Category Fiction

The Valley of Decision

Product DetailsThe Valley of Decision
By Lynne Gentry
Howard Books
Retail Price:  $14.99
Amazon Price: $12.62

Book Description:   Every choice has a consequence in the explosive conclusion to the Carthage Chronicles as Lisbeth returns to third-century Carthage for a thrilling final adventure.

Thirteen years ago, Lisbeth made an impossible decision—leave third-century Carthage and her husband Cyprian behind for good. She knew it was to protect her daughter Maggie, so Lisbeth gathered the strength to move on with her life.

All these years, Lisbeth has thrown herself into her work and raising her headstrong daughter, all to live up to the promise she made to Cyprian. But Maggie is sick of being protected. In an act of teenage rebellion Maggie decides to do what her mother can’t—secretly returning to the third century on a quest to bring her father back, leaving Lisbeth no choice but to follow.

With Maggie’s surprise arrival in Carthage, chaos ensues. She finds her grandmother on trial for murder and attempts to save her, but instead the diversion sparks a riot that nearly destroys the plagued city. Only one thing will appease the wrath of the new proconsul of Carthage: the death of the instigator.

Will Lisbeth arrive in time to save her daughter from the clutches of Rome? How can God possibly redeem such a slew of unwise decisions and deep regrets? Filled with heart-wrenching twists and riveting action, Valley of Decision brings the romantic adventure epic, The Carthage Chronicles, to an electrifying conclusion.

Review

The Carthage Chronicles is an exciting series that combines time travel and romance and it produces adventures that you won’t likely forget.  Though this book does stand alone, I highly recommend that readers to read the first two books to get a sense of the characters. This has not been my favorite series, but I do love time travel and I like fiction that is based in the early years of Christianity. Gentry is a fabulous author. She knows how to mold and sculpt language to make her stories feel like they are breathing. (I know that sounds weird, but for me as a reader I feel like this book is so full of life how can it not feel like that when I’m reading it?)

 

Valley of Decision is the third and final installment of this series.  Though this book does stand alone, I highly recommend that readers to read the first two books to get a sense of the characters.  The plot is exciting with many twists and turns that will keep you on your toes and turning the pages, making the book hard to put down.   Gentry wraps things up nicely, leaving you with a surprising, yet satisfying ending.  I highly recommend this book and the entire series!

~Reviewed by Allie B.

 

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    Once Upon a Sumertime

    Product DetailsOnce Upon a Summertime
    By Melody Carlson
    Revell
    Retail Price:  $14.99
    Amazon Price: $12.06

    Book Description:   Managing the Value Lodge in her hometown was not what Anna Gordon had in mind when she set out in the hospitality industry. But it’s a safe choice for a woman whose childhood was anything but stable. Out of the blue, she gets a once-in-a-lifetime chance to reinvent herself by moving to New York City, where she hopes for a management position at a stylish new boutique hotel. The big city is full of surprises–not the least of which is Sean O’Neil. Her childhood crush has applied for the very same position!

    Sweet, romantic, and endlessly entertaining, this romp through the storied streets of New York City will enchant readers. Melody Carlson has created characters so charming that readers will long to meet them in the lobby of the stunning Rothsberg Hotel.

    Review

    This was really a fun read.  My interest was captured right from the very beginning and it never waned throughout the entire novel.  Though the main characters were not in my age group, I still enjoyed reading about their courage to live out their dreams, even when the prospect was not quite what they expected.  The plot was well developed and the Christian values shined through without being overly preachy or judgmental.  I am a Melody Carlson fan, and this book is a good example of the reason why!  It is a must-read!

    ~Reviewed by Rosie B.

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      Eve

      Product DetailsEve
      By Wm. Paul Young
      Howard Publishing
      Retail Price: $16.00
      Amazon Price: $8.75

      Book Description:  From the author of the twenty-five-million-copy bestseller The Shack comes a captivating new novel destined to be one of the most talked-about books of the decade.

      Eve is a bold, unprecedented exploration of the Creation narrative, true to the original texts and centuries of scholarship—yet with breathtaking discoveries that challenge traditional beliefs about who we are and how we’re made. Eve opens a refreshing conversation about the equality of men and women within the context of our beginnings, helping us see each other as our Creator does—complete, unique, and not constrained by cultural rules or limitations.

