Review: Scraps of Evidence by Barbara Cameron

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Scraps of Evidence

Abingdon Press (January 21, 2014)

by

Barbara Cameron

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A Word from the author:

CBD, CBA, and ECPA bestselling author of 35 books (including new series upcoming for Abingdon Press in 2011/2012) including fiction and non-fiction books for Abingdon Press, Thomas Nelson, Harlequin, and other publishers.

I sold three films to HBO/Cinemax and am the first winner of the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award.

My two novellas won the 2nd and 3rd place in the Inspirational Readers Choice Contest from the Faith, Love, and Hope chapter of RWA. Both were finalists for the novella category of the Carol Award of the American Christian Writers Award (ACFW).

ABOUT THE BOOK

Tess has taken some ribbing from her fellow officer, Logan, for her quilting hobby. He finds it hard to align the brisk professional officer he patrols with during the day with the one who quilts in her off-time. Besides, he’s been trying to get to know her better and he’d like to be seeing her during those few nights a week she spends with her quilting guild. Then one afternoon Tess and Logan visit her aunt in the nursing home, and the woman acts agitated when Tess covers her with the story quilt. Aunt Susan is attempting to communicate a message to them about Tess’s uncle. There’s a story behind this quilt, they realize, one that may lead them to a serial killer. Will they have a chance to have a future together, or will the killer choose Tess for his next victim before they find him?

If you would like to read the first chapter of , go HERE.

My thoughts: It’s a little disturbing that the back of the book isn’t consistent with the story and contains actual unforgivable errors (for example, Tess’ aunt is named Kathy and she’s in the hospital for surgery, not living in a nursing home!) but thankfully the author did a better job than the cover-writer!! I haven’t read any of Barbara’s other books but she managed to keep my interest from start to finish with this one and I read it in record time. Although it’s pretty light-on as far as a suspense goes and a little corny as far as romance goes, the story does draw you in right through to it’s conclusion. For someone used to reading more serious suspense, I was a little disappointed that answers weren’t given to some of the background questions and did feel a bit like I was left hanging. However, if you like a light read, this book is worth checking out.

Review: The Lost Medallion by Bill Muir & Alex Kendrick

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Lost Medallion

B&H Kids; Mti edition (June 1, 2013)

by

Bill Muir and Alex Kendrick

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Bill Muir is a popular speaker, an international award winning film maker and a sought-after consultant.

Having completed his new novels The Lost Medallion and A Hidden Treasure, Bill has turned his creativity to his new Children’s novel, Howdy Neighbors.

When Bill isn’t writing a novel, he’s busy directing and producing movies. He recently spent four months in Thailand filming, The Lost Medallion: the adventures of Billy Stone. The movie will be in theaters this fall. When he isn’t working on movies, he’s having fun with his family working their farm.

Alex Kendrick is associate pastor of movie outreach for Sherwood Baptist Church. He is also an actor, writer, and director whose film credits include Facing the Giants, Fireproof, and Courageous. He and his wife, Christina, have six children.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Archaeologist Dr. Michael Stone looked for the lost medallion his entire life, and now his son Billy has taken up the search. Amazingly, the medallion ends up in Billy’s hands and a spontaneous wish in a precarious situation takes Billy and his best friend Allie, back 200 years to what they realize is a very different Aumakua Island.

When Billy and his friends are not jumping off waterfalls, avoiding animal traps, crossing the ocean, sneaking through caves or escaping a prison they’re facing their nemesis Cobra, who wants nothing more than for them all to disappear.

With no other way to get home, and the well being of the entire island resting on his shoulders, Billy must discover the key to reclaiming the medallion and its tremendous power. One way or another, this adventure will change Billy, and life on the island, forever.

Best-selling author and film director Alex Kendrick (The Love Dare, Courageous) and Youth for Christ veteran Bill Muir bring us this exciting novelization of The Lost Medallion movie.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Lost Medallion, go HERE.

