Saturday, July 18, 2015

Summer of Love: Six Christian Romance Novels

It is always refreshing to find books that are written with warmth, grace and God's love . This collection has that and so much more. The characters are fun, looking for their purpose or just simply trying to live life to the fullest. I loved how each author had their own unique writing style that fit so well in this engrossing collection.

The romance was clean and sweet and I found it enjoyable to read. Each book touches on different everyday issues that with capture your attention with a warm inviting story that flows with grace across the pages.

Will Bryce and Soohie find happiness with each other or is there something that will hold one of them back , and make them question if they can share their feelings.

What will happen when Claire a chef meets globe trotting handsome Noel? Is it possible to fall in love with someone that comes from a different background. Will it be hard for one of them to give up their roots in order to be together?

Serenity has come back to her hometown to start over. She has a relationship with her dad that she needs to work on. They were both hurt by something , but their love as father and daughter is deep and they strive to overcome the past. When Jackson Ross a psychiatrist , or Dr. Jack to his patients, discover why Serenity's life was shattered five years ago, he may risk losing her . Is he willing to take that chance in order to help her overcome what happened years ago? 

Can a marriage of convience work between Jared and Kate? As Kate longs for a real relationship with Jared , something from his past could destroy her hope of a lasting and loving marriage. Will his past be more than Kate can handle? Can a marriage of convience turn into a real marriage filled with love and devotion to each other?

Rock Anderson, a missionary has come to save Hope from a marriage she doesn't want. He has always found her to be a handful but hard to resist. What will happen when Hope's father disowns her? Can a rich girl overcome rejection and find happiness? Will she find peace,and her purpose in life.? 

Jaxton Anderson is sent to his grandfather's farm in Kansas to deal with some family business . He will find himself out of place in this rural area and meets Ami Martin. There is an immediate dislike for each other and Ami can't understand why he won't just go back where he came from. What is the reason God brought him to this place that he finds so uncomfortable? 

The stories in this collection have something for everyone. I loved each story and thought the authors did a wonderful job of developing the characters . They gave readers a collection that will warm their heart and stories that you will remember long after the last page is written. 

Who Killed my Church by R. James Shupp

6244880
's review 
Jul 18, 15  ·  edit

Read from July 15 to 17, 2015

Pete is the pastor of Green Street Baptist Church. He has noticed that his wife, Monica has become unhappy lately as she conveys her concern for the future of the church. Over the last several years the attendance has slowly decreased as well as the tithes for the church.

Pete is called to a meeting at the church with his financial advisors and leaders of the church. He felt like this was going to be the end of his pastoral service of Green Street Baptist Church. As he listens to the concerns of the group gathered in the room, he begins to pray for guidance, direction, or a word from God. He didn't want to leave this church and he didn't want to give up on the vision he had for the continuation of the church.

Pete remembers attending a growth conference several years ago when he heard Marcus Cunningham speak . He gives Marcus a call and arranges for them to meet. Thus begins a life changing experience for Pete, Monica and members of the church.

The author has written a very powerful story about a congregation that was willing to change and apply tools that Marcus shared with them to give life back to the church. The characters in this book are riveting and hungry for a church they once saw thriving . As you read the book you can visualize the struggles that the church was facing and how it could be related to any church in America. This may be a fiction book, but the ideas, plans and enthusiasm of a congregation to breathe new life into their church is so powerful and heartfelt that every member of a church should be required to read this book. I enjoyed the picture the author painted of a woman that had been at a church for years , to suddenly see it dying before her eyes. You could feel the pain she felt as she clicked the lights off for the last time.

The book will encourage you, bring you new vision and is a must read for Christians. It is a book that you will find yourself engrossed in as you feel the presence of a rebirth in yourself as well as insight for a thriving church and a closer relationship with God.

I was given a copy of this book from book fun.org for an honest revirew.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Carly's Dream by Birdie Etchison

I received a copy from BookFun.org for  an honest review

When Carly was only four years old, her dad left her with his parents who were Amish. Carly is a happy , sweet and caring young woman. She tries so hard to help with chores, but she is not a very cook. When her grandmother has a stroke , she knows that running the household will be her job now. I laughed as I read how she struggled with cooking, since most Amish women are great cooks. Is there a reason why she can't cook like other Amish women?

Carly is very close to Albert , who is her uncle and enjoy spending time together. As her grandmother gets stronger after her stroke, Carly decides that she wants to meet her English grandparents.  She longs to know about them and learn more about her mother who died. When she lets everyone know her  decision to travel to meet other members of her family, Albert seems to be heartbroken. Does he have feelings for Carly that he can never act on?

