This Scarlet Cord: The Love Story of Rahab
Joan Wolf

This Scarlet Cord is a story telling the tale of Rahab, known as
a prostitute of Jericho. Joan Wolf has built her story based on the brief mention in the Old Testament giving her a more honorable life. As Rahab grows from girlhood to womanhood, she meets Sala, the boy then the man who will be her husband. Their religious differences are immense, yet their love is graced by God. 

Rahab is favored by the king and is summoned for use in a paganistic ritual. She is appalled by the thought, and turns to the Christian God for deliverance from this fate. That simple act, one so small yet so mighty, brings her to a place in Christian history that in very important. She is able to fulfill her love and destiny by then helping two of Joshua’s spies by letting down a scarlet cord. This cord tells the army which house is to be untouched. It saves her family from certain death.

An old tale for certain, but one told with such feeling and giving a dimension to the thoughts, hopes, and desires of the little-known woman that plays an important role to Christianity.

I give this book a 4.5 out of five stars.

DISCLAIMER: I received this book from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

DANCING NAKED IN DIXIE – WINNER of the WritersType First Chapter Competition, March 2012

Lauren Clark is a former TV anchor and journalist bringing her second novel, Dancing Naked in Dixie, to readers. This contemporary women’s fiction (dare I say chick lit?) is a cute novel in which her heroine undergoes every imaginable problem just to meet her own problems. 

Julia is a magazine travel writer living in fast-paced New York City.
She is accustomed to traveling the globe when her editor suddenly sends her to the whopping town of Eufala, Alabama. Yep, you heard it here folks. Paris and Rome have fallen to the Deep South. Oh wait! Did I tell you who her editor is? I think you should find out on your own (yes, I’m laughing slightly wickedly).

Upon her arrival, the problems begin. Who would think travel to a
southern town would be so problematic? Well, Julia found out. She gets to experience a unique B&B, sweet tea (if you don’t drink it, you really don’t understand the requirement for the South). She meets a few colorful characters during her trip, and finds out about herself as

Dancing Naked in Dixie is a read that you won’t want to miss.  Enjoyment, light-hearted humor, and a little self-discovery on the way leads to a great read.

I give this a 5 of 5, and add a “Please write more”plea to Lauren Clark :)

DISCLAIMER:  I purchased this book with my own funds.

Todd Brabander  is a man of many talents. He is a
musician, an artist, and an author. He has written a couple of other titles, but his book Hammerhead caught my attention. As a novella, it is a quick and very easy read . . . and oddly compelling.

 Step into the head of a serial killer. It really isn’t very gory, honestly! It began honestly enough, then got a little more important as time went on. But, he doesn’t kill for the sake of killing, nor for the art of killing. He has reasons, very logical reasons. His reasoning is the same as yours and mine, he just takes it further than most would. We’ve all (or almost all) thought, “I’d love to kill that jerk because s/he _______ (fill in the blank).” But, we haven’t. We probably don’t even think about how to commit the act.

But with Hammerhead we get to step into the mind of a calm, cool thinker, and actually LIKE the guy! I mean, you know what he’s going to do, but you almost find yourself cheering him on! 
This is a 5 out of 5. It is well-written, well thought out, well executed (pardon the pun). I look forward to more of Mr. Brabander’s renderings!

DISCLAIMER:  I received this book as part of Library Thing’s Member Giveaway program without expectation of a review.

Charlene Ann Baumbich is an inspirational author with over 20
years’ experience in writing and speaking. She uses humor to make points and inspiration to touch her reader. Here is my view of her Finding Our Way Home novel.

 The first couple of pages grabbed my attention and empathy for this woman who was obviously injured. The injuries were not only physical, but spiritual. Sasha Davis was a premier ballerina who had been injured while she was dancing. The injury was permanent to her career. Moving back to her childhood home, she realizes she must have help, live-in help. She hires Evelyn Burt, her polar opposite.

Evelyn Burt is large, where Sasha is small. She is capable of, it seems, anything and everything, unlike Sasha. Evelyn enjoys life, even when facing her own personal problems. She happily moves in with Sasha when her parents are opposed to her fiancé, giving them all space to breathe. She takes something broken, such as the fry pan, and turns it into a thing of beauty and life. 

The relationship between these two women, and the path to their own individual needs and happiness, is ridden with sadness, discovery, happiness, enlightenment, and a spiritual healing that gave this reader a sense of well-being. These two unlikely companions find a place where they can find the grace they’re seeking. That path, however, is not always an easy path.

I give this a 5 of 5 stars, and look forward to the next book by Charlene Ann Baumbich.

DISCLAIMER:   I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for an honest review.

Ami Blackwelder, indie author, brings a Young Adult paranormal tale of suspense, intrigue and a little love to Millennium High School.

The first few pages of the book bring sadness as the class looks out the window as Tommy commits suicide. Imagine how horrified those kids are! Ali (Allison) convinces her friends that something’s not right about it. So, they investigate and find just enough to bring more trouble to Ali’s world. Blackwelder handles the situation without an overly dreadful air, yet it doesn’t ignore the suspense and danger that’s coming.

