Barefoot Summer by Denise Hunter



MY REVIEW:

“Barefoot Summer” is a novel that touches the heart with characters whose joy and pain resonate with the reader. Lives shaped by tragedy are redeemed one step at a time as God’s plan slowly unfolds. Action and drama combined with a sweet romance and revealed secrets helped to keep the plot moving in this touching story of forgiveness and redemption.

Madison seems to be one of the favored people – daughter in a loving family who has had every opportunity in life but her fear of water and her insecurities have crippled her in many ways.  Since the death of her twin brother ten years before, Madison has been haunted by nightmares that have left her so sleep deprived she can barely function. Angry at God, she has continued to attend church services with her family but has built a wall of protection around her heart against the Lord and those around her, yet she has never really allowed herself to grieve. If she can only win the annual regatta before her twenty-seventh birthday to fulfill her brother’s dream, then maybe she can find peace.

Handsome and charming Beckett grew up with an alcoholic father who spent plenty of time in jail so Beckett and his sister were raised primarily by their grandfather. Although he met the Lord and turned his life around, he continues to see himself as unworthy because of his background and the guilt he hides has added to his burdens. Former bad boy Beckett has loved Madison since high school but has always believed that there was no way he could ever be good enough for her. Suddenly circumstances place him in a position where he can spend hours of time with her weekly and it looks like his dreams are beginning to come true. Unfortunately Beckett carries a secret that could destroy the budding romance between him and Madison.

I thoroughly enjoyed “Barefoot Summer” but if you want to know more about what happens with Beckett and Madison, you will just have to get your own copy.

This book was provided for review by LitFuse Publicity.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Barefoot SummerMadison’s heart has been closed for years. But one summer can change everything.

In the years since her twin brother’s drowning, Madison McKinley has struggled to put it behind her. Despite the support of her close-knit family and her gratifying job as a veterinarian in their riverside town, the loss still haunts her.

To find closure, Madison sets out to fulfill her brother’s dream of winning the town’s annual regatta. But first she has to learn to sail, and fast.

Beckett O’Reilly knows Madison is out of his league, but someone neglected to tell his heart. Now she needs his help—and he’ll give it, because he owes her far more than she’ll ever know.

Madison will do anything—even work with the infamous Beckett O’Reilly—to reach her goal. And as much as she’d like to deny it, the chemistry between them is electrifying. As summer wanes, her feelings for him grow and a fledgling faith takes root in her heart.

But Beckett harbors a secret that will test the limits of their new love. Can their romance survive summer’s challenges? And will achieving her brother’s dream give Madison the peace she desperately seeks?

Read an Excerpt here.

Purchase a copy here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Denise HunterDenise lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she’s been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!

Learn more at Denise’s website.

Deadly Devotion by Sandra Orchard



MY REVIEW:

I believe that “Deadly Devotion” is the first novel I’ve read by Sandra Orchard. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and look forward to the next installment of the Port Aster Secrets series.

With its skillfully woven plot and a diverse group of well defined characters, “Deadly Devotion” kept me guessing until the very end. Just like Kate and Tom, I found the suspects changing several times over the course of the book – there were so many with such good motives! As Tom pointed out more than once, “people are not always who they seem”. Once the true perpetrator was revealed it made perfect sense and so did the title of the book.

This review is intentionally brief because it would be SO easy to ramble and/or give something away. This is one book that suspense fans should grab quickly to see if their own detecting skills are up to the test presented by the author.

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



ABOUT THE BOOK:
Deadly DevotionIn the first installment in the Port Aster Secrets series, Deadly Devotion weaves a web of intrigue around the sleepy town of Port Aster and the death of a research scientist. While police believe it to be a suicide, evidence mounts that leads Kate Adams to believe it had to be murder. Suspicions lead to danger as Kate struggles to uncover the truth. Full of suspense, Deadly Devotion will keep readers guessing until the very end.

Research scientists Kate Adams and her colleague Daisy are on the brink of a breakthrough for treating depression with herbal medicine when Daisy suddenly dies. Kate knows that if it hadn’t been for Daisy’s mentorship, she wouldn’t have the job she loves or the faith she clings to. So when police rule Daisy’s death a suicide, Kate is determined to unearth the truth.

Former FBI agent Tom Parker finds it hard to adjust to life back in his hometown of Port Aster. Though an old buddy gives him a job as a detective on the local police force, not everyone approves. Tom’s just trying to keep a low profile, so when Kate Adams demands he reopen the investigation of her friend’s death, he knows his job is at stake. In fact, despite his attraction to her, Tom thinks Kate looks a bit suspicious herself.

