Category Christian Fiction

Sky Zone

Sky Zone
by Creston Mapes
David C. Cook
Retail Price $14.99
Amazon Price: $13.20

Book Description: 

A rally for a controversial presidential candidate.
A terrorist threat.A nightmare of cataclysmic proportions. Jack and Pamela Crittendon have hit the breaking point. After months out of work as a reporter, Jack is playing Mr. Mom and working part-time at Festival Arena with his survivalist friend Brian Shakespeare. Meanwhile, Pamela has gone back to work full-time while eight months pregnant. Having her recently widowed mother on hand isn’t making matters any easier.

With financial pressures boiling, Jack reports for duty at a rally for controversial presidential candidate Martin Sterling where he expects a mindless night on the job. But when Homeland Security picks up intel about a potential terrorist threat, Jack and Shakespeare are thrust into a life-or-death battle to save their own lives–and the lives of thousands of innocent people.This third book in The Crittendon Files reminds us of the power of family, friendships and faith–and why we are never in as much control as we think.

Review

This book is part of the Crittendon Files series and while it is best to read the entire series, I feel that this book can stand alone.  The main character is Jack Crittendon, a journalist with the daily paper in Trenton City who ends up in investigations that are way over his head!   I really enjoyed the plot of this novel.  Jack is a very believable character and easy to relate to. He is an ordinary, everyday kind of guy that you might have in your own life.  He has a wife and family and normal, everyday family issues.  You can see yourself reacting just as he does in a given situation, which is probably one reason he is such a likeable character.  There were other characters who were involved in things that were totally unexpected, which added to the suspense.   I found this to be a very enjoyable read.

~Reviewed by John K.

    Love Gently Falling

    Love Gently FallingLove Gently Falling
    By Melody Carlson
    Center Street
    Retail Price $12.00
    Amazon Price: $10.45

    Book Description: Rita Jansen is living her dream as a hairstylist in Hollywood when her father calls with news that her mother has suffered a stroke. When she gets home to Chicago, Rita finds her mother is healing but facing a long recovery. Worse, without being able to run their family-owned salon, her mother could lose the business. Rita decides to help, but she only has until Valentine’s Day to come up with a plan.
    As Rita takes her mother’s place at work, the nearby skating rink she loved as a child brings back fond memories. Rita also finds herself renewing friendships with her childhood best friend, Marley, as well as her classmate Johnny. Although they now lead such seemingly different lives, Rita is surprised by how well she and Johnny connect and how far he will go to help her. Though Rita believes Johnny is only being kind, with romance kindling in the air and on the ice, their friendship may just fall into something more.

    Review

    I thoroughly enjoyed this latest book by author Melody Carlson.  While I am a big fan, I do have to say that while I don’t think that any of her books are “zeroes”, I don’t think all her books are “heroes” either.  With that said,  Love Gently Falling is definitely a hero.  This is fiction based on real life, showing us an honorable way to handle personal tragedy in our lives.  She makes you want to aspire to live your life well.  Though the main character is in her late twenties and I am 52, I could still relate to her and the choices she had t to make.  I think she is a great role model for the twenty-somethings out there.  The book was well-written, the storyline believable, Carlson drew you into the story from the very beginning.  I give it 5 stars for sure!

    ~Reviewed by Allie B.

      Swept Away: Quilts of Love

      Swept Away: Quilts of Love
      By Laura V. Hilton and Cindy Loven
      Abingdon
      Retail Price $13.99
      Amazon Price: $10.49

      Book Description: 

      Sara Jane Morgan is trying to balance teaching with caring for her ailing, stubborn grandmother. When school lets out for the summer, the plans are for Grandma to teach Sara Jane to quilt as they finish up the Appalachian Ballad quilt Grandma started as a teenager. But things don’t always go as planned. Andrew Stevenson is hiding from his past—and his future. He works as a handyman to pay the bills, but his heart is as an artisan, designing homemade brooms. When Sara Jane’s grandmother hires him to renovate her home, sparks fly between Drew and his new employer’s granddaughter. Still, it doesn’t take Sara Jane long to see Drew isn’t what he seems. Questions arise, and she starts researching him online. What she discovers could change her life—and her heart—forever.

