Monthly Archives: August 2012

The Picture by Stephanie Taylor

The Picture cover artTitle: The Picture

Author: Stephanie Taylor

Publisher: Astraea Press

Book Description:

Sophie lives her life as a hospice nurse running from her past and over-compensating for her sins. She wants nothing more than to help others the way someone once helped her. But she never expected to get so attached to one of her patients.

Nicholas is suddenly looking for more meaning in his life than money, fast women and flashing lights. Life as a rocker has left him empty.  Only Emily filled the gaping hole in his heart and with her death, his soul is broken into pieces.

When two lives collide, Sophie and Nicholas know they’ll never be the same.  Together, they try to figure out a message Emily has left behind.  Can they succeed before the realities of life tear them apart?

Review:

Nicholas and Sophie are two hurting, weary people brought together by a shared love for a little girl who lost her battle with cancer. The explosive chemistry between them and the potent sexual tension alternately draws them together and threatens to push them apart. They must both learn to let go of the past and embrace the future, but are they willing to risk their hearts?

This book is packed with emotion and takes the reader on a roller-coaster ride of joy, grief, anger, love, and everything in between. From the very start, Ms. Taylor takes the reader on a journey of healing and discovery, never once shying away from the difficulties involved in such a trip. If you’re looking for a lighthearted romance that never goes deeper than the surface, this isn’t it. The Picture digs deep, faces difficult subjects, and realistically portrays the ups and downs of overcoming past hurts to begin a new relationship. Ms. Taylor’s vivid writing style will pull you into the story and have you laughing and crying right along with Sophie and Nicholas. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves clean romances that pull at your heartstrings.

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Filed under Astraea Press, Fiction, Romance

Your Life Without Limits by Nick Vujicic

Your Life Without Limits (10-PK) cover artTitle: Your Life Without Limits (10-PK)

Author: Nick Vujicic

Publisher: WaterBrook Press

Book Description:

You Can’t Control What Happens to You…
But You Can Control How You Will Respond!

As a teenager Nick Vujicic wondered how he ever could have a “normal life.”  Born without arms and legs, Nick questioned how he would finish school, find a job, enjoy relationships, and not be a burden to others.  He even contemplated suicide before realizing that his challenges did not need to limit his life.

In Your Life Without Limits, Nick tells why circumstances should not rule your life and how to grab hold of the hope that changes everything for the better.

Look for Nick Vujicic’s inspiring, full-length books Life Without Limits and Unstoppable.

Review:

This booklet provides a brief glimpse into the struggles and hope of Nick Vujicic, a man born without arms or legs. Your Life Without Limits is a companion work to Vujicic’s book Life Without Limits. Themes of encouragement, faith, and hope are evident throughout this booklet. Written with a conversational tone, readers feel as though Vujicic is speaking directly to them.

His story is one that inspires people to overcome whatever challenges they may face and thrive in the lives God gave them. By sharing some of his experiences, thoughts, and beliefs, Vujicic helps readers put their challenges in perspective and learn to look outside of themselves for the hope to lead good, fulfilling lives. The simple fact that he has overcome great obstacles and thrives as a speaker and author is enough to encourage people.

Vujicic speaks directly to readers at times, giving the feeling that he is speaking to friends rather than strangers. He offers ways of coping with feelings of hopelessness, as well as giving readers suggestions for how to help themselves by helping others. By the end of the booklet, readers come away with the knowledge that hope is a mainstay in Vujicic’s life and that hope enables people to overcome whatever obstacles may appear in their lives.

If you’re questioning God’s purpose for your life or feeling overwhelmed by the challenges in your life, or you just want to read an uplifting story, I highly recommend Your Life Without Limits.

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Filed under Christian, Non-fiction, WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

Serpent of Moses by Don Hoesel

Serpent of Moses cover artTitle: Serpent of Moses

Author: Don Hoesel

Publisher: Bethany House

Book Description:

Moses built and lifted up the brass serpent, healing the afflicted Israelites of snakebites.

King Hezekiah called the serpent Nehushtan. Long thought destroyed, it’s been buried for millennia, secreted under the region’s shifting sands.

Now the Israeli government wants it back and they will stop at nothing to get their hands on it. Yet they’re not the only ones who covet the Nehushtan.

Archaeologist Jack Hawthorne travels to Libya intent on recovering the sacred object, but one does not cross the Mossad and expect to walk away without a fight. Jack and his friends must find the priceless “snake of brass upon a pole” before those who are also hunting it find them… and silence them forever.

