Book Launch: Torn Asunder by Alana Terry

22 Dec

Torn Asunder by Alana Terry

Torn Asunder is the newest suspense novel from award-winning author Alana Terry. Torn Asunder is the story of Hannah and Simon, two North Korean refugees who sneak back into their country to serve as underground missionaries. In this world of spies, secret police, and informants, Simon and Hannah learn that staying together won’t just compromise their ministry. It could cost them both their lives.
 
Torn Asunder launches today for just 99 cents, and all book sale proceeds today support the work of Liberty in North Korea, an organization that runs an underground railroad for North Korean refugees. You can get the paperback or the ebook for 99 cents for a limited time only. And remember the best news ~ Your purchase will help save a North Korean refugee!

Excerpt from Torn Asunder:

Simon gritted his teeth. His head felt like it was sinking. The general kept his voice level and pleasant as he slipped the device over Simon’s pinky. “Now, you just tell me who you delivered your Bibles to, and I’ll let you leave here with everything intact.”Simon tried to swallow. His whole jaw was swollen from his scuffle in the woods. He shut his eyes and hoped the general couldn’t feel him tremble.

General Sin chuckled to himself. “Silly me. I forgot.” He slid the device off Simon’s finger. “This kind of tool won’t work on a big, strong man like you.” He strode over to Hannah and yanked her hand before Simon could even cry out. He jammed her ring finger into the opening.

Simon struggled against his iron restraints. “Let her go!”

Hannah sucked in her breath. General Sin still glared at Simon. “This is your last chance. Give me the names, and I’ll release her unharmed.”

Simon’s field of vision blurred over. He wanted to scream. The metal from his handcuffs sliced open his wrists. He pictured himself breaking free and tackling the general to the ground.

“Better talk.” General Sin yawned. “I hate getting my uniform messy.”

Hannah’s hand trembled, but she didn’t make a noise.

“Three …”

Simon clenched his jaw, unable to tear his face away from Hannah’s wide, terrified eyes.

“Two …”





Want more? Buy Torn Asunder on amazon now. And remember, all book sales today will be donated directly to Liberty in North Korea, a group committed to seeing North Koreans achieve their freedom in THIS GENERATION.

Want to help spread the word? See below to click and tweet, or share this image on your timeline. Then be sure to scroll down to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a $100 gift card, surprise grab bag ($60 retail), great CD from Cherie Norquay, and free prizes to everyone who enters! And don’t forget to leave a comment and tell us what you think of Hannah and Simon and those like them who sneak into hostile mission fields to share the gospel.

Are you on twitter? Just click to tweet ~

Tweet: Buy a book. Save a refugee. Torn Asunder by Alana Terry. All proceeds today to @libertyinNK. #99cents #suspense http://ctt.ec/QjI3D+

Tweet: New release Torn Asunder, Christian #suspense set in #NorthKorea. All proceeds today donated to @libertyinNK #99cents http://ctt.ec/6io3Z+

Or copy and paste into an email or Facebook status: Torn Asunder is a new Christian suspense novel by Alana Terry about two North Koreans who serve as undercover missionaries. It’s on sale for only 99 cents, and all book proceeds today will be donated to Liberty in North Korea’s underground railroad for North Korean refugees.

Did you help spread the word? Click below to claim your prizes!

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Midwinter’s Eve Giveaway Hop!

20 Dec

Thanks to Bookhounds and I Am A Reader, Not A Writer for hosting the Midwinter’s Eve Giveaway Hop, December 21-31! Bloggers are giving away books and bookish stuff, so be sure to check out all the participants HERE.

2013-Midwinters-Eve-Hop

 

I am giving away a Surprise Box of Books including a variety of genres. To enter, just leave me a comment. That’s it! Good luck!

Book Review: Just Before Midnight

20 Dec

jbm-final_Christmas Eve is the time to be at home enjoying the warmth and laughter of family, isn’t it? A couple in their late 60s faces the prospects of a first ever Christmas with no kids or grandkids in the house … An emergency room nurse handles every crisis at work with calm, but inside her emotions are roiling because she can’t get hold of her husband or her youngest son … Over the past two years he has lost his job, his house, his wife, and it feels like his kids are slipping away … Her first baby is scheduled to arrive in a few weeks, but with her husband still on duty in Afghanistan, she’s never felt so alone in all her life … Four individuals and families are trying so hard to grab hold of the spirit of Christmas that they can’t see they are about to run headlong into each other … just before midnight.

