Penelope Wilcox is the author of Remember Me, the sixth book in The Hawk and Dove series where the reader is immersed into the life of William de Bulmer, a monk of the St. Alcuin who falls in love with Abbot John's sister Madeline and we open the book to find him finally confessing his love and true feelings for her. In this part of the series, we get a more in-depth look at what the life of a monk is like through the eyes of William and it's not always an easy one but this shows his true life struggles with despair, pride and humility pertaining to his feelings towards not only Madeline, but also toward the church and his devotion to serving God.William also has to come to terms with the loss of the abbey's money that he finds himself solely responsible. How does one deal with these feelings when he is supposed to be walking a narrow path serving God? Is he truly cut out for the life of a monk after all, or will he simply choose to deal with the consequences of his actions and leave his faith entirely for love? I would recommend picking up the first book in this series dealing with William de Bulmer to see why the character is at the place he is when this novel opens. I think it would provide a more solid foundation of the storyline and character development than to simply pick this one up and try to follow along through the tidbits you glean as you read through the book. The first book, The Hardest Thing To Do is followed by The Hour Before the Dawn and these book have been previously well received through other reviews.I received this book compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review and seeing the storyline develop for the character of William, I am hoping to go back and begin this series from the first book to get a better idea of where this novel falls into place. As a stand alone, I rate this one a 3 out of 5 stars but hope to increase this after reading the entire series.
"Ekaterinburg, Russia.I believe that the greatest secrets lie buried and only the dead speak the truth.And in a way that was how I came to be in the woods that morning when we found the bodies. It was raining in the City of Dead Souls, a heavy downpour that drenched the summer streets. I reviewed the thick clutch of pages, the results of my work for the last three months. This was my first visit to Ekaterinburg and our team came from all over: forensic archaeologists, scientists, and students from America, Britain, Germany and Italy; and of course, our host, Russia. The brief our our cooperative venture was simple - to dig in the forests for evidence of mass executions during the Russian Revolution's Red Terror.Many thousands perished, not least the Romanovs, the Russian royal family - the tsar and tsarina, and their four pretty daughters and their youngest son, fourteen-year-old Alexei - shot and bayoneted to death, their skulls smashed by rifle butts and their corpses doused in sulfuric acid.Something else I had counted on that summer's morning as we pulled up beside one of the tents. I came to these resin-scented woods to exhume the ghosts of the past. Yet absolutely nothing could have prepared me for the bizarre secret that I was to stumble upon when the frozen Siberian earth offered up it's dead.For with the dead came the truth.And with the truth came the first whispers of the most incredible story I have ever heard." (excerpt pg 1-4)In the latest novel from Glenn Meade, The Romanov Conspiracy, he once again takes his readers on an explosive investigation and historical fiction into the background of one of the most unsolved cases still haunting the history books today. Based on partial truth mixed with fiction to complete this novel, the answers using long-lost clues may yet reveal an intricate conspiracy, one that may well answer the twentieth century's most enduring mystery. But as to which part is truth and which part is fiction, the author leaves that up to the reader to decide.I received The Romanov Conspiracy by Glenn Meade compliments of Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster for my own personal honest review. This being my second novel from Glenn Meade, the first being The Second Messiah, I knew I would really enjoy this one as well. Glenn is articulate in his fact findings so as to keep his readers as close to the actual events as much as possible. The writing is sound, engaging and guaranteed to keep you turning pages as fast as you can read. I once again rate this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars. Not knowing much about the Russian history surrounding the disappearances of the Romanov's I found this one an exceptional novel.
