Friday, July 3, 2020

Love Riot Blog Tour and Giveaway


About the Book


Book:  Love Riot
Author: Sara Barratt
Genre: Christian non-fiction
Release Date: May 5, 2020

Have you ever thought about walking away from the church? Have you already left it in your heart?

Does it seem like it’s not relevant to your life?

It’s time for a revolution. A holy uprising. A love riot.

Not content with safe religion that demands nothing of us, Sara Barratt is calling you to stop giving in to the status quo and devote yourself fully to Christ, following Him no matter what your friends do or the culture around you promotes. Sara challenges you to hand everything over–your comfort zones, your time, your loyalty, your pride–and invites you to embark on a radical journey of passionate love for Christ. Because once you experience His love, it will transform your life.

Love Riot is a battle cry from one teen to another to embrace a life of wholehearted commitment and relentless abandon for Christ . . . no matter the cost.

“Sara Barratt wants to start a riot. An uproar. A disturbance for Jesus. Unlike some teenagers who want to disrupt and destroy, she wants to bravely build.”–Kyle Idleman, author of Not a Fan and Don’t Give Up and senior pastor of Southeast Christian Church

“God is at work among my generation. There’s no denying that, especially after reading Love Riot. This book will challenge you, encourage you, and ignite your pursuit of Christ. I highly recommend it!”–Jaquelle Crowe Ferris, author of This Changes Everything

Love Riot will challenge your idea of what it means to be a teen who truly follows Christ. Sara Barratt raises the bar and calls her peers to a higher standard. This book has the power to change lives!”–Kristen Clark and Bethany Beal, authors of Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart and cofounders of GirlDefined Ministries.


Click here to get your copy!

My Review

Barratt has wisdom well beyond her years. She has a vision to see this generation rising up as the most devoted, most committed, most passionate generation for Jesus. She has practical teaching and great insights into what it means to be such a passionate follower of Jesus, including the cost it may mean in activities and even friends.

This is a great book for teens. It is well written and captivating. It is a challenge to live sold out for Jesus, to follow Him beyond your comfort zone, and to use your sphere of influence. There are good questions at the end of each chapter so this would be a good book for a teen reading group or a youth group study.

Food for thought: “...there's no such thing as a complacent follower of Christ. … You're either living for yourself or living for God.” (Loc 1110/2998)

My rating: 5/5 stars.

About the Author


Sara Barratt is an author, speaker, avid reader, chocolate lover, and lead editor for TheRebelution.com. Her passion is challenging and encouraging teens to live sold out and set apart for Jesus. Come hang out with her on Facebook, Instagram, and at her website, sarabarratt.com.

More from Sara


Why are teens leaving the church?
Why are my friends drifting away from God?
What does it look like to be a teen who wholeheartedly follows Jesus?
In my early teens, I began wrestling with these questions. God was working on my own heart, shaking me out of my complacency, and leading me to a deeper walk with Him. Yet I knew I wasn’t the only teen battling apathy and the low expectations of our culture.
Everywhere I looked, I saw the evidence.
Friends drifting away from God. Compromise slipping in. Peer pressure strengthening.
It broke my heart to see these teens struggling. Because I’d walked in their struggles as well.
Teens like eighteen-year-old Brayden who said, “I’ve never pursued a passionate relationship with Christ, because I’ve never had anyone to share it with. No one else I know takes God seriously.”
Or like sixteen-year-old Trevor who realized something was missing. “I know God is real. I’ve seen Him work in other people’s lives, but I can’t find the strength to change, so I’ve just put God on the back burner.”
These are the words from real teens, battling in the trenches of an apathetic, post-truth, anti-Christian culture. We’re wrestling through questions and doubts about God and Christianity as our peers, the media, and the culture around us feed us a myriad of messages, trying to influence our hearts. Some stand strong. Most give in.
Something needs to change.
Is it possible for teens to reject apathy and live sold out for Jesus? Is it possible to turn our backs to the culture and choose to follow Christ? Is it possible, that instead of a generation leaving the church, we could become a generation building the church, living for the glory of God?
My journey of writing Love Riot began with these questions, but ended with this answer.
Yes.
God has not given up on this generation. On the contrary, I believe He has more in store for us than we can imagine. The power which rose Jesus Christ from the dead can raise up the spiritually dying remains of this generation and spark a passion in teenager’s souls for His name.
The world, and even the church, doesn’t automatically think of teenagers as passionate followers of Christ—but I’m out to change that.
In this new generation arising, it’s my heart-cry to see a remnant living out the message of the gospel, embracing our commission to go out and make disciples.
It’s not an easy journey. It requires risk. Sacrifice. Surrender. But as Jesus said, the life of a follower isn’t safe. It’s not just a call to pray a prayer and be saved. It’s a call to lay down your life and be transformed. Luke 9:23 counts the cost, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”
For every teen, for every adult, for everyone who desires to follow Jesus, it’s time to pick up our cross, and in the words of Elisabeth Elliot, “live a life of reckless abandon for the Lord, putting all [our] energy and strength into it.”
It’s time for a love riot.

