Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Courier: Book One of The Freelancer Series By Terry Irving

I received this book from JKS Communications for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Book Description:  

 "This is a goddamn big story. It'll make those jerks at the Post look like idiots and Watergate look like a cop taking an apple off a fruit stand."

It's 1972. The Watergate scandal has Washington on edge and Putnam, a Vietnam veteran and courier for one of the capital's leading television stations, is trying to get his life back together after his nightmarish ordeal in the war. Racing at breakneck speed through the streets of the capital, he not only intends to be the best courier in the business, he also intends to escape the demons that haunt him. But when Rick picks up film from a news crew interviewing a government worker with a hot story, his life begins to unravel as everyone involved in the story dies within hours of the interview and Rick realizes he is the next target.

Enlisting the aid of friends who have discovered a way to hack into the government's computer databases, and a beautiful young Indian Rights activist, Eva Buffalo Calf, Rick races full throttle through the streets of the nation's capital to stay ahead of his pursuers as he searches for answers. When he discovers the killings have been orchestrated by a rogue CIA agent and his team of assassins, Rick isn't surprised when his road to the truth leads directly to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

My Thoughts:   

Courier is Terry Irving's debut novel and it is fantastic. I would describe it as a Historical Political Thriller being set in 1972.  Rick is trying to get his life together after serving in Vietnam and being injured.  He takes a job as a courier for a major television station in Washington D.C. where he picks up and delivers tape and pictures for the news casts. Rick picks up some film from a crew interviewing a government worker with a huge story, but what he doesn't know is that this will be the last time he sees this crew. They don't show up to do the news that evening and they found out all of them are dead.  Rick goes on another pick up and is being chased through the city. At this point he realizes he is next.  With help of his computer hacker roommates and a Rights Activist he tries to stay ahead of the people who want him dead to find out who it is behind all of this. As they dig deeper, they find that a rogue CIA agent and a team of professional assassins are after him and what he needs to know is at the White House. 

Courier is Terry Irving's first published work of fiction. As a huge fan of debut writers and Historical Fiction this book caught my attention. I love reading about Watergate and Vietnam since it had such a profound affect on our country.  Being born in 1974, I only know what I learned in school about these events.  I have family who served in Vietnam War so to have the chance to learn more about it was great.  Terry Irving uses his real life experience in the news world as a courier and then as writer and producer in the news industry to put write this wonderful story.  This book is a fast paced thriller that once I started it, I could not put it down. The twists and turns throughout the book kept me guessing until the end.  As I read this story I felt like I was there watching the events unfold in front of me. I found myself holding my breath during the action in this book.  I also found myself laughing out loud in parts especially the interactions between the main characters.  This book is a perfect blend of fact and fiction. I feel like I learned many things about this time period I didn't know before, especially about Washington D.C. at that time and the Vietnam War. The book does have a little bit of strong language but it does NOT take away from the book, to me it added to the authenticity of the time period. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Historical Political Thrillers, you won't be disappointed.  I have found another must read author to my list! I cannot wait to read more from Terry Irving! I give this book 5 STARS. Thank you JKS Communications for the opportunity to read and review this book!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Sensible Arrangement: Lone Star Bride Book 1 By Tracie Peterson

 I received this book from Litfuse Publicity for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Book Description:  

Marty Dandridge Olson is ready to leave behind the pain of the past.Answering an advertisement for a "Lone Star bride," she leaves her Texas ranch and heads to Denver to marry a man she doesn't know.

Jake Wythe is the man waiting for her.Burned by love, he marries now simply to satisfy the board of Morgan Bank, which believes a man of his standing in society should be wed. Together Jake and Marty agree they are done with romance and love and will make this nothing more than a marriage of convenience.

When missing money and a collapsing economy threaten his job, Jake's yearning to return to ranching grows ever stronger, much to Marty's dismay. But a fondness has grown between them, as well, further complicating matters.

