Monday, 22 October 2012

Borders of the Heart


Back Cover

Every life has a turning point, where one choice changes everything. 

Once that line is crossed, there’s no going back.

J.D. Jessup finds his line in the desert near Tuscon, as far from his home as the moon.  He’s traded his guitar and the songs in his head for the daily grind of an organic farm – a mind-numbing existence that dulls the pain of his memories.

His boss has one rule:  if J.D. sees an illegal, call Border Patrol. 
But when an early morning ride along the fence line leads him to Maria, a beautiful young woman near death, J.D.’s heart pushes him toward another choice.  Longing to atone for the mistakes that drove him to the desert, J.D. Hides her and unleashes a chain of deadly events he could never have imagined.  Soon the two are running from a killer and struggling to stay alive.  As the secrets that haunt him collide with Maria’s past, J.D. realizes that saving her may be the only way to save himself.
Part thrill ride, part love story, Borders of the Heart is a tender yet gripping odyssey of hope.

Review

Borders of the Heart was an incredibly well-written novel.  I love Chris Fabry’s use of words in his descriptions.  He makes the scene come alive for readers, making one think you are seeing, touching, and experiencing the moment with the character.  One example of his great descriptions is found on the first page:

“Sweating in the stillness, lying on top of the old quilt given to him by Slocum’s wife, and straining to feel any air movement from the clacking metal fan he had found in the barn, he felt beads of perspiration run past his mouth and onto the dusty pillow.”

This novel grabbed me from the first page and didn’t let me go until I read the last word.  The plot had several twists and turns, but it is the characters that drive the story.  Both J.D. and Maria have inner demons they have to deal with, making them very real, very compelling characters to follow.

All in all, a great read!

Book Trailer


Click here to see author Q&A.


Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Monday, 15 October 2012

With Every Letter



Back Cover

They know everything about each other – except their real names.

Lt. Mellie Blake is looking forward to beginning her training as a flight nurse.  She is not looking forward to writing a letter to a man she’s never met – even if it is anonymous and part of a morale-building program.  Lt. Tom MacGilliver, an officer stationed in North Africa, welcomes the idea of an anonymous correspondence – he’s been trying to escape his infamous name for years.

As their letters crisscross the Atlantic, Tom and Mellie develop a unique friendship despite not knowing the other’s true identity.  When both are transferred to Algeria, the two are poised to meet face-to-face for the first time.  Will they overcome their fears and reveal who they are, or will their future be held hostage by their pasts?

Combining a flair for romance with excellent research and attention to detail, Sarah Sundin vividly brings to life the perilous challenges of WWII aviation, nursing – and true love.

Review

With Every Letter is a unique love story surrounding two characters who hold similar fears.  Lt. Mellie Blake has become used to being the “oddball” amongst any group of people, and rejection is, while painful each time, very commonplace to her.  In order to protect herself from rejection, she has erected a huge wall around herself and makes no attempt to make friends.  Lt. Tom MacGilliver, on the other hand, tries extremely hard to make friends and makes everyone think he is a happy, care-free guy in order to escape the stigma of his father’s wrong-doings.

Their similar fears are that of rejection.  While Mellie does everything in her power to avoid any circumstance that could cause rejection (namely, making friends), Tom ensures that everyone will like him so no one would want to reject him.  It’s in this that these two find common ground, and their anonymity in writing letters gives them a place to share their fears with someone who understands.  Neither of them expected the wonderful friendship that would come of it, nor the romance that blossomed between them.

I was discussing this book with a fellow reviewer (her review can be found here), and one thing that popped out was the fact that this story was about two flawed people, which in essence is two very real people.  Mellie and Tom aren’t perfect, but neither is any human being!  But what Mellie and Tom do is strengthen each other’s weaknesses and bolster their strengths to help the other become the person God wants them to be.

With Every Letter was a very touching, sweet story, and I enjoyed every moment of it.



