Saturday, April 28, 2012

Ruth's Redemption by Marlene Banks* A Review


Set in the 1800s, Ruth’s Redemption, is an unusual depiction of the lives of slaves and free blacks in pre-Civil War America.  Bo, was educated while a slave.  He was given his freedom and now owns a farm buying slaves for the sole purpose of giving them their freedom. Bo is also a man of God and widower whose life is destined to change when he meets the proud and hard-hearted slave girl, Ruth.

Ruth has known nothing but servitude and brutality since being separated from her mother at age thirteen. Purchased and sold primarily for breeding, her heart is filled with resentment and bitterness.  Ruth wants no part of Bo’s Godly devotion.  Yet Bo is unlike any man she’s known and her experiences with him will leave her forever changed.

A gripping slave era novel, Ruth’s Redemption is a story of love, forgiveness, and redemption. Set against the backdrop of the Nat Turner Rebellion in Tidewater, Virginia, this novel shines the light of God’s unconditional love in the darkness of a culture’s cruel socially accepted inhumanity.

Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Lift Every Voice; New Edition edition (February 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0802402178
ISBN-13: 978-0802402172
Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches
Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces


MARLENE BANKS resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Along with being a prolific writer she has an associate degree in Theology from Rhema Bible Institute in Keysville, VA and is currently studying to initiate a Christian counseling ministry. Marlene is a member of Bethel Deliverance International Church in Wyncote, Pennsylvania. Her work resume includes thirty plus years in nursing and over eight years in business as a coordinator and administrative assistant. She considers her writing a means of evangelizing and relating Christian principles through fiction. It is also Marlene's goal to bridge the gap between faith-based and secular literature.


MY REVIEW
 I really loved this book. Ruth’s Redemption is a story that is full of adventure, love, compassion and forgiveness.
  Ruth is a slave and she has had to endure some horrible things until she is bought by Bo, a free ex-slave.
  Ruth’s Redemption has some elements of history to it. You will find out what happened to some slaves, what could happen to some free men and women when slave traders didn’t care about their papers. How greed can change a person and make them evil.
  Ruth is searching for freedom and thinks freedom comes from not being a slave, but there are so many ways of being in bondage to many things, even to ourselves.
  You will read in this book how Ruth and Bo had many ups and downs in their lives and how many of them weren’t pleasant. I really like how Bo was so close to the Lord and took all of his decisions to Him and how the Lord was always there for him. Ruth was just the opposite, she thought the Lord could end slavery and pain if He wanted to, but Ruth didn’t  believe in God because He never seemed to care what happened to her.
  This book is very much worth reading. I love the ending to Ruth’s Redemption. It’s a book to keep.

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Thank you to Moody Publishers for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tom Pawlik-author interview and BOOK GIVEAWAY-Beckon


Today I’m interviewing Tom Pawlik author of Beckon.  http://www.tompawlik.com/
I really loved this book and here is my link to the review I did of Beckon. http://thelifeandtimesofwanda.blogspot.com/2012/04/beckon-by-tom-pawlik-review.html
Also after the interview there will be a chance for you to leave a comment to win this fantastic book. Beckon is a very suspenseful, thriller.
Tom, thanks for taking the time to visit us today! I appreciate you answering these few questions. It will be fun to get to know you better. Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm blessed to have a truly wonderful wife and six healthy, terrific children. I've always dreamed of being a writer and began thinking up my own stories at an early age. Unfortunately, I never pursued it as a career for many years so my first novel wasn't publish until I was 42.

I got my first contract in 2007 from Tyndale House as a result of winning the Operation 1st Novel contest put on by Jerry Jenkins' Christian Writer's Guild.

I love to write strange, speculative novels with a touch of creepiness and unusual plot twists. The trick is to be able to do this all within a Christian world view and have something of eternal value to offer the reader. I'm hoping Christian readers will enjoy it enough to come along for the ride.




How long did you write before you were published? 

