Phoenix: Field of Mars (The Phoenix Trilogy Book One) by Jackie Anders is a thrilling time travel romance story. Kyla Marshall, a Public Relations Assistant Director, travels to Israel on a PR assignment for her company’s client, West Bank Labs in Jerusalem. But the space exploration company has discovered something that they do not share with Kyla. While working late one night, she stumbles into a special ops mission to stop a rogue scientist from trying to change the past to cause a domino effect in the present. Kyla finds herself in Rome in 8 AD with a group of modern soldiers, led by Captain Christopher Eriksen. Will the team succeed in their mission? And will Kyla ever be able to return to her own time?
The premise of this gripping story piqued my interest right from the beginning. I enjoyed reading about the time period of Jerusalem in the first century and the ancient Roman Empire. It was interesting to get a glimpse into the day-to-day life of a prominent Roman citizen when Kyla remained with their hosts while Captain Eriksen and his team traveled with the Roman senator. I liked how the different team members of the Special ops unit were all from different countries, and the way they worked together on the mission. Each character felt unique and authentic and always added something different to the situation and dialogue
The ending leaves you desperate for more. There were some unanswered questions, making the follow-up story a must-read. I am definitely looking forward to Phoenix: By the Sword, to find out what happens next in the characters’ journey.
While I enjoyed this adventurous story, I felt that the novel leaned more towards the science fiction adventure genre, rather than the historical fiction genre, which ensures the story is consistently entertaining, but I would have liked more historical accuracy. Time travel come with all sorts of paradoxes, but the author leans into the narrative and keeps focus on the mission and the task at hand rather than the ripple effect the teams presence could cause, but I felt that some mention of it would have appeased the hard core science fiction fans.
Phoenix: Field of Mars is a lively time travel story that will keep readers entertained with its compelling characters and dramatic turn of events in every chapter.
Pages: 211 | ASIN: B07M8CYZJ3
If you are looking for a book about family, faith, and healing, T.P Graf’s Night Air Descending is right up your alley. It follows the life of Jaime Cruz, a young man who managed to find love and healing in a Texas family. Together with his partner Billy, and his adopted family Bill, Betsy, and Sallie, he forges a new existence, one of joy and peace. This is quite contrary to the life he had growing up – one of pain and loneliness. He sends out letters to members of his estranged family, hoping to reunite and guide them to healing as well. While only one family member bites, this is enough to inspire hope in Jamie and his chosen family.
Throughout this intelligent and evocative book we learn about Jamie’s view on love and the beautiful relationship he has with his adopted family. The themes of family, belonging, and love reverberate throughout the narrative. Using the perspective of Jamie to tell the story, the author draws us in and makes it more relatable and memorable. It also helps that most of the events in the book are everyday occurrences that the average person can relate to.
Moreover, the characters are well developed, each having his or her own personality and desires – some surprising and some not so much. The author’s writing style is light and easy to read – there isn’t any use of wordy long-winded paragraphs. This writing style is reflective of the story, in its ability to find beauty in everyday simplicity.
I enjoyed the story, and the dialogue, but because there was so much dialogue I felt that there were phrases that were repeated often: “I said”, “He said”, and “She said”. I would have enjoyed more descriptions of scenes and character state of minds from a narrative point of view to break things up and give the dialogue some direction.
This is a beautifully written book that has a grounded and authentic feel so much that it feels like we are reading someone diary; one filled with the daily hassles, family and ranch life. However, if you are looking for something easy to read and that seamlessly blends Christian faith, love, and family, Night Air Descending could be the book for you. This is a heartwarming book that possesses author T.P. Graf’s distinct literary aesthetic.
Pages: 222 | ASIN: B08R7PZ2FG
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A Change of Scenery follows a woman trying to reclaim her life by moving and finds a cowboy’s who challenges her in more ways than one. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
A Change of Scenery is Book 4 in The Canon City Chronicles series, and deals with the lives of twin little boys, Cale and Hugh Hutton, from Book 3, Romancing the Widow. In continuing the family saga, time passes until the boys are old enough to tell their story, which takes us to the silent-picture days of filming Westerns in Canon City, Colorado. Canon City was an early “Hollywood” before Hollywood, with actors such as Tom Mix filming many pictures here. Local ranchers and cowboys were often used as extras in the films.