The author has written a lovely story of a young woman who wants to know more about her mother and hope that someday she will see her father again. Will Carly decide to stay with her grandmother that she has started to know and want to turn away from the Amish life? The story gives us a glimpse into what a young person goes   through as they explore  rumspringa . The author shares the struggles that Carly starts to have as she begins to enjoy the comfort  of the English life and her close bond that is growing between her and her newly found grandparents.

 Will Carly to decide to stay or go home to the Amish lifestyle? . I loved the characters in the book and how the author was able to bring the story to life with her attention to detail and the graceful way her words flowed across the pages. Will the twist in the story change the feelings that Carly and Albert have for each other? This is a great book that will have you wanting to read more from the gifted author.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

DATELINE: PURGATORY by Kathy Cruz



 

Title: Dateline: Purgatory
Author: Kathy Cruz
Publisher: TCU Press
ISBN: 978-0-87565-610-6
Price: $22.96


Non-Fiction, True Crime





In the wake of more than 1,500 exonerations across the country (150 of which were for inmates on death row) and growing demands for reforms within the justice system, award-winning journalist Kathy Cruz uses a new lens to examine the controversial Darlie Routier case - and what may be a true Texas mystery.


 


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In Dateline: Purgatory, Cruz enlists current day legal experts to weigh in on the shocking transgressions that resulted in one of the country's most troubling death penalty convictions. With the help of the infamous death row inmate and a former FBI Special Agent known as "Crimefighter," the veteran journalist would find that her journey through Purgatory was as much about herself as it was about the woman dubbed "Dallas' Susan Smith."


Darin_and_Darlie.jpgUnder a starry sky on the snowy slopes of Purgatory, Colo., Darlie Lynn Peck linked her destiny with that of an ambitious young man from Lubbock, Texas named Darin Routier. Ten years later, a horrific crime known as "6-6-6" would thrust the couple into the national spotlight.


Devon_and_Damon.jpgThe brutal murders of young Devon and Damon Routier in the early morning hours of June 6, 1996, would put their mother - Darlie Routier - at the heart of one of the most notorious murder cases in modern Texas history - despite her own throat having been slashed to within 2 millimeters of her carotid artery.
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The actions of a small town police department and Dallas County's justice system created a perfect storm that swept up the young mother and landed her on death row. There she has remained, in a 9-feet-by-6-feet cell, despite claims of her innocence by those who know her, findings about the alarming fallibility of bloodstain analysis - and her husband's admission that at the time of the murders he was soliciting help to stage a home burglary to commit insurance fraud.


What people are saying about Dateline: Purgatory


“Everybody knows the Texas criminal justice system doesn’t work, but few know why and how. Kathy Cruz does, and Dateline: Purgatory proves it. This richly detailed and well-narrated book affords a view of the Texas system rarely seen by the outside world. It shows how ambitious prosecutors, compliant judges, and na├»ve jurors can make for a lethal combination. It also shows the terrible human cost involved when justice becomes what it is in Texas: a team sport in a rigged game. Anyone who wants to understand the true nature of Texas injustice should read this book. Ms. Cruz has done the world a favor by writing it.” – Jeff Blackburn, founder and chief counsel, Innocence Project of Texas


“I thought I knew all that there was to know about Darlie Routier – the woman at the center of the most talked about murder case in modern Texas history. Then I started reading Dateline: Purgatory. Kathy Cruz's book is not only a masterful piece of investigative reporting, it's a beautifully written narrative, filled with characters that seem to come straight out of fiction. Almost twenty years after Darlie's two sons were murdered, the twists and turns in this saga still remain utterly riveting. I promise you that after reading Dateline: Purgatory, you will not be able to stop wondering what really happened to Darlie and her family.” -- Skip Hollandsworth, executive editor, Texas Monthly


“With relentless research that rivals her provocative writing, veteran journalist Kathy Cruz makes a powerful argument for reopening the case of the Texas homemaker at the heart of one of the nation's most unsettling death penalty convictions. The reasons why we all should be suspicious of how this conviction was won, along with details of how Cruz's destiny crossed with that of Darlie Routier, make for a riveting read.” -- Mike Cochran, author, Texas vs. Davis: The Only Complete Account of the Bizarre Thomas Cullen Davis Murder Case


“Dateline: Purgatory will make you feel. Then, it will make you think. And hopefully, after that, you will want to act. I did, because once an execution is carried out, there's no correcting it.”-- Michael Morton, author, Getting Life: An Innocent Man's 25-Year Journey from Prison to Peace


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Cruz_headshot.jpgKathy Cruz is a former reporter for The Dallas Morning News, now working as a staff writer at the Hood County News in Granbury, 35 miles southwest of Fort Worth. She has won numerous Journalist of the Year honors from Texas press associations, as well as many other awards from regional, state and national press associations. She is the co-author of You Might Want to Carry a Gun: Community Newspapers Expose Big Problems in Small Towns. Cruz is the recipient of five awards for excellence in legal reporting, including a Texas Gavel Award and four Stephen Philbin Awards from the Dallas Bar Association – two of which were grand prizes.