Check out bonus book features for Deadly Devotion HERE.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
SandraOrchardSandra Orchard is an active member in American Christian Fiction Writers, The Word Guild, Romance Writers of America and a local writing group. She recently participated in the Writers’ Police Academy for hands-on training and simulations at a police training facility. She is the author of Shades of Truth, Critical Condition, which won the 2012 RT Reviewer’s Choice Award for it’s series and Deep Cover, which won the Canadian Christian Writing Award for romance in June 2012 and was recognized as one of the top five novels of the year by Family Fiction magazine. Orchard has also received a Daphne DuMaurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense in both the inspirational category and for best score overall. She lives in Niagara, Ontario, Canada.

 

To find out more, please visit www.sandraorchard.com.

Connect with Sandra on Facebook HERE.

Gone South by Meg Moseley



MY REVIEW:

Tish McComb grew up hearing wonderful stories told by her father about her great-great-great-grandmother Letitia and the ancestral home in Noble, Alabama. As Letitia’s namesake, Tish takes a detour home from Florida through Noble when she learns the house is for sale just for the chance to see inside. On a whim, Tish decides to purchase the house and soon finds herself resigning her job and moving from Michigan to the south where she is surprised to learn that the McComb name is not exactly favored in her new home. Tish runs across Melanie, a young homeless woman whose family has given up on and decides to share the house with her until she can get on her feet. George Zorbas makes frequent appearances as he chases down his deceased mother’s dog who can’t seem to remember that she no longer lives in Tish’s house. Everyone in town believes Melanie is a thief so Tish as two strikes against her for being a McComb and sheltering Melanie.

“Gone South” is a wonderful story with unique and sometimes quirky characters who soon won my heart. Tish is strong but after moving around her entire life, she wants a place she can call home. Melanie knows that she has messed up more times than she can count but desperately wants to do what is right and clear her tarnished name. George is a good guy, confident and caring and who becomes much more involved in Tish and Melanie’s lives than he ever intended.

The novel makes some strong points about how a person’s life can be affected by those who judge them without getting all the facts with Mel as a prime example. Some emphasis was placed on the faith of certain characters but it was not heavy-handed. I enjoyed watching the personal growth of the characters, especially Mel and was glad when some people realized that they had been wrong about her all along. I would definitely recommend “Gone South” to all who enjoy contemporary fiction.

This book was provided for review by the Amazon Vine program.



ABOUT THE BOOK:
Gone SouthThe charm of the South drew her back to her family’s roots. But when the town’s old resentments turn the sweet tea bitter, can Tish find a welcome anywhere?

Leaving frosty Michigan for the Deep South was never a blip in the simple plans Tish McComb imagined for her life, dreams of marriage and family that were dashed five years earlier in a tragic accident. Now an opportunity to buy her great-great-great-grandparents’ Civil War era home beckons Tish to Noble, Alabama, a Southern town in every sense of the word. She wonders if God has given her a new dream— the old house filled with friends, her vintage percolator bubbling on the sideboard.

When Tish discovers that McCombs aren’t welcome in town, she feels like a Yankee behind enemy lines. Only local antiques dealer George Zorbas seems willing to give her a chance. What’s a lonely outcast to do but take in Noble’s resident prodigal, Melanie Hamilton, and hope that the two can find some much needed acceptance in each other.

Problem is, old habits die hard, and Mel is quite set in her destructive ways. With Melanie blocked from going home, Tish must try to manage her incorrigible houseguest as she attempts to prove her own worth in a town that seems to have forgotten that every sinner needs God-given mercy, love and forgiveness.

Click here to download chapter one of Gone South.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Meg Moseley

Meg Moseley is still a Californian at heart although she’s lived more than half her life in other states. Holding jobs that ranged from candle-maker to administrative assistant, Meg eventually contributed human-interest pieces for a suburban edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Contemporary fiction remains her real love, and she’s the author of When Sparrows Fall and Gone South. She lives in Atlanta near the foothills of the Southern Appalachians with her husband.

Not By Sight by Kathy Herman



MY REVIEW:

I am pretty sure that I have read ALL of Kathy Herman’s books and will continue to do so as long as she keeps writing them. She occupies a space at the top of my favorite authors list. I just finished “Not By Sight” and it met all my expectations.

