Monday, June 17, 2024

The Rom-Commers by Katherine Center Book Review

About the Book:


She’s rewriting his love story. But can she rewrite her own?

Emma Wheeler desperately longs to be a screenwriter. She’s spent her life studying, obsessing over, and writing romantic comedies―good ones! That win contests! But she’s also been the sole caretaker for her kind-hearted dad, who needs full-time care. Now, when she gets a chance to re-write a script for famous screenwriter Charlie Yates―The Charlie Yates! Her personal writing god!―it’s a break too big to pass up.

Emma’s younger sister steps in for caretaking duties, and Emma moves to L.A. for six weeks for the writing gig of a lifetime. But what is it they say? Don’t meet your heroes? Charlie Yates doesn’t want to write with anyone―much less “a failed, nobody screenwriter.” Worse, the romantic comedy he’s written is so terrible it might actually bring on the apocalypse. Plus! He doesn’t even care about the script―it’s just a means to get a different one green-lit. Oh, and he thinks love is an emotional Ponzi scheme.

But Emma’s not going down without a fight. She will stand up for herself, and for rom-coms, and for love itself. She will convince him that love stories matter―even if she has to kiss him senseless to do it. But . . . what if that kiss is accidentally amazing? What if real life turns out to be so much . . . more real than fiction? What if the love story they’re writing breaks all Emma’s rules―and comes true?

My Review:

Romantic comedy is not my preferred genre but I am glad I read this one. Besides being an entertaining novel, I learned what a rom-com actually is and how it is plotted. There were also some interesting discussions about fiction. Emma notes that one can learn more about love from screenplays and movies than real life. She also notes we gravitate toward the stories we need in life. We look for answers to our questions in stories.

While I am not a fan of romantic comedy, I recommend this one. The development of the romance is fun and the novel itself is informative and thought provoking. Center is a good writer and I enjoyed this novel.

My rating: 4/5 stars.


About the Author:


BookPage calls Katherine Center “the reigning queen of comfort reads.” She’s the New York Times bestselling author of ten novels, including How to Walk Away, Things You Save in a Fire, The Bodyguard, and her newest, Hello Stranger. Katherine writes laugh-and-cry books about how life knocks us down—and how we get back up. She’s been compared to both Jane Austen and Nora Ephron, and the Dallas Morning News calls her stories, “satisfying in the most soul-nourishing way.” The movie adaptation of her novel The Lost Husband (starring Josh Duhamel) hit #1 on Netflix, and the movie of her novel Happiness for Beginners, starring Ellie Kemper and Luke Grimes, opens July 27 on Netflix. Katherine’s summer 2022 book, The Bodyguard, was an instant New York Times bestseller, a People Best New Books pick, and nominated for Book of the Year by Book of the Month Club. Bestselling author Emily Henry calls The Bodyguard “a shot of pure joy,” and bestselling author Helen Hoang calls it “a perfect feel-good rom-com.” Katherine lives in her hometown of Houston, Texas, with her husband, two kids, and their fluffy-but-fierce dog.

St. Martin's Press, 336 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Sunday, June 16, 2024

From Comfort Zone to Trust Zone by Cecil Taylor Blog Tour Book Review

About the Book

Book: From Comfort Zone to Trust Zone: How Jesus Urges Us to Take Leaps of Faith for His Kingdom

Author: Cecil Taylor

Genre: Christian Living

Release date: March 6, 2024

The innate human longing for comfort is undeniable. However, Jesus challenges us to step beyond the boundaries of our comfort zones and venture into the profound realm of faith, aptly described as trust zones by Cecil Taylor. These are the spaces where we dare to take risks in service of Christ’s Kingdom. In this enlightening exploration of the Bible, Cecil Taylor delves into 12 narratives of Jesus encouraging individuals to forsake their comfort zones in favor of trust zones. Through insightful interpretation, he unveils the valuable lessons these stories impart for contemporary followers of Jesus.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

Taylor provides good examples of biblical characters to encourage us to leave our comfortable setting and be willing to take a risk for Jesus. I like how he reminds us this choice needs to be repeated as a trust zone becomes a comfort zone over time. Good reviews are provided at each chapter end. There is also a good chart at the end reviewing all of the topics.

