Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Review: Murder on Edisto (The Edisto Island Mysteries) by C. Hope Clark

  • File Size: 612 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Bell Bridge Books (September 22, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English

Book Description

A big city detective. A lowcountry murder.

Peace, safety, a place to grieve and heal. After her husband is murdered by the Russian mob, Boston detective Callie Jean Morgan comes home to her family's cottage in South Carolina. There, she can keep their teenage son, Jeb, away from further threats.

But the day they arrive in Edisto Beach, Callie finds her childhood mentor and elderly neighbor murdered. Taunted by the killer, who repeatedly violates her home and threatens others in the community, Callie finds her new sanctuary has become her old nightmare. Despite warnings from the town's handsome police chief, Callie plunges back into detective work, pursuing a sinister stranger who may have ties to her past. He's turning a quiet paradise into a paranoid patch of sand where nobody's safe. She'll do whatever it takes to stop him. 

About the Author


C. Hope Clark was born and reared in the South, from Mississippi to South Carolina with a few stints in Alabama and Georgia. The granddaughter of a Mississippi cotton farmer, Hope holds a B.S. in Agriculture with honors from Clemson University and 25 years’ experience with the U. S. Department of Agriculture to include awards for her management, all of which enable her to talk the talk of Carolina Slade, the protagonist in most of her novels. Her love of writing, however, carried her up the ranks to the ability to retire young, and she left USDA to pen her stories and freelance.

Lowcountry Bribe‘s opening chapter took first place in the Phillip Mangelsdorf Award, third place in Alabama Writer’s Conclave Competition and honorable mention in The Writing Show Chapter Competition as judged by bestselling mystery author C. J. Box. The chapter also made top three finalist status of the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense sponsored by Romance Writers of America. The novel enjoyed semi-finalist status (top 100 out of 10,000) in the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. The book went on to win the 2012 Silver Falchion Award for Crime Fiction and the 2013 EPIC E-book Award for Best Mystery.

Hope is married to a 30-year veteran of federal law enforcement, a Senior Special Agent, now a contract investigator. They met on a bribery investigation within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the basis for the opening scene to Lowcountry Bribe. Hope and her special agent live on the rural banks of Lake Murray outside of Chapin, South Carolina, forever spinning tales on their back porch, bourbon and coke in hand, when not tending a loveable flock of Orpington and Dominiquer hens.

She also currently manages FundsforWriters.com, a weekly newsletter service she founded that reaches almost 40,000 writers to include university professors, professional journalists and published mystery authors. Writer’s Digest has recognized the site in its annual 101 Best Web Sites for Writers for 13 years.

She’s published in The Writer Magazine, Writer’s Digest, Chicken Soup, Next Step Magazine, College Bound Teen, Voices of Youth Advocates (VOYA), TURF Magazine, Landscape Management and other trade and online publications. She speaks at several writers’ conferences a year. Hope is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, SC Friends of the Library, EPIC and MENSA.

My Review

C. Hope Clark is a new author to me and I am so happy that I discovered her! Murder on Edisto is a great book! It is well written and a flowing plot. I am a big fan of Edisto Island so the title is what initially attracted me.

Murder on Edisto comes complete with an interesting story line, believable characters and a beautiful setting. It is well written. I found that I had a hard time putting it down. The author, C. Hope Clark, kept me in suspense throughout most of the book. I suspected who the murderer was but she did have the murderer very cleverly disguised. I enjoyed the twists in the book.

Callie Morgan is a retired police detective who retired after her husband was murdered by Boston's Russian Mob. She had just lost an infant prior to his murder. It is amazing that she could function at all. When her Charleston area based parents gift her with the family's vacation home on Edisto Island, she and her adolescent son Jeb settle in. And then mysterious things start happening. And her dear friend is murdered. It is a constant flow of strange events that keep the reader spellbound.

Highly recommend this mystery. Always refreshing to find a new author that I like. Cannot wait for the next one in the series!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Review: Night of the Jaguar: A Novel by Joe Gannon

  • File Size: 996 KB
  • Print Length: 319 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1250048028
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (September 9, 2014)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English

Book Description

 In Joe Gannon's debut novel, Night of the Jaguar, a former Sandinista guerrilla comandante turned cop investigates a series of murders that appear to be political executions.

Sandinista Police Captain Ajax Montoya is six days sober and losing his mind.  How else to explain his nights waking in bed, his hand wrapped around that bloody-minded stiletto from the old days, or the presence outside his window, a face with no eyes watching him?

How far the heroic have fallen.  Ajax was once the gallant comandante guerrillero. A hero of the Nicaraguan revolutionaries in their long uprising against the Ogre and his hated National Guard.  Back then he’d been the guy who got the bloody missions -- as a lowly grunt with that blade, or the commander of an entire front.  Back then he knew what was what and who to trust. But as the clarity of war gave way to the hazy reality of peace, Ajax fared less well. And after he took the fall for an assassination he had no part of, he tumbled into a bottle, and maybe out of his mind.

Now he's a homicide investigator in Managua solving murders and sweating through the nightmares from his guerilla days. When he's called to investigate a robbery turned gruesome murder, Ajax recognizes the marks of a surprising enemy - the CIA mercenary army known as The Contra.  This isn't just a random murder; this is an execution, a call to war. Or is it?  And why does no one want to know but Ajax? As the bodies pile up and a red-headed gringa who should be his enemy enchants his thoughts, Ajax questions whether he can stay sober, sane, and alive long enough to figure it all out.

About the Author

 JOE GANNON, writer and spoken word artist, was a freelance journalist in Nicaragua during the Sandinista Revolution, writing for The Christian Science Monitor, The Toronto Globe and Mail, and the San Francisco Examiner. He spent three years in the army, graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and did his MFA at Pine Manor College.  After a stint teaching high school in Abu Dhabi, he is now working on his second novel.


