Friday, October 28, 2011

Book Review: Refuge on Crescent Hill by Melanie Dobson

I really enjoy stories of the Civil War and the heroes who stood up for the rights of the black people. Men such as Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and William Lloyd Garrison and women likeSojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, and Harriet Beecher Stowe were not afraid to voice their opinions and fight for what was right. I have studied the lives of these and others and have been inspired by their examples of courage and honor.

I also love to read fiction that is either set in the time of the Civil War, or present day stories that are about people who are trying to uncover the secrets of the past. It is fascinating to read of the period in our history when people owned people and many times treated them like dirt. It is a shamful time of our history, but one that we can learn from.  

Refuge on Crescent Hill is a modern day story of a family who harbored slaves in their home during the war and helped them find their way to freedom. Her is a description of the book from the publisher's website:

Moving home after a recent job loss was supposed to reassure Camden Bristow but what she finds is an empty mansion 150 years old. What happened to the house she played in as a child, the bedtime stories that told of secret passageways and runaway slaves, and all those family memories?

When antiques start disappearing and footsteps are heard, Camden wonders what really happened here . . . at Crescent Hill? Who still has access to the house? And for what purpose? As she works to uncover the past and present mysteries harbored in her home, Camden also uncovers secrets about her family that could change the town--and her life--forever.

Refuge on Crescent Hill has all the things that make good fiction: mystery, romance and an interesting plot that keeps the reader wanting more. I enjoyed how the writer made the house seem real and how she gave a sense of place that made me feel like I was there in the little town of Etherton, Ohio. The characters are believable; even the protagonists were like people I have known and have been afraid to associate with. I was well entertained.

The spiritual aspect was well written and not too didactic. The refernces to God were woven seamlessly int the plot and not overdone.

I give Refuge on Crscent Hill 4 1/2 out of 5 stars!

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

Melanie Beroth Dobson's first novel (Together for Good) was published in 2006, and she has now authored nine contemporary and historical novels including Love Finds You in Nazareth, Pennsylvania which releases in November 2011. Melanie and her husband, Jon, met in Colorado Springs in 1997 at Vanguard Church. Since they've been married, the Dobsons have relocated numerous times including stints in Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Colorado, Berlin, and Southern California. These days they are enjoying their home in the Pacific Northwest.

Prior to launching her own public relations company in 1999, Melanie was the corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family where she was responsible for the publicity of both events and products. Melanie received her undergraduate degree in journalism from Liberty University and her master's degree in communication from Regent University. She worked in the fields of publicity and journalism for more than fifteen years including two years as a publicist for The Family Channel.

Jon and Melanie have two daughters — Karly (8) and Kiki (7). The entire Dobson family loves to travel and hike in both the mountains and along the cliffs above the Pacific. When Melanie isn't writing or playing with her family, she enjoys exploring ghost towns and dusty back roads, line dancing, and reading inspirational fiction.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Opposite of Art by Athol Dickson

Since I did not get a chance to read this book yet, I will have to share with you about the book from other sources. Here are some highlights from the author's website and a few other places (book review to come soon):

Book description:

A great artist is cast into the icy Harlem River by a hit-and-run driver.

His heart stops.

He sees something that defies description.

Presumed dead by all who knew him and obsessed with desire to paint the inexpressible, he embarks on a
pilgrimage to seek help from holy men around the globe.

After a quarter of a century, when the world begins to whisper that he may be alive, two people come looking for the artist: the daughter he never knew existed, and the murderer who hit him on the bridge all those years ago.


Melissa Willis, on the blog, Christian Manifesto, says: "Not only did I discover that this book does contain beautiful imagery and remarkable insight, The Opposite of Art is also quite readable to those that do not possess a PHD."

Jonathan Rickard (New York Journal of Books) writes: "This is a novel filled with contrasts: stilted writing vs. elegant prose, existential thought vs. Christian beliefs, selfishness vs. generosity, accuracies vs. inaccuracies."

And, on The Wayfaring Writer, Katherine Bolger Hyde shares: "The Opposite of Art is about art, and it is art. It is proof positive that the highest quality in fiction can bear witness to Christ, even in our decadent age."

About the author:

Athol Dickson’s fiction has been favorably compared to the work of Flannery O’Connor (The New York Times), Octavia Butler (Publisher’s Weekly), and Daphne du Maurier (Cindy Crosby, Christianity Today fiction critic).

Notable works include They Shall See God, and Winter Haven, both Christy Award finalists. River Rising was an Audie Award winner, a Christianity Today Best Novel of 2006 finalist, and one of the Booklist Top Ten Christian Novels of 2006. Both River Rising and The Cure won Christy Awards for best suspense novel of the year.