My Thoughts:  

A Sensible Arrangement is the first book in Tracie Peterson's latest series, Lone Star Brides. This is also her 100th Published Book.  As a fan of Historical Fiction, Tracie Peterson is one of my favorite authors.  I have read a few of her books and have MANY of her books in my To Be Read Pile.  Marty Olson wants out of Texas and all the bad memories it holds for her so when she saw an ad for a "Lone Star Bride" she responds and decides to leave her ranch to marry a man in Denver.  Jake Wythe is the man Marty is marrying. He had been disappointed by love but finds himself needing to be married to satisfy his bosses. Most of Jake's life is controlled by his bosses at Morgan Bank. He is marking time until he can get back to Texas, where his heart is. Marty's arrival into town was littered with talk, she had helped fight off bandits trying to rob the stage coach she was riding.  Jake and Marty agree that their marriage is a marriage of convenience,  nothing more.  As Marty adjusts to society life, she hires a young girl for her maid. The young girl lost her father after he was robbed doing the job that Jake now does at the bank.  Jake finds money missing from the bank but the amount changes each week, becomes less and less missing.  The country is in turmoil and Jake worries about the state of his job and his savings. As Jake and Marty stay together, they start to become very close and their feelings are changing.  

A Sensible Arrangement is the first book in Tracie Peterson's newest series, Lone Star Brides and I loved it! As a huge fan of Christian Historical Fiction, I could not pass this up.  I could not put this book down, I was grabbed from the start.  This book has history, action, suspense, romance, and faith. This book takes place in Texas and Denver in 1892, which is a one of my favorite times in history. The stage coaches, the homes, society, beliefs, and the county during this time fascinates me.  This book has all of it. Tracie Peterson writes with authority about society, beliefs, the county, and history of 1892. I found myself learning new things about this time period from her.  I enjoyed all of the characters in this story especially Alice, Marty's personal maid. She has had a rough life but has very strong faith. She works very hard to prove she can do anything and she is a great friend to Marty. Alice really guides Marty to find her faith again and to have a relationship with God. This really resonated for me.    I found myself laughing out loud in many places in this book and crying in some others as it touched my heart.  The details in the writing made me feel like I was right there watching the events unfold.  I really enjoyed this book and the many situations in this book stayed with me after I finished it. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Historical Fiction, you will not be disappointed.  I cannot wait to read more from Tracie Peterson and this series. I give this book 5 STARS. 

Please Check out Tracie Peterson's Celebration for her 100th book.

Welcome to the campaign launch for Tracie Peterson's 100th book! A Sensible Arrangement launches Tracie's new Texas-based series, Lone Star Brides, that’s sure to please. As a special treat, devoted fans will be able to catch a glimpse of several popular characters from previous series.

Tracie is celebrating by giving away an iPad Mini and hosting a LIVE webcast event on 4/29.
  One winner will receive:
  • An iPad Mini
  • A Sensible Arrangement by Tracie Peterson
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 29th. Winner will be announced at the A Sensible Arrangement Live Webcast Event on April 29th. Connect with Tracie for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Tracie will also be taking questions from the audience and giving away books, fun prizes, and gift certificates throughout the evening.

So grab your copy of A Sensible Arrangement and join Tracie and friends on the evening of April 29th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by signing up for a reminder. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 29th!

Critical Condition By Richard Mabry,MD and Kindle HDX Giveaway

I received this book from Litfuse Publicity for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Book Description:  

Dr. Frasier couldn't save the gunshot victim on her front lawn. Now she's fighting for her own life.

It began as a quiet dinner party honoring Dr. Shannon Frasier's colleague, but became a nightmare when a man was shot on her lawn, reviving emotions from a similar episode a decade ago. Then a midnight call from her sister, Megan, causes Shannon to fear that her sister is on drugs again.

Her "almost-fiancé" Dr. Mark Gilbert's support only adds to Shannon's feelings of guilt, since she can't bring herself to fully commit to him. She turns for help to her pastor-father, only to learn that he's just been diagnosed with leukemia.

