Tag Archives: medical drama

Book Review: Critical Decision

5 Mar

It began with an innocent-appearing package on her front porch.

The box contained a cell phone, which rang as soon as she opened the package. A voice that called Dr. Kathy Hoover by name said that her husband had been kidnapped. To get him back she would have to poison one of her patients. 

At first, she didn’t believe that her husband had been taken from the conference he was attending, but soon she discovered that the kidnappers really had Darren. If she wanted to see him again, she had to give medication that would murder Kelton Rush, former Vice-President. What was she to do? How would she handle this critical decision?

Dr. Richard Mabry is a retired physician, now writing “medical mysteries with heart.” In addition to his medical books, he is the author of one non-fiction book, six novellas, and thirteen published novels. His novels have been finalists for the Carol Award, the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, the Reviewer’s Choice Award, the Selah Award, and others.

He and his wife live in north Texas. In addition to regular efforts (thus far unsuccessful) to improve his golf game, he spends much of his time trying to convince his family that sitting at his desk staring into space does indeed represent work.


My Impressions:

Richard Mabry has long been a favorite author of mine. He blends medical drama with suspense as his characters deal with some very shady characters. In Critical Decision, his latest novella, he again created a page turner that kept me up past my bedtime. If you are looking for a puzzling mystery then I recommend you check this book out.

Kathy and Darren Hoover are very ordinary people. She is a physician in private practice and he is a professor of mathematics in Dallas, Texas. But their life soon spirals out of control as they are involved in a kidnapping and murder plot. While Critical Decision is plot-driven, I did like how Mabry puts these two characters through their paces. Much of the direction of the novel is due to their resourcefulness. I also liked that they are a married couple — their relationship is real and relatable. The story line kept me guessing and turning the pages as fast as I could. There is a good bit of the cloak and dagger as well as some really sinister bad guys. As always, Mabry adds a spiritual element in this book. The main characters attend church while in the midst of their crisis. They (and the reader) don’t get a long-winded sermon, but some good teaching on God’s wisdom. This element was naturally integrated into the book.

I read Critical Decision at a time when I needed a good distraction from the cares of the day. It proved a great one! A quick read, this novella will appeal to all who love a good whodunit.


Audience: adults.

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

Book Spotlight — Bitter Pill

1 Jun

I have long been a fan of Dr. Richard Mabry‘s novels. He successfully combines page-turning medical suspense with insightful faith messages. His latest book, Bitter Pill, is now available. Yippee! It looks so good, and I love the cover! And if you have Kindle Unlimited, you have another reason to cheer — the book is FREE! Find out all the details below.



“Brother” Bob Bannister is content with his life and his itinerant healing ministry, until one night he finds that the woman who walks off the stage under her own power isn’t one of his shills. At that point, doubts begin to intrude on his previously untroubled existence.

Dr. Abby Davis is tired of her family practice and at odds with God. Dealing with critically ill and dying patients has crushed her spirit to the point she’s ready to quit. But she soon realizes that there’s more to healing than ministering to the physical body.

Scott Anderson was the oldest graduate of his seminary class. Then again, most of them hadn’t turned away from a medical practice, hoping to atone for past mistakes (including his wife’s death) by ministering to men’s souls. Now he hopes he hasn’t made a colossal mistake in switching careers.

Each of these individuals becomes linked to the other, and each finds that God has a purpose for them — but, as it often does, the lesson comes with discomfort.

Dr. Richard Mabry is a retired physician, now writing “medical suspense with heart”. He is the author of ten published novels, three novellas, and a non-fiction book. His novels have garnered critical acclaim and been finalists for ACFW’s Carol Award, both the Romantic Times’ Inspirational Book of the Year and Reviewer’s Choice Awards, the Inspirational Readers Choice, and the Selah Award. He is a proud member of the ACFW, the International Thriller Writers, the Christian Authors Network, the FHL chapter of the RWA, and Novelists Inc.

You can connect with Richard on the Internet at his blog page and Facebook fan page, as well as Twitter and Goodreads.

Top 10 Tuesday — Missing Out

25 Sep

Because the number of books on my shelf, Kindle, and wish lists don’t equal the amount of free time I have to read, i have *gasp* unread books by favorite authors. Those are the books that whisper the loudest read me as I pass their resting place. Many of the books have been waiting many years; others are more recent additions. Some, when read, will put a finished check mark next to a series. I have every intention of reading them all!  That Artsy Reader Girl wants us to fess up this week and share those deserving titles. Have you read any of the books on my list? Tell me which one I should read next.

Head over to That Artsy Reader Girl for other bloggers’ true confessions.


