Tag Archives: fiction

Review: Devil’s Pathway by Vicki Lucas

“Vampires are overrated and hugely overdone, there just isn’t anything new about them anymore. And there’s definitely nothing at all Christian about them.”

And Vicki Lucas said: “Challenge accepted.” And then came through with flying colors, as I’ve come to expect from her work (check out my review of Toxic!). She spends the next 110,000 words of Devil’s Pathway dismantling every objection brought up, in the process weaving a story so in-depth you forget those objections were even there in the first place.

Nic has always known he was a little different from the rest. He sees things, things that he knows no human should ever have to see. And he feels it inside of him, as well. But when he moves from the big city to rural Idaho, life become much more escalated. Nic finds himself the focal point of an ancient war, and both sides are urging him to join their cause. All he’s ever wanted was peace, but they are all running out of time.

Faith has never meant much to Nic – if anything, it’s always let him down. But the spiritual realm is about to open up on his doorstep. And this time, it’s not just his family that’s in danger. It’s the whole town.

Faith is challenged in a way unlike anything else in this book of spiritual warfare and growing up. Nic has spent his life running, but there’s not much room left. Soon, he will be forced to make a choice – or the choice will be made for him.

The reader has no problem feeling bad for Nic as they learn more of his experiences. Sympathy comes easy as we learn more of what he’s had to endure. Yet, this is no time to hide in pity as the action heats up. The reader almost feels sorry for Nic – “can’t he just get a break?” Ah, but if he were to get a break, there’d be no story.

And then there’s that little issue with his blood – what’s that about, anyway? Ms. Lucas does an excellent job of revealing information piecemeal, just enough to keep the reader on their toes. The continued mystery keeps the reader turning pages, just as much as the action does!

This book is an intense read, with plenty of soul-searching and lessons on redemption, God’s love, and much more. It doesn’t really answer that age-old question of why bad things happen, but I love what it did instead – showed how God is still there even in the midst of all the bad, even when we can’t see Him. Sometimes, we don’t need to know why – we just need to know that God is there.

That ending, though! If I wasn’t reading on my tablet (and if I didn’t treasure books so much), I probably would have thrown it. The author gives just enough answers to keep the reader going, but the ending leaves you hanging, gasping for more. It’s the first of a series, and I’m already anxious to see what happens next.

The book is marketed for YA (young adult readers), but the story is intense enough even for adults to enjoy. I would also note that it may be too intense for some younger readers (such as preteens), but for middle-older teens, it’s a great read, and very thought-provoking!

Introducing: Hot Potato!

What is a Hot Potato Story? It is a story that gets tossed from writer to writer before it gets too hot, so every week it will be tossed between myself and two other writers over our blogs. You can follow along here and be on the watch for hashtags #chroniclesofchadwick and #hotpotatostory on Twitter.

This week we are just introducing the main players. Each of us is in charge of one, and each of our characters has their own secret, their own ulterior motives. And guess what? We’re keeping secrets so none of us know what the others are up to. Mu ha ha ha!

So as writers we will be improvising, winging it, perhaps even trying to trip each other up with plot twists. It should get interesting for us. Does it sound interesting to you? You can check out the posts introducing the other characters from their virtual “homes.”

—  Bea Brightbolt  —  Y’manya  —  Rheban  —

Thrush Vonsel is a rakish sort of fellow, fairly traditional as dwarves go. All but for one aspect – unlike most of his kind, he doesn’t stick close to home. He hitched a ride on a gypsy cart as a tween and has been on the road since, but he still manages to maintain good connections with his family. However, no one quite knows what it is that he does.

He is average height for a dwarf, coming to exactly four and a half feet tall. His active lifestyle and constant travels keep him somewhat trim, but no amount of skipping meals can help his thick hands or wide shoulders – almost twice as wide as an average man. He wears loose leggings cinched around the waist with a braided leather girdle of his own design and a v-neck tunic, with the V cut halfway down his chest, which is covered with an odd collection of necklaces of various styles. His entire personal belongs are stored in a pack over his back, or in pouches attached to his belt. His hair and beard are thick but close-cropped and out of the way. He is handy with his hands and can wield most weapons, but his preferred weapons are a curved sword and a short dirk.

He hails from the region of Tairant, an open country of meadows, rolling hills, and jagged cliffs. The dwarves claim it as their own, but barrow-wights make their own claim, resulting in considerable clashes and tension between the two races. Contrary to popular belief, dwarves do not live deep underground or in mountains. Rather, they make a point of stating that they build the ground over their houses – something like a hobbit hole. They do, however, mine the hills around them. They are generally a close-abiding people, preferring not to travel too far from home.

And then one day, his travels take him across the path of a certain young man… Chadwick.

To continue, hop over to Heidi’s blog and read Chapter One!

Prizes, book excerpt, and more – Alana Terry’s blog tour!

Torn Asunder by Alana Terry 

Torn Asunder is the newest suspense novel from award-winning author Alana Terry. Torn Asunder is the story of Hannah and Simon, two North Korean refugees who sneak back into their country to serve as underground missionaries. In this world of spies, secret police, and informants, Simon and Hannah learn that staying together won’t just compromise their ministry. It could cost them both their lives.