 

markMark Gilroy is the author of the #1 bestselling Kristen Conner Mystery Series. A veteran of the book publishing industry, he has packed boxes, served as executive vp and publisher over companies, edited manuscripts, made sales calls, created marketing plans, directed design and illustration, started companies, agented for authors, written award-winning video, and created advertising and catalog copy. He’s authored, edited, compiled, published, and ghost written books that have landed on an array of bestsellers lists, working with some of the biggest series and authors in the industry. He and wife Amy recently became empty nesters with the youngest of six off to college. They reside in Brentwood, Tennessee.

My Impressions:

Just Before Midnight, a Christmas novella by Mark Gilroy, was the December pick for By The Book. We met two nights ago to discuss the book. The consensus: it was okay. I think our biggest problem with the book was that it was novella length. It left us wanting more – more characterization, more detail in the plot, and most importantly, more story. We wanted to know what happens to the characters! If this book had been a full blown novel, we would have enjoyed it more.

There are four story lines in Just Before Midnight – an empty-nest couple experiencing a Christmas on their own, a young pregnant woman with a husband in Afghanistan, a down and out dad trying to rebuild his life and a nurse with a troubled teenager and out of work husband. All four story lines count down until they intersect right before midnight on Christmas Eve.

The characters’ stories are compelling. They all have worries and fears that they are facing. They all are going into a Christmas with uncertainty. The novella is fast-paced with twists and turns. And the story has a happy and unexpected ending. All pluses for our group. We just needed more! I guess that is good. We would love Just Before Midnight to be reworked into a novel.

If you can manage to squeeze some reading in before your own Christmas celebration, we really do recommend Just Before Midnight. Just know, you may want more!

Recommended.

Audience: Adults.

(I purchased this book for my Kindle. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

Book Review: Skipping Christmas

19 Dec

521019Imagine a year without Christmas. No crowded malls, no corny office parties, no fruitcakes, no unwanted presents. That’s just what Luther and Nora Krank have in mind when they decide that, just this once, they’ll skip the holiday altogether. Theirs will be the only house on Hemlock Street without a rooftop Frosty; they won’t be hosting their annual Christmas Eve bash; they aren’t even going to have a tree. They won’t need one, because come December 25 they’re setting sail on a Caribbean cruise. But, as this weary couple is about to discover, skipping Christmas brings enormous consequences–and isn’t half as easy as they’d imagined.

A classic tale for modern times, Skipping Christmas offers a hilarious look at the chaos and frenzy that have become part of our holiday tradition.

grisham_bio_picA graduate of Mississippi State University and Ole Miss Law School, John Grisham obtained his law degree in 1981 and practiced law for about 10 years, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. He was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives in 1983 and served until 1990. He gave up his law practice to write full-time. He began writing in 1984, and three years later finished his first novel, A Time To Kill, published by Wynwood Press in June 1988. He is the best-selling author of A Time to Kill, The Firm, The Pelican Brief and The Client.

 

My Impressions:

Skipping Christmas was my church book club’s December selection. It was also a book that we shared with the ladies at the transitional center where I volunteer. We met last Thursday for food, fellowship, and a time of discussing what really matters at Christmas. Grisham’s book is a light-hearted look at a couple who decide to skip the holiday chaos for a 10 day Caribbean cruise. While their neighbors, co-workers and friends are in the middle of the holiday craziness, they congratulate themselves on avoiding all the nonsense. That is, until their daughter informs them that she will be home for Christmas. Then they embark on a decorating, shopping and party-making frenzy.

