Saturday, April 30, 2022

Be Joyful by Joyce Meyer

Meyer provides fifty days of readings on joy. These are not fluffy devotions nor sweet stories. While joy is a fruit of the Spirit, Meyer reminds us it comes through love and self-discipline.

I like how she distinguishes joy and happiness. I like her saying joy is not getting what we want. She has found that life's greatest joy comes from helping others. We are never promised a trouble free life yet can have joy in the midst of our circumstances. Paul did not say we are to rejoice in our circumstances, Meyer writes, but rather we are to rejoice in the Lord at all times. (663/2182)

Other insights about joy include avoiding arguments, forgiving, thinking about godly things, letting go of the past, and remembering that God has given us everything we need to have a wonderful day. (249/2182)

I had to laugh at one devotion because Meyer reveals the error of taking a verse out of context. “No one has seen or imagined,” she writes, “all the good things that 'God has prepared for those who love him' (1 Corinthians 2:9)” (491/2182) The next verse says those very things “are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.” Oops.

This is a good collection of teachings on joy, receiving it and sustaining it. Most of the devotions are like brief Bible studies. Meyer adds a couple of questions at the end of each devotion for further thought.

You can watch the book trailer here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Joyce Meyer is one of the world's leading practical Bible teachers. A New York Times bestselling author, her books have helped millions of people find restoration and hope in Christ. Her program, Enjoying Everyday Life, airs around the world on television, radio and online. She teaches internationally how the Word of God applies to our every day lives. She has authored more than 135 books, translated into more than 160 languages, with 37 million of her books distributed free of charge worldwide. The mission arm of her ministry, Hand of Hope, provides worldwide humanitarian programs such as medical and dental care, relief after natural disaster, and human trafficking intervention and rehabilitation.

FaithWords, 224 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.)

Friday, April 29, 2022

Big Shot by Kirsten Weiss

This is the first book I have read from this prolific author. I was pleasantly surprised. It's got quirky characters, a barbecue chicken wing eating deer, Estonian mob characters, and a town with BIG THINGS. I liked the heroine, Alice. She'd gotten duped by the mob guy she was supposed to keep safe. He'd gotten killed in an auto accident. Her reputation ruined, Alice goes back to her hometown to lick her wounds and find a new way. Instead, she finds a body.

This novel is pure entertainment although I was surprised to read in the author afterward that there really is a town with BIG THINGS. In this novel, it was a way to try to keep the town from totally dying. Who wouldn't jump on a tour bus to see the world's biggest lawn flamingo, pizza cutter or giant mushroom?

This is a fun mystery to read when one needs a total escape. The plot might be a little complex and some of the character actions are a bit unbelievable, but you'll laugh or at least smile as you read. There are probably no intellectual insights in this novel. It's just fun.

This cozy mystery releases May 31 in ebook. If you pre-order now you can get some extras. You can find out more at

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Kirsten Weiss writes humorous, entertaining mysteries for people who want to escape with flawed but likable characters. You can find out more at

Misterio Press, 315 pages.

I received a complimentary digital copy 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.)

Thursday, April 28, 2022

The Petrus Prophecy (Vatican Secret Archives Thriller) by Gary McAvoy with Ron Moore

About the Book:

Father Jonah Barlow is dead. The respected Jesuit scholar of apocalyptic studies might have died from a fall in his apartment . . . or was he pushed? All that is known for sure is that the provocative manuscript he was working on—a book that promised to reveal the upcoming fulfillment of ancient and recent prophecies, including the ghastly and shocking Third Secret of F├ítima—is missing.

Two female detectives—one from Chicago, the other from Rome—take on the investigation as a possible homicide, turning to Vatican archivist Father Michael Dominic for his help, since Barlow sent the young priest the only other copy of the manuscript.

Newly elected Pope Ignatius, Enrico Petrini, intent on verifying the content of the manuscript against the original handwritten version of the Third Secret—which has been kept sequestered in the Pope’s personal vault for decades—discovers that the keys have been stolen. The search is on for the only other set, kept safely in the hands of a trusted monk in Jerusalem. Meanwhile, a sinister ancient order known as the Knights of the Apocalypse seem to be using the predictions of the manuscript to create fear and chaos as the prophecies appear to be coming fulfilled. Is the end of the world imminent?

