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Archive for Fiction Book Reviews

Aug
11

Review: Justified

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23168525Justified by Varina Denman
Radiant Lit Blog Tours
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: David C. Cook
Release Date: June 1, 2015

In a small Texas town ruled by gossip, Fawn Blaylock believes others are justified in condemning her untimely pregnancy. Stifled by guilt, she yearns for grace while the local football coach treats her with gentle respect.

This book really surprised me.  I thought it would be such a heavy topic that it might be hard to get through, but it turned out to be such an encouraging book that I enjoyed it thoroughly.  It definitely covers tough topics, but Denman does so in such a way that you love the characters and love the story.

Fawn is easy to connect with. We’ve all done things wrong, things that made us feel unworthy of God’s love … or anyone else’s love for that matter. Fawn is convinced that she’ll never live down the shame or condemnation of the people living in her town.  She also knows that she has been guilty of being the one judging others, and believes she doesn’t deserve grace because of it.

Justified paints a beautiful portrait for us of how we can love others as Christ loved us – and how we often find His grace when and where we least expect it.

Varina Denman is a native Texan who spent her high school years in a small Texas town. Now she lives near Fort Worth with her husband and her five mostly-grown children.

 Justified is available for purchase here from Amazon.com.

 Note: I received this book as part of the Justified  blog tour from Radiant Lit.  I received no compensation for this review and only received a copy of the book for review purposes.

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Jul
16

Book Review: Five Days in Skye

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skyeFive Days in Skye by Carla Laureano
Reviewed by: Jill Hart
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: David C. Cook
Publication Date: June 2015

Andrea Sullivan finally has life all figured out. She’s on track for a promotion to VP in her career as a hospitality consultant. She has a great apartment in New York and travels around the world helping her clients make their hotel properties better and more prosperous. She’s known as being the absolute best at what she does.

James MacDonald is the best in his field, too. He’s a celebrity chef with his own TV show and string of restaurants. Now he’s looking to open up a hotel near his hometown on the Isle of Skye. When his brother, Ian, brings in Andrea as a consultant to make sure everything is in order, James resents it at first. However, as he gets to know Andrea he realizes there is much more to her than meets the eye. Can he convince her to give him a chance? He only has five days with her on the island in order to do so.

This book has everything a reader could want. It will make you laugh, make you cry and make you think about your own life and what you hold most important. Laureano keeps the tension high throughout the book and the characters come alive as you learn more and more about thier pasts and what makes them tick.

I couldn’t put this book down – I sailed through it in a matter of hours. The writing flows smoothly and you’ll forget where you are, transported to Scotland through the detailed imagery. I loved this book and I can’t wait for the book two in this series!

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Oct
29

Review: “Fifteen Minutes” by Bestselling Author Karen Kingsbury

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Fifteen Minutes by Karen KingsburyFifteen Minutes by Karen Kingsbury
Reviewed by Pebbles Jacobo
Fiction Addict Blog Tours
Genre: Drama
Publisher: Howard Books
Pub Date: October 29, 2013

Karen Kingsbury’s new book asks the question:
What Would You Sacrifice For Fame?

(Synopsis from Amazon.com) Zack Dylan made a promise to God and his college sweetheart as he left his family’s horse farm in Kentucky to compete on the popular reality television show Fifteen Minutes: If he makes it, the fame won’t change him.

Overnight, Zack is the nation’s most popular contestant, a country singer with the looks and voice of a young Elvis. As his star rises, Zack is asked to compromise and quiet his beliefs, and also something more. Something Zack could never have imagined. Just as America is falling in love with Zack, just as he’s on the verge of winning it all, his choices lead him to the brink of personal disaster.

At the same time, Reese Weatherly, a therapeutic horse instructor, is no longer sure about her relationship with Zack, or the wedding they had dreamed about. While Zack advances from one round of the competition to the next, an offer comes to Reese—one that will take her to a home halfway around the world.

Then Chandra Olson—reigning diva pop star and one of the Fifteen Minutes judges—intervenes. Chandra has suffered so much public pain and private agony since her days as a Fifteen Minutes contestant. Now she wants just one thing: meaning.

