Thursday, May 31, 2012

Saving Hope - by Margaret Daley

When a teenager goes missing from the Beacon of Hope School, Texas Ranger Wyatt Sheridan and school director Kate Winslow are forced into a dangerous struggle against a human trafficking organization. But the battle brings dire consequences as Wyatt’s daughter is terrorized and Kate is kidnapped.     

Now it’s personal, and Wyatt finds both his faith and investigative skills challenged as he fights to discover the mastermind behind the ring before evil destroys everyone he loves.

This is my first book by Margaret Daley, I've seen her other books that she has published through the "Love Inspired" series, but none of those really caught my eye.  This book, however, screamed at me,
"Rick, you have to read this book, it's about the MEN of the Texas Rangers!"  Now, as you know, I'm doing these reviews from a "man's perspective" and that works out well, because I'm a man.  And what better kind of book for a man to review than a book about the tough Texas Rangers!

Texas Ranger Wyatt Sheridan has settled into a good life in Texas.  It's been 8 years since his wife was killed, so he shares the ranch with his mother and his teenage daughter, Maddie.  Wyatt has a decent relationship with Maddie, they both love to ride their horses, but lately a wall has started building between them.  His mother, on the other hand, is finished off with husband #3 and watching out for #4.  It seems there are times when she's more of a hand ful then Maddie.  Kate Winslow is the director of the Beacon of Hope School that assists teenage girls through court appointed intervention.  She comes from the Winslow family of old money, but only the kind that donates, not the kind that actually gets in the trenches and makes a difference.  This causes alot of friction between her and her mother as Kate wants to help these lost girls personally, not from a distance.  First a van is stolen at the school and a girl goes missing, then another is killed after she left the school with her suspected pimp.  Now, Kate's funding has been pulled from the Winslow Foundation.  Will she have to close the school and turn the girls out?  Can Wyatt help find the missing girl, is she even still alive? You know the rest, you'll have to read the book to find out :)

This was a tough sell for me.  I've grown up with blinders on and find it uncomfortable to think that we live in society that could and would treat children, treat other humans, as these sex traffickers do.  This story, though, paints a picture of what is happening daily around the world, and right here in the United States.  The author has a page on her website specifically devoted to why she decided to write about this subject, check it out: Why I Wrote Saving Hope.  The characters in this book, specifically the girls from Beacon of Hope all called out to me in desparation.  These are teens who want a different life, who are searching for the missing piece.  Margaret does a good job of displaying the faith of Kate, I truly wish she had done more to showcase it in dealing with the girls of Beacon of Hope.  Their "missing" piece is a relationship with Him and He is the only one that can fill that void.

So is this a "man's book"?  Most definitely yes.  There is plenty of suspense, intrique and danger through out this book.  The plot is very well defined and I'm sure that we can all see ourselves in the character of Wyatt.


Margaret Daley is an award winning, multi-published author in the romance genre. One of her romantic suspense books, Hearts on the Line, won the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Book of the Year Contest. Recently she has won the Golden Quill Contest, FHL’s Inspirational Readers’ Choice Contest, Winter Rose Contest, Holt Medallion and the Barclay Gold Contest.

She wrote for various secular publishers before the Lord led her to the Christian romance market. She currently writes inspirational romance and romantic suspense books for the Steeple Hill Love Inspired lines, romantic suspense for Abingdon Press and historical romance for Summerside Press. She has sold seventy-five books to date.
Margaret is currently the President for American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), an organization of over 2300 members. She was one of the founding members of the first ACFW local chapter, WIN in Oklahoma. She has taught numerous classes for online groups, ACFW and RWA chapters. She enjoys mentoring other authors.

Until she retired a few years ago, she was a teacher of students with special needs for twenty-seven years and volunteered with Special Olympics as a coach. She currently is on the Outreach committee at her church, working on several projects in her community as well as serving on her church’s vestry.
On a more personal note, she has been married for over forty years to Mike and has one son and four granddaughters. She treasures her time with her family and friends.