From Chicago to Jerusalem to Scotland, from Rome to the ancient island nation of Malta, join Father Dominic, journalist Hana Sinclair, their trusted team of Swiss Guards, a French commando, and the two detectives as they solve the bewildering puzzles of the Petrus Prophecy.

My Review:

I have read all of McAvoy's novels and this may very well be the best one yet. As in his earlier novels, he does a great job combining historical facts and current ideas in a well presented setting, all through a creatively imagined and compelling plot. McAvoy usually explores nefarious deeds centered on historical aspects of the Catholic Church. This novel was especially interesting to me because it explores current ideas about the Lord's Second Coming, something Protestant Christians concentrate on too.

In this novel, a sect of the Catholic Church is obsessed with the Second Coming. McAvoy plays on the Protestant Christian habit of trying to find prophetic fulfillment in current events. The Catholic sect goes one step further in actually trying to create the prophesied events.

I really like how McAvoy explores the nature of Bible prophecy in general, such as its vagueness, being open to various ideas of fulfillment. I like how he brings attention to what Dominic calls End Times fever, something that “crops up every few generations.” (1656/3880) I like his using the fact that people see what they want or expect and how easily they can be manipulated in that respect.

I really liked this engaging novel. While it deals with a sect in the Catholic Church, the compelling plot will be appreciated by anyone interested in how Christians approach the immanent nature of Christ's return. McAvoy does an excellent job of combining historical facts with his imaginary fiction, distinguishing them in his notes at the end. While this novel is down the line in a series, it reads well on its own. It's a good one to start with if none of his novels have been read.

My rating: 5/5 stars.

You can read my reviews of his earlier novels. The Magdalene Chronicles: The Magdalene Deception, The Magdalene Reliquary, The Magdalene Veil. Vatican Secret Archive Thrillers: The Vivaldi Cipher, The Opus Dictum


About the Authors:

Gary McAvoy began his writing career writing columns for a small town weekly newspaper and articles for a regional Southern California magazine. That laid the foundation for corporate communications work supporting his own and clients' businesses. He was fascinated with cryptology and intelligence during his U.S. Army tour in Germany. Following his military service, he built a number of successful ventures in Southern California and then moved to the Pacific Northwest. You can find out more about him and his books at

Ron Moore has an undergraduate degree in biology from University of California Riverside and a JD from Western State University College of Law, a master's in Forensic Toxicology from the University of Florida, and an AA in culinary arts from Saddleback College. He also obtained a Catholic Lay Ecclesial Minister certificate. He worked for over 18 years in forensics and CSI, the practiced law for 8 years before returning to forensics as a toxicology consultant. He was also an EMT for four years. He was a reserve deputy sheriff for over 14 years, assigned to the Search and Rescue unit. He was also a Sergeant in the Bloodhound Team. He holds a black belt in Judo and a brown belt in Aikido. Moore and his wife live in Southern California where he enjoys outdoor activities. You can find out more at

Literati Editions, 354 pages.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from the author. My comments re 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.)

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Paradise Cove by Davin Goodwin Blog Tour


Paradise Cove

by Davin Goodwin

April 1-30, 2022 Virtual Book Tour


Every day is paradise on Bonaire—until something unexpected washes ashore

On the laid-back island of Bonaire, every day is paradise until a seaweed-entangled human leg washes ashore. Combing the beach, retired cop Roscoe Conklin examines the scene and quickly determines that the leg belongs to the nephew of a close friend.

The island police launch an investigation, but with little evidence and no suspects, their progress comes to a frustrating halt. Then, thanks to a unique barter with the lead detective, Conklin finds himself in possession of the case file. He can now aggressively probe for his own answers.

Sifting through the scant clues, eager to bring the killer to justice, Conklin struggles to maintain forward momentum. He has all the pieces. He can feel it. But he'd better get them snapped together soon.

Otherwise, the body count will continue to rise.

