Songs in the Night: How God Transforms Our Pain to Praise by Michael A. Milton is a religious nonfiction audiobook narrated by Brenda J. Davis. The intent of this audiobook is to change the way that people view the suffering and tragedies in their life, to help them see that the “thorns” that afflict us serve to bring us closer to God. The author uses Bible verses, as well as songs and the quotes and testimonies of others, to illustrate how readers can find hope and inspiration in God’s word when dealing with personal crisis, spiritual depression, physical challenges, painful memories of the past, strained relationships, and looking toward the future with hope.
The questions for reflection (written by Theresa Gillis) at the end of each chapter were helpful in applying the author’s words to the reader’s own life, and useful resources for further study are provided at the end of the book.
I liked hearing the author’s reminiscences and personal reflections of his own life, especially when he was a boy, explaining how his past experiences taught and shaped him. It was encouraging to know that even pastors have times of self-doubt and struggle with the same issues as everyone else.
I enjoyed the narrator’s reading of this audiobook overall, but there was some times when words were emphasized unnecessarily, which distracted from the narrative of the book. While I appreciated the points that were being made in this audiobook, that good can come out of bad things, I much preferred the analogy of the storm as something that a person must weather, but in which we can see God.
This book has an inspiring message of finding light in the darkness to overcome the obstacles in life, which is especially needed at this time when so many people are feeling uncertain about the future and dealing with unexpected hardships and losses. It is a struggle to hold on to faith during difficult times, but these times are when faith is needed to most. This book helps readers see that God is working in their lives and that His blessings are appreciated more by those who have suffered and persevered.
Duration: 9 hours 7 minutes | ASIN: B089NDYYDT
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Eve is a young woman caught between what she wants to do and what she must do. She has been marked, cursed if you will, and survived a childhood of abuse from her sadistic grandfather. A cruel taskmaster and slave owner, her grandfather, knows of her ability to see the future and perceive the true intentions of others. He has squelched her ability most of her life, and his fear of her has led him to regularly administer abuses to her that far outweigh what he shows his slaves. Now, also facing the idea of an unwanted arranged marriage, Eve receives a letter telling her that her help is needed–and her life has been a lie.
The Dark Age Chronicles: Eve of Darkness, by T.L. Bailey and performed by Wesley Bruff, has all the darkness professed in its title. The title character, Eve, lives a life so full of turmoil and fear it’s a true miracle she has the strength to face each day. Her grandfather’s evil nature is incredibly difficult to imagine, and it has created a magnificent strength in Eve that rivals that of any superhero. Her gift makes her a liability, but the more she is feared and the more she is pursued, the more invincible she becomes. Bailey’s choice to have Eve be a young nineteen-year-old girl is a fantastic one. These are formative years, and the horrors Eve is forced to endure would make anyone at this age crumble and give up on life.
The narration by Wesley Bruff is absolutely mesmerizing. Straight out of the gate, readers will appreciate the tone with which he delivers the story, the change of accent, and modulation. A dark and horrifying story calls for a performance that can communicate the atrocities effectively, and Bruff does that tenfold. His narration makes me forget who and where I am–honestly a stunning performance.
Readers who enjoy fantasy will find Eve’s plight enthralling. Her journey is one of resilience and determination, and her story is one readers won’t want to put down. I highly recommend Wesley Bruff’s narration, as well. It is not often you find an audio book so full of rich visuals. The Dark Age Chronicles: Eve of Darkness, the audiobook, is not to be missed.
Pages: 352 | ASIN: B07D58BB71
Tags: action, adventure, audible, audio book, author, book, book review, bookblogger, dark fantasy, ebook, epic fantasy, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, historical fiction, horror, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, T.L. Bailey, The Dark Age Chronicles: Eve of Darkness, wesley bruff, writer, writing
Catrin is living a nightmare. She has become a slave, is used and abused as a woman disguised as a soldier, and the love of her life doesn’t remember the passion that once existed between them. Catrin is as feared as much as she is taken for granted. Considered to have powers that far outshine the abilities and skills of any soldier, she is allowed to live and protected even though she isn’t respected. Marcellus, her love, now under the spell of another, can’t quite shake the feeling that something is not right–something he can’t explain but leaves him feeling empty and broken. Catrin knows, but will she be able to tell him in time?