What would you do if you arrived in town heading for your hotel and you got lost? What if you wound up at a busy intersection facing a one way street and you would be going in the wrong direction if you went through it? What if you decided instead of taking the wrong way onto a dead end street and turned left instead on a red light and suddenly found yourself with flashing red and blue lights in your rear view mirror of your rental vehicle? What if the police officer pulled you over and instead of simply listening to your story, wrote you a ticket not only for running a red light, driving without insurance and driving the wrong way on a one way street? What would you do?I think you'd probably wonder just where the hidden cameras were or if you were having a bad dream and kept wondering when you were going to wake up right?What if it only got worse, that instead of merely accepting the ticket, you decided to argue with the cop because you didn't really do any of those things except maybe the red light issue. So now Officer Martinez asks you to get out of the car and tells you that you're under arrest for obstructing an officer from doing his job and now the entire police force shows up. After a few minutes, they decide that perhaps they have been a bit too harsh with you and offer to give you just the red light ticket after all and all the police buddies leave. Whew, right? You'd be glad to sign that one and get on your merry way, but then a car pulls up and shoots the police officer point blank and leaves him dead. Now what would you do? You know all those local police boys know that the only person Officer Martinez was with was you and you were a bit upset by all this. Would you call 911 or would you flee?Well now you are in the shoes of Dr. Henry Steadman, a local plastic surgeon who decided to do both and is now on the run from the cops and his life will only grow more interesting in the latest novel by Andrew Gross, 15 Seconds!!! This is a heart-stopping, edge of your seat thrill ride from the very first page and one that you won't be able to put down until you finish your final page.I received 15 Seconds by Andrew Gross compliments of TLC Book Tours and William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review. I have to say I inhaled this one. I was turning pages as fast as I could read to see what could possibly happen to Dr. Steadman and how was he going to deal with being framed after killing a local police officer. Now the man hunt is on and what you and Dr. Steadman will want to know is who it is and why is this all happening? A truly exciting suspense filled book at weighs in at a perfect 5 out of 5 stars. There is some profanity in the book in regards to a couple of the characters in the book that he encounters but overall a great novel!!!
I initially jumped at the idea of reading this book, based on this synopsis from the back cover, " Lonely and bored, Tamara's sole diversion is a traveling library. There she finds a large leather bound book with a gold clasp and padlock, but no author name or title. Intrigued she pries open the lock, and what she finds takes her breath away - for what is written inside is not only impossible and magical...it's her future." Sounds like a perfect book to me. What I discovered however lacked the motivation to get me through reading one boring page after another.So many times, I set this one aside trying to find a reason to pick it up and finish it, much like a meal I know I should eat, but because it lacks in flavor, I find it difficult to attempt a second time. However, pushing through each chapter was lacking in what drives a reader to continue reading. I found it lacked in virtually every area.The book begins with the suicide of Tamara Goodwin's father who left the father piled in debt and now is being forced out of their home when it's foreclosed on. Rather than face his responsibilities, he took his own life, leaving Tamara and her mother, who lived in an opulent and luxurious lifestyle now forced to living with her aunt and uncle who don't seem to care much other than it's their duty to take family in. Her Uncle speaks in mucus snorts, nods and grunts and her Aunt is so completely consumed in her OCD world, that Tamara is forced to find something to do outside of the home. She is snobby, spoiled and is very vocal on her displeasure with how her life turned out. Your typical spoiled rich girl losses everything and now has to deal with life, type of story.Her mother is consumed with despair at losing her husband, unbelief that he left them destitute and is now residing with her family to make ends meet. She doesn't seem to care that she still has a daughter who needs her care other than finding them a place to live. Tamara's reckless lifestyle before all this happened with promiscuous sexual encounters, drinking and party's with her rich and wealth friends, made me want to leave this book sitting on the nearest counter and hope never to pick it up again. The only good thing about this particular book was it did end. However that being said, there are some readers that would probably enjoy this book, but for me, this one did not appeal to the book lover in me. I was hoping for more, considering I did enjoy this author's novel, P.S. I Love You but it wasn't something I enjoyed at all.I received The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review and I'd have to rate this one a 1 out of 5 stars based on my own personal standards listed on my book review criteria. Readers may be warned that this book does contains strong language and sexual content. I would also caution you that you might want to check out other reviews before making a decision to read this book. Remember that not all books appeal to all types of readers and it's hard when I have to make a tough decision like this to write an honest review based solely on my own personal opinion of what I thought of the novel.
