Saturday, September 22, 2018

This is the Day by Tim Tebow with A J Gregory

Tebow wants his life to have meaning, to count for something good in the world. He could have squandered his professional football earnings but established the Tim Tebow Foundation instead. He takes an active part in making a difference for those in need.

Tebow wants our lives to have meaning too. He encourages readers to embrace this day, get out of bed and make a difference. This day is a gift from God and it is our responsibility to make it meaningful. Tebow shares many stories from his life to illustrate his encouraging teaching. He reminds us, for example, that failure will happen but wants us to keep trying. He also reminds us that what God says about us is much more important than what others are saying. He helps us persevere when obstacles come too.

He gives us an update on his life. When no team wanted him for quarterback he returned to his love of baseball, not having played since high school. He currently plays for minor teams associated with the New York Mets.

I recommend this book to those who have followed Tebow's athletic career. You'll get a good update on what has been happening to him in the last few years. You'll find out about his foundation and its work. You will also be encouraged to see each day full of opportunities to make a difference.

You can read the first chapter hereYou can watch the book trailer here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Tim Tebow is a two-time national college football champion, Heisman Trophy winner, first-round NFL draft pick, ESPN contributor, and professional baseball outfielder with minor teams associated with the New York Mets. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Shaken, which was named the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association 2017 Book of the Year. His true passion is the work of the Tim Tebow Foundation, which he began in 2010. You can find out more about the foundation at https://www.timtebowfoundation.org/.

WaterBrook, 224 pages.

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

Friday, September 21, 2018

A Secret to Die For by Lisa Harris

I have mixed feelings about this novel of romantic suspense. Harris is a capable author and the novel has good scenes of suspense and romantic tension. I did have some issues with the way the plot developed.

One thing I can't tolerate is suspense due to poor police procedure. It happened twice in this novel. An attempt had been made on Gracie and she is obviously a target of the bad guys. Shortly afterward, police detective Nate takes her to a location all by himself. Of course they are attacked by bad guys and suspense ensues. Later in the novel Nate is transporting Gracie and another person when they are again attacked. Paige, Nate's partner had been with them but now the other car was twenty minutes ahead. What? Nate is with two people the bad guys probably want to attack and his partner is in a car twenty minutes away? That is just poor police procedure and poor thinking on Nate's part. And even though the police are dealing with expert hackers, the idea that their own system might be hacked is not considered until another suspenseful event happens. I really got tired of Nate repeatedly thinking he “should” have done this or that.

I had trouble liking Nate. He falls for Gracie and it seems to make him more dumb in his attempts at keeping her safe. I know he had a devastating experience previously but I just found him to not be the kind of competent policeman I like to see as a hero. I liked Gracie. She is competent and brave. Give her a badge.

I do like to learn something when I read fiction and in this case it was about hacking and how vulnerable the nation's infrastructure might be to attack. There was also information about healing from a traumatic event.

There are a couple of good plot twists at the end even though the plot was wrapped up very quickly by a minor character.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

Lisa Harris is the winner of a Christy Award and two Best Inspirational Suspense Novel awards from Romantic Times. She has over thirty novels and novellas in print. She and her family have spent over thirteen years working as missionaries in Africa. You can find out more about her books and her life in Africa at www.lisaharriswrites.com.

Revell, 336 pages.

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

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Silencing Insecurity by Donna Gibbs

I am very impressed with this book. It is packed with practical information and workable strategies. I had no idea of the great influence insecurities have on our lives. Gibbs does an excellent job of identifying those things that impact our sense of identity, exploring the problems insecurities cause, and then giving great ideas to lead us to accept our identity in Christ.

I like how Gibbs identifies the many things that can hijack our identity. I was surprisingly shocked when she wrote that it was not the things that are the problems but it is when they are given control in our lives that they become problems. Suppose there has been a traumatic event. It becomes a problem when we form an attachment to that event, when we let it define us. We must separate our identity from the event. We are encouraged to understand that what God says about us is much more powerful than the negative impact of life experiences. Those events do not define us in God's eyes so we are not to let them define us in our own eyes. (532/2493) Easier said than done, perhaps, but Gibbs gives good strategies for identifying toxic thought patterns. She advocates an aggressive and persistent pursuit of the truth about us, leading to wholeness.