Shannon thought it couldn't get any worse. Then the late-night, threatening phone calls begin, the rough voice asking, "What did he say before he died?"

With everything around her in a critical state, simply staying alive will require all the resources and focus Shannon has.

My Thoughts:  

Critical Condition is Richard L. Mabry's latest medical thriller and it is FANTASTIC. I have read a few of his books and I think they get better with each one he writes.  Dr. Shannon Fraiser has seen many things in her life including her boyfriend being shot and dying in her arms. There was nothing she could do but she blamed herself. 10 years later Shannon witnesses another shooting, this time on her front lawn during a party for a colleague. Shannon and her colleague do what they can to save the man but he also dies. This incident brings back emotions of ten years ago. Later that evening she receives a call from her sister, Megan, a recovering addict, and Shannon fears her sister is using again.  Megan moves in with Shannon temporarily to get away from an abusive boyfriend and to find a new job.  Shannon's boyfriend, Dr. Mark Gilbert, helps Megan get her things and they have a confrontation with the ex boyfriend. As events build up, Shannon finds herself looking for help from her father who is a Pastor and in searching for this help finds out he has leukemia. Shannon's life is spinning out of control when she receiving threatening phone calls. As the investigation into the separate situations brings to light that they are all connected, Shannon, Megan, and Mark are now trying to figure out what is happening before anyone else is hurt.

As a fan of Richard L. Mabry, MD's books, I was excited to take part in this blog tour for his latest book. Critical Condition is a fast paced thriller that I could NOT put down. From the first page, I was taken in to the story.  The action started right in the beginning and it kept going until the end of the story. It was a difficult book to put down.  I loved the characters in this book, but Dr. Shannon Fraiser was my favorite. I could relate to her issues with faith and trying to find her faith again and also her panic attacks.  She is a down to earth character with normal issues and struggles.  As I read this story I felt like I was there watching the events unfold and trying to solve the mysteries going on. Richard Mabry, M.D. wrote a fast paced thriller that kept me guessing all the way until the end, just the way I like it! He writes with authority about the medical world, police procedures, and faith. I have been a huge fan of Medical Thrillers for many years and Richard Mabry, MD is toward the top of my must read list. I highly recommend this book and this author to anyone who enjoys Christian Suspense! I give this book 5 STARS. I cannot wait to read more from Richard Mabry, MD and enjoy being able to connect with this author on Facebook and other social outlets!

 Make Sure to Check Out The Latest Contest

 Richard Mabry's latest medical suspense, Critical Condition, is receiving high praise. USA TODAY says, "Mabry combines his medical expertise with a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat."

Richard is celebrating the release with a Kindle HDX giveaway!
One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • Critical Condition by Richard Mabry
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 11th. Winner will be announced May 13th on Richard's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Richard's blog on May 13th to see if you won.

Friday, April 11, 2014

500 Hats of a Modern-Day Woman By Joyce Ellis

I received this book from Litfuse Publicity to no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Book Description:  

 Strength for Today’s Demanding Roles

In The 500 Hats of a Modern-Day Woman you’ll find strength, purpose, and perspective to balance your many roles—and gain insight into the roles of women around you. With honesty, humor, and practicality, Joyce Ellis helps you see how your roles can fit together to make a difference in your world. Questions for reflection or discussion at the end of each chapter make this book suitable for book clubs and small-group Bible studies as well.

My Thoughts:   

500 Hats of a Modern-Day Woman is the first book by Joyce Ellis that I have had the pleasure of reading.  I typically read and review mainly Fiction but when I saw this book and the topics it was covering I knew I had to read it.  It's very rare that I sit and think about all the roles I have in a day and when I do, there are definitely some that I really don't like wearing but wear nonetheless.  Joyce Ellis puts those "hats" in perspective by giving an honest, funny look at all we do as women in this world and how by creating priorities with God as the center we can find the most joy and success. 