Thanks to Abingdon Press and Netgalley for providing this copy in exchange for my honest review of the book.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

We Have A Winner........!

And the winner of the copy of Trauma Plan by Candace Calvert is...... Kristine Morgan! Congratulations, Kristine, Candace will be in touch with you shortly about shipping info. Thanks to everyone that dropped by, hope you come back for my next review, "Saving Hope" by Margaret Daley.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Trauma Plan - by Candace Calvert

Sidelined by injuries from a vicious assault, nurse chaplain Riley Hale is determined to return to ER duties. But how can she show she’s competent when the hospital won’t let her attempt even simple tasks? Determined to prove herself, Riley volunteers at a controversial urban free clinic despite her fears about the maverick doctor in charge.

Dr. Jack Travis defends his clinic like he’s commander of the Alamo. He’ll fight the community’s efforts to shut its doors, even if he must use Riley Hale’s influential family name to make it happen.

As Riley strives to regain her skills, Jack finds that she shares his compassion—and stirs his lonely heart. Riley senses that beneath Jack’s rough exterior is a man she can believe in. But when clinic protests escalate and questions surface about his past, Jack goes into battle mode, and Riley wonders if it’s dangerous to trust him with her heart.

I know that anybody who reads this review is going to be a reader, so this question should resonate with all of you.  Have you ever read a book by an author and at the end of it wanted to smack yourself upside the head and scream, "Why haven't I taken the time to read his/her books before?"  Well, that's where I was when I finally put this down a couple of minutes ago.  I've had Candace's books in our library for awhile now and never found myself pulling them off the shelf.  I can tell you, though, after finishing this book I'll definitely make the time to read her other series.

Riley Hale is coming back from a vicious attack.  Dr. Jack Travis feels like his whole life is under attack.  Throw in a lovable side-kick and his trusty canine companion, plenty of personal secrets and some well planned criminal mischief and you have yourself the recipe for a terrific story.  Riley needs to be cleared by her doctors and plenty of practice to ever think she will be considered for another ER position.  Jack just wants to get his low-cost neighborhood clinic up and running and avoid unpleasant run-ins with the residents of the community surrounding the clinic.  The neighbors have taken up the "Not In My Back Yard" mentality and are determined to run him off.  Once secrets are revealed, secrets that Jack had hope no one would ever find out, will this be the end of Riley and Jack?  Will the clinic overcome the obstacles of the neighbors and succeed? When or when will the next book be published?  Not going to tell you, you'll have to read the book just like I did :)

The message at church this morning centered around the time when Jesus fed the crowds with the 7 loaves of bread and a few fish from Mark 8.  This follows the first time when they fed the multitude with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.  In the message, our pastor pointed out that God will teach us a lesson again and again until we get the point.  I thought of that today when I was reading about Jack.  Jack had a personal secret that had shaped his believe in God.  Because of this, he never allowed God to become a part of his life again.  He filled his life with doing good for others but never built that relationship with Him again.  It was only when Riley came into his life and he saw her convictions was he able to entertain a relationship with Him again.  How many times do we blind ourselves to situations that we should be learning from, ones that should take us on a better journey with Him?  Jack's friend, Bandy, summed it up correctly (hope Candace doesn't mind me plagiarizing from her book), "We all make mistakes, Doc.  We're only human.  That's where grace comes in!".

Is this book a "man's book"?  There are parts of the book where the relationship building between Riley and Jack are the forefront of the story, but it flowed so smoothly with the rest of the storyline.  Men will identify with Jack as he was "raised by wolves", so we can all see ourselves in his character.  I think any man will enjoy this book, as I did, and look forward to the next book in the series.

I received this book from the author in exchange for writing a review that contained my honest opinion.


Former 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 it's 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 fracture 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.

