Book Review: The Word Changers

21 Aug

A place where words can change an entire world . . . 

Escaping from the turmoil of a broken family, fifteen-year-old Posy finds herself at her usual haunt … the library. This time, though, when she chooses an unfamiliar book from the shelf, she does not devour its words and pages as she usually does.

Its words devour her.

thewordchangerscoverartfinalPosy is pulled into the pages of a fairy tale, even mistaken for one of its characters. But all is far from perfect in this story’s Kingdom. Characters are whispering of rebellion against both their Plot and the deadly king who has seized control of it. And Posy must find a lost princess whose role in the story is crucial before her own story comes to a horrible end …

With the proud and haughty Prince Kyran as a reluctant companion, Posy ventures past the Borders of the Plot, into the depths of the gloomy and treacherous Wild Land forest that lies beyond. Secrets are buried there. Dark mysteries and shadowy creatures, dangerous and deadly.

Yet the deadliest danger of all is the one that Posy carries
within herself.

Soon it is clear that finding the lost princess is the least of Posy’s concerns. The Author of the book must be found. His Plot must be put to rights again, his characters reminded of who they were first created to be. Only then will the True Story be written, both for Posy, and for the tale she has now become a part of.

Courage and forgiveness are needed for Posy to find her way home again. But bitterness and shadows haunt her every step of the way.

 

7849640Ashlee Willis is the author of fantasy for young adults. She lives in the heart of Missouri with her husband and young son. While most of her days are balanced between writing, reading and homeschooling, she also finds time to enjoy tea with friends, forest walks, photography, and piano playing.

 

My Impressions:

Can a story be changed by its characters? Or does the author have the final say in how a story ends? These are some of the questions that Ashlee Willis poses in her debut YA fantasy/allegory, The Word Changers. An interesting concept wrapped in a fairytale setting, this novel should appeal especially to middle school and younger high school aged kids.

Posy is facing problems at home. Her parents are constantly fighting, and Posy and her younger sister are enduring the consequences. In an attempt to escape the turmoil at home, Posy flees to the library and the security found in a book. But Posy has no idea just what she’ll encounter within its pages. Finding herself literally in the midst of a story gone awry — missing and mutinous characters — Posy joins the Prince on a quest to restore order.

The Word Changers is filled with mythical beasts, talking owls, and characters determined to assert their own will on the Author’s Plot. There is a little bit of something for everyone — magic, battles, adventure and a little romance. It is also an allegorical look at life. Posy finds an Author that has not written a story and then left it alone, but an Author who loves his characters enough to let them make choices and impact the story. Posy also learns the power of love and mercy and how to apply it to her real world life. While the story bogged down a bit at the end and I would have liked a bit more emphasis on Posy’s real world, The Word Changers is, overall, a good debut.  Public school teachers: God is never mentioned by name in this book. An Author is, however. This one might be suitable for your classroom bookcase.

The Word Changers provides a lot to think about and is a good bet for your children ages 12 and up.

Recommended.

Audience: Ages 12+

Good for family reading.

(Thanks to the author for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

Clean Your Shelves Giveaway Hop!

19 Aug

Thanks to Bookhounds and I Am A Reader, Not A Writer for hosting the Clean Your Shelves Giveaway Hop! Lots of bloggers are giving away books that need a good home, so be sure to check them out HERE.

 

Clear Your Shelf August (2)

 

I am giving away a Surprise Box o’ Books! Included are mystery, romance, and historical novels — a little something for everyone. Just leave me a comment to enter. For extra entries like me on FB or follow me on Twitter. Good luck!

Audiobook Review: A Deadly Business

19 Aug

549044A prosecutor of violent criminals. A detective on a dangerous beat. When these two pros take on an off-the-books case, the line between professional and personal becomes perilously blurred.

When a twenty-two-year-old convict walks into the courtroom, his eyes confirm what Mia Quinn already guesses: he blames her for his conviction. In seconds, he knocks her to the ground and holds a razor blade to her throat. While she manages to escape without injury, it’s just one more reminder that Mia’s job prosecuting Seattle’s s most dangerous criminals is far from low risk.

As a single mom, the last thing Mia wants is for her work to follow her home or discover that it already has.