My Review

What an amazing setting and time period for a thriller! Do you remember the news being filled with stories during the 1970s and 1980s from Nicaragua, Managua, and the Sandinistas? I do. And author Joe Gannon was right there in the thick of things as a journalist in the 1980s. This is Joe Gannon's first novel and he has brilliantly capitalized on his experiences in Nicaragua to write this thriller.

Haunted by his past, Sandinista Police Captain Ajax Montoya spends his days fighting crime and solving mysteries. What was clear cut in the past during the Revolution is now hazy. The latest murder he is investigating seems to bear the mark of a CIA mercenary army - the Contra. Is this really happening....

Great story...fascinating to go back into recent history...Nicaragua in the 1980s. This will be a refreshing read for many as its setting is fairly unique. Lots of plot twists to keep the reader entranced.  Fascinating political thriller. Perfect for fans of James Lee Burke.

Read an excerpt here:  http://us.macmillan.com/excerpt?isbn=9781250048028

For further information:  http://us.macmillan.com/nightofthejaguar/joegannon

Review: Phantom Limb: A Daniel Rinaldi Mystery by Dennis Palumbo

  • File Size: 526 KB
  • Print Length: 339 pages
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press; 1 edition (September 1, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English

Book Description

Psychologist and Pittsburgh Police Department consultant Daniel Rinaldi has a new patient. Lisa Harland, a local girl, once made a splash in Playboy and the dubious side of Hollywood before bottoming out. Back home, down and out again, she married one of the city’s richest and most ruthless tycoons. Lisa’s challenge to Danny is that she intends to commit suicide by 7:00 PM. His therapist skills may buy some time—but, exiting, she’s kidnapped right outside his office.

Summoned to the Harland estate, Danny is forced, through a bizarre sequence of events, to be the bag man on the ransom delivery. This draws him into a deadly cat-and-mouse game with a brilliant, lethal adversary. Complicating things is the unhappy Harland family, whose members have dark secrets of their own along with suspect loyalties, as well as one of Danny’s other patients, a volatile vet whose life may, like Lisa’s, be at risk. What is really at stake here?

Phantom Limb, fourth in the acclaimed series of Daniel Rinaldi thrillers, will keep readers guessing until the very last page.

About the Author

 Formerly a Hollywood screenwriter, Dennis Palumbo is now a licensed psychotherapist in private practice. He's the author of a mystery collection, From Crime to Crime, and his short fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, The Strand and elsewhere."

My Review

 Another great read from the folks at Poisoned Pen Press!  Phantom Limb is the fourth book in the Daniel Rinaldi series by author Dennis Palumbo.

This series is set in Pittsburgh which is a city that I have not visited. Luckily author Palumbo is able to bring the city to life in this book, Phantom Limb. Daniel Rinaldi is a psychologist and Pittsburgh Police Department consultant. Author Palumbo is a psychotherapist so is able to realistically portray Rinaldi.

I wish that I had read the earlier books in the series so that I could get more out of the relationships between Rinaldi and the people in his life. It is not necessary to have read the previous books to follow the story.

Phantom limb is full of lots of twists and is filled with interesting people! The Harland family is full of secrets. We are introduced to them through Rinaldi's patient Lisa Harland, an ex-Playboy playmate and wife of the wealthy, older Charles Harland. Lisa, after just threatening suicide, is kidnapped right after her session with Rinaldi.

Well-written thriller! Just released earlier this month!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Review: be REBELLIOUS: Fight Back Against A Culture That Doesn't Care About You by Megan Clinton

  • File Size: 474 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Worthy Publishing (September 16, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00LB9LF9E

Book Description

Many of us have been tricked into believing that life is all about starving yourself into a size 0, wearing sexy clothes, and snagging a hot guy. We measure our worth by the number of our followers on social media or “likes” on our digitally enhanced selfies. We shape our lives around these lies, unaware that we’re on a pathway to brokenness and destruction: Eating disorders. Depression. Addiction. Abuse. We may think we are “rebelling” by breaking the rules of our parents’ generation—but the reality is, we’re anything but rebellious. Instead, we’re slaves to our culture, desperate to fit in. But we don’t have to live this way. We have a choice. Do you want to make a difference and change the world? Then take your heart and life back from a culture that doesn’t care about you! Grab hold of the truth that your value isn’t based on your relationship status or dress size—it’s based on who you are. In Be Rebellious, Megan Clinton shows you inspiring and practical ways to be the woman God created you to be. Through her own experiences and biblical teaching, she encourages you to embrace your true beauty and to run toward God. It’s time to for this generation to rebel against modern-day culture . . . and live free!

About the Author


 Megan Clinton (now Megan Clinton Allison) graduated from Liberty University with a degree in Pre-Med/Biology and is currently attending Physician Assistant (PA) School at Jefferson College of Health Sciences. As part of the Extraordinary Women travel team with her mom, Julie Clinton, Megan has a passion to see young women find their identity in Christ, be set free, and live God’s dream for their lives. In addition, she is excited to be equipped as a PA to provide medical care to those in need through international mission work. Megan is the author of Totally God’s (with her dad, Dr. Tim Clinton), Totally God’s 4 Life Devotional, and Smart Girls, Smart Choices: Avoiding the 10 Biggest Mistakes Young Women Make (with Laura Captari). Megan was recently married to the love of her life and high-school sweetheart, Ben. They have a teacup Yorkie named Bella.

My Review

 Finally, a book for young women that helps dispel the ridiculous media culture that we live in that fosters a belief in young women that they are not worthy unless they are thin..ridiculously thin. And drop dead gorgeous. Young women have enough to think about without worrying about their weight. What is with Size 0? Who is nothing. Who would want to be nothing?

Conforming is not the answer. In be REBELLIOUS, author Megan Clinton argues for young women to be individuals. To be unique. To be rebels against conforming. Following biblical principles and utilizing stories that young women can relate to, Megan provides insight that the young women of today can follow.


  1. A Cruel Joke
  2. Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid
  3. No Longer a Victim
  4. Dare to Believe
  5. I Am Woman
  6. Sexy and Sexy
  7. From Facebook to Face to Face
  8. Something to Live For
  9. Rebel and Be Set Free
 Highly recommend this book for all young women.