I was particularly struck by the importance of our growing to spiritual maturity. “And when we come to maturity in fully believing that God is who He says He is, we also mature in accepting that we are who He says we are.” (1519/2493 Italics in original.)

There are questions at the end of each chapter for personal reflection. This book could be used as a group study but it should be with trusted friends as the questions delve deep into sensitive areas of life. There is also a great Appendix, filled with Scripture to help you as you work to wholeness.

I highly recommend this book to readers who struggle with insecurities or have trouble believing what God says is true about you. You'll find excellent information and a practical strategy for growth. You'll be encouraged to live for an Audience of One.

You can read an excerpt at https://www.silencinginsecurity.com/.

My rating: 5/5 stars.

Donna Gibbs graduated from North Carolina State University with a BA in psychology. She earned an MS in community counseling from Western Carolina University and a PhD in Christian counseling and psychology from Louisiana Baptist University. She is a licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor, a National Certified Counselor, a Board Certified Professional Christian Counselor, and an adjunct online professor of counseling for Fruitland Bible Institute. Previously, she directed A Clear Word Counseling Center. She has authored Becoming Resilient and is often featured on radio broadcasts. She and her husband have four boys. You can find out more at https://summitwellnesscenters.com/Photo Credit: Credit: Leigh Beddingfield

Revell, 192 pages.

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

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Gilded Curse by Marilyn Turk

I enjoyed this historical mystery set on the east coast during the time of WW II. Turk has done a good job of presenting the setting. Jekyll Island was where the millionaires vacationed in the winter. There was a clubhouse to enjoy and individual cottages. One of those cottages was owned by Lexie's family. But the depression and the death of her mother forces Lexie to plan on selling the cottage.

There is a mystery as Lexie had received a telegram asking her to return to the island. She hadn't been there for years. Someone seems to be searching the cottage even as Lexie arranges to have repairs made. Then there is an attempt on her life.

There is romance as Russell, the manager of the clubhouse and friend from the earlier years, has eyes for Lexie. She is unsure of where to place her affection as another vies for her attention.

There is detail to history too. There's a German submarine off the coast and concerns about the possibility of danger to those on the island.

There is also Christian message. Lexie severely doubts God's love for her. She is troubled by past events and we wonder if her faith will be renewed.

I appreciate the many issues covered in the plot. One is the loss of wealth and reduced living conditions for some while others continue to live in opulence. Another issue is mental illness and how one might relate to those so afflicted. There are also the issues of a possible curse and the love of God for believers. Discussion questions are included.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Marilyn Turk has been published in a number of magazines. A book of devotions including some of her lighthouse blogs was published in 2015. The Gilded Curse was published in 2016 and the sequel this summer. She lives in Florida. You can find out more at http://pathwayheart.com/.

Heritage Beacon Fiction, 258 pages.

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

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Get Weird by CJ Casciotta

I am a senior citizen and I just did not identify with this book. The intent of the book is to give the reader freedom to be weird in the true sense of the word, to be inspired, to create. I found it to be a rather self focused book. I certainly missed the encouragement to be weird to the glory of God.

Your weirdness is your worth,” Casciotta writes. “It is the value you bring to this universe...” (239/2504) I would have rather had individual value be related to our relationship to God. “...[T]he primary purpose of any kind of art is to awaken what needs to be expressed in us and those around us.” (605/2504) I would think that the primary purpose of any activity would be to glorify God.

Casciotta tells lots of stories about himself and others. People who enjoy story telling as a way of transferring information will like this book. I found it interesting that he writes, “Your story is not as important as your identity,” yet tells so many stories in this book and does not write about our identity in Christ. (1113/2504)

He uses many examples from movies, music, and television, making me think this book is aimed at unchurched readers. But then he writes, “...I paused to remove a tree trunk from my eye socket.” (503/2504) Understanding that reference takes some Bible knowledge. A seasoned Bible reader like me, however, might notice the general lack of Scripture as a foundation for the teaching in the book. He writes about creating from that “divine place,” accessing the “Sacred Weird.” (1405/2504) That would mean this book is only for people who have been made alive in Christ.

Casciotta writes, “I'm supposed to tell people they're OK.” (1130/2504) I would rather tell people they are not OK and are in need of the gospel and salvation. He also writes, “Your weirdness, the ideas that come from your own imagination and the rhythms that rumble in your own soul, are everything you need to create what only you can...” (1211/2504) I would rather emphasize the inspiration of the Spirit of the Creator. He says we “all need a renaissance, a brave awakening of our weary imagination. Christ called it the process of being 'born again'...” (2272/2504) I think being born again is not a mere awakening of one's imagination!