Now Detective Charlie Carlson is suggesting the very thing Mia doesn’t want to believe—that her accountant husband’s deadly car accident was no accident at all. When Mia and Charlie encounter resistance to reopening the case, they take the investigation into their own hands. And they find much more than they bargained for.

Was Mia’s husband more than an accountant . . . and less than an honest man? As the truth becomes more shocking and the case grows more complex, her husband’s killers take note of Mia . . . and her children. How far will this prosecutor go to learn the truth about her husband—and how far will she have to go to protect her family?

logoLis Wiehl is one of the nation’s most prominent trial lawyers and highly regarded commentators. Currently, she is the legal analyst and reporter on the Fox News Channel and Bill O’Reilly’s sparring partner in the weekly “Is It Legal?” segment on The O’Reilly Factor. Prior to that she was O’Reilly’s co-host on the nationally syndicated show The Radio Factor. She is also a Professor of Law at New York Law School. Her column “Lis on Law” appears weekly on FoxNews.com.

Prior to joining Fox News Channel in New York City, Wiehl served as a legal analyst and reporter for NBC News and NPR’s All Things Considered. Before that, Wiehl served as a Federal Prosecutor in the United States Attorney’s office.

Wiehl earned her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School and her Master of Arts in Literature from the University of Queensland.

Wiehl is also the author of The 51% Minority, which won the 2008 award for Books for a Better Life in the motivational category, and Winning Every Time.

She lives with her husband and two children in New York.

about_april_picAbout April Henry:

I write mysteries and thrillers. I live in Portland, Oregon with my family.

When I was 12, I sent a short story about a six-foot tall frog who loved peanut butter to Roald Dahl, the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He took it to lunch and showed it to the editor of an international children’s magazine – and she asked to publish the story! (For no money, which might have been a warning about how hard it is to make a living writing.)

My dream of writing went dormant until I was in my 30s, working at a corporate job, and started writing books on the side. Those first few years are now thankfully a blur. Now I’m very lucky to make a living doing what I love. I have written 13 novels for adults and teens, with more on the way. My books have gotten starred reviews, been picked for Booksense, translated into four languages, been named to state reading lists, and short-listed for the Oregon Book Award. And Face of Betrayal, which I co-wrote with Lis Wiehl, was on the New York Times bestseller list for four weeks.

I also review literary fiction, YA literature, and mysteries and thrillers for the Oregonian, and have written articles for both The Writer and Writers Digest.

In 2012, look for two books: The Night She Disappeared, a teen thriller, and Eyes of Justice, co-written with Lis Wiehl.

My Impressions:

The writing team of Lis Wiehl and April Henry is one of my favorites for creating riveting mystery/suspense novels. I especially like listening to their books during my morning walks. A Deadly Business, the second book in the Mia Quinn Mystery series, is another winner. If you are looking for a fast-paced novel with relatable characters and a complex and twisting plot, check this one out. (Read my review of book 1, A Matter of Trust, HERE.)

Mia Quinn is juggling a lot of things — career, single motherhood — and now threats in and out of the courtroom. Her life just keeps getting more and more complicated. Her boss is pressuring her to make a decision in a controversial case and friend and detective, Charlie Carlson, brings her evidence of foul play in the death of her husband. Add kids and a new romantic interest into the mix and you have a life that threatens to overwhelm.

I liked that the action took off from the opening. Mia is hit on all sides with stress, threats and confusing emotions. Fast-paced is an understatement! But the many plot lines never distract the reader; they just keep you on your toes. There is some unresolved issues at the end, but most of the story is satisfactorily wrapped up. I also really liked the characters in A Deadly Business. These are flawed people trying their hardest to do what is right despite the pressures of life. Do they mess up? Oh yeah. But don’t we all. Their very realness makes them credible.

A Deadly Business is good for all fans of mystery/suspense, and I am looking forward to the next installment in the Mia Quinn Mystery series.

Recommended.

Audience: Adults

(I purchased this audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review: A Bouquet of Love

18 Aug

721552Cassia Pappas has found herself in a nearly impossible situation. She wants to spend her time immersed in her new job at a Galveston Island floral shop, arranging blooms and brightening occasions with her lovely creations. But her huge Greek family–especially her father–has other ideas. They’ve all relocated to Galveston to open up a new family restaurant location on the Strand–directly across the street from the Rossis’ popular pizza place–and they want Cassia’s full participation.