Blog Stops

Artistic Nobody, July 4 (Author Interview)
Remembrancy, July 6
Simple Harvest Reads, July 7 (Author Interview)
Emily Yager, July 8
Mary Hake, July 13
SODBUSTERLIVING, July 14
Through the Fire Blogs, July 15 (Author Interview)

Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Sara is giving away the grand prize package of a signed copy of the book and a $25 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


I received a complimentary digital copy 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.)

Thursday, July 2, 2020

The Crushing Depths Blog Tour and Giveaway

The Crushing Depths

by Dani Pettrey

on Tour July 1-31, 2020

Synopsis:


When an accident claims the life of an oil-rig worker on the first drilling platform off the North Carolina coast, Coast Guard investigators Rissi Dawson and Mason Rogers are sent to take the case. Tensions surrounding the oil rig are high and the death has everyone on edge. Environmental activists are threatening to do whatever it takes to stop the structure from being completed, while rumors are being whispered about ancient curses surrounding this part of the ocean.

Mounting evidence shows the death may not have been an accident at all. Was he killed by one of the activists or, perhaps more frighteningly, a member of his own crew? Rissi and Mason have to sort through not only a plethora of suspects, but also their own past and attraction to each other.

Just as the case seems like it'll break open, worse news arrives. A tropical storm has turned their way and soon they're cut off from any rescue–and right where the killer wants them. It's a race to discover his identity before he eliminates the threat they pose.


My Review:


Pettrey has crafted another entertaining novel centered on Coast Guard investigators. I liked the setting of an off shore oil rig although I wish we could have learned more about its operation. The sabotage of the rig operation by an environmental group is certainly believable.

I liked the budding romance between Rissi and Mason. I like that Pettery kept them focused on their work and did not let their emotions rule during the investigation. I also liked how both of the characters rose above their shared painful youth experiences, independently became Christians, and found renewed love as adults.

I did not like Brooke's side story and found it very distracting. It did not add to the main plot story and almost seemed like just filler to make page count. The main plot would have been sufficient to provide an entertaining read with additional background on oil rig function. I also found the fights by a couple of the men on the rig to be nonessential to the plot and a bit puzzling as to their inclusion.

This is an entertaining novel with a little bit of information about off shore oil rigs and protesters. I do not think it is the best Pettrey has written. I do like her work though and will be looking for her next book.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Book Details:

Genre: Inspirational Romantic Suspense
Published by: Bethany House
Publication Date: June 30th 2020
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN: 0764230859 (ISBN13: 9780764230851)
Series: Coastal Guardians #2
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ChristianBook | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One

Late September
Thirty-eight miles off North Carolina’s coast
Greg Barnes clinked along the grated metal steps, his boot heels rasping with each shuffle as he headed topside for a much-needed breath of smoke.
Thrusting the door open with a resounding creak, he stepped out into the night air.
A litany of protestors’ chants mimicked the shrill whining of cicadas.
He glanced at his watch. 1930. Didn’t those eco-nuts ever give it a rest?
As if the cursed rig wasn’t enough—they had the dang relentless protestors going practically day and night.
Exhaling, he rubbed his thumb along the smooth surface of the tarnished gold lighter in his pocket. His tight muscles seized, making his movements stiff. He shook his head. Those people needed to get a life.
Edging around the far corner of the main separator facility, he pressed his back against the structure’s cool outer wall. Generators whirred across from him, finally drowning out the clatter. He scanned his surroundings and exhaled in relief. Finally, alone.
His leg twitched. Just one drag . . . maybe two. It’d been an awful day, and that was the gentleman’s way of putting it.
With unsteady hands, he pulled the plastic-wrapped pack from his shirt pocket.
It crinkled beneath his hold and the sweet scent of tobacco wafted beneath his nose. He tamped the cigarette in his palm and slid it between his cracked lips. Just one drag.
Tugging the lighter from his pocket, he flipped it open, then rolled the pad of his thumb across the ignitor.
A spark flashed and fire roared, hissing over him in a sizzling cascade of torment.