Candace has graciously agreed to provide a copy of this great book to a random commenter on this blog.  I'll let this run til Wednesday evening and then draw a winner.  Please leave a comment and a way to get in touch with you in case you are the winner!  Good luck and spread the word!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

We Have A Winner!

Thank you to all that stopped by and left some comments for Amanda. Our winner is ....... Judy! I'll have Amanda contact you about your winning copy!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Price of Trust - by Amanda Stephan

Beaten and betrayed by the one who was supposed to love her, Carly Richards is on the run!  Forced to live as a fugitive as her ex-fiance stalks her across the country, Carly finds refuge in a small town in Montana.  Unsure how long it will be before she has to run again, she resists the friendliness of those around her - especially handsome farmer Joe Baird.  Caught in the circumstances, the kind people around her begin to creep into her softening heart.  God is at work, and she has to trust Him to not only take care of her, but care for the people she is learning to love.  Carly must learn the Price of Trust!

Confession time.  This book was given to me several months ago by the author, Amanda Stephan, along with her newest book, "Lonely Hearts".  Amanda sent this to me during our library's 13th Anniversary Celebration that we were having earlier this year.  They both looked interesting as I skimmed through them, so I put them into the computer and added them into circulation in the library.  In the back of my mind, I told myself to remember to pickup "Price of Trust" and read it soon.  Let's fast forward to last Sunday at church.  I had plans for the week to travel to Chicago for business so I needed something to read on the plane.  I saw "Price of Trust" and thought it would keep me occupied during the week.  Well, let me tell you, I was wrong.  Not only did it not keep me occupied during the week, it almost didn't last the entire plane ride to Chicago.  When I touched down Tuesday morning, I had about 40 pages left to finish the book.  Luckily, my conference didn't start until noon, so I was able to check into my room and finish the book!

We meet Carly as she is praying her car to take her "one more mile".  The car finally dies in a small town in Montana.  Carly finds work and housing at a hardware store run by a little old man named, Sam.  Sam and his wife take Carly under their wings,  happy to have someone onsite to help Sam with the running of the business.  Carly begins to let her guard down as she makes friends at church, especially Joe.  Knowing that he good fortune can't last long, though, she begins to pull away again.  As mysterious phone calls begin, and strangers start showing up at the hardward store, Carly knows that it's time to move on.  Does she finally open up to Joe?  Will she let Sam in on what's happening?  Not going to tell you, you'll have to buy the book...... HAHAHAHAHAHA!

I loved how Carly was always "talking" to God through the first part of the book.  It showed me why she had been successful in avoiding her ex-fiance, by giving it all to Him and letting Him guide her way.  I was a little disappointed, at first, that she seemed to have stopped talking to Him, but then I realized that isn't that the way we do as well?  When things are against us, we are in constant prayer with Him to help us through the situation, but when the seas calm again, we go back to thinking we can handle it on our own.  The relationship the builds with Joe touched me as a father, because that is the type of man I wish for my daughters.  Joe is strong not only physically, but also in his faith as well.  He also recognizes the mind and spirit of Carly, and as she befriends another man that isn't well liked in town, he trusts that he intentions are clear.  When Carly walks this other guy through salvation and acceptance, Joe is there supporting her and his new christian brother.  I will miss these characters, as I rooted for Carly through this whole book, and was glad to see it end the way it did.

Is this a "man's book"?  This book did catch my attention and keep me interested.  There was intrigue that flowed throughout the book and culminated at the end.  The relationship part of the book might turn some men away, but I would tell them to suck it up and read it.  There is a lot to be said sometimes with how a woman writes a man's character, and I think this time that Amanda did us men justice.  Thanks for reminding me, Amanda, how the real character of a man should look.


Amanda Stephan is just a normal, everyday country girl.  Residing in Tennessee with her husband and children who closely resemble several of the seven dwarfs (sleepy, sneezy, grumpy/happy) three cats (only because hubby refuses to get one of his own so she must share) one dog and multiple roosters that love to roost under the bedroom window.  She loves to laugh and have a good time, and read a good book.

