear.
Looming buildings rise into the sky of a near-future America, shadowing the desperate poverty of the soovie parks, death doctors, and fear bombs. In this world of walled cities, where status matters most, Caitlyn Brown is desperate to remain invisible, wrongly believing what she needs to hide is the deformity on her back. The powerful want her for so much more.
She’s forced to take flight again, relying on the help of Razor, a street-smart illusionist she can’t trust. Her only hope is to reach friends already tracked by government.
With a twisted bounty hunter in full pursuit, she and Razor begin to learn the unthinkable about her past and the unique gifts of her DNA. It leads Caitlyn to a choice between the two men who love her, and whether to keep her freedom or sacrifice herself to change human destiny.
In this lightning-fast chase through an all-too-plausible future, best-selling author Sigmund Brouwer is at his best. Flight of Shadows is a terrifying ride into the heart of compelling moral questions about science and society.
About the author:
SIGMUND BROUWER is the best-selling author of Broken Angel and more than fifteen other novels, with close to three million books in print. He promotes literacy by giving writing workshops in schools from the Arctic Circle to inner city Los Angeles. Sigmund is married to recording artist Cindy Morgan, has two young daughters, and they split their time between Nashville and Red Deer, Alberta.
Thanks to Waterbrook/Multnomah and their Blogging for Books program for providing this review copy.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Double Shot by Erynn Mangum

I wish every book I read was like this one. Double Shot by Erynn Mangum is the third in her Maya Davis series and this time we follow Maya and Jack all the way up to their wedding and of course there are some bumps along the way. Erynn has a way of bringing her characters right into the heart of the reader and they feel so real that I almost want to talk to them while I'm reading. Laughter abounds in this series and if you're a fan of Kristin Billerbeck or Jenny B Jones then you need to discover Erynn Mangum. LOVE this series!

Maya's character continues on her quest to "be the light" to those around her and does so without being preachy, her lifestyle is what sparks the interest of her coworkers and ends up having them visit her church and Bible study. This is something that Christians can learn from, we don't always need to have all the answers or need to be pushy pushy pushy about our faith. Sometimes people see in us what they're supposed to. I appreciated this about Erynn's characters.

Hunting with Maya for the right dress, right caterers, right florist and right venue was also fun and brought back good memories of that time in my own life.

Thanks Erynn, for this CLEAN READ! Can't wait to read more of your books!

From the back cover:

Can coffee and chocolate make everything better? It's worth a shot.

Now that Maya Davis is engaged to her longime friend and sweetheart, Jack, there should be no more worrying about the future, no more questioning God. Everything should be perfect, right? Actually, it's just the opposite: Things are complicated. Where are they going to live? What kind of wedding do they want?

And when Jack is offered a once-in-a-lifetime job in Seattle, things begin to unravel even more. Can Maya trust that God is in control even when things seem to be a disastrous mess?

This book was provided for review by NavPress.

Learn more about Erynn and her books on her website.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Pirate Queen by Patricia Hickman

The Pirate Queen by Patricia Hickman is the story of a woman ready to make a change and leave her wandering husband for good. She packs her bags and is ready to walk out the door to head to the vacation home that they purchased but never go to when he arrives home with the news that he has cancer and that he wants the two of them to go to the vacation home together. They make new friends along the way and learn to deal with the diagnosis that he's been given. Will they find more? Will they be able to mend the hurts and betrayal that have plagued their marriage?
This book, while a good storyline, was hard for me to connect with. I found it to be predictable and slow moving. I do have to thank the author for this CLEAN READ though. That is much appreciated!
Thanks to Waterbrook/Multnomah for providing this book to review.
This book can be purchased here.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's Your Call by Gary Barkalow

It's Your Call by Gary Barkalow is a book that attempts to answer the question we all have at one point in our lives: What Are You Doing Here? Gary uses life experiences to show us that we all have a calling and it usually isn't what we're doing on a daily basis. He pulls stories from his childhood through adulthood to share how things can have a lasting affect on our lives and deter us, frighten us, from doing the things that God would have us to do. He reminds us that the enemy uses these tools against us regularly.
This book was easy to read but I didn't find it entirely easy to connect to. It seems like it may be written more for a man than for a woman. One thing that I did take from it was a point made in chapter nine where he was telling the story of an eagle that was in captivity for many years and then suddenly put into a vigorous training schedule so it would be able to make an appearance at a large event. The eagle ended up dying and Time magazine was quoted as saying, "The eagle had been fat and coddled for years, and when finally called upon to be an eagle, he failed." Gary likens the eagle to many Christians who don't know what to do with their strengths. Interesting indeed. Something I'm really going to chew on for a while.

About the Book:
Few spiritual concepts have fascinated and confused people more than understanding God’s calling. Is it a job or a role? Is it only reserved for those who work in professional ministry? The truth is amazingly profound: what we are supposed to do is what we most want to do.
In this guide for discovering God’s design and destiny for your life, Gary Barkalow shares how you can:
· Live alert and oriented to the voice and choreography of God.
· Discover and interpret the voice of your own story.
· Discern the strategic assault against your calling.
· Recognize God’s intentional training in your life’s journey.

Most of all, you’ll be inspired to let the glory of your life touch the world around you.

It’s Your Call: What Are You Doing Here? by Gary BarkalowDavid C Cook/October 1, 2010ISBN: 978-1-4347-6439-3/220 pages/trade paperback/$14.99

Gary Barkalow is the founder and director of The Noble Heart, a ministry that helps men and women find their lives in God and their calling in this world. He has served in leadership positions at Ransomed Heart Ministries, Focus on the Family, and Campus Crusade for Christ. Gary and his wife, Leigh, reside in Colorado Springs with their four children.

This book was provided for review by The B&B Media Group