While most of us enjoyed the funny portrayal of Luther’s attempt to skip Christmas, we were disappointed that Grisham did not use the book to focus a little more on the true meaning of Christmas. And though we realized that the targeted audience was secular, it would have been nice to have a bit more mention of Jesus’ birth. We also were disappointed that Luther failed to give to charities, something he and his wife agreed would not be missing from the year’s skipped celebration. But the book did spark a lot of discussion — what needs to be skipped, what just can’t be left out and our families’ traditions – past and present. Many of the ladies at the center won’t be with family this year. It was great to have a time to talk about what Christmas is really all about.

So while Skipping Christmas is fluffy, it did lead to deep discussions. So I would recommend this book for book clubs looking for a quick read for their December discussions.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(I purchased the hardcover copy of this book years ago. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

Book Review: The Legend of St. Nicholas

18 Dec

731153In The Legend of St. Nicholas, the new artwork, created by Marley and Me illustrator, Richard Cowdrey, captivates audiences and tells the story of a young man named Nicholas, who was moved by the plight of the poor and needy. Nicholas spent his life secretly helping the poor all over the world, giving gifts on Christmas Eve to remind people of the greatest Gift of all, Jesus Christ. This gentle Christmas book introduces the original St. Nicholas and offers inspiration for readers to become cheerful givers themselves. The final pages in the book include fun Father Christmas traditions in other lands.

pic_lg_Mackall_DandiDandi Daley Mackall is the award-winning author of over 450 books for children and adults. She visits countless schools, conducts writing assemblies and workshops across the United States, and presents keynote addresses at conferences and young author events. She is also a frequent guest on radio talk shows and has made dozens of appearances on TV. She is has won several awards for her writing, including the Helen Keating Ott Award for Contributions to Children’s Literature and a two-time Mom’s Choice Award winner.

Dandi writes from rural Ohio, where she lives with her husband, Joe, their three children, and their horses, dogs, and cats. Visit her at DandiBooks.com and winniethehorsegentler.com.

11967Richard Cowdrey has illustrated numerous books for children, including Bad Dog, Marley! by John Grogan, Animal Lullabies by Pam Conrad, and Frosty the Snowman by Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins. He is the owner of a yellow Labrador, Murray, whose behavior is remarkably similar to Marley’s. He lives in Ohio with his wife and children.

 

 

 

My Impressions:

Commercialism is at an all time high, especially during the Christmas season. The Legend of St. Nicholas is a beautifully illustrated storybook for children ages 4-8 that focuses on giving gifts, rather than on receiving.

Young Nick is taken to a department store to buy last minute gifts for his younger brothers. Unfortunately, all Nick can think about is what he can buy for himself. While wandering the toy section, he overhears the store Santa telling the story of the real St. Nicholas. In this story, Nicholas is a young boy who observes need all around him, and acts in giving and compassion.

I liked that the story is about a young Nicholas. The son of wealthy parents, he is struck by the need he sees all around him. He wants to give just as God gave his Son for His people. The story is sweet and easily understood by children. It is accompanied by beautiful and detailed illustrations sure to capture a child’s eyes. At the end, the author shares James 1:17 – a good starting point for parents to discuss where good gifts come from – a point that is detailed in the story.

The Legend of St. Nicholas is the perfect book to share in the days leading up to Christmas.

Recommended.

Audience: children ages 4-8.

(Thanks to Zonderkidz for my review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

Book Review: The Fatal Tree

17 Dec

548085It started with small, seemingly insignificant wrinkles in time: A busy bridge suddenly disappears, spilling cars into the sea. A beast from another realm roams modern streets. Napoleon’s army appears in 1930s Damascus ready for battle. But that’s only the beginning as entire realities collide and collapse.

The questors are spread throughout the universe. Mina is stuck on a plain of solid ice, her only companion an angry cave lion. Tony and Gianni are monitoring the cataclysmic reversal of the cosmic expansion—but coming up short on answers. And Burleigh is languishing in a dreary underground dungeon—his only hope of survival the very man he tried to murder.

Kit and Cass are back in the Stone Age trying to reach the Spirit Well. But an enormous yew tree has grown over the portal, effectively cutting off any chance of return. Unless someone can find a solution—and fast—all Creation will be destroyed in the universal apocalypse known as The End of Everything.

lawhead(From the author’s website) – Stephen Lawhead is an internationally acclaimed author of mythic history and imaginative fiction. He was born in 1950, in Nebraska in the USA. His early life was lived in America where he earned a university degree in Fine Arts and attended theological seminary for two years.

