Sunday, October 31, 2010

What I Celebrate Today

Today is one of my favorite holidays. But not for the reason you may suspect. I do not celebrate Halloween. I celebrate the fact that on this day, 493 years ago, Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany. And, as a result of his boldness and great love for Jesus and concern for the church, the entire history of Christianity was changed.

Today is Reformation Day. So, in honor of Martin Luther and the many who have given their lives for the cause of Christ and HIS church, I'd like to share with you the words that began the Reformation so many years ago:

Out of love for the truth and from desire to elucidate it, the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and Sacred Theology, and ordinary lecturer therein at Wittenberg, intends to defend the following statements and to dispute on them in that place. Therefore he asks that those who cannot be present and dispute with him orally shall do so in their absence by letter. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

1. When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, “Repent” (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.

2. This word cannot be understood as referring to the sacrament of penance, that is, confession and satisfaction, as administered by the clergy.

3. Yet it does not mean solely inner repentance; such inner repentance is worthless unless it produces various outward mortification of the flesh.

4. The penalty of sin remains as long as the hatred of self (that is, true inner repentance), namely till our entrance into the kingdom of heaven.

5. The pope neither desires nor is able to remit any penalties except those imposed by his own authority or that of the canons.

6. The pope cannot remit any guilt, except by declaring and showing that it has been remitted by God; or, to be sure, by remitting guilt in cases reserved to his judgment. If his right to grant remission in these cases were disregarded, the guilt would certainly remain unforgiven.

7. God remits guilt to no one unless at the same time he humbles him in all things and makes him submissive to the vicar, the priest.

8. The penitential canons are imposed only on the living, and, according to the canons themselves, nothing should be imposed on the dying.

9. Therefore the Holy Spirit through the pope is kind to us insofar as the pope in his decrees always makes exception of the article of death and of necessity.

10. Those priests act ignorantly and wickedly who, in the case of the dying, reserve canonical penalties for purgatory.

11. Those tares of changing the canonical penalty to the penalty of purgatory were evidently sown while the bishops slept (Mt 13:25).

12. In former times canonical penalties were imposed, not after, but before absolution, as tests of true contrition.

13. The dying are freed by death from all penalties, are already dead as far as the canon laws are concerned, and have a right to be released from them.

14. Imperfect piety or love on the part of the dying person necessarily brings with it great fear; and the smaller the love, the greater the fear.

15. This fear or horror is sufficient in itself, to say nothing of other things, to constitute the penalty of purgatory, since it is very near to the horror of despair.

16. Hell, purgatory, and heaven seem to differ the same as despair, fear, and assurance of salvation.

17. It seems as though for the souls in purgatory fear should necessarily decrease and love increase.

18. Furthermore, it does not seem proved, either by reason or by Scripture, that souls in purgatory are outside the state of merit, that is, unable to grow in love.

19. Nor does it seem proved that souls in purgatory, at least not all of them, are certain and assured of their own salvation, even if we ourselves may be entirely certain of it.

20. Therefore the pope, when he uses the words “plenary remission of all penalties,” does not actually mean “all penalties,” but only those imposed by himself.

21. Thus those indulgence preachers are in error who say that a man is absolved from every penalty and saved by papal indulgences.

22. As a matter of fact, the pope remits to souls in purgatory no penalty which, according to canon law, they should have paid in this life.

23. If remission of all penalties whatsoever could be granted to anyone at all, certainly it would be granted only to the most perfect, that is, to very few.

24. For this reason most people are necessarily deceived by that indiscriminate and high-sounding promise of release from penalty.

25. That power which the pope has in general over purgatory corresponds to the power which any bishop or curate has in a particular way in his own diocese and parish.

26. The pope does very well when he grants remission to souls in purgatory, not by the power of the keys, which he does not have, but by way of intercession for them.

27. They preach only human doctrines who say that as soon as the money clinks into the money chest, the soul flies out of purgatory.

28. It is certain that when money clinks in the money chest, greed and avarice can be increased; but when the church intercedes, the result is in the hands of God alone.

29. Who knows whether all souls in purgatory wish to be redeemed, since we have exceptions in St. Severinus and St. Paschal, as related in a legend.

30. No one is sure of the integrity of his own contrition, much less of having received plenary remission.

31. The man who actually buys indulgences is as rare as he who is really penitent; indeed, he is exceedingly rare.

32. Those who believe that they can be certain of their salvation because they have indulgence letters will be eternally damned, together with their teachers.

