Indivisible by Kristen Heitzmann w/Giveaway

Book Journey traveled to Redford, Colorado (see updated map here)

In Colorado be sure to check in at Tenn Street Coffee and Books

336 pages

Cover Story:  I suppose fitting, but not a cover that would stop me in a book store….

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.

Always game for a good suspenseful read, Indivisible really appealed to me.   I mean the synopsis alone had me thinking, “Ok, what is with the raccoons?”

It did take a while for me to get into the flow of the book.  With a lot of extra words put into the beginning as well as back ground character information I felt a little overloaded with information. What kept me going was the drive to know what this was all about and sticking with this book does pay off.  Jonathon and Tia were characters I came to enjoy and even enjoyed the romance of the book which surprised me.

Read The First Two Chapters Here

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I received my review copy as well as the giveaway copy from Waterbrook Multnomah

The Bride Collector by Ted Dekker

FBI Special agent Brad Raines is facing his toughest case yet. A Denver serial killer has killed four beautiful young women, leaving a bridal veil at each crime scene, and he’s picking up his pace. Unable to crack the case, Raines appeals for help from a most unusual source: residents of the Center for Wellness and Intelligence, a private psychiatric institution for mentally ill individuals whose are extraordinarily gifted.

It’s there that he meets Paradise, a young woman who witnessed her father murder her family and barely escaped his hand. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, Paradise may also have an extrasensory gift: the ability to experience the final moments of a person’s life when she touches the dead body.

In a desperate attempt to find the killer, Raines enlists Paradise’s help. In an effort to win her trust, he befriends this strange young woman and begins to see in her qualities that most ‘sane people’ sorely lack. Gradually, he starts to question whether sanity resides outside the hospital walls…or inside.

As the Bride Collector picks up the pace-and volume-of his gruesome crucifixions, the case becomes even more personal to Raines when his friend and colleague, a beautiful young forensic psychologist, becomes the Bride Collector’s next target.

The FBI believes that the killer plans to murder seven women. Can Paradise help before it’s too late?

I have read Ted Decker’s books for years and then it seems like the last few years while I have been a faithful “purchaser” they have remained on my shelves unread.  Why, you may ask?  Well, I have no profound reason other than lack of time, commitment to other books, and that think called life that sometimes gets in the way….  😉

SO….. I was thrilled to be a part of this tour for Ted’s new book, The Bride Collector.  My hope was this book would  remind me of all the things I appreciate about Ted’s writing and cause other Decker books to come flying off my book shelves in rapid formation.

On to the verdict….

The Bride Collector starts with me, starring in the role of “Reader”, going down a path of information gathering.  We begin with collecting  background info on the who, the what, and the where’s, in the book.  Don’t despair!  This is good detective work!  Besides, you want to enjoy this beginning pace of the book…. because…… much like a rollercoaster slowly… click… clacking… it’s… way… to… the…  top….

It doesn’t stay that way for long and suddenly you are rushing downward, hands in the air (and quite possibly screaming) as you plunge into the pages of this storyline…. page by page, flying through the mind of a serial killer who is taking the lives of beautiful women believing it is his calling to find the Bride of God.  A bridal veil is all that is left on the crime scenes leaving a very frustrated FBI as they work hard to put a stop to the madness.

Special Agent Brad Raines, is doing everything he can to track down this killer and put a stop to the terror.  He even goes as far as to seek help from the mental patients in a home that Brad feels may have at one time been associated with this man they call the Bride Collector.

“But wait, Sheila…. Isn’t this book a Christian Fiction read?  It seems so dark….”

It is a Christian Fiction read and that actually makes it all the more intriguing to me.  I have always had an enjoyment for  the mystery/suspense genre and Ted Dekker is known for this style.  While their is murder in the book, it is not gory or graphic.  Ted does have a message in every book and  how he gets to that message is amazing in itself.

The Bride Collector had plenty of the twists and turns along the way that I enjoy in his books.  Having read and enjoyed this one,  I am now looking at his other works that are waiting patiently on my shelf….

