Monday, April 30, 2012

COTT....Clash of the Titles blog Alliance

This week, COTT is featuring a Clash of Leading Ladies. But just how are interesting characters born? Here's one author's experience. Welcome Carol Moncado.

Do you ever wonder how authors come up with their characters? I've heard of authors who fashion their main characters after a barista at their favorite coffee shop or some guy on the bus who looked interesting. The further I get into my writing journey, the more I find my characters often come from real life. For instance: 

The weekend before Easter, I was diagnosed with Bell's Palsy - where half your face just stops working. Fun.
Not really, but it's great story fodder. That's me. The story is one I started recently.

She was wearing an eye patch.
At church.
On Easter.
It might have been what drew my attention to her, but it wasn't what kept it. She stood there, singing along with the praise and worship band, her hands raised. Worshiping her Maker with abandon. But only half of her face worked. The whole thing lit up but only half of it moved. The half with the eye patch seemed to be paralyzed, but it didn't bother her.A pink eye patch.
Now, to be fair, the heroine is younger, skinnier, with darker, straighter hair than me, but that's where the idea for her came from.
In February, Travis [one of the shift managers at my favorite Panera] informed me I needed to name a character after him. Travis-with-the-faux-hawk became the hero in a manuscript.

I flopped into the recliner and ran my hands over my face until my fingers furrowed rows in my faux-hawk. The one that made the kids think I was way cooler than I really was.

But Travis won't see his name in print. A week ago, he was in a car accident. At age 22, he left this life - leaving behind the love of his life and two children.
I'm deeply saddened by news of Travis' passing. To me he was more than 'just' a shift manager at the Panera I frequent. He was a nice guy I loved to chat with. Another manuscript I planned to work on is about a widow. That's all I knew until last week. Now, she's a widow with young children a few years after a senseless tragedy.
Twenty-two is too young to be a widow.
Bethany Sheer knew this with absolute certainty.
And even though twenty-two had passed her three years earlier – along with her husband, the love of her life and the father of her two children – she remembered all too clearly what the pain tearing through the heart of the young woman on the news felt like.
Someday, I hope to be able to share Travis-with-the-faux-hawk with his family. To let them know that he touched my life. That he inspired a character in a novel – and so did they.
Because the best inspiration is what we find all around us.

When she's not writing about her imaginary friends,Carol Moncado is hanging out with her husband and four kids in the big yard of her southwest Missouri home, teaching American Government at a community college, reading, or watching NCIS. You can follow her ramblings on her blog .


 **Be sure to head over to Clash of the Titles and cast your vote today!

And for another taste of character, visit with Bethany, the main character of Wildflowers from Winter at marjilaine.wordpress.com.

when sparrows fall by Meg Moseley

Book Description:  Freedom. Safety. Love. Miranda vows to reclaim them--for herself, and for her children.
 
A widow and mother of six, Miranda Hanford leads a quiet, private life. When the pastor of her close-knit church announces his plans to move the entire congregation to another state, Miranda jumps at the opportunity to dissolve ties with Mason Chandler and his controlling method of ruling his flock. But then Mason threatens to unearth secrets from her past, and Miranda feels trapped, terrified she’ll be unable to protect her children.



College professor Jack Hanford is more than surprised when he gets a call from his estranged sister-in-law’s oldest son, Timothy, informing him that Miranda has taken a serious fall and he has been named legal guardian of her children while she recovers. Quickly charmed by Miranda’s children, Jack brings some much-needed life into the sheltered household. But his constant challenging of the family’s conservative lifestyle makes the recovering mother uneasy and defensive—despite Jack’s unnerving appeal.



As Jack tries to make sense of the mysterious Miranda and the secrets she holds so tightly, Mason’s pressure on her increases. With her emotions stirring and freedom calling, can Miranda find a way to unshackle her family without losing everything?