Praise for Paradise Cove:

“An intriguingly gruesome beginning, sexy location, and a supremely satisfying ending. Paradise Cove is a terrific read.” —Marc Cameron, New York Times best-selling author

Paradise Cove is a wonderful thriller with a great story . . . what makes it special are the perfect descriptions of Bonaire and life on the island.” —Nicholas Harvey, author of the AJ Bailey Adventure Series

“Grab a beer and revisit Bonaire with Roscoe Conklin as your guide in Paradise Cove. A rich cast of characters and an intriguing plot guarantee an exciting trip you’ll long remember.” –Shawn Wilson, author of Relentless

My Review:

This is a mystery where the setting makes the plot work. The island off Venezuela with the Dutch influence is the most interesting aspect of the novel. The plot is also interesting with many curves and plenty of suspects.

I was a bit disappointed by the action of the hero, Conklin. He's a retired policeman but sure does not act like one. Rather than a methodical investigation, he bumbles along. Some of his actions seem meaningless or counter productive. He often makes rash acts out of anger, antagonizing others rather than getting them to help. And he fails to tell his detective girlfriend important information in a timely manner.

I feel Conklin was a more engaging hero in the first novel in this series. Goodwin plans to write more featuring him and I hope the next will see the hero as a more controlled and effective (retired policeman) amateur sleuth.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

This is the second novel I have read featuring Roscoe Conklin as the hero. You can read my review of Diver's Paradise here.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Oceanview Publishing
Publication Date: April 5th 2022
Number of Pages: 304
ISBN: 1608094855 (ISBN13: 9781608094851)
Series: Roscoe Conklin Mystery #2 | The novels in the Roscoe Conklin Mystery Series stand on their own and can be read in any order.
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Finished with my morning swim, having pushed myself hard the last quarter mile, I sat on the end of the pier with my legs dangling over the edge. No clouds in the typical Caribbean-blue Bonaire sky and a faint hint of salt floated in the air. The wind shoved waves, larger than normal, against the shore.

An iguana lay a few feet away, basking in the sun, overweight from gorging itself on the remnants of the near-by garbage can. It sat motionless, one eye tilted in my direction, the other skewed over the edge of the pier at the water. It was a resident of the area and joined me regularly on the pier after my swims.

I had taken to calling it Charlie.

As I towel-dried my arms and hair, I noticed two teenaged boys using a stick to poke at an object near the water’s edge, a stone’s throw south of the pier. The object had washed ashore and was covered with random strands of dark seaweed.

I watched the boys take a few steps forward, jab the stick at the object, then retreat, as if expecting something to happen. Nothing did, so they repeated the process several times with the same result.

Some younger children ventured forth, staying well behind the brave teenagers. Wide-eyed, high-pitched streams of Papiamento—the native language of Bonaire—filled the air as they half-talked, half-screamed. They gawked at the object, the raced back up the beach to their mothers, sitting on beach blankets.

One mother stood, nodding her head, and, appeasing the child, walked toward the water. She stopped a few feet shy of the shore. Her eyes widened and she shuffled backward to the other women, grabbed her cell phone, and, with a shaky hand, put it to her ear. She pointed at the object and spoke, her Papiamento not as high-pitched as the child’s, but every bit as excited. Unfortunately, I didn’t understand a word they said, my Papiamento being only slightly better than my Klingon.

The base of my neck tingled.

I no longer carried a badge, but nearly three decades as a law enforcement officer, specifically with the Violent Crimes Division of the Rockford, Illinois, police department, had trained my curiosity to remain on high alert. Of the hundreds of traits, quirks, and ticks conditioned into my psyche during those years, the sense of inquisitiveness, along with a constant need to know and understand, were the most deeply engrained.

I shook my head, stood, and walked down the pier to the beach. This was something I probably needed to see.

My sudden movement startled Charlie and he darted to the other side of the pier, both eyes now pointed in my direction. I gave him a shallow wave. “Sorry, Charlie.”

The water surface on the west side—or leeward side—of the island remained consistently flat, almost glasslike, aided by a solid wind from the east. The wind also swept most of the seaweed, litter, and other debris out to sea. Few items floated ashore on the leeward coast of Bonaire.