      When a shipping container washes ashore on an island between our world and the next, John the Collector finds a young woman inside—broken, frozen, and barely alive. With the aid of Healers and Scholars, John oversees her recovery and soon discovers that her genetic code connects her to every known race. No one would guess what her survival will mean…

      No one but Eve, Mother of the Living, who calls her “daughter” and invites her to witness the truth about her own story—indeed, the truth about us all.

      As The Shack awakened readers to a personal, non-religious understanding of God, Eve will free us from faulty interpretations that have corrupted human relationships since the Garden of Eden.

      Thoroughly researched and exquisitely written, Eve is a masterpiece that will inspire readers for generations to come.

      Review

      I generally enjoy the books written by Wm. Paul Young so I was excited to read his latest book Eve.  While I don’t always agree with the author’s theology, I must admit that he always makes me think outside the box and examine my own beliefs.  This book had the same effect on me.  Eve was in interesting and thought provoking read that was basically two stories in one.  The first storyline follows a young woman who washes up on the shore of an island and her journey to health and wholeness. The second storyline is a retelling of the biblical account of creation and man’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden.  I am not totally sure I agree with his retelling of man’s fall, but it is interesting that he puts the blame squarely on Adam’s shoulders while most theological circles blame Eve as if she was alone in the garden when tempted.  All in I found this book enjoyable. The characters were well-written and interesting and I thought Young did a great job describing the setting.  I think readers will need to remind themselves that this is a fiction book, bordering on the fantasy genre, and should not be seen as a theological treatise.  If one can look at it this way, I think the book is more likely to be enjoyed.  Personally, I recommend it.  Let it stretch you.

      ~Reviewed by Jason C.

       

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        Both of Me

        Product Details

        Both of Me
        by Jonathan Friesen
        Blink
        Retail Price $16.99
        Amazon Price: $13.17

        Book Description: 

        It was supposed to be just another flight, another escape into a foreign place where she could forget her past, forget her attachments. Until Clara found herself seated next to an alluring boy named Elias Phinn—a boy who seems to know secrets she has barely been able to admit to herself for years.When her carry-on bag is accidentally switched with Elias’s identical pack, Clara uses the luggage tag to track down her things. At that address she discovers there is not one Elias Phinn, but two: the odd, paranoid, artistic, and often angry Elias she met on the plane, who lives in an imaginary world of his own making called Salem; and the kind, sweet, and soon irresistible Elias who greets her at the door, and who has no recollection of ever meeting Clara at all. As she learns of Elias’s dissociative identity disorder, and finds herself quickly entangled in both of Elias’s lives, Clara makes a decision that could change all of them forever. She is going to find out what the Salem Elias knows about her past, and how, even if it means playing along with his otherworldly quest. And she is going to find a way to keep the gentle Elias she’s beginning to love from ever disappearing again.

        Review

        I thought it was interesting that the author for this young adult novel chose a person with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) as a main character.  DID was previously referred to as multiple personality disorder or split personality.  It is a mental disorder on the dissociative spectrum that is characterized by having at least two distinct personalities emerging from one person.  In this book we get a look at the disorder from different perspectives. The author brings together Clara and Elias in an unlikely meeting and shows God’s hand in seemingly random acts.  The book is quite intense and has several twists and turns to keep you hopping.  I thought it read very well.  For a Christian book, it did have a few worldly things like characters swearing and dark thoughts.  So I would leave this book for the older teens.  All in all I think it was a good read.

        ~Reviewed by Julius M.

        Giveaway

        If you would like a chance to win a free copy of this book email us by the end of the month.  Be sure to include the name of the book in the body of the email along with your name and address

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          Nora Bonesteel’s Christmas Past

          Nora Bonesteel’s Christmas Past
          By Sharyn McCrumb
          Abingdon  
          Retail Price $24.99
          Amazon Price: $18.62

          Book Description: 

          When someone buys the old Honeycutt house, Nora Bonesteel is glad to see some life brought back to the old mansion, even if it is by summer people. But when they decide to stay through Christmas, they find more than old memories in the walls.On Christmas Eve, Sheriff Spencer Arrowood and Deputy Joe LeDonne find themselves on an unwelcome call to arrest an elderly man for a minor offense. As they attempt to do their duty, while doing the right thing for a neighbor, it begins to look like they may all spend Christmas away from home. 