Ted Dekker (born October 24, 1962) is a New York Times best-selling author of more than twenty novels. He is best known for stories which could be broadly described as suspense thrillers with major twists and unforgettable characters, though he has also made a name for himself among fantasy fans.

Dekker was born to missionaries who lived among the head hunter tribes of Indonesia. Because his parents’ work often included extended periods of time away from their children, Dekker describes his early life in a culture to which he was a stranger as both fascinating and lonely. It is this unique upbringing that forced him to rely on his own imagination to create a world in which he belonged.

Early in his career he wrote a number of spiritual thrillers and his novels were lumped in with ‘Christian Fiction’ a surprisingly large category. His later novels are a mix of mainstream novels such as Adam, Thr3e, Skin, Obsessed and BoneMan’s Daughters, and Fantasy thrillers that metaphorically explore faith. Best known among these is his Circle Series: Green, Black, Red, White and The Paradise Books: Showdown, Saint, and Sinner.

I received my review copy from Hachette Book Group

Becca By The Book by Laura Jensen Walker

Sales clerk, barista, telemarketer, sign waver…

At twenty-five, free-spirited Becca Daniels is still trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up. What Becca doesn’t want to be is bored. She craves the rush of a new experience, whether it’s an extreme sport, a shocking hair color, or a new guy. That’s why she quit her bookstore job, used her last bit of credit to go skydiving, and broke her leg.

And that’s why, grounded and grumpy, Becca bristles when teased by friends for being commitment-phobic. In response, Becca issues an outrageous wager—that she can sustain a three-month or twenty-five date relationship with the next guy who asks her out. When the guy turns out to be “churchy” Ben—definitely not Becca’s type—she gamely embarks on a hilarious series of dates that plunge her purple-haired, free-speaking, commitment-phobic self into the alien world of church potlucks and prayer meetings.

This irrepressible Getaway Girl will have you cheering her on as she “suffers” through her dates, gains perspective on her life’s purpose, and ultimately begins her greatest adventure of all.

Book store jobs?  Book Clubs?  Well this is a book right up my alley!  This is my first Laura Jensen Walker read, this book is third in the series but I did not need the first two books to follow the story.  I enjoyed the characters and the turn that Laura Jensen Walker takes while making her main character, Becca a non Christian in a Christian book.  While Becca starts out as not always likeable…. a little rough around the edges, I found myself cheering her on as the book goes on.

Truth is – I like Becca.  This character has a free spirit and a sense of adventure that is attractive.  A light read that was humorous…. and I enjoyed getting into this book.

If you’d like to read the first chapter of Becca By The Book, go HERE

I received my review copy of this book from Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

What To Do When The Roof Caves In by Merilyn Meberg

This book opened my eyes to things I did not know were out there… what an eye opening tool for keeping the “roof” of your world intact..  Sheila

We all walk through life with nagging questions – questions that spring from fear, doubt, guilt, and pain.  And the harder we fight to ignore them, the faster they weaken our defenses.  Like hail on a weak roof, they pile up until the sky comes falling in.

Marilyn addressed some hard topics in this book.  In a gutsy format that is not only informative, shocking, and at times even funny…. Marilyn tackles the tough topics of addiction, adultery, pornography, divorce, and death.  In her book, What To Do When The Roof Caves In Marilyn gives hard facts of situations that are happening all over our world.  With stories of her own life incidences, such as when many years ago she discovered her 5 year old had a poster of the voluptuous Raquel Welch.  Once Jeff came home from kindergarten (KINDERGARTEN!),over two Mystic Mint cookies, their conversation went like this:

Marilyn:  “Why don’t you tell me about your Raquel poster.”

Jeff (5): ‘ I think she is really pretty.”

Marilyn:  “What is pretty about her?”

Jeff (5):  She beautiful eyes and a beautiful face.  I like to look at her.”

Marilyn:  “Do you think she should be wearing a blouse with a higher neckline?”

Jeff (5):  “Oh no.  Her blouse is perfect.  It goes with her eyes.”

Marilyn:  “Were you hiding the poster?  Is that why it was under your bed?”