I tend to think this book must be for readers who desire encouragement to express the uniqueness in and of themselves without the over arching canopy of considering glorifying God in the process. You'll find out how to be weird and make the best of it and you won't have to really think about glorifying God in the process.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

CJ Casciotta is a writer and serial media maker passionate about helping people discover and own their unique identity. He has traveled all over the world inspiring communities. He created the popular podcast Sounds Like a Movement. He lives in Nashville with his wife and children.

FaithWords, 240 pages.

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

Friday, September 14, 2018

Three Strikes novella collection Blog Tour and Giveaway

Three Strikes

by Ross Klavan, Tim O'Mara, and Charles Salzberg

on Tour September 1 - October 31, 2018


Synopsis:


I Take Care of Myself in Dreamland

by Ross Klavan
Bartok is horribly scarred. Wounded in the Army, he roams through 1970’s New York, a city of perpetual night, punctuated by crime and populated by streetwalkers, hooker bars, strip clubs, easy drugs and a feeling of doom. There’s one thing on his mind: an experience he had when his Army truck exploded, an experience he calls Red River. More than bliss, more than spiritual. But nothing goes right. Bartok loses his girl, his money, any possibility of support and decides that he’s finished, he’s going to end it but before he does, he’s going out on the town for one last attempt to recapture the incredible experience of Red River. And when he does, he runs into others who see him as an easy mark for dirtier plans…plans that involve murder before suicide.
Bartok’s story is told by a driver for the mob, a guy who’s heard it all and usually keeps his mouth shut because when he begins a trip, it’s almost always one-way.


Jammed

by Tim O’Mara
Aggie’s back. After barely escaping with his life in “Smoked,” Aggie disproves the old adage of “Once burned…” This time around he’s heading from the Midwest to New York City with a sweet shipment of stolen maple syrup. He also has picked up an unwanted-and potentially dangerous-passenger; the fifteen-year-old daughter of his latest boss has hopped on for a free ride to the Big Apple and her on-line boyfriend. When they arrive in NYC, Aggie’s worst fears are realized when the “boyfriend” turns out to be a group of human traffickers. Aggie knew that running one of the world’s most valuable liquids across state lines was skirting the line between safety and danger, but he never knew it could get this sticky.


The Maybrick Affair

by Charles Salzberg
It’s a couple weeks before the attack on Pearl Harbor and a young reporter, Jake Harper, who works for a small Connecticut newspaper, is assigned a routine human interest story. A reclusive, elderly woman, has quietly passed away in her small cottage upstate. Anxious for bigger stories, Jake begins his assignment by trying to find out who this woman was and what kind of life she led. As Jake investigates the old woman’s death he finds that years earlier she was tried and convicted of murdering her husband in a well-publicized, lurid trial in London, England. And, after digging further, he, unearths evidence that she might have had a connection to an even more famous British serial killer and that the ramifications of this story might affect America’s entry into the War.


My Review:



As is often the case with novella collections, the writing of the three authors varies in style.

The first story is dark and was not my favorite. We are privy to Bartok's life and how much of his body became heavily scarred. We follow him around while he is in an alcohol and then drug induced haze. I found the narrative a bit confusing as we begin in the present, then go back and then move forward and then the day before, etc. I didn't find any worthwhile lesson gained from this story.

I liked the next story better. Even though Aggie is driving a truck full of stolen goods, he has a conscience. He is outraged by the idea if human trafficking. That was refreshing. One gets the idea that Aggie is out to right a wrong. I like that. He is a character I'd like to read more about.

My favorite story in the collection was the last one. The author's writing style was easy to follow and the story was not dark. I really liked Jake. He's a fledgling newspaper reporter who has caught wind of a mystery with great historical and political importance. Something is afoot in the sleepy town and Jake is determined to find out what it is. This novella is a well crafted, entertaining, and suspenseful mystery and I'll be looking for more from this author.

My overall rating: 4/5 stars.