With our God, we are rebellious. We are unstoppable. And we will change our world!

For further information, please see:  http://worthypublishing.com/books/Be-Rebellious/

Friday, September 19, 2014

Review: Messy Beautiful Love: Hope and Redemption for Real-Life Marriages By Darlene Schacht

  • File Size: 954 KB
  • Print Length: 211 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1400206200
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (September 16, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00I5QX60W

Book Description

Love gets messy.

Financial problems, sickness, aging parents, a chronically unhappy spouse . . . trials will inevitably come along to threaten your marriage. No matter how long you've been married or how strong your relationship is, sooner or later you are going to have a mess to clean up.

Messy Beautiful Love is about cleaning up messes God's way, exchanging our ideas for his, and being prepared for both the best and the worst that marriage has to offer.

Perhaps you've picked up this book because your marriage is messy already-now is the time to make a change. If your marriage is tidy, thank God-there is no better time to prepare for the future.

Married life is never straightforward or simple for long. But the reality is this: when you surrender your relationship to God; when you lay your marriage at his feet; when you finally cede control; then and only then will you experience the blessing of marriage as he intended-this is the blessing of obedience.

Messy Beautiful Love is an invitation to that obedience. An invitation to surrender. The cynical world says marriages don't last. God knows better. Tune out the world and tune in to him. When you do that, a beautiful marriage is not only possible-it's inevitable. That's something to be excited about.

About the Author

Darlene Schacht is the original founder of Christian Women Online Magazine and The Internet Café Devotions and writes the popular blog Time-Warp Wife. She is coauthor of Candace Cameron Bure’s New York Time’s best-selling book, Reshaping It All: Motivation for Physical and Spiritual Fitness. Darlene has been married to Michael Schacht for more than 25 years. They have four children.

My Review

I follow Darlene Schacht's blog, the Time-Warp Wife, as well as follow her on Facebook. I find her views on Christian marriage to be both informative, challenging, motivating and uplifting. I had been looking forward to her latest book, Messy Beautiful Love.

As Courtney Joseph explains in the Foreward: Loving our husbands through the hard times, through the valleys, and when they are most unlovable, reveals the gospel in our lives. It shows we are true followers of Christ as we love unconditionally and lay our lives down for another. I truly believe this and I am always glad to find inspiration for this most important form of prayer and love. Messy Beautiful Love contains the following chapters:

Table of Contents:

One: Messy, Beautiful Love
Two: Walk in Compassion and Grace
Three: Be Patient and Kind When the Going Gets Tough
Four: Give Up Your Right to Be Right
Five: Appreciate Him for Who He Truly Is
Six: Step Back and Allow Him to Lead
Seven: Handle Your Conflict Wisely
Eight: Communicate with Loving Respect
Nine: Be the Woman Your Husband Needs You to Be
Ten: Be Affectionate in Ways That Are Pleasing to God
Eleven: Seize the Day and Capture the Joy
Twelve: Build a Strong Friendship
Thirteen: Be Content with the Life That You’re Given
Fourteen: Walk in Virtue According to Wisdom
Fifteen: Pray for Your Marriage 

In the introduction, Darlene notes that: Life has been messy at times, but I’ve come to understand that true and incomparable love is a beautiful thing. We have each other to lean on when we both need it most. It’s a bit of a struggle some days, but yes, it’s worth battling for!

My marriage is worth battling for and I found this book to be very insightful toward this goal. Darlene writes from her heart and I found her words to be very encouraging. Men are very different from women and it is helpful to know that other women struggle with their relationship with their spouse at times. While every Christian couple strives to have Christ at the center of their marriage. Chapter 4 is titled: Give Up Your Right to be Right. As a strong woman, that is something that I struggle with. It is comforting to know that others struggle with it as well. Above all, pray for your marriage. Such an obvious thing but it is a good reminder!

I recommend this book. Darlene very honestly shares her testimony with the reader. It is a realistic accounting of how marriage really is. A good marriage takes work. Messy Beautiful Love is about not taking your marriage for granted. Remember to show appreciation always! I always like to remember that you get back what you give out. Give this a read!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Review: Avoidable Contact (A Kate Reilly Mystery #3) by Tammy Kaehler

  • File Size: 854 KB
  • Print Length: 293 pages
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press; 1 edition (August 1, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English

Book Description

Racecar driver Kate Reilly is suited up and ready for the start of the legendary 24 Hours of Daytona. But what lies ahead is not just a racing challenge but a harrowing test of her will and nerve off the course. 

Even before the green flag waves over Daytona International Speedway, Kate receives word her boyfriend Stuart is hospitalized nearby in a coma, fighting for his life after a hit-and-run. Stunned by the news, Kate can do nothing better for Stuart than complete her scheduled laps driving her team’s car. But more shocks follow as Daytona’s clock starts ticking. An on-track accident ends tragically. Some of her complicated family is spotted with other teams—why? And an eyewitness claims Stuart was run down deliberately by someone from the race paddock. 

Alternating stints behind the wheel of the team’s Corvette with stretches of quizzing colleagues and searching for clues, Kate circles the police and taps every possible source—friend, foe, and family—to find out who’s after Stuart and why. As the race clock counts down to zero hour, Kate must come to terms with her own fears rising from her past and decide who she’s willing to trust. Only then can she identify who’s willing to kill to keep a secret buried.

About the Author

Tammy Kaehler’s career in marketing and technical writing landed her in the world of automobile racing, which inspired her with its blend of drama, competition, and friendly people. Mystery fans and racing insiders alike praised the first two Kate Reilly Racing Mysteries, Dead Man’s Switch and Braking Points, and she takes readers back behind the wheel for the third time in Avoidable Contact. Tammy works as a technical writer in the Los Angeles area, where she lives with her husband and many cars. Find out more at www.tammykaehler.com.

My Review

I'm not really a car racing fan but I have been enjoying this mystery series by Tammy Kaehler. Her real life experiences in the racing world have prepared her to write this suspenseful and enjoyable series featuring driver Kate Reilly.