My Review:  Wow!  Imagine never watching a dvd or shopping at Wal-Mart!  Welcome to Miranda's world.  She and her six children have led very conservative lives not necessarily because they chose this way of life but because Miranda's husband, Carl, and the pastor of their church insisted on these "rules of life."
When Miranda is badly hurt after a fall her oldest son, Timothy, contacts his uncle Jack (half brother to his late dad) to come and help his family while his mom recuperates.  
Jack drops everything to go and help Miranda and her children.  Jack's easy going ways and challenges aren't the perfect way to help but Miranda with her defensive ways begins to question "the why of her conservative living."
The mystery involving Pastor Mason and even the secrets Miranda harbors are intriguing as well as hard to guess why it all happened.  
This book brings out some hard to answer questions:  Why do some people follow the Law but forget about the Grace?  Is it right for a pastor to "rule" his flock?  Are people who follow pastors who require more than God requires just part of a cult?
This was a truly interesting read.  There are slow parts but I likes the way the author pulls the reader into the "fray."  I found myself rooting for Jack to help Miranda and the children pull away from their pastor.  But found that pulling away from a cult leader is about like pulling a tooth.  A lot of pain, some tears but healing as the end result.
This is an enjoyable read!  God sees every sparrow that falls and He knows just how to help His "sparrows" regain life again!
*This book was provided for review by Waterbrook/Multnomah*

Meet the Author:

Although I've lived more than half my life in other states, I grew up in California and am still a California girl at heart. I love vintage bungalows, twisted oaks on rolling hills, and the rocky beaches of the Central Coast. A few blocks away from my childhood home stood a Lutheran church where I came to faith, first through Sunday School teachers whose kindness drew me to the kindness of God, and then through confirmation classes. The Bible verses that had been drilled into my head came to life in my heart.
After moving away from home as a teenager, I worked at a variety of jobs, from candle-maker in a tourist town to administrative assistant at a Christian college. I married a wonderful man from Michigan, and we lived north of Detroit for seventeen years. That's where we started homeschooling our three children, a journey that we finished in Georgia when our youngest
graduated from high school in 2009.
My husband and I live near Atlanta, close to the foothills of the Southern Appalachians. His motorcycle often carries us to the mountains of Georgia, Tennessee, or the Carolinas. Sitting on the back of the bike, I can pray, enjoy the beautiful views, and plot new stories. Fiction makes my world go 'round, whether I'm writing it or reading it.


  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Multnomah Books (May 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1601423551
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601423559

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Emerald Windows by Terri Blackstock

Book Description:  Ten years ago, devastated by an ugly scandal, Brooke Martin fled the small town of Hayden to pursue a career as a stained glass artist. Now Brooke has returned on business to discover that some things never change. Her spotted reputation remains. Tongues still wag. And that makes what should be her dream assignment tough.
Brooke has been hired to design new stained glass windows at Hayden Bible Church. The job is a career windfall. But Nick Marcello is overseeing the project, and some in the church think Nick and Brooke’s relationship is not entirely professional--and as before, there is no convincing those people otherwise.
In the face of mounting rumors, the two set out to produce the masterpiece Nick has conceived: a brilliant set of windows displaying God’s covenants in the Bible. For Brooke, it is more than a project--it is a journey toward faith. But opposition is heating up. A vicious battle of words and will is about to tax Brooke’s commitment to the limit. Only this time, she is determined not to run.
My Review:  Emerald Windows by Terri Blackstock is a mystery that involves windows.  But not just any old windows...but beautiful, stained glass windows that each have a biblical story.
Of course, there is "history" with Brooke.  She has come back to community she thought was left in her past but God has a way of bringing us back to set things right. And now she is working with Nick who was part of her "history." 
When things start begin to unravel and people in the community think  that Brooke may have come back to town to create more problems, Brooke is determined not of back down this time.  She is  a changed person and is determined to solve the mystery!
Nick, also, has had a change of heart and after working with Brooke on this project he begins to see that her life and heart have had a life change  from the Lord.  Nick is determined to help Brooke solve the mystery and not let anything get in the way of completing the beautiful stained glass window project.
I light read.  Fun to read and yet with a message.  A great read for that summer day at the beach!
*This book was provided for review by Zondervan Publishing*
  • Reading level: Ages 18 and up
  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (October 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310228077
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310228073

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday} Two Ingredient Biscuits

Easy, Fluffy Biscuits



I found this great and simple recipe on Pinterest.  From The Marathon Mom...