Top 10 Unread Books by Favorite Authors


Chateau of Secrets by Melanie Dobson

The Haven by Suzanne Woods Fisher

The Journey by Angela Hunt

Luther And Katharina by Jody Hedlund

The Mark of The King by Jocelyn Green

Maybe It’s You by Candace Calvert

A Memory Between Us by Sarah Sundin

Mine Is The Night by Liz Curtis Higgs

Portrait of Vengeance by Carrie Stuart Parks

Stones of My Accusers by Tracy Groot


What books by favorite authors do you need to read?



Top 10 Tuesday — Series I Really Love, but Hate That I Haven’t Finished!

15 May

Because we always want to keep it positive here at By The Book, I chose to tweak the theme of this week’s Top 10 Tuesday (yet again, LOL!). So instead of highlighting books I hated, I am featuring the series I loved, but haven’t finished yet. In most cases I lack only 1 book to check the completed box. How in the world can I NOT finish a series, especially when the last book waits impatiently on my shelf? Here’s my rationalization: books in a series are usually released once a year. There are so many shiny books that come out between the installments that I just can’t resist, hence leaving very deserving books languishing. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Update: This post shamed me into action! I am currently reading A Will, A Way, And A Wedding by Melody Carlson. I’ll be able to check this one off in a few days.

What about you? Have you ever left a series you absolutely love unfinished? What’s your reason?

Be sure to head over to That Artsy Reader Girl where, hopefully, other bloggers are sharing the love not the hate! 😉


Top Series I Have Not Finished


The Bowers Files by Steven James


Crisis Team by Candace Calvert


Dear Daphne by Melody Carlson


Elite Guardians by Lynette Eason 


Inn At Shining Waters by Melody Carlson


Kanner Lake by Brandilyn Collins


Secrets of Roux River Bayou by Kathy Herman


What series do you need to finish?

Top 10 Tuesday — Books I Should Have Read in 2017

9 Jan

So many books, so little time . . . . That should have been my motto in 2017. Like a child who fills her plate with more than she can eat, I filled my bookshelves with more books than I could read. Am I complaining? Not really. I am a cock-eyed optimist when it comes to books — I am sure that I will one day get all the books stacked around my home read. But for now I give you the Top 10 Books I Didn’t Read in 2017. This is a list of my reading regrets. And I intend to get them read soon. Which one should I start with first?

For other bloggers’ reading regrets, head over to The Broke And The Bookish.


Top 10 Books I Didn’t Read in 2017

Chasing Secrets by Lynette Eason

Death at Thorburn Hall by Julianna Deering

Egypt’s Sister by Angela Hunt

The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

Justice Buried by Patricia Bradley

The Legacy by Michael Phillips 

Mark of The King by Jocelyn Green

Maybe It’s You by Candace Calvert

Portrait of Vengeance by Carrie Stuart Parks

Threads of Suspicion by Dee Henderson

Which book should I read first?


Book Review: Medical Judgment

12 Sep

51shq2ahqul-_sx322_bo1204203200_Someone is after Dr. Sarah Gordon. It’s been tough trying to recover from the traumatic deaths of her husband and infant daughter, but now someone is stalking her and has even set fire to her home. Her late husband’s best friend and a recovering alcoholic detective assigned to the case are both trying to solve the mystery, but both are also vying for her affections. No wonder she continues to live in fear and distrust with her only help coming from unreliable suitors. As the threats on her life continue to escalate, so do the questions: Who is doing this? And why? And how will her faith help her through this time in her life?


mabry-closeDr. Richard Mabry is a retired physician, past Vice-President of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and the author of five published novels of medical suspense. His books have been finalists in competitions including ACFW’s Carol Award and Romantic Times’ Inspirational Book of the Year, and have won the Selah Award from the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference.

Richard’s non-fiction book, The Tender Scar: Life After The Death Of A Spouse (Kregel Publishers), has ministered to multiple thousands of grieving individuals. His meditations and short pieces have appeared in The Upper Room, In Touch, and several other periodicals.

When Richard is not writing, he spends his time reading, working fruitlessly to improve his golf game, and defending his title as the world’s best Granddad. He and his wife live in north Texas and are active members of Stonebriar Community Church, pastored by Dr. Chuck Swindoll.


My Impressions:

Richard Mabry is one of my must-read authors. His latest book, Medical Judgment, confirms that. This novel is my favorite by him so far. With tension-filled suspense and a message of hope in the wake of loss, this book is a real winner! Highly recommended!

Dr. Sarah Gordon has been going through the motions since the deaths of her husband and daughter nine months before. But it seems Sarah has a stalker, and annoying phone calls soon escalate into deadly attacks. After depending on her husband, Sarah is left feeling alone and scared. But she soon learns that relying on another man may not be in her best interests, and she takes matters into her own hands. Will that be enough to keep her safe?