I really like the setting. I've been to Daytona so I could picture the setting of the story. Race car driver Kate Reilly is participating in the 24 Hours of Daytona which is a 24 hour endurance race. Kate's boyfriend Stuart is injured in a hit-and-run just before the race.  He is fighting for his life and Kate learns that Stuart may have been run over deliberately. Who wanted to harm Stuart? Kate is puzzling over this while competing in the 24 Hours of Daytona. Add family stress and the stress of the race and Kate has a tense situation on her hands.

Good story. Kate is likeable. Tammy Kaehler brings the racing world to life. A great book for NASCAR fans and mystery fans alike.

Review: NIV Once-A-Day Bible: Chronological Edition Published by Zondervan

  • Series: Once-A-Day
  • Paperback: 1280 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; Special edition (October 31, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780310950950
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310950950
  • ASIN: 0310950953

Kindle Version:
  • File Size: 4672 KB
  • Print Length: 1280 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Zondervan (January 24, 2012)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing
  • Language: English

Book Description


The NIV Once-A-Day Bible: Chronological Edition helps you encounter the Bible every day in a new and fresh way. It organizes the clear and accessible NIV Bible into 365 daily readings in chronological order so that you can practice the spiritual discipline of daily Bible reading within a new and different context.

About the Authors

The devotionals, insights and overviews contained in The Once-A-Day Bible: Chronological Edition were written by a team of writers at Walk Thru the Bible.

Walk Thru the Bible is a ministry whose mission is to ignite passion for God's Word through innovative live events, inspiring biblical resources, and a global impact that changes lives worldwide. Known for innovative methods and high-quality resources, we serve the whole body of Christ across denominational, cultural, and national lines. We partner with the local church worldwide to fulfill its mission, communicating the truths of God's Word in a way that makes the Bible readily accessible to anyone. Through our strong global network, we are strategically positioned to address the church's greatest need: developing mature, committed, and spiritually reproducing believers.

Our live events and small-group curricula are taught in more than 45 languages by more than 80,000 people in more than 100 countries. More than 100 million devotionals have been packaged into daily magazines, books, and other publications that reach over five million people each year.

Walk Thru the Bible...helping people everywhere live God's Word.


My Review

My review is based upon the e-version of the NIV Once-A-Day Bible: Chronological Edition.

The NIV Once-A-Day Bible: Chronological Edition belongs to a series a bibles: "Once-A-Day" bibles from the good people at  Walk Thru The Bible (http://www.walkthru.org/  ).  The NIV has long been the most popular bible format today. The NIV Once-A-Day Bible: Chronological Edition is organized into 365 daily readings placed in chronological order. There is a daily Scripture reading followed by a short devotional thought written by the staff at Walk Thru the Bible. The daily reflections are brief but informative and interesting.

 I tested the links on my computer and on my iPad and they worked perfectly. 
Another great addition to my bible collection.

For further information:  http://www.walkthru.org/ 
and  http://www.zondervan.com/niv-once-a-day-bible-chronological-edition

Review: NIV First-Century Study Bible Explore Scripture in Its Jewish and Early Christian Context By Edited by Kent Dobson

  • Hardcover: 1888 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; Special edition (September 9, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310938902
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310938903

Book Description


Experience the Bible through the eyes of a first-century disciple by exploring the cultural, religious, and historical background of the Bible. This Bible allows you to understand God’s Word in its original cultural context, bringing Scripture to life by providing fresh understanding to familiar passages, beloved stories and all the Scripture in between. The NIV First-Century Study Bible invites you into the questions, stories, and interpretations—both ancient and modern—which introduce you to a world vastly different from your own. Let us read with an eye on the past and with our feet planted in our present questions and circumstances.

Join Kent Dobson as he unpacks the culture of Bible times, and illuminates Scripture passages while asking thoughtful questions along the way. Kent is the teaching pastor at Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Michigan, where he initially served as the worship director. He has been featured on Biblical programs for the History Channel and the Discovery Channel. Kent fell in love with Biblical studies in Israel and had the privilege of learning from both Jewish and Christian scholars. After his time in Israel, he returned to the States to teach high school religion and Bible before responding to God's call to the pastorate. Today, he keeps his connection to the Holy Land strong as he leads tours to Israel that combine study and prayer, inspired by the ancient discipline of spiritual pilgrimage.

About the Editor

Kent Dobson is the teaching pastor at Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Michigan, where he initially served as the worship director. He has been featured on Biblical programs for the History Channel and the Discovery Channel.

After completing his undergraduate degree, Kent lived and studied in Israel where he earned a Masters Degree in History and Geography of the First Temple Period from Jerusalem University College. He also studied Comparative Religion at the Rothburg International School of the Hebrew University.
Kent fell in love with Biblical studies in Israel and had the privilege of learning from both Jewish and Christian scholars. After his time in Israel, he returned to the States to teach high school religion and Bible before responding to God's call to the pastorate. Today, he keeps his connection to the Holy Land strong as he leads tours to Israel that combine study and prayer, inspired by the ancient discipline of spiritual pilgrimage.

Kent lives is Grand Rapids, Michigan, with his wife and three children.

My Review

I am reviewing the hard copy of the NIV First-Century Study Bible not the e-version.

As an eternal student of history, I was very interested in assessing this new bible. It is an easy to read bible. The format and the content are exactly what someone who wants a bible that they can refer to at times when they are being a student of the bible...a learner...a seeker. Sometimes you need a devotional bible but this is perfect for studying the Word.

I must confess that I prefer bible studies where we are studying the bible as it relates to history. The NIV First-Century Study Bible helps place the Word in its historical context. That is an important to me and if it is important to you and your study of the bible then this bible is for you.

This is an easy bible to navigate. There are introductions to each book of the bible that are well-written and insightful. The introduction contains the author, date, historical background, literary analysis, the theme and message and an outline.  There are articles and study notes that support the Word. I appreciate the layout and the use of color throughout. The font is small but not too small as in some bibles. It is well illustrated with colorful photos and charts.