33. Men must especially be on guard against those who say that the pope’s pardons are that inestimable gift of God by which man is reconciled to him.

34. For the graces of indulgences are concerned only with the penalties of sacramental satisfaction established by man.

35. They who teach that contrition is not necessary on the part of those who intend to buy souls out of purgatory or to buy confessional privileges preach unchristian doctrine.

36. Any truly repentant Christian has a right to full remission of penalty and guilt, even without indulgence letters.

37. Any true Christian, whether living or dead, participates in all the blessings of Christ and the church; and this is granted him by God, even without indulgence letters.

38. Nevertheless, papal remission and blessing are by no means to be disregarded, for they are, as I have said (Thesis 6), the proclamation of the divine remission.

39. It is very difficult, even for the most learned theologians, at one and the same time to commend to the people the bounty of indulgences and the need of true contrition.

40. A Christian who is truly contrite seeks and loves to pay penalties for his sins; the bounty of indulgences, however, relaxes penalties and causes men to hate them — at least it furnishes occasion for hating them.

41. Papal indulgences must be preached with caution, lest people erroneously think that they are preferable to other good works of love.

42. Christians are to be taught that the pope does not intend that the buying of indulgences should in any way be compared with works of mercy.

43. Christians are to be taught that he who gives to the poor or lends to the needy does a better deed than he who buys indulgences.

44. Because love grows by works of love, man thereby becomes better. Man does not, however, become better by means of indulgences but is merely freed from penalties.

45. Christians are to be taught that he who sees a needy man and passes him by, yet gives his money for indulgences, does not buy papal indulgences but God’s wrath.

46. Christians are to be taught that, unless they have more than they need, they must reserve enough for their family needs and by no means squander it on indulgences.

47. Christians are to be taught that they buying of indulgences is a matter of free choice, not commanded.

48. Christians are to be taught that the pope, in granting indulgences, needs and thus desires their devout prayer more than their money.

49. Christians are to be taught that papal indulgences are useful only if they do not put their trust in them, but very harmful if they lose their fear of God because of them.

50. Christians are to be taught that if the pope knew the exactions of the indulgence preachers, he would rather that the basilica of St. Peter were burned to ashes than built up with the skin, flesh, and bones of his sheep.

51. Christians are to be taught that the pope would and should wish to give of his own money, even though he had to sell the basilica of St. Peter, to many of those from whom certain hawkers of indulgences cajole money.

52. It is vain to trust in salvation by indulgence letters, even though the indulgence commissary, or even the pope, were to offer his soul as security.

53. They are the enemies of Christ and the pope who forbid altogether the preaching of the Word of God in some churches in order that indulgences may be preached in others.

54. Injury is done to the Word of God when, in the same sermon, an equal or larger amount of time is devoted to indulgences than to the Word.

55. It is certainly the pope’s sentiment that if indulgences, which are a very insignificant thing, are celebrated with one bell, one procession, and one ceremony, then the gospel, which is the very greatest thing, should be preached with a hundred bells, a hundred processions, a hundred ceremonies.

56. The true treasures of the church, out of which the pope distributes indulgences, are not sufficiently discussed or known among the people of Christ.

57. That indulgences are not temporal treasures is certainly clear, for many indulgence sellers do not distribute them freely but only gather them.

58. Nor are they the merits of Christ and the saints, for, even without the pope, the latter always work grace for the inner man, and the cross, death, and hell for the outer man.

59. St. Lawrence said that the poor of the church were the treasures of the church, but he spoke according to the usage of the word in his own time.

60. Without want of consideration we say that the keys of the church, given by the merits of Christ, are that treasure.

61. For it is clear that the pope’s power is of itself sufficient for the remission of penalties and cases reserved by himself.

62. The true treasure of the church is the most holy gospel of the glory and grace of God.

63. But this treasure is naturally most odious, for it makes the first to be last (Mt. 20:16).

64. On the other hand, the treasure of indulgences is naturally most acceptable, for it makes the last to be first.

65. Therefore the treasures of the gospel are nets with which one formerly fished for men of wealth.

66. The treasures of indulgences are nets with which one now fishes for the wealth of men.

67. The indulgences which the demagogues acclaim as the greatest graces are actually understood to be such only insofar as they promote gain.