Ella is an intriguing and well-developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character development?
Ella Canaday feels robbed of the two most important things in her life, but she refuses to remain in her prominent father’s home as an invalid. She sets out to make her own life, yet with no hopes of regaining her losses. However, when faced with the “impossible,” she does not shrink away from the risks and rises to the task — with common-sense encouragement from a local rancher, Cale Hutton.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
Important themes for this book are second changes, forgiveness, and courage.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am working on Book 5 in the series featuring Cale’s widowed brother Hugh. However, on June 1 Barbour Publishing is releasing a contemporary romance collection titled Always A Wedding Planner. My novella in the collection is “Taste and See.” And of course, my hero is a cowboy.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: A Change of Scenery, author, author interview, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, christian, christian fiction, christian romance, Davalynn Spencer, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, love story, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, story, western, writer, writing
Change of Scenery by Davalynn Spencer follows the life of Ella as she tries to reclaim her life by moving to Colorado. And while she has made peace with the fact that her love for riding and romance had been permanently taken away from her by a tragic accident, a chance meeting with Cale changes everything.
Throughout the story, we get insight into both Cale and Ella’s lives and the tragic events that have shaped who they are. Although the story is based in the 1900s, many of their problems are quite relatable, especially their grief.
The main themes of this emotionally-charged novel are; love, family, healing and second chances. And the author does a splendid job at bringing them to life. Davalynn Spencer brings us into Ella’s pain, making it relatable and easy to empathize with. We are also given details into the life of Cale’s grief-stricken brother, Hugh as he struggles to move on in the wake of his wife’s death.
Another important character is Hellen, a mother figure to both Cale and Hugh who takes up the care of the latter’s young children, eventually filling a big hole in their family. Ultimately, this story is as tender as it is personal. The plot is solid though somewhat predictable and the characters are well developed. The author has really excelled in bringing the 1900s to life, successfully building a narrative that combines both the age of horses and that of the automobile.
The one thing that I did not expect was how Cale behaves towards Ella – he pushes her to be better and not settle for less. Otherwise, most of the narrative tallies with what I expect from a western romance novel. The writing style used matches the typical style of historical fiction, perfect for fans of the genre looking to be immersed. When it comes to catering to historical romance audience, the author has truly excelled.
If you love elegant and heartfelt historical romances, filled with intriguing characters, and set in the western frontier, then Change of Scenery by Davalynn Spencer is the book for you. This was a western that was hard for me to put down, and stayed with me long after the last page.
Pages: 254 | ASIN: B08RWJBTWG
Tags: A Change of Scenery: The Canon City Chronicles, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, christian, christian fiction, christian romance, Davalynn Spencer, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, historical fiction, historical romance, kindle, kobo, literature, love story, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, story, western, writer, writing
Devyn’s Dilemma follows a young woman trying to escape her past and finds much more than a job at The Towers castle on Dark Island. How did the idea for this novel start and change as you wrote?
I took three trips to Singer Castle (The Towers) with the docent of the island. What a joy it was to envision Devyn walking and working there! Her story developed deeper with each trip to the island, and so did her backstory as her brother got meaner and meaner.
Devyn is a charming character that I loved following. What were some sources that informed her character development?
I love interweaving the real characters (the Bournes) and imaginary characters like Devyn and Brice, though sometimes it’s challenging. As Devyn’s relationship grows with the other characters, she developed quite naturally. But, I must admit, there were times when she decided to do something unusual and I had to question her motives. Smiles.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
Hope is a theme woven throughout all of my books because it’s so needed in this day and age. But with Devyn, I wanted her to journey through healing from family abuse and a low self-esteem—and she did.
This is book two in your Thousand Islands Gilded Age Series. What can readers expect in book three?
I’m writing chapter twenty at present, and it’s contracted to release Spring 2022. I must admit, I’m having a blast with this one.
It’s called Peyton’s Promise, and here’s the idea: It’s the summer of 1902. Peyton Quinn is tasked to prepare the grand Calumet Castle ballroom for a spectacular 200-guest summer gala. But when her pyrotechnics father becomes ill, she takes over the plans for the fireworks display despite being socially ostracized.