Medical Judgment has suspense galore. The action comes fast and furious as Sarah escapes one attack after another. Her fear and paranoia kept me on edge. Richard kept me guessing too — I had so many suspects! Third person perspective lets the reader in on all the characters’ (including the bad guy) motives and feelings.  Characters are really real in this book. Most are struggling with loss of some type, and all have to find their own way to healing in their and God’s time. That’s probably the strongest part of this book; the examples of the different ways people cope with loss. Richard has a wealth of insight and experience that add a depth to the novel. The spiritual truths that are shared make this book more than just a thriller.

So should you read Medical Judgment? Of course! What are you waiting for?!

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Abingdon Press for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review: Step by Step

31 Mar

51E-iEev+7L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Three years after a tragic accident left her a widow, ER nurse Taylor Cabot is determined to move on, checking off one item after another on her survival list. Her relationship with a handsome plastic surgeon even gives her hope for the last point―“fall in love again.” At least until crisis chaplain Seth Donovan steps back into her life, reawakening unanswered questions about her husband’s death.

While in San Diego to train community volunteers, Seth hopes to learn why Taylor is backing away from the crisis team and from their friendship. But nothing prepares him for the feelings that arise when he sees Taylor again . . . and sees her moving on with another man.

When a community crisis hits home and puts lives at risk, emotions run high and buried truths are unearthed. Will hope make the survival list?


bioFormer ER nurse, wife, Mom and proud grandmother, Candace Calvert believes that love, laughter, and faith are the best medicines. Her popular medical fiction offers charismatic characters, pulse-pounding drama, romance, humor, suspense–and a prescription for hope. Think, “Grey’s Anatomy finds its soul.” She is . . .

A Northern California native who spent several years in Hill Country Texas — where she learned to check her shoes for scorpions and plucked an armadillo from her swimming pool. Thinks cruising is the best way to travel: honeymooned in Venice, swam with stingrays, rode a camel at the pyramids, and sang (badly) with a Newfoundland country band. She’s passionate about cooking, loves bird watching, gardening, and gets goose bumps when her handsome husband hits the low notes at karaoke. She writes inspirational fiction because . . .

God blessed her with a quirky wit, buoyant optimism, and a contagious sense of fun — but she didn’t come to know him until after the Triple Whammy that turned her life into a bad country song. A painful and unexpected divorce, the Northern California floods of 1997, and (just when she was coping like a champ, no problem) an equestrian accident that left her with fractured ribs, a bleeding lung, broken back, neck fractures and a spinal cord injury. She’ll tell you that God took drastic measures to get her attention.

In the months of rehabilitation, Candace healed in body and spirit. And came to fully understand the difference between being a strong woman and a woman of strength. The difference is faith, and that lesson has been her biggest blessing. Her story, By Accident, appears in Chicken Soup for the Nurse’s Soul, and launched her writing career. Now . . .

She is honored to bring readers medical fiction that offers exciting entertainment and a healthy dose of hope.


My Impressions:

I have read several of Candace Calvert’s novels, but I think Step by Step is her best so far. It is filled with characters I could relate to and came to care about, descriptive prose that put me right in the action — whether in the ER, on the beach, or on a nighttime motorcycle ride — and themes that touched my heart. The second book in her Crisis Team series, Step by Step can be read as a standalone. If you are a fan of medical drama, then you definitely need to check this one out.

Taylor Cabot and Seth Donovan have shared a lot during the past 3 years. But Taylor feels she needs to move on — new home, new job and perhaps a new love — and doesn’t need Seth or anyone else to remind her of her grief. But this ER nurse encounters trauma everyday — physical and emotional. Can a self-imposed deadline really move her into a future free from doubts and loss?

There is much to like in Step by Step. Characters, both main and secondary, are well-developed. I found myself immediately drawn to their stories — their hurts and their hopes. I could easily identify with their struggles with the past impacting their present and future. These characters are really real! Lives are messy and not all things can or will be cleaned up. As the wife of a veterinarian, I was touched by Calvert’s inclusion of some furry characters as well. (And I am happy to say the vet in this book was not a villain!) San Diego is the setting of the novel and its vibrancy came to life within its pages. There is a definite Christian message in Step by Step that is naturally woven into the narrative. Short chapters make this one a quick read as well.

Calvert is a former ER nurse and her experience and expertise make for an authentic feeling novel. She also does her research. I loved the time she spent developing the role of a Crisis Care Team in helping people move through the process of traumatic events. I wish my own community had a resource like that. The story lines with Marty the rescue cat and Taylor’s dog, Hooper, are developed with sensitivity and a great awareness of the needs of both owner and pet. Kudos for great research and writing with both of these aspects.

Step by Step proved to be a thought-provoking read. I found myself wishing this one was a book club choice, and I can’t wait to share it with members of By The Book! I loved it and am betting you will too.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

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