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

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Book Review: Reclaiming Lily by Patti Lacy

I reviewed another Patti Lacy book in January. It was an emotional book about human slavery (see my review on this book as well) and one that made quite an impact on me. After reading The Rhythm of Secrets, I was ready to read another by this talented author.

Reclaiming Lily is a story of a girl who is adopted from China at the age of ten. Her sister sees her leave the orphanage with her new family, and vows she will get her back someday. Seven years later, she finds Lily and begins working on a plan to take her back to China. The adoptive parents are reluctant to allow the sister to meet with Lily, but when news of a possible life-threatening disease is revealed, they find that they must in order to save their daughter. Several twists, including a tornado and a period of time in a Texas jail, make this book one that is hard to put down.

I have many times wanted to adopt a child, especially one from another country. I'm sure I don't realize how hard it would be, but I still would love to do it. I can see by reading this book that it is often a rough road for all involved, especially when the adoptee is an older child. My heart goes out to all the families who have adopted older kids. The patience they have is incredible.

I particularly like how the book ends (with unexpected  results). A few surprises in the last chapter give it a satisfying conclusion.

I highly recommend Reclaiming Lily. I give it 5 out of 5 stars!

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

Friday, October 7, 2011

Book Review: The World-Tilting Gospel by Dan Phillips

I had heard of Dan Phillips a few years ago when I ran across the Pyromaniacs blog. The more I read on this blog, the more I wanted to know about these guys who seemed so "spot on" regarding theological matters. So I was glad to hear about this book and knew I would be in for a treat when I ordered it for review.

The World-Tilting Gospel reminds me of a book I read earlier this year called Dug Down Deep by Josh Harris. Like Harris' book, Mr. Phillips writes about the basics of the Christian faith (sort of a systematic theology) for the common man. Both books are easy to read, but are chock full of deep biblical truths that every Christian should know.

But this is not just a book for Christians. Others would also benefit from reading it because it explains well what we believe and I think would be a help to those who are trying to understand these things.

I recommend this book to anyone who would like something that outlines the Christian faith and does it in a well-structured and interesting way. This is a great resource for any biblical scholar's bookshelf.

I give The World-Tilting Gospel.5 out of 5 stars!

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

Dan Phillips (MDiv, Talbot Theological Seminary) has served as pastor in four churches and has taught seminary and college classes in New Testament studies, Hebrew, and Old Testament theology. He has preached and presented seminars on Proverbs and the Sovereignty of God, written biblical newspaper columns and tracts, and hosted a radio talk show. With an ongoing conference and pulpit ministry, Dan is most broadly known for his writing on the Pyromaniacs blog, with Phil Johnson and Frank Turk (, and at his own blog, Biblical Christianity ( Dan lives in Sacramento with his amazing wife, Valerie. They have four children and around six cats.

To learn more about this book and its author, go to the Pyromaniacs blog. There is a link to get the Kindle edition free, a chance to win a hard copy, and more.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Book Review: Deliver Me From Evil by Kathi Macias

Kathi Macias is an author with a unique insight into the human condition. With this new book, Deliver Me From Evil, Mrs. Macias delves deep into the world of human slavery (specifically, sexual trafficking). It is an intriguing and many times hard-hitting look at the evils of this all too common crime that is pervading communities around the world.

In this novel are the stories of two girls who have been taken into the world of sexual perversion by people who were trusted to care for them. Mara was sold by her parents and taken across the border to San Diego to be used as a prostitute by her uncle. And on the other side of the world is another girl named Chanthra who was kidnapped by men who promised to take her to be adopted by a rich family who would take good care of her. Instead, she, too, is sold into sexual slavery.

A family in San Diego finds out about Mara through a chance encounter and, while attempting to rescue her, they also discover a connection their lives have to Chanthra's.

Reading this book has made me even more anxious to help these girls who are being exploited and preyed upon. I am struck by the urgency conveyed through this novel that compels us to action. I pray that many Christians will read this book and ask God what He would have them do to end this evil.

God bless Kathi Macias for writing this book and bringing these issues to our attention. I give Deliver Me From Evil 5 out of 5 stars!

(I received this book from Pump Up Your Book! for review purposes. I received no monetary compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.)

Be sure and check out my reviews on other books written by Mrs. Macias by typing in "Kathi Macias" in the search box on the right of this post.

Award-winning author Kathi Macias has written more than 30 books, including the award-winning devotional A Moment a Day and the popular “Matthews” mystery novels.
Kathi has won many awards, including the Angel Award from Excellence in Media, fiction awards from the San Diego Christian Writers Guild, 2008 Member of the Year from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association), and the grand prize in an international writing contest.

With women’s ministry as her primary interest, Kathi is a popular speaker for women’s retreats, conferences, and churches.

A mother and grandmother, Kathi and her husband, Al, call California home.