My favorite chapter was Taylor helping us understand how we recognize God's call to take a risk for Jesus. God does not speak to everyone the same way so there are a number of methods given. The most insightful chapter was on trading political power for Jesus' kingdom. Taylor suggests our trust is misplaced when put in a political leader. He reminds us to focus on Jesus' priorities, not on fading political power.

This is a good book to encourage Christians seeking God for His will for life.

My rating: 4/5 stars.


About the Author

With more than 30 years’ experience as an adult Sunday School teacher and as many in youth ministry, Cecil Taylor has impacted lives in local churches throughout his adult life. He founded Cecil Taylor Ministries to broaden that impact, teaching Christians to live a 7-day practical faith through books, video studies, and speaking engagements. His ministry is cross-denominational, focused on the common struggle Christians face in putting their faith into practice and applying scripture and faith principles to life situations.

From Comfort Zone to Trust Zone has won the 2024 Living Water Award (nonfiction, third place) from the Blue Lake Christian Writer’s Conference. This is the fourth award that Cecil has been presented across his three books.

More from Cecil

Comfort zones can be positive. Not only do we feel good about ourselves, but we also can be effective and efficient. We can find a groove. We may even be able to mentor others and cause a ripple effect of good.

But comfort zones can fool us. Our comfort zones can become invisible. They can limit us and tell us not to take risks. Comfort zones can keep us from going all-in on what Jesus has to offer us.

As I read the Gospels, I see how Jesus frequently pushed people out of comfort zones and into his trust zones, where they would take leaps of faith for the sake of his kingdom. Similarly, Jesus calls us out of comfort zones today, inviting us to take risks while deepening our faith.

A woman who read From Comfort Zone to Trust Zone said one of the most gripping moments in the book is when I shared my own story of going all-in for Jesus. I had grown up in the church as a preacher’s kid. Throughout decades of my adult life, I was a leader in my church, a highly committed volunteer, someone others might think was all-in for Christ.

But I wasn’t all-in, though I fooled myself into thinking I was. In a time when I asked for more comfort zone, Jesus gave me a trust zone: to forget about volunteering so much and to focus on giving my heart to God. I was busted, as I foolishly thought I had hidden from God that I wasn’t fully yielding control of my life. I didn’t know what Jesus would ask of me, so I held him at arm’s length. My prayers zeroed in on what was comfortable for me rather than what the Holy Spirit was beckoning me to do.

Since that moment, my life has changed. I believe your life needs to change, too, if you’re feeling comfortable. It’s time to get uncomfortable, to overcome your desire for certainty, and to inspect the ways in which you have limited the Spirit’s power to work through you. I invite you on a journey to identify subtle comfort zones that you never knew you had and to uncover trust zones that will take your faith to new levels while mightily serving Christ. I invite you to the experience that is From Comfort Zone to Trust Zone: How Jesus Urges Us to Take Leaps of Faith for His Kingdom.

Blog Stops

Blossoms and Blessings, June 15 (Author Interview)

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 16

Artistic Nobody, June 17 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, June 17

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, June 18 (Author Interview)

Lots of Helpers, June 18

Beauty in the Binding, June 19 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, June 20

Guild Master, June 21 (Author Interview)

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 22

A Reader’s Brain, June 23 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 24

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, June 25 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 26

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 27

Fiction Book Lover, June 28 (Author Interview)

Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, Cecil is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of the book and a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/2ca3c/from-comfort-zone-to-trust-zone-celebration-tour-giveaway

I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Forever Lovely by Linore Rose Burkard Book Review

About the Book:


1819, England
Miss Margaret Andrews' sister disappeared into the future three years ago and Margaret hasn't seen her since. Julian St. John brings her to visit, but only for a day, since his wife Claire is about to give birth to their first child. He doesn't know Margaret's real desire is to find a modern invention to bring back with her. A bluestocking by nature and lacking her sister's famous beauty, Margaret knows she must make her way in society by becoming an inventress. But when the tallit, the magical time-travel shawl goes awry, she finds herself alone and stranded in 21st century New York City!
Present Day, Manhattan
Stewart Russell is a grad student studying early British female writers when he meets Margaret at a Jane Austen Society Conference in New York. Margaret is mistaken for an attendee but fits right in. Stewart is thrilled by her knowledge of the writers he's studying, almost as much as her effortless acting with the speech and manners of Jane's day. Until she claims to be from Jane's day! Worse, he is a wanted man due to a mix-up, and time is running out.
Margaret longs to keep him safe from the blackguards pursuing him, but first she must convince him she really is from the past. But when she can't even get herself back to 1819, how can she hope to bring Stewart too? It's a race against time and she must find a way before the unthinkable happens!

My Review:

I enjoyed this fun time travel novel. Burkard has done a good job of placing readers in the contemporary world and the Regency period. I like how Margaret, a young woman who fears being a spinster in her era, reacts to modern technology when transported to the present day. I also like how her present day romantic counterpart, Stewart, reacts to the Regency era. There is a little bit of suspense and a mild romance with a happy ending. There is a bit of a Christian faith message as the way time transport is possible is because God exists outside of time.

While this novel is a sequel, it reads well on its own. It does not contain sensitive issues other than the possibility of sisters having an antagonistic relationship. It is a nice, light novel and an enjoyable read.

My rating: 4/5 stars.


About the Author:


Linore Rose Burkard is a serious watcher of period films, a Janeite and hopeless romantic. An award-winning author best known for Inspirational Regency Romance, her first book with Harvest House (Before the Season Ends) opened the genre for the CBA. Linore is a magna cum laude English Lit. grad from CUNY, but now resides in Ohio with her husband and family, two cats, and a Shorkie. Active in church and in two monthly writers’ groups, (one of which she is president of), Linore loves to craft stories that fill a sweet spot for readers who, like herself, savor a happy ending. Influenced by Georgette Heyer, Linore's historical romances, steeped in Regency authenticity, provide the light-hearted, comedic effects that first sparked her love for the genre. Besides romance, Linore writes young adult apocalyptic suspense. (The Pulse Effex Series, as L.R. Burkard, her alter-ego!) You can find out more at https://www.linoreburkard.com/ 

Lilliput Press, 245 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the author. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Friday, June 14, 2024

Adult-O-Nomics by Tez Brooks Blog Tour Book Review

About the Book

Book: Adult-o-Nomics: How To Nail It On Your Own

Author: Tez Brooks

Genre: Nonfiction (self-help)

Release date: April 30, 2024

Launching out and making your way in life can be hard. But it doesn’t have to be.

One study revealed that over fifty percent of young adults boomeranged home in the first five years. Often, this is caused by underestimating how many curveballs life throws. You may not want to return home, and helicopter parents don’t help as they sympathetically offer to cushion you in the name of “setting you up for success.” But you know there’s nothing more rewarding than making it on your own.

Mom and Dad couldn’t teach you everything. Your peers can’t offer the wisdom of experience. Even mentors don’t often know what you need guidance for. You need preventive counsel; information obtained before a crisis hits. Well, you found it! Within these pages is experience and know-how collected from famous personalities and others who’ve forged the path ahead of you; from all different ages and walks of life.

This mix of ancient wisdom (adapted from God’s Word) and modern advice from contemporaries will place you ahead of the curve as you increase in know-how and understanding for more effective adulting.

Adult-o-Nomics is a gift book to yourself or others. It’s a collection of 500 short quotes, scriptures, and suggestions for those leaving home for the first time. Topics cover everything from practical housekeeping, automotive maintenance, and career advice, to romance and spiritual living.