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

Friday, 12 October 2012

Love's Reckoning



Back Cover

On a bitter December day in 1784, Silas Ballantyne arrives at the door of blacksmith Liege Lee in York County, Pennsylvania.  Silas is determined to finish his apprenticeship quickly and move west.  But because he is a fast worker and a superb craftsman, Liege endeavors to keep him in Lancaster by appealing to an old tradition: the apprentice shall marry one of his master’s beautiful daughters.

Eden is as gentle and fresh as Elspeth is high-spirited and cunning.  But are they truly who they appear to be?  In a house laced with secrets, each sister seeks to secure her future.  Which one will claim Silas’ heart—and will he agree to Liege’s arrangement?

In this sweeping family saga, one man’s choices in love and work, in friends and enemies, set the stage for generations to come.  This is the Ballantyne Legacy.

Review

This is the first novel I have read of Laura Frantz’, but I can quickly tell you it won’t be my last.  Love’s Reckoning was an absolutely amazing piece of written work.  It captured my attention from the first page and would not let go until I finished.  I often found myself thinking about the story and the characters throughout the day when I wasn’t absorbed in the book itself. 

A recommendation on the back of the book by award-winning author Julie Lessman likens Frantz’ work to that of Liz Curtis Higgs; I couldn’t agree more.  Frantz’ writing has the same character depth and heart-pounding romance as Higgs’ and fantastic story-telling.  The only part that I found lacked was the ending.  I felt it could have been re-tooled and tweaked a bit more, as some of the characters’ actions didn’t feel realistic or plausible, given what I knew about the characters and their personalities from the first ¾ of the book. 

That said, it was still a brilliant piece of work and I will read it again.  I will also be looking forward to the second instalment in the “Ballantyne Legacy” coming out in the fall of next year.  

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

Friday, 5 October 2012

The Last Disciple


 


Back Cover
The BEAST is on the throne.
The populace is ruled by its APPETITES.
And a DIVINE PROPHECY emerges that some would die to protect
and others would kill to snuff out.
With the empire sinking into decadence and decay, corruption has infected every sphere of Rome.  Those in power have marked Gallus Sergius Vitas, one of the last men of integrity, as a threat to be eliminated.
Followers of Jesus are hunted down and killed for sport as Nero attempts to stamp out the fledgling religion.  But the revelation of John, Jesus’ last disciple, portends a different victory, sending tremors through the empire.

Review

If this book were to be summed up in one word, it would be gripping.  Gripping in its portrayal of the manic Nero, the corruption of Rome, and the persecution of the early Christian Church.

“The Last Disciple” is set about 30 years after the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The Great Fire has already ravaged Rome and the Gladiator “games” are at its peak in the Coliseum.    Added entertainment in the Coliseum are the vicious attacks on the Christians in the arena by bears, lions, and gladiators.  It was an incredibly dangerous time to be a Christian.  But it was also during this time where great courage was displayed.

This was an incredibly well-written novel.  It grabs you at the first few pages and doesn’t let you go until you’ve turned the last page, and even then it leaves you with wanting more.

There are so many characters in this book, but the viewpoints and character development and insights are so well-done, that you do not feel the slightest bit confused jumping from one viewpoint to the other. 

The story is exciting at the least and riveting at its best.  Readers follow Gallus Sergius Vitas, a non-believer, but who is very tolerant to those of the Christian faith.  He is one of Nero’s right-hand men, and tries to use this position to help the persecuted Christians, while at the same time determine why Nero is so afraid of them.  The Disciple John’s recent letter, simply entitled Revelation, has the power to send Nero over the edge with its predictions of the End Times, and ultimately Nero’s demise.