Kathy’s true-to-life characters and her breathtaking setting descriptions made me want to go beyond the pages of the book to experience life in the small Ozark mountain town for myself by staying at Angel View Lodge. It was easy to identify with the Cummings family and the difficulty they had dealing with the unsolved disappearance of Micah, the husband/father and two-year-old daughter Riley Jo five years before. The fact that the tragedy had strengthened the faith of some family members yet caused others in the family to turn their back on God was also very believable. The plot advanced quickly with the perfect blend of drama, suspense, and character development. A budding romance between two young characters added a bit of relief from the grief and uncertainty. Just when I thought everything was wrapped up, Kathy threw another twist into the tale that kept me wondering how everything would turn out. I liked seeing how Abby grew in her faith and trust in the Lord as she experienced life threatening trials and also the way her brother Hawk and her mother Kate were finally able to see that God was indeed at work in their lives.

I am finding it very difficult to express how good this book is without giving away anything. Just take my word for it and pick up your own copy of “Not By Sight”.

This book was provided for review by The Book Club Network, Inc.



ABOUT THE BOOK:
Not By SightSixteen-year-old Abby Cummings has struggled for five years with the mysterious disappearance of her father and two-year old sister, Riley Jo. One day, Abby’s in town shopping and sees a girl about seven, who looks remarkably like she imagines her sister would now. Abby takes a picture with her cell phone and shows it to her mother. Mama, having had her hopes dashed all too often, dismisses it. But Abby can’t. What if her sister is still alive? What if her father is? Abby ’s determined to find out. She confides in her best friend, Jay Rogers, but neither teenager has any idea that Jay holds the key to the truth of what happened.

Based on 2 Corinthians 5:7, “We live by faith, not by sight,” this is fast-paced suspense that will appeal to both genders–adults and mature teens.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kathy HermanSuspense novelist Kathy Herman is very much at home in the Christian book industry, having worked five years on staff at the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and eleven years at Better Books Christian Center in Tyler, Texas, as product buyer/manager for the children’s department, and eventually as director of human resources.

She has conducted numerous educational seminars on children’s books at CBA Conventions in the U.S. and Canada, served a preliminary judge for the Gold Medallion Book Awards of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association , and worked as an independent product/marketing consultant to the CBA market.

Since her first novel, Tested by Fire, debuted in 2001 as a CBA national bestseller, she’s added sixteen more titles to her credit, including four bestsellers: All Things Hidden, The Real Enemy, The Last Word, and The Right Call.

Kathy’s husband Paul is her manager and most ardent supporter, and the former manager of the LifeWay Christian Store in Tyler, Texas. They have three grown children, five almost-perfect grandchildren, a cat named Samantha. They enjoy cruising, deep sea fishing, and birdwatching—sometimes incorporating these hobbies into one big adventure.

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.

Learn more about Harry and his books on his Website.

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 maelstrom 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.

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MY REVIEW:

An Open Heart  is not only a suspense-filled and dramatic novel but it is also one that can open the reader’s eyes to some previously unknown points. It is obvious from the cover description that the reader will receive a glimpse into the spiritual realm that is seldom shared. I have often wondered why many of our missionaries are not prepared for the spiritual warfare they encounter when serving in foreign lands but the author offers a very good explanation for it. The missionaries who have experienced such battles are reluctant to share because they fear they will not be believed or considered crazy. Another detail I never considered before reading An Open Heart is the fact that doctors in substandard hospitals in other countries need to be even more skilled than the ones who practice in the U.S. simply because they do not have the advanced diagnostic equipment available to them. With this new knowledge, I have even greater respect for the men and women who serve on the missions field.

Aside from those facts that stood out to me, I enjoyed the novel. The primary character,  Jace Rawlings is running from God but doesn’t realize it. In fact, he is not entirely sure what motivates him. Son of missionaries to Kenya, he has made a name for himself in the states as a skilled heart surgeon but after a serious accident, he sensed that his deceased sister wanted him back in Kenya. Upon his arrival in Kenya, Jace found himself in the center of a battle between the forces of light and darkness that threatened to end his life. His determination not to serve God endangers his eternal existence but God has not given up on him.

Harry Kraus paints a vivid picture of life in Kenya, especially giving readers an inside look at the life of medical missionaries. With plenty of drama, danger, and suspense as well as an intense spiritual thread, An Open Heart held my interest until the end.