A wonderful addition to my bible library. It is a beautiful volume as well!

For further information, please see:  http://www.zondervan.com/niv-first-century-study-bible.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Review: Charlie Glass's Slippers: A Very Modern Fairy Tale by Holly McQueen

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2958 KB
  • Print Length: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; Reprint edition (Aug. 5 2014)
  • Sold by: Simon & Schuster Canada, Inc.
  • Language: English

Book Description

In this delightful, clever spin on Cinderella, Charlie Glass—a heroine as loveable as Cannie Shapiro and Bridget Jones—inherits her father’s shoe empire and snatches up a drop-dead-gorgeous, multi-millionaire Prince Charming. But is he truly the key to her happily ever after?

When Charlie’s beloved father, iconic shoe designer Elroy Glass, dies after a long illness, everyone expects that he’ll leave his business to his glamorous wife and eldest daughters. After all, they’ve been running the company for years. But Elroy surprises everyone from beyond the grave: at the will reading, it’s announced that his fashion empire has been left to Charlie, his youngest—and plumpest—daughter.

Before she can run the company, Charlie decides she needs to make a few changes in her life. After several weeks at a California boot camp, she returns to London a new woman: thinner, blonder, and ready to revitalize the Elroy Glass brand. But as she’ll soon discover, a good esthetician and a killer pair of stilettos can only go so far, and there’s more to reinvention—and running a fashion empire—than meets the eye.

Endlessly entertaining, surprising, and ultimately inspiring, Charlie Glass’s Slippers is a modern-day fairytale about finding your own magic and transforming yourself from within.

About the Author

Holly McQueen has wanted to be a writer ever since discovering that the nuns at her junior school would let her off maths homework if she wrote a story instead. After unexpected detours via law, magazine journalism, and even musical theatre, she began writing her first novel in 2006. Holly lives with her husband in London. She still avoids math.

My Review

Who doesn't love a good fairytale! Charlie Glass's Slippers by Holly McQueen is a very modern fairy tale complete with a very modern  Cinderella, Charlie Glass.

Charlie's father, Elroy Glass, who heads a shoe empire, leaves the company to Charlie in his will. Our Cinderella, the plump Charlie, is left to deal with a wicked and cruel but glamorous stepmother and older half sisters. I had a wicked stepmother so I can complete relate! And of course you need a Prince Charming for a Cinderella fairy tale. Or more than one!

Charlie has always been the chubby, ugly duckling sister. Her inheritance prompts her to head to a California boot camp to shed some pounds and have a makeover. But does being slim and attractive make your life perfect? The reader will enjoy following Charlie's transitions and realizations.

Is the story predictable...of course. But that doesn't matter. You'll enjoy the story! It would make a great movie!

Wonderful chick lit book! Great romance and great comedic tale.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Review: Mean Streak by Sandra Brown

  • File Size: 706 KB
  • Print Length: 409 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1455581127
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (August 19, 2014)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00HQ2N52K

Book Description

Dr. Emory Charbonneau, a pediatrician and marathon runner, disappears on a mountain road in North Carolina. By the time her husband Jeff, miffed over a recent argument, reports her missing, the trail has grown cold. Literally. Fog and ice encapsulate the mountainous wilderness and paralyze the search for her.

While police suspect Jeff of "instant divorce," Emory, suffering from an unexplained head injury, regains consciousness and finds herself the captive of a man whose violent past is so dark that he won't even tell her his name. She's determined to escape him, and willing to take any risks necessary to survive.

Unexpectedly, however, the two have a dangerous encounter with people who adhere to a code of justice all their own. At the center of the dispute is a desperate young woman whom Emory can't turn her back on, even if it means breaking the law.

As her husband's deception is revealed, and the FBI closes in on her captor, Emory begins to wonder if the man with no name is, in fact, her rescuer.

About the Author

 Sandra Brown is the author of more than sixty New York Times bestsellers, including DEADLINE(2013), LOW PRESSURE (2012), LETHAL (2011), TOUGH CUSTOMER (2010), SMASH CUT (2009), SMOKE SCREEN (2008), PLAY DIRTY (2007), RICOCHET (2006), CHILL FACTOR (2005), WHITE HOT (2004), & HELLO, DARKNESS (2003).

Brown began her writing career in 1981 and since then has published over seventy novels, bringing the number of copies of her books in print worldwide to upwards of eighty million. Her work has been translated into over thirty languages.

A lifelong Texan, Sandra Brown was born in Waco, grew up in Fort Worth and attended Texas Christian University, majoring in English. Before embarking on her writing career, she worked as a model at the Dallas Apparel Mart, and in television, including weather-casting for WFAA-TV in Dallas, and feature reporting on the nationally syndicated program “PM Magazine.”

In 2009 Brown detoured from her thrillers to write, Rainwater, a much acclaimed, powerfully moving story about honor and sacrifice during the Great Depression.

Brown recently was given an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Texas Christian University. She was named Thriller Master for 2008, the top award given by the International Thriller Writer’s Association. Other awards and commendations include the 2007 Texas Medal of Arts Award for Literature and the Romance Writers of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

My Review

 I had not read a Sandra Brown novel in quite some time, and I was very impressed with Mean Streak. The story flowed easily and I had a hard time putting it down.  

Dr. Emory Charbonneau led a full life including being a wife, a doctor, a philanthropist, and a marathon runner. While preparing for her next marathon, Emory heads to the Blue Ridge mountains of western North Carolina. She meets with foul play while running in the mountains. Emory is found by a mysterious man who takes her back to his home and cares for her. Days later her husband Jeff finally reports her missing. They had an argument about her running right before she left and he didn't seem all that concerned when she did not come home on time. Did he ever really love her? Or did he love her trust fund and her "celebrity" as a philantropist?

There are lots of twists and turns to keep the reader interested. The developing relationship between Emory and her rescuer also is very captivating. Brown is a great writer in that I did not see the surprise ending coming! Great job!