I started getting serious about writing in 1993 and finished my first novel manuscript in 1997. I tried to get it published for several years through the normal routes but with no luck. I had just about given up when I discovered the Christian Writer's Guild in 2003, and learned about their contest. That entry came in 2nd place in 2004. While I didn't get a contract, I did sign up with a literary agent who helped me shop that book around to other publishers. Also during that time I started working on my second book called VANISH, which I entered in the 2006 contest and won. So it was about 14 years from when I started to seriously pursue getting published, which I hear is pretty typical.


Tell us about Beckon the featured book.
Beckon is a creepy, sci-fi thriller about an ancient Indian legend, a hidden cave system, an unknown species of arthropod and a small town with a secret that ties all those elements together. Thematically, it's about man's inhumanity to man and his insatiable desire for immortality. And it is about what lengths we go to to save someone we love deeply.

Is there any person who has been a strong influence in your writing journey?
C.S. Lewis has been a big inspiration to me as a writer of speculative fiction. But without a doubt, Jerry Jenkins has been the single most influential person to have helped my career. His vision to help Christian authors develop led him to buy theChristian Writer's Guild and come up with the idea for the Operation 1st Novel contest, which got me my first contract. I can't commend the ministry of the CWG enough for all the great work they are doing.

How do you spend your writing days? Do you set goals to reach a certain number of words per day? Can you give us a general idea of how long it takes you to write a novel?

I typically write late at night, after the kids are in bed. I try not to let my writing interfere with my being a father. So needless to say, I'm a bit of a night owl. But the key for me is to write a little each night. I try to shoot for 500-1000 words. That usually gives me 4 months to get a first draft completed.
What are you currently reading?

I've been reading Into The Bermuda Triangle by Gian Quasar as research for a future book.
What are you writing now?
I'm working on my next proposal for Tyndale. Developing some ideas using the Jack Kendrick character from Beckon. I have some very cool directions I'd like to go (sort of Fringe meets The X-Files) but not sure how much they'll like it. Also getting ready for the release of my new ebook novella Recollection which is part of the 7 Hoursanthology coming out this summer.
Thank you once again Tom for spending this time with us. I love your books and look forward to your next one. God bless you and your writing.

Followers Tom Pawlik has agreed to give away one copy of his fantastic book Beckon.

Leave a comment with your name and email address. You will not be entered unless you leave a comment AND your email address.

Here are the ways to get extra entries:
~Be or become a follower  +1
~Be or become an email subscriber +1
~Be or become a networked blog follower +1

Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- Random.org.  ENTRY DEADLINE MAY 5, 2012


Monday, April 16, 2012

Eye of the Storm by Hannah Alexander * Book Review


After one of her patients is murdered, Dr. Megan Bradley has to get away. Away from the crime she saw but couldn't prevent, and away from missionary Gerard Vance, who almost made her trust in love again. Shaken and scared, Megan flees to the one place she can heal—her small Missouri hometown. She never expected Gerard to follow her…or for danger to find her again. When they discover a murderer lurks in town, Megan will need strength from Gerard—and the Lord—to save lives. Including their own.

Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Love Inspired (March 6, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 037344480X
ISBN-13: 978-0373444809
Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 4.2 x 0.6 inches
Shipping Weight: 4 ounces




Hannah Alexander is the pen name for Cheryl Hodde, who uses the medical input from her husband, Dr. Mel Hodde, to write romantic suspense with medical emphasis, both contemporary and historical. Their first collaboration began with a blind date instigated by Cheryl's matchmaking pastor, and has continued for the fifteen years of their marriage.


MY REVIEW
   I’ve read many of Hannah Alexander’s books and have loved them all. This book Eye of the Storm is another suspenseful book that is full of twists and turns and unexpected ending. The only thing wrong with this book is that I wish it were longer, only because it is so good.
  The love story between Gerard and Megan is really sweet. Even though Megan tried to escape the love Gerard shared with her, she was finding out things about life and love that only can come from the true source of love-God. Will Megan fully trust and what was the horrible crime she witnessed and can’t quit reliving?
  Also a mother-type friend of Megan’s is having trouble with wandering off and forgetting things. Is she getting a horrible disease or is something sinister a foot? I really love a good mystery, full of suspense and Eye of the Storm is just that. Each and every one of Hannah Alexander’s novels are different and unique and I have loved every one.
  I highly recommend this fantastic book that deserves 5 stars. Eye of the Storm will grip you and not let you go until you finish and then you will keep thinking of the wonderful story and interesting characters.


