The Best Friend by Melody Carlson


Second book in Carlson’s Life at Kingston High, “The Best Friend” not only explores the true meaning of friendship but delves into some pretty serious issues faced by today’s teens. Primary character Lishia Vance was feeling pretty left out after her best friend apparently found a new best friend. Not only that but it seemed as though the rest of her friends from church had abandoned her also. So Lishia was a prime target when cheerleader Riley decided that Lishia would be the perfect best friend for her. So, desperate to be accepted and even popular, Lishia allowed herself to be manipulated into doing things she wouldn’t ordinarily do even though she felt uncomfortable doing them. Eventually she had enough but found it difficult to extract herself from the situation – a situation that had even become dangerous to her.

At my advanced age (old enough to have teen grandchildren), it is difficult to imagine some of the things our young people come face to face with every day. It would be nice to believe that they don’t need to be warned about some of the things depicted in “The Best Friend” but I am afraid that would just be denial. I am so thankful that Melody Carlson is brave enough to write about the things most of would like to ignore and that she does so in a manner that teens can enjoy and relate to. I only wish these books had been around when my own daughter was in high school.

This book was provided for review by
Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.


With her signature insight into the lives of teen girls, bestselling author Melody Carlson explores the treacherous world of friendship, loyalty and choices girls face in high school in The Best Friend, a Life at Kingston High novel.

Lishia Vance is flummoxed. One day she has friends. The next day everyone has turned against her. No explanation. Just complete social isolation. Even her best friend Janelle isn’t giving her the time of day. When she makes a connection with Riley Atkins, a popular cheerleader, things start looking up. But is Riley really as good a friend as she seems? Or is Lishia better off without her?


Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books with sales of more than five million. She is the author of several Christmas books from Revell, including the bestselling The Christmas Bus, The Christmas Dog, and Christmas at Harrington’s, which is being considered for a TV movie. She is also the author of many teen books, including Just Another Girl, Anything but Normal, Double Take, The Jerk Magnet, and the Diary of a Teenage Girl series. Melody was selected for a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her books in 2010 and 2011. She and her husband live in central Oregon. For more information about Melody visit her website at

Shattered by Melody Carlson


The promotional material, book cover, and book trailer indicate that Shattered deals with very serious issues but I was pretty much blindsided by what happened. I definitely didn’t see that coming. Because I feel that the surprise is probably an effective component of the story, I will not even attempt to give an overview of it.

As always, Melody Carlson has used a fictional story to illustrate very important lessons for teen readers. In Shattered, the reader will walk beside Cleo as she experiences the devastating consequences of one seemingly insignificant choice and the high cost of keeping terrible secrets. Shattered is a story that takes Cleo from the depths of guilt, grief, and pain to the hope and redemption offered through Christ.

I would highly recommend this book for all teens. If it could influence them to think about the consequences of their choices beforehand, many could  be saved from severe repercussions and possibly even tragedy. In my opinion, all of Melody Carlson’s young adult books should be included in the libraries of families with teens.

This book was provided for review by
LeAnn Hamby with Glass Road Public Relations.


Cleo Neilson’s best friend is moving away and she wants to make Lola’s last night in town special. For Cleo, that means going to the big Christian concert in the city, but her mom won’t allow her to go. She says that area of the city is too dangerous for two unchaperoned teenage girls.

Convinced her mom is just being an overprotective “helicopter” mom, she sneaks out of the house. After all, her mom has to let her grow up sometime, right?

Cleo now faces the chilling consequences of her actions and a secret that it is eating her up inside. As Cleo fights through her grief and guilt, she learns about faith in God and forgiveness through him.


Melody Carlson has written more than a hundred books for all age groups, but she particularly enjoys writing for teens. Perhaps this is because her own teen years remain so vivid in her memory. After claiming to be an atheist at the ripe old age of twelve, she later surrendered her heart to Jesus and has been following him ever since. Her hope and prayer for all her readers is that each one would be touched by God in a special way through her stories.

For more information, please visit Melody’s website at

The Charlatan’s Boy by Jonathan Rogers


The Charlatan’s Boy is a boisterous fantasy with bigger than life characters and plot. The tale takes place on the island of Corenwald that resembles a combination old south/old west setting rather than the usual medieval background of most fantasies. An abundance of humorous situations combined with Grady’s imaginative use of language make The Charlatan’s Boy a perfect read aloud story. Readers will empathize with Grady as he longs for a real home and family and to be loved. His desire for integrity and uneasiness with the lies Floyd forces him to tell are an example for each of us.