Can Chandra’s private losses help Zack find his way, or will his fifteen minutes of fame cause him to lose the life he once loved? Fifteen Minutes is a story of character, compromise, and the cost of having it all. A story that raises the question: Who are the real winners?

Karen Kingsbury has always done a great job with keeping her stories real, relateable and interesting. Fifteen Minutes is no different. I found that it moved along quite quickly and kept my attention. With some writers there seems to be a lull when they deliver the background information and that lull slows down the adventure, though it sheds light on the characters and their situation.

Definitely DO NOT START THIS BOOK LATE AT NIGHT! Oh my. I thought I’d get a started with a quick chapter before grabbing a some shuteye. The first part of that plan didn’t go as I had figured because this book grabbed me right from the beginning. We’ll just say I read more than a chapter or two before I could put it down to sleep for a few hours.

I thoroughly enjoyed Fifteen Minutes. I love the character interaction. Kingsbury did a great job thoroughly developing her characters, ratcheting up the heart-wrenching and emotional  tug of war. You feel like you KNOW these characters and like you are there experiencing their struggles with them. Of the three main characters, Zack, Reese and Chandra, I would have to say that I fell most in love with Chandra.

Excellent timing on the release as winter begins to set in here in the United States. This would be a great weekend read around the fire curled up with a blanket with a hot cup of tea near by.

Fifteen Minutes is available to purchase from Amazon.com.

Note: I received this book as part of the Fifteen Minutes blog tour from Fiction Addict. I received no compensation for this review and only received a copy of the book for review purposes.  Review copy provided by the publisher.

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Sep
13

Book Review: I, Saul by Jerry B. Jenkins and James MacDonald

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https://i0.wp.com/jillhart.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Jerry-Jenkins-I-SAUL.jpg?resize=206%2C300Synopsis (from Amazon.com): 

From multi-million copy best-selling novelist Jerry Jenkins comes a compelling international thriller that conveys you from present-day Texas to a dank Roman dungeon in A.D. 67, then down the dusty roads of ancient Israel, Asia, and back to Rome.

A young seminary professor, Augustine Knox, is drawn into a deadly race to save priceless parchments from antiquities thieves and discovers a two- thousand-year old connection with another who faced death for the sake of the truth. I, Saul consists of two riveting adventures in one, transporting you between the stories of Augustine Knox and Saul of Tarsus.

Filled with political intrigue, romance, and rich historical detail, I, Saul is a thrilling tale of loyal friendships tested by life-or-death quests, set two millennia apart, told by a master storyteller.

Review:

Wow, what a read! I believe I just found my new favorite fiction author duo. A good author weaves a believable story with an enjoyable adventure while a great author truly transports the reader to another place, leaving the reader with a strong desire for the story to continue.  Jerry B. Jenkins and James MacDonald are a great author duo. The historical detail was so real that I felt like a fly on the wall through the entire book – actually in the scenes.

Throughout I, Saul authors Jenkins and MacDonald tell intertwining stories from different two separate millenia yet they do it in a way so as to keep the reader truly engaged. At the end of each chapter I couldn’t help myself but to start the next chapter – even in the wee hours of a weeknight.  I particularly enjoyed the story line about Saul.  They brought him to life to the point that now I can put a ‘voice’ to the letters he penned in the Bible.

Intrigue. Drama. Mystery. Romance. Adventure. This book has it all! I am thoroughly impressed with the richness of the detail without the story being overly wordy or dragging on. I have read tons and tons of books over the years.  Admittedly, it’s getting difficult to remember most of them, yet this one I think is going to stay with me for a long, long time.

Whether you are looking for a book to settle down with for a few hours or to casually read a chapter here or there, check out I, Saul.  Trust me, you won’t be disappointed. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am off to check out other books by these skilled story weavers.

 

I, Saul is available to purchase from Amazon.com.

 

Note: I received this book as part of the I, Saul blog tour from Fiction Addict. I received no monetary compensation for this review and only received a copy of the book for review purposes.