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Thank you to the  Author/Publicist  for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Beckon by Tom Pawlik * A Review


ABOUT BECKON
From the Back Cover
Some things weren’t meant to be discovered. But once they’re unleashed, there’s no turning back.
Beneath the town of Beckon, a terror hides, lurking in the darkness. Waiting.

Three people are drawn to the small Wyoming town for very different reasons. Anthropologist Jack Kendrick comes looking for clues to his father’s disappearance. Police officer Elina Gutierrez arrives in the near-deserted town on the trail of her missing cousin. And George Wilcox is lured by the promise of a cure for his wife’s illness.

All are looking for answers. But as they draw closer to discovering the town’s chilling secret, the real question becomes . . . will their quest uncover a miracle, or release an unspeakable evil?

Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (April 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1414338732
ISBN-13: 978-1414338736
Shipping Weight: 0.5 ounces



ABOUT TOM PAWLIK
Tom is the highly imaginative Christy Award-winning author of "Vanish", "Valley of the Shadow" and "Beckon". His unique brand of suspense thrillers will grab you from the first page and won't let go until the last.

Tom's fascination with the weird, the creepy and the unknown began at a very early age when he was introduced to a bizarre 19th century German story book called "Der Struwwelpeter". The book was a collection of nightmarish morality tales by a German physician who obviously had too much time on his hands and no children of his own. The morbid nursery rhymes included the frightful "Daumenlutscher" (Thumbsucker), a disturbing yarn about a young boy who was warned that if he continued to suck his thumbs, the demented local tailor would chop them off with his sewing shears. You can guess the story's gruesome ending has scared many a child out of surreptitiously savoring their opposable digits over the years. Other tales warned against playing with matches and being overly messy. Needless to say Tom never played with matches, generally kept his room clean and to this day retains the use of both his thumbs.

But the psychological damage was already done, and Tom's warped imagination turned him to writing his own creepy stories at a rather young age. Alas, no publishers were brave enough to bring his stories to print, so Tom would not realize his life-long dream of becoming a published author until the ripe old age of 42. Today, Tom lives in Ohio and is happily married with five children of his own... who, oddly enough, never sucked their thumbs.


MY REVIEW
  I’ve never read any books by Tom Pawlik, but now have another favorite author. This book Beckon is just incredible and bizarre that I will read all books I can get my hands on from Tom Pawlik.
   Beckon is the name of a town that not very many people know about. In this book three people either stumble or are invited into Beckon. What they find there is so weird you won‘t believe it, but won‘t be able to stop reading this fantastic book.
  Tom Pawlik has such an imagination and the plot to this book is just incredible. You won’t be bored for a moment reading this book. The twists and turns will keep you glued to your seat and up late into the night reading Beckon, but I don’t know if you want to read this book at night.
  If you like Ted Dekker or Stephen King you will love books by Tom Pawlik. This book is a psychological thriller. After reading you won’t want to be alone in the dark and the sunlight never looked so good.
 Highly recommended for all of you readers of thrilling suspense.

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Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

The Story of the Easter Robin by Dandi Daley Mackall * A Review


ABOUT THE STORY OF THE EASTER ROBIN
In the center of the nest lay one perfect egg, the color of a spring sky. The father robin sat on a branch nearby, guarding his family. Tressa spotted raccoon tracks below and a blue jay eyeing the nest. 'Gran, how are we going to keep the egg safe?' 'We'll have to leave that one to the Creator,' Gran said. Robins have built a nest on the window ledge at Grandmother's house! Tressa is thrilled---and concerned. What will happen to the sky-blue egg laid by the mother robin? As more eggs appear, Tressa witnesses the daily drama of the robins' nest and learns how God cares for all creatures. Besides watching the birds, there are Easter eggs to color. And there is a very special story to hear---a tale of long ago about one small bird with a very big heart. How did the robin get its red breast? Tressa is about to find out as Gran tells her the story of the Easter robin. Brought to life with colorful, tender illustrations, The Story of the Easter Robin will captivate and teach your child about compassion and faith.