Except during wind reversals. Over the last few days, the easterly wind had changed direction and blew in from the west, bringing with it all kinds of surface floaties.

I plodded through the sand, closing the distance to the water’s edge. Most likely, an unfortunate tuna or tarpon had met its demise. But based on the actions and behaviors of the children, and the concern of the mother, I quickly changed my mind. A fish washing ashore was too common an occurrence and wouldn’t generate the reactions I’d just witnessed.

Then I remembered the epidemic affecting the green moray eels. For some reason, a strange parasite was attacking the green morays, causing the deaths of many. The occurrence was so rare that a group of marine biologists had recently arrived on the island, and with the help of local researchers, were studying the phenomenon. The situation was declared serious, possibly affecting the entire green moray population of the local reefs. When a dead eel washed ashore, the researchers wanted to be informed so they could harvest the carcass for study.

The teenagers moved back a few steps as I worked past them and stood over the object. It wasn’t a tarpon or tuna. Or a diseased moral eel. I turned back toward the beach and scanned the area, noticing the increased crowd size. I admit, the word crowd is relative on a small island like Bonaire, but, even so, a small horde of lookie-loos had gathered. Some vied for a better view, meandering closer to the water’s edge.

But not too close.

I sighed and shook my head. Few things draw a crowd to the beach faster than a human body part washing ashore.


Excerpt from Paradise Cove by Davin Goodwin. Copyright 2022 by Davin Goodwin. Reproduced with permission from Davin Goodwin. All rights reserved.


Author Bio:

Davin Goodwin is a graduate of Arkansas State University and works in the technology industry. He’s been a small business owner, a real estate investor, an aerial photographer and flight instructor, a semi-professional banjo player, and a scuba diver, often seen on the island of Bonaire. Paradise Cove is the second novel in his Roscoe Conklin Mystery Series and he intends to continue writing the Roscoe Conklin series set on Bonaire. Goodwin lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with his wife, Leslie.

Catch Up With Davin Goodwin:
BookBub - @dgoodwin7757
Instagram - @davin_goodwin_author
Facebook - @authordavingoodwin


Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!
Click here to view Paradise Cove by Davin Goodwin Tour Hosts.


Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Tours

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

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

It's News to Me by R G Belsky

This is the latest novel from Belsky featuring Clare Carlson, once crack newspaper reporter now TV news reporter and executive. I have followed her amateur sleuthing through several novels, liking every one.

Clare has two tasks in this novel. One is to survive the ruthless executive placed over her. Endicott has only ratings in mind, no matter who is harmed. That goes against Clare's personality and the sparks fly. Clare must also find out who brutally murdered a college student and why. Clare is tenacious, going after unanswered questions even when the police think they have the murderer behind bars.

Belsky provides a good balance of mystery and personal life. Clare's a brave and savvy amateur sleuth. She also has a tough time living a successful personal life. She's a flawed character having made some very stupid personal decisions. Yet I still get the impression she has a good heart, often following it to relationship disaster. Her character provides some snappy relationship dialogue and thoughts. “When the going gets tough, the tough go eat.” (2504/3089)

Belsky was in the news profession and it shows. I like how he relates the tension in the news room, contrasting the pressure for ratings with compassion for the victims and their families. Belsky also lives in New York and he does a great job creating the setting for us. His writing style is good and I like how he portrays Clare's quick wit, troubled relationships and tenacious investigation.

This is the fifth book in the Clare Carlson series but reads well on its own. It releases October 4, 2022. You can read my reviews of the earlier books in the series: Yesterday's News, Below the Fold, The Last Scoop, and Beyond the Headlines.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

R G Belsky is an author of crime fiction and a journalist in New York City. The first Clare Carlson book, Yesterday's News, won the David Award at Deadly Ink for Best Mystery of 2018. The second Clare Carlson book, Below the Fold, was named Best Mystery of 2019 in the Foreword INDIES Awards. He has also written thrillers under the pen name of Dana Perry. Belsky is the former managing editor of the Daily News, a top editor at the New York Post, Star magazine and NBC News. He writes from an extensive background in newspapers, magazines and TV/digital news. He lives in New York City. You can find out more at

Oceanview Publishing, 352 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.)