Patrick Quinn, Calumet’s carpenter and Peyton’s childhood chum, hopes to win her heart, but her unconventional undertakings cause a rift. Peyton must ignore prejudices and persevere, or she could lose her cool, lose Patrick’s love and respect, and forever become the talk of local gossip if she fails.
Susan G Mathis is an international award-winning, multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in upstate NY. Susan has been published more than twenty times in full-length novels, novellas, and non-fiction books.
Her first two books of The Thousand Islands Gilded Age series, Devyn’s Dilemma, and Katelyn’s Choice are available now, and book three, Peyton’s Promise, comes out Spring 2022. The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, Christmas Charity, and Sara’s Surprise, and her newest, Reagan’s Reward, are also available. Susan’s books have won numerous awards, including two Illumination Book Awards, the American Fiction Award, the Indie Excellence Book Award, and two Literary Titan Book Award. Reagan’s Reward is also a finalist in the Selah Awards. Visit http://www.SusanGMathis.com for more.
Susan is also a published author of two premarital books, two children’s picture books, stories in a dozen compilations, and hundreds of published articles. Susan makes her home in Colorado Springs and enjoys traveling around the world.
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Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, christian, christian fantasy, christian fiction, christian romance, Devyn's Dilemma, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, historical fantasy, historical fiction, historical romance, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, story, Susan G Mathis, writer, writing
Devyn is full of uncertainty regarding her summer job at The Towers. From her lack of confidence in the ability to perform her duties, to the fear that someone might learn her dreaded secret, to the constant views of the river she hates, everything about it makes her nervous. However, she was given no choice, and soon Devyn is surprised to find how comfortable she’s becoming in the huge house. Her employers are generous, loving people who show her what a family can be, and almost all the rest of the staff do all they can to help as the days pass- especially Brice, the handsome Irishman that Deyvn can’t help but imagine a future with!
In Devyn’s Dilema by Susan Mathis, Devyn comes to Dark Island, and the grand castle known as The Towers, scared and uncomfortable. Her life at home with an emotionally abusive mother has taught her that she has little to offer to anyone and is mostly incapable of the simplest tasks, but since someone needs to earn money for the family, Deyvn is sent off for the summer. The characters we meet throughout this heartfelt novel are all unbelievably close and loving. But the cast of characters are peppered with intriguing characters that break up the stereotypes; the rough around the edges love interest that is almost out of reach, the villainous staff member hellbent on destroying the main character’s happiness with no apparent motive, and the group of friends who seamlessly accept that character as one of their own without question. Mathis nonetheless makes them all engaging, but what she is most masterful at is making The Towers seem like a character of its own. As Devyn explores all its nooks and crannies and secrets of The Towers it becomes a character that is central to everything else. It is something that is simultaneously safe and terrifying, a physical embodiment of how Deyvn views life.
Devyn’s Dilema is a dramatic Christian romance story that is ultimately about shaking off the past and embracing the future. For years, Devyn has been shackled by the guilt of what occurred the day her father died and it has prevented her from enjoying anything in life. As she comes to realize that guilt, lies, and secrets only succeed in creating more pain, she finally begins to grow as a person, seeing for the first time that she might deserve the happiness and joy she has always denied herself. The message to not be so hard on yourself is one that many readers could use.
Although the image of The Towers will stay in your mind long after any of the human characters, it was still exciting to follow them through the summer and see each of them get what they might deserve, for better or worse! Devyn’s Dilema is a touching historical fiction novel that will leave you entertained and smiling.
Pages: 279 | ASIN: B0817GQXSJ
Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, christian fiction, christian romance, Devyn's Dilemma, ebook, fantasy, goodreads, historical fiction, historical romance, kindle, kobo, literature, love story, mystery, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, science fiction, story, Susan G Mathis, writer, writing
Almost Daddy follows one man’s emotional journey through life as he deals with the pain of almost being a daddy and living with the choices he made. What was the inspiration for the setup to this riveting novel?
The book is indeed a novel. But the beginning is informed by my own loss of fatherhood to abortion when I was in high school. Years later I went through a recovery process much like someone might seek grief counseling after the death of a child or miscarriage.