Reading level: Ages 4 and up
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Zonderkidz (February 16, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310713315
ISBN-13: 978-0310713319
Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 11 x 0.4 inches
Shipping Weight: 1 pounds



ABOUT DANDI DALEY MACKALL
Dandi won her first writing contest as a 10-year-old tomboy. Her 50 words on "Why I Want to Be Batboy for the Kansas City A's" won first place, but the team wouldn't let a girl be batboy. It was her first taste of rejection.
Since then, Dandi Daley Mackall has become an award-winning author of over 400 books for children of all ages, with sales of 4 million copies in 22 countries. Recent picture books with Sleeping Bear Press include Legend of Ohio, Rudy Rides the Rails: A Depression Era Story (Notable Book 2008 - Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People National Council of Social Studies & Children's Book Council; winner of the Angel Award, 2008; Winner of the "Award of Excellence" from Chicago Book Show 2007) and 2008 release, A Girl Named Dan (her own "batboy" story, and a lesson on Title IX), 2 Mom's Choice Awards & Amelia Bloom Award. Eva Underground, Harcourt young adult novel, nominated ALA Best Book 2007, starred Kirkus review, awarded a Top Teen Read by New York Public Library, finalist for Ohioana Award, was based on the author's experiences behind the Iron Curtain. Love Rules was awarded Romantic Times' Top Pick. Middle-grade fiction, Larger-than-Life Lara, Dutton/Penguin, which teaches how to write, while tackling the problem of bullying, is on the KY Bluegrass Award List 2007-8; William Allan White Award list, 2008-9; KS and KY Children's Choice lists. Her Winnie the Horse Gentler series has sold over half a million books and Starlight Animal Rescue is a Gold Medallion finalist. Dandi received the 2009 Helen Keating Ott Award for distinguished contribution toward promoting high moral and ethical values in children and young adult literature. She also received the Distinguished Alumna Award in 2008 from the University of Missouri. Dandi is a national speaker, keynoting at conferences and Young Author events, and has made dozens of appearances on TV, including ABC, NBC, and CBS. Visit Dandi at www.dandibooks.com,

MY REVIEW
  The Story of the Easter Robin is such a sweet special story for children and adults alike. The story tells of how a Robin got her red breast. It takes you back to Jesus when He was beaten and carrying his cross and how a Robin was there and had compassion on Jesus.
  This story tells of a girl who worries that the Robin’s eggs will freeze when it got really cold, but Gran said that the creator would take care of it and the eggs.
  The legend of the Robin’s red breast is an old Pennsylvania Dutch tale. The illustrations in The Story of the Easter Robin are simply beautiful. The colors are bright and the people and animals are precious.
  This book is for 4-year olds and up and is a very good story to read to all children. I recommend this sweet book.

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Thank you to Zonderkidz for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Discovery by Dan Walsh * A Review


An Engrossing Story of Family Secrets and a Love for the Ages

When aspiring writer Michael Warner inherits his grandfather's venerable Charleston estate, he settles in to write his first novel. But within the confines of the stately home, he discovers an unpublished manuscript that his grandfather, a literary giant whose novels sold in the millions, had kept hidden from everyone--but which he clearly intended Michael to find. As he delves deep into the exciting tale about spies and sabotage, Michael discovers something that has the power to change not only his future but his past as well.

Laced with suspense and intrigue, The Discovery is a richly woven novel that explores the incredible sacrifices that must be made to forge the love of a lifetime. Author Dan Walsh delivers yet another unique and heartfelt story that will stick with you long after you've turned the last page.