Each chapter takes Grady and Floyd through a new escapade filled with one fiasco after another. As Grady seeks the answers about who he really is, the reader may also discover something about himself. Plenty of unexpected twists and a surprise ending make this a story worth reading. The Charlatan’s Boy would make a wonderful Christmas gift for the young people in your life.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.


“I only know one man who might be able to tell me where I come from, and that man is a liar and a fraud.”

As far back as he can remember, the orphan Grady has tramped from village to village in the company of a huckster named Floyd. With his adolescent accomplice, Floyd perpetrates a variety of hoaxes and flimflams on the good citizens of the Corenwald frontier, such as the Ugliest Boy in the World act.

It’s a hard way to make a living, made harder by the memory of fatter times when audiences thronged to see young Grady perform as “The Wild Man of the Feechiefen Swamp.” But what can they do? Nobody believes in feechies anymore.

When Floyd stages an elaborate plot to revive Corenwalders’ belief in the mythical swamp-dwellers known as the feechiefolk, he overshoots the mark. Floyd’s Great Feechie Scare becomes widespread panic. Eager audiences become angry mobs, and in the ensuing chaos, the Charlatan’s Boy discovers the truth that has evaded him all his life—and will change his path forever.

Download and read the first two chapters of  The Charlatan’s Boy by Jonathan Rogers.

To learn more about Jonathan and his books check out his blog.

Praise for Jonathan Rogers
“The unusual settings and characters keep the surprises coming, while Rogers’s lovely descriptions and distinctive voice keep the pages turning. Faith fiction readers of all ages should enjoy this…”
Publishers Weekly

“Jonathan Rogers knows how to tell a story. He’ll take you to fantastic lands that somehow still feel close to home and keep you happily guessing until the end. His fantasy tales ring of folklore and seem to spring up out of history like old willows in an earthy bog. Dr. Rogers never fails to serve up uncanny adventures that, like some impossibly nutritious brownies, are ridiculously tasty and deeply fulfilling.”
—Wayne Thomas Batson, best-selling author of The Door Within Trilogy

“Jonathan Rogers has created a new kind of story—part fantasy, part southern fiction. It’s sad and funny and heartwarming. Imagine a southern version of a C. S. Lewis story or a Christian version of a Mark Twain tale. Imagine a world where dragons are alligators, the American South is an island kingdom of cowboys and swamp dwellers, and ugliness, it turns out, is profoundly beautiful. Jonathan Rogers, a Georgia boy with a PhD, a strong faith, and a healthy imagination, gives us a timeless story no one else could have written. I loved it.”
—Andrew Peterson, author of The Wingfeather Saga


Jonathan Rogers grew up in Georgia, where he spent many happy hours in the swamps and riverbottoms on which the wild places of The Charlatan’s Boy are based. He received his undergraduate degree from Furman University in South Carolina and holds a Ph.D. in seventeenth-century English literature from Vanderbilt University. He lives with his family in Nashville, Tennessee.

Book Giveaway – Frenzy by Robert Liparulo

I have a copy of Frenzy by Robert Liparulo to give away this week. It is the final installment of the six book Dreamhouse Kings series. You really don’t want to read it until you have read the first five books in the series – you need the background from the others to understand what is going on.

If you would like to win the copy of Frenzy, please leave a comment on this post no later than Friday, May 28. U. S. residents only please.

Frenzy by Robert Liparulo

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing

Thomas Nelson
(May 18, 2010)
Robert Liparulo


Robert Liparulo is a former journalist, with over a thousand articles and multiple writing awards to his name. His first novel, Comes a Horseman, released to critical acclaim. Each of his subsequent thrillers—Germ, Deadfall, and Deadlock—secured his place as one of today’s most popular and daring thriller writers.

He is known for investing deep research and chillingly accurate predictions of near-future scenarios into his stories. In fact, his thorough, journalistic approach to research has resulted in his becoming an expert on the various topics he explores in his fiction, and he has appeared on such media outlets as CNN and ABC Radio.