Ingredients:

  • 3 cups self-rising flour
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
Instructions:
  1. Mix flour and cream in mixing bowl, just til combined.
  2. Knead gently four or five times on lightly floured cutting board.
  3. Pat out to 1/2 inch thick.
  4. Cut out biscuits.  (I made about 18.)
  5. Bake at 450 for ten minutes or until tops are light golden brown.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

COTT: Clash Of The Titles


Spotlight On Delian Latham



I love those private moments when He cuddles me to His heart and reassures me that I am His, and that I'm special to Him.
~ Delia Latham





Welcome, Delia! It's a pleasure starting off our day off visiting with you. What did you have for breakfast this morning?


Do I have to go directly to jail if I confess to rarely eating breakfast?  I've never been a fan of breakfast foods. To make it even worse, I usually get out of bed and feel my way to the refrigerator (instead of the coffee pot) for my wake-me-up Dr. Pepper. Oh, no! I think I just heard the clang of a slamming jail cell...


Uh-oh, lol. I'll give you a place to hide when you go on the lam. So after that can of morning law-breaking, you must then head for the closet to get dressed. Would you consider yourself a skirt, jeans, or sweats kinda gal?


Sweats when I'm home with no company expected and no errands to run. Jeans otherwise. And, although you didn't ask, bare feet.


I'm addicted to socks personally. Preferably fuzzy ones. But besides our feet, we probably look a lot alike in the outfit department. Nice to know I can dress casual if I ever visit your house. Which makes me wonder... If you were having me over for dinner, what would you be serving?


Hmmm...good question, since I'm not the cook in my family. My husband does that, and loves it. (Am I blessed? Oh, yes, I am!) Off the top of my head, I'd say you might be dining on his famous chili verde burritos. They're mmm-mmm good! Dessert would be chocolate Heavenly Hash, which is a scrumptious concoction made of chocolate pudding, cool whip, and...I'm not even sure what else is in there, but you're going to love it! And, since it's you, it would all be served on a silver platter - my contribution to the meal. LOL


Oh Yum! I think I'll bring the whole fam. They might get bored of our book talk though. Can you tell me, of the books you've had published, which is nearest and dearest to your heart?


Come now, darling...surely you wouldn't ask a mother which is her favorite child?  But, for the sake of cooperation, I'll just say that the new baby always gets the most attention. Of my older "children," however, I think Goldeneyes is probably the most "like" me. A vintage romance (set in 1936 and 1959), it is set partially in Weedpatch, the tiny, California farming community where I grew up. How could it not have a little of my own heart and soul written into its pages?


That sounds amazing! Can't wait to read it. =) COTT is lucky to have such a talented writer on staff. How long have you been on staff at Clash of the Titles and what do you envision for its future?


I don't think it's been quite a year yet. Seems like I started about the beginning of August 2011. As for its future, I see COTT becoming a very important cog in the wheel for helping authors get noticed. It's already becoming known within the writing field, and has enjoyed participation by some widely recognized authors. I can't help believing COTT will become one of the places on which authors look forward to claiming a spot, and the Laurel Award could easily become one of the sought-after crowns (ummm...laurels?) of achievement within the industry. I honestly believe we have the potential for that kind of success, because everyone on staff truly cares about our authors and their success. I'm so proud to play a small part behind the scenes!


Sounds like a bright future for COTT and we love you being a part of our family of staff. We love your sweet spirit and the way Jesus shines through you. When do you feel closest to God?


When I'm alone with Him...shut in with God, in a "secret place," as the old hymn goes. Just me and the Lover of my soul. I love those private moments when He cuddles me to His heart and reassures me that I am His, and that I'm special to Him. Even though I know He gives that same assurance to many others, it's absolutely true for each of us. He loves us all the most.