Shipshewana, Indiana is about to be involved once more in a mystery that will rock the entire town and change people's lives forever. When Deborah and Esther along with their younger children, stop just outside of the Fisher farm to pick some flowers, they find a body of a young girl floating face down in the pond. Not knowing who she is, Deborah runs to call for help. As they wait for the police to show up, Reuben Fisher and Deborah wonder just who the girl is. It seems as though she isn't from around here based on the details in her Amish attire.When the county sheriff, Shane Black arrives on scene, Deborah and Esther cringe based on their previous encounters with the sheriff involving other murders involving them both. Seems like murder just follows them around. However when the sheriff begins to question Reuben, he maintains his silence and refuses to answer. Is it possible he knows more than he's willing to say and that leads Shane Black to believe that Reuben might be the murderer. When a search reveals blood inside the Fisher's family home, Shane has no other choice but to arrest Reuben.Esther Zook believed that God finally was blessing her life with a new future until her fiance's cousin, Reuben is arrested. Just two weeks from her wedding she now feels that Tobias will put it on hold while he attempts to figure out what happened at the farm and why Reuben refuses to talk. Unless he does, he will be sentenced for murder and spend the rest of his life in jail.Deborah believes that there is more to this story that just what the evidence is pointing to, so she begins to investigate alongside the local reporter from the Gazette, Trent McCallister to show the town that Reuben is innocent and for her best friend, Esther to finally have the happiness she truly deserves after the death of her husband, two years earlier.I received A Perfect Square by Vannetta Chapman compliments of Zondervan Publishers and Net Galley for my honest review. This is a different take on your standard Amish novels and deals with both the English and Amish working together to figure out just who murdered the girl in the pond and who she is. It appeals to lovers of both Amish Fiction and Crime/Mystery genres and involves a couple of different plots buried withing the pages of this book. I would rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars and it does have a great moral lesson to be gleaned by the end. This is the sequel to Falling to Pieces but can be read as a stand alone!
This book is the epic conclusion to the Chiveis Trilogy and if you haven't read the first two books in the series, I would highly recommend doing so before picking this one up. It's like reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy and beginning with the Return of the King, you have to struggle a bit to understand it but you would enjoy it more to read it from the beginning to understand where our main characters Teofil and Anastasia are at during this leg of the story.Overall, I really enjoy this genre of Christian books, much like those who enjoy The Chronicle of Narnia or The Lord of the Rings will enjoy this series as well from author Bryan M. Litfin. This book is based on a post-nuclear earth where everything has been destroyed. All modern technology is gone and the world is forced back into a medieval age where horses, swords and bows and arrow are required to survive.It's almost like it's before the world was created but it is based in the future. Teo and Ana are searching for information on the god, Deus, since very little information has been written on him. This is basically the God of our time, when they met with a man named Popa of Roma who has a version of the book known as the Old Testament but what is missing is the New Testament. However when this gets destroyed, a battle begins between those who want to keep that knowledge a secret and those who want to discover what they are trying to hide. In order to do that, they must figure out what was in the missing text and how that may impact the world they are trying to save.I received The Kingdom by Bryan M. Litfin compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review and have to say, I enjoyed this one more than the first two. It was an incredible conclusion to this series and I can't wait to read more from Bryan in the future. He really creates characters that the readers can relate to and it's nice to know that there are more Christian alternatives for readers that enjoy this type of fantasy fiction. I would rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars!
This is not your Disney water color fairy tale, but something much darker along the lines of the Grimm fairy tales when you open the cover of Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling by Michael Boccacino. You are immediately taken back to the Victorian age and the writing is unremarkable and polished as the writer takes you back to a sinister event, the piercing scream of a women in the dark of night. Charlotte Markham has awakened from a bizarre dream with her dead parents and a Christmas ball, not knowing if the scream she has heard is real or not. As she begins investigating the house at night, she is called downstairs by the staff and learns that Nanny Prum has been violently murdered in the forest. When they question the Constable Brickner's findings he truly believes no man is capable of this act and resolves the answer to an animal killing her. However, Charlotte's friend Suzanna witnessed a man in black hovering over the body and believes he is the one who committed the murder.It seems that Charlotte has a bit of history with the man in black who appears whenever death has been near, first with her father, then with her late husband Jonathan and now the sighting of him near Nanny Prum's body. Hired as a governess to work for Mr. Darrow, who has also lost his wife, Lily, Charlotte now assumes the role of carrying for the young children, Paul and James since Nanny Prum's death. Charlotte is warned by the housekeeper, Mrs. Norman that she tried to warn Nanny Prum of her fate and now warns her that she must be watchful and keep her eyes open as well, but offers no explanation as to why. It seems that death is watching over the house of Everton and with it keeping those inside bound to a half life, one between the living and mourning over the loss of those who have died.One afternoon during a worrisome day of teaching, Charlotte invites to boys to take to drawing or writing prose about one of their dreams which provides her an insight she never truly imagined before. James, the youngest, draws a picture of the Spider Queen whom he tells Charlotte, lives under his bed eating goblins that would seek to torment him. When she inquires that that should be a good thing, he replies, that she gets mad at him. When she pushes even further, he tells her that he is gathering parts of her silver strands of web to save his mother.Paul, the oldest, explains that his drawing is of a map showing the forest at the edge of their property. Beyond that lies an orchard and a house with he believes his mother waits for them. Charlotte realizes that both of these boys are still dealing with the death of their mother in remarkably different ways and when challenged by James to follow the map, she doesn't see any harm in showing them that dreams don't bring back the dead. Until as they begin to follow the map beyond the forest, where a misty fog lies that blocks out the sun, an orchard and The House of Darkling await them all.I received Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling by Michael Boccacino compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review. This is a dark fictional book where the worlds of life and death literally lay buried in the fog and where the middle ground between the two world lies ripe for a war for human souls. I love the writing style of Michael Boccacino who has used his own experiences with the death of his mother and the way he dealt with the grief as his inspiration for the writing of this novel. I rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars and can't wait to read more books from him in the near future.
