Dec 302012
 

Department Thirteen by James Houston Turner

Paperback: 314 pages
Publisher: Comfort Publishing (September 15, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1936695421
ISBN-13: 978-1936695423

Department Thirteen – the assassination and sabotage unit of the KGB – never officially existed, but retired KGB colonel Aleksandr Talanov knows that it did. It s but one of the many secrets he s worked hard to forget.
Now living in Australia, Talanov and dozens of dinner guests are suddenly the target of assassins. Talanov and his wife are mistakenly spared, but soon find themselves running for their lives, hunted by the killers, blamed by the police, increasingly pivotal to an invisible network of death about which they know nothing. But someone thinks they know.

For in 1983, a second Department Thirteen was created, and Talanov discovers they have but one purpose: to kill him, whatever the cost.

Department Thirteen has been honored as a Winner in the “Fiction: Thriller/Adventure” category of the USA Best Books 2011 Awards and a Gold Medal from the 2012 Independent Publisher Book Awards for best Suspense/Thriller of the year!

This was a faced paced book with lots of twists and turns that kept me wanting to read. The characters were all well written and you either like them or you don’t. There was a lot of action and it reminded me of a James Bond movie. I’m not crazy about JB, but loved Talanov. He was unstoppable, and there was nothing I didn’t like about him.

This is the first book I’ve read that had the KGB in the story line, and I loved reading about their involvement with Talanov. It added so much to the book.

If you’re looking for an action book, read this! Very good!

 Posted by at 3:59 PM
Nov 192012
 

One Moment In Time by Glenn Snyder

Paperback: 270 pages
Publisher: Bear Moose Press (February 23, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0615546609
ISBN-13: 978-0615546605

On a stormy November evening, Jack Barrett had plans to treat his best friend Travis to a night of fine dining and jazz. As they neared their destination, a truck ran a red light, plowing through Jack’s car, and changing his life forever. Jack found a new outlook on life, and took on adventures that made him one of the world’s most admired people. With each step, Jack grew as a person and a leader; piecing together a family from different corners of the world, while risking himself and his family to save others. Jack’s impact on the world was like no other, but in the end, when the lights and the cameras were gone, what was the most important moment in his time here?
Prepare yourself for a surprising ending that questions the very nature between life and death, reality and dream.

Wow! This was a brilliantly written book. I loved reading about Jack’s life. He was such a well written, full character. It seemed he was the epitome of “The Golden Boy”. The things he accomplished were very inspiring. He never took anything for granted, he had a great sense of humor, could be a take charge kind of man, gave everything he did 100%, and had a fierce love for life and those he chose to spend his life with. I loved the relationship Jack had with Maggy, and the love they both had for Ana.

The author wrote with such a clearness that I could see the different places Jack went as if I was looking at a photo.  All the other characters were as well written as Jack was, and they were characters I won’t forget for quite a while.

As I was reading, I kept thinking that we all need to be a bit more like Jack. The book is only 270 pages, which is my kind of book, and even though it wasn’t my usual mystery/thriller, it did keep me interested and I read it rather quickly. It was just plain interesting. I wanted to see what Jack did next.

I don’t know what else I can say without giving something away, but I will say the ending blew me away!! I was not expecting it to end that way at all, and it came as quite a surprise, and am still thinking about it.

I loved this book and can’t wait to read the next one  from this author.

 

About the Author:
Glenn Snyder grew up in Marin County, a few miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco. After graduating from UCLA, Glenn worked as a finance professional. In 2001, Glenn earned his MBA from the University of San Francisco. For five years, Glenn taught Finance at San Francisco State University, while he also wrote the first draft of One Moment in Time, which he published in May 2011. Glenn is currently a Finance Director and is working on his second novel.

Visit One Moment In Time to find out more.
One Moment In Time on Facebook
Glenn Snyder on Twitter

Thanks to Teddy & Premier Virtual Author Book Tours for this review copy.