Through that healing process and sharing my testimony at dozens of places I realized that there are many people hurting in silence. So I came up with the idea for “Almost Daddy”. I wanted to use story to show some of the fallout that may come after an abortion. But I also wanted to show that healing was possible.
Ben is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some ideas you wanted to explore with his character?
Great question. Ben had to be likeable. He had to be someone we root for…someone we want to succeed. But he also had to be flawed. After the abortion, confusion and pain set in. His path changed. So there had to be this struggle. At the same time he was making bad decisions and bad choices his heart and who he was at his core needed to show too.
I guess the main thing was to illustrate we all have good and bad in us and that events in our lives can impact our behavior…especially when in response to pain or shame.
What were some of the themes that were important for you to include in your book?
The absolute most important theme is redemption. I wanted people to close the last page and know that healing and redemption are possible…no matter what. I know abortion is a touchy subject so it was incredibly important to stay out of the political end of it. So it had to be about healing and hope and redemption. And I truly hope that is something we can all agree on.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m working on two at the moment. One is a Recovery Guide that will act as a companion to “Almost Daddy.” That should be out by the end of Spring this year (2021). While working through that, which is way different than writing a novel, I am outlining Abby’s story. “Almost Daddy” explored Ben’s journey after the abortion but that’s only half the story. Abby went through some very different things and I feel like her story is important to tell as well.
Where it leads I don’t know yet. Just as with Ben, I outlined an entire book and about six chapters in Ben started telling me what was next. By the time I crossed the midway point in the first draft I was just writing what he was telling me. I’m sure Abby will do the same.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: abortion, Almost Daddy, author, author interview, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, christian fiction, contemporary fiction, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, gregory mayo, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, writer, writing
The prospect of Ben turning out highly successful in life looks like one any gambler would be foolish to bet against. Smart and resourceful, the high school senior in his final year also has high hopes for his future until he hits a major snag. He gets his girlfriend, who is two years his high school junior, pregnant. On her mother’s advice, they opt for an abortion. Both lovers’ young hearts cave under the pressure of their action, and they ultimately part ways. Ben is now a man secretly running from the intimidating shadows of guilt and shame. His frantic attempts to fill the gaping hole in his heart lead him down a dreary path of darkness, loneliness, and recklessness. No one understands why this once-promising young man is on a downward spiral, not even he does. But it all began after he almost became a daddy.
Almost Daddy by Gregory Mayo is a fictitious story centered on the trauma of losing a child to abortion. It’s a sensitive topic that has caused divisions in many quarters. Interestingly, Mayo doesn’t approach the issue from either standpoint we often see, the two extremes of right and wrong. He’s more concerned with pointing out the effect of the act on the people involved. To do this, he weaves a deeply touching tale.
The book takes us on a journey through the complexities of emotions and how unresolved issues can shape our lives. The prospect of dealing with the pain that comes from major negative experiences tends to chase us into the arms of escapism. We try to numb the pain or distract ourselves, but it’s buried deep somewhere, choking us ever so gently, till we begin to gasp for breath.
Mayo writes in simple, clear language but tells an intriguing story still. His work is yet another proof that great writing is not just about the words you use but how you use them. I was so caught up in the story that I felt I was reading a true story, maybe because the story felt authentic.
By making his characters come alive, Mayo ensures that you are emotionally invested in the story. I was steeply immersed in Ben’s life and followed his journey keenly. At a point, I wished I could have barged into his world and forced him to make the decision that would have changed his life. That’s was how badly I wanted to see him turn a positive corner!
I really liked the thought-provoking quotes at the start of every chapter. They are concise statements packed with profound insights relevant to the story. My favorite has to be the one from John Lennon, “one thing you can’t hide is when you’re crippled inside.”
If there was an award for “an impressively tactful novel on a controversial issue,” I would nominate this book. Almost Daddy is an heart-felt and emotional novel. If you enjoy fresh, fact-based opinions conveyed through immersive stories, you’ll love this book.
Pages: 251 | ASIN: B08LDFDGXY
Tags: abortion, Almost Daddy: The Forgotten Story, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, christian, christian fiction, contemporary fiction, ebook, family, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, gregory mayo, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, writer, writing