Great read! Very enjoyable!


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Review: Dollbaby by Laura Lane McNeal

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2150 KB
  • Print Length: 338 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0670014737
  • Publisher: Viking Adult (July 3 2014)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group USA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00G3L7X4Q

Book Description

A big-hearted coming-of-age debut set in civil rights-era New Orleans—a novel of Southern eccentricity and secrets

When Ibby Bell’s father dies unexpectedly in the summer of 1964, her mother unceremoniously deposits Ibby with her eccentric grandmother Fannie and throws in her father’s urn for good measure. Fannie’s New Orleans house is like no place Ibby has ever been—and Fannie, who has a tendency to end up in the local asylum—is like no one she has ever met. Fortunately, Fannie’s black cook, Queenie, and her smart-mouthed daughter, Dollbaby, take it upon themselves to initiate Ibby into the ways of the South, both its grand traditions and its darkest secrets.

For Fannie’s own family history is fraught with tragedy, hidden behind the closed rooms in her ornate Uptown mansion. It will take Ibby’s arrival to begin to unlock the mysteries there. And it will take Queenie and Dollbaby’s hard-won wisdom to show Ibby that family can sometimes be found in the least expected places.

For fans of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt and The Help, Dollbaby brings to life the charm and unrest of 1960s New Orleans through the eyes of a young girl learning to understand race for the first time.

By turns uplifting and funny, poignant and full of verve, Dollbaby is a novel readers will take to their hearts.

“In this tender coming-of-age novel, McNeal brings to life a place, an era, and an amazing cast of strong, larger-than-life characters. Heartrending, captivating, and ultimately, triumphant.”
Cassandra King, New York Times bestselling author of Moonrise

“McNeal’s Dollbaby is such an impressive debut—a powerful roux of family drama, long-simmering secrets and resentments, and ultimately, forgiveness and redemption. Deeply evocative, with memorable characters, Dollbaby belongs on the keeper shelf along with The Help and The Secret Life of Bees.”
Mary Kay Andrews, New York Times bestselling author of Ladies' Night

“Deeply southern and evocative, Laura Lane McNeal’s beautifully written debut, Dollbaby, takes us back to a not-so-long ago time when we were learning to look through different eyes at the fabric of our society, race, youth and family."
Susan Crandall, author of Whistling Past the Graveyard

"This flavorful and enthralling novel brilliantly captures New Orleans during the civil rights era. It's a deeply personal tale about growing up and searching for family as well as a provocative exploration of race and kinship. I found it both thrilling and poignant."
Walter Isaacson, New York Times bestselling author of Steve Jobs

About the Author
 Laura Lane McNeal grew up In New Orleans where people laugh a lot, talk with their hands, love good music, good food, and will make up any excuse for a party.

After receiving two undergraduate degrees from Southern Methodist University (a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Bachelor of Business Administration), she went on to earn an MBA from Tulane University. She spent most of her career in advertising, working for firms in New York and Dallas, before returning to New Orleans where she started her own marketing consulting firm and became a free-lance writer as well as a decorative artist. In 2005, when the devastation of Hurricane Katrina left her with having to rebuild her life, Laura seized the opportunity to fulfill her lifetime dream of becoming a writer. She hasn’t stopped since.

Laura resides in New Orleans and is married with two sons. DOLLBABY is her first published novel. She is presently working on a second novel.

My Review

 I loved this book! Great characters with a great story set in a delightful location.

Family. The heart of Dollbaby is the family connections that exist between Ibby and Fannie Bell and the black family that look after them. Dollbaby is set in New Orleans during the turbulent times of the civil rights era and the Vietnam War. Dollbaby explores the divisions between blacks and whites in New Orleans and the changes that are happening in 1960s society.

Dollbaby is story about secrets. And locked rooms. And mental illness. But it is not a dark tale. It is uplifting as the characters are fascinatingly fleshed out by author Laura Lane McNeal. It is a love story about family relationships. Loved the ending! Fabulous!

Highly recommend Dollbaby.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Review: The Home Place by Carrie La Seur

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 874 KB
  • Print Length: 435 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0062326457
  • Publisher: William Morrow (July 29 2014)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers CA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00GG08J0G

Book Description

Carrie La Seur makes her remarkable debut with The Home Place, a mesmerizing, emotionally evocative, and atmospheric literary novel in the vein of The House Girl and A Land More Kind Than Home, in which a successful lawyer is pulled back into her troubled family's life in rural Montana in the wake of her sister's death.

The only Terrebonne who made it out, Alma thought she was done with Montana, with its bleak winters and stifling ways. But an unexpected call from the local police takes the successful lawyer back to her provincial hometown and pulls her into the family trouble she thought she'd left far behind: Her lying, party-loving sister, Vicky, is dead. Alma is told that a very drunk Vicky had wandered away from a party and died of exposure after a night in the brutal cold. But when Alma returns home to bury Vicky and see to her orphaned niece, she discovers that the death may not have been an accident.

The Home Place is a story of secrets that will not lie still, human bonds that will not break, and crippling memories that will not be silenced. It is a story of rural towns and runaways, of tensions corporate and racial, of childhood trauma and adolescent betrayal, and of the guilt that even forgiveness cannot ease. Most of all, this is a story of the place we carry in us always: home.

“Powerfully evocative and page-turning.” (Rosamund Lupton, New York Times-bestselling author of SISTER and AFTERWARDS)

“Once this novel is cracked open it’ll pull you in and dare you to come up for air...THE HOME PLACE is a lot of things: a mystery, a crime drama, a family saga, and - most importantly - a very, very good book.” (Wiley Cash, New York Times-bestselling author of This Dark Road to Mercy) 

About the Author

Carrie La Seur is a seventh generation descendant of homesteaders who came to Montana in 1864 and settled in what is now called the Gallatin Valley, near the headwaters of the Missouri River. “My frontier heritage has always been a taproot and a source of resolve. If they could do it, so can I.”
After graduating from Bryn Mawr College, Carrie was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship and earned a doctorate in modern languages from Oxford University. “After Oxford, I tried academia for a while and did a summer course at the Iowa Writers Workshop. The literary and academic worlds did not fall at my feet, so I packed up and headed to Yale Law School. The law was a way to get back to Montana and do work I care about. In the process, I gained a perspective and a voice that made my writing stronger and more relevant.”

