Book Review: Indivisible **Win a FREE Copy**

ATTENTION:  I found this review in my drafts folder.  This blog tour is a good month or two old now (the emails are on my old computer).  However, I felt obligated to post it now anyway and to offer my apologies to WaterBrook for my error.

Title: Indivisible

Author: Kristen Heitzmann

Publisher’s Synopsis: An inseparable bond.
An insatiable force.

Battling his own personal demons, Police Chief Jonah Westfall knows the dark side of life and has committed himself to eradicating it. When a pair of raccoons are found mutilated in Redford, Colorado, Jonah investigates the gruesome act, knowing the strange event could escalate and destroy the tranquility of his small mountain town. With a rising drug threat and never-ending conflict with Tia Manning, a formidable childhood friend with whom he has more than a passing history, Jonah fights for answers—and his fragile sobriety.

But he can’t penetrate every wound or secret—especially one fueled by a love and guilt teetering on madness.

From best-selling author Kristen Heitzmann comes a spellbinding tale of severed connections and the consequences of life lived alone.

Follow Kristen Heitzmann online at http://www.KristenHeitzmann.net.

I’ve loved Kristen Heitzmann for quite a while.  She has a strong writing style that sets her apart from a lot of Christian fiction writers.  I love the way she sees into the human soul to see beyond the simple to the heart of an issue.  Usually, I’m most drawn to her plot lines and just really like her characters.  This time, the characters shine so brightly that I almost forgot that there was an incredible plot!

First of all, the plot got me.  I usually figure things out fairly early, and a lot of this one I did too, but there was one major plot point that I did not get until I was supposed to.  THAT is some awesome writing.  She writes of complicated people with complicated problems… that are also very common and ordinary.  In other words, you can absolutely believe that the people and scenes you read about are really happening.

So, back to the characters.  I absolutely adored Miles.  She took a person like Miles and made me want to hug him.  Read the book.  You’ll see why that is such a big deal even aside from my own personal issues with hugs.  To be honest some of the main characters annoyed me, but I think they were supposed to!  They did their jobs.  I loved that Sam wasn’t who he seemed to be– yet was– all at the same time!  That’s awesome!

I really can’t say more.  If I tell you, I ruin the story.

I want to thank Water Brook for providing TWO copies for review.  I’m going to give both copies away so that everyone can enjoy them!  So, to enter, what minor character in any book do you wish you could read more about?

We Have a Winner!!!

So, I drew for Here Burns My Candle.  I thought it was time I did a SWIFT draw.  Alas, I won.  Yep.  I won my own draw.  I forgot that I responded to Liz Curtis Higgs when she posted a comment.  I should have left them out of the running.  Oh well, I did it again and got…

ADRIENNE!

And, because I am way on the ball this time… I already shipped it!  Yippie Skippie!  I am a happy camper.

BTW… I also finally mailed the last books and the cards that Lori won.  I did a LOT of shipping today.  Just sayin’.  Gonna review another book tomorrow.  Stay tuned!

We Have a Winner *** Deep Harbor***

Congratulations Katheryn (with a K… a C always looks so smug… 😉 )

Just email me with your address and I’ll ship that baby right out to you.  Enjoy your flight into fictional history!

Please read (if you haven’t before) my “Giveaways Policy.”

Book Review: Start Here ** Win COPY **

Title: Start Here

Subtitle: Doing Hard Things right Where You Are

Authors: Alex & Bret Harris (with Elisa Stanford)

Publisher’s Synopsis: You want to do hard things.
But you don’t know where to start.

You are changing the world around you.
But you are tired and burned out.

You feel called to do the extraordinary for God.
But you feel stuck in the ordinary.

Do Hard Things inspired thousands of young people around the world to make the most of the teen years. Now Alex and Brett Harris are back and ready to tackle the questions that Do Hard Things inspired: How do I get started? What do I do when I get discouraged? What’s the best way to inspire others? Filled with stories and insights from Alex, Brett, and other real-life rebelutionaries, Start Here is a powerful and practical guide to doing hard things, right where you are.

Are you ready to take the next step and blast past mediocrity for the glory of God?

START HERE.

Continuing where Do Hard Things ends, Start Here is more the “”how to” after the “what to”.  Packed full of true stories about kids who read the first book and decided to make their own little “Rebelutions” in their lives, this book helps teens (and really anyone in my opinion) focus on the “main thing”.  They show kids where things will be easy, where they’ll be hard, and why it’s worth it regardless.  The fact of the matter is, in a world that expects little out of kids but trouble and bad attitudes, this book starts with basic principles (he who is faithful in little– you know, things like making beds and doing homework– will be trusted with much) and builds on them, showing how to stay within the boundaries God has given young people .  That’s one of the best parts of this book, in my opinion.  The book encourages teens to stretch all boundaries EXCEPT those that God has set in place.  (You know, little things like the law, parental authority, etc.)