 Posted by at 12:00 AM
Nov 012012
 

Camp

Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Sky Pony Press; 1 edition (June 15, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616086572
ISBN-13: 978-1616086572

Every secret has a price.For most girls, sleepaway camp is great fun. But for Amy Becker, it’s a nightmare. Amy, whose home life is in turmoil, is sent to Camp Takawanda for Girls for the first time as a teenager. Although Amy swears she hates her German-immigrant mother, who is unduly harsh with Amy’s autistic younger brother, Amy is less than thrilled about going to camp. At Takawanda she is subjected to a humiliating “initiation” and relentless bullying by the ringleader of the senior campers. As she struggles to stop the mean girls from tormenting her, Amy becomes more confident. Then a cousin reveals dark secrets about Amy’s mother’s past, which sets in motion a tragic event that changes Amy and her family forever. Camp is a compelling coming-of-age novel about bullying, mothers and daughters, and the collateral damage of family secrets. It will resonate with a wide teenage readership. Camp will be a strong addition to school recommended reading and summer reading lists, and it is appropriate for anti-bullying programs. Mostly, though, Camp is a mother-daughter story for mothers and daughters to share.

There’s been so much publicity the last few months about bullying, I was really excited to read this book. I was never bullied and don’t remember anyone else being bullied in school. But that was a very different time.

This was an interesting book, the author did an amazing job of giving the reader a look into what it’s like to be the bully, and to be the one who is being bullied. Amy reacted like I assume most children being bullied do. They lose what confidence they had and become more introverted. Her abuser, Rory, was a troubled girl who couldn’t change her own horrible life, so she took out her frustration on anyone who was weaker than she was. She was a very good bully, she even bullied the adults. That’s what dumbfounded me. The adults seemed to cower when Rory was pulling her crap on them. What??? I just couldn’t wrap my brain around the fact that an ADULT would let a child speak to them the way Rory did. But, I’ve never known a child like Rory, so I guess I’m not a good judge. I just know for myself, I wouldn’t have just stood there letting her spout her mouth of and then just slink away. As for Robin, I still don’t know why she sided with Rory, Amy was her cousin after all. Amy’s mom Sonia was not very likable. On one hand I wanted to shake her and tell her how her treatment of her kids Charlie and Amy was affecting them, but on the other hand I wanted to hug her for all she’d been through. All these different characters made one incredibly interesting book. All the characters were alive and made you FEEL.

The book has many sides. Bullying, family relationsships and secrets, low self-esteem, trust and in the end, gaining emotional strength, bonding and forgiveness.

I loved this book and think it’s suitable for all ages. I also think it should be required reading in elementary schools, maybe it would prevent or stop a child from being a bully.

 Posted by at 4:13 PM
Oct 192012
 

The Road To Mercy by Kathy Harris

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Abingdon Press (September 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1426741936
ISBN-13: 978-1426741937

Tragedy, love, & secrets meet on a journey of faith.

Josh Harrison, a contemporary Christian singer, and his wife Bethany face a difficult decision that also tests their faith. A rupture in Beth’s carotid artery leaves her on the brink of death even as she’s pregnant with their first child. While Dr. Ben Abrams urges her to terminate the pregnancy to save her own life, she and Josh step out on faith and decide to carry the baby to full term.

During the next few months, Josh struggles with his faith, Beth hides a secret that may destroy their marriage. She also discovers a decades-old connection to Dr. Abrams that could change his life forever.

I really enjoyed this book. I loved the relationship of Josh and Beth. They deeply loved each other, but like us, had their moments of conflict. I thought it was a great first novel. It was well written and had an easy flow to the story that kept me wanting to know what was going to happen next. I loved how dedicated Alex was to Beth, and how Beth’s story tied in with Dr. Abram. Another positive aspect of the book was Beth and Josh’s faith. It was inspiring to read how Josh handled the tough situations concerning his career.

On the down side, I sometimes felt the author went a little overboard with Beth’s personality. At times she seemed…I don’t know exactly how to put it into words, she seemed almost childlike in the things she did and couldn’t do. Even in her condition, she should have been able to do things she struggled with.

My favorite character was Alex. I just loved her for doing all she could to help her friends, and was glad that she finally found what she didn’t even know she was looking for.

I’ll definitely be on the lookout for another book by Kathy Harris!

