Monday, August 29, 2016

Free ebook: "Spellbound: The Paranormal Seduction of Today's Kids" by Montenegro

Spellbound: The Paranormal Seduction of Today's Kids - eBook

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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Entertaining and convicting: "A Heart Most Certain (Teaville Moral Society Book #1)" by Melissa Jagears

Cover Art

about the book....

Lydia King knows what it's like to be in need, so she joins the Teaville Moral Society hoping to help the town's poor. But with her father's debts increasing by the day and her mother growing sicker by the week, she wonders how long it will be until she ends up in the poorhouse herself. Her best chance at a financially secure future is to impress the politician courting her, and it certainly doesn't hurt that his mother is the moral society's president. Lydia's first task as a moral society member--to obtain a donation from Nicholas Lowe, the wealthiest man in town--seems easy . . . until the man flat-out refuses.

Despite appearances, Nicholas wants to help others but prefers to do it his own way, keeping his charity private. When Lydia proves persistent, they agree to a bargain, though Nicholas has a few surprises up his sleeve. Neither foresees the harrowing complications that will arise from working together, and when town secrets are brought to light, this unlikely pair must decide where their beliefs--and hearts--truly align.

my review....

It is not often that I read a historical fiction novel where, not only do I enjoy being entertained, but I find myself to be utterly convicted by what I am reading at the same time! Such is the case with "A Heart Most Certain", a book where the characters take the expected dance towards affection and love, but in a utterly unique way. Lydia and Nicholas are two strong-willed characters who are stuck in their view of what life - and God - has to offer them - until they meet each other that is! The author does a great job at fleshing out these characters, flaws and all, and allowing them to each experience change in the course of the novel. As Lydia is pushed out of her comfort zone to encounter prostitutes and their children, she finds her worldview forced completely off kilter as the prejudices she has held begin to crumble. The compassion that she begins to experience was inspiring, and I found myself shifting uncomfortably in my chair while reading, as I considered whether I tangibly show the love of God in the same sort of ways that Nicholas, and later Lydia, do. It is so much easier to show love and compassion to those who run in the same socials circles as us, but as Lydia finds out, it is all the harder when you are confronted with the dark side of humanity. And yet it is in those dark places that Jesus' light can shine all the brighter, and I really appreciate how the author brings this truth to light. The author weaves some danger and intrigue into the mix of this story as well, and though I didn't always approve of Lydia's actions, I can certainly understand them.

The first book in the Teaville Moral Society series offers up a solid start to what is sure to be an intriguing series of historical novels. I have no doubt that those readers who love a good historical fiction book will find their time well-spent with "A Heart Most Certain". I award this book 4 out of 5 stars.
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.

 about the author....

Melissa Jagears

Melissa Jagears, an ESL teacher by trade and the author of A Bride for KeepsA Bride in Store,and A Bride at Last, is a stay-at-home mother on a tiny Kansas farm with a fixer-upper house. She's a member of ACFW and CROWN fiction marketing, and her passion is to help Christian believers mature in their faith and judge rightly. Find her online at

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Kept the pages turning: "When Death Draws Near" by Carrie Stuart Parks

When Death Draws Near

about the book...

Death has always been part of Gwen Marcey’s job. But when faced with her own mortality, everything takes on a different hue.
Forensic artist Gwen Marcey is between jobs and homes when she accepts temporary work in Pikeville, Kentucky. The Eastern Kentucky town, located deep in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, has been plagued by a serial rapist and a series of unexplained deaths. Before Gwen can develop a composite drawing, the latest witness vanishes, just like all the previous victims.
Turning her attention to sketching the face of an unidentified body, she discovers a link between his death and a Pentecostal serpent-handling church. Serpent-handling is illegal in Kentucky, and the churches have gone underground to avoid the authorities and continue to worship as they believe. Gwen is offered a handsome reward to infiltrate the renegade members, a reward she desperately needs as it seems her breast cancer has returned.
Joined by her digitally-obsessed, Generation Z daughter, Gwen goes undercover to a nineteenth century revival, planning to draw the faces of the snake handlers so they can be identified and arrested. Instead she uncovers a murderous plot and a festering evil.
my review...