Amulet’s Rapture, by Linnea Turner, continues the journey of young Catrin. Her life, very different from that of previous installments, is a daily struggle for survival. She is only allowed to live because she is deemed valuable and believed to have the ability to speak directly with the sun god. Catrin is put through ghastly tasks and treated with little respect even though she is offered the opportunity to train as a warrior priestess. Playing along with the idea that she is all-powerful is the only thing that seems to keep her from being killed.
Catrin’s visions are an important part of the plot–the thread woven discreetly throughout the story that ties all of the elements neatly together. The images she conjures are vivid and touching. The author uses them expertly to pull in elements from previous installments. These little trips into Catrin’s past are especially helpful if listening to this as a stand alone.
The audio version of Amulet’s Rapture is a fascinating listen. The narrator absolutely nails tone, character changes, and emphasis. In addition, the particularly intense scenes in which Catrin is being threatened are completely captivating when read by the narrator, Kristen James. What would be moving moments if read in paperback or Kindle become quite terrifying and extremely uncomfortable when listening to the narrator’s interpretation of the text–the story is truly brought to life.
I believe this installment is completely readable as a stand alone text. The author provides quite a bit of background, and Catrin’s visions give readers a nice glance back at previous plots. One cannot read Tanner’s work without calling it romance. Though it is primarily a fantasy, readers who seek a strong romantic feel to their fantasies will appreciate Tanner’s writing. She peppers her plot with just enough of these steamy scenes to keep romance fans invested.
Audio Length: 11 hours and 11 minutes | ASIN: B0887Y9WLY
Tags: adventure, Amulet’s Rapture, audible, author, book, book review, bookblogger, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, historical fantasy, historical fiction, history, kindle, kobo, linnea tanner, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, story, suspense, thriller, writer, writing
Tiny Tim is all grown up, and everything he loves and holds dear has been ripped from him. Upon the death of his dear friend, Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim begins to question each of his beliefs and the very faith that had been instilled in his family with the love of Scrooge himself years ago. Tim, now an adult, is faced with the loss of another of his dear loves, Becky. As fate would have it, Becky is simultaneously suffering through the most trying time of her young life on the streets with her young son and no place to lay their heads. Just as fate intervened fourteen years ago in the form of Ebenezer Scrooge, fate lays its hand on upon Tim once more.
Norman Whaler has crafted a beautiful tale of faith, hope, and love in his sequel to Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. Tiny Tim and the Ghost of Ebenezer Scrooge – Audiobook details the events surrounding and immediately following the death of an aged Ebenezer Scrooge. Tim Cratchit, once the young crippled boy benefiting from Scrooge’s change of heart in A Christmas Carol, is impacted most of all by Scrooge’s death.
From beginning to end, Whaler’s sequel to the beloved classic pays homage to the original plot and the beautiful transformation made by its key character, Ebenezer Scrooge. Though Tiny Tim, now all grown up, is the title character, he also exhibits a change of heart similar to that of Scrooge. Tim fights a battle within himself as he struggles to regain his faith. Whaler does a phenomenal job of adhering to the feel of the original book with his references to Scrooge’s character transformation. The reader watches as Tim fights a similar battle and, ultimately, wins with Scrooge’s help.
As a fan of the original tale of Scrooge and the Cratchits, I could not help but fall in love with the parallel story line and the magic of three as it again reared its head in Tim’s life. The sound quality and voice over is exceptional in this audiobook and delivers this lovely story in a clear and crisp manner. Scrooge’s reappearance from the afterlife is expected but quite fitting. Whaler has done Dickens proud with this quick read rich with character development and steeped with faith.
Duration: 1 hour 54 minutes | ASIN: B01NAJJLXP
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I listened to this novel as an audiobook and thoroughly enjoyed the narrator’s voice and dramatic affect along with character voices. This sultry novel brought to us by Randi Perrin introduces us to Char Brown. She is a 30-something woman working at a magazine with her closest, and maybe only, friends. She admires the slim, physique of her best friend, Jenny, and begrudgingly attempts to eat salads in an effort to attain a slim physique of her own. She has a strange relationship with her boyfriend, one where he hides her from his mom, so she’ll allow him to continue living at home. When I heard that part, I knew that Char clearly struggles with her self-esteem and you see this theme permeating throughout the beginning of this story.