Chapter Two

Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina
Rissi Dawson sat at the long table on Dockside’s waterfront deck, gaping at Mason Rogers. He turned to look at her, his green eyes illuminated in the bright pole lights lining the wooden structural beams. She averted her eyes as heat rushed up her throat, spreading across her cheeks. He’d caught her staring again. Embarrassment drenched her. It’d been three days since his arrival, and she still couldn’t wrap her mind around the fact he was actually sitting next to her.
The boy she’d had the biggest crush on as a teen was back in her life. And on her Coast Guard Investigative Service team.
He handed her the basket of hush puppies the restaurant served instead of bread to start everyone off. His hand brushed hers with the movement, and her heart fluttered. “Thanks,” she said, keeping her gaze fixed on the red basket as she pulled two balls of fried cornmeal from it. She plopped the still-warm puppies onto the round plate to the right of her Coke. Get it together, girl!
The whir of a boat’s motor dropping to an idle sounded over the deck’s edge. A teen jumped out of the white outboard and onto the pier, tying her up to the cleat. Rissi loved living in a place with a boat drive-thru.
Noah raised his glass of iced tea. “Everyone . . .” The team lifted their glasses in response to their boss’s prompting.
Noah dipped his chin. “Welcome, Mason. Happy to have you on board.”
The team clinked their glasses together, even Caleb who sat brooding to her left. Observant as he was, there was no chance he missed the way she looked at Mason. In recent months, he’d developed feelings for her, so it wasn’t surprising he’d bristled at Mason’s arrival—especially after learning she and Mason shared a past, though he didn’t know the half of it. Only that they spent time in a children’s home together for a handful of months as teens.
The opening riff of “Sweet Home Alabama” emanated from Noah’s jean pocket. He hitched up as he extracted his phone. “Rowley,” he answered. “Yes?” Standing, he headed down the ramp toward the restaurant’s pier.
“Rockfish tacos,” the waitress said, placing the plate in front of Rissi. The sweet, tropical scent of the mango slaw swirled in the air.
The waitress handed out plate after plate to each of them, setting Noah’s burger at his spot while he continued to pace the pier.
Caleb bit into his Carolina BBQ pork sandwich, the scent of vinegar wafting in the night’s gentle breeze.
Finn Walker did the same with his crab cake sandwich. He and Noah, who was from Maryland, had argued for months over which state had the best crab cake. Finn had been convinced it was North Carolina, right up until Noah had crab cakes flown in fresh from Jimmy’s Famous Seafood in Baltimore. It took two bites for Finn to concede the win.
“Sorry about that, folks,” Noah said, retaking his seat.
“Everything okay?” Emmy Thorton asked. Rissi looked forward to seeing the quirky angel every day at the station.
“Rissi, Mason.” Noah lifted his chin in their direction. “I’ve got an assignment for you.”
Her and Mason? They’d worked a case his first day on the team, but Finn had joined them for most of the investigation. This would be the two of them . . . alone. A mixture of elation and fear sifted through her.
“Great.” Mason set down his lemonade.
“We’ve got a death out on the Dauntless.”
“The offshore oil platform?” Mason asked, swiping a drop of lemonade from his bottom lip.
Stop staring, girl. So he’s jaw-dropping gorgeous. So you share a past. Still, staring is plain rude. Despite not having a mother to teach her, Rissi knew or, at least had come to learn, her manners.
Noah laid his napkin across his lap. “You two need to determine if the death was an accident or if foul play was involved. Helo is leaving from Textra Oil’s copter hub in forty-five. I need you both on it.”
Mason pushed back from the table. “No problem.”
“Great,” Noah said. “You’ll be joining the head of operations, a commercial diver, and the deceased’s replacement on the company copter.”
Rissi took one last bite of her taco before setting it down. She dabbed the corner of her lips with a napkin. “They aren’t wasting any time in replacing the deceased.”
“The deceased’s name is Greg Barnes. I talked to the head of operations, Bob Stanton, and he said they needed to replace him ASAP.”
“Must be an important position.” She reached for her glass and took a final sip.
“You’d think,” Noah said. “But Bob said the main reason they need to replace him fast is they’ve been working with a skeleton crew.”
Mason’s brows pinched as he stood. “Why?”
“Several guys didn’t show up for their three-week rotation transport out,” Noah said, popping a fry in his mouth.
“I know why they didn’t show up for that copter ride out there.” Tom Murphy leaned toward them from his table situated to their right.
“Why?” Mason asked, moving around to the back of Rissi’s chair. He held it out for her as she stood.
She glanced over her shoulder at him and smiled. “Thanks.”
He nodded.
Tom, one of Wrightsville’s most colorful fishermen, crooked his index finger, drawing them in. “That rig’s cursed.”
“Cursed?” Caleb chuckled. “You can’t be serious?”
Tom waggled his finger. “It’s no laughing matter, young man.”
“I’m sure it’s a good story, Tom,” Rissi said. No reason not to be polite. “But I’m afraid we’ve got to catch a copter ride.”
Tom shrugged and turned back to his food. “It’s your lives at stake.”
“What do you mean?” she asked before they passed his table, unable to stem her curiosity.
“You’ll see.” He smiled, his right incisor missing. “Henry’s curse is real.”
“Henry?” Why was she letting herself get sucked into this?
Tom let out a high-pitched chuckle. “Oh, you’ll learn all about Henry.”
“Shall we?” Mason said, gesturing to the wooden ramp leading down to the gravel parking lot.
Excusing themselves, they moved down the ramp. Mason leaned in. He smelled of the ocean and warm spice. He whispered, “Did that guy seriously just cackle?”
She nodded, strangely curious about the old man’s ghost story.
“I thought people only did that on Scooby-Doo.”
She let out a slip of laughter.
“I wouldn’t be laughing,” Tom called after them as they rounded the ramp on his side of the deck. “You two be careful out there, you hear? It’s a dangerous place to be. Just ask the men on board.”
***
Excerpt from The Crushing Depths by Dani Pettrey. Copyright 2020 by Dani Pettrey. Reproduced with permission from Dani Pettrey. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:


Praised by New York Times best-selling author Dee Henderson as "a name to look for in romantic suspense," Dani Pettrey has sold more than half a million copies of her novels to readers eagerly awaiting the next release. Dani combines the page-turning adrenaline of a thriller with the chemistry and happy-ever-after of a romance.
Her novels stand out for their "wicked pace, snappy dialogue, and likable characters" (Publishers Weekly), "gripping storyline[s]," (RT Book Reviews), and "sizzling undercurrent of romance" (USA Today).
Her Alaskan Courage series and Chesapeake Valor series have received praise from readers and critics alike and have appeared on the CBA, ECPA, Publisher’s Weekly, and Amazon #1 bestseller lists. Dani has also been honored with multiple awards, including the Daphne du Maurier Award, two HOLT Medallions, a Christy Award finalist, two National Readers' Choice Awards, the Gail Wilson Award of Excellence, and Christian Retailing's Best Award.

Catch Up With Dani Pettrey:
DaniPettrey.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, 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 The Crushing Depths by Dani Petrey Participants.


Enter To Win!!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Dani Pettrey. There will be 4 winners. Two (2) winners will each receive an Amazon.com Gift Card and Two (2) winners will each win THE CRUSHING DEPTHS by Dani Pettrey (Print ~ Open to U.S. addresses only). The giveaway begins on July 1, 2020 and runs through August 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.
a Rafflecopter giveaway




Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours


I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours.
(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, July 1, 2020

Jane Doe Blog Tour and Giveaway


About the Book


Book:  Jane Doe
Author: Lillian Duncan
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: June 26, 2020

A Broken Body. A Broken Mind. What If She Wasn’t The Last Victim?

Raven Marks survives a brutal kidnapping but just barely. Along with a broken body, her mind is broken. She wants to put the past behind her, but nightmarish memories won’t let her. . . At first because she doesn’t have them, and then because she does.

Even though her fractured memory can’t recall every detail, she’s haunted by one thought: What if she wasn’t the last victim? Her search for answers leads her to the highest politicians in the land. Each reclaimed memory brings her closer to the truth—and to even more danger.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

Duncan's novel is a good thriller. By the time I got to the end of the book I was holding my breath. The plot is well crafted with a reporter on a hot story being kidnapped and tortured for months. She survives the kidnapper's attempt to end her life but has no memory of the horrific experiences. I like how Duncan has Raven's memory come back little by little until the shocking recognition of the very public man. I like how Raven realizes she has to be the one to stop him as no one with authority would believe her. Duncan has added several very good characters to support Raven. I loved Gracie and Lydia. What sweet women with such big hearts to help Raven. And then there is Hunter, the handsome deputy sheriff.