          In a story of spirits, memories, and angels unaware, Sharyn McCrumb revisits her most loved characters who know there is more to this world than the eye can see, especially at Christmastime.

          Review

           

          During the holidays I am a voracious reader and I like to find special holiday reads to make the season brighter. I took a gamble on this book as I have never read the author before, but the title and cover caught my eye so I decided to give it a try.  I am so glad I did!   Imagine my happiness when the book turned out to be a wonderful heartwarming story that makes you feel all warm and toasty inside!  It was a sweet holiday story about what is important at Christmas. I will be recommending this one to my book club!

          ~Reviewed by Allie B.

           

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            All’s Fair in love and cupcakes

            All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes
            by Betsy St. Amant
            Zondervan
            Retail Price $12.99
            Amazon Price: $9.71

            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

            This was a sweet (pun intended) read that will entertain you and leave you with the “feel-good” warm fuzzies.  It not only kept me interested, but made me smile and laugh all the way through. While the romance was darling, I enjoyed the author portrayed the bake off, giving us a glimpse of what it is like to be in one of these contests.  All in all it was a quick, enjoyable read and great entertainment.

            ~Reviewed by Rosie B.

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              Where Treetops Glisten

              Where Treetops Glisten: Three Stories of Heartwarming Courage and Christmas Romance During World War II

              Where Treetops Glisten
              by Tricia Goyer, Cara Putman and Sarah Sundin
              Waterbrook
              Retail Price $14.99
              Amazon Price: $11.24

              Book Description: 

              The crunch of newly fallen snow, the weight of wartime

              Siblings forging new paths and finding love in three stories,
              filled with the wonder of Christmas

              Turn back the clock to a different time, listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow, as the realities of America’s involvement in the Second World War change the lives of the Turner family in Lafayette, Indiana.

              In Cara Putman’s White Christmas, Abigail Turner is holding down the Home Front as a college student and a part-time employee at a one-of-a-kind candy shop. Loss of a beau to the war has Abigail skittish about romantic entanglements—until a hard-working young man with a serious problem needs her help.

              Abigail’s brother Pete is a fighter pilot hero returned from the European Theater in Sarah Sundin’s I’ll Be Home for Christmas, trying to recapture the hope and peace his time at war has eroded. But when he encounters a precocious little girl in need of Pete’s friendship, can he convince her widowed mother that he’s no longer the bully she once knew?

              In Tricia Goyer’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Meredith Turner, “Merry” to those who know her best, is using her skills as a combat nurse on the frontline in the Netherlands. Halfway around the world from home, Merry never expects to face her deepest betrayal head on, but that’s precisely what God has in mind to redeem her broken heart.

              The Turner family believes in God’s providence during such a tumultuous time. Can they absorb the miracle of Christ’s birth and His plan for a future?

              Review

              This is a collection of Christmas novellas set in the WWII era.  Each story is well-researched so that it is authentic to the time period and all three are well-written and interesting.  This collection is a winner for anyone who loves novels set in WWII, have a touch of romance and is looking for a holiday read. Instead of separate novels, this is more like a collaboration as each story is related, as the main characters are all part of the Turner family.  While the storylines are separate, they interconnected and it makes reading each novella especially meaningful and interesting as you transition from one to another.

              ~Reviewed by Jan M.

               

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                Hidden Blessings

                Hidden BlessingsHidden Blessings
                by Kim Cash Tate
                Thomas Nelson
                Retail Price $15.99
                Amazon Price: $11.95

                Book Description: 

                Diagnosis: breast cancer. Prognosis: terminal. 

                Life: only beginning.

                Her diamond caught the sun’s rays and refracted glittered light about the room. She’d asked herself again and again: How could she be so blessed? Partner at a prestigious law firm, engaged to the man of her dreams . . . there was no doubt. God had smiled on Kendra Woods.