Things quickly change for Char as the boyfriend breaks-up with her, in a terrible way, and leaves her feeling low and unworthy. Fortunately, she has good friends who get her out and suddenly her world changes and she is caught in a web of seduction woven by a handsome cowboy type…who also owns a wine bar and has a literature degree! I absolutely love how Darryl is immediately drawn to Char. For anyone who has experienced love at first sight you know how that feels and that it exists. Some people might find it creepy that Darryl was able to hunt down her phone number in under 12 hours, but I understand that when that intense chemical attraction occurs there is nothing that will stand in your way. This book brought back happy memories of my own meeting with my husband and how it took me by surprise and swept me away. For that reason, I had an extra appreciation while listening to this story.
It is always refreshing to read romance where the male character is working hard to build the confidence of his female interest out of admiration and respect. He doesn’t just try to bed her but shows an interest in who she is and truly finds her beautiful. It is so common for a woman to experience low self-esteem due to the world and men beating them down. It is nice to see Char experiencing this affection and adoration and starting to realize her worth. There is definitely a kink in the sexy cogs where Char is disillusioned and brought back to her former beliefs about herself but that is totally normal, and I appreciated that it wasn’t all just roses.
I am not a drinker but there was a lot of wine knowledge embedded in this story that a true connoisseur would enjoy. There are a lot of sexy wine metaphors as well! There is a little erotic action, but it is done respectfully and not in a raunchy or distasteful way. This was a fun read with a beautiful and romantic story that got me feeling all warm and fuzzy and wanting to relive my romance all over again.
Pages: 126 | ASIN: B073HF2LG8
Tags: adult romance, alibris, Anticipating Temptation, audible, audiobook, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, ilovebooks, indiebooks, kindle, kobo, literature, love, love story, nook, novel, publishing, randi perrin, read, reader, reading, romance, shelfari, smashwords, story, wine, womens fiction, writer, writer community, writing
The Cold Trail follows Sean Kruger as he finally goes back to what he does best to solve an old cold case. Did you know how you wanted this book to start and end or did things change as you were writing?
I know how I wanted to begin. But since I don’t outline, my books start with a two or three-page concept. Once I am comfortable with the concept, I then start to write. While I use the original concept as a guide, the story will evolve as it is written. Once a first draft is complete, it is time to go back and see if the plot works. Both The Imposter’s Trail (Book 3) and The Cold Trail required major surgery after the first drafts were finished. Book 3 saw 30,000 words cut from an 85,000-word manuscript. Similarly, The Cold Trail needed numerous nips and tucks as the story evolved. In fact, the original ending was thrown out and completely rethought.
I really like how characters from past novels made a reappearance. Did you let the story dictate who came back, or did you pick certain characters to make a reappearance?
The characters I believe you are referring to are Roy Griffin, Ryan Clark, Jimmie Gibbs and Sandy Knoll. You are correct, I wanted all four in this installment. The reason is simple, they will play major roles in Book Five and Six. Additionally, I want to explore the Jimmie Gibbs character more in-depth. We discover more about him and some of his motivation in The Cold Trail, we learn even more in Book Five. First draft of Book Five is almost fifty-percent complete, so I have a good idea of what I want to do with these characters.
I believe the Jimmie Gibbs character is strong enough for a stand-alone novel. However, I have two stand-alone stories in the concept phase waiting for attention.
What was one challenging aspect of this novel, or at least something you thought long and hard about before committing to it?
The three missing college students from the first chapter was inspired by an incident in my hometown back in the early 1990’s. Three women, two who had just graduated from high school, disappeared from a home in the center of town. They have never been found, nor has anyone been charged with their disappearance. I was acquainted with the father of one of the women, he has since passed away. As a father myself, I cannot imagine the pain of not knowing where your child is, or if they are even alive. These thoughts still bring a chill to my heart.
The concept of this novel was developed several years ago. But I lacked a good avenue to pursue it. It was the perfect premise to bring Kruger out of retirement.
The final solution to the missing women, I use in the book, may or may not have a basis in reality. In most missing person cases, a body is usually found. Not in the case of the missing women I mentioned above. Something extraordinary occurred to these three souls.
It seems like Sean Kruger is finally back where he belongs with the FBI. Where will the next book find Sean and when will it be available?
A writer friend of mine told me Kruger retiring is getting old. So, keeping this critique in mind, I decided not to retire him again, at least until the series is complete. The Cold Trail leaves the reader with several questions left unanswered. This was done on purpose as Book 5 is based on answering these questions. There will be two incidents in Book Five which will be used to set up the sixth Kruger installment.