Monday, April 25, 2022

Things That Matter by Joshua Becker

If you were to die today, what one thing would you be most disappointed you did not complete? (123/3445) Do you want to get off the easy path of the ordinary and immediate and get onto “a more intentional path that leads to a life that satisfies, and resonates beyond your own mortal existence – a life lived well”? (95/3445)

Becker has given us a good book to help us live a life that matters, with fewer regrets. He writes about finding our purpose, including an exercise investigating our passions and abilities, combining them with meeting the needs of others. He explores the obstacles to a life that matters and helps with strategies to remove them. I like his emphasis on self examination, helping us identify things that keep us from being our best self. I like his reminding us, “Selfless living results in greater overall life satisfaction.” (1120/3445)

Becker is passionate about minimalism and it shows in this book. He helps us see how having less stuff really allows us to go after our highest pursuits. He encourages us to be contributing people rather than consuming ones. He suggests we share our journey with others, not keeping hidden our insights to a better life.

This is a good book to help us live life with greater intention and fewer regrets. It's not easy. It may take a technology detox. It may take serious self examination regarding time, focus, and energy wasters.

If you are willing to make the best of your remaining years, this book will help you get on the right path.

You can watch the book trailer and read an excerpt here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Joshua Becker is the bestselling author of books on minimalism. He is the founder and editor of Becoming Minimalist, a website dedicated to intentional living. His blog was named by SUCCESS magazine as one of the top ten personal development websites on the internet. His writing has been featured in publications around the world. He is the creator of Simplify magazine and Simple Money magazine and is a contributing writer for Forbes. He is the founder of Hope Effect, a nonprofit organization concentrating on the care of orphans. He provides an online course, Uncluttered, having helped over 70,000 people declutter their homes and live more intentional lives centered on what matters most. He also has an app, Clutterfree, providing a room by room strategy. He and his wife have two teenaged kids and live in Peoria, Arizona. You can find out more at

WaterBrook, 256 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.)

Gospel People by Michael Reeves

The term evangelical is often met with derision in today's world. The label is frequently associated with agendas other than the gospel. Reviewing the beliefs and actions of many who call themselves evangelicals, Reeves writes, “evangelicalism today is not truly or fully evangelical.” (106) Reeves is clear. If someone claims to be evangelical but is not about the gospel, they are not evangelical. (15) Evangelicals act out of biblical conviction, not some political or personal agenda.

Reeves calls Christians to return to the foundational meaning of the term, to be people of the gospel. If that does not happen, he says, evangelicalism will become a washed up cultural relic.

Because use of the term has been so confused lately, Reeves clarifies that evangelicalism means Trinitarian, Scripture-based, Christ-centered, and Spirit-renewed. He explores the writings of theologians from the past to verify this understanding.

I like that, while Reeves emphasizes the truthful and trusty worthy nature of Scripture, he is not a “biblicist.” Being Scripture-based, he argues, does not mean there is no truth except that found in the Bible. The Reformers did not reject insight from outside Scripture. (32) Being an evangelical does not mean despising learning and research. (34)

I also like Reeves clarifying that being evangelical is not just having right doctrine. While evangelicals must take care to orthodoxy (right doctrine), they must also apply that doctrine to have right practice (orthopraxy) with a right heart (orthocardia). (78) Referring to Micah 6:8, evangelicals are people who do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God. (78)

This book is a great wake up call to those people who call themselves evangelicals yet are not about the Good News of Christ. True evangelicals are gospel people. They are people who believe the gospel, preserve the gospel, and practice the gospel. They are people who love God and their neighbor. Though flawed people, they are becoming more Christlike day by day and desire to live in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. (Phil. 1:27)

My rating: 4/5 stars..

Michael Reeves (PhD, King’s College, London) is president and professor of theology at Union School of Theology in Bridgend and Oxford, United Kingdom. He is the author of Delighting in the TrinityRejoice and Tremble; and Gospel People.

Crossway, 144 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.)