My thoughts:

I got this book for my just-turned-11-year-old stepson to read. He said that it was interesting but serious; that it teaches a lesson and shows you that everyone has a purpose; that no matter what happens, you shouldn’t give up but always keep trusting in God. He said that he would like to read any other books that might come out in the series and he is really keen to see the movie when it comes to Australia. 🙂

Review: Paige Torn by Erynn Mangum

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Paige Torn

Think (May 1, 2013)

by

Erynn Mangum

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A few things about her:

So, if we were having this conversation in person, we would probably be hanging out at Starbucks or one of the cute coffeehouses in town. I’m nuts about all things coffee, I’m crazy about all things pink and girly, and I love, love, love the Food Network! I’m married to my best friend and the most amazing guy ever, Jon. He is amiable toward coffee, does not like anything pink or girly and tolerates the Food Network. So, we make a good match! In July 2010, we became parents to one of the funniest, cutest, sweetest little guys in the whole world (and nope, we aren’t biased at all!), our Nater-Tot, who is legally known as Nathan. Most days, I’m cleaning up messes, making goofy faces, trying to fit some writing in, and just LOVING the life that God has given me!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Everyone knows they can count on Paige Alder. But between volunteering at church, putting in overtime at work, and helping her best friend plan an anniversary party, she’s lucky to grab a cheese stick for dinner. Paige can’t even remember the last time she had a few minutes to relax or dig into God’s Word. Then she meets laid-back Tyler, an attractive, Jesus-loving guy. Will he be able to help Paige get her priorities on track?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Paige Torn, go HERE.

My thoughts: I’ve been a huge Erynn Mangum fan and have all of the Lauren Holbrook and Maya Davis series. It took me a bit longer to get into Paige Adler but that could also have something to do with the completely different life stage that I’m in now. 🙂 At any rate, I plan to read the coming books in the rest of Paige’s story! If you’re completely obsessed with coffee, chocolate and chick flicks, Erynn’s books are definitely for you. 🙂

Review: Fear Has A Name by Creston Mapes

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Fear Has a Name
David C. Cook (June 1, 2013)

by

Creston Mapes

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Creston has fond memories of his boyhood in Bath, Ohio, where he became enchanted with his future wife, way back in the fourth grade. His father, Bernie, owned and operated The Weathervane Furniture Shop in town. The whole family lived right upstairs in the century-old house known as “The Shop.”

Creston studied journalism at Bowling Green State University, then began his writing career. During the past 30 years, he has worked as a reporter, corporate copywriter, creative director, freelance writer, and author.

ABOUT THE BOOK

From popular suspense author Creston Mapes comes another faith-building thriller, a tale that follows journalist Jack Crittendon as he fights to protect his family from a stalker’s terrifying schemes, investigates a pastor’s mysterious disappearance, and struggles to keep his faith amidst unthinkable fear.

With his family’s safety on the line, Crittendon realizes there are secrets behind “Christian” walls–secrets with painful, deadly implications. He must find the faith to trust a God who allows inconceivable trials, and the courage to guard his family, with danger exploding at every turn.

Through it all–the sharp, character-driven writing for which Mapes is known–takes fans and new readers on an edge-of-your-seat journey that explores the harsh, far-reaching consequences of bullying and the Christian response to fear.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Fear Has a Name, go HERE.

My thoughts: This was my first read of Mapes’ books and it was a great experience. On reading the endorsements in the front, I thought this book was going to scare the heck out of me and make me regret reading it but I was committed to review it! Thankfully, although it kept me in until the end, I have no regrets about reading it. 🙂 I was really impressed by the spiritual content of this book. It was constant, continual and relevant but not preachy or forced. With not a lot of time for reading, I love to pick up a book that I can’t wait to get back to and this one definitely qualified. I will be keeping an eye out for the second book in the series!

Review: An Open Heart by Harry Kraus

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

An Open Heart

David C. Cook (June 1, 2013)

by

Harry Kraus

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A Word from Harry:

I started writing my first novel during my last year of surgery training at UK. I was a chief resident, and started writing Stainless Steal Hearts in a call room at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Lexington. It was a crazy time to write! I had a very demanding schedule, often spending days and nights in the hospital. I had two sons at that time, and I recognized the wisdom in my wife’s urging: “Now doesn’t seem the right time for this dream.”

My experience as a writer is far from typical. Having received my formal training in biology and chemistry and medicine, my only preparation for a writing career was a love for reading. The longest thing I’d written before my first novel was a term paper in undergraduate school. My first novel was accepted by Crossway Books and published in 1994, and it wasn’t until after I had FOUR published novels that I even opened a book of instruction about the craft of writing fiction. This is not what I recommend to others! Yes, I was successful, but I was bending the “rules” without knowing it. I had a natural talent for plotting, but I realize my initial success may have stunted my growth as a writer. I’d have made faster progress if I’d have gone to the fiction teachers sooner.