68. They are nevertheless in truth the most insignificant graces when compared with the grace of God and the piety of the cross.

69. Bishops and curates are bound to admit the commissaries of papal indulgences with all reverence.

70. But they are much more bound to strain their eyes and ears lest these men preach their own dreams instead of what the pope has commissioned.

71. Let him who speaks against the truth concerning papal indulgences be anathema and accursed.

72. But let him who guards against the lust and license of the indulgence preachers be blessed.

73. Just as the pope justly thunders against those who by any means whatever contrive harm to the sale of indulgences.

74. Much more does he intend to thunder against those who use indulgences as a pretext to contrive harm to holy love and truth.

75. To consider papal indulgences so great that they could absolve a man even if he had done the impossible and had violated the mother of God is madness.

76. We say on the contrary that papal indulgences cannot remove the very least of venial sins as far as guilt is concerned.

77. To say that even St. Peter if he were now pope, could not grant greater graces is blasphemy against St. Peter and the pope.

78. We say on the contrary that even the present pope, or any pope whatsoever, has greater graces at his disposal, that is, the gospel, spiritual powers, gifts of healing, etc., as it is written. (1 Co 12[:28])

79. To say that the cross emblazoned with the papal coat of arms, and set up by the indulgence preachers is equal in worth to the cross of Christ is blasphemy.

80. The bishops, curates, and theologians who permit such talk to be spread among the people will have to answer for this.

81. This unbridled preaching of indulgences makes it difficult even for learned men to rescue the reverence which is due the pope from slander or from the shrewd questions of the laity.

82. Such as: “Why does not the pope empty purgatory for the sake of holy love and the dire need of the souls that are there if he redeems an infinite number of souls for the sake of miserable money with which to build a church?” The former reason would be most just; the latter is most trivial.

83. Again, “Why are funeral and anniversary masses for the dead continued and why does he not return or permit the withdrawal of the endowments founded for them, since it is wrong to pray for the redeemed?”

84. Again, “What is this new piety of God and the pope that for a consideration of money they permit a man who is impious and their enemy to buy out of purgatory the pious soul of a friend of God and do not rather, beca use of the need of that pious and beloved soul, free it for pure love’s sake?”

85. Again, “Why are the penitential canons, long since abrogated and dead in actual fact and through disuse, now satisfied by the granting of indulgences as though they were still alive and in force?”

86. Again, “Why does not the pope, whose wealth is today greater than the wealth of the richest Crassus, build this one basilica of St. Peter with his own money rather than with the money of poor believers?”

87. Again, “What does the pope remit or grant to those who by perfect contrition already have a right to full remission and blessings?”

88. Again, “What greater blessing could come to the church than if the pope were to bestow these remissions and blessings on every believer a hundred times a day, as he now does but once?”

89. “Since the pope seeks the salvation of souls rather than money by his indulgences, why does he suspend the indulgences and pardons previously granted when they have equal efficacy?”

90. To repress these very sharp arguments of the laity by force alone, and not to resolve them by giving reasons, is to expose the church and the pope to the ridicule of their enemies and to make Christians unhappy.

91. If, therefore, indulgences were preached according to the spirit and intention of the pope, all these doubts would be readily resolved. Indeed, they would not exist.

92. Away, then, with all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, “Peace, peace,” and there is no peace! (Jer 6:14)

93. Blessed be all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, “Cross, cross,” and there is no cross!

94. Christians should be exhorted to be diligent in following Christ, their Head, through penalties, death and hell.

95. And thus be confident of entering into heaven through many tribulations rather than through the false security of peace (Acts 14:22).


Happy Reformation Day!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Time For the Saturday Review of Books!

It's time again for another Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon Blog! This is my sweet sisters' blog, and every Saturday, she gives us (book review bloggers) a chance to share with everyone the book reviews we have written for our blogs. I always find wonderful books there.

I encourage you to go over there and read all the great reviews that have been submitted. And, if you have a book review blog, feel free to add your own reviews there. I'd love to read them.

Tell Sherry I sent you!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Notable Blogs

Here are some book review blogs I have found just this week that you may like. Please go check them out and tell me what you think.

Tales of Whimsy - I have now added Pearl in the Sand to my TBR list after reading Whimsy's review!

Relz Reviewz - Looks like this blog is going to be dangerous to my TBR list as well. It just keeps getting longer and longer!

So Many Books - WOW, I saw books on this blog I never knew existed! How will I ever read them all?