Aside from the obvious (encouragement for kids to get out there and make a difference in their lives and the lives of others), the book is packed with things that any Christian needs to read and remember.  A few are…

  • Serving God doesn’t mean being miserable or losing your sense of humor.  Serving can be FUN.
  • When you want to learn from someone, find out what they’ve said before you ask.
  • Pride is always an enemy.
  • Things worth doing don’t always get you credit.
  • Sometimes, doing what is right means a shift in what is normal.
  • Busyness is not equivalent to fruitfulness.

I want to talk a bit about that last one.  It is a dussie.  I started to write a bunch of stuff about it, but instead, I’m just going to link to the blog post they reference and suggest you read it for yourself.  Wow.  That’s all I’ve got to say.  Wow.

Buy the book.  That’s all I’m sayin’.  Buy. The.  Book.

I want to thank Multnomah for providing this book for review.

To win a copy of this book (I’m giving TWO away.  That’s how important this book is in my opinion.  I’m giving BOTH away and buying another one of my own), leave a comment and tell us what kinds of things you’re seeing kids do to bring glory to God.

Book Review: Secrets

Title: Secrets

Author: Robin Jones Gunn

Series: Glenbrooke Series

Publisher’s Synopsis: Jessica ran from her past…but can she hide from love?

Jessica Morgan wants desperately to forget the past and begin a new life. She chooses a small, peaceful town tucked away in Oregon’s Willamette Valley as the place to start over—Glenbrooke. Once there, Jessica conceals her identity from the intriguing personalities she meets—including the compassionate paramedic who desires to protect her and the jealous woman who wants nothing more than to destroy her.

Will Jessica’s deceit ruin all hope for the future? Or will she find a deeper peace that allows her to stop hiding the truth from those who love her most of all?

This heartwarming bestseller, book one in the Glenbrooke series, introduces the fascinating people of Glenbrooke in a compelling tale of romance and spiritual truth.

Well, reading this book was like picking up an old friend.  I read this series probably ten years ago.  First, may I say I love the new covers.  L.O.V.E.  Just sayin’.

Ok, the book.  Well, since I’d read all of the series in the course of two days the last time I read it, I made sure I reread it.  I enjoyed it as much as I did last time.  The story is clean, interesting, and has a few nuggets to really inspire you to be the person that GOD wants you to be.

However, I found myself shaking my head in the same places as the last time.  The “realization” that she needs salvation was very convenient, happened early, and she sure knew an awful lot about what she needed in regards to salvation when she didn’t know the simplest things about the Bible before that moment.  The main male character, Kyle, managed to fall for her awfully quickly.

So, suffice it to say, it isn’t going to go down in history as one of the finest works in Christian literature.  Hey, most people wouldn’t call it literature at all.  It’s just a really nice story about likable people, and a plot that is a lovely escape.  Will I read it again?  Probably.  Sometimes you just need an enjoyable story to lose yourself in for a while.  This is that story.

Get yourself down to the local bookstore, over to Amazon.com, or to Randomhouse.com and buy a copy.   Then, next time you have a rough day and want to disappear into another world, it’ll be waiting for you.  Welcome to Glenbrooke… you might not want to go home.

Thank you Random House for providing this copy for review.

Book Review: Stray Affections *Win Copy!*

Book Title: Stray Affections

Author: Charlene Ann Baumbich

Publisher’s Synopsis: The last thing that Cassandra Higgins expects out of her Sunday is to be mesmerized at a collectors’ convention by a snowglobe. She’s enjoying some mommy time, with husband Ken at home tending their brood of four young boys, when she’s utterly charmed by the one-of-a kind globe containing figures of three dogs and a little girl with hair the color of her own. She can’t resist taking the unique globe home– even if means wrestling another shopper for it!

The beautiful snowglobe sparks long-dormant memories for Cassie, of her beloved Grandpa Wonky, the stray she rescued as a child, and the painful roots of her combative relationship with her mother, “Bad Betty” Kamrowski. Life in Wanonishaw, Minnesota is never dull, though, and Cassie keeps the recollections at bay, busy balancing her boys, her home daycare operation, and being a good friend to best pal Margret. But after a strange–flurrious, as Cassie deems it–moment happens with the remarkable snowglobe, Cassie and the people she loves are swirled into a tumultuous, yet grace-filled, and life-changing journey.

With the quirky, close-knit Midwestern small-town feel that made Charlene Ann Baumbich’s acclaimed Dearest Dorothy novels so popular, Stray Affections invites you to experience the laughter and the healing of second chances.