In 2006, she founded the legal nonprofit Plains Justice, which provides public interest energy and environmental legal services in the northern plains states. Carrie and Plains Justice have played a key role in halting several new coal plants, enacting clean energy reforms, and launching the Keystone XL pipeline campaign.

Carrie currently practices law on behalf of farmers, ranchers, and Native Americans, and does a little writing, from an office in Billings, Montana. A licensed private pilot, she hikes, skis, and fishes the Montana wilderness with her family in her spare time. Her work has appeared in such diverse media as Grist, Harvard Law and Policy Review, The Huffington Post, Mother Jones, and Salon.


My Review

I don't think I'll ever be able to look at Billings, Montana the same way again. Until now, Billings has been one of those cities we ride through, where we usually stop for lunch, on our way home. Now I have a new respect for the town and the people that founded it. And the people who have stayed. And those who came back.

The Home Place is a really enjoyable read. I had a hard time putting it down! It is a bit of a mystery and a bit of a love story. It is a story about strong people and about people standing up for what they believe in.  The Home Place is a story about complicated family relationships. It is a story about how where we live shapes who we become. 

This is a good story. It is well written. I enjoyed all the characters in The Home Place and could relate to them. I definitely recommend The Home Place.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Cookbook Review: The Southern Foodie's Guide to the Pig A Culinary Tour of the South's Best Restaurants & the Recipes That Made Them Famous By Chris Chamberlain

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (September 9, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401605028
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401605025

Book Description

Chris Chamberlain, author of the popular The Southern Foodie Cookbook, takes you back to the South for a tour of the restaurants that make the best pig dishes.
When Ben Franklin lobbied his fellow founding fathers to consider the wild turkey as our young country’s national symbol, perhaps he should have considered the pig. Arguably the most democratic of all proteins, pork is welcome across the country from a gourmet pork belly dish on the menu of the toniest Charleston bistro to a whole hog roasting in a hole dug in the sand of a beach in LA (Lower Alabama).

Pork is also uniquely democratic in that it is a meat that is welcome at every meal. The old saw goes that when considering a breakfast of bacon and eggs, "the chicken is involved, but the pig is committed." While you may occasionally see a breakfast steak on the menu, the pig is the star of the morning meal. A thick-sliced smoked bologna purchased from a gas station deli in rural Tennessee is the perfect working man’s lunch, unless you consider the ultimate demonstration of the nose-to-tail versatility of the pig, a snoot sandwich made from a boiled hog’s nose slapped between two slices of white bread. Feel free not to consider that for too long…

The Southern Foodie’s Guide to the Pig takes you on several journeys. An anatomic survey of the pig introduces readers to all the parts of this versatile animal and teaches procedures and recipes to prepare all sorts of wonderful dishes. A geographic tour of the Southern states will showcase restaurants in the region that have particular talents when it comes to pork. The chefs and pitmasters have shared some of their most sacred secrets, the actual recipes for the best pork, barbecue and bacon dishes that emerge from their kitchens. Finally, since man cannot live by pig alone (unfortunately), there is also a selection of recipes that are great accompaniments to the pork dishes contributed by the fifty Southern restaurants that are featured.

So feel free to keep a copy of this book in your glovebox to help you find the best place for an elegant meal in Atlanta or that hidden gem of a barbecue joint in Kentucky. Or get this book a little dirty in the kitchen as you take your own tour of the South’s best pork dishes while you plan your meals for the week. Either way you use it, it’s a journey well worth taking.

About the Author

Chris Chamberlain is a food and drink writer based in Nashville, Tennessee, where he has lived his entire life except for four years in California where he studied liberal arts at Stanford University and learned how to manipulate chopsticks. He is a regular writer for the Nashville Scene and their "Bites" food blog. He has also contributed to the Nashville City Paper, Nashville Lifestyles magazine, 2001 Edgehill and at www.geardiary.com.

My Review

The Southern Foodie's Guide to the Pig is an amazing book! It is not just a cookbook, it is a history book and it is a restaurant guide. I love southern food...I love southern barbecue and I basically love everything about the South.

This book contains a plethora of information in regard to the pig itself. The history of the pig and its contribution to the Southern US lifestyle is explained. All parts of the pig are examined and discussed. This includes all the various cuts of pork including chops, ribs, bacon, shoulder, etc. The Southern Foodie's Guide to the Pig includes recipes from every region of the South for different sauces and rubs. Each region of the South interprets pork in a different way and this book does a great job of presenting all of them.

The Southern Foodie's Guide to the Pig is a restaurant guide to the fine purveyors of pork in the South. A profile page is provided for each of the fifty restaurants which provides a description of the restaurant and what makes it unique. Best yet, recipes are provided from these restaurants. And not just recipes for pork, recipes for the foods that go with the pork dishes.

Excellent addition to my cookbook collection!

Review: The Long Way Home (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #10) by Louise Penny

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (Aug. 26 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250022061
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250022066

Book Description

 Happily retired in the village of Three Pines, Armand Gamache, former Chief Inspector of Homicide with the Sûreté du Québec, has found a peace he’d only imagined possible. On warm summer mornings he sits on a bench holding a small book, The Balm in Gilead, in his large hands. "There is a balm in Gilead," his neighbor Clara Morrow reads from the dust jacket, "to make the wounded whole."

While Gamache doesn’t talk about his wounds and his balm, Clara tells him about hers. Peter, her artist husband, has failed to come home. Failed to show up as promised on the first anniversary of their separation. She wants Gamache’s help to find him. Having finally found sanctuary, Gamache feels a near revulsion at the thought of leaving Three Pines. "There’s power enough in Heaven," he finishes the quote as he contemplates the quiet village, "to cure a sin-sick soul." And then he gets up. And joins her.