Deb's Book Bag - This blog looks pretty eclectic, closer to the mix of books that I like to read.

My Buckling Bookshelf - I love the name of this blog!

Oh, boy. I might have to stop doing this. It's almost as dangerous as my job at the library because I see so many new books I want to read. OK, I surrender. I'll have to just enjoy the ride of reading and not try to read all the good ones I see!

Have you found any book review blogs to share? Please let me know in the comments.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Book Review: Emily's Chance by Sharon Gillenwater

Sometimes, a person may want to read a book and not have to think deeply, just let the story take them into "another place" for a while and allow them to be entertained without requiring them to concentrate on a "message" or look for an allegory behind every bush, so to speak.

Well, I do understand such feelings. I like to enjoy what I read and to be regaled with a good tale, even amused when appropriate. However, I am a thinker. I actually find much pleasure in having to think deeply, in being challenged to find hidden meanings in things, and in discovering profound truths in what I read.

Emily's Chance: A Novel (The Callahans of Texas)That's probably the main reason that Emily's Chance did not hold my interest for very long. If you have been reading this blog for more than just a few weeks, you know I refer to some books as being too "fluffy". That usually means shallow plots, flat (or unbelievable) characters, and/or stories loaded with cliches.

And, for me, Emily's Chance is fluffy. I simply couldn't believe the characterization, and the plot struck me as being too contrived. I think if I had read Chance saying "darlin'" just one more time, I would have thrown the book across the room.

Maybe if I wasn't from West Texas (the setting of Emily's Chance) I might have thought that these characters could be real. But I grew up in a city approx. 40-50 miles from the place where this book takes place. And believe me, although I have known many people who do some of these things (like live on a ranch, dance the Texas Two-Step, own an oil company, drive a pickup truck and drink iced tea with every meal), it was all too stereotypical. Not much like the West Texas I know and love.

Chance, the primary male character, is cute and loveable. But he's too perfect. There was only one time that I saw where he admitted fault within himself. The rest of the book portrayed him as the ideal man. Ugh! It was too much for me.

I know some of you may like books like this. If so, click on this link to read the synopsis from And perhaps you will want to get a copy for yourselves. Great! That's the beauty of diversity. But if you don't like fluffy, skip this one.

I hope I am not being too harsh in this review. Nevertheless, I want to be honest.

I am not saying that this book is without merit. But I am saying that I personally prefer more "meat" to my reading choices. So, I have to give Emily's Chance a 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Emily's Chance is available October 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

How about you? Have you read Emily's Chance? If so, did you like it? Do you like fluffy books? Please comment below. I'd like to hear your opinion!

(I received this book from Revell Books for review purposes. I received no monetary compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

WWW Wednesdays

WWW Wednesdays is a meme from Should Be Reading, where we answer three questions: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? and What do you think you'll read next? If you want to participate, answer the three questions, then put your link on the Should Be Reading Blog in the comment section. Happy reading!

The Confession: A NovelWhat I am currently reading: Well, I started reading a book called Neighborhood Watch by Cammie McGovern last night, but when I got to work today (I work in a library), guess what was there? The new JOHN GRISHAM BOOK, The Confession! So, I HAD to put down Neighborhood Watch (sorry Ms. McGovern, I'll get back to it) and bring Mr. Grisham home. So, I'll be staying up late reading this new novel by one of my favorite writers. How could I resist when the description of the book is so intriguing?

Emily's Chance: A Novel (The Callahans of Texas)What I recently finished reading: Emily's Chance by Sharon Gillenwater - I will be sharing my review of this book with you on this blog on Thursday. Please come back to visit!

Arsenic and Clam Chowder: Murder in Gilded Age New York (Excelsior Editions)What I'll probably read next: Arsenic and Clam Chowder by James D. Livingston - This story of a true murder looks quite interesting. Here is the description from
Recounts the sensational 1896 murder trial of Mary Alice Livingston, who was accused of murdering her mother with an arsenic-laced pail of clam chowder and faced the possibility of becoming the first woman to be executed in New York's new-fangled electric chair.

I'll be reviewing this book for Pump Up Your Book! here on November 4.

What are you reading now? Won't you share with me and my readers? I am interested in what others are discovering out there!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Book Review: The Miracle of Mercy Land by River Jordan

Let's begin this review with a synopsis from the publisher:

What if you had the power to amend choices you made in the past? Would you do it even if it changed everything?