Meet The Author:
Kathy Harris has worked in the Nashville music industry for more than 30 years. She is a member of NARAS, the Country Music Association, the Academy of Country Music, and the Gospel Music Association. She is also a member of Middle Tennessee Christian Writers, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Women in Christian Media. She regularly hosts music and literary guests on her blog at www.DivineDetour.com. Her debut novel, The Road to Mercy, was released by Abingdon Press on September 1, 2012.

 

 Posted by at 12:00 AM
Oct 112012
 

Tears Water The Seeds of Hope by Kim Tews

Paperback: 232 pages
Publisher: CrossHouse Publishing (September 6, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 161315027X
ISBN-13: 978-1613150276

Tears Water the Seeds of Hope is the inspiring true story of a Midwest husband and wife that become disenchanted with the relentless pursuit of the American Dream and embark on a journey that spans six countries and redefines their values and lives. The story begins in a small town in Wisconsin and weaves its way through South and Central America as the couple gathers an army of supporters and establishes an organization to save the lives of children in the end stages of starvation in eastern Guatemala. The narrative is filled with action-packed adventure and heartwarming victories as the characters face incredible odds and seemingly hopeless situations, while hundreds of volunteers join mission teams to offer help and hope through the programs of the ministry. Readers of all ages will enjoy the roller-coaster ride of emotions-from laughter to tears to sheer joy-as they realize that ordinary people can make a difference one life at a time.

Read The 1st Chapter:

Chapter 1 – Wrecked for Life

The setting sun painted a backdrop of cotton candy pink clouds over the roadside bar and grill where we would soon hear our favorite acoustic guitar duo sing Jimmy Buffet songs. It was an idyllic Wisconsin summer night late in June of 2005. Under normal circumstances, I would have enjoyed the warm breeze and the glow of the festive colored tiki lights on the outdoor deck with the sense of carefree recreation that midwestern families enjoy when school is out and the days are longer. Randy shook his head, smiling as our two daughters took turns throwing harmless jabs at one another, each laughing hysterically at her own jokes. I felt as if I were watching the scene from a distance, fighting back tears as my mind returned to the children I had seen two days earlier in a squalid hospital in drought and famine-stricken eastern Guatemala—a scene that would change me forever and wreck me once and for all for the relentless pursuit of the American Dream. I was haunted by the forlorn faces of two children whose hopeless situation had laid the framework for the rest of my life.

The severely starved two-year-old boy was scarcely more than skin and bones. Hair was a luxury his body could not afford, as the nutrients available to him were barely enough to keep his vital organs functioning. His face was sunken and pale, the outline of his ribs and spine clearly visible through his thin layer of skin. He had been carried by his barefooted ten-year-old sister from El Volcancito, their remote mountain village several miles away, into the small town of Jocotan, in hopes that his life could be saved. The mother of the children was bedridden with a debilitating illness for which she could not afford treatment. My heart broke as much for the boy, barely hanging on and suffering miserably, as for the young girl, exhausted and saddled with the crushing responsibility of keeping her baby brother alive.

A frail little girl sat weeping on a tattered bench at the entrance to the facility, her body emaciated and her abdomen severely bloated, revealing the presence of parasites within her weak, trembling frame. She had been brought to the hospital for nutritional rehabilitation, and because she was four years old, and her mother had two smaller children to care for at home, she had been left alone. Lidia could not have understood why she had been left behind by her family in this unfamiliar place. She had been sitting on the bench since early morning waiting for them to return. In her hand she clutched what was probably her only toy, a comfort and reminder of home. The lump in my throat returned each time I recalled opening her tiny hand to find that she held a black plastic vulture.

Randy and I were married in May of 1993. During our early years together, we were blessed with two beautiful daughters and were pursuing careers in real estate, climbing the ranks among our colleagues in terms of sales volume. We purchased an enormous house on four acres, and although it was only four years old, we completely remodeled it to suit our tastes. With luxury vehicles and an ever-increasing income, we were living the American Dream. There was much to be thankful for, but something was missing.