This book isn’t one to be missed.  Those who enjoyed the Left Behind series will want to dive head-first into this series.  But those who are just a fan of great Christian fiction will want to (and should!) check this out.  If anything, it will give you a great humbleness reading about what Christians past have endured, and a great appreciation for the freedom(s) we have today.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

The Bridesmaid



Back Cover

 
Come home to Hickory Hollow, Pennsylvania--the belowed setting where Beverly Lewis' celebrated Amish novels began--with new characters and new stories of drama, romance, and the ties that draw people together.

 
Joanna Kurtz has made several trips to the altar, but never as a bride. The young Amishwoman is a closet writer whose stories aren't her only secret.

Eben Troyer hopes to make Joanna his bride--if he can ever leave his parents' farm in Shipshewana, Indiana. Yet Eben's hopes to build a life with Joanna hinge on his brother's return from the English world...

Review

Book two in the “Home to Hickory Hollow” series, The Bridesmaid follows Joanna Kurtz and Eben Troyer, whose chance meeting embarks them on a sweet and tender love story.  Though separated by state lines, Joanna and Eben kindle their love through letters and Friday night telephone dates.  However, it isn’t long before things begin to complicate their long-distance relationship.  Eben cannot leave his family farm unless his brother LeRoy returns from the English world to take up partnership with their father in working the farm.  Joanna’s storywriting lands her in great disapproval with Hickory Hollow’s Preacher, which prevents her from transferring her church membership to Eben’s church.  The spark of love between Eben and Joanna that started out so vibrant and strong now has a possibility of being snuffed before it can thrive, and Joanna’s sister’s admonition of being “three times a bridesmaid and never a bride” is starting to feel like the truth.

I really enjoyed this novel.  I had described the first novel in this series, The Fiddler, as “…a refreshing escape…”, and The Bridesmaid is no different.  Beverly Lewis brings her readers on yet another escape, but this a very sweet one.  Mrs. Lewis’ writing is so effortless and easy to read that I thoroughly enjoyed every moment spent reading The Bridesmaid.    


 
The Bridesmaid is book 2 in the "Home to Hickory Hollow" series. A review of the first book, The Fiddler, can be found here.


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.

Song of the Ovulum



Back Cover

It has been fifteen years since Billy and Bonnie Bannister helped repel the demonic assault on Heaven.  Now they and Ashley Foley sit in a maximum security prison where the authorities conduct experiments on them to learn the secrets of long life.

Earlier, the world’s acceptance of dragonkind crumbled, and the Enforcers took the infant twins born to Billy and Bonnie and stole Excalibur.  The Enforcers hoped to develop a weapon to battle the dragons that are sure to try to rescue their allies.  All the while, a great secret from the past is being revealed to Bonnie through a dream.  Joran and Selah, teenaged children of Methuselah, have been trapped in a strange world for centuries, yet still able to manipulate certain events in our world during that time.

Walter Foley finds the Bannisters’ son and hopes to use his dragon traits to help him rescue the prisoners.  In the meantime, an ancient demon locates the Bannisters’ daughter and plans to use her to help him discover the hiding place of the most powerful ovulum in the world and squelch its protective song.  With that ovulum in his possession, he will be able to conquer and control both Earth and Second Eden.

The fate of two worlds now rests on the Bannisters’ two teenagers who must use their dragon traits and their innate courage to battle demons, a sorceress, and enemy soldiers in order to rescue parents they don’t even know.

Review

For those who are new to Bryan Davis and his books, Song of the Ovulum is the first in his newest series “Children of the Bard”.  This series follows his two previous series, “Dragons in our Midst” and “Oracles of Fire”.  Don’t be afraid to pick up this novel without reading the previous series however, as there is an excellent recap at the back of the book which explains all that happened previously.

Bryan is a veteran fantasy author, and his expertise clearly shines in Song of the Ovulum.  It is a richly woven tale with unique characters and multi-layered plots deeply ingrained with Biblical truths.  Song of the Ovulum will take you on a great fantastical journey and is sure to be a pleaser to young readers.
 
Book has been provided courtesy of Foundation Distributing, Inc and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from AMG Publishers.