Torn Asunder launches today for just 99 cents, and all book sale proceeds today support the work of Liberty in North Korea, an organization that runs an underground railroad for North Korean refugees. You can get the paperback or the ebook for 99 cents for a limited time only. And remember the best news ~ Your purchase will help save a North Korean refugee!

Excerpt from Torn Asunder:

Simon gritted his teeth. His head felt like it was sinking. The general kept his voice level and pleasant as he slipped the device over Simon’s pinky. “Now, you just tell me who you delivered your Bibles to, and I’ll let you leave here with everything intact.”

Simon tried to swallow. His whole jaw was swollen from his scuffle in the woods. He shut his eyes and hoped the general couldn’t feel him tremble.

General Sin chuckled to himself. “Silly me. I forgot.” He slid the device off Simon’s finger. “This kind of tool won’t work on a big, strong man like you.” He strode over to Hannah and yanked her hand before Simon could even cry out. He jammed her ring finger into the opening.

Simon struggled against his iron restraints. “Let her go!”

Hannah sucked in her breath. General Sin still glared at Simon. “This is your last chance. Give me the names, and I’ll release her unharmed.”

Simon’s field of vision blurred over. He wanted to scream. The metal from his handcuffs sliced open his wrists. He pictured himself breaking free and tackling the general to the ground.

“Better talk.” General Sin yawned. “I hate getting my uniform messy.”

Hannah’s hand trembled, but she didn’t make a noise.

“Three …”

Simon clenched his jaw, unable to tear his face away from Hannah’s wide, terrified eyes.

“Two …”

Want more? Buy Torn Asunder on amazon now. And remember, all book sales today will be donated directly to Liberty in North Korea, a group committed to seeing North Koreans achieve their freedom in THIS GENERATION.

Want to help spread the word? See below to click and tweet, or share this image on your timeline. Then be sure to scroll down to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a $100 gift card, surprise grab bag ($60 retail), great CD from Cherie Norquay, and free prizes to everyone who enters! And don’t forget to leave a comment and tell us what you think of Hannah and Simon and those like them who sneak into hostile mission fields to share the gospel.

Are you on twitter? Just click to tweet ~

Tweet: Buy a book. Save a refugee. Torn Asunder by Alana Terry. All proceeds today to @libertyinNK. #99cents #suspense http://ctt.ec/QjI3D+

Tweet: New release Torn Asunder, Christian #suspense set in #NorthKorea. All proceeds today donated to @libertyinNK #99cents http://ctt.ec/6io3Z+

Or copy and paste into an email or Facebook status: Torn Asunder is a new Christian suspense novel by Alana Terry about two North Koreans who serve as undercover missionaries. It’s on sale for only 99 cents, and all book proceeds today will be donated to Liberty in North Korea’s underground railroad for North Korean refugees.

Did you help spread the word? Click below to claim your prizes!

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Review – The Other Man

The Other Man, by Parker J. Cole

He was the only man who’d ever tamed Martin’s Mercury, the fiery temper that lands on every member of the Martin clan. With him, she finds a safe haven, a calm within the storm of her uncontrolled emotions.

But both have secrets, a past that they bring into their marriage. And in marriage, secrets do not long remain hidden. It is not too long before the young newlyweds find themselves out of wedded bliss and into marriage trouble. How far will these consequences lead them?

The sensual passion continues in this exciting sequel to “Many Strange Women.” Once again, the author does a stellar job of inciting passion without delving too deeply into the bedroom – but that certainly doesn’t stop her from delving deep into the heart!

Jacob’s secrets lead him to withdraw from his wife. Leah’s nature takes over as she finds herself running, from her husband, herself, and her God. The actions of both characters lead to devastating consequences and leave both wondering if their marriage will heal.

The first book dealt with passions and lusts of the heart. This next one looks at the hurts of the heart, and how intricately we are influenced by what others do – and who we should be turning to instead. At the same time, it is not preachy. The message is woven so closely that it is a part of the story itself, a natural part – it could not be any other way.

As with “Many Strange Women,” the Easter eggs continued in this story, as well. Once again, this story is modeled after a Biblical parallel, and the Easter eggs follow suit. These eggs are cleverly hidden and take some searching to find. They don’t detract from the story, or even add to it (so if you miss them, it won’t hurt), but they do make for an entertaining read as you marvel at the author’s wit and talent!

Also check out my review of the first book in this series, Many Strange Women! You can also read another excellent review of The Other Man by author Michelle Brown.

Disclaimer: I was privileged to be part of the editing team for this book. However, that in no way affects my opinion of the book itself. I enjoyed the book and was happy to provide a review. I only recommend books that I believe are worth recommending, regardless of my part in producing the book.

Review: Many Strange Women

Review: Many Strange Women, by Parker J. Cole

NEW: Check out the DELUXE edition, now available on Amazon! Includes deleted material.