The only aspect of this novel I did not like was the initial pages of Raven's torture experiences while held kidnapped. Those first three chapters, nineteen pages, were hard to read and I felt a bit repetitive. Sensitive readers may just want to start reading at chapter four. Some of what Raven experienced is later revealed anyway, through her memories. I think the novel might have even been better if we readers just experienced the torture in bits and pieces as those first pages were too intense for me.

This is a good book for readers who enjoy a suspenseful thriller. There is a wonderful emphasis on the power of God to sustain a person through a terrible experience and the recovery following. This novel is a very good example of how a strong faith a can and should be included in a Christian romantic suspense novel. Except for the hard to read initial pages, well done

My rating: 4/5 stars.


About the Author


Lillian Duncan… turning faith into fiction.
Lillian lives in a small town in Ohio with her husband. She writes the types of books she loves to read. Even though her books cross genres, they have one thing in common, faith-based stories that demonstrate God’s love—and lots of action. OK, that’s two things.
She was a school speech pathologist for over 30 years but retired in 2012 after being diagnosed with bilateral brain tumors due to Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2), a rare genetic disease.
Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word. To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit:www.lillian-duncan.com.

More from Lillian


JANE DOE is my latest novel and it’s a doozy!
What’s the genre you ask? It’s suspense with lots of drama and action…but it also a political thriller…but it also has a lot of mystery components…but there’s the romance element as well… and let’s not forget the spiritual message! No matter what genre you classify it as, it’s one I think you’ll enjoy!
So how did JANE DOE come about?
I’d finished all my edits on a current book and was feeling very uninspired. I had no idea for my next story, so I went on FB and asked people to send me an idea for my next suspense novel. An old high school friend sent me the suggestion to write a story where the main character struggled with memory loss.
Mmmm… but the old amnesia plot has been done and it’s a big no-no that writing experts warn against. I took the challenge and wrote JANE DOE. It’s definitely not your typical amnesia plot, but the main character is haunted by her memories.
First, because she doesn’t have them and then because she does!
Raven Marks survives a brutal kidnapping but just barely. Along with a broken body, her mind is broken. Even though she can’t remember the details of her kidnapping, she’s haunted by the thought that someone else is being victimized by the kidnapper she can’t remember.
Her journey to discover the truth leads her to the highest politicians in the state and then the country. Each reclaimed memory brings her closer to the truth—and to even more danger.
I’m not going to give away the plot, but there’s plenty of twists and turns to keep you reading late into the night!

Blog Stops

By The Book, July 4 (Author Interview)
Betti Mace, July 6
Andrea Christenson, July 7 (Author Interview)
For the Love of Literature, July 12 (Author Interview)
Bigreadersite, July 12
Artistic Nobody, July 13 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Lillian is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon Gift Card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

I received a complimentary digital copy 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.)

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Crystal Witness Blog Tour and Giveaway


About the Book


Book:  Crystal Witness
Author: Kathy Tyers
Genre:  Christian fiction, science fiction, futuristic
Release Date: June 16, 2020

Her memories are blocked. Her freedom is gone. Her crime is a mystery.

When Ming Dalamani awakens from twenty years of suspended animation, she recalls only fragments of her former life: the life she led before she was arrested by the governing interplanetary corporation, Renasco, for a now unremembered crime.

Relocated to an alien world far from the only home she has ever known, Ming serves a powerful Renasco representative to repay her debt. But daily she lives with deadly threats from two men—the hideous mutant Zardir Huekk and the handsome, secretive musician Tieg Innig—who both want the same thing: information. Renasco-trained as a calligrapher in three dimensions, Ming begins to remember more: a clan, a mission, and interstellar piracy.

Ming must decide where her loyalties lie: with her powerful new employer, with a budding resistance movement… or elsewhere.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

Having grown up reading lots of science fiction, I enjoyed this novel. I felt it got off to a bit of a rough start as the action in Part 1 did not connect to the next part for while. After the novel got going, however I really liked it, especially the suspense near the end.

I like the plot of one society being oppressed by another. I liked the characters and their development for the most part. As is the case with sci-fi, there were some weird characters, like the one with eyes that blink sideways. There is some advanced science but we are not overwhelmed with it. The characters form the majority of the plot framework and that was good. There is no particular spiritual emphasis but good and evil are well defined in the end.