If consumers in the target market read Adult-o-Nomics, they will:

  • Discover practical tips for becoming independent.
  • Handle setbacks and trials with know-how, confidence and courage.
  • Understand societal norms for more effective life skills.
  • Learn how to walk closer to God.

Because the book will:

  • Inspire readers to step out and take risks.
  • Encourage young adults to mature and grow a thick skin.
  • Produce a growing dependence on God rather than others.
  • Offer peace in the midst of turmoil and stress
Click here to get your copy!

My Review

This book contains a ton of wisdom. The insights are short and to the point, easily digested. Some are practical ideas, such as on finances, dating and other relationships. There is even a list of essentials to buy when getting your first apartment. My favorite practical one was learning how to turn off the water to the toilet before finding that task necessary. Been there! There is some humor included, like tip 165: Always give your all., except when giving blood. Many of the tips are wise words but lack a strategy to do it. An example is tip 178: Know your strengths and weaknesses. That's a great idea but how does one do that?

There are many good ideas in this book. Every young person would benefit from reading it. Many adults too!

My rating: 4/5 stars.

 

About the Author

Whether he’s working as a missionary journalist, coaching aspiring writers, or writing devotions, Tez’s passion for walking with God is evident. His book, The Single Dad Detour won Book of the Decade with Serious Writer Academy and recently, Christianity.com featured him in “50 Authors You Should Know.”

As a multiple award-winning author, filmmaker, and international speaker, Brooks was recently named one of the Top Writing Coaches by the Coach Foundation. His work appears in Guideposts, Power for Living, The Upper Room, CBN.com, Clubhouse, Focus on the Family, and more. Tez is a member of Colorado Authors League and president for two chapters of Word Weavers Intl. He and his wife serve as full-time missionaries based out of Colorado Springs. They have four children.

More from Tez

AN INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR TEZ BROOKS

Q: Adult-o-Nomics shares insights and encouragement from high school and college students, parents and your own experience as a youth pastor and father of four. What led you to write it?

I wrote it because I see so many young adults struggling with anxiety after moving out on their own. By asking around, I realized it that anxiety comes from a lack of know-how. It’s so stressful to attempt something with little to no information. Google makes it so easy to avoid asking real people by just looking it up online. The trouble is, that alienates us and it doesn’t give us everything we need. People don’t know what they need to learn. I thought it would be nice to have an easy-to-read gift book filled with one-liners and tips – something you could pick up when you have a free minute just to learn something new. Many don’t have time to invest in reading a complete “How-To” book but 30 seconds of advice is easier to digest….bite-sized pieces. So I wrote it!

Q: Would you be willing to share a little bit about your observations from watching young people launch from home?

I have observed a lot of young adults boomerang back home after a few years because they underestimated the cost of living or they forgot to plan for unexpected expenses. But we’ve all had stuff happen that caught us off guard, right? It’s impossible to anticipate everything. But parents who want to be a safety net to rescue their kids don’t really help. Helicopter parents cause their adult kids to lack confidence and become overly dependent upon them. Im not saying parents shouldn’t help in time of need. Im saying help by all means, but with clear expectations and specific end dates. One parent I know bought their daughter a security camera for her apartment so they could watch her sleep and wake her if she overslept for work. Ugh! Another dad insisted on talking to his son’s professor about his grades. It’s my hope this generation will find the peace that comes from total dependence on God and total independence from Mom and Dad. Anxiety doesn’t have to be the norm for those launching out for the first time. Adulting should be a rewarding right of passage, not a dread.

Q: Many young people think living on their own is going to be either really difficult or super easy. You had a difficult event that affected your launch. Can you share with us, what was your experience as a young college student? 