This is a wonderful book for women at any stages in life to read. I found myself drawn into this book especially by the humor combined with practicality, Bible Verses, and a look at  all stages of life. I found myself laughing, crying, and doing a whole lot of nodding in agreement as I read Joyce's antidotes throughout this book. I really found myself relating to this book from start to finish. Joyce Ellis writes with authority about our roles as women and how to find peace and joy in the many different "hats" we have to wear.  These are the roles/responsibilities we have, it's much better to do them happily and with God in the center than to grumble and do them angry.  This is a book I will keep close by for the times when I need the reminder of keeping God in the center of these activities.  I really enjoyed this book and plan to reread it. I highly recommend this book to any woman out there, married or not, children or not. I really think it makes a great gift for a bride to be or a mother to be. I look forward to reading more from Joyce Ellis. I give this book 5STARS.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Queen's Handmaid By Tracy L. Higley: Enter to win a Kindle HDX from @TLHigley in THE QUEEN’S HANDMAID giveaway!

 I received this book from Litfuse Publicity for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Book Description:  

From the servant halls of Cleopatra’s Egyptian palace to the courts of Herod the Great, Lydia will serve two queens to see prophecy fulfilled.
  Alexandria, Egypt 39 BC
Orphaned at birth, Lydia was raised as a servant in Cleopatra's palace, working hard to please while keeping everyone at arm's length. She's been rejected and left with a broken heart too many times in her short life.
But then her dying mentor entrusts her with secret writings of the prophet Daniel and charges her to deliver this vital information to those watching for the promised King of Israel. Lydia must leave the nearest thing she’s had to family and flee to Jerusalem. Once in the Holy City, she attaches herself to the newly appointed king, Herod the Great, as handmaid to Queen Mariamme.
Trapped among the scheming women of Herod’s political family—his sister, his wife, and their mothers—and forced to serve in the palace to protect her treasure, Lydia must deliver the scrolls before dark forces warring against the truth destroy all hope of the coming Messiah.

Book Description:  

The Queen's Handmaid is the first book by Tracy L. Higley I have had the pleasure of reading and WOW. I am a big fan of Biblical Fiction so when I saw this book I knew I had to read it. Lydia is an orphan and has been raised as a servant in Cleopatra's palace.  Lydia has no family she knows of but has found a family in a few people in the palace including Samuel, Lydia's mentor and teacher and Banafrit, Cleopatra's personal cook.  Lydia has been doing pottery in secret to sell to try to get out of the palace and on her own. Lydia finds Samuel after her duties and finds him injured. With his dying breaths you tasks Lydia with delivery secret writings of the prophet Daniel to those watching for the Messiah. He also gives her a pendant that was her mother's, saying he and Banafrit knew her mother. Lydia finds herself being taken from Cleopatra's palace to Jerusalem to serve as Herod the Great's new wife's handmaid. Lydia finds herself in the middle of a mess as she attends to Queen Mariamme but finds out much of what is needed for her task. 

I really loved this book! As I stated, I haven't read anything by Tracy L. Higley until this book but I had a few of her books on my TBR pile. I had read many glowing reviews so I knew I wanted to read her books. Tracy L. Higley writes with authority on biblical history, the geography of biblical times, and the politics during that time. I could not put this book down, it kept me engaged from the start right until the end. I thought the characters were fantastic and Tracy L. Higley gives these characters such life and depth. I found myself drawn to the character of Queen Mariamme. She is a kind woman who loved God, her family, and would do anything to protect them. As I read this book I felt like I was there watching the events unfold right in front of me.  I learned a lot about this time in history that I did not know before. I was fascinated with all the facts in this book. Tracy L. Higley did a wonderful job weaving fact and fiction together into a cohesive work of fiction.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoy Biblical Fiction, Tracy L. Higley is a must read author in the genre. I cannot wait to start reading her other books that are in my TBR pile! I give this book 5 STARS.
Tracy L. Higley is celebrating the release of The Queen's Handmaid with a fun giveaway.