I recommend this novel to sci-fi readers. I'll be reading more of this author.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author


Kathy Tyers is widely published in speculative fiction, including her award-winning Firebird series and two licensed Star Wars “Legends” novels, as well as a travel book, a writing reference book, and a memoir co-written for classical guitarist Christopher Parkening. Her messiah-in-space novel Daystar, fifth in the Firebird series, won a 2013 Carol Award, and her terraforming/genetic engineering science fiction novel Shivering World won the 2019 Christy Award for Visionary Fiction. At home in southwest Montana with her husband William Gillin, Kathy focuses on writing, teaching music, and freelance editing.

More from Kathy


In 1988, after the initial release of Firebird and Fusion Fire by Bantam Books of New York, my then-editor asked for a stand-alone novel, and my then-agent presented me with a contract to write that book in just over half the time that I actually needed. So my third novel, Crystal Witness, appeared in 1989—and while the plot had strong bones, I wished I’d had several more months to polish it. Much to my delight, Enclave Publishing is re-issuing Crystal Witness in June 2020 with the layers of polishing added. While I was adding those layers, I found myself wondering what would happen next. Maybe … oh, yes … hmmm … Aha!
Now that Crystal Witness is ready to stand up and sing, I am delighted to be working on a multi-book sequel series, The Sunstone Saga, also to be released by Enclave Publishing. Book 1 of the saga, The Long Silence, is well underway. It introduces a new cast of characters and asks a powerful question: Where has God been, while humankind went to the stars?
Crystal Witness is the story of young Ming Dalamani, who wakens from twenty years of suspended animation to find herself “company property” on a distant world, with no memory of the crime she must have committed. She only knows that a powerful corporate monopoly rules interstellar space, and she has been assigned to serve a company representative. Immediately, powerful (and opposing) individuals offer threats and bribes, trying to enlist her to spy for both sides of a deadly intrigue. How long can Ming play both sides of the plot against her urgent wish to find out who she is … and what was her crime?
My background in music and the arts always manages to show up in my books. I made Ming a calligrapher in three dimensions, wielding a set of injection pens to create elegant designs in clear slabs. Another character is a court musician with futuristic technology at his fingertips. My entire family was musical; my mother played in 20thCentury Fox’s prestigious sound stage orchestra in the 1950s, and my father grew up in a family band that toured the U.S. every summer. When I was widowed in 2004 and needed to make a fresh start, I discovered that Regent College in Vancouver BC had a program in which I could study toward a Master’s degree in Christianity and the Arts—and write a science fiction novel as part of my thesis project. That book, Wind and Shadow, picked up the Firebird series at Book 4 and led to its completion in Daystar, Book 5. That series is conclusively finished—as you know, if you have read Daystar!

Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Kathy is giving away the grand prize package of a still-in-box set of miniature toys that was released in 1996 to go with her novel, Star Wars: The Truce At Bakura, a signed copy of Firebird and One Mind’s Eye!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


I received a complimentary digital copy 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.)

Monday, June 29, 2020

Don't Keep Silent by Elizabeth Goddard


About the Book:

Justice comes easy for these two. But forgiveness? That's another matter altogether.

Investigative reporter Rae Burke will do anything to find her missing sister-in-law, even if it means facing Liam McKade, a man who almost lost his life saving hers. A former DEA agent, Liam thought he could find peace at his Wyoming ranch, but he doesn't feel at home anywhere anymore. When the reporter who blew his cover on an important investigation inserts herself back into his life, he's less than thrilled. But Rae's keen investigative skills have led her down the right path – and directly into the dragon's mouth – leaving Liam no choice but to protect her.

As the danger increases, the past they both tried to flee catches up to them, along with the feelings they once had for each other . . .

My Review:

I enjoyed this romantic suspense. The setting of a winter ski resort was engaging. There was a good deal of suspense so the pace of the plot moved well. I felt the characters were developed well and there was a good balance of character thought and action.

I appreciated the red herrings sprinkled throughout the plot. I have to admit, I had my eye on the wrong guy as the villain more than once. The restoration of the relationship between Liam and Rae was done well. The initial tension between them is based on previous actions. I thought perhaps I had missed a novel in the series but the previous actions are eventually revealed in the narrative.