To make matters worse, as Cassia is trying to develop a strong professional relationship with Galveston’s premier wedding coordinator, Bella Neeley, her own father is intent on stealing all of the Rossi family’s faithful customers. Not exactly the best way to get into Bella’s good graces!

Still, at least Alex, that hot delivery guy from the nursery, is always hanging around the flower shop . . .

Janice3-227x300Janice Thompson got her start in the industry writing screenplays and musical comedies for the stage. Janice has published over eighty books for the Christian market, crossing genre lines to write cozy mysteries, historicals, romances, nonfiction books, devotionals, children’s books and more. In addition, she enjoys editing, ghost-writing, public speaking, and mentoring young writers. Janice currently serves as Vice-President of CAN (Christian Authors Network) and was named the 2008 Mentor of the year for ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). She was thrilled to be named the 2010 Barbour/Heartsong Author of the Year, with three books on the top ten list for that house. Janice is active in her local writing group, where she regularly teaches on the craft of writing. Her online course, “Becoming a Successful Freelance Writer” (www.freelancewritingcourses.com) has been helpful to many who want to earn a living with their writing. Janice is passionate about her faith and does all she can to share the joy of the Lord with others, which is why she particularly enjoys writing. She lives in Spring, Texas, where she leads a rich life with her family, a host of writing friends, and two mischievous dachshunds. She does her best to keep the Lord at the center of it all. Janice Thompson also writes under the name Janice Hanna.

My Impressions:

My Big Fat Greek Wedding meets Romeo and Juliet with a healthy mix of Texas twang and sweet tea — that’s what you get in the latest offering in the Weddings by Design series by Janice Thompson. A Bouquet of Love is a light and funny romance set in the very Southern and Texan Galveston Island. Filled with familiar characters, A Bouquet of Love introduces the Pappas family into the Rossi family mix.

Cassia Pappas is the oldest daughter in a very traditional Greek family. Having moved his family to Galveston from California, Cassia’s father, Babbas, expects all of the family to join him in making his restaurant, Super-Gyros, the most popular place on the island. But his tight grip on the family causes problems in new friendships, a budding romance and those trying to find God’s plans for their lives. The rivalry between the Rossis who own the pizza place, Parma John’s, escalates until drastic measures have to be taken.

A Bouquet of Love is first and foremost a romance. Thompson adds her trademark humor into the mix providing for some silly and sweet scenes. And it was the romance I liked. I am not sure if it was because I had not read the previous books in the series, but I had a hard time keeping an interest in the rest of the story. I kept thinking I was missing something — more information, more detail, more backstory. But if you are a fan of this series, I think you will enjoy A Bouquet of Love. It got a lot of great reviews on Amazon, so make sure to check it out.

Audience: Older teens and Adults.

(Thanks to Revell for a review copy of this book. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

By The Book’s September Selection

16 Aug

September’s selection is from one of our favorite authors – Robert Whitlow. We have high hopes for this novel after we were a bit disappointed with his 2013 release, The Living Room. What do you think? Have you read The Confession? Let us know what you think.

688868Confession is good for the soul, but it could mean death to an ambitious young lawyer.

Assistant DA Holt Douglas has made a career of getting confessions from criminals. With a confession in hand, he knows a guilty plea is soon to follow.

In the midst of professional success, Holt is haunted by a secret—a lie he buried in the grave of his best friend. Holt’s crime is hidden from all eyes—family, friends, police, and his soon-to-be fiancé.

But the truth has a way of coming back to life.

With obsessive prosecutorial zeal, Holt reopens a cold case involving the death of the town’s wealthiest citizen. The man’s death was ruled a suicide, but Holt suspects murder. Facing fierce opposition, he is determined to expose the killer. Holt slowly begins to unravel the facts.

And comes face-to-face with his own guilty conscience.

With his job, his relationship with the woman he loves, and his future at risk, Holt skirts the boundary between truth and lies, confession and hypocrisy, redemption and ruin. Can he survive long enough to finally make the right choice?

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

Book Review: In Perfect Time

15 Aug

0720834Bold, sophisticated, and flirtatious, Army Air Force flight nurse Lt. Kay Jobson collects hearts wherever she flies, leaving men pining in airfields all across Europe. So how can ruggedly handsome C-47 pilot Lt. Roger Cooper be all but immune to her considerable charms? In fact, he seems to do everything he can to avoid her.
Still, as they cross the skies between Italy and southern France, evacuating the wounded and delivering paratroopers and supplies, every beat of their hearts draws them closer to where they don’t want to go.

