Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Truth Stained Lies

I received a copy of TRUTH STAINED LIES by Terri Blackstock from Zondervan, via BookSneeze.  It is part of the Moonlighters series book one.  How cool is a title like TRUTH STAINED LIES?  The book involves Cathy, an investigative blogger.  That job description earned another “how cool is that?!” from me as I read.  The novel really is a page turner. 

Cathy’s brother Jay is going through a violent divorce with his past wife.  They have a son in the mixture and Jay wants custody.  When he goes to his wife’s house, he sees a clown leaving in an unfamiliar vehicle.  The clown waves to Jay – that literally gave me the chills as I pictured the scene in my mind.  When Jay goes into the house, he finds his wife shot dead in the bathtub.  Of course the authorities don’t believe a clown did it. 

Due to a threatening note she received, Cathy believes the killer is framing Jay to get back at her.  Her friends and family set out to prove Jay didn’t murder his wife.  Love and faith in God wove beautifully into the storyline.  I highly recommend this to fans of Christian fiction and crime/suspense novels.  It keeps you glued to the pages.  I look forward to reading the next books in the series, as well as others by Terri Blackstock.  

Monday, March 18, 2013


I received a copy of MY VERY FIRST EASTER STORY from Kregel Publications.  The text is written by Lois Rock and the illustrations are by Alex Ayliffe.  When I first received my copy in the mail, my mom said, “Yay, a sticker book!”  Each page is divided into two sections, the upper half dedicated to the story of Easter and the bottom half created for activities.  The activities involve counting birds, amongst others.  The stickers are applicable to both sections.  I found the book to be an interesting way to introduce children to Easter.  It would be perfect to tuck into an Easter basket or to play with at the dinner table while surrounded by family.  There are spaces on the pages that represent where the stickers go – I would have personally preferred to put them on wherever I wanted, but the direction should be good for kids.  I didn’t actually use the stickers.  After I read the story, I gave the book to a coworker for her little brother.  He’s eleven and absolutely adored it.  She said that he played and read it for hours.  The back cover lists other books in the series, including MY VERY FIRST NOAH AND THE ARK and MY VERY FIRST JONAH AND THE WHALE who want to continue the learning experience. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


I received a copy of A CAST OF STONES by Patrick W. Carr from Bethany House, one of my favorite publishers.  The book is the first in the Staff & the Sword series.  While I love fantasy novels, this one didn’t quite do it for me.  There is plenty for a fantasy lover to enjoy – magic, kingship, a quest.  All were very cool and well thought out, but it just wasn’t a page turner.  Many of the sentences seemed simplistic enough to be geared toward a children’s book, although the content was definitely adult, and the characters were older. 

I would have liked to see more emotion in the story as well.  Many of the sentences were more Telling than Showing, which is one of the writing tricks of the trade I’ve been lectured not to do.  A sentence such as “Errol fumed” could have been made into something such as, “Errol clenched his fists until his broken fingernails stabbed his palms, while he gritted his teeth and narrowed his eyes.”  Of course, it is up to the author how he or she wants to display the characters.  For me, the lack of emotion kept me distanced from the story.  It also didn’t have anything to make it stand out from other fantasy novels.  Since I needed to review the story, I read it in a few days, but my mind kept wandering.

Nonetheless, I recommend this to fantasy lovers.  It was overall entertaining and a quick read. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Unholy Hunger

I received a copy of UNHOLY HUNGER by Heather James from Kregel.  It is the first book in the Lure of the Serpent series.    The cover is breathtaking – a little girl plays on a path near a swing set while the shadow of a man falls along behind her.  I couldn’t wait to sink my gaze into the novel. 

The story follows Evelyn Barrett.  Her little girl told a stranger in the park that she had “lellow” hair.  That was his trigger and he would ask little girls until they told him the right answer.  The stranger killed Evelyn’s Corinne and since then all she could think about was revenge.  She used to be an attorney, but instead spends her time finding the killer. 

I couldn’t stop reading from the first page to the last.  The sentences can be as simple as “Great until she fell asleep on a park bench and let someone take my child” and hook you.  The story is very real.  You feel as if you know these characters, and will them, you suffer their pain.  Heather James really takes you inside of Evelyn’s mind until you seethe with anger too.  I recommend UNHOLY HUNGER to anyone seeking a fast-paced read that will keep you awake long into the night.  Be prepared to sniffle at the end.