Jeff (5):  I wasn’t sure you would like her eyes as much as I do.”

At other times Marilyn’s topics are much harder to grasp like her chapter on children having sex at unheard of young ages that would break your heart.  How school playground monitors have much more serious things to watch for then the petty fighting or name calling that went on in playgrounds when we were growing up.  This chapter alone left me with a sickening twist in my stomach…. I had no idea…

For anyone who is dealing with hard life opportunities…. or for anyone who wants to help keep the roof intact before these opportunities arise, Marilyn has a message for each of us.  Somewhere, something in this book will touch you or someone you know.

Each chapter ends with discussion questions to go over with your children, spouse, or your friend.  Marilyn arms us with tools, topics, and scriptures to refer to that will keep our roof in good working order through the unforeseen storms of life.

Marilyn Meberg is a speaker at the Women of Faith Conference that I have attended the past 4 years.  I honestly have to say the first time I seen this woman I felt she couldn’t possibly have anything to say that would be of value to me.  I was extremely wrong for judging this woman.  She is witty and funny and at the same time her message gets right to the heart of the matter.

Women of Faith is a Conference that I highly recommend.  I have gone for 4 years now when it comes to Minneapolis each October and it is a weekend event like you would not believe.  The speakers are humorous, outrageous, and at the same time they remind us of how important it is to have women friends and times like these weekends to get away and refill our spirits.    Every year I laugh with the crazy humor of Anita Renfroe, and love the wisdom that Sheila Walsh brings to the table.  Add Patsy Clairmont who will make you laugh until you cry and music by Steven Curtis Chapman…  well, it is a great time that I highly recommend.

This book is counted in the following Challenges:

2010 100+ Reading Challenge

My Amazon Review

I received my copy of this book from The Women Of Faith Conference, MPLS MN. Oct. 2009

A Blue and Gray Christmas by Joan Medlicott

When a rusty old tin box is unearthed at the Covington Homestead, longtime housemates Grace, Amelia, and Hannah discover that it contains letters and diaries written by two Civil War soldiers, one Union and one Confederate.

The friends are captivated by the drama revealed. The soldiers were found dying on a nearby battlefi eld by an old woman. She nursed them back to health, hiding them from bounty hunters seeking deserters. At the end of the war the men chose to stay in Covington, caring for their rescuer as she grew frail. But while their lives were rich, they still felt homesick and guilty for never contacting the families they’d left behind.

Christmas is coming, and the letters inspire Amelia with a generous impulse. What if she and her friends were to find the two soldiers’ descendants and invite them to Covington to meet? What better holiday gift could there be than the truth about these two heroic men and their dramatic shared fate? With little time left, the ladies spring into action to track down the men’s families in Connecticut and the Carolinas, and to make preparations in Covington for their most memorable, most historic Christmas yet.

A sweet read for this time of year.  Joan Medlicott warmed my heart with her story of the amazing women that set out to make an amazing Christmas for perfect strangers.  I really felt that this book captured within its pages the meaning of Christmas – of giving from the heart. The letters were touching and I easily placed myself along side Grace, Amelia, and Hannah as they were read, imagining the two soldiers of 1864 scraping out these words.

I really enjoyed the three women’s characters as they were colorful and likable.  All this inside a darling little hard cover book that is really a gift in itself!

Joan Medlicott was born and raised on St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. She lives with her husband in the mountains of North Carolina.

I received my review copy from Sarah Reidy and Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster

Behold The Dawn by K.M. Weiland

I was already a fan of Historical Fiction before I read  this book…. I am even a bigger on now.  ~  Sheila

Marcus Annan, a tourneyer famed for his prowess on the battlefield, thought he could keep the secrets of his past buried forever. But when a mysterious crippled monk demands Annan help him find justice for the transgressions of sixteen years ago, Annan is forced to leave the tourneys and join the Third Crusade.