Soon after I graduated high school, my mom died unexpectedly after a minor surgery. I went off to college five states away with little to no experience living on my own. My mom prepared me a little bit before she died. I knew how to do laundry and clean a bathroom but not much more. I experienced a lot of trial and error as I adapted to life away from home. When I returned home after that first semester, my dad had already re-married and started a new life that I was not a part of. My step-mom was not the nurturing type like Mom, and it was clear I needed to take care of myself. It wasn’t easy but I made it. So I have an understanding of young adults trying to adapt to adulthood. It’s way harder for them now than it was for me. Anxiety doesn’t have to rule us though. It’s my hope they will find comfort from some of the tips others have provided in this book.

Q: Adult-o-Nomics is filled with practical advice on topics like romantic relationships, employment, car maintenance, housekeeping, what food to keep in your fridge, and even financial tips. But you also include physical, emotional and spiritual advice? Why are these important?

In the end, our spiritual condition is all that matters. If we get that correct, all the other areas of our life will fall into place. But yes, I do address physical, emotional, and other aspects because these things are vital to our success. Let’s face it, if we know how to get hired for a job but don’t know how to respond in a healthy way to criticism from our employer, we’re not going to have that job very long. Many of the tips in the book are connected and play off each other.

Q: Anxiety is a common issue for this generation. They deal with it more than other generations have. This causes some young adults to delay, avoid, or even abandon their launch. Do you have any advice?

Yes, there’s no need to avoid your launch when God is in your corner. If you have large financial debt and you’re delaying the launch temporarily, that makes sense. I’d pray about how you might trust God to be your Provider. God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. He’s in your corner, cheering you on!

Q: What’s the most important thing a young adult needs to know before they move out? If you could pick one thing to tell them, what would it be?

I’ve said it before, learn total dependence on God. Seek his face. Be sold out to Him…all the rest will work itself out.

Q: What is your next book?

It’s a book based on the pre-marital counseling I have done. It’s called “Is Calling Us to Marry?: 100 Questions for the Well-Prepared Couple”

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 14

Guild Master, June 15 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 16

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, June 17 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, June 18

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, June 19 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, June 19

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 20

Beauty in the Binding, June 21 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 22

Back Porch Reads, June 23 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 24

Artistic Nobody, June 25

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, June 26 (Author Interview)

Lots of Helpers, June 26

Little Homeschool on the Prairie , June 27

Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, Tez is giving away the grand prize of a $75 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/2be3a/adult-o-nomics-celebration-tour-giveaway


I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Dangerous Games by Susan Hunter Book Review

About the Book:


When a good man with a troubled past perishes in a fire, only Leah Nash can unravel the tangled mystery behind his death.

In the quiet town of Himmel, the sudden blaze that engulfs the local library is only the beginning. Among the smoldering ashes, a lifeless body is found-it's Luke Granger, a hardworking young man striving to escape his family's criminal past. His tragic death shocks the community, and although she is initially hesitant, intrepid journalist Leah can't help but investigate.

As Leah delves into the case, she untangles a twisted web of lies, deceit, and dark secrets that threaten to destroy the reputations of the town's most affluent citizens. Luke's death is just the tip of the iceberg in a chilling tale of greed, love, and thwarted ambition. As she races against time to uncover the truth, Leah finds herself caught in a perilous game where one wrong move could be her last.

Can Leah expose the hidden truth before it's too late, or will she become the next victim in a dangerous game of cat and mouse?

My Review:


This is another good novel in the Leah Nash series. Hunter continues to provide a good balance of Leah's personal life and an amateur sleuth investigation. Leah's love life is settled so there is less romantic drama than in previous novels. Leah has been asked by a family member of a murdered man to find out who the killer is. That means this time Leah is not aggressively barging in to a police investigation. She has made peace with the antagonistic Ross but manages to alienate another member of the sheriff department. I like the positive aspects of the character development of Leah. She is not a static character but is growing.