Ah, that is so beautiful. Love it. Thank you, Delia, that was so wonderfully well-put. You have such a way with words. And on that note, tell us about the last book you had the pleasure of seeing reach reader's hands.


That would be Gypsy's Game - Book Three in the Solomon's Gate series...and it reached reader's hands only last Friday, March 16! I'm very excited about Gypsy's story, and can't wait to start hearing what readers think. Here's what it's about:

Gypsy Lovell stands to inherit an enormous amount of money from a father who never gave her anything but a ridiculous name. Even now, he doesn’t make it easy. A stipulation in the man’s will demands that Gypsy be married in order to claim what is hers.

Desperate for the monetary windfall that could save her ailing mother’s life, Gypsy visits a Christian dating agency, hoping to find a temporary husband. Someone easy to handle for the required six months, and easy to get rid of when she no longer needs him.

Jal Garridan is neither of those things, but he's willing to take on the challenge presented by the beautiful stranger—on his own terms.

What Gypsy doesn’t know is that Solomon’s Gate is a dating agency with a Divine connection. What she finds there may save more than her mother’s life. It may save Gypsy’s soul.

I must  admit, there's a certain melancholy that goes along with knowing this book will most likely be the last time I'll swing open the giant portals of Solomon's Gate. But then...only God knows the future...perhaps He hasn't thrown away the key.




Thank you so much for chatting with us today. Go grab another Dr. Pepper and have a wonderfully productive day.  And readers, be sure to visit www.clashofthetitles.com for the latest Clash and giveaway.
Have a blessed day!




Monday, April 23, 2012

Where Lilacs Still Bloom by Jane Kirkpatrick

Book Description:  One woman, an impossible dream, and the faith it took to see it through. 
 German immigrant and farm wife Hulda Klager possesses only an eighth-grade education—and a burning desire to create something beautiful. What begins as a hobby to create an easy-peeling apple for her pies becomes Hulda’s driving purpose: a time-consuming interest in plant hybridization that puts her at odds with family and community, as she challenges the early twentieth-century expectations for a simple housewife.   Through the years, seasonal floods continually threaten to erase her Woodland, Washington garden and a series of family tragedies cause even Hulda to question her focus. In a time of practicality, can one person’s simple gifts of beauty make a difference?   Based on the life of Hulda Klager, Where Lilacs Still Bloom is a story of triumph over an impossible dream and the power of a generous heart.
My Review:  Ah!  This is one great read!  And such a faith lifter! I love a read that inspires me to do better and to help others. And that's exactly the kind of story that Where Lilacs Still Bloom does...inspires!
After reading A Daughter's Walk I knew that Jane Kirkpatrick would be one of those author's whose books I would seek out and not be disappointed.
In Where Lilacs Still Bloom we meet Hulda, one of those human beings who not only enjoys beauty but wants others to be able to enjoy the  beauty too.  Sharing God's goodness with others. 
In this read, growing lilacs is a sideline story, as is plant hybridization. This read really is how in the face of disappointment, sadness and life's triumphs that God will bring us through.it.all as we trust in Him!
What always amazes me about Jane Kirkpatrick's books is the incredible amount of research that goes onto her story.  Bringing the reader not just a story but facts and faith!
When I smell lilacs I will now, always, think of Hulda . . .  her determination, faith and research will challenge me to do more, too!
Loved this read!
*This book was provided for review by Waterbrook/Multnomah Publishing*
Meet the Author: 
If you'd like more information about me, please come visit my website at www.jkbooks.com and click on my blog. My dog also has a blog and you can find out what it's like to be Bodacious Bo, too. A monthly newsletter called Story Sparks is my way of sharing books about authors I enjoy as well as commenting on life and love. You'll find out more about me than you probably ever wanted to know! You
One item not listed on my lists of books is my selection included in an anthology called "Crazy Woman Creek: Women Rewrite the American West" published by Houghton Mifflin I also have a piece in Storytellers II, a book published a few years ago by Multnomah Press and a few short selections in Daily Guideposts of a few years back. My first novella, "The Courting Quilt" is part of a collection that made the New York Times bestsellers this past September in a collection called Log Cabin Christmas. The rest of my writing, as they say, is history. Or it was until my first contemporary came out this fall. Called Barcelona Calling, it's the story of a writer who loses her way as she seeks fulfillment thinking she'll find it with fame. It's a laugh out loud book according to reviewers. I hope you'll enjoy it.