Wounded in battle and hunted by enemies on every side, he rescues an English noblewoman from an infidel prison camp and flees to Constantinople. But, try as he might, he cannot elude the past. Amidst the pain and grief of a war he doesn’t even believe in, he is forced at last to face long-hidden secrets and sins and to bare his soul to the mercy of a God he thought he had abandoned years ago.

In My Opinion:

As excited as I was to receive this book, I have to admit I was nervous as well.  I had chatted with author K.M. Weiland on line and we had discussed her book.  I found the cover fascinating (if you know me you know I am a big cover snob) and the subject matter intriguing…. of course neither of these two favorable things make a book.  It is very important to me to always give an honest opinion and I knew that no matter what I thought of this book, I had to reveal that in my review.  A book grabs me with what is within its pages, the moments that take me out of my own little world and brings me within its own.  I hoped that this book was going to do just that.

The language of this book, the flow of the words… I enjoyed.   I was impressed with K.M.’s easy grasp of it and found it easy to follow the pace.  As the words flowed page to page I could draw the pictures in my mind of what this layout looked like, I could clearly see Marcus with an internal as well as external battle.  The story unfolded literally before my eyes. I enjoyed being a part of each characters stretching and growth.  It felt real and that is not always as easy task for any author to pull off – especially when you are writing out of our own time period.

K.M. Weiland came through in flying colors and I closed the book with an ironic smile thinking that I had been concerned I may not like this read.  I did, I really really did and am thankful to authors like Katie (K.M.) who can really put a book out there that can pull you within the story and at the same time make you think about your own battles and know there is Hope.

The book was honestly a wonderful  read that was so well written that I don’t even know how to express how impressed I was with the story line and the writing itself.  Hopefully, I just did.  🙂

K.M. Weiland grew up chasing Billy the Kid and Jesse James on horseback through the sand hills of western Nebraska, where she still lives. A lifelong fan of history and the power of the written word, she enjoys sharing both through her novels and short stories. She blogs at Wordplay: Helping Writers Become Authors and AuthorCulture. She lives in western Nebraska.

My Amazon Review

I received my review copy from the author, K.M. Weiland

Loss of Carrier by Russ White

Murder and networking…  Jess and Leah are characters you will want to know more about… ~ Sheila

Bright yellow cables against a blue shirt? Carl never would have approved of that color combination. Why was his face so white? His eyes should be closed, not open. Why hadn’t one of the security guards seen this and reported it to the police? The lights were off, the cameras were useless in the dark.

Of course, the cables wrapped around Carl’s neck explained why the server wasn’t working. Loss of carrier.

Jess Wirth lives a dreary life. He spends most of his time crammed inside a cubicle, toiling as a network engineer and stewing over the details of his ugly divorce. But when he finds his co-worker dead in the basement of their office, Jess’s life takes a surprising—and unpleasant—turn.

The police quickly declare the death a suicide, but Jess isn’t so sure. Not long after he begins digging into the victim’s work, another co-worker turns up dead, convincing him once and for all that something sinister is brewing behind the cubicle walls.

His investigation leads him to a mysterious woman name Leah, who pushes him to entrust her with the information he’s collected about his dead colleagues. Wary of Leah’s motives yet inexorably drawn to her, Jess keeps her at arm’s length…until an attempt is made on both their lives. Realizing they are close on the trail of a dangerous criminal, the pair race to expose a data theft ring before they become the killer’s next victims.

In My Opinion:

Loss of Carrier was a stretch for me.  Not necessarily in a bad way.  A technical style of book that actually fed that recent hunger I have had to read a suspense/ mystery.  The book goes into great detail about the workings of technical things such as computers.  It is explained well, but a bit TMI at times.  I enjoyed the story line and where Russ White was taking me as the reader so I plugged on (no pun intended…).  I appreciated how the book is not overly Christian with an overwhelming message, but instead author Russ White has woven together a story that reflects Christians in what feels to be a natural light.

Russ White writes tech as that is what he knows well.  There are three more books planned for this series.  This would be an author I would like to keep an eye on and see how this story develops as well as his writing.

Russ White is an internationally recognized inter network engineer. He has co-authored eight books in the field of network design and routing protocols and is a regular speaker at international networking conferences.