Review:

Archaeologist Jack Hawthorne is on a quest to find the Nehushtan, the brass serpent staff of Moses. Unfortunately, he’s not the only one who wants it. Mercenaries, the Mossad, simple villagers…everyone seems to want to lay claim to this biblical relic that has rested undisturbed in Libya for centuries. When it’s brought to light, however, Jack finds himself in a world of danger and relying on friends scattered around the world.

Fraught with danger and adventure, Serpent of Moses is an action-packed novel with a hint of romance, a few lessons in biblical history, and plenty of intrigue. From London to Libya and beyond, the characters hop from one country to the next without a second thought, despite the danger the journey places them in. It’s only after men with guns appear that anyone considers the risk to their lives, and by then it’s too late to do anything but continue on and pray God wants them to live through the next step.

Although presented as a stand-alone novel, there are many references to Jack Hawthorne’s past expeditions. In particular, one that took him and his girlfriend Esperanza Habilla to Australia and ended badly. Enough details are finally given in the book for the reader to realize that expedition must be the subject of a previous book by Don Hoesel. Without reading that book first, however, the reader is left wondering what they missed when the story is repeatedly referenced in Serpent of Moses. There’s also the little matter of the characters frequently “intuiting” what others are thinking, as well as several instances of head-hopping (skipping from one character’s thoughts to another’s and back). These things were distracting, along with the feeling of being an outside observer rather than a participant in the story.

Serpent of Moses has an interesting plot and more twists and turns than strictly necessary for an exciting story, but the author managed to tie everything together well while connecting this book to a previous one. The few instances where the wrong location is mentioned in reference to an event in the story can be overlooked without too much trouble.

If you like suspenseful books with adventure, danger, and a bit of archaeology, Serpent of Moses could be the right book for you.

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Filed under Bethany House Publishers, Christian, Fiction, Mystery/Suspense, Romance

The Orphan King by Sigmund Brouwer

The Orphan King cover artTitle: The Orphan King

Author: Sigmund Brouwer

Publisher: Waterbrook Press

Book Description:

The future of the Immortals is in the hands of an orphan

My greatest fear was that they would find us and make of us a sacrifice beneath a full moon. Now you, Thomas, must help us destroy the circle of evil.

The last words of a dying woman would change the life of young Thomas. Raised behind monastery walls, he knows nothing of his mysterious past or imminent destiny. But now, in the heart of medieval England, a darkness threatens to strangle truth. An ancient order tightens their ghostly grip on power, creating fear and exiling those who would oppose them. Thomas is determined fulfill his calling and bring light into the mysterious world of the Druids and leaves the monastery on an important quest.

Thomas quickly finds himself in unfamiliar territory, as he must put his faith in unusual companions—a cryptic knight, a child thief, and the beautiful, silent woman whom may not be all she seems.  From the solitary life of an orphan, Thomas now finds himself tangled in the roots of both comradery and suspicion.

Can he trust those who would join his battle…or will his fears force him to go on alone?

Review:

The first book in the Merlin’s Immortals series, The Orphan King is the beginning of an epic battle between good and evil. Thomas, an orphan raised in an abbey, has known from a young age that he has a special destiny, one he must fulfill or die trying. With the help of a knight he must first rescue from the gallows, he plans to retake the castle Magnus from the man who stole it from Thomas’s family and forced his mother to hide him at the abbey. At first, it appears as though Thomas’s fear may defeat him before his journey begins, but then his courage and determination shine through. He is filled with the necessary fire to stand up for what is right and to fight against those who oppress and inflict pain upon the innocent and the weak. But does he have the wisdom to discern those who wish to use his sense of justice for their own nefarious plans from those who truly need his help and wish to aid his mission?

This book is packed with adventure and intrigue. Each chapter brings a new twist and adds just enough information to allow the reader to discover what is going on right alongside Thomas. The Christian theme is masterfully woven into the plot, revealing itself more through Thomas’s doubts than through any great displays of faith. As Thomas travels the path laid before him, he ponders the same type of questions many people have, such as why a loving God would allow such evil to occur to those helpless to defend themselves. Thomas’s journey also shows the necessity of wisdom and looking beyond a pretty face or compelling words to a person’s true intentions. Not everything is as it seems, and Thomas soon learns that not everyone can be trusted.

With this new series, Sigmund Brouwer has given teens and adults a glimpse into the superstitious medieval times. He adds just enough easily explained “magic” to emphasize the mystique of the educated in the Middle Ages while avoiding turning this into yet another “sword and sorcery” fantasy novel that reads like a dozen others. The Orphan King has a unique plot filled with mystery and questions that leave the reader begging for more.

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Filed under Christian, Fantasy, Historical, Mystery/Suspense, Series, WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, Young Adult