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press (April 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400074304
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400074303

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Darkness Follows by Mike Dellosso

Book Description: Sam Travis lives in a Civil War era farmhouse in Gettysburg, PA, where he awakens one morning to find an old journal with an entry by a Union soldier, Lt. Whiting……written in Sam’s own handwriting. When this happens several more times, both at night and during waking “trances” Sam begins to question his own sanity while becoming obsessed with Lt. Whiting and his bone-chilling journal entries. As the entries begin to mimic Sam’s own life, he is drawn into an evil plot that could cost many lives, including his own. Can the unconditional love of Sam’s daughter, Eva, break through his hardened heart before a killer on the loose catches up with them and Sam’s past spurs him to do the unthinkable?
My Review:  This is not a book that I would normally read since I'm basically a scaredy cat at heart but a friend told me I might enjoy the way Mike Dellosso writes.  
Well, this book is definitely not for the faint of heart.  When Sam after going stir crazy at home while recuperating, travels to Gettysburg, PA.  One night when he can't sleep, he gets up and Boom! something comes through the front window and shatters the night and Sam's life.  Sam sees nothing...this is where my neck hairs, well all my hairs just start to stand up on their own.  
The police come but oddly there are no bullets and no holes!  Everyone including Sam and his wife are stumped!  Then Sam finds his little girl's notebook with a story written in his handwriting about the Civil War and how he needs to help Abraham Lincoln stop the violence.  Sam has flashbacks to his less than the best childhood and well, is just plain hard to figure out what is going on!
The suspense in this read is terrific!  Scary, yes!  And at times a tad to creepy for me.  
This is a great read for a history buff.  
A word of caution*If the bump in the night scares you then don't begin this book at night! 

 *This book was provided for review by Charisma House*
Meet the Author: 
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Mike now lives in Hanover, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Jen, and their three daughters. In addition to his novels of supernatural suspense he writes a bi-weekly column for his local newspaper and is an adjunct professor of writing at Lancaster Bible College. He received his BA degree in sports exercise and medicine from Messiah College and his MBS degree in theology from Master's Graduate School of Divinity.

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Realms (May 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616382740
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616382742

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday} Edible Teacups!

We're having a tea party for Mother's Day and I found this Edible Teacup at Disney Family.com
Instead of candy I'm filling mine with different kinds of tea bags for the moms...How cute is that!!
 Made from ice cream cones and cookies, these edible cup-and-saucer treat holders are a cinch to assemble and will ensure that each guest at your child's tea party gets his or her fill.
For each teacup, you'll need:
  • Cup-style wafer ice cream cone
  • Round sugar or shortbread cookie
  • Decorator's icing
  • 2 gummy rings candies
  • Assorted candies, popcorn, or trail mix to fill the teacup
Instructions:
1. Use a serrated knife to carefully cut the cup portion of the ice cream cone from the handle (an adult's job). Discard the handle and set the cup aside for now.
2. Place a gummy ring candy on the center of the cookie, using decorator's icing to "glue" it in place.
3. Set the ice cream cone cup on top of the gummy ring. Again, use a thin line of decorator's icing to hold the cone in place, if needed.
4. For a teacup handle, slice the second gummy ring in half. Gently press the cut ends of one of the candy halves against the cone to stick the handle in place.
5. Fill the cup with a few candies

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

COTT: Clash Of The Titles . . .

Clash of the Titles Congratulates Keven Newsome, author of Winter  and winner of the Comparable Cover/ Book Blurb Clash!One of the commenters at Clash of the Titles said, “Just finished Winter, loved it.”