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May
02

New Book Highly Recommend by 47 Top Leaders – Get 25 Free Gifts If You Get It Now By May 7th

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Frank Viola has just released a new book called God’s Favorite Place on Earth that could literally change your relationship with God, help you defeat bitterness, free you from a guilty conscience, and help you overcome fear, doubt and discouragement once and for all.

This is a book that will jar you out of your “Christian rut” and give you new eyes for looking at EVERYTHING. It’s a quick, inspiring, and entertaining read.

In addition, if you get the book between May 1st to May 7th, you will also get 25 FREE GIFTS from 15 different authors including Leonard Sweet, Jeff Goins, Andrew Farley, Steve McVey, DeVern Fromke, Pete Briscoe, Frank Viola himself, and many others.

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Over 47 Christian leaders have recommended the book including John Ortberg, Greg Boyd, David Fitch, Leonard Sweet, Jack Hayford, Mary DeMuth, Mark Batterson, Jon Acuff, Anne Miller, Craig Keener, Pete Wilson, Todd Hunter, Jenni Catron, and many others.

The premise of the book is simple and 100% Biblical: when Jesus was on the earth, He was rejected everywhere He went . . . from Bethlehem, to Nazareth, to Jerusalem. The only exception was the little village of Bethany.

The curtain opens with Lazarus, who is now ready to die, telling the incomparable story of Jesus’ interactions with him, Martha, and Mary. God’s Favorite Place on Earth blends drama, devotion, biblical narrative, and first-century history to create a riveting book that you’ll find difficult to put down. Within each narrative, the common struggles Christians face are addressed and answered.

Go to GodsFavoritePlace.com to claim your 25 FREE GIFTS, read a Sampler of the book, and watch the gripping video trailer.

 
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Jun
21

Thinking Of Reading Fifty Shades Of Grey? Read This First…

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This morning Jill Hart and Lori Twichell posted an article on Radiant Lit about the new publishing phenomeon, “Fifty Shades of Grey.” After less than an hour, the comments and shares were rolling in all over Facebook, email and Twitter. After hearing from a huge number of women how much they’ve wondered about the series and been tempted to read it, we thought it was important to share the word here as well. Tell us what you think. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Fifty Shades of Jill and Lori….

 

So unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon right? Huge breakout bestseller that everyone’s reading and/or talking about? Jill and I have both received emails, messages and lots of questions about our thoughts on Fifty Shades in the past few weeks. We thought maybe it was FINALLY time to stop putting our heads in the sand and hoping it goes away. Let me be honest – you may be surprised.

Lori’s Grey:

First of all, I’ve got to warn you that because of the subject matter of the book, it’s hard to talk about it without putting out a warning. The book is labeled erotica and the subject matter includes the BDSM lifestyle. If you don’t know what that is, be thankful. Don’t feel like you need to look it up. You may not want those images in your brain. That said, some of the things in this review definitely hold a warning that you shouldn’t let your tweens, kids, or young adults read EVEN THIS ARTICLE without being there to answer questions.

So now that we’ve gotten the heavy stuff out of the way…

This article is hard for me to write. It’s forcing me to share things publicly that I’d much rather keep out of the spotlight. But this is where I am and it’s what I’ve done. So here it is.

I read Fifty Shades but not as Fifty Shades. I read it when it was a Twilight Fanfic (story written by fans of a television show, book or movie involving the characters/settings – but still the fan’s own story) called Master of the Universe. I went through a period when I was a huge Twilight fan. I bought the books for friends, I watched all the movies (several in the theater) and had girl’s movie nights at my house where a bunch of us got together and watched them. And I read fanfic. I’m not a fan of Twilight anymore and I have my reasons for that, but that isn’t what I want to talk about here. This is about Fifty Shades. Read More→

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Nov
02

The Mission by Athol Dickson

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missionAbout the book:
What haunting legacy awaits deep beneath the barrios and wealthy enclaves of Southern California?

A billionaire driven mad by grief.

A pastor in love with the wrong woman.

An illegal immigrant desperate to feed his family.

Only Lupe de la Garza can save them from the ancient evil lurking in a lost mission’s ruins, but it will take an act of faith beyond all human power.