                But the moment Kendra is diagnosed with terminal breast cancer, her world collapses. Within days, Derek backs out of the wedding and the firm suggests a leave of absence during her treatment. Of all the roles Kendra has played over the years—daughter, sister, friend, student, attorney, bride-to-be—cancer patient seems the most unwelcome in the world.

                When her path crosses with youth pastor Lance Alexander, Kendra sees only the troublemaker she knew in high school. But Lance could prove an unexpected spark. In the darkness that covers her, will Kendra be able to embrace a glimmer of hope?

                Review

                This is a very moving story that will touch your very core.  Partly because this could happen in your own life.  You think you have everything you ever dreamed of and then, Bam!  It is all taken away.  The characters in this book are life-like and you go through their dark valleys with them until they come out the other side.  While this book has many sad elements, those are overridden by the hope and joy that the characters experience as God grows them during their trials.  The book flows very nicely and it was hard to put down.  It is a treasure.

                ~Reviewed by Janice B.

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                  In the Field of Grace

                  In the Field of Grace
                  By Tessa Afshar
                  River North Fiction
                  Retail Price $14.99
                  Amazon Price: $12.48

                  Book Description: 

                  Destitute, grief-stricken, and unwanted by the people of God, Ruth arrives in Israel with nothing to recommend her but Naomi’s, love. Her loftiest hope is to provide enough food to save Naomi and herself from starvation.

                  But God has other plans for her life. While everyone considers Ruth an outcast, she is astounded to find one of the most honored men of Judah showing her favor.  Long since a widower and determined to stay that way, Boaz is irresistibly drawn to the foreign woman with the haunted eyes. He tells himself he is only being kind to his Cousin Naomi’s chosen daughter when he goes out of his way to protect her from harm, but his heart knows better.

                  Based on the biblical account of Ruth, In the Field of Grace is the story of a love that ultimately changes the course of Israel’s destiny and the future of the whole world.

                  Review

                  A beautiful retelling of the story of Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz by author Tessa Afshar. Readers will be encouraged by the truth that God will faithfully provide for His children even when all hope seems lost.  The author paints beautiful word pictures in our minds as we read her work, bringing the story to life. Afshar certainly did her research! Through this story she shares her understanding of biblical culture and customs which more fully explains the impact of Ruth leaving her family to move back to Naomi’s home town. This enlightenment brings even more meaning to the story. It will inspire you to continue on in your life’s journey with a new perspective.

                  ~Reviewed by Joan S.

                   

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                    Rare Bird

                    Product Details

                     

                    Rare Bird
                    By Anna Whison-Donaldson
                    Convergent
                    Retail Price $15.99
                    Amazon Price: $12.60

                    Book Description: 

                    On the other side of heartbreak, a story of hope rises. 

                    On an ordinary September day, twelve-year-old Jack is swept away in a freak neighborhood flood. His parents and younger sister are left to wrestle with the awful questions: How could God let this happen? And, Can we ever be happy again? They each fall into the abyss of grief in different ways. And in the days and months to come, they each find their faltering way toward peace.In Rare Bird, Anna Whiston-Donaldson unfolds a mother’s story of loss that leads, in time, to enduring hope. “Anna’s storytelling,” says Glennon Doyle Melton, “is raw and real and intense and funny.”

                    With this unforgettable account of a family’s love and longing, Anna will draw you deeper into a divine goodness that keeps us—beyond all earthly circumstances—safe.

                    This is a book about facing impossible circumstances and wanting to turn back the clock. It is about the flicker of hope in realizing that in times of heartbreak, God is closer than your own skin. It is about discovering that you’re braver than you think.

                    Review

                    This is a great book of inspiration.  It is very thought provoking, and makes one wonder, is it a recount of a real event.  It is cleverly philosophical while being entertaining and enjoyable. It wrestles with some tough questions few dare to tackle about right, wrong, and the view you always had God. It doesn’t just tell you the author’s view, but leaves it open ended enough for the reader to journey with and wrestle alongside the main characters to their own conclusions. It is well written and a real page turner. This is one powerful read.

                    ~Reviewed by Rosie B.

                     

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