My plans are to release Book 5, the current working title is The Predator’s Trail, in late December of 2018 or early January 2019. My goal is to have Book 6 out eight to nine months later. After that, as I mentioned, I have several stand-alone stories I want to tackle. But, I can assure everyone, there will be more than six Sean Kruger novels as long as I can keep the stories fresh and exciting.
With the help of his friend, JR Diminski, retired FBI profiler Sean Kruger rescues a female graduate student after she is kidnapped from the university campus where he teaches. He finds the abduction too familiar. From 1999 through 2002 six female college students vanished, without a trace, from four different college campuses across the country. As the lead FBI investigator on those now cold cases, his failure to find the women and the person responsible still haunts him.
When JR discovers a clue to the identity of the kidnapper, Kruger comes out of retirement to re-examine the abductions. His ensuing investigation will lead him down a dark trail: one of dark money and even darker passions.
Will Sean succeed or will the past repeat itself?
Tightly plotted with the trademark twists and turns of a J.C. Fields’ novel, The Cold Trail will keep you turning pages late into the night.
Posted in Interviews
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Humans are on a constant quest for self-actualization. We have a deep need to live in genuine serenity, to discover selves. People always seek to have full control of their mental faculties such that they can meditate without struggling too much.
Anam Cara: Your Soul Friend and Bridge to Enlightenment and Creativity will get one on the right path. To open the floodgates of creativity, one needs to have peace of mind and be free of emotional baggage. This audio book is a road map to using the soul friend to achieve these. The soul friend is a non-judgmental confidante who helps an individual live to their full God-given potential. The book urges the importance of the body in accessing the mind. The science of breathing is used as an example of how one can access their mind. By breathing properly, one relaxes and eventually accesses the deepest parts of their mind. The science of breathing is often used in meditation. One may argue that the soul friend would best be a therapist or religious leader but that defeats the purpose. The point of anam cara is candor and intimacy.
This book also guides the reader through the 42 confessions to the soul, these are essential in spiritual growth. Among the most important aspects of self-empowerment is selfless service. Glenville Ashby talks about being completely used up by the time of death. Giving oneself to the society with no expectations by doing the simplest of things like offering comfort to a troubled friend. Mr. Ashby also talks about thoughts creating reality. God would not punish his own creations by blessing some and leaving others in anguish. Humans are meant to create their own blessings through hard work. This is a very interesting point of view. It makes a lot of sense upon reflection. To further affirm his stand, Glenville talks about Hellen Keller and Stephen Hawking. Their outstanding positivity and contributions to the world are awe-inspiring. The author also introduces the master keys that unlock the portal to the soul. First on the list is gratitude. This is a testament to the adage; no man is an island. The responsibility to be genuinely grateful awakens a flame within humans.
Glenville Ashby has not written this book to malign other therapies but rather to give a counterproductive approach to enlightenment and creativity. The ideas in this book, supported by views from Buddhist principles and Christianity, will force readers to do a thorough audit of their lives. It calls for a shift in practice and thought. The book is well written and inspiring. It is a useful tool for one who seeks to put themselves on a path to true happiness and fulfillment. To live authentically and unencumbered by travelling back and experiencing the magic of humans’ true essence, the soul.
Quality of life is dependent on the choices one makes and the things they focus their energies on. Achieving self-actualization is a great place to start in seeking to live the best life possible. Anam Cara: Your Soul Friend and Bridge to Enlightenment and Creativity is a necessary audio book.
Listening Length: 2 hours and 27 minutes | ASIN: B01DCHO3XW
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Anam Cara is a Celtic term meaning, “soul friend”. In the days of the Druids, an Anam Cara served as a confidante, an advisor, and confessor. This book reintroduces the power of having a “soul friend”. Today, we can enjoy this spiritual benefit. A soul friend listens, understands, and is never judgmental. By clearing one’s conscience, learning to let go, forgive, and atone, we experience the magical power of our soul. We are reborn and begin to realize our potential. This book teaches us how we can transform our lives by following simple but powerful teachings. Ashby offers the listeners minor and major keys to unlock their fullest potential. Minor keys include meditation and journaling, while some of the major keys are atonement and forgiveness. Eric Ober, media consultant and former president of CBS News, said, “This is a truly inspirational book on overcoming inhibitions and roadblocks in order that we maximize our creativity and quality of life.” University lecturer Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh said, “This unique publication will benefit persons who seek to rid themselves of emotional baggage and attain a peaceful mind.”
Posted in book trailer
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