In addition to working on several expert and senior-level network engineering certifications, he is a certified firearms instructor.

Russ, his wife, and their two children live in the Raleigh area of North Carolina, where they enjoy spending time on Jordan Lake and attending Colonial Baptist Church. Loss of Carrier is his first novel.

You are welcome to read the first chapter here.

My copy of this book for review was sent by the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

Booksurge Publishing


Wisdom Hunter by Randall Arthur

I have been a fan of Randall Arthur for years!  A chance to read and review this book was a pleasure!  ~ Sheila

Pastor Jason Faircloth knows what he believes. His clear faith, in fact, is why he is one of the most prominent pastors in Atlanta. He relies on it to discipline his daughter, his wife, his church. He prays daily that others would come to see God’s ways as he does.  And it is about to cost him everything.

What does it take to soften a heart so entrenched in law that it never truly loves?

Groping for answers in the face of tragedy, Jason begins a search for the only family he has left: the granddaughter kept hidden from him. Soon he finds himself on an international adventure that will take him straight into the depths of his soul. He is determined not to fail again.

A fast-paced suspense novel rich in spiritual depth, Wisdom Hunter explores what it means to break free of Christian legalism—and discover why grace can mean the difference between life and death.

In My Opinion:

I read Randall Arthur several years ago.  In fact, I had read all three of Randall Arthurs books which include:  Jordan’s Crossing and Brotherhood of Betrayal.  I enjoyed his books so much, I have checked for new books from his occasionally on line and had come up empty.  When I was requested to do a review to the re-issue of this book, Wisdom Hunter, I jumped at the chance.

Wayne Jacobson, publisher of The Shack says it well when he says, “Finally someone who understands that most religeous trappings do not enhance faith but actually undermine it!”

This is what I love about this book, Randall Arthur takes tough topics – real topics.  When Jason Faircloth’s heavy handed teachings of right and wrong for his daughter causes him to lose her.  As his world crumbles… Jason learns hard lessons on forgiveness.

This book is so well written, so fast paced, I read it in a matter of hours, not putting it down.  As the story opens we find Pastor Jason Faircloth to be a man who has the respect of his congregational and he leads with the belief that he is right and it can only be his way – the way he believes.  As God begans to put painful trials in Jason’s life, we start to see the truth.

It is so refreshing to read a Christian fiction book that is not sugar coated.  Randall Arthur puts his characters through the wringer.  I lie reading about real issues that happen in the lives of Christians, yes, even Pastors have their struggles as we can see all the time on the tv or read about in the paper.  We all fall short and Randall Arthur gives us an honest look into one families struggles, driven apart to never be as they once were.

A book I thoroughly enjoyed and was thrilled to have the opportunity to not only read it again, but have the chance to share this read with all of you.

About the Author:

Randall Arthur is the bestselling author of Jordan’s Crossing and Brotherhood of Betrayal. He and his wife have served as missionaries to Europe for over thirty years. From 1976 till 1998, he lived in Norway and Germany as a church planter. Since 2000, he has taken numerous missions teams from the United States on trips all over Europe. Arthur is also the founder of the AOK (Acts of Kindness) Bikers’ Fellowship, a group of men who enjoy the sport of motorcycling. He and his family live in Atlanta, Georgia.

I received my review copy of this book from WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House


White Picket Fences by Susan Meissner w/ giveaway

Old secrets that open new wounds…. are only the beginning of healing in this captivating read.  ~ Sheila

aaWhen her black sheep brother disappears, Amanda Janvier eagerly takes in her sixteen year-old niece Tally. The girl is practically an orphan: motherless, and living with a father who raises Tally wherever he lands– in a Buick, a pizza joint, a horse farm–and regularly takes off on wild schemes. Amanda envisions that she, her husband Neil, and their two teenagers can offer the girl stability and a shot at a “normal” life, even though their own storybook lives are about to crumble.