About Winter:
We're all freaks. It's just a matter of perspective.
Winter Maessen didn’t ask for the gift of prophecy. She’s happy being a freak – but now everyone thinks she’s crazy. Or evil. Goths aren’t all the same, you know. Some are Christians…
Christians to whom God sends visions.
Students at her university are being attacked, and Winter knows there’s more than flesh and blood at work. Her gift means she’s the only one who can stop it – but at what price?
Keven talks about Winter.Winter is a four book series. As the series progresses, Winter’s ability as a prophetess grows to rival Elijah. She does not just have a gift of prophecy, but is an Old Testament style prophet. I worked very hard to make sure everything she does is theologically and Biblically accurate. Everything she does has a corresponding Biblical example.
The story is not necessarily about Winter being a prophetess or her battle with a Satanic priest. It is more about her fall and redemption through Christ. That’s why the story is told in two parts. The flashback story shows how she fell to become unlovable and unwanted. The modern day story shows how God can take the most unlovable and unwanted person and transform them into something amazing.  I want this story to inspire all readers that even though they don’t think they’re good enough for God, God thinks otherwise.


About Keven:Keven Newsome is a graduate student at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he is pursuing a Master of Arts in Theology specializing in Supernatural Theology. He writes stories that portray the supernatural and paranormal with a Biblical perspective. He's also the found and administrator of The New Author's Fellowship and produces music and videos through Newsome Creative. When asked about himself, he says, "I am a child of God, husband, father, and friend, in that order. I am a musician, novelist, and sometimes artist. I know the difference between Star Wars, Star Trek, and Firefly, but I prefer Lord of the Rings. My mp3 player contains a mix of Christian rock and movie soundtracks. I am more of a nerd at heart, but I am equally comfortable sleeping under the stars with a log for a pillow, playing Halo with a bunch of guys with cold pizza on standby, or playing intra-mural sports such as tennis or flag-football. In short...I am strange."
He currently lives in Louisiana with his wife and their two children.
Visit Keven's Web site here

Submitted by Clash Hostess: Gail Pallotta
Bio: Gail has published several hundred freelance articles and two books. While some of her articles are included in anthologies, two of her historical pieces ended up in museums. In 2004, the year she published her first book, Now Is the Time, the American Christian Writers Association named her a regional writer of the year. Gail’s first Christian romance, Love Turns the Tide, was published by Awe-struck E- books in their inspirational category. Learn more about Gail here Visit her blog here
Author LOVE TURNS THE TIDE
available from Awe-Struck E-Books
www.awe-struck.net
Web site: http://www.gailpallotta.com
Blog:www.gailpallotta.blogspot.com
Splickety magazine, issue 1.1
https://magcloud.com/account/downloads

Monday, April 16, 2012

Crazy Dagerous by Andrew Klavan



Book Description: "You probably want to hear about Jennifer and the demons and how I played chicken with a freight train and—oh yeah—the weird murder . . . you're definitely going to want to hear about that."

Sam Hopkins is a good kid who has fallen in with a bad crowd. Hanging around with car thieves and thugs, Sam knows it’s only a matter of time before he makes one bad decision too many and gets into real trouble.
But one day, Sam sees them harassing an eccentric schoolmate of his named Jennifer. When Sam finds the courage to face the bullies down, he loses a bad set of friends and acquires a very strange new one.
Because Jennifer is not just eccentric. To Sam, she seems downright crazy. She has terrifying hallucinations involving demons and the devil and death. And here’s the really crazy part: Sam is beginning to suspect that these visions may actually be prophecies—prophecies of something terrible that’s going to happen very soon. Unless he can stop it.
With no one to believe him, with no one to help him, Sam is now all alone in a race against time. Finding the truth before disaster strikes is going to be both crazy and very, very dangerous.