Carrie Stuart Parks offers up another enjoyable novel with her latest, "When Death Draws Near", a book that kept me turning the pages from start to finish. I have greatly enjoyed watching Gwen in her job of forensic artist in the first two instalments in the series, so I was glad to see her return in a whole different kind of mystery as she goes undercover with a group of snake handlers! Gwen is one of those characters who you just can't get enough of, as she shows herself to be so strong in the face of challenges that may force someone else into just giving up. And I must confess to a bit of character envy, because I wish I could draw with the same skill that Gwen employs in her work with her fantastic memory for faces and her ability to bring them to life. Parks has definitely ratcheted up the "chill factor" in this suspense novel to a whole new level, and I was kept guessing throughout the book trying to figure out who was who and what, exactly, was going on. My only hesitation about the novel is that Gwen ends up choosing to take her daughter undercover with her into a cult where danger abounds. As a parent myself I simply can't imagine doing so, no matter how much I felt I had no other choice. At the same time, though, she shows us that we should never judge people just by what we think we know about them, as readers discover that the members of the cult are all too human, wrestling with their fears and doubts, just like any of us can do.

The Gwen Marcey series continues to fascinate me with its unique characters and well-written plots. "When Death Draws Near" is another solid addition to the series and one I am sure readers who enjoy suspense will be eager to add to their collection. I award this book a rating of 4 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher and the Litfuse Publicity Group, for the purposes of this unbiased review.

about the author...

Carrie Stuart Parks
Carrie Stuart Parks is a Christy finalist as well as a Carol award-winning author. She has won numerous awards for her fine art as well. An internationally known forensic artist, she travels with her husband, Rick, across the US and Canada teaching courses in forensic art to law enforcement professionals. The author/illustrator of numerous books on drawing and painting, Carrie continues to create dramatic watercolors from her studio in the mountains of Idaho.
Find out more about Carrie Stuart at


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Friday, August 19, 2016

Another satisfying novel from Kellie Coates Gilbert: "What Matters Most"

Cover Art

about the book....

Just when she can't take it anymore, Leta finally catches a break. But when things seem too good to be true, they often are.

Finding her dream job went right out the window when Leta Breckenridge had to quit school to help care for her mother suffering from dementia. When a delinquent account may force her mother into a less desirable facility, Leta is thrilled to land a high-paying job at an Austin public relations firm. But her seemingly ideal job turns into a nightmare when she learns the firm is a front for a political opposition organization--and that the research she's been collecting will be used against Nathan Emerson, the handsome senator she's swiftly falling in love with.

Nathan is a rising political star being pressured to run a bid to unseat the current governor of Texas. He's already in a relationship with a woman much better suited to be a politician's wife, but he's never met anyone like Leta. Could this feisty woman hold the key to his heart--and his future?

With emotional depth and keen insight into what drives us, Kellie Coates Gilbert offers a salient story that calls us to consider what we value most in this life.

my review....

"What Matters Most" may be my most favourite Kellie Coates Gilbert novel yet - and since I have enjoyed each one of her books so far, that is saying something. What I most loved about the story is the central character of Leta, as she has sacrificed so much in her life to provide love and care for her mother, who has dementia. You just can't help but like a person like that! Her vulnerable financial state makes her a perfect pawn, and yet I admired that she stuck to her values and really was a true hero in the story. The plot is chock full of twists and turns and the result is a gripping story that I didn't want to put down for a single moment. The romance that blossoms between Leta and Nathan is truly a unique one, as at first Nathan is already in a relationship. Also, as a senator there is a lot of pressure from his family, and society, to be with someone in a similar social class, and Leta seems nowhere near that. I love that Gilbert doesn't allow her characters to dip their toes into the moral cesspool that they could have, though I don't want to give the story away so that's all I will say. Rather, they maintain their integrity and make some difficult decisions along the way. That makes the ending all the sweeter! I have no doubt that readers will really relate to many of the situations these characters find themselves in, from caring for ageing parents, to financial struggles, to finding themselves facing a variety of ethically difficult decisions. All of these issues are packaged in an interesting, well-plotted novel that I am sure fans of Gilbert will love.

Contemporary fiction doesn't get better than this! I really enjoyed Kellie Coates Gilbert's newest fiction offering, and award it a high rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.
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.

 about the author....

Kellie Coates Gilbert

Kellie Coates Gilbert is a former legal investigator and trial paralegal, and the author of A Woman of Fortune and Where Rivers Part. Gilbert crafts her emotionally charged stories about women in life-changing circumstances in Dallas, Texas, where she lives with her husband. Learn more at

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