Randy and I had both grown up near Madison, Wisconsin in middle class families, Randy’s Methodist and mine Catholic. We had attended Sunday services and believed in an all-powerful God, but faith and religion were not playing a major role in our adult lives. Having agreed as newlyweds to raise our family in faith, we dutifully attended services at a congregation near our home for seven years. But we eventually felt that we needed a change and in spring of 2000, we set out in search of a new church home. With no predetermined denomination in mind, we experienced a variety of church cultures, some too formal, some too weird, others seemingly insincere. We eventually stumbled across an Evangelical Free church on the west side of Madison, near our home in the suburb of Verona. I was surprised to find that instead of an organ and a choir, this church had a band that played upbeat contemporary Christian music on keyboards, guitars and drums. The young pastor spoke with passion, bringing the Bible to life by applying scripture to issues faced by the generations of the twenty-first century. It was at this church that our faith came alive.

Our new understanding of the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ and the resulting sense of love and gratitude we felt toward God, inevitably began to pose problems for us. We were embarrassed to invite our new Christian friends to our supersized home, and conflicts began to surface in our hearts about how our time and money were being spent. One of the many bedrooms in our home had been turned into my personal closet and was loaded with clothing and shoes, most of which I did not need. I had become so busy in my career as a Realtor that I began to feel like a gerbil on a wheel. My twelve-hour workdays did not leave room for the peace and joy I had heard should come with our newly authenticated Christian faith. One frantically busy day I decided to return phone calls while waiting in line for lunch at the McDonald’s drive through. When a voice came over the speaker saying, “Can I help you?”

I was so preoccupied that I mistook it for a phone call and said, “Hello, this is Kim Tews with the Tews Team Realtors”.

During the awkward silence that followed the kid must have been thinking, “Yeah, who cares? What do you want for lunch?”

That night I arrived home from work late in the evening to find our three-year-old daughter asleep on the couch clinging to a shirt I had worn the day before. When I asked Randy about the shirt he explained, “She said it smells like you, and she misses you.”

It was time for a change.

 

Kim and her husband Randy were realtors in Wisconsin who after a trip to Guatemala and seeing the need for water, medicine and food, decided to start the non profit organization Outreach For World Hope, which has saved the lives of many children.

This true life story is absolutely amazing!! It kept me up till the wee hours of the morning, I could not put it down. I loved it so much I kept saying to my husband, “Listen to this!!!”.

This is a story that will inspire you and make you want to do what you can to help the less fortunate. The author makes you see what she saw and feel what she felt. I could see the roads, mountain paths, children and extreme poverty. The book will make you feel compassion and sadness, but it will also make you laugh a time or two.

I think everyone would enjoy reading this book, and it would also make a great gift.

To enter the giveaway, GO HERE

 

Kim Tews was raised in Madison, Wisconsin and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, majoring in Economics. She and husband, Randy, pursued careers in real estate before beginning mission work together in Ecuador, South America in 2001. In 2005 they established the 501 (c) 3 non-profit Outreach for World Hope to save the lives of starving children in eastern Guatemala. The couple lives in Verona, Wisconsin with their three children, traveling back and forth to Guatemala frequently to facilitate the ongoing programs of Outreach for World Hope.

Amazon Page
Barnes and Noble Page
Link to Outreach For World Hope Author’s Webpage
Link to Book Page on Author’s Site
Facebook Page

 Posted by at 12:43 AM
Oct 092012
 

Dead Running by Cami Checketts

Paperback: 246 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 21, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1475166605
ISBN-13: 978-1475166606

Cassidy Christensen is running. Running from the mercenaries who killed her parents. Running from a scheming redhead intent on making her life miserable. Running from painful memories that sabotage her dreams of happiness. With two very tempting men competing for her attention, she hopes she’ll finally have someone to run to, but can she trust either of them? When secrets from her past threaten her family, Cassidy decides to stop running and fight for her future. A light-hearted suspense with a side of PG-rated romance, Dead Running will have you lacing up your running shoes.

Dead Running can make a claim not many mystery/thrillers can, and that is that it is also really funny. While Cassidy is training, she runs across quite a few characters that are, well…characters. Each of them have their own quirky personalities, and Cami Checketts did a great job of making them grow on you. Even the bad guys are interesting and humorous at times. And Cassidy gave them some great nicknames that made them so easy to follow. I never found myself thinking “which character is that?”.