This is a good romantic suspense for readers who enjoy characters who have a history they must work through to renew potential romance while they try to find a missing woman and stay alive too. While there is some mention of God, the faith message is not a strong one.

You can read my reviews of the earlier books in the series: Never Let Go, Always Look Twice.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author:

Elizabeth Goddard is the award-winning author of more than 40 romantic suspense novels, selling over one million copies. She was awarded the 2011 Carol Award and was a finalist for a Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense. When she's not writing, she loves spending time with her family, traveling to find inspiration for her next book, and serving with her husband in ministry. She is a seventh generation Texan. You can find out more at www.ElizabethGoddard.com. Photo: Emilie Hendryx.

Revell, 368 pages.

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

(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 28, 2020

The Impostors by Steve Benen

I read this book in my ongoing quest to understand the current political situation in the United States.

Benen says politics has evolved since 2008 to where the Republicans are now post-policy. They no longer care about evaluating evidence and then developing policy. He describes the post-policy thinking, “...what works, even during a crisis, is far less important than what's ideologically satisfying.” (Loc 541/7830) That means they'll vote for whatever promotes reelection rather than what is best for the American people.

Several examples are given where Republicans voted for a proposal when originated by a Republican but opposed essentially the same proposal when proposed by Democrats. Such was the case with the budget. During the Bush era, Republicans added trillions to the debt. During the Obama administration, “reducing the deficits they'd created was the only goal that mattered.” (Loc 4745/7830) With a Republican administration currently in power, we see the deficit again becoming larger.

One of the most telling events Benen recounts is one where Gingrich was discussing crime with a CNN host. Presented with statistics showing crime declining during the Obama administration, Gingrich said he would rather go with what people felt. Benen comments that false perceptions were more relevant than facts and reason. Statistics, Benen says, “are no match for what unprincipled politicians can get people to believe.” (Loc 5354/7830)

The Republican Party can become a governing entity again, Benen argues. It would require hiring policy staff, respecting intellectual arguments and statistical data, and becoming more invested in actual governing.

The book is very readable, even to this political novice. With many such insights, Benen has helped me understand the current political situation. I recommend this book to those who would like to understand how we Americans have come to the political situation we are in. Yes, the author particularly aims his critique at the Republican Party. Nonetheless, this book certainly shows how those governing today are failing our public interest.

Food for thought: “An approach to governance that rejects the value of independent evidence will inevitably fall.” (Loc 5687/7830)

You can read a sample here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Steve Benen is a producer on The Rachel Maddow Show and the author of The MaddowBlog. His articles and op-eds have appeared in The New York Times, Washington Monthly, The American Prospect, Salon.com and other publications. For his work on TRMA, he has received two Emmy Awards and has been nominated for three more. He lives in Vermont. Photo by Eve Benen.

William Morrow, 384 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.)

Healing Family Relationships by Rob Rienow

Certainly every family has relationship problems. That is the nature of humanity. Rienow has written a book full of practical strategies with a view to healing the relationships.

There were a few surprises in this book. One was a chapter on spiritual warfare. It is a neglected issue but one that is so necessary. “We need to stop fighting against our family and start fighting against the spiritual forces of evil.” (79) Another surprise was a chapter on boundaries. And yet another was a chapter on mediation. (He gives steps to implementing mediation.)

Yes, this book offers good strategic steps, such as for prayer and repentance. He gives steps for forgiveness, such as making a decision (act of the will), then asking God to work on the heart, then reconciliation. This takes time and Rienow says he himself was in this process for six years before seeing a breakthrough. He also includes the actions to take to have a conversation offering repentance.

I like Rienow reminding us that we cannot control the other person but we can change our own mind and behavior. Some of this is hard, like having patience and mercy.

Rienow uses stories from his own life and the lives of others, as well as stories from the Bible to illustrate his teaching. There are questions at the end of each chapter for personal reflection or group discussion.

This is a book full of practical instruction and anyone who would like to see relationships in a family healed would find reading it beneficial. Rienow includes a chapter on the most important relationship reconciliation, with God.

You can read an excerpt here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Rob Rienow (DMin, Gordon-Conwell) and his wife launched Visionary Family Ministries in 2011. Its mission is to build the church through a global reformation of family discipleship. He has served as a pastor and church planter and speaks a conferences around the world as well as on national radio. He and his wife have written several books. The Rienow family lives in the western suburbs of Chicago. You can find out more at www.visionaryfam.com.

Bethany House Publishers, 192 pages.

I received a complimentary copy 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.)