The plot moves along well as Leah comes up with many suspects and plausible villains. Her investigation is not so much identifying the villain as much as eliminating various suspects. I like how she uses her contacts to gather information. There is a bit of suspense near the end and a twist that finally gave Leah the answers she needed. There is a bit of humor too. (I'll never look at a pineapple again without laughing.)

This is a good addition to the Leah Nash series. While it is quite a ways down the line, it reads well on its own.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

You can read my reviews of some of the earlier books in the series: Dangerous Habits, Dangerous Mistakes, Dangerous Places, Dangerous Secrets, and Dangerous Waters.


About the Author:

Susan Hunter is a happy introvert who lives with her husband Gary, an extreme extrovert, in rural Michigan.

She spent some years as a reporter and then as the managing editor of a small daily newspaper. From there Susan went on to work at a university in publications and marketing where she honed her skills at appearing engaged in academic meetings, while internally composing her grocery list. She also taught a few classes as well—in English composition, that is, not in faking your way through meetings.

In addition to writing the Leah Nash series, Susan enjoys reading other people’s writing, watching classic films, occasional walks and snarky conversation with old friends and family, eating chocolate chip cookies, and answering emails from her readers.


Severn River Publishing, 340 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the author. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Monday, June 10, 2024

Dangerous Waters by Susan Hunter

About the Book:


Bryan Crawford's murder is the perfect crime: no witness, no weapon, no indication that his death is anything other than the result of diabetes complications.

That's what the medical examiner says.
That's what the autopsy proves.
And that's what the killer is counting on.

But when new evidence surfaces, crime writer Leah Nash is pulled into the investigation, and all bets are off.

Leah quickly zeroes in on the dysfunctional dynamics of the Crawford family. Beneath the happy fable they tell the world lies a dark tale of jealousy, greed, and revenge.

Bryan's wife, his daughter, his sister, and his stepson each have secrets to hide. Every one of them have reasons to want Bryan dead. And they are all going to great lengths to keep Leah from the truth.

Then Leah makes a shocking discovery, and is propelled into a confrontation with the killer. It's a fight she must win to save someone she loves. But time is running out. As raging flood waters surge forward, Leah acts. The consequences will change her life forever...and you will never guess how.

My Review:

This is another good mystery in the Leah Nash series. While Leah is no longer a journalist and is actually considering writing mystery novels, she does investigate a murder. A major aspect of Hunter's novels is the human aspect. There is a good balance of Nash's investigation and her personal life. There is also a continuation of Nash's troubled romantic life. There is an interesting turn of events in her relationship with Ross, the testy sheriff detective.

The plot is a bit complex but Nash perseveres in trying to identify the murderer. The more she investigates, the more suspects are identified. There is a good bit of suspense at the end as Leah's life is in danger.

This is another good novel in the Leah Nash series furthering her personal life in the context of another murder mystery.

My rating: 4/5 stars.


About the Author:

Susan Hunter is a happy introvert who lives with her husband Gary, an extreme extrovert, in rural Michigan.

She spent some years as a reporter and then as the managing editor of a small daily newspaper. From there Susan went on to work at a university in publications and marketing where she honed her skills at appearing engaged in academic meetings, while internally composing her grocery list. She also taught a few classes as well—in English composition, that is, not in faking your way through meetings.

In addition to writing the Leah Nash series, Susan enjoys reading other people’s writing, watching classic films, occasional walks and snarky conversation with old friends and family, eating chocolate chip cookies, and answering emails from her readers.


Severn River Publishing, 350 pages.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Don't Ask Don't Follow by Mary Keliikoa Book Review

About the Book:


Beth Ralston, a paralegal in Portland, Oregon, would rather be racking up billable hours than mingling at an office party—especially when her sister Lindsay, aka her plus one, is a no-show.

After making her obligatory rounds, Beth returns to her office to find that her boss, who she’d talked with moments before, has been murdered. She sees a woman fleeing the scene. Wait—was that Lindsay? Unable to catch up to her in time, Beth waits for the police to arrive and notices that Lindsay has left her phone behind with an unsent text message to Beth displayed on the screen: “Don’t ask. Don’t follow.”