      Review

      I love this series and this addition was welcomed.  I read it as soon as I could and I couldn’t put it down.  You will find plenty of twists and turns and mishaps on the way to love when this grandmother tries to find her granddaughter a husband.  The characters are well developed and likeable and the plot moves along nicely.  We get to see how the past affects the present in the lives of all the main characters.  Lots of life lessons to apply as well.  It was a very entertaining read.

      ~Reviewed by Deb M.

        Heaven Help Heidi

        Product DetailsHeaven Help Heidi
        By Sally John
        Harvest House
        Retail Price:  $13.99
        Amazon Price: $9.79

        Book Description: 

        Welcome to the Casa de Vida–eleven quaint bungalows located three blocks from the Pacific Ocean in tiny Seaside Village, California. Owner Liv McAlister never advertises vacancies beyond a small hand-lettered sign out front, preferring to trust that God will send the right tenant at just the right time. And He always does.

        Heidi Hathaway’s life has been turned upside down. After an accident leaves her injured, unable to work, and incapable of negotiating the stairs in her multilevel oceanfront condo, she leases her home and moves into a cozy little cottage in the charming garden complex where her friend Piper lives. There she finds so much more than a place to rest and recover.

        Piper Keyes knows Jared is not coming back from Afghanistan. After making it through the fifth anniversary of his death, she wonders if she’s at last ready to get on with life. She gingerly explores new avenues–photography, cooking, and buying her own boutique–and learns to open her heart again.

        The most comforting thing about living at the Casa is that the women there become each others mentors and confidantes, learning from their own mistakes and arriving at new, healed places in their lives.

        Review

        This is the 2nd book in the Family of Heart series by Sally John and has become my favorite series.  Heaven Help Heidi is a perfect example of why that is!  John captures not only your interest but your heart.  The characters are warm, loving, and supportive, though all of them are flawed and their lives are not at all perfect.  The Casa is a place you will want to visit and secretly wish that you could live there!  While the main storyline is about Heidi, there are many rabbit trails to follow that end up being inter-connected.  The author has an intriguing way of weaving several storylines together to make one amazing whole. While this is a stand-alone book I would definitely read Between Us Girls first to get to know the characters more fully before moving on to this 2nd installment.  I highly recommend this book and this series!

        ~Reviewed by Rosie B.

          The Friends of Jesus

          Product DetailsThe Friends of Jesus
          By Karen Kingsbury
          Howard Books
          Retail Price: $19.99
          Amazon Price: $14.02

          Book Description:  America’s favorite inspirational novelist and #1 New York Timesbestselling author offers a richly told tale about six of Jesus’ closest friends and companions, bringing biblical truths to life in this captivating continuation of her Life-Changing Bible Study series.

          In our everyday lives, friends are the people whom we spend the most time with, go through struggles with at times, and who know us best. Each of Jesus’ friends—Peter, John, Matthew, Judas, Mary Magdalene, and Lazarus—traveled with Jesus and were part of His daily ministry, and each has a compelling story to tell. There were some who would question or doubt Him…and one would even betray Him. Kingsbury brings these fascinating personalities to life in ways that will not only help bring you closer to the truths found in Scripture, but also to Christ.

          By combining valuable, instructive Bible study with compelling, insightful character sketches of Jesus’ companions, Kingsbury provides you with a deeper understanding of the scriptural teachings featuring these fascinating people. Emotionally powerful, thought-provoking, and soulful, The Friends of Jesus will help you to appreciate the Bible and understand how it applies to your relationships with the most important people in your life.

          Review

          This was an awesome book giving you a look inside at the friends of Jesus and what they might have been thinking and feeling as the life of Jesus unfolds in the Bible.  This book follows six people whom Jesus loved, Peter, John, Matthew, Judas, Mary Magdalene, and Lazarus and tells the story from their own unique perspective.  While we have no way of knowing what they were actually thinking and feeling, it helps me to grasp the Bible Truths more fully as I see things from a different perspective.  I am a fan of Kingsbury’s novels and while I am not a big historical fiction fan, I found this book to be an enjoyable, enlightening read.

          ~Reviewed by Rosie B.