He’s a repentant playboy haunted by his passions and his dreams. She’s given up on having dreams, and instead confines herself to the 18th century with costumes and old-fashioned mannerisms. They make the most unlikely couple, he the epitome of the modern world, she stuck in times past. To each other, their match is an escape – but to God, it is one ordained in heaven, to give them true freedom.

When the author first told me of this book, she described it as “edgy.” I disagree – I would rather term this book as “real.” The author delves into a realm few dare to touch. Those that do mention it do so with an aversion, barely doing more than brush against it.

In contrast, Parker dives in with both feet. The characters are both extremes, but in them can be found a reflection of every person, making the reader face full on the depths of the heart – both the good and the bad.

The book has been described as a “Christian Fifty Shades of Grey.” In fact, the marketing hashtag for the book is #Greeneisthenewgrey. Is it possible? Something as hot as the story of Christian and Anastasia, their steamy but controversial story, wrapped in the folds of Christian values?

Well now it’s here. “Many Strange Women” is passionate, but without the explicit sex scenes found in the infamous FSOG series. In fact, you won’t see so much as a single boob – and here is the true talent of an author. To make a story so passionate, so rife with sensual desires, without dropping the clothes, that takes talent.

I’ve already said that the book is Christian, and so it is. It was pleasant how the author managed to weave a Christian tale without preaching in your face about it – she simply presented the characters as they are. They are average people, with their own qualities and faults. Besides that, I loved how the author included Biblical references in the story itself – not verses, specifically, but a nod to the Bible story that this book is modeled after. Reading “Easter eggs” if you will, which were a nice touch.

The only markdown I would give for this book is the editing. Rarely would I so highly recommend a book with so many errors, but this is one exception I am happy to make. The book is indeed filled with typos and misplaced punctuation, but the story itself draws your attention away from the text itself, until all you see are the characters.

The author has certainly done a masterful job, and I would highly recommend “Many Strange Women” to any reader.

Magic, fiction, fantasy and convictions

Many conservatives have a problem with fantasy, including Harry Potter. It’s not allowed in the homes, their kids are not to read them, etc. I’ve never quite understood the argument – it has some magic, yes. Are the morals bad? No, not really… some even have good lessons. Then what? The magic itself? In that case, why not all magic – why some and not others? Why is Sleeping Beauty good, and Harry Potter bad? “Because one glorifies evil; Sleeping Beauty has magic, but it’s obvious who the bad person is.”

Well… yes. It’s obvious that Maleficent is bad – but the good fairies use magic, too. And Harry Potter makes it pretty clear on who the bad guy is. So where is the problem? “Oh, well one has wizards and witches, and the other just uses fairies.” Never mind that I’m not really sure on the difference between the two, except that perhaps in our real world (which neither story takes place in, meaning rules are different), the magic from “spells” come from Satan. But then, the argument can be made for fairies, as well, right? Add to that, another popular favorite, Wizard of Oz, has both good and bad witches, and even a wizard – who in the end turns out to be just a man, but couldn’t that be worse? After all, here’s this man who has been playing in deception for so long, but he’s still the good guy.

The waters get quite muddy once you start bringing out all the small details. It’s rarely so clear cut and dry. But more than that – it’s something for personal interpretation and conviction. Some things are laid out in the Bible, while others are up to each believer to decide. That also means that we can’t decide FOR them – each person’s convictions are their own, as this one author lays out in her blog post.

Is fantasy good reading, or is it of the devil?

Review: Miracles in Disguise

Book: Miracles in Disguise, by Michelle Brown (The Trampled Rose series) miracles printmiracles print

Type: Clean adult romance

Typically, I’m not a huge fan of romance. It’s too – too romantic. I’m an action-movie kinda girl. Some of my favorite actors are Bruce Willis and Jason Statham – two actors who really know how to blow up a set. Not to mention that the latter looks good without his shirt (or with it, for that matter!), but hey, that’s beside the point, right? 😉

Anyway – “Miracles in Disguise” by Michelle Brown is nothing like the cheesy romances you’re used to. She pulls no punches in the hard lives her characters are given.

Kristina Talbot is on the road to a new life when she runs into her first obstacle, brought upon her by a broken-down vehicle. Nathan wants to be her knight in shining armor, but he doesn’t know just how much her dreams have been tainted. Before there can be a future for the two of them, they must first confront her dark past.

You can run, but you can’t hide in this hard-hitting romance. The past is always waiting right around the corner.

Come along with Kristina as she learns trust. Not every man is a bad guy; in fact, there is one man who very much wants to treat her like the princess he believes she is.

This is a wonderful story for anyone struggling to recover from a dark past. The characters are in-depth and accurately depict the face of abuse and how it affects victims. Kristina finds herself bound by what she has experienced. And as much as he’d like to be, Nathan is no knight in shining armor. He faces frustration, annoyance, and confusion as he determines to understand her struggles. The characters are very human as they face an evil that has afflicted too many.

Well worth the read!

Disclaimer: As the editor, I was part of the publishing team for the author. However, my professional status as an editor does not affect how I view a book as a reader. I do not review every book I edit for, only those that I think are worthwhile, that I can easily recommend.