The Miracle of Mercy Land: A NovelMercy Land has made some unexpected choices for a young woman in the 1930s. The sheltered daughter of a traveling preacher, she chooses to leave her rural community to move to nearby Bay City on the warm, gulf-waters of southern Alabama. There she finds a job at the local paper and spends seven years making herself indispensible to old Doc Philips, the publisher and editor. Then she gets a frantic call at dawn—it’s the biggest news story of her life, and she can’t print a word of it.

Doc has come into possession of a curious book that maps the lives of everyone in Bay City—decisions they’ve made in the past, and how those choices affect the future. Mercy and Doc are consumed by the mystery locked between the pages—Doc because he hopes to right a very old wrong, and Mercy because she wants to fulfill the book’s strange purpose. But when a mystery from Mercy’s past arrives by train, she begins to understand that she will have to make choices that will deeply affect everyone she loves—forever.

The Messenger of Magnolia Street: A NovelAfter I received this book from Waterbrook for review, I decided to read another book by Ms. Jordan so I could get a feel for her style of writing. I read The Messenger of Magnolia Street, which was a strange novel about people fighting the forces of evil in their hometown. I thought it was a little too contrived, and so I wasn't sure what to think about The Miracle of Mercy Land.

I needn't have worried. I think Ms. Jordan's writing improved over the last four years, causing her to have more likeable characters, and a plot that, although not possible in real life, is filled with allegory and symbolism that bring the reader to understand God and His world a little bit better.

I was frustrated in the reading of the book at first because I was trying to make sense of what was happening and instead saw the story become weirder as I continued. However, when I got about halfway through, I beagn spotting the comparisons that were so subtly made that I almost missed some of them. I'm sure if I read it again I would see more, but I don't think my little brain would withstand the pressure.

As I think back on this story, I have decided that I did like it after all. I agree with Mercy when she says that scars are "a good sign of the soul of (a) man" and that if a person "shows up perfectly whole on the outside, there's a fair chance something's ill on the inside". I am learning more and more about the heart of man and it's not always pretty. Until one is "filled with all the fullness of God" (Ephesians 3:19), he/she will incur scars. And trials, whether they are the result of our sin, or the hand of God on our lives for the purpose of sanctification, will leave us with scars every time. But I'm so glad that I can trust Him to work all things together for my good, and for His glory. No matter how much I try to get into the way. 

I give The Miracle of Mercy Land 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

(I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah for review purposes. I received no monetary compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.)

Monday, October 25, 2010

"You May Have Missed" Mondays

One of my first exposures to "Christian suspense" was when I read Dee Henderson's novels, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I wanted more, but at that time could not find any other authors writing books in that genre (I'm not even sure if it was a separate genre then).

Until I discovered Terri Blackstock. I began looking for more books by her, and I was soon reading all her books. I couldn't get enough.

Then, along came Brandilyn Collins into my reading life. I read her first series, the Bradleyville Series, and was hooked. And the books just get better and better.

The Kanner Lake Series is highly entertaining. I like the characters and how they interact with one another. They are so "real". And, of course, the suspense is quite, well, suspenseful. Mrs. Collins certainly has a way with words and know exactly how to keep the tension going throughout the entire story. 

Violet Dawn (Kanner Lake Series #1)Violet Dawn is the first in the series. Here is the synopsis of the book from the author's website:

Something sinuous brushed against Paige’s knee. She jerked her leg away.

What was that? She rose to a sitting position, groped around with her left hand.

Fine wisps wound themselves around her fingers.


She yanked backward, but the tendrils clung. Something solid bumped her wrist.

Paige gasped. With one frantic motion she shook her arm free, grabbed the side of the hot tub, and heaved herself out.

Paige Williams slips into her hot tub in the blackness of night - and finds herself face to face with death.

Alone, terrified, fleeing a dark past, Paige must make an unthinkable choice.

In Violet Dawn, hurtling events and richly drawn characters collide in a breathless story of murder, revenge and the need to belong. One woman’s secrets unleash an entire town’s pursuit, and the truth proves as elusive as the killer in their midst.

Coral Moon (Kanner Lake Series #2) Coral Moon is #2 in the series:

The figure remained still as stone. Leslie couldn’t even detect a breath.

Spider-fingers teased the back of her neck.