My Review: Crazy Dangerous by Andrew Klavan is aptly titled! The only way I can describe this read is on the dark side {reminds me of Darth Vader going to the dark side in Star Wars} . 
Sam is one of those PK's (preacher's kid} who seems to be at the wrong place at the right time....only to get into trouble. He seemingly wants to do good but somehow ends up in the wrong. Then he runs into Jennifer, Mark's younger sister. Jennifer is a shy, hunched, small in stature and always in her own world kind.of.girl. But Mark is a big guy and loves his sister so no one wanted to get on Mark's bad side by talking about Jennifer. So, Jennifer looks at Mark and goes on.
Then Sam's so called friends, the thugs, turn on him and literally beat the snot out of him. Hurting but feeling wiser and very sore, Mark heads home only to meet up with an old man who tries to help him and leaves these parting words, "Do right. Fear nothing." At least that's what Mark thought he said.Mark then begins a "new" life avoiding people and trying to figure out what Jennifer's "prophecies" mean.  
 Can Sam save the day? An interesting read about choices and where those choices can lead one. Sam has the most unusual adventure with a great learning experience.  Sometimes this read was slightly "weird" with all the demons and head talking...not something I like to read about....takes one to the dark side of life! 
*This book was provided for review by BookSneeze/Thomas Nelson Publishing*
Meet the Author:
Andrew Klavan has been nominated for the Mystery Writer of America's Edgar award five times and won twice. He is the author of several bestselling novels, including Don't Say A Word, filmed starring Michael Douglas, True Crime, filmed by Clint Eastwood, and Empire of Lies. He is currently writing a series of thrillers for young adults called The Homelanders. The first two novels in the series are The Last Thing I Remember and The Long Way Home. Klavan is a contributing editor to City Journal and his essays have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, among other places. His satiric video commentaries can be seen on PJTV.com.






Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (May 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595547932
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595547934

Friday, April 13, 2012

Lion of Babylon by Davis Bunn


Book Description:  Marc Royce works for the State Department on special assignments, most of them rather routine, until two CIA operatives go missing in Iraq--kidnapped by Taliban forces bent on generating chaos in the region. Two others also drop out of sight--a high-placed Iraqi civilian and an American woman providing humanitarian aid. Are the disappearances linked? Rumors circulate in a whirl of misinformation. Marc must unravel the truth in a covert operation requiring utmost secrecy--from both the Americans and the insurgents. But even more secret than the undercover operation is the underground dialogue taking place between sworn enemies. Will the ultimate Reconciler between ancient enemies, current foes, and fanatical religious factions be heard?

My Review: Davis Bunn writes an intriguing thriller that could be ripped from today's news headlines.  
First, we meet Sameh who is working on a missing child case in Bagdad.  Then we meet Marc who hails from the U.S.  Marc and Sameh then meet in Bagdad as Marc is called into duty to find a fellow CIA operative.
Two cases intertwined in the closets of the grand underworld.  Two very different men with one common goal-free the captives!
Then we meet Leyla a young widow and mother of precocious, Bisan.  Leyla drives Marc around Bagdad. "Leyla's driving was as bad as the traffic.  She scooted around a corner, almost taking a cluster of pedestrians off at the knees."  Leyla is the kind of woman who isn't afraid to  get.it.done!
Unraveling clues to find the missing is hard to do in a land filled with danger at every turn.  But Marc feels that he has come back to life for the first time since his beloved wife has passed away.  He also feels an obligation to help Sameh.  Sameh feels an obligation to 
find the missing child(ren).  Integrity is not a by-word in this novel.  It is the essence of true men and women.
The history of Muslims in this fiction read is phenomenal.  Learning that the word Imam means the head of the Muslim community; the title is used in the Qurʾān several times to refer to leaders and to Abraham. Since 911 I've heard some of these terms but never, really, caught their true meaning.  Reading this novel gave me a better "picture" of the Muslim world and of the Christians who live amongst the Muslims.  Courage to face the impossible, prayer to see the mission through.
This is a great read filled with danger, intrigue and most of all Christ centered people in a land that seems Godless. 
Click HERE to view trailer to Lion of Babylon!
*This book was provided for review by Bethany House Publishers*