Dameon is tall, dark, and handsome, a combination Ali can’t ignore. Suddenly he’s paying attention to her and they become an item. Her friends become jealous since her attention is diverted from them, a very  similar situation that occurs in high schools across the nation. But how does Dameon really feel? Does he love her like she hopes? 
Three new students start at the school, but who are they? Ali’s friends are spending time with them. Ali likes them too, but Kian tries to get in the way of her relationship with Dameon. Oh what a tangled web. 
Ali’s brother is a cop, investigating the suicide. He lives at home with Ali and their mom. He doesn’t figure prominently, just enough to know their relationship is a typical brother-sister relationship and that he wants to keep her protected, as any older brother would, especially in a family without a dad.

 As the paranormal reveals itself, the gang is taken into a world where anything can happen. Things we see today in our lives might, just might, be something else entirely. Read She Speaks with Angels to find out!

Blackwelder left me wanting more! But . . . oh look, the end of the book says there will be a sequel, whew!

 I’ll give this a 4 of 5. It’s a good read and holds attention (obviously, I wasn’t ready for it to end). 
DISCLAIMER: I received this book from Library Thing in a Member Giveaway.

Douglas E. Richards, author with a master’s in molecular biology, has given us the thrill of a lifetime in his book, Wired. This thriller brings scientific entanglements for the characters that keep the reader on the edge of his (or at least, my!) seat. Richards’ talent with twisting plots and keeping his science to a level that anyone can follow (without seeming to talk to us non-scientific types as idiots) left me in awe at the never-ending possibilities of his scenes.

Kira Miller is a brilliant genetic engineer that discovers a temporary solution to tapping the unknown regions of our brains. There are folks out there who want that tapped for their own ends, putting her in danger. In comes David Desh, former special forces operative, to save the day. His job is to corral this woman who seemingly has psychotic tendencies because people around her have been dying her whole life. But wait! There’s more! 
It’s not as easy as you’d think to capture this super brain woman, Desh has to use every possible method and source at his disposal, which is considerable. When they do meet . . . well, I’ll let you figure that out when you read the book.

I will say, I’m normally able to figure out who did it about halfway through the book. This time, however, it took me until almost the end, which is saying something indeed!  About 1/3 of the way through, I thought I had it, then BOING! I got a twist to the plot. I figured it out again, or so I thought, about ½ way through. Well, the author obviously likes to play with my mind because BOING! Another twist! Let’s say he knows how to hold his reader’s attention throughout. 
Warning: Don’t read this book at night if you have to get up the next morning, or you’ll miss the alarm clock because you stayed up too late reading.

And just to keep us in his evil plot to make us want to know more, what did he do next? He wrote a sequel! Oh man! Now I have another book to read!

I give this a resounding 5 of 5 wows!

DISCLAIMER: I received this book from LibraryThing Member Giveaway in return for an honest review.

Al Lacy has been writing books for a number of years.  He did not shirk his duty in grabbing his readers on this one. Beloved Enemy is the first in his Battles of Destiny / Bull Run series. It opens with Lincoln going to Washington to take office. Young Jenny Jordan, daughter of a Union colonel begins work in the White House as a receptionist in Lincoln’s administration. Her father is on the Military Council to prepare for war against the South. Ironically, the Jordans are originally from Virginia, yet chose to stay in the Union army. Their hearts, however, stay with Virginia soil. Jenny falls in love with a daring, dashing Buck Brownell of the Zouave military units of the North. This is the beginning of the intrigue this book brings.

      As the approach of war draws near, Jenny becomes more enchanted with Buck, her father determines that he will begin a Confederate spy ring. He presses Jenny into service, albeit reluctantly. The punishment for traitors in wartime is execution by firing squad. Jenny is reluctant, partly because of the punishment, but also because she fears for her father’s life, and for the life of the man she loves. She knows this is a dangerous game they are playing. She is able to successfully avoid carrying messages for a long time.  You can only know what happens when you read the story!

      Lacy treated the historical facts well, and allowed his characters to interact with real historical figures in a believable manner. He brings actual Confederate spies into the story, along with their real roles. The action, the intrigue, the love, the hope, and the fear are very real when allowing yourself to immerse into the wonderful tome brought forward by Mr. Lacy. America’s streets and homes were filled with the Civil War, whether one was actively involved or not. This book brings that war to your home as well.

      Lacy’s treatment to both the North and the South is respectful, yet factual. This book gets a 5 out of 5 stars from me. 

DISCLAIMER: I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Jason Heller is a pop-culture journalist who has made contributions to dozens of publications. His debut novel, Taft 2012, is a speculative novel primed to coincide with the 2012 elections. What if William  Howard Taft, after a deep Rip van Winkle type sleep, awoke in time to consider  running for president, 100 years after his own presidency?

Taft, far from today’s presidential hopefuls, never wanted to be president. He was encouraged by Theodore Roosevelt, and finally accepted the nomination. His presidency was not what Roosevelt envisioned for someone he sponsored. Instead, Taft made decisions based on what he felt was good, rather than what was good for the party or progressives. This caused Roosevelt to turn away his support leading to Taft’s defeat.