Leslie’s feet rooted to the pavement. She dropped her gaze to the driveway, seeking...what? Spatters of blood? Footprints? She saw nothing. Honed through her recent coverage of crime scene evidence, the testimonies at last month’s trial, the reporter in Leslie spewed warnings: Notice everything, touch nothing.

Leslie Brymes hurries out to her car on a typical work day morning—and discovers a dead body inside.
Why was the corpse left for her to find? And what is the meaning of the message pinned to its chest? In Coral Moon, the senseless murder of a beloved Kanner Lake citizen spirals the small Idaho town into a terrifying glimpse of spiritual forces beyond our world. What appears true seems impossible.

Or is it?

#3 is Crimson Eve:

Crimson Eve (Kanner Lake Series #3)Carla stared at the gun and David Thornby—or whatever his name was. Her mind split in two, one side pleading this was some sick joke, the other screaming it was all too real.

"Please. You must have the wrong person. There’s no reason for someone to want me dead. I don’t have any enemies."

"Then you’d best rethink your friends."

Realtor Carla Radling shows an “English gentleman” a lakeside estate—and finds herself facing a gun. Who has hired this assassin to kill her, and why? Forced on the run, Carla must uncover the scathing secrets of
her past. Secrets that could destroy some very powerful people.

Perhaps even change the face of a nation...

And, #4, Amber Morn:

The whole thing couldn’t have taken more than sixty seconds.

Amber Morn (Kanner Lake Series #4)Bailey hung on to the counter, dazed. If she let go, she’d collapse—and the twitching fingers of the gunman would pull the trigger. The rest of her group huddled in frozen shock.

Dear God, help us! Tell me this is a dream...

The shooter’s teeth clenched. "Anybody who moves is dead."

On a beautiful Saturday morning the nationally read "Scenes and Beans" bloggers gather at Java Joint for a special celebration. Chaos erupts when three gunmen burst in and take them all hostage. One person is shot and dumped outside. Police Chief Vince Edwards must negotiate with the desperate trio. The gunmen insist on communicating through the “comments” section of the blog—so all the world can hear their story. What they demand, Vince can’t possibly provide. But if he doesn’t, over a dozen beloved

Kanner Lake citizens will die...

Sound good? Then you might want tp check out the Kanner Lake Series. You can read excerpts of the books on Mrs. Collins' website. And if you are interested in purchasing these books, just click on the links in this post.

Try them, I think you'll like them!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Coming Up This Week

Here's what is going to be on Seize the Book Blog this week:

Monday: I will tell you about a great suspense series by one of my favorite writers of fiction, Brandilyn Collins. If you like Christian suspense, you will probably like these.

Tuesday: A review of The Miracle of Mercy Land, a new title by River Jordan, published by Waterbrook Press.

Wednesday: A return of WWW Wednesdays, where I tell you all about what I am reading now.

Thursday: A review of Emily's Chance by Sharon Gillenwater, a Christian romance published by Revell.

Friday: I will share some great book review blogs with you, ones you will want to visit and bookmark.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Book Review: Don't Look Back by Lynette Eason

Lynette Eason has done it again! I first heard of this author earlier this year when I received an invitation to join in on the blog tour for Too Close to Home, the first book in the Women of Justice series. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and recommend it to anyone who likes Romantic Suspense. Mrs. Eason has a way with words, and when reading her books, I am drawn in to the characters' lives, cheering the "good guys" and wanting justice for the "bad guys". These books do not take long to read because I don't want to put one down after picking it up.

Don't Look Back (Women of Justice Series #2)
In Don't Look Back, Jamie Cash, the survivor of a kidnapping, faces her attacker once again when she and Dakota Richards, an FBI Special Agent, team up with others to investigate a series of murders. The killer calls himself The Hero, and he tortures his victims, putting them through all kinds of mental anguish while physically assaulting them. The more Jamie looks into the case, the more she sees that her past has once again become her present, and she must come face to face with the killer. When Dakota reaches out to help her, she turns him away. How can she ever trust any man again?And will she win this fight for her life?

The plot moves quickly and the suspense holds throughout the story. I actually figured out who the killer was about 1/3 of the way through, but I'm not sure if it is that noticable, or if I'm getting better at this sort of thing. So, it was a little anti-climactic for me. Nevertheless, I enjoyed Don't Look Back and I'm waiting now for #3 in the series, to be released in May of 2011.