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Canceled by John Faubion Blog Tour

About the Book

Book: Canceled

Author: John Faubion

Genre: Christian Thriller

Release date: November 14, 2021

Jerold Steele has been canceled. His identity is stolen. His job is gone. Even more bizarre, the people around him are dying.

Each one was stalked and killed by a supernatural menace that hides in darkness, and preys on the mind.

Facing exposure, the killer is eliminating every person that threatens him. In his world, there’s only room for one superman, and that superman is going to be him.

Brenda Neal wants to trust him, but the deaths terrify her. Is it better to hide, or fight with him?

CANCELED is a cutting-edge, page-turning thriller, a story you hope won’t be in tomorrow’s headlines.

Read CANCELED to find out what happens when the only thing that will stop a killer is Power no one never imagined.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

This is a good novel exploring what might happen when liberal theologians (there is no such thing as the supernatural) are confronted with the reality of spiritual evil. It starts at a liberal seminary when a student disrupts a class. It continues as the seminary professor commits suicide. Then another dies. Then another.

Leading the attempt to figure out what is happening and who is behind it are Jerold, professor and ordained (though a nonbeliever) and Brenda, daughter of the seminary president (also a nonbeliever). As the two follow leads provided by the first professor to die, they are confronted with spiritual truths they cannot deny. There must be a God. But if God exists, then does evil? If there is evil, how does one fight it?

Faubion does a good job of exploring evil spiritual attacks and deceptive temptations on unsuspecting people. People unaware of the whole spirit world. He portrays well the spiritual awakening and the struggle to recognize how wrong they have been.

I liked this novel. Some readers might be skeptical of the portrayal of evil and its influence on willing people. Faubion's novel is a good wake up call to the reality of the spirit world and the influence on humans. The events at the end might have been a little predictable but other than that, a fine, thought provoking novel.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

I also reviewed an earlier book by Faubion and you can read my review of Friend Me.

About the Author

John Faubion was a foreign missionary in Vietnam, Guam and to the Chinese for nearly thirty years. Then a professional software engineer for more than twenty years after that.

He’s the father of five children, and lives in central Indiana with his wife.

More from John

Cancel Culture? This is worse.

All around us we see our culture changing, and not for the better. Sometimes it seems like all the voices we hear are filled with anger, hatred and intolerance.

There’s a reason for that:  They are all rooted (you guessed it) in anger, hatred and intolerance.

It was time to step back and look at what it’s like to be canceled, but from an entirely different source: The Supernatural.

The main character is a preacher, but one of those who does NOT believe in a supernatural god. He doesn’t know what he believes. But when he’s finally confronted with a supernatural experience he cannot deny, he finds that walking on the dark side is going to cost him his life.

The only solution, both for him and the one he falls in love with, is to know God, and get access to the supernatural weapons he never dreamed existed.

Blog Stops

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.)

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Kingdom of Bones by James Rollins

About the Book:

It begins in Africa . . .


A United Nations relief team in a small village in the Congo makes an alarming discovery. An unknown force is leveling the evolutionary playing field. Men, women, and children have been reduced to a dull, catatonic state. The environment surrounding them—plants and animals—has grown more cunning and predatory, evolving at an exponential pace. The insidious phenomenon is spreading from a cursed site in the jungle — known to locals as the Kingdom of Bones —and sweeping across Africa, threatening the rest of the world.

What has made the biosphere run amok? Is it a natural event? Or more terrifyingly, did someone engineer it?

Commander Gray Pierce and Sigma Force are prepared for the extraordinary and have kept the world safe, vigilance for which they have paid a tragic personal price. Yet, even these brilliant and seasoned scientific warriors do not understand what is behind this frightening development—or know how to stop it. As they race to find answers, the members of Sigma quickly realize they have become the prey.

To head off global catastrophe, Sigma Force must risk their lives to uncover the shattering secret at the heart of the African continent—a truth that will illuminate who we are as a species and where we may be headed . . . sooner than we know.

Mother Nature—red in tooth and claw—is turning against humankind, propelling the entire world into the Kingdom of Bones.