There are so many options when it comes to who the bad guy(s) is, that I was a little shocked when the truth came out. I like that though, a book is no fun when you figure it out before you’re finished with it.

I loved Cassidy’s grandmother. She was fiesty, but very protective of the people she loved. In fact, I loved everything about the book. There was murder, romance, family bonds, 5K training, humor, good guys, bad guys and an ending that left room for a sequel.

What could be better than that?

If you haven’t read this book, go get it. Now!! Don’t walk…RUN!

 

About The Author:
Cami Checketts is an idealist who dreams of helping children around the world but can’t keep up with the four in her own home. Cami lives in a beautiful valley in Northern Utah where she enjoys running, biking, and swimming during the two months of the year it isn’t snowing.

Visit Cami

A portion of the proceeds from Cami’s books will be donated to The Child & Family Support Center. For more information on this worthy cause, please go to www.cachecfsc.org

 

 Posted by at 5:16 PM
Oct 052012
 

Glass Boys by Nicole Lundrigan

Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre; Reprint edition (July 24, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1553657977
ISBN-13: 978-1553657972

With vivid and unflinching prose, Nicole Lundrigan has created a riveting and deeply human saga of the persistence of evil and the depths and limits of love.

When Roy Trench is killed in a drunken prank gone wrong, his brother Lewis sees blood on the hands of the man responsible: the abusive alcoholic, Eli Fagan. Though the courts rule the death an accident, the event opens a seam of hate between the two families of Knife’s Point, Newfoundland.

Desperate to smother the painful past with love, Lewis marries Wilda, and the pleasure he takes in their two children — Melvin and Toby — recalls the happier days of his childhood with Roy. But as he watches his small family fracture, the darkness of the past begins to cloud the present, leading Lewis back to Eli Fagan — and his watchful stepson, Garrett Glass.

In the style of Newfoundland literature, established by Michael Crummey and Lisa Moore, Glass Boys is the haunting story of an unforgivable crime that brings two families to the brink.

A hauntingly vivid tale written in a Newfoundland accent, I found myself wishing for more lightness in this very dark book. The characters are all well written and very memorable.

This is a book that will stay with you long after you finish it. It’s a book I will probably read again.

I would recommend it to anyone who loves suspense, but be warned, this is definitely a hard read.

 Posted by at 12:10 AM
Oct 032012
 

Primal by Deborah Serra

Paperback: 222 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 10, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1478198036
ISBN-13: 978-1478198031

A family vacation to a Lake Superior fishing camp turns ugly when the camp is invaded by four heavily armed men running from the law. The Burne brothers do not realize that one of the campers, thirty-year-old Alison Kraft, was sick, and so, when they burst into the lodge and pulled all of the hostages together she was not among them.

Outside the lodge, in the darkness, Alison stands, paralyzed watching in the icy drench of the pounding rain. This gentle woman is left with only her wits, and the element of surprise, to battle for the life of her husband and her child. She is alone. She will win, or they will die.

What a great book! It’s scary, suspensfull and very thought provoking. It will keep you grab you and not let you go, even after you’ve read the last word.

This book is about something that every mother fears…her child in danger. It shows what lengths you would go to, to make sure your child is safe.

Much happens in this book and if you decide to read it, make sure you have first the time, and second won’t be interrupted. It’s hard to put down.

 Posted by at 12:06 AM
Sep 292012
 

A Wish After Midnight

A Wish After Midnight by Zetta Elliott

File Size: 392 KB
Print Length: 290 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0982555059
Publisher: AmazonEncore (February 16, 2010)

Genna is a fifteen-year-old girl who wants out of her tough Brooklyn neighborhood. But she gets more than she bargained for when a wish gone awry transports her back in time. Facing the perilous realities of Civil War–era Brooklyn, Genna must use all her wits to survive. In the tradition of Octavia Butler’s Kindred and Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, A Wish After Midnight is the affecting and inspiring tale of a fearless young woman’s fight to hold on to her individuality and her humanity in two different worlds.