An idyllic Spanish mission collapses in the eighteenth century atop the supernatural evidence of a shocking crime. Twelve generations later the ground is opened up, the forgotten ruins are disturbed, and rich and poor alike confront the onslaught of resurging hell on earth. Caught up in the catastrophe are…
· A humble shopkeeper compelled to leave her tiny village deep in Mexico to preach in America
· A minister wracked with guilt for loving the wrong woman
· An unimaginably wealthy man, blinded to the consequences of his grand plans
· A devoted father and husband driven to a horrible discovery that changes everything Read More→

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Sep
25

The Great Christmas Bowl by Susan May Warren

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GCB-for-webAbout The Great Christmas Bowl:
Marianne Wallace is focused on two things this holiday season: planning the greatest family Christmas ever and cheering on her youngest son’s team in their bid for the state championship. Disaster strikes when the team loses their mascot-the Trout. Is it going too far to ask her to don the costume? So what if her husband has also volunteered her to organize the church Christmas tea. When football playoffs start ramping up, the Christmas tea starts falling apart. Then, one by one her children tell her they can’t come home for Christmas. As life starts to unravel, will Marianne remember the true meaning of the holidays?

Buy the Book

The Great Christmas Bowl website: http://thegreatchristmasbowl.blogspot.com/ The website features a note from the author, fun updates from Big Lake  Gazette, info on how to host your own Great Christmas Bowl Tea to  benefit a local ministry or charity and a fun Recipe Exchange contest!

CONTEST: Be a part of the Great Christmas Bowl recipe exchange!  Susan loves getting recipes from friends, and sharing the delicious  cookies, soups, breads and other fun fixings that go with celebrating the Christmas season. More than that, she loves the crazy stories about favorite Christmases – serious, touching, funny…whatever. Find the recipe contest here:
http://thegreatchristmasbowl.blogspot.com/2009/07/recipe-exchange.html Read More→

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Aug
30

Back-to-School Fiction

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The kids are back in school and it’s time for us moms to do something nice for ourselves. 🙂 Here are just a few of this fall’s great offerings:

eugeniaThe Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper by Kathleen Y-Barbo

The future is clearly mapped out for New York socialite Eugenia “Gennie” Cooper, but she secretly longs to slip into the boots of her favorite dime-novel heroine and experience just one adventure before settling down. When the opportunity arises, Gennie jumps at the chance to experience the Wild West, but her plans go awry when she is drawn into the lives of silver baron Daniel Beck and his daughter and finds herself caring for them more than is prudent–especially as she’s supposed to go back to New York and marry another man.

As Gennie adapts to the rough-and-tumble world of 1880s Colorado, she must decide whether her future lies with the enigmatic Daniel Beck or back home with the life planned for her since birth. The question is whether Daniel’s past–and disgruntled miners bent on revenge–will take that choice away from her.

Kathleen Y’Barbo is the best-selling, award-winning author of more than thirty novels, novellas, and young adult books, with more than a half-million in print. A graduate of Texas A&M University, she is currently a publicist with Books & Such literary agency.

Read More→

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May
20

A Passion Denied by Julie Lessman

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passionI love this series! A Passion Denied is the third book in the series and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Lessman is a very gifted writer – her books just flow. She covers tough topics and yet love and restoration are what resonate.

About the Book:
Has she fallen in love with a man who cannot love her back?

Elizabeth O’Connor has been like the little sister John Brady always wanted, sharing his love of literature and his thirst for God. But in the throes of the reckless Roaring Twenties, Lizzie has grown up. Suddenly she wants more from the man who has been her friend since she was a child. When this shy little bookworm blossoms into a beautiful young woman bent on loving John, she discovers that his past won’t let him return that love. But Lizzie refuses to give up–until his shocking secrets push her away.

Can true love survive the betrayal and deceitful of a painful past . . . or will it be shattered like the fairy-tale dreams of a girl in love?

Brimming with romance, longing, and redemption, A Passion Denied, will quicken your pulse and gladden your heart with a riveting story of the true power of love.

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