Book Details:

Genre: Crime
Published by: Down & Out Books
Publication Date: September 10th 2018
Number of Pages: 350
ISBN: 978-1-948235-25-9
Series: 3 Authors, 3 Novellas
Purchase Links: Down & Out Books | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
 

Read an excerpt from I Take Care of Myself in Dreamland

It was a great time for whores.
New York City, 1970, ’71 maybe, ’72, but, as Bartok was saying, “If nothing else, it’s an ace of a time to be a hooker.” In fact, he says, maybe it’s a lousy time to be anything else. This is what Bartok is telling us he told the whore he’s with, standing in the fleabag hotel on Lex across from Grand Central. Something like, “Must be a great time to be turning tricks.”
Now, a certain kind of guy won’t tell you this but—it doesn’t bother me a damn bit that I’m stupid. Plenty of people would mind—I don’t. They’d be embarrassed—I’m not. When I was a kid they use to say to me, “You don’t have the brains you were born with.” And you know what? They were right. Or maybe I did have those brains, maybe I was born this way. Whatever it is, “stupid” is the reason I’m still around.
The way I see it, I’m just smart enough to keep my mouth shut and at this age—I’m an old man now—you get to see that being smart enough to zip the yap is all the smarts you need. If you take the trip and make your way around, what you’ll end up with anyway is lots of stories you can tell in a bar when nobody wants to listen. So, it’s okay that I’m stupid. Back then, I kept myself dumb except to sometimes say something stupid to make them all laugh. That’s all.
That’s why they let me drive. The smart guys? They didn’t last so long. Smart guys or guys trying to be smart. They’re always the ones who get it first.
“You’re an interesting guy,” they said to me. “You’re the only dumb Yid I’ve ever met.” I told them I was proud to show them that it takes all kinds.
So. Bartok. I’m driving, he’s in the back seat between Nicky and Ray, and he can’t keep his mouth shut, he keeps on chattering like Mr. Happy and he has this strange way of saying things like that he was a guy who “travels the night city, the dark arsenal of bad dreams.”
I said, “You’re a real poet,” and he agreed. I knew he wasn’t gonna last too long.
In the back seat, Bartok shoves his voice down into a whisper so that he sounds like he’s got some hot, evil secret to get off his chest—that’s the way he tells us that he likes hookers except the thing is, they usually don’t take to him. I’m thinking that if this is gonna be his confession, then it’s his last one. “So you’re a guy that even hookers won’t go with,” I say to him. “Man, you ain’t gonna miss much in this world.”
“I can’t say,” Bartok says and it’s the only time he gets so agitated that Ray and Nicky hold him back on the seat. “I can tell.” And then he goes on about the hotel room and how he’s trying to be so cool and charming because, like he says, he’s got this thing for hookers. He likes scotch and hookers he says, and that’s about everything. That’s his entire life. That, and Red River.
***
Excerpt from Three Strikes by Ross Klavan, Tim O'Mara and Charles Salzberg. Copyright © 2018 by Ross Klavan, Tim O'Mara, and Charles Salzberg. Reproduced with permission from Down & Out Books. All rights reserved.
 