This book was refreshingly light hearted and yet handled some very difficult issues at the same time.   The characters were genuine, intersting, and the story line somehow ambled along at a pleasant pace and flew by at the same time.  Just my favorite kind of story.  There are several plots interwoven that give you a perspective on the lives of the principal characters that is unique.

I particularly loved how she drops you into the story full force.  My favorite books all begin that way, and I tend to do the same when I write.  There was an almost Gaskell-like quality to how you are introduced to characters you were sure you wouldn’t like, but learn to respect and even love as the story progresses.  I felt a kinship with her mother “Bad Betty” and at first, I was bothered by it.  Once I read more, I couldn’t help but nod as I read.  I understood her.

Mrs. Baumbich writes with humor, insight, and creates characters that you easily identify with– even feel as though you know them.  She wrote consistently and didn’t allow herself to get lazy.  Even minor characters were exceptionally realistic.

At first, it was a little difficult to allow myself to enter the world of her past.  I wanted to go forward, read more about the main character’s friends, get to know her husband better (I think he reminds me a little of my Kevin), and see the now.  However, once I adjusted (and I don’t know if it’s the writing style or my state of mind when I got to that part), the back story blended brilliantly with the now and you saw the turmoil come together into one amazingly healing picture.  This is the kind of Christian fiction that subtly teaches you something, but you don’t realize it until you get to the end and reflect upon what you’ve learned.

The book was charming, heart warming, and heartwrenching all at the same time.  I highly recommend it if you enjoy writing that makes you laugh, sigh, and you walk away from with a deeper understanding of human relationships– but may never realize that you did.  It’s gentle in its teaching.  I love that about it.  She wrote a story that somehow took the idea of preaching without words and used words to show actions that preach.

I have one copy to give away.  It got a bit scuffed while I read it, but it’s still in very good condition (just not gift-giving condition!).  I’ll try to draw at the end of next week so leave a comment if you’d like one!

WINNER! The Confidential Life of Eugenia Price

Well, I’m a bit more on the ball with this one.  I got smart and decided to make sure I did it while I was doing the others!  YESS!!!

Well, I don’t know if I love you best, but Random sure does Adrienne!  Congrats!!!  It’ll go out this week.

Book Review: The Night Watchman

Title:  The Night Watchman

Author:  Mark Mynheir

Publisher’s Blurb: Eleven months ago, Ray Quinn was a tough, quick-witted Orlando homicide detective at the top of his game–until a barrage of bullets ended his career…and his partner’s life.

Now medically retired with a painful handicap, Ray battles the haunting guilt for his partner’s death. Numbing the pain with alcohol and attitude, Ray takes a job as a night watchman at a swanky Orlando condo.

But when a pastor and an exotic dancer are found dead in one of the condos in an apparent murder-suicide, Ray can no longer linger in the shadows. The pastor’s sister is convinced her brother was framed and begs Ray to take on an impossible case–to challenge the evidence and clear her brother’s name.

Ray reluctantly pulls the threads of this supposedly dead-end case only to unravel a murder investigation so deep that it threatens to turn the Orlando political landscape upside down and transform old friends into new enemies. As Ray chases down leads and interrogates suspects, someone is watching his every move, someone determined to keep him from ever finding out the truth–at any cost.

I included the publisher’s blurb in this one because I think it is actually a fairly accurate one.  Often they leave you wondering if you read the same book but this one is pretty much dead-on.  It’s not exactly how I would have written it, but that probably means we now know why I am not hired to write publisher’s blurbs don’t we?  😉

First of all, I’d like to confess that I don’t usually like books written in the first person.  Generally I find them annoying.  Even worse, they’re usually the worst written books I’ve seen so when I started reading and realized, oh joy, here’s another first person story, I was dismayed.

But not for long.  Within the first five pages I was interested.  I could still put it down and do other things at that point but by page thirty, I gave up.  I had to read.  Must. Not. Stop.  It was a fascinating book, full of the lovely technical details I adore, and with a realistic plot line.  The characters were amazingly well-developed and intriguing.  I can’t wait to read more by Mynheir and there’d better be a sequel.

If I have left you with any doubt as to why you should read this, I’ll add a little tidbit.  My husband Kevin doesn’t read.  It isn’t that he doesn’t like it but that he rarely makes the time because there’s little that interests him.  I handed him the book and nagged strongly encouraged him to read it.   In three evenings, it was done.  He’d come home, grab the book, and disappear into our room to read until forced out by dinner, eager children, or other such interruptions.  Get the book.  Read it.  You won’t be sorry.

And… because Multnomah is such a generous company…  I have a free copy to give away.  Sorry guys… I’m keeping mine.  I tried to be selfless but I just can’t do it.  Mine.

So, I’ll draw on Friday some time after 6 p.m. PST for the winner of a free copy and I’ll use the random number generator to be “Fair”.