Liparulo’s visual style of writing has caught the eye of Hollywood producers. Currently, three of his novels for adults are in various stages of development for the big screen: the film rights to Comes A Horseman. were purchased by the producer of Tom Clancy’s movies; and Liparulo is penning the screenplays for GERM and Deadfall for two top producers. He is also working with the director Andrew Davis (The Fugitive, Holes) on a political thriller. Novelist Michael Palmer calls Deadfall “a brilliantly crafted thriller.” March 31st marked the publication of Deadfall’s follow-up, Deadlock, which novelist Gayle Lynds calls, “best of high-octane suspense.”

Liparulo’s bestselling young adult series, Dreamhouse Kings, debuted in 2008 with House of Dark Shadows and Watcher in the Woods. Book three, Gatekeepers, released in January 2009, and number four, Timescape, in July 2009, and number five, Whirlwind in December 2009. The series has garnered praise from readers, both young and old, as well as attracting famous fans who themselves know the genre inside and out. Of the series, Goosebumps creator R.L. Stine says, “I loved wandering around in these books. With a house of so many great, haunting stories, why would you ever want to go outside?”

With the next two Dreamhouse books “in the can,” he is currently working on his next thriller, which for the first time injects supernatural elements into his brand of gun-blazing storytelling. The story is so compelling, two Hollywood studios are already in talks to acquire it—despite its publication date being more than a year away. After that comes a trilogy of novels, based on his acclaimed short story, which appeared in James Patterson’s Thriller anthology. New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry calls Liparulo’s writing “Inventive, suspenseful, and highly entertaining . . . Robert Liparulo is a storyteller, pure and simple.” He lives with his family in Colorado.

Visit Robert Liparulo’s Facebook Fan page:


Their destiny is to fix history. Their dream is to get home.

When you live in a house that’s really a gateway between past and present, you have to be ready for anything. It’s a painful fact the Kings have faced since moving to Pinedale eight days ago. Desperately trying to rescue their mother from an unknown time and place, brothers Xander and David have lunged headlong into the chaos of history’s greatest–and most volatile–events. But their goal has continually escaped their grasp.

And worse: Finding Mom is only a small part of what they must do, thanks to the barbaric Taksidian. His ruthless quest to seize their house and its power from them has put not only the family, but all of mankind, in grave danger.

Somehow, the key to it all hinges on Uncle Jesse’s words to the boys: “Fixing time is what our family was made to do.” But how can they fix a world that has been turned upside down–much less ever find their way home?

At long last, the secrets of the house and the King family are revealed in the stunning conclusion to this epic series.

If you would like to read the Prologue and first Chapter of Frenzy, go HERE.

Sign up for the Frenzy Newsletter HERE.


Frenzy is the final book in the Dreamhouse Kings series and what a conclusion it is! I could not have imagined how the story could get any more intense and frantic but believe me it did. I realize that Liparulo could probably have continued to up the ante in several more installments but I am just a little relieved that he decided to wrap it up with Frenzy. I don’t know how much more suspense I could have handled.

I hesitate to describe any of the plot for fear of spoiling it. I thought the author tied everything together admirably at the end while leaving just enough unanswered to leave the door open for a future series. The last portal entered was a truly special one that was particularly meaningful to me.

I recommend Frenzy and the entire Dreamhouse Kings series. Don’t read Frenzy before reading the preceding books of the series because you will miss pertinent background facts. This series is very intense with a lot of action, some creepy characters and some violence that might bother some people but it does not cross the line into the occult. The plot is infused with subtle guidance on faith, family values and character. If you enjoy this genre I am sure you will enjoy Frenzy and the rest of the Dreamhouse Kings series.

Starlighter by Bryan Davis

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:


and the book:



Zondervan (March 19, 2010)

***Special thanks to Pam Mettler, Associate Director of Public Relations, ZonderKidz
for sending me a review copy.***


Bryan Davis is the author of the bestselling fantasy series Dragons in Our Midst, Oracles of Fire and Echoes from the Edge. He and his wife, Susie, have seven children and live in western Tennessee where he continues to cook up his imaginative blend of fantasy and inspiration.

Visit the author’s website.

Product Details:

List Price: $9.99
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (March 19, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310718368
ISBN-13: 978-0310718369


Browse Inside