His first professional writing was done at Campus Life magazine in Chicago, where he was an editor and staff writer. During his five years at Campus Life he wrote hundreds of articles and several non-fiction books.

After a brief and unsuccessful foray into the music business—as president of his own record company—he launched his free-lance career in 1981. In the Hall of the Dragon King was his first novel.

In 1986 the Lawhead family moved to Britain so that Stephen could conduct research for the PENDRAGON CYCLE books. They settled there permanently in 1990, with some years spent living in Austria and a sabbatical in the United States.

In addition to his twenty-four novels, he has written nine children’s books, many of them originally offered to his two sons, Drake and Ross. He is married to Alice Slaikeu Lawhead, with whom he has collaborated on books and articles. They make their home in Oxford, England.

Stephen’s non-fiction, fiction and children’s titles have variously been published in twenty-four foreign languages. He has won numerous industry awards, and in 2003 was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by the University of Nebraska.

His middle name is ‘Ray’.

 

My Impressions:

The Fatal Tree by Stephen Lawhead is the fifth and final book in the Bright Empires series. You MUST read books 1-4 before embarking on this final journey. Each book expands on the previous book, and I would have been hopelessly lost if I had not read them sequentially. That being said, the series for me has been a bit uneven. I loved books 1 and 3; books 2 and 4 were ok — I had a bit of difficulty getting into the flow of those books. However, I feel that this last book is the one I have been looking for. I enjoyed it, and if you enjoy epic fantasy with a big dose of inter-dimensional travel, I think you will too.

The Fatal Tree finds our ley travelers (think moving between realities rather than time periods) facing The End of Everything. Strange things are occurring: people and things are appearing and disappearing causing all kinds of havoc. The universe also seems to be slowing down and is in danger of reversing and causing the ultimate destruction. The travelers are scattered around and have trouble meeting up because of the disturbances. So they all race against time and space and place to head off imminent disaster.

There are a number of things I liked about The Fatal Tree. The writing is, of course, wonderful. Lawhead has a way of making his scenes come alive in the reader’s imagination. And while I confess I skip over the science parts, I was engaged from the very first page. Of course the characters, both those I loved and those I loved to hate, are back in all their complexity. But it is the overt faith message that I responded to. God is front and center in this book, something that Lawhead did not do in the previous books in the series. We see the characters acknowledging He is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, that He has plans and purposes that are perfect, even if we don’t understand them, and that actions always have consequences. Even a most despicable character is confronted by his need for redemption.

So all in all, I would recommend all 5 books in the Bright Empires series. Complex plots and characters and A LOT to think about are sure to appeal to fans of this genre.

Recommended.

Audience: older teens and adults.

(I received a review copy in conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

Make sure you check out all the participants on the CSFF Blog Tour.
Julie Bihn
Thomas Clayton Booher
Jeff Chapman
Karri Compton
April Erwin
Victor Gentile
Jason Joyner
Janeen Ippolito
Carol Keen
Emileigh Latham
Rebekah Loper
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
Jalynn Patterson
Writer Rani
Nathan Reimer
Audrey Sauble
Jojo Sutis
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Shane Werlinger
Phyllis Wheeler

Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour — The Fatal Tree by Stephen Lawhead

16 Dec

This month the folks on the CSFF Blog Tour are hosting Stephen Lawhead‘s highly anticipated fifth and final book in his Bright Empires series, The Fatal Tree. To help you catch up, I am sharing the blurbs on all the previous books and the links to my reviews. I am a little behind in my reading this month due to an especially busy Christmas season, the celebration of my oldest son’s 25th birthday and graduation with a Masters of Bioengineering (yes, I am a little bit proud!) and the homecoming of my other 2 college aged children. So tomorrow I will give you a few of my thoughts on what I have read so far. Be sure to read all the way to the end of the post for the list of tour participants and make sure to check out their thoughts.

548047_w185Book 1 – The Skin Map.

Kit Livingstone’s great-grandfather has re-appeared with an unbelievable story–the ley lines throughout Britain are not merely the stuff of legends but truly are pathways to other worlds. So few people know how to use them, though, that doing so is fraught with danger.