She finds writing to be her opportunity to share God's love for others in a fun and entertaining way. Not quite a recluse, Amanda is camera shy, doesn't like to be in the spotlight and LOVES to have her feet tickled.  She would say that her most interesting accomplishment is her ability to laugh like Scooby Doo.

You can check out her website at Books By Amanda

Amanda is graciously offering a free copy of this book to me to be given away through my blog.  So please leave her some comments, leave me a way to contact you in case you win, and go buy her books!

Winner Of Our First Giveaway Is.........

KAT!!!!!! Linda will be getting in touch with you soon concerning your free eBook! Thanks to everyone for stopping by and commenting, I hope you'll check back often!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Desert Intrigue - by Linda Weaver Clarke

Mystery...Adventure...Romance...Humor...Intrigue! When Julia's brother announces that his dude ranch is haunted, she believes that someone is trying to sabotage his place and force him to sell. The mysterious happenings have to do with Superstition Mountain, the lost Dutchman's goldmine, and the great Thunder God. Is it possible that the legend of the Thunder God is actually true? After a terrible thunderstorm, everyone begins to wonder. John and Julia quickly head to Mesa, Arizona and discover a few mysterious events. Will they find out who is behind these disasters before Uncle Kelly's dude ranch is ruined?
While Sharlene and Faith are busy helping their uncle save the ranch, April and Matthew are planning their wedding but everything seems to go wrong

This is the 4th book in the "Adventures of John and Julia Evans" series by Linda Weaver Clarke.  I will admit that I haven't read the other books in the series, but it really didn't seem to matter.  There were a lot of interactions between the characters that you can tell have come about after time together, but you catch right on quickly.  John and Julia have a storybook marriage, their strengths counter each other's weaknesses.  As a guy, it was really great to see a man, check that men, being shown as strong not only physically, but emotionally as well.  I've read a lot of books where the guy in the book isn't shown as being connected to his wife/girlfriend through anything other than surface thoughts.  With John and his brother-in-law Kelly, though, I saw them as "men's men", and ones that also were invested in the life of the women around them.  The additional storyline of the 3 daughters gave you the view of a family that you wanted to know more about.

I was a little concerned going in about whether or not I would like this book.  I do enjoy a good adventure and I can handle a little bit of romance as long as it didn't overshadow the story.  I will say, Linda handled both of these aspects well.  Within the first couple of pages, I was already running to "Google" to learn more about this story.  I'm not a "true life story" person, but it's always interesting when there's some truth added to a story.  I also got a kick out of how one of the landmarks in the story got it's name (wink, wink).  The story moved quick enough, there were plenty of red herrings to keep me guessing, right down to the ending of the book.  To me, this read like a TV script of "Murder She Wrote", and I always loved that show.  

So, should you read it?  Sure, but I would step out further and say that if you're going to read this, why not go ahead and start from the beginning with the first in this series.  Check out Linda's website ( to read the first chapters and to purchase the ones that you'd like.

About Linda Weaver Clarke

I was raised on a farm surrounded by the rolling hills of southern Idaho and have made my home in southern Utah among the beautiful red mountains and desert heat. I have been happily married for 36 years and am the mother of six daughters and have four wonderful grandchildren .
After my family began to leave the nest, I decided it was time to finish what I had started long ago. I decided to go back to college and get a degree. It had been 30 years since I had been to college and it was one of the most frightening things I had ever done. I had to learn how to study and take tests all over again. The first day of college, I was a nervous wreck and wondered if I could do this, but with the support of my husband and children I was able to graduate. I received my Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theatre and Music at Southern Utah University and received the Outstanding Non-Traditional Student Award for the College of Performing Arts in 2002. During the meantime, I cut a CD named "Romantic Love Songs of Sigmund Romberg and Victor Herbert."
I have enjoyed writing short stories and novels for several years but it took a lot of courage to begin submitting them. After "Melinda and the Wild West" was published, I entered it in the Reader Views Literary Contest and my book was chosen as a Semi-Finalist in the "Reviewers Choice Awards 2007." It was one of the top ten out of hundreds of other entries.