Genna would love to change some things in her life. She lives in a tiny Brooklyn apt. with her mother and siblings, she’s afraid of all the crime in the neighborhood. She thinks she’s too dark, tall and smart, and she doesn’t really have any friends. She wishes her mother didn’t have to work so hard for so little money. She wishes she didn’t have to wear second hand clothes. She wants to do good in school so that she can go to college and be a psychiatrist. She wishes for a new life. And that’s what she gets.

One night her wish transports her from present day Brooklyn to Civil War era Brooklyn. And this new life is far worse than anything she went through before. Genna goes through so much all while trying to figure out how to get back to her present day life. Luckily for her, her boyfriend from her present life also got transported with her, and even though they landed in different places, they eventually meet up.

I loved Genna. She was smart and brave, and she didn’t waste time whining about her predicament. She stood strong and took things as the came and dealt with them surprisingly well, especially for someone her age. I wasn’t crazy about Judah though, he rubbed me the wrong way a lot.

The book dealt with how slaves and even free blacks were treated, and that was tough to read, but I know it was a very important part of the book.

The ending was left kind of open, so I’m hoping there will be a part two.

I read this book for the A More Diverse Universe challenge . If you’d like to check out more books posted for the challenge, go HERE

 Posted by at 12:09 AM
Sep 282012
 

 

How Far Is Heaven?: A Louise Golden Mystery by Laurie Hanan

Paperback: 238 pages
Publisher: Hoaka Moon Publishing (February 18, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0615588859
ISBN-13: 978-0615588858

Christmas is never easy for mail carriers. But for Louise Golden, the season of good cheer is about to become a nightmare. Exhausted after a long day of delivering mail in nasty weather, Louise is heading back to the station when, through the heavy rain, a ghost like figure appears in her headlights. Louise hits her brakes, but it’s too late. The girl is taken to the hospital, unconscious. Who is she? What was she doing in the middle of the road on a rainy night, dressed only in an oversized tee-shirt? Why hasn’t anyone reported her missing? When Jane Doe regains consciousness, she remembers nothing—not even her own name. Louise befriends the frightened girl, who then disappears. Louise is suspended from work during the accident investigation, and uses her time to search for the missing girl. Meanwhile, with the holiday in full swing around her, Louise is confronted with religious traditions she feels no connection to. And how in the world is she supposed to sort out her relationships with the four men in her life? Each of them seems almost right, and yet so completely wrong. Sexier and grittier than Almost Paradise, The second Louise Golden mystery takes the reader on a true Hawaiian roller coaster ride.

This is the second book in the Louise Golden Mystery series, and it’s just as good as the first book, Almost Paradise.  The action starts in the first paragraph and I was hooked instantly.

I like that we see some familiar characters, and we also meet some new ones. The new bad guys are seedier and more heartless, and there’s lots of action. The book delves into Louise’s personal life a bit more than the first book did, and I liked getting to know her better. I liked that she seemed more… womanly is the word I guess. She lets go a bit more in this book than she did in the first one. But she’s still one tough cookie with a strong determination to get to the bottom things, no matter who or what is in her way.

I absolutely love this series, and can’t wait for the next book to come out. You can read my review of the first book here.

Meet The Author:
Laurie grew up in the picturesque islands of the South Pacific. Her father pioneered air travel to many of the tiny islands, and Laurie often accompanied him on his flights. She moved to Seattle to study photography and dance at the University of Washington. While there, she discovered an interest in Jewish Studies, Hebrew, and Middle Eastern dance. She moved to Israel to pursue these subjects, earning her keep by working in the cotton fields of the Jezreel Valley. Laurie moved to London, then lived in several European countries, before returning to Israel. It was on this second trip to Israel that she met the love of her life. They eloped and were married in Cyprus. Laurie and her husband spent time exploring the Far East, before settling in Hawaii. Laurie had a career with the Postal Service, and raised three children. She retired in 2006 and started writing her Louise Golden mystery series. She also promotes animal rights and rescue, and practices yoga, meditation, and qi gong. Laurie lives on Oahu with her husband, two youngest children, a Westie and an alley cat.

 Posted by at 12:00 AM