Can they confront the fears and misunderstandings in their pasts?

SSundin-164Sarah Sundin is the author of With Every Letter and the Wings of Glory series. In 2011, A Memory Between Us was a finalist in the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Awards, and Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, she works on call as a hospital pharmacist. During WWII, her grandfather served as a pharmacist’s mate (medic) in the Navy and her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England. Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children.

 

My Impressions:

In Perfect Time is the third and final book in Sarah Sundin’s Wings of The Nightingale series. (You can read my reviews of books 1 and 2 by clicking on the following titles: With Every Letter and On Distant Shores.) Meticulously researched and filled with favorite characters from the first two books, In Perfect Time follows Lt. Kay Jobson as she discovers the truth about God’s love. If you like historical romance set during WWII, this novel is a great choice.

Flight nurse Kay Jobson presents a sassy and confident front that covers childhood hurts and a sense of never being good enough. Dating five guys at a time ensures that she keeps up the good-time facade but keeps serious attachment at bay. When faced with rejection by pilot Roger Cooper as well as denial of her dreams for a future, Kay is determined to change her reputation from party girl to good girl. Roger has dreams too, ones that won’t let him be tied down to a wife and family. In the past he was also told he wouldn’t amount to much. But God has other plans. Along the way, both Kay and Roger discover their own strengths and the truth behind God’s love, grace and mercy.

The final chapter in the Wings of The Nightingale series includes some great action — white knuckle flying, a plane crash and escape from Nazi patrols. Sundin has used real life events as her inspiration and the scenes in In Perfect Time reflect her painstaking research. Her characters express real life emotions, doubts and fears. But it is the faith message of God’s grace and mercy in stark contrast to what the world thinks and says that takes center stage. The main characters, Kay and Roger, have been told lies, directly and indirectly, about who they are in God’s eyes. Exposing the lies frees them to live the life God has planned. It also is a good reminder of the impact words and actions can have on people, especially children. Well-meaning motivation can hurt as much as abusive words if based on human knowledge rather than God’s wisdom.

If you are looking for a WWII romance that embodies the era of the Greatest Generation — courage, faith, patriotism and strength of character — then make sure to get In Perfect Time. Although part of a series, it can be read as a standalone. But I suggest you start with book 1 — a great series for historical romance fans.

Recommended.

Audience: Older teens and Adults.

(Thanks to Revell for review copies of this book. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

Book Review: Jonah And The Great Big Fish

14 Aug

732194“God told Jonah to obey,

said,‘Go to Nineveh this day.’

But, stubborn Jonah fled instead.

Didn’t do just what God said.”

Jonah’s disobedience landed him inside a big fish! And there he had time to think and pray. Children will feel the waves and hear the splash as Jonah sinks “down and down and down” into the belly of the fish. This story serves as an excellent reminder of how important it is to listen to God.

bio_rhondaRhonda Gowler Greene is the author of over twenty children’s books. A former elementary learning disabilities teacher, Rhonda holds a Master’s in Educational Media. Her first book sale was Barnyard Song to Simon & Schuster/Atheneum. Her books have received numerous honors, including School Library Journal Best Book.

 

Buzzeo.Toni (2)Margaret Spengler was born in Northern California and grew up playing and working with her two sisters in their family’s tiny grocery store. She graduated from Art Center of Pasadena with a B.A. Degree in advertising. Shortly after graduating she began her career in art as an art director in a large ad agency while living in New York City and later went into graphic design and illustration. Margaret is a international, award winning, illustrator, her work can be seen on everything from children’s clothing and candy to newspaper editorials and mystery covers. Currently, Margaret lives in Sacramento with her husband Ken and darling son, Matt.

 

My Impressions:

Written in rhyme and colorfully illustrated, Jonah And The Great Big Fish tells the story of Jonah and his disobedience in reaching out to the city of Ninevah. The well-known Bible story from Jonah 1, is faithfully retold for children ages 4-8. The rhymes keep the story going, but I loved the accompanying illustrations that reinforce the message. This beautiful hardback edition is a good choice for bed or story time.

Recommended.

Audience: Children ages 4-8.

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

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

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