Take four women who are some of the best authors of Christian Fiction, and have them collaborate and design four unique characters, each with a bit of their own personalities, create a storyline and a place and put it all together and you have the makings of the novel, Smitten. It was written by Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt and Denise Hunter with each of them writing a specific chapter geared around the small town of Smitten, Vermont, who has come under hard economic times. Faced with the mill closing which employs 500 people, the town rallies around the idea of creating a play on the word of their town's name, Smitten, which they believe implies the feeling of love.Their idea is to create a tourist town that will draw people to it, honeymooners, lovers, people celebrating such milestones as weddings and anniversary's and those simply looking to find love to the town of Smitten. Most of the town is excited about the prospects this could mean for new business opportunities but also a great place to call home. However when Carson Smitten hears about the idea, he is greatly opposed and thinks there is a better way, but he can't quite come up with one that will work fast enough and slowly the town's residents begin to warm his heart up to the idea.In the first installment of the book, "Natalie: Birthday Wishes" by Colleen Coble takes the story first when the idea is presented to the town council. Natalie Mansfield, is the owner of Mountain Perks, and who is also raising her niece Mia, now 5, since her mother, Lisa abandoned her and left town. Rumors circulate that Carson Smitten is the father, although he denies ever being with Lisa long enough for that to happen, but Natalie can't help but wonder why he won't subject himself to a paternity test to prove it. While working together to find ways to remodel the town for the new look of love, she finds herself working closely with Carson to help renovate his fishing cabins which remain seriously outdated and less than booked for the season. Natalie learns that Carson's brother has a great idea to help kick start the town's new launch and it may boost more love in the town than anyone recognized.In the second installment of the book, "Julia: Small Town, Big Dreams" by Kristin Billerbeck, the emerging story of the character of Julia we caught a glimpse of earlier in the book continues to grow with her story as one of Natalie's closest friends. Julia Bourne is trying to do her part with the town of Smitten to redefine itself as a romantic destination and desires to open a upscale spa. Since leaving New York, she reaches out to contact Devlin Stovich, a successful New York spa owner and someone who has the money she needs to invest in her idea. When he agrees to come to Smitten, he finds the location of Smitten Grill, a former restaurant geared to the logging industry as the perfect location that now lies abandoned and vacant. However upon closer inspection they both learn that the owner, Zak Grant has ideas of his own on how to renovate the space. Will they be able to work together for the good of the town or will Julia be sent back to New York instead?In the third installment of the book, "Shelby: You've Got A Friend" by Diann Hunt, we meet the third in this group of 4 best friends, Shelby Evans who arrives to her home in Smitten and meets the local fire department there to put out a fire in her Victorian Home. Nick Majors, a volunteer fireman stops her from entering along with her Shih-poo, Penelope until it is safe to go inside. Shelby was using the downstairs for Classes for Social Graces, a program to help young girls become ladies while she lived upstairs. She learns through Nick, that she is responsible for leaving a glue gun unattended and apparently there are more that just sparks flying between the two of them. Will romance be fanned into flames or will they simply be smitten with one another but remain friends?In the final installment of the book, "Reese: All Along" by Denise Hunter, we get the opportunity to meet Reese Mackenzie, the local girl who is your all around sports enthusiast who is trying to launch her own business of opening a sporting goods store and is working with her friend, Griffin Parker. What makes this difficult for Reese is that the whole town is rallying around recreating their town and making it the newest romantic destination to compare with the Poconos but in addition to this is the celebrity wedding to their town's newest country star, Sawyer Smitten, Reese's former boyfriend, who is planning on using the town to host his own wedding. Will Reese be able to define her own feelings for Sawyer or is she about to be smitten with someone from her past instead?I received Smitten by these amazing and talented authors compliments of Thomas Nelson and Net Galley for my honest review. I really enjoyed these individual but connected mini romances found inside the cover of this book. You truly feel like you're getting 4 books in 1 and this is one of the reasons I rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars. This novel is geared to the hopeful romantic in all of us.