Taft 2012 Brings William Howard Taft to a time of fast-moving cars, people, and electronics. He’s thrust into a new world with a wonder at all the changes, and a huge feeling of loss for those left behind. His introduction to 2012 is a bullet wound by secret service after he mysteriously appears. After he’s recovered, that same secret service agent is appointed to helping him and a friendship develops.

He’s introduced to his relatives, one is in government, and introduced to the new world he will face. As Taft finds out bars and women are legal and frequented by many he discovers a loss of the feeling of love for the one he left behind. He’s invited to run for president by independents and, eventually, accepts the nomination.

Taft will make good discoveries and not-so-good discoveries in his quest for a new presidency in a new world. The fly in the ointment will tell the tale. Does he go on to the primaries? You’ll have to read and see how he adjusts to this new world. Taft might just surprise you. 

I give Taft 2012 a 4 out of 5, just because it did drag in a couple of places (but not horribly!). 

Ann Gabhart is a writer of inspirational novels. She doesn’t sugar coat, nor is she “in your face,” with situations her characters experience. She was born and raised in the Outer Bluegrass region of Kentucky, so grew up on a farm. She has been writing since she was just 10 years old. She first published a historical romance in 1978 and continues to give us fodder for our eyes, spirits, and hearts.

Angel Sister is a touching novel set between World War I and World War II. The depression era brings Lorena Birdsong to a poor family where she adopts Kate as her Sister Angel. The family isn’t one that is stable, except in its love. They are poor, dad is an functioning alcoholic, Kate has two sisters (one older, one younger), and mom loves them all. They survive by growing their own vegetables, milking a cow, and running a tab at the general store which happens to be owned and run by Kate’s paternal grandfather.

Speaking of grandfathers, the family is blessed with two, yet neither are loving. Grandfather Merritt is stiff, stern, and unbending in his disappointment of Victor (Kate’s father). He has a heart bent on self-destruction and if it destroys Victor in the process, so much the better. Grandfather Reece is a strict Southern Baptist pastor. He is determined that Kate is belligerent and going to the devil. Together, although the two grandfathers can barely stand each other, they work to remove Lorena from Kate’s home.

Lorena is 5 years old and sees Kate as her angel. The one person that God sent to save her from being lonely and starving after her parents left her at the pastor’s front steps because they were unable to care for her during this horrible depression. Kate was swept away by the love and trust that Lorena gave and was determined to save and keep her until her natural parents could return.

In the meantime, grandfathers are trying to take Lorena away, there are emotional upheavals for the family with man-made problems. They re-find their faith and it grows stronger as this little family work so hard with the help of Aunt Hattie to find their way.

As a plus, Ms. Gabhart is working on a sequel to this novel so that her readers can find out what happens to Rosey Corner after Sister Angel ends.

I give this a 5 of 5 stars. The book is interesting, entertaining, and you fall in love with her very real characters, warts and all.

Amy Clipston has written several Amish-themed novels. Her books are Christian
novels, some even include Amish recipes. As a best-selling author, Clipston
writes Young Adult inspirational fiction and Adult inspirational fiction. From
what I’ve read so far, you don’t want to miss any of them.

Reckless Heart is a novel about a 16-year-old Amish girl faced with
challenges that would give many girls pause. Her youngest sister, Ruth, is sickly, then the family finds out it’s leukemia. Leukemia is a daunting disease for the well-insured, for an Amish family it brings extra challenges on the financial side.

As a responsible Amish youth, Lydia takes the added burden of caring for her younger siblings while her mother and Ruthie are battling leukemia. Lydia also works two part-time jobs, as a teacher’s assistant and in the family bakery. She faces challenges of feeling left out as her friends go to the sing-alongs here the bloom of first love begins in the Amish community. She finds out the boy she likes may be seeing another girl, that her friends are having fun, and then meets a new neighbor family, Englishers.

The community interferes with her English friendship, possibly mainly because that family has a young boy the likes Lydia, although he knows and she knows they’re friends and each like someone in their own communities, those not involved in the friendship see danger of outside influences (without merit, I might add). Lydia gives the money she earns to help her family in its time of need, feels the call of two possible professions (until she becomes a wife anyway) between teaching and the bakery. She has normal teenage angst of wanting to be with friends, while needing to stay home and help. Lydia lashes out, mildly according to worldly standards, but it’s rather large according to a secluded community, about her need to be with friends. Her father responds that she’s disrespectful and punishes her.

All through the book I found myself alternately rooting for Lydia, being angry at dad, and hoping for Ruthie. While some of these issues are the same issues all teens face, some are bigger than some teens face and some are smaller than some teens face, I can see how it can be confusing for a teenager. Her responsibilities increase as she shows she’s capable of dealing with them until she feels overwhelmed.

I won’t go further without disclosing the ending. Lydia shows us that, no matter what your background is, there are problems to deal with, some large, some small, and some are simply misunderstandings. No one is exempt. This is a fun read and I’ll give it a 4 out of 5 stars.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.