I give Don't Look Back 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Lynette Eason is the author of Too Close to Home and three other romantic suspense novels. She is a member of American Fiction Christian Writers and Romance Writers of America. A homeschooling mother of two, she has a master's degree in education from Converse College. She lives in South Carolina.

You can read more about Lynette here.

Don't Look Back is available October 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

(I received this book from Revell Books for review purposes. I received no monetary compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

WWW Wednesdays

WWW Wednesdays is a meme from Should Be Reading, where we answer three questions: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? and What do you think you'll read next? If you want to participate, answer the three questions, then put your link on the Should Be Reading Blog in the comment section. Happy reading!

Relentless (Dominion Trilogy #1)What I am currently reading: Relentless by Robin Parrish - I was told about this book from an 18-year-old friend of mine. It is the first book in a series. She said they were some of her favorite books. Since we both like Ted Dekker and other authors, I thought I would probably like this as well. Well, I have read the first 90 pages, and I am intrigued. I'll probably want to read the others when I am finished with this one. I will try to write a review within the next several weeks.

The Miracle of Mercy Land: A NovelWhat I recently finished reading: The Miracle of Mercy Land by River Jordan - I commented on another of Mrs. Jordan's books last week. This is one I received from Waterbrook Press, and will write a review for it sometime next week.

Triumph: Life After the Cult--A Survivor's LessonsWhat I'll probably read next: Triumph by Carolyn Jessop - I read Escape by Ms. Jessop last year. This woman has an amazing story of her life in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a sect of the Mormon church that practices polygamy. I became interested in this group and Ms. Jessop in particular when the church's ranch was raided and the children removed after law officials learned about their illegal practices. I grew up in the town where the police took the children (and some of the mothers) to live while their case in court was decided. I watched on TV as they escorted them to and from the courthouse that I immediately recognized from my childhood. The whole situation is just so sad. I admire Ms. Jessop for her outspokenness and courage. You can read more about her here. Very, very interesting.

What are you reading this week?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Book Review: Predator by Terri Blackstock

In the library where I work, we are allowed to look at the carts loaded with books in the processing area (where they prepare the books to be ready for the shelves) and if we see any book we want to read, we can put our name in it and whenever that book is ready to be checked out, that person gets to be the first one to check it out. Needless to say, this is one of my favorite things about working there. I often go into processing and look at what new books have come in. There is seldom a time when I don't see a new book I want to check out and read.

I have several authors that I like so much that I have read everything they have written and when I see a new one by one of those authors, I automatically put my name in it so I can be the first to read it.

Predator: A NovelTerri Blackstock is one of those favorite authors. And Predator is one of the best she has written.

Before I tell you what I liked about the book, here is a synopsis form the Zondervan website:

"In Predator, the newest page-turner by bestselling author Terri Blackstock, a killer is stalking the online social network GrapeVyne. Determined to bring her teenage sister's murderer to justice, Krista Carmichael puts her own life on the line to bait the killer. But when this online predator turns his sights on her, will she be able to control the outcome?"

What parent is not at least a little concerned about the crimes that are being committed in the world of computers and social networks, such as Facebook, MySpace, etc.? It seems every day we hear stories about online predators, stalkers, and others who have met young people on the Internet and make them believe that they just want to be friends, when in actuality they want them to be their next victim in whatever evil they desire. Mrs. Blackstock demonstrates this well in her latest book. I read this one quickly as I followed the characters through their nightmare of tracking down the killer among them. I began to think about how I wanted to protect my own children (and myself) from such a terrifying situation. Although I know that God has us all in His hands, I think there are some practical things in this book that we can learn to do so that we will not fall victim to an online predator.

Mrs. Blackstock writes in such an engaging manner. Her chapters are very short, which kept making me want to read "just one more", then I realized I was halfway through the book in a short period of time. The characters are people you would meet every day, and the things they do are quite ordinary, yet the author pulls the reader along and keeps the suspense going so as to make the book exciting and the plot interesting. I recommend this book (and any other Blackstock book) to anyone who loves a great suspense novel.

I do believe that this book will be on my Top Ten List of 2010. I give it 5 out of 5 stars!    

Terri Blackstock has sold six million books worldwide and is a New York Times bestseller. She is the award-winning author of Intervention and Double Minds, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, and the Restoration Series.

(I checked this book out from the local library. So there is no need to say that I wasn't paid to do this review, because I never get paid for any review I do!)