Marc Royce has been hired as the new supply officer employed by Lodestone, a US company contracted to bring in emergency supplies and do so for a profit in Africa for the UN. A volcano near the border between Kenya and Uganda, that has been dormant for centuries has erupted at the base of Mount Elgon and the destination for aid is in the city of Kitale.Lodestone had recently become one of the largest suppliers of humanitarian equipment in Africa. Theirs was a specialty service. Their clients included every major aid agency, along with the United Nations. Whenever and wherever a crisis erupted, the agencies turned to firms like Marc's to deliver emergency supplies, and do so fast.But there was a problem. One so large it had rung alarm bells eight thousand miles away. Which was why Marc had been brought in. An outsider who some thought had no chance of success and even less of survival. Before departing for Nairobi, Marc had been repeatedly warned of unseen foes who would make it there business to assure he never made it back alive. Marc had responded that he would have had it no other way. Marc wondered at his habit of landing in impossible situations.He learns from Kitra Korban, a nurse rendering aid, that her brother, Serge, a medical technician is believed to have been abducted and believes that Lodestone might be a possible connection in his disappearance. They both begin to believe that whatever Lodestone is hiding, they value it far more than human life. But one of the tribal elders, Phillip believes that Marc Royce is the answer to a long awaited dream he has of saving this land and the people in it.Davis Bunn once again brings his readers in for a heart-stopping, action-packed suspense novel, Rare Earth, where they are reunited with Marc Royce, who is working undercover from the State Department to discover what it is the Lodestone is hiding and he soon realizes, that this might be a mission he might not make it back from. It appears he is not the only one, who believes this may in fact, be his last mission and some with stop at nothing to make sure that's exactly what happens.I received Rare Earth compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and Bethany House Publishers for my honest review. Having read a Lion of Babylon, the first book in the series of Davis Bunn's novel's featuring the character of Marc Royce, readers will not be disappointed. You can pick this one up as a stand alone, but once you read this one, you'll want the rest! I rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars and love how well Davis puts his character in the heart of the action and truly makes him believable. He's not invincible, and is flawed and that is one of the reasons this book works so well for me. I can't wait to see more of Davis Bunn's novels in the future.
Chris Buckley is looking for answers but it seems like he doesn't know quite whom he can trust anymore. The one person who meant the world to him has been murdered and his mom seems to be in a perpetual drunken state all the time. Now that he finds himself back in high school again, he reaches out to the only three friends he had left, but he can't find Rachel. She doesn't seem to be in school any longer and Poe, refuses to acknowledge him except for angry outbursts. Relying on the only friend left, he meets with Newt over lunch. But all Newt will say to him is that lunch is the place for eating only.When Chris pushes him for more, Newt simply tells him to meet after school. When the boys arrive in Newts basement the only thing he tells Chris is that Rachel has moved away. He warns Chris that the less he is told, the less Newt knows. He also tells Chris that, "they have a way of making thing like this happen. People disappearing. People moving, People moving on. There are reasons I remain quiet and if I were you, I'd get as far away from this place as I could."But can Chris simply forget and walk away from the town of Solitary? Can he let go of the murder of Jocelyn and not do anything, tell anyone? And just what if he does? Will he disappear or will he move on?In the chilling sequel to Solitary by Travis Thrasher, the reader is brought back with the aftermath of what happened in the deep dark forest with Jocelyn and the cult that murdered her. There appears to be something happening in this Zombie-like town but Chris isn't sure who he can trust any longer. When an encounter with a man who claims he is Chris's cousin Jared who is searching for his father Robert who has gone missing, he isn't sure what is real any longer. Is Jared someone he can truly trust. He tells him that his mother is part of what the town is hiding and that knowing just who he can trust will make the difference between choosing light or darkness in the battle for his own soul.I received Gravestone as a personal purchase to continue in series of Travis Thrasher's Solitary Tales. I enjoyed Solitary so much I had to see where the story picked up with Chris on the verge of wondering just what is going on and how much of it is crazy and how much of it is a chilling reality that the town wants to remain a secret. What will it cost for Chris to solve the mystery? You'll have to pick this one up to find out, but I would advise reading book 1 in the series first, to gain an understanding of the darkness keeping this town in secrecy! This one rates a 5 out of 5 stars and I can't wait to review the 3rd book in the series, Temptation!