But one explorer knew more than most. Because of his fear of being unable to find his way home, he developed an intricate code and tattooed his map onto his skin. But the map has since been lost and rival factions are in desperate competition to recover it. What none of them yet realize is that the skin map itself is not the prize at the end of this race . . . but merely the first goal of a vast and marvelous quest to regain Paradise.

Enter the ultimate treasure hunt–with a map made of skin, a playing field of alternate realities, and a prize that is the greatest mystery of all.

REVIEW

bone-house-book-coverBook 2 – The Bone House

One piece of the skin map has been found. Now the race to unravel the future of the future turns deadly.

An avenue of Egyptian sphinxes, an Etruscan tufa tomb, a Bohemian coffee shop, and a Stone Age landscape where universes collide …

Kit Livingstone met his great grandfather Cosimo in a rainy alley in London where he discovered the reality of alternate realities.

Now he’s on the run – and on a quest, trying to understand the impossible mission he inherited from Cosimo: to restore a map that charts the hidden dimensions of the multiverse while staying one step ahead of the savage Burley Men.

The key is the Skin Map – but where it leads and what it means, Kit has no idea. The pieces have been scattered throughout this universe and beyond.

Mina, from her outpost in seventeenth-century Prague, is quickly gaining both the experience and the means to succeed in the quest. Yet so are those with evil intent, who from the shadows are manipulating great minds of history for their own malign purposes.

Across time and space, through manifest and hidden worlds, those who know how to use ley lines to travel through astral planes have left their own world behind in this, the second quest: to unlock the mystery of The Bone House.

REVIEW

548061_w185Book 3 – The Spirit Well

Kit Livingstone is on a quest for the ultimate treasure—a tattooed map to an alternate universe! When he witnesses Arthur Flinders-Petrie carry his dead wife into a pool of light—and emerge with her alive—Kit wonders if The Spirit Well is the secret of the map. And if it is, can Arthur’s ruthless great-grandson be far behind?

 

REVIEW

 

548078-1Book 4 – The Shadow Lamp

The search for the map of blue symbols began in a rainy alley in London but has since expanded through space and time and includes more seekers.

Kit, Mina, Gianni, Cass, Haven, and Giles have gathered in Mina’s 16th-century coffee house and are united in their determination to find a path back to the Spirit Well. Yet, with their shadow lamps destroyed and key pieces of the map still missing, the journey will be far more difficult than they imagine. And when one of their own disappears with Sir Henry’s cryptic Green Book, they no longer know who to trust.

At the same time, the Zetetic Society has uncovered a terrifying secret which, if proven, will rock the very foundations of Creation. The quest for answers is no longer limited to recovering an unknown treasure. The fate of the universe depends on unraveling the riddle of the Skin Map.

REVIEW

548085Book 5 — The Fatal Tree

It started with small, seemingly insignificant wrinkles in time: A busy bridge suddenly disappears, spilling cars into the sea. A beast from another realm roams modern streets. Napoleon’s army appears in 1930s Damascus ready for battle. But that’s only the beginning as entire realities collide and collapse.

The questors are spread throughout the universe. Mina is stuck on a plain of solid ice, her only companion an angry cave lion. Tony and Gianni are monitoring the cataclysmic reversal of the cosmic expansion—but coming up short on answers. And Burleigh is languishing in a dreary underground dungeon—his only hope of survival the very man he tried to murder.

Kit and Cass are back in the Stone Age trying to reach the Spirit Well. But an enormous yew tree has grown over the portal, effectively cutting off any chance of return. Unless someone can find a solution—and fast—all Creation will be destroyed in the universal apocalypse known as The End of Everything.

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
Julie Bihn
Thomas Clayton Booher
Jeff Chapman
Karri Compton
April Erwin
Victor Gentile
Jason Joyner
Janeen Ippolito
Carol Keen
Emileigh Latham
Rebekah Loper
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
Jalynn Patterson
Writer Rani
Nathan Reimer
Audrey Sauble
Jojo Sutis
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Shane Werlinger
Phyllis Wheeler

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