            All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes

            Product DetailsAll’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes
            By Betsy St. Amant
            Zondervan
            Retail Price:  $12.99
            Amazon Price: $11.07

            Book Description:  

            Kat inspected rows of the same old cupcakes. They seemed to blink back at her, as if they knew she was capable of so much more.

            Kat Varland has had enough of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.

            At twenty-six years old, Kat is still living in the shadows of her family in Bayou Bend, Louisiana. Still working shifts at her Aunt Maggie’s bakery. Still wondering what to do with her passion for baking and her business degree. And still single.

            But when Lucas Brannen, Kat’s best friend, signs her up for a reality TV bake-off on Cupcake Combat, everything Kat ever wanted is suddenly dangled in front of her: creative license as a baker, recognition as a visionary . . . and a job at a famous bakery in New York.

            As the competition heats up, Lucas realizes he might have made a huge mistake. As much as he wants the best for Kat, the only thing he wants for himself―her―is suddenly in danger of slipping away.

            The bright lights of reality cooking wars and the chance at a successful career dazzle Kat’s senses and Lucas is faced with a difficult choice: help his friend achieve her dreams . . . or sabotage her chances to keep her in Louisiana.

            Review

            The author is a great storyteller.  She draws you in right from the very beginning and keeps you riveted throughout the entire book.  The characters are well-developed and Kat is especially intriguing to me.  She is a strong, independent woman with a good heart and I love her entrepreneurial spirit.  I think she is a good role model for young women.  The plot is interesting and moves right a long.  I found it hard to put the book down and stayed up late at night reading it!  I highly recommend it for a fun read.

            ~Reviewed by Rosie B.

              The Secret to Hummingbird Cake

              Product DetailsThe Secret to Hummingbird Cake
              by Celeste Fletcher McHale
              Thomas Nelson
              Retail Price:  $15.99
              Amazon Price: $11.47

               

              Book Description: 

               “Why won’t you just tell me what’s in that cake?” I’d been trying to get Laine’s recipe for years. We all had.

              When all else fails, turn to the divine taste of hummingbird cake.

              In the South you always say “yes, ma’am” and “no, ma’am.” You know everybody’s business. Football is a lifestyle not a pastime. Food—especially dessert—is almost a religious experience. And you protect your friends as fiercely as you protect your family—even if the threat is something you cannot see.

              In this spot-on Southern novel brimming with wit and authenticity, you’ll laugh alongside lifelong friends, navigate the sometimes rocky path of marriage, and roll through the outrageous curveballs that life sometimes throws . . . from devastating pain to absolute joy. And if you’re lucky, you just may discover the secret to hummingbird cake along the way.

              Review

              I have never read anything by this author before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I am normally pleased with any fiction title from Thomas Nelson, so I gave it a shot.  I am so glad I did!   As I began to read, I actually found it quite inviting. Between the friends, the community, the pleasant interactions, the sharing of everyday life, and the lightness of the read, it combined for a perfect mix. It would make a wonderful vacation book but is also ideal for a busy schedule, or in-between heavier stories.   The Secret to Hummingbird Cake is darling, entertaining read.

              ~Reviewed by Allie B.

                Mermaid Moon (A Sunset Cove Novel)

                Product DetailsMermaid Moon (A Sunset Cove Novel)
                by Colleen Coble
                Thomas Nelson
                Retail Price: $15.99
                Amazon Price: $12.40

                Book Description:  

                Mallory’s mother died fifteen years ago. But her father’s last words on the phone were unmistakable: “Find . . . mother.”

                Shame and confusion have kept Mallory Davis from her home for the last fifteen years, but when her dad mysteriously dies on his mail boat route, she doesn’t have any choice but to go back to Mermaid Point.

                Mallory believes her father was murdered and childhood sweetheart Kevin O’Connor, game warden in Downeast Maine, confirms her suspicions. But Kevin is wary of helping Mallory in her search. She broke his heart—and left—without a word, years ago.

                When Mallory begins receiving threats on her own life—and her beloved teenage daughter, Haylie—their search intensifies. There’s a tangled web within the supposed murder, and it involves much more than what meets the eye.

                As answers begin to fall into place, Mallory realizes her search is about more than finding her father’s killer—it is also about finding herself again . . . and possibly about healing what was broken so long ago with Kevin. She just has to stay alive long enough to put all the pieces together.