Linda is offering a free eBook copy of "Desert Intrigue" to be given away to a commenter on my blog.  This is kinda cool as this is my first blog giveaway.   So leave a comment and make sure to leave a contact email so that we can contact the winner.  We'll let this run through midnight on Thursday, May 24th, so make sure to spread the word!

I received an eBook copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Not This Time - by Vicki Hinze

Sara and Beth built a multi-million dollar business and act as anti-terrorism consultants.  Now their business and friendship are strained because Beth is leery of Sara’s husband.  When he goes missing and is verified kidnapped, authorities consider Beth their prime suspect. Then their hometown, Seagrove Village, Florida, is rocked by an act of terrorism, and Beth doesn’t know who to trust. Someone close to her is connected to the attack, but who? Is there a connection to Crossroads Crisis Center? In the midst of the confusion and fear, Beth finds herself attracted to a man from her past, the former Shadow Watcher, Joe. She knows she shouldn’t fall in love with him–she can’t resist or even explain their bond. And as her world unravels around her, she wonders…Will the truth set her free or ruin her life?  Is it possible to be pushed beyond redemption?

This is the 3rd and I believe final book in the Crossroads Crisis Center Series by Vicki Hinze.  I've enjoyed the series, beginning with "Forget Me Not" and then "Deadly Ties".  For this to be centered around an idyllic oceanside village, they sure have their share of intrigue and danger.  After the first book, I would have moved from this town!  This story revolves around Beth and Sara, the owners of SaBe and Sara's husband, Robert.  Robert is kidnapped and held for ransom.  Is he faking the kidnapping or is the terrorist group, NINA back for more?  From the way that "Deadly Ties" ended, it's a safe bet that the terrorist group NINA was going to be returning and causing chaos once again.  Mark and his crew of Special Ops members are back in this novel as Joe finally makes his feelings known to Beth and her tough facade begins to break down towards him as well.

 This book is not one that can be read by itself, so if you are interested in purchasing this book, you will need to get the other 2 books and read them first.  There's a lot of characters that are carried over from the earlier books and you have to know their history and relationships in order for any of this to make sense.  There are times in the book where there's so much going on, that it kinda bogs down, but not enough to totally ruin the story.  All of the danger and intrigue that have been relevant in the other novels have culminated in this final book.  There's a nice letter at the end that wraps everything neatly up in a bow, which is a great way to end the series.  I enjoyed the fact that for every mention of evil there was always something good to overshadow it.  This series is strong on faith and redemption, two traits that we should carry with us at all times.

In the end, from this guy's perspective, this book has plenty of suspense and intrigue to satisfy any guy's interest and just enough romance for him to remember that special woman in his life.

About the Author
Vicki’s first published novel, a romantic suspense, was a bestseller that sold in nearly a dozen foreign countries. Since then, she’s shifted writing focus several times. After co-creating the first single-title open-ended continuity series, she turned to military life and has been credited with a Career Achievement Award for being one of the first to write military romantic suspense, military romantic intrigue, and military romantic thrillers. Recently, she has shifted focus to Christian fiction. Her willingness to take risks and blaze trails has won her many prestigious nominations and awards,

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Not In The Heart - by Chris Fabry

Truman Wiley used to report news stories from around the world, but now the most troubling headlines are his own. He's out of work, out of touch with his family, out of his home. But nothing dogs him more than his son's failing heart.

With mounting hospital bills and Truman's penchant for gambling his savings, the situation seems hopeless . . . until his estranged wife throws him a lifeline-the chance to write the story of a death row inmate, a man convicted of murder who wants to donate his heart to Truman's son.