Read an excerpt from Jammed

“I oughta shoot you where you stand.”
I know, but I swear to God, that’s exactly what he said. With all I’d been through in the past day and a half, I almost laughed, and I woulda, except he had this huge-ass gun pointed at my face. I guess all guns look big when they’re pointed at you. Forget about it being the biggest cliché in the world, but I was sitting at the time. In his pickup truck. A beautiful red pickup truck. I tell ya, if ya ever commit a crime in the Midwest, make your getaway vehicle a red pickup truck. Soon as you hit the highway, you’ll blend in like a sore thumb in a podiatrist’s office. A sore toe is more like it, but I don’t know what they call hand doctors, so…whatever. You know what I mean.
Truth be told, I was surprised he said anything to me at all. If I was him, I’da shot my ass before I got into his truck. Make sure I didn’t get any blood on the seats. That’s if I was him. Me? I couldn’t shoot someone who wasn’t trying to shoot me. Or maybe trying to hurt a loved one, I guess, y’know? I especially couldn’t shoot someone who comes to a gunfight with a set of keys, which is all I had on me when I got in his truck. That, my driver’s license, and an expired credit card. I think back on it, if I did laugh, it woulda been more than likely my last laugh. My momma used to say, “He who laughs last, laughs best.”
She’da been wrong this time, though. He who laughed last mighta got his ass blown all the way to hell.
Anyway, that was my cook talking, the guy I got my meth from. I screwed up trying to go big league with him. I shoulda learned my lesson and stayed small time and just kept on going with the flow. Sitting next to my cook, in the back seat of the pickup, was that guy Robert who owned the ranch, and was gonna pay me, Elmore, and Mickey to drive those illegal cigarettes to Illinois.
You know things are going to shit when three guys ride out and only two ride back. Somebody wrote a song like that a buncha years ago. The Byrds? The Eagles, maybe?
So, there I am in the back of a pickup, sitting across from my cook and Robert, and I very slowly reach behind me and pull out the money I owed them. What I had left of it, anyway. Robert took it and did that thing like he was weighing it in his hands, letting me know that had the deal gone the way it was supposed to, he’d be holding a lot more money than I’d just given him, we’d be talking about the next deal, and I wouldn’t have a gun sticking in my face. Nobody talked for a few minutes and I sure as shit wasn’t gonna be the first one to strike up a conversation. I could tell they were both deciding what to do with me and none of the things I came up with in my head were good. Next thing I know, they both take out their phones and start texting. That confused the shit out of me, but after a little while it dawned on me—the way Cook texted and then Robert’s phone would ding and then he’d text and Cook’s phone would ding—that they were texting each other. About me.
***
Excerpt from Three Strikes by Ross Klavan, Tim O'Mara and Charles Salzberg. Copyright © 2018 by Ross Klavan, Tim O'Mara, and Charles Salzberg. Reproduced with permission from Down & Out Books. All rights reserved.
 

Read an excerpt from The Maybrick Affair

1
If there’s anything more boring, make that deadly boring, than a town council meeting I’ve yet to experience it. But when you’re a young reporter for a small newspaper in a small state—Connecticut—and you’re low man on the totem pole, you don’t have much choice in what you cover. Thank goodness, I only have to do it once a month or in the unlikely event an emergency meeting is called.
It’s not exactly what I had in mind when I broke into journalism after graduating from Yale a couple years ago. I can hardly budget my own meager salary much less understand the town’s budget, and the idea of sitting through lengthy, mostly pointless discussions about traffic violations, Christmas festivals, parades and holiday decorations, well, let’s just say I can think of at least a dozen better uses of my time.
The truth is, not much goes on up here, so you wind up praying for something big, like a multi-car pile-up, a domestic dispute, a burglary, or even a small fire. Nothing too serious, just anything to break the monotony.
But it’s my job to be here, and so I make sure I pay attention and take good notes, which I’ll have to decipher later, since my handwriting leaves much to be desired. My friends used to joke that with that scrawl I should have been a doctor. Not much chance of that, since I gag at the sight of blood.
The way I figure it, I’m just biding my time, paying my dues, impressing my boss with my work ethic in hopes he’ll see he’s wasting me on crap like this and gives me something more interesting. Something like the crime beat. Not that there’s all that much crime up here, but every so often there is a break-in or a domestic squabble, or some two-bit white-collar crime that can possibly make it below the fold on the front page.
I am a fish out of water, living and working in a small town like New Milford. I’m a city kid, born and raised in New York City. Yorkville, to be precise, which is on the upper east side of Manhattan. I literally grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, the tracks of the elevator train, also known as the subway or just plain el. The wrong side of the tracks in this case being east of Park Avenue. My family isn’t German, Czech or Hungarian, but that’s who mostly inhabit my neighborhood and that heritage is reflected in the local restaurants and bakeries, places like the Bremen House, Geiger’s, Schaller and Weber, and Kleiner Konditorei, A small-town council meeting is a stretch for me, especially since the usual issues under discussion are so provincial and, for the most part, intrinsically uninteresting, at least to me.
***
Excerpt from Three Strikes by Ross Klavan, Tim O'Mara and Charles Salzberg. Copyright © 2018 by Ross Klavan, Tim O'Mara, and Charles Salzberg. Reproduced with permission from Down & Out Books. All rights reserved.
 