                Review

                I love mystery, suspense, and thriller novels.  I also love romance novels.  Author Colleen Coble brings together the best of both genres in Mermaid Moon.  I have read many of Coble’s books, but I have to say, I feel that this is one of her best.  The plot is well laid out, and the mystery drives you to keep reading.  Her characters are well-developed and interesting, and the prose and dialogue were equally balanced to both set the scene and show me the characters’ thoughts and feelings.  As for the setting, you can tell she did a lot of research so that she describes the area flawlessly.   This book delivers just what I was expecting as a suspense and mystery fan, lots of twists and turns and a surprise, but satisfying ending.  It was an excellent read.

                ~Reviewed by Shannon J.

                  Twice Blessed

                  Product DetailsTwice Blessed
                  by Barbara Cameron
                  Abingdon
                  Retail Price: $24.99
                  Amazon Price:  $21.98

                  Book Description:

                  About Her Sister’s Shadow
                  Katie and Rosie Stoltzfus work part-time in an Amish store and part-time in Two Peas in a Pod, their own business raising vegetables and fruits and canning them for sale. Although they are identical twins, their personalities are very different: while Katie has always been more outgoing and attractive to boys, Rosie has always felt in her sister’s shadow. It will take an unexpected business opportunity and one very special man to help Rosie see that she’s a unique woman of her own.

                  About His Brother’s Keeper
                  Ever since they were boys, Ben Fisher has trailed after his brother, Mark. Ben has always envied Mark because he’s always been more adventurous, but he’s even more jealous now that Mark is engaged to Ruth, a woman they both love. When a terrible accident on Christmas Eve results in their mistaken identity, Ben suddenly has an opportunity to create the life he’s always wanted. While everyone believes he is his brother, who’s still in a coma, Ben finally has a chance with Ruth. But how can he realize an opportunity for real happiness if it means deceiving his kin?

                  Review

                  The author does a wonderful job in her books capturing the Pennsylvania Amish life and culture and you will not be disappointed in this book where she writes two Christmas novellas about two sets of twins.  While it was a very enjoyable read during the Christmas holidays, it can be enjoyed all year round.  Both stories revolved around twin siblings, each with their own problems and thoughts, during the holiday season.  Both story lines are intriguing and unique.  Cameron was very creative coming up with idea of basing the stories on characters who were twins and how being a twin affected them in their particular culture.  At the end of the stories you get five Pennsylvania Dutch recipes to try in your own kitchen, and group discussion guide to use in book clubs.

                  ~Reviewed by Allie B.

                    The First Hostage

                    Product DetailsThe First Hostage
                    By Joel C. Rosenberg
                    Tyndale House
                    Retail Price: $26.99
                    Amazon Price: $18.38

                    Book Description:  “The president of the United States . . . is missing.”

                    With these words, New York Times journalist J. B. Collins, reporting from the scene of a devastating attack by ISIS terrorists in Amman, Jordan, puts the entire world on high alert. The leaders of Israel and Palestine are critically injured, Jordan’s king is fighting for his life, and the U.S. president is missing and presumed captured.

                    As the U.S. government faces a constitutional crisis and Jordan battles for its very existence, Collins must do his best to keep the world informed while working to convince the FBI that his stories are not responsible for the terror attack on the Jordanian capital. And ISIS still has chemical weapons . . .

                    Struggling to clear his name, Collins and the Secret Service try frantically to locate and rescue the leader of the free world before ISIS’s threats become a catastrophic reality.

                    Review

                    Events in this novel could very easily happen in today’s world and many parts of the plot could be pulled form the headlines in any major newspaper.  It is that realistic.  The First Hostage follows. J.B. Collins a reporter for the New York Times who has been covering ISIS activities. This book’s opening finds him in Jordan, covering a recent attack in the area. During the attack the leaders of Israel and Palestine are critically injured, the president of the U.S.A. is missing and presumed captured and the king of Jordan has to fight for his kingdom and his very life.   There is so much action and suspense that you will not be able to put the book down without a good reason.  I found myself up late at night reading because I was so intrigued.  The ending certainly sets the stage for the next book in this series, and readers find it hard to wait for it!