Retailers + Resources gave it this glowing review: "Rich in historic detail, Higley’s vivid writing brings to life the plots and intrigues that swirled through the ancient world as alliances were built and broken on the calculated schemes of power-mad monarchs." 
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • The Queen's Handmaid by Tracy L. Higley
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 19th. Winner will be announced April 21st on Tracy's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Tracy's blog on April 21st to see if you won.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Sing For Me By Karen Halvorsen Schreck

I received this book from Howard Books for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Book Description:  

When a good church girl starts singing in a jazz club and falls for the music—as well as a handsome African American man—she struggles to reconcile her childhood faith with her newfound passions.

Raised in the Danish Baptist Church, Rose Sorensen knows it’s wrong to sing worldly songs. But Rose still yearns for those she hears on the radio—“Cheek to Cheek,” “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”—and sings them when no one is around.

One day, Rose’s cousin takes her to Calliope’s, a jazz club, where she dis­covers an exciting world she never knew existed. Here, blacks and whites mingle, brought together by their shared love of music. And though Rose wor­ries it’s wrong—her parents already have a stable husband in mind for her—she can’t stop thinking about the African American pianist of the Chess Men, Theo Chastain. When Rose returns to the jazz club, she is offered the role of singer for the Chess Men. The job would provide money to care for her sister, Sophy, who has cerebral palsy—but at what cost?

As Rose gets to know Theo, their fledgling relationship faces prejudices she never imagined. And as she struggles to balance the dream world of Calliope’s with her cold, hard reality, she also wrestles with God’s call for her life. Can she be a jazz singer? Or will her faith suffer because of her worldly ways?

Set in Depression-era Chicago and rich in historical detail, Sing for Me is a beautiful, evocative story about finding real, unflinching love and embracing—at all costs—your calling.

 My Thoughts:  

Sing For Me is the first book by Karen Halvorsen Schreck I have had the pleasure of reading.  Set in 1937, this book tells the story of Rose Sorensen, a Danish Baptist, who loves to sing all songs especially Jazz music.  Rose's parents are strict Baptist that expect their daughter to follow also. Rose works all day cleaning houses and taking care of her sister, Sophy, who is handicapped. One night Rose's cousin, Rob, takes Rose to a jazz club called Calliope's where blacks and whites mingle from their shared loved of jazz. Rose meets one of the musicians, Theo, and can't stop thinking about him. Theo plays the piano for the band The Chess Men, a mixed race group that plays at Calliope's.  After hearing Rose sing The Chess Men offer Rose a job as their singer, making more money than she could ever make doing the work she is doing.  Rose and Theo find themselves drawn more and more to one another.  They know the risks but still try to be together. 

Sing For Me is a wonderful story about Chicago during 1937.  I have never read anything by Karen Halvorsen Schreck but when I read the description about the book, I had to read it.  I love Christian Historical Fiction and this is no exception. Karen Halvorsen Schreck writes with authority about Chicago in the 1930's, Danish Baptist Church, Denmark, jazz music, and cerebral palsy and how it was treated then.  I found myself unable to put this book down once I started reading, it really drew me in and held on.  I loved the characters in this book especially Theo's Mom, Mrs. Chastain. Her acceptance of Rose and Theo's relationship and her faith really stood out to me. She was a loving mother who treated everyone like her child, taking care of them and accepting of them no matter what.  I enjoyed that throughout this story Karen Halvorsen Shreck's characters always leaned on their faith whether good times or bad, this was a consistent theme throughout.  I felt like I was right there watching these events unfold from the descriptions of Chicago and the time period. This book also delved into interracial relationships and how they were looked at during this time period also. I really enjoyed the historical facts that were mixed in with the fiction. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Historical Fiction, you will not be disappointed. I cannot wait to read more from Karen Halvorsen Schreck. I give this book 4.5 STARS.

The Egyptian Princess: A Story of Hagar By KD Homberg

I received this audiobook for no charge from the author and Celebrate Lit Blogger Program in exchange for my honest review of this audiobook...