Lindsay is unreachable for days, and when Beth starts to come under suspicion for the crime, she decides that waiting is impossible. While retracing Lindsay’s steps, determined to bring her home, Beth uncovers what her sister, an investigative reporter bent on changing the world, was trying to expose—corruption, secrets, and betrayal on an unimaginable level. Revealing the truth might bring back the one person she’s desperate to find—but it could also destroy the only life and family Beth’s ever known.

My Review:

The novel starts with good action including a murder early on. The murder is in a high power legal firm but the legal aspect is not the major thrust of the novel. That murder sets the stage for uncovering truth layer by layer.

Beth is a capable amateur sleuth. She is tenacious because her missing sister, Lindsay, is the focus of her investigation. Lindsay is an investigative reporter and Beth tries to figure out what story she was working on, hoping that will help her understand where Lindsay might be now. There is suspense from time to time as someone is trying to stop Beth. I was a bit surprised the police let her get away with her actions.

This novel deals with some serious issues regarding birth, adoption, and DNA tests. Also part of the plot is the influence of powerful people and discord in family relationships. There are secrets in Beth's family that come to light, much to the dismay of her father who is running for mayor of Portland. There was a good twist at the end and a hint of romance along the way.

I have read several of Keliikoa's novel and really like her writing style. Other than beginning a chapter with a dream not identified as such, a pet peeve of mine, I liked this novel and recommend it.

My rating: 4/5 stars.


About the Author:


Eighteen years in the legal field, and an over-active imagination, led Pacific NW native Mary Keliikoa to start writing mystery and suspense. She is the author of the award-winning HIDDEN PIECES, A Misty Pines mystery series, the upcoming DEADLY TIDES, the PI Kelly Pruett mystery series including the multi-award nominated DERAILED for best debut. 

Oceanview Publishing, 320 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

The Justice and Goodness of God by Thomas Schreiner Book Review

About the Book:

Understanding God’s Righteousness through His Final Judgment of Sin

The reality of God’s ultimate punishment is central to the gospel. Only by facing sin’s devastation can believers fully grasp the beauty of their salvation and help unbelievers confront their need for forgiveness. Unfortunately, many Christians and Bible scholars neglect God’s final judgment.

In his book The Justice and Goodness of God, theologian Thomas Schreiner offers a comprehensive, biblical analysis of eternal destruction. Explaining that “final judgment doesn’t contradict God’s goodness but verifies and displays it,” he examines themes of sin, death, and redemption in the New Testament and other passages of Scripture. With helpful personal and theological application, this brief guide helps readers see how God’s judgment is anchored in his holiness, justice, and righteousness. Readers will see that God’s judgment isn’t bad news but good news. Life doesn’t make sense without it, and salvation shines brighter against the backdrop of God’s judgment. 

  • Brief yet Insightful: Examines themes of sin, death, mercy, and holiness, with helpful Scripture references and summaries in each chapter
  • Rich Biblical Analysis: Studies eternal destruction as described in the Gospels, the Pauline Epistles, and throughout Scripture
  • Ideal for College and Seminary Students

You can read chapter one here.

My Review:

Judgment by God makes many Christians uncomfortable. Some reject all together the concept of the final judgment. But Schreiner reminds Christians that judgment is prominent in Scripture. He helps us understand the nature of God and that His holiness, righteousness and justice requires judgment. We also see that God is not vindictive nor is His judgment always immediate. God longs to show mercy and invites people to repent. We are also reminded of the ugliness of sin. Schreiner explores the nature of judgment (that it is eternal). Finally, we are given encouragement as how to live in the reality of judgment.

This is a good book for Christians to read to be reminded of the reality of judgment as revealed in Scripture.

My rating: 4/5 stars.


About the Author:


Thomas R. Schreiner (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is the James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation and associate dean of the School of Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Crossway, 160 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)