Our Authors:

Ross Klavan

Ross Klavan’s work spans film, television, radio, print, live performance and visual art. A novella, “Thump Gun Hitched,” was published in 2016 by Down and Out Books as part of “Triple Shot” along with Charles Salzberg and Tim O’Mara. His darkly comic novel Schmuck was published by Greenpoint Press in 2014. Klavan’s original screenplay for the film Tigerland was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and the film was released by New Regency starring Colin Farrell. He recently finished an adaption of John Bowers’ The Colony and has written scripts for Miramax, Intermedia, Walden Media, Paramount, A&E and TNT-TV among others. The “conversation about writing” he moderated with Kurt Vonnegut and Lee Stringer was televised and published as Like Shaking Hands with God, and his short stories have appeared in magazines and been produced by the BBC. An earlier novel, Trax, was published under a pseudonym. His play How I Met My (Black) Wife (Again), co-written with Ray Iannicelli, has been produced in New York City, and he has performed his work in numerous theaters and clubs. He has acted and done voice work in TV and radio commercials and has lent his voice to feature films including: Casino, You Can Count on Me, Revolutionary Road, Awake and the Amazon web series Alpha House, written by Gary Trudeau. He has worked as a newspaper and radio journalist in New York City and London. He lives in New York City with his wife, the painter, Mary Jones.
Catch Up With Ross Klavan On: Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!  

Tim O'Mara

TIM O’MARA is best known for his Raymond Donne mysteries about an ex-cop who now teaches in the same Williamsburg, Brooklyn, neighborhood he once policed: Sacrifice Fly (2012), Crooked Numbers (2013), Dead Red (2015), Nasty Cutter (2017), published by Minotaur Books (#1–#3) and Severn House (#4). He recently signed a deal for a fifth Raymond book, The Hook, which should be published in late 2019 by Severn House. His novellas Smoked and Jammed appear in 2016 and 2018 crime trilogies from Down & Out Books. O’Mara taught special education for 30 years in the public middle schools of New York City, where he still lives and teaches adult writers. In addition to writing The Hook and the stand-alone high-school-based crime drama So Close to Me, O’Mara is currently curating a short crime story anthology to benefit the non-profit American Rivers.
Catch Up With Tim O'Mara On: timomara.net, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!  

Charles Salzberg

Charles Salzberg is a former magazine journalist and nonfiction book writer. He is the author of the Shamus Award nominated Swann's Last Song, and the sequels, Swann Dives In, Swann's Lake of Despair and Swann's Way Out. His novel, Devil in the Hole, was named one of the best crime novels of 2013 by Suspense magazine. His latest novel is Second Story Man. He is co-author of Triple Shot, with Ross Klavan and Tim O'Mara (three crime novellas). He teaches writing in New York City and is on the board of the New York chapter of Mystery Writers of America.
Catch Up With Charles Salzberg On: charlessalzberg.com, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!  

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!
Click here to view the Three Strikes by Ross Klavan, Tim O'Mara and Charles Salzberg Participants.
 

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Ross Klavan, Tim O'Mara, and Charles Salzberg. There will be 4 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card and three (3) eBooks. The giveaway begins on September 1, 2018 and runs through November 1, 2018. Void where prohibited.
a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours


I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest oc the copy of this post was provided by Partneers in Crime Virtual Book Tours.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible Blog Tour and Giveaway

God’s Spirit is living among God’s people.
He always was, always is, and always will be.
These are the stories that tell about him and what he does.

The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible, written by Doris Rikkers and illustrated by Fernando Juarez, presents over 40 Bible stories from the old and new testaments that show how God’s Spirit has been with his people from the beginning of time. Keep reading to learn more about this new release from ZonderKidz!

You can also enter to win a copy of The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible and other awesome kids' releases in a giveaway hosted by Read with Audra. Details below!

About the book:

The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible brings to life more than 40 Bible stories that help readers understand that God's Spirit has been with us since the beginning of time and continues to be with us today. From the glory of creation through the powerful letters of Paul, God's Spirit is living in his people. Old and New Testament stories such as Adam and Eve, Abraham, Joseph, the Baptism of Jesus, and Pentecost come alive with dramatic illustrations by Fernando Juarez and moving text by Doris Rikkers. With a cover that sparkles and shines with foul, this is a special storybook Bible that will appeal to both children and parents alike.

Go here to see a sample of several pages, including text and artwork.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
If I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
If I settle on the far side of the sea,
Even there your hand will guide me,
Your right hand will hold me fast.
Psalm 139:7-10

My review:

This story Bible concentrates on the work of God's Spirit. Rikkers retells stories for young children, ages four and up. She paraphrases the Scripture text but the Bible reference is given so parents can check out the actual passage in the Bible. Some of the stories surprised me because there is no mention of the Spirit in the Bible text. It makes sense, however, that God would do the work through His Spirit.