Together with his former second-in-command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, and Myrna Landers, they journey deeper and deeper into Québec. And deeper and deeper into the soul of Peter Morrow. A man so desperate to recapture his fame as an artist, he would sell that soul. And may have. The journey takes them further and further from Three Pines, to the very mouth of the great St. Lawrence river. To an area so desolate, so damned, the first mariners called it The land God gave to Cain. And there they discover the terrible damage done by a sin-sick soul.

About the Author


I live outside a small village south of Montreal, quite close to the American border. My husband Michael and I have a golden retriever named Trudy. Until recently we also had Maggie - who limped around the pond on three legs, and Seamus, who we found wandering sick on the road. He was in terrible condition and had apparently spent most of his life tied up in a barn. But despite this a moment didn't go by when he wasn't gentle and kind and grateful. And for two years we poured love into him, and food and medicine. He loved stuffed toys and Trudy, who looks a little like a stuffed toy. Actually, so does Michael. Seamus loved him too.

But eventually his body gave out. He was still bright-eyed, still kissed us, still managed a thump with his tail. But he couldn't go on. And so the old wanderer made his last trip to the vet, and after the injection his heart stopped. But as Gamache describes in A FATAL GRACE/DEAD COLD about putting his own dog, Sonny down. He had the impression his heart didn't so much stop as that Sonny had finally given it all away. So too with Seamus.

Years of abuse, of neglect, of sorrow. And still Seamus had love to give. Michael and I have become dedicated supporters of the SPCA and the no-kill shelter near us. We encourage you too as well, though we suspect most of you already support the SPCA, or your local equivalent. Click here if you wish to visit the SPCA Monteregie website.

I'd like to tell you a little bit about myself. I was born in Toronto in 1958 and became a journalist and radio host with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, specializing in hard news and current affairs. My first job was in Toronto and then moved to Thunder Bay at the far tip of Lake Superior, in Ontario. It was a great place to learn the art and craft of radio and interviewing, and listening. That was the key. A good interviewer rarely speaks, she listens. Closely and carefully. I think the same is true of writers.
From Thunder Bay I moved to Winnipeg to produce documentaries and host the CBC afternoon show. It was a hugely creative time with amazingly creative people. But I decided I needed to host a morning show, and so accepted a job in Quebec City. The advantage of a morning show is that it has the largest audience, the disadvantage is having to rise at 4am.

But Quebec City offered other advantages that far outweighed the ungodly hour. It's staggeringly beautiful and almost totally French and I wanted to learn. Within weeks I'd called Quebecers 'good pumpkins', ordered flaming mice in a restaurant, for dessert naturally, and asked a taxi driver to 'take me to the war, please.' He turned around and asked 'Which war exactly, Madame?' Fortunately elegant and venerable Quebec City has a very tolerant and gentle nature and simply smiled at me.

From there the job took me to Montreal, where I ended my career on CBC Radio's noon programme.
In my mid-thirties the most remarkable thing happened. I fell in love with Michael, the head of hematology at the Montreal Children's Hospital. He'd go on to hold the first named chair in pediatric hematology in Canada, something I take full credit for, out of his hearing.

It's an amazing and blessed thing to find love later in life. It was my first marriage and his second. He'd lost his first wife to cancer a few years earlier and that had just about killed him. Sad and grieving we met and began a gentle and tentative courtship, both of us slightly fearful, but overcome with the rightness of it. And overcome with gratitude that this should happen to us and deeply grateful to the family and friends who supported us.

Fifteen years later we live in an old United Empire Loyalist brick home in the country, surrounded by maple woods and mountains and smelly dogs.

Since I was a child I've dreamed of writing and now I am. Beyond my wildest dreams (and I can dream pretty wild) the Chief Inspector Gamache books have found a world-wide audience, won awards and ended up on bestseller lists including the New York Times. Even more satisfying, I have found a group of friends in the writing community. Other authors, booksellers, readers - who have become important parts of our lives. I thought writing might provide me with an income - I had no idea the real riches were more precious but less substantial. Friendships. 

There are times when I'm in tears writing. Not because I'm so moved by my own writing, but out of gratitude that I get to do this. In my life as a journalist I covered deaths and accidents and horrible events, as well as the quieter disasters of despair and poverty. Now, every morning I go to my office, put the coffee on, fire up the computer and visit my imaginary friends, Gamache and Beauvoir and Clara and Peter. What a privilege it is to write. I hope you enjoy reading the books as much as I enjoy writing them.

Chief Inspector Gamache was inspired by a number of people, and one main inspiration was this man holding a copy of En plein coeur. Jean Gamache, a tailor in Granby. He looks slightly as I picture Gamache, but mostly it was his courtesy and dignity and kind eyes that really caught my imagination. What a pleasure to be able to give him a copy of En plein coeur!

My Review

Of all the authors that I read, Louise Penny is definitely one that I find superior. I look forward to her books centering around Chief Inspector Gamanche and the village of Three Pines. They are amazing. This is a series that everyone should be reading. What a splendid writer! Her books are thought provoking and a delight to read. 

Gamache has retired to the Village of Three Pines. He belongs there. That has always been obvious. As much as I have enjoyed the books in the series set in other places, nothing compares to the books set in Three Pines. One of my least favorite people in Three Pines has always been Peter Morrow. He was so horribly self centered and so terribly jealous of his wife's success. Peter's wife Clara is a messy and artsy woman who developed into an amazing artist. It has been beautiful to watch Clara's transformation.

One year ago, Clara sent Peter away. To find himself. To realize what a jerk he was being. How utterly self centered he really was. Clara always thought that Peter would come back at the end of the year. He doesn't. Once Clara works up the courage to talk to Armand Gamanche in regard to looking for Peter thus a series of events in set into motion that send our Three Pines friends on an adventure.

As expected, I devoured this book by Louise Penny. The Long Way Home is a wonderful addition to the Chief Inspector Gamanche series. Now I have to wait until next August for the next one.....