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Books may be purchased by calling 1-800-826-8911, visiting www.prs.tcu.edu, or visiting your local bookstore.


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Blog tour services provided by Lone Star Literary Life.





I was given a copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review .

The story gained national attention on that fateful night on June 6, 1996 when  Devon and his brother Damon Routier were stabbed to death in their home. Darlie ,  their mom was frantically calling 911 to report that an intruder at broken into their home and attacked her and two of her sons with a knife. She told the 911 operator that she had fought with the intruder.  She had  a serious injury to her throat that had been savagely slashed and a deep cut on her arm, while her two sons lay gravely wounded on the floor.  Darin, her husband who was upstairs with their eight month old son heard his wife's screams and rushed downstairs to try to save Devon and Damon. Against all attempts to save them, they tragically died. After only a month long trial, Darlie who was twenty-six at the time , was found guilty of the murders  and sentenced to death row. It has been called one of the country's most controversial death penalty convictions.

This book brings us in-depth details and  arguments that the author hopes will cause a reopening of the case . Through out the book we see the term "staged crime," which the Rowlett county police department has said they believe Darlie did that night.  Is it possible to "stage a crime" as you are gravely wounded? As you read this riveting  and detailed account of that night, the reader may begin to question if the wrong person was convicted of the murders of Devon and Damon. The author also brings into question if Darin , the father of the two boys knew more about the events of that night . Was he planning something that night , which later turned into a   tragic  chain of events that he could not prevent? Mary Penrose , a professor at the Texas A&M University School of Law says, " Sometimes zealousness becomes self-righteousness , and when that happens , justice  suffers." 

Darlie's  mother says, "I miss Devon and Damon every day" As she visits her daughter in prison they cry together and laugh together and miss the boys together. She also says, "What do you do for a child? The same thing I am doing for  Darlie  and for the rest of my family; fight like hell and show the world the truth about Darlie Routier."  Darlie"s mother continues to fight for her daughters release while never swaying from her belief that Darlie is innocent.

The author says,"It is my hope that DATELINE :PURGATORY , helps readers see more of  Routier's true colors , as well as the true colors of our justice system." In the book , the author talks about DNA tests that were not handled correctly  and a police department that rushed an arrest in the murder . Her many interviews with key players bring many twists and turns  and an explosive and intriguing case to the forefront in hopes that justice will prevail.  Darlie wrote in a letter to the author , "I'm sitting in hell for a crime I didn't commit and was a victim of, because I trusted the wrong people."

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Homeowner with a Gun by Samuel Hawley

I received a copy of this book from LibraryThing for an honest review

Jeff is a typical everyday man married to Allison or Aliie as he affectionately calls her. They have two children , Nick and Shannon. Jeff works as a grocer and Allison has a job at an office. They live comfortably in a nice two story home and are surrounded by neighbors you can depend on. . The neighbor hood is a nice quiet place to raise children.

One night very early in the morning there is a sound coming from downstairs. Jeff grabs his gun and tells his wife to call 911. From the moment he takes his first step down stairs , his life will be changed forever. He discovers someone in his kitchen and warns him to stop.athr man ignores Jeff's warning and fearing for his life shoot him., Then he races out the back door after the other and yells for him to stop. Jeff doesn't want to take another like, but has no choice and shoots again.

As the cops arrive they do an investigation and ask Jeff and Allison if they knew the men or knew why they were breaking in. The two dead men are identified as members of a local gang called , ANG which stands for Ain't No Game. They take Jeff down town to question him , but don't charge him with anything. Through bureaucratic red tape, they keep Jeff's gun. It is the only weapon he has to protect his family.

Things seem to settle down till one evening the phone rings. Jeff answers and a voice threatens him on the phone. They are out to avenge their brothers who he killed. Jeff and Allison decide that her and the kids should go stay at her parents till these men are caught. Plans sometimes don't work out the way you want and before they can get packed up , their house is sprayed with flying bullets and shattered glass everywhere. When the attack ends., someone in the family is gravely hurt. What innocent member of Jeff's family is seriously injured? Will this take Jeff over the edge and seek revenge on his own to find out who are trying to kill his famiy?

