Monday, 30 April 2012

The Discovery

Back Cover

When aspiring writer Michael Warner inherits his grandfather’s venerable Charleston estate, he settles in to write his first novel.  But within the confines of the stately home, he discovers an unpublished manuscript that his grandfather, a literary giant whose novels sold in the millions, had kept hidden from everyone—but which he clearly intended Michael to find.  As he delves deep into the exciting tale about spies and sabotage, Michael discovers something that has the power to change not only his future but his past as well.

Laced with suspense and intrigue, The Discovery is a richly woven novel that explores the incredible sacrifices that must be made to forge the love of a lifetime.  Author Dan Walsh delivers yet another unique and heartfelt story that will stick with you long after you’ve turned the last page.


The Discovery is truly a wonderful story within a story.  The novel shifts back and forth between Michael in “modern day” and to the old manuscript that he is reading, which is set in 1942.  Dan Walsh was careful not to move back and forth too often, and I appreciated the fine balance he created.

Dan Walsh is a great writer and this book truly shines.  The romance thread was so tender and added vibrancy throughout the setting of war and espionage.  I definitely recommend The Discovery.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The Fiddler

Back Cover
Come home to Hickory Hollow, Pennsylvania – the beloved setting where Beverly Lewis’s celebrated Amish novels began – with new characters and new stories of drama, romance, and the ties that draw people together.
A wrong turn in a rainstorm leads Englisher Amelia Devries to Michael Hostetler – and the young Amishman’s charming Old Order community of Hickory Hollow.  Despite their very different backgrounds, Amelia and Michael both feel hemmed in by the expectations of others and struggle with how to find room for their own hopes.  And what first seems to be a chance encounter might just change their lives forever.
There’s one thing for certain:  Beverly Lewis knows how to write.  She knows how to sweep a reader up into a story and make them genuinely connect with the characters.  Mrs. Lewis is credited for the introduction of the Amish life and culture into the world of Christian fiction.  And no one writes Amish fiction better than Mrs. Lewis. 
Both Amelia and Michael are at crossroads in their lives.  Amelia is being pulled between following her father’s desire that she continue her career in classical violin playing and her love of fiddling.  Michael wants to honour his own parents and take the vow to forever be part of the Amish church, but his heart never feels right about the commitment.  Through it all, both Amelia and Michael have to learn to follow what God has placed on their hearts, and not family, or the world, for that matter.   

The Fiddler is a sweet, tender love story about two people trying to find their way in life.  I enjoyed this refreshing escape into a world of horse-drawn carriages and lively fiddling music.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

The Lion Cubs

Back Cover

Fifteen-year-old loner Lexi Vogan has had enough.  Four foster families in two years would be enough to make anybody run away!  Alone in the world, she flees to Jacksonville where a group of runaway teens live in abandoned tunnels below the city.  It seems like the perfect place for a forgotten face.

Liz Swavier, thirty-six, became a widow two years ago when her husband succumbed to cancer, but she’s managing just fine.  At least, that’s what she tells herself.  Working long hours as a doctor in the ER, Liz’s friends and family grow concerned that she’s hurling herself into work to numb her grief.

Then, on a typical Friday afternoon, an appointment with divine intervention causes these two very different lives to collide, beginning a journey towards restoration that only an all-knowing, loving God could weave together.


This is a debut novel for Chrissy M. Dennis, and actually a winner of the World Alive Press Publishing contest.  And I can see why it won – this novel shows a very promising start for Ms. Dennis in the publishing world.  Ms. Dennis’ writing engages her reader and makes them genuinely care about her characters.

My one hope is that this novel could be a first in a series about the “Tunnel Kids”.  As a reader, I find myself wanting to know how the stories of Star, DV, and even Sapphire would end.  Sapphire, I believe, would have a very dramatic story, given the character she portrays.

This novel revolves around two people with painful stories who struggle to find healing and light amongst the darkness.  It is a touching story, and one that would not soon leave your mind. 

NOTE:  I would place this novel in a mature/older teen genre, given the young age of Lexi and the overall feel of the story. 

Book has been provided courtesy of Word Alive Press and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available now from your favourite bookseller. 

Sunday, 1 April 2012

The Messenger

Back Cover

Hannah Sunderland felt content in her embrace of the Quaker faith…until her twin brother joined the Colonial cause and ended up in jail.  She longs to bring some measure of comfort to him in the squalid prison, but her faith forbids it.  The Friends believe that they are not to take sides, not to take up arms.  She is not allowed to visit him, even if she were able to secure a pass.

Jeremiah Jones, a Colonial spy, needs access to the jail to help rescue men important to the cause.  Upon meeting Hannah, a plan begins to develop.  Who would suspect a pious Quaker visiting a loved one?
But Jeremiah is unprepared for Hannah, for her determination to do right, to not lie.  How can one be a spy and not lie?  Hannah, in turn, is surprised by Jeremiah…for the way he forces her to confront her own beliefs, for the sensitivity and concern that he shows her despite the wounds he still carries.

In a time of war, can two unlikely heroes find the courage to act?


I could sum up my review in one word and call it a day.


…but that wouldn’t exactly tell you why I loved this novel so much!

Siri Mitchell is a wonderful author.  The story she created is unique and a real treat to read.  The conflicting emotions and sensitivities of the characters were easily discernible, and since the novel was written in the first-person view, you were able to “get in the character’s head”.

The story and plot was kept appropriately taut and the tension between Jeremiah and Hannah came through loud and clear.  You have two completely different people coming from conflicting walks of life who form an uneasy alliance.  Jeremiah and Hannah dared to erase the boundaries between them to work together for a noble cause.

It is a great to reminder to all, when at times it is necessary to lay aside differences to assist those in need and right injustice.

This is one novel that did not disappoint.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Heroes and Monsters

Back Cover
Heroes and Monsters is an unforgettable memoir of passion and redemption, a ragged look into a world at once wildly twisted and profoundly beautiful, an expose of both the hero and the monster within all of us.

In this stunningly honest, thoroughly unconventional, and ultimately hopeful book, Josh James Riebock explores issues that form us into the people we are – issues of family, love, intimacy, dreams, grief, purpose, and the unexpected stops along the journey.  With artful prose and vivid storytelling, he shows that pain and beauty are so inextricably linked that to lose the former costs us the latter.

If you’re grappling with life’s inconsistencies and trials, if you’re struggling for an encounter with something real, if you’re craving a story that’s just a wee bit odd…

Heroes and Monsters is a fresh and exhilarating perspective on the uneven nature of life and the equally uneven people who inhabit it.


I was readily intrigued by this book.  While I have not read many personal memoirs, there was something about this novel that caught my eye.  Josh James Riebock’s writing in this book was absolutely fabulous.  I loved his style and wonderful use of words and imagery.  I could see the words, the pictures, and the story all unfolding right before my eyes.

There was one thing that threw me off a bit.  Taking into account that this is a personal memoir, and there must have been a reason behind it, I still don’t fully understand the substitution for the name of “Jesus” as “Jack”.  Or the necessity of writing at one point from God’s point of view.  To me, God is an awesome, all-powerful God who deserves our constant love and respect.  He is the Alpha, Omega, Beginning and End, the I AM.  So, to not even address the Son of God in His proper name is rather counter-intuitive in what I imagined the proposed purpose of this book is to be – a light, a beacon of truth in a world of gray. 

In all, I was left with mixed feelings regarding the book.  As with any piece of writing, it will affect each person differently and leave its own unique mark on the reader.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group.