The illustrations are different, modern in style rather than realistic. I'm old fashioned and the illustrations don't appeal to be but children may like them.

This would be a good story Bible for children who have shown interest in the Spirit, perhaps wondering how He works, what He does, etc.

About the author and illustrator:

Doris Wynbeek Rikkers is a freelance writer and editor who has written many bestselling children's books and Bibles. Although she loves the ocean, she lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, surrounded by her books, her flower gardens, and her family and friends.

Spanish artist Fernando Juarea illustrates children's books and also works as an art supervisor at the Madrid studio Ilion Animation. The company produced 3D feature films for children. Fernando has three kids himself, and if he has any time left after work and family, you might catch him playing guitar in a rock band.

Zonderkids, 312 pages.

GIVEAWAY


Would you like to win your own copy of
The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible?

Win a children's book prize pack from Read with Audra!

The prize pack includes a copy of:
Spirit of God Illustrated Bible
Adventure Bible Book of Daring Deeds and Epic Creations
NIV Kids Visual Study Bible
Explorer's Bible Guide
Words to Love By
Love Letters from God 


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I received a complimentary copy of this Bible through Read With Audra. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Read With Audra.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Cost of Betrayal by Dee Henderson, Dani Pettrey and Lynette Eason

About the Novellas:

Dee Henderson - “Betrayed”
After serving six years of a twenty-year sentence for a murder she didn't commit, Janelle Roberts is finally freed. But the truth is still waiting to be discovered, and a murderer is still at large. Janelle needs to be somewhere safe with someone she can trust. She may not survive another act of treachery.

Dani Pettrey - “Deadly Isle”
Tennyson Kent is trapped on the isolated island of her childhood by a storm surge, and she is shocked when the typically idyllic community turns into the hunting grounds of a murderer. Cut off from any help from the mainland, will she and first love Callen Frost be able to identify and stop a killer before they become the next victims?

Lynette Eason - “Code of Ethics”
When Detective Isaac Martinez lands in the ER with a gunshot wound, he pulls through thanks to trauma surgeon Ruthie St. John. But as the witness to a crime and possible corruption, Martinez is at risk from someone intent on silencing him – and those around him – forever. When he barely survives another attack while recovering, both he and Ruthie must flee, trying to outrun deadly killers while locating the evidence they need to end the danger.

My review:

A collection of fiction by various authors often reveals differences in writing style. That is the case here.

The first novella, Betrayed, is from Dee Henderson and is a very mellow one. There is really no suspense nor is there any romance. A retired Ann and her FBI husband Paul are the main characters. (They met in Full Disclosure.) Much of the plot revolves around their calm actions and calm discussions. An interesting aspect of the narrative was an exploration of the psychological issues one must face when being freed after having been in prison for six years.

The second novella, Deadly Isle, is a true romantic suspense. The story starts out with a murder and the action stays high throughout. Pettrey does a good job of building the suspense. The action takes place on a Delaware island and it was interesting to learn about island life.

The last novella, Code of Ethics, is another suspenseful one. It was a little hard for me to believe that a trauma surgeon would help a wounded policeman escape the hospital and shelter him. But then, Ruthie is part of the St. John family who readers have met in the Blue Justice series. Ruthie's mother is the chief of police and all of her siblings are in law enforcement. Once the action got going, it never stopped. There is great suspense and a good budding romance too.

Reading a collection like this one is a good way to sample authors and see if you like how they write.

You can download an excerpt here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Dee Henderson is the author of numerous novels including the O'Malley series. Her works have won many awards, including the RITA Award, the Christy Award, and the ECPA Gold Medallion. She is a lifelong resident of Illinois. You can find out more at http://www.deehenderson.com/
Dani Pettrey has written the award winning Alaskan Courage series. The awards include the Daphne du Maurier Award, two HOLT Medallions, and Christian Retailing's Best Award. The Chesapeake Valor series takes place in her home state of Maryland. You can find out more at https://www.danipettrey.com/
Lynette Eason has written several series and is the winner of two ACFW Carol Awards, the Selah Award, and the Inspirational Readers' Choice Award. She lives in South Carolina. You can find out more at https://lynetteeason.com/.

Bethany House Publishers, 384 pages.

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