I have three sons: Joel, Evan, and Samuel. Look closely in all of my books and you’ll see them there. My lovely wife, Kris, provides the basic composition for all those beautiful, athletic, dedicated women in my novels.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Their Messages—From Beyond the Grave—Might Destroy Him …

They hover between life and death, their hearts stopped on the surgery table. And the messages Dr. Jace Rawlings’ open-heart surgery patients bring back from beyond the grave cannot be ignored. For they predict the deaths of people around him, and point a finger of suspicion straight at him.

It thrusts Jace into a firestorm of controversy and danger. A maeltsrom blown by the darker winds of political intrigue and spiritual warfare. And the forces working against him will do anything to stop him from uncovering a truth they will kill to hide. He’d come to Kenya to establish a heart-surgery program for the poor. But what he will find in that place where he grew up will put everything at risk–his marriage, his career . . . his life.

If you would like to read the first chapter of An Open Heart, go HERE.

My thoughts:  I am loving this book! I have quite a few of Harry Kraus’ books and they are always a fascinating read. I have gotten about halfway but have like it from the start and am sure I will like it equally as much by the end. 🙂 The African setting and missionary life really appeal to me personally too. If you haven’t read any of Kraus’ books, here is a good place to start!

Review: Last Chance for Justice by Kathi Macias

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Last Chance for Justice

B&H Books (May 1, 2013)

by

Kathi Macias

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored nearly 40 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences. She won the 2008 Member of the Year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) and was the 2011 Author of the Year from BooksandAuthors.net. Her novel set in China, Red Ink, was named Golden Scrolls 2011 Novel of the Year and was also a Carol Award Finalist; her October 2012 release, Unexpected Christmas Hero, was named 2012 Book of the Year by BookandAuthors.net. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband.

Kathi is passionate about The Voice of the Martyrs and Open Doors. To learn more about the persecuted church, please visit VOM’s website and Open Doors Website.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Welcome to Bloomfield, where life is simple, love is real, and stories are shared.

Lynn Myers is still reeling from losing her husband of thirty-five years when word comes that her only sibling, an older brother, has also died. With no one else to settle the estate, she must return to her small hometown of Bloomfield, however briefly, to settle his affairs.

Lynn’s daughter, Rachel, has just graduated from Bible college and with no other commitments comes along to sort through her uncle’s huge old home, right next to the local cemetery.

It isn’t long before Rachel has two men — a handsome CPA and the youth pastor — seriously vying for her attention. At the same time, Lynn’s attention is drawn to a set of journals her brother has left behind detailing a long-standing Bloomfield mystery.

As they pursue solving this mystery, Rachel must make some personal decisions about her future, while Lynn is forced to face unexpected issues from her own past.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Last Chance for Justice, go HERE.

My thoughts:

I tried very hard to get this totally read before the review date but I’ve only managed to get 1/3 of the way through…not really far enough to give much of an opinion. About all I can say at this point is: I really want to find out exactly where this book is going!!

EDITED TO ADD: I ended up giving up on this book. It just wasn’t doing it for me. 😦

Review: Past Darkness by Laurel Woiwode

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Past Darkness

Crossway (April 30, 2013)

by

Laurel Woiwode

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Laurel Woiwode graduated with honors from Jamestown College, earning a Bachelor of Arts in both English and History. She works with ESL students, writes movie reviews at reelquickie.areavoices.com, works on writing and editing projects, and is always ready for outdoor adventures. Laurel grew up in rural North Dakota, has had an avid interest in animals, nature, and literature since childhood, and she is the author of Past Darkness.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Gabrielle Larson is an average, 15 year old girl living in Chicago when tragedy strikes. In the aftermath, she is forced to relocate to rural North Dakota and henceforth spends the next chapter of her life learning to cope with trials involving everything from family to faith. Laurel Woiwode, daughter of critically acclaimed novelist Larry Woiwode, offers here a moving story that will be appreciated by female and male readers alike. Past Darkness is not preachy or heavy-handed, but rather a touching story about the importance of family, the power of music, and the ever-present mercy of God.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Past Darkness, go HERE,

My thoughts:

I think I would call this more of a novella than a novel but that made for quick reading which is a good thing at the moment with a newborn! It took me a bit to get into the story; it just seemed a bit light-on and also patchy in the storyline. As the book went on, however, I did get interested in Gabrielle’s journey and had no problem reading on to the end for the conclusion. Past Darkness would probably make a good movie!

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