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Revell; Original edition (April 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0800719816
ISBN-13: 978-0800719814


I was born in Philadelphia in 1957 (guys don't care if you know) to a mostly
blue-collar, hard-working Irish family. My Dad was the first person on either side of the family to earn a college degree. It took him nine years, working during the day, going to college at night, using the GI Bill from his war days in Korea. In the mid-sixties, General Electric hired him as an engineer for the Apollo space program. We packed up and moved to Florida, which is really where I grew up.
I spent my childhood years playing basketball and surfing. In the spring of my senior year in high school I met the woman who would become my wife, Cindi. We dated for a brief period. I asked her to marry me and, to my great surprise, she said yes. We were married near the end of 1976. We have two children, now grown.
The desire to write novels first began in high school. But I didn't have the time to pursue this passion until 2007. To find out more, visit my website at www.danwalshbooks.com


MY REVIEW
  The Discovery is such a superb beautifully written love story, not only of a man and woman, but love a man had for his family. I love how this book was written. With one book inside of another. How there is such love in each story.
  Each of Dan Walsh’s books get better and better.  I have enjoyed each and every one of them.
I usually don’t like books that talk about war, but this one was really different and full of action and suspense. It tells of a time when things were different and how life can work out if we just trust the Lord and do the right thing.
   You get drawn into this book and it seems like it is really happening.  Like The Discovery is a true story and you believe everything you read has really occurred.
The scene descriptions were brilliant and so very dramatic. You will be taken back to a different time and place in one story, but you will also enjoy what is happening in the present day.
  I really enjoyed The Discovery very much and look forward to any and all of Dan Walsh’s books. I highly  recommend The Discovery for a book you will want to read again and again.

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I received my free copy from Donna Hausler from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group for my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Finding Our Way Home by Charlene Ann Baumbich * A Review


 Series: A Snowglobe Connections Novel
When the road home becomes daunting—sometimes a very capable girl on a bicycle can help find the way.

“Charming, surprising, familiar, and just downright wonderful.”
—Allie Pleiter, author of Yukon Wedding and Bluegrass Blessings

When principal ballerina Sasha Davis suffers a career-ending injury at age thirty-eight, she leaves her Boston-based dance company and retreats to the home of her youth in Minnesota. But Sasha’s injuries limit her as much as her mother’s recent death haunts her. Concluding she can’t recover alone, Sasha reluctantly hires a temporary live-in aide.

Enter the ├╝bercapable Evelyn Burt. As large-boned as Sasha is delicate, Evelyn is her employer’s opposite in every way. Small town to Sasha’s urban chic, outgoing to Sasha’s iciness, and undaunted where Sasha is hopeless, nineteen-year-old Evelyn is newly engaged and sees the world as one big, shiny opportunity.

Evelyn soon discovers Sasha needs to heal more than bones. Slowly, as the wounds begin to mend and the tables tilt, the two women form an unlikely alliance and discover the astounding power of even the smallest act done in the name of love. Finding Our Way Home is a story of second chances and lavish grace.

Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook Press (March 13, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0307444732
ISBN-13: 978-0307444738
Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 8 inches
Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces


Charlene Ann Baumbich is the author of the Dearest Dorothy series, Stray Affections, and Divine Appointments, as well as several nonfiction books of humor and inspiration. She is also a popular speaker, an award-winning journalist, and lives with her husband in Glen Ellyn, Illinois

MY REVIEW
  This is a really sweet story of love, peace and learning to live with yourself even when tragic things happen.
I really grew to love Evelyn and Sasha started out as employer/employee and how they became friends-almost like mother and daughter.
I love Evelyn’s upbeat ways and how she keeps going no matter what happens, how she sees the good in almost everyone.
  Sasha seemed so mean and hateful at first, but she had her reasons even though she didn’t need to feel that way.
Sasha has a loving husband and friends, but she left everything to be by herself and like Evelyn said she was having a pity party.
  I like Evelyn’s strong faith and how she got Sasha to think about everything and look to the future.
  I love how the snow globe means so much to Sasha and how her and her mother kept it through many, many years.
  I like this book, because it is such a sweet, loving story. I recommend it and know you would simply enjoy the book and this wonderful story.

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Thanks to WaterBrookMultnomah for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255