My Review:

The idea for this novel, Rollins says, was crafted before the recent COVID pandemic. While he debated whether a pandemic novel was needed, I'm glad he wrote it. I appreciate his novels because they have so much information in them, neatly woven into a plot of potential worldwide death and terror. The Sigma Force team is to the rescue yet again.

Rollins identifies himself as a veterinarian turned author and it shows in this novel. There are beasts galore in the jungle. There is much about ants (they have empathy) and jackals and hippos and more. Most interesting was about bats and their unusual ability to harbor viruses. And there is great deal of information about viruses. They are the most abundant life form on earth and can mutate at a blistering rate. (There is a debate as to whether viruses are living or merely self-replicating machines.) I was amazed at the amount of human genes coming from viruses. There is much about the history of the Congo included too. I really appreciate the author's Note at the end of the book identifying fact and fiction.

This is another engaging novel with Sigma Force people attempting to save the world. They have lots of advanced technology and gadgets. The only aspect of this novel less than stellar was the jungle suspense. I felt it was repetitive. I did tend to skim a bit when yet another virus affected animal attacked.

My rating: 4/5 stars.


About the Author:

James Rollins is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of international thrillers that have been translated into more than forty languages. His Sigma series combines unseen world, scientific breakthroughs and historical facts into fast paced plots. He lives in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Photo by David Sylvian

William Morrow, 464 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.)

Friday, April 22, 2022

Death Valley Hideout by Dana Mentink Blog Tour

About the Book

Book: Death Valley Hideout

Author: Dana Mentink

Genre: Christian fiction

Release date: April 26, 2022

Running from a murderer

with only the desert as refuge…

Placed in WITSEC while his brother testifies against a terrifying criminal, Tony Ortega must guard his young niece and nephew from the hit man hunting for them. Death Valley local Willow Duke’s hideout might just be the difference between the little family’s life or death. When bullets start flying, can they thwart a killer long enough to survive and become a family for real?

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

This is the latest in an ongoing series but can easily be read as a stand alone. Duke family members from previous novels are part of this one but only as support and not as main characters. Mentink again does a good job of establishing the setting in Death Valley.

There is a great deal of suspense in the novel but it is a bit repetitive and caused by missteps by characters. At times Tony and Willow venture out without proper protection. At other times those assigned to protect Tony and Willow are not savvy enough to do their job well. The US Marshal says after being outflanked by the villain yet again, “I'm getting sick and tired of this.” (1777/2878) There seems to be a mole in the operation. Mentink does a good job of presenting readers with plenty of suspects but the culprit was no surprise in the end.

This is a good novel for readers who like lots of suspense and a little romance and are not too concerned about the ease with which the villain outsmarts the good guys.

My rating: 4/5 stars.


About the Author

Dana Mentink is a USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author as well as a two-time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, and the recipient of a Holt Medallion. She’s written over fifty titles in the suspense, lighthearted romance and mystery genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Harlequin Heartwarming, and Poisoned Pen Press. You can connect with Dana via her website at, on Facebook, YouTube (Author Dana Mentink) and Instagram (dana_mentink.)

More from Dana

Wooty woo! We’re back in Death Valley again! So excited about this fourth book in the series because Papa Bear and I have actually returned to this amazing place. (Our previous return trip was stalled for a while due to the virus that shall not be named!) People have asked me, “Why do you love Death Valley so much?” I can only respond that you just have to go there to understand. Is it the vastness of the place? The enormous topographical variety? Maybe it’s the profound quietness that permeates the national park and environs. Then again, it might be the panorama of nighttime stars. (Death Valley National Park is a certified International Dark Sky Park due to its limited light pollution.) Could it be the tenacity of people who live there and survive the one hundred twenty plus degree temperatures in the summer? And how about those animals? The Death Valley pupfish is a teeny little endangered fish that lives in precisely one spot on the globe (Death Valley) and only two places within that range, Salt Creek and Cottonball Marsh. Imagine that! So why set a six book series in Death Valley? Because there’s no more hostile and incredible place I can think of. I hope you will enjoy taking a fictional trip with me there too. Enjoy the adventure, reader friends!

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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.)