Seventeen-year-old Chase Janvier hasn’t seen his cousin in years, and other than a vague curiosity about her strange life, he doesn’t expect her arrival will affect him much–or interfere with his growing, disturbing interest in a long-ago house fire that plagues his dreams unbeknown to anyone else.

Tally and Chase bond as they interview two Holocaust survivors for a sociology project, and become startlingly aware that the whole family is grappling with hidden secrets, with the echoes of the past, and with the realization that ignoring tragic situations won’t make them go away.

Will Tally’s presence blow apart their carefully-constructed world, knocking down the illusion of the white picket fence and reveal a hidden past that could destroy them all–or can she help them find the truth without losing each other?

My Thoughts

The book had me at the cover… it was the first thing that caught me, but certainly not the last.  I like first lines of books and this one opening at a funeral was a great line, it left me wanting more.  “Who died”,  Is the first question that comes to mind followed closely by, “and what happened?”  I found myself in a book that tries to make up for lost time and hurts.  When Neil and Amanda take their 16 year old niece in to their home a shake up occurs that could not have been predicted.  This book was a good example about how secrets have a tendency to surface and when the past hits the present it can cause life turmoil.

This book is a wonderful example of how things that can look perfectly wonderful from the outside are now always that way on the inside.  The title of this book is a prefect reflection of this.  Layered in plots, I enjoyed the different happenings in the book including a surprise that left me unable to put the book down.

This book is labeled Christian but I would say light Christian and if that label was not on the book I dont think you would read it and say this was a Christian fiction read.  It is a clean book with a good story line.  This was my first Susan Meissner book and I enjoyed it very much and would like to read her again.

About Susan:

“I cannot remember a time when I wasn’t driven to write. I attribute this passion to a creative God and to parents who love books and aamore particularly to a dad who majored in English and passed on a passion for writing.

I was born in San Diego, California, and am the second of three daughters. I spent my very average childhood in just two houses. I attended Point Loma College in San Diego, and married my husband in 1980. I had been majoring in education, thinking I might like to teach kindergarten, but I would have been smarter to major in English with a concentration in writing. The advice I give now to anyone wondering what to major in is follow your heart and choose a path that you know you already enjoy.

I didn’t do a lot of writing in the years my husband was on active duty in the Air Force, when we were living overseas, or when the kids were little. When my little heirs were finally all in school, though, I became aware of a deep, gnawing desire to write a novel; a desire I managed to ignore for several years.

Finally when I could disregard it no longer, I resigned in 2002 as editor of a small town newspaper, and set out to write my first book, “Why the Sky is Blue.”


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This review copy and giveaway copy was provided by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

Limelight by Melody Carlson


A book of lessons that we are never too old to learn… ~ Sheila

Claudette Fioré used to turn heads and break hearts. She relished the glamorous Hollywood lifestyle because she had what it takes: money, youth, fame, and above all, beauty. But age has withered that beauty, and a crooked accountant has taken her wealth, leaving the proud widow penniless and alone.

I used to be a beauty… too good for our dusty little town… destined for greatness.

Armed with stubbornness and sarcasm, Claudette returns to her shabby little hometown and her estranged sister. Slowly, she makes friends. She begins to see her old life in a new light. For the first time, Claudette Fioré questions her own values and finds herself wondering if it’s too late to change.

My Thoughts…

This book covered a great topic that usually hits home for me…. the character of Claudette Fiore’ (doesnt the name even fit the ‘tude?) starts off as this person who is used to getting her way no matter what the cost.  I have to admit – I did not like her.

As the book evolves and Claudette hits things that are inevitable… we see the changes that take place in her.  I liked where the story was going but found it to be a bit predictable.  There were a few “aha” moments as we see the world now through the older Claudette’s eyes and the message of “it is never too late”, rings true.

About our Author:aa

Melody is an award-winning, best-selling author of nearly two hundred books for teens, children, and adults, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series, the Secret Life of Samantha McGregor series, the True Color Series, and Notes from a Spinning Planet series. Melody has two grown sons and lives in central Oregon with her husband, where they enjoy skiing, hiking, gardening, camping, and biking.

I received my review copy of the book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group