The other main player in this story is I-Man or the Instigator. He has just been released from prison and is on parole. His cell mate told him a secret before he died. Was the secret a money opportunity for I-Man?
The story centers around Jeff's house and a secret that has been buried there for a long time? Is it so valuable that people would kill for it?

The author has written a heart racing action story that keeps you guessing with well conceived twists and turns. Jeff is very resourceful and will stop at nothing to ensure his family's safety. Jeff and I-Man will come face to face in a battle that will have you glued to the pages. It is fast paced with great attention to character development.

The author has brilliantly given us a story so realistic that he could be pulled from a front page newspaper. The story is filled with powerful survival instincts , that have your adrenaline pumping as the story races to an ending that you won't forget. What would you do to protect your home and family?

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Calm Like Home by Kaisa Clark

Jul 08, 2015
rating5 of 5 stars
bookshelvesto-read
701st )
statusRead on July 12, 2015
review
I received a copy of this book for an honest review

Alexa is a young woman who glides through life , not really letting her emotions show. She longs to feel a deep connection with someone, to love so fiercely that she breathes with force as she thinks about him. Will she ever find that love, she wonders ?

Adam is a tall, good looking guy who works with Alexa. They have a great friendship and are comfortable around each other. One day that changed when they both begin to spend time together away from work . Slowly their friendship becomes a relationship so intense that they realize they can't be without each other.

As they become closer , Alexa begins to see a dark side of Adam. He has days where he becomes distant and withdrawn. What is making Adam seem to pull away from her? She is consumed with him and her days are filled with constant thoughts of him.

When Adam returns to college, Alexa becomes depressed and knows that Adam is the one who brings her happiness, who shows her a love like she has never experienced. It is hard for both of them to be apart from each other. One evening as they are out, an altercation between Adam and another guy will show Alexa a side of Adam that scares her. Can he control his temper without hurting someone? What is this deep embedded secret that tortures Adam and makes him pull away from Alexa at times?

The author has written such an amazing story of two people that experience a love that only comes along once in a lifetime. Her words are like smooth silk as she describes the tender moments between Alexa and Adam. The story takes the reader through heartache, hurt, and a passion between two people that will leave you breathless.

I found myself so engrossed in the story as the author wrote a book filled with emotions so raw and real that you could feel their pain and their total comittment to each other. This story will stay with you long after the last word is read.The author writes this powerful passage in the book that will touch your deepest emotion and leave you with a moment that touches the core of your heart. "Love has the power to draw you out, to break you down. It can force you to feel more than you ever thought possible, sending you soaring , floating, to carefree highs."
 
 

The Intiative by Bruce Fottler

6244880
's review 
Jul 12, 15  ·  edit

Read on July 10, 2015

I received a copy of this book from LibraryThing for an honest review

Sam is a young man who lives with two roommates and is trying to fit in. He didn't really like his job, in fact he feels like he is going nowhere in the company. As Sam starts to look for a new job, he receives an offer that is almost to good to be true. The Blanchard Corporation has offered him a very lucrative position in their organization as an auditor overseeing a project. The salary is far more than he has ever seen and the perks are a nice bonus that intice him to take the job.

Within weeks his life is completely changed and he thinks he has found the perfect job that he hopes will be long term. Angela, his girlfriend moves in with him at his new apartment and they are content with the direction their relationship is headed. He has lost contact with his old roommates and many of his friends. It seems they don't agree with the relationship that Angela and Sam have. The only glimmer of retaining a friend from his past , is Susan. He thinks of her as his little sister. Will he confide in her when he starts to have doubts about his new job? Is Angela safe with Sam or will an unforeseen accident change the once easy going guy to an angry person with questions he will be determined to get answers for?

As Sam becomes move involved in his position at the corporation , he sees discrepancies that are soon explained away with a quick summation in hopes that his curiosity will not surface again. Sam visits other sites for the corporation and starts to suspect that something deeper, more secretive is going on in the company. What is the corporation hiding ? Sam will soon find himself at the forefront of protecting a closely guarded secret in modern history.

The author does a great job of developing Sam's character. He is extremely intelligent , a go getter and one who seeks the truth. He won't stop till he finds answers and with his wit and keen knowledge of technology, he could be a target for those who want to stop the corporation at all cost . This is a great face paced and very intriguing book that is well written with intense scenes and action that is nonstop. There are people in the story that will be either prove their loyalty to the corporation or perhaps turn on them in order to destroy the secret that has been so closely guarded. Thank you for a story that has twists and turns and intrigue that will have you guessing till the end.