As the execution clock ticks down, Truman uncovers disturbing evidence that points to a different killer. For his son to live, must an innocent man die? Truman's investigation draws him down a path that will change his life, his family, and the destinies of two men forever.

I'll be the first to admit that this is not my normal kind of "must-read" book.  I was traveling in Alabama and had stopped at Sam's for some gas and a quick restroom break.  While I was there, I started browsing their book selection (c'mon, can you go into ANY store that has books and NOT browse them?)  I have purchased a couple of books by Mr. Fabry for the church library, but I will admit I hadn't read any of them.  Anyway, I see this book and it looked pretty interesting (and the price was right, $7.99).  Later that evening after I got checked into my hotel room I pulled out the book and opened to the first page.  2 hours later, I was so engrossed in this book, I could tell that my bedtime wasn't going to be any time soon.

It's always interesting to me when I hear authors speak of their characters as if they were real people.  If that was the case with Truman, I would have had to have punched him very early in this book.  Truman is so self-absorbed with himself that I wanted to scream out loud at him every time he turned his back on his family.  Mr. Fabry writes his characters so that you feel what they feel, you laugh when they laugh and cry when they cry.  

This book is a wild roller coaster ride of emotions from meeting with Truman, to him finally showing up to the hospital to see his son, back to him relapsing into his old self again and finally to the ending.  I won't give it away because I feel that you have to read this book, but I can tell you that the Gasp! that came out of my mouth at the end had to have at least awakened several guests in the hotel that night.

So should you read it?  My answer is yes!  This is a great book to be read by anybody, but specifically to us men as a reminder that it isn't all about us.

Chris Fabry is an award-winning author and radio personality who hosts the daily program Chris Fabry Live! on Moody Radio. He is also heard on Love Worth FindingBuilding Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, and other radio programs. A 1982 graduate of the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism at Marshall University and a native of West Virginia, Chris and his wife, Andrea, now live in Arizona and are the parents of nine children.
Chris' novels, which include DogwoodJune BugAlmost Heaven, and Not in the Heart, have won two Christy Awards and an ECPA Christian Book Award, but it's his lyrical prose and tales of redemption that keep readers returning for more.
He has also published more than 65 other books, including nonfiction and novels for children and young adults. He coauthored the Left Behind: The Kids series with Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, as well as the Red Rock Mysteries and The Wormling series with Jerry B. Jenkins. RPM is his latest series for kids and explores the exciting world of NASCAR.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Frantic - by Mike Dellosso

Can a deranged serial killer be stopped before it s too late?

For gas station attendant Marny Toogood it s just another day on the job when an urgent message from a young girl in the backseat of a car draws him into a daring rescue attempt. Now on the run with the girl and her brother, Marny begins to realize he must conquer his own past and surrender all to Christ.

As they face kidnapping, underground cults, and other evils, can Marny trust the simple faith of a child and stand his ground against a power so twisted?

This is the latest book by author, Mike Dellosso.  I've enjoyed all of his other books and I'm always keeping an eye for when his new books release.  Mike has a way of taking such a simple beginning, such as the message from a young girl in this novel, into a ride for your life.  I will say that there were times here that I could sense the character wanted to just give up and quit, but as the book progressed, so did his resolve to help this young girl.  It's always interesting to me when I hear authors speak like their characters in their books have their own minds and do things on their own.  With "Frantic", though, I could see that happening myself.  Mike writes the lead character, Marny, with such inner turmoil and conflict through-out this entire book that it wouldn't have surprised me to see him throw his hands in the air and say "That's Enough!"  This novel took me just a couple of days to finish because there was so much action, just reading "one more chapter" never seemed to be enough.  

So my opinion of this novel is definitely "two thumbs up".  Mike Dellosso once again provides us with a terrific story line that will leave you "Frantic" as you read the end.