No Turning Back by Katie Vorreiter Review and Giveaway

No-Turning-Back-FB-Banner-1

About the Book

Book: No Turning Back

Author: Katie Vorreiter

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release Date: December, 2016

No Turning BackChronic panic attacks have stolen Livvy Fischer’s classically trained soprano voice and derailed her life. Due partly to a mix-up, partly to her crush on Pastor Lucas, Livvy joins a worship team bound for the chapel at San Quentin. But when a full-scale riot breaks out, she is separated from Lucas and the rest of her group. Survival becomes this song bird’s sole focus.

Snatched from the chapel by an inmate, Livvy doesn’t know who to trust. Tobin says he’s protecting her, but she’s been blindsided before. She struggles to put her trust in God, while all too aware that free will can wreak horrible consequences. Tobin wants her to hide and ride out the prison storm, but Livvy becomes the obsession of another inmate who is a serial killer. Will God protect her? Will Tobin?

It’s one thing if Tobin is turning his life around behind bars. It’s quite another to fall for him.

 

Click here to grab your copy.

My Thoughts

This book explores what would happen if a civilian got caught up in the middle of a prison riot. The reader follows Livvie as she works to survive as one of the only women in a group of hardened criminals at San Quentin.

This story is full of heart-pounding suspense and some unexpected twists and turns. Along the way, you get to know the characters very well and the emotions run high for them. I enjoyed the break kneck speed at which the story flowed and truly felt as if I was in the middle of the dangerous prison.

The romance in the story surprised me in how much I liked it. I was a bit annoyed at times with Livvie because she tended to make some very foolish and dangerous decisions.

The faith content in the book is strong and I really appreciated the themes of forgiveness and redemption that flowed throughout the story.

Overall, this was a very thrilling and worthwhile read. Highly recommended.

I received this book from the author/publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

About the Author

Katie VorreiterKatie Vorreiter is an award-winning writer and copyeditor. She makes her home in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two children rapidly morphing into young adults, and a ridiculously adorable cockapoo. No Turning Back is her debut novel.

 

More from Katie

I’m often asked where on earth I came up with the premise of No Turning Back. My good friend and pastor had me spellbound with his stories of taking softball teams into San Quentin, the maximum security prison for men. What a ministry! He had a few funny tales, but what stood out to me were the cautions the team was given upon entry: they had to sign a form acknowledging that in the event they were taken hostage, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation would not negotiate for their release.

Say what?

That got me thinking about what it would be like for a woman in such a situation. There are female corrections officers, certainly, as well as woman food service workers and volunteers in a range of capacities. But I wanted a true fish-out-of-water character, and thus Livvy was born. Because of a terrible event in her past, she’s hypervigilant about her personal security. She’s also tiny and, of all things, an opera soprano.

Once I had my Livvy, I threw her into a full-scale riot at a men’s correctional facility. Poor thing. But, of course, she’s got God on her side, and he tends to tip the scales. Yet, as all Christ followers are aware, prayer, even unto the God of the universe, is not a get-out-of-jail-free card. Pun intended. We know—all too painfully sometimes—that Jesus was right when he said we’ll have troubles here on earth. God is with us through the storm and works all things together for good, but there’s no guarantee that he’ll remove the storm and it’s often hard to see the good when we’re in the middle of not-so-good.

What role, then, does prayer have in the face of the free will of a person intent on evil? If you want to know the answer, read the book. Just kidding. The story is a fast, fun ride and delves into some deep areas, but I don’t pretend to answer the questions of the ages. If you like chewing on these kinds of issues—on your own or with friends­—check out the No Turning Back discussion questions on my website.

Don’t worry: the story isn’t all dark. In most situations, I can’t stay serious for long, so you’ll find some humor, as well as not one but two hunky romantic options. I really hope you like it. If you want to chat, drop me a note on Facebook or on my website.

Blog Stops

For Him and My Family, October 5

Betti Mace, October 5

Remembrancy, October 6

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, October 6

Through the Fire Blogs, October 7

Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections, October 7

Quiet Workings, October 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 9

Just the Write Escape, October 10

Sara Jane Jacobs, October 10

Blogging With Carol , October 11

Emily Yager, October 11

Godly Book Reviews, October 12

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, October 12

amandainpa, October 13

Bigreadersite, October 13

Pause for Tales, October 14

For The Love of Books , October 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 15

Older & Smarter?, October 16

Texas Book-aholic, October 17

janicesbookreviews, October 17

A Reader’s Brain, October 18

Inklings and notions , October 18

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Katie is giving away the grand prize of a $40 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/eb99/no-turning-back-celebration-tour-giveaway

Synapse by Steven James Review

Synapse-FB-banner

About the Book

Book: Synapse

Author: Steven James

Genre: Thriller, Sci-Fi

Release Date: October 8, 2019

cover SynapseThirty years in the future, when AI is so advanced that humans live side by side with cognizant robots called Artificials, Kestrel Hathaway must come to terms not just with what machines know, but what they believe. Is hope real for them, or merely an illusion?

Soon after experiencing a personal tragedy, Kestrel witnesses a terrorist attack and is drawn into a world of conspiracies and lies that she and Jordan, her Artificial, have to untangle. With a second, more brutal attack looming on the horizon, their best chance of stopping it is teaming up with federal counterterrorism agent Nick Vernon.

But the clock is ticking—and all the while, Jordan is asking questions that Artificials were never meant to ask.

Deftly weaving suspense and intrigue into a rich, resonant tale that explores faith and what it really means to be human, Steven James offers us a glimpse into the future and into our own hearts.

Synapse is an unforgettable, gripping story of dreams shattered, truth revealed, and hope reborn.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

My Thoughts

I’ve read one other book by Steven James (The Pawn) and I was extremely impressed by his writing and storytelling abilities. Synapse was a suspenseful thrill ride that kept me on the edge of my seat with every page.

The story takes place 30 years in the future and features a world not too different from the one we live in now but technology is much more prevalent (self driving cars and AI technology). The increase of  AI technology introduces a lot of varying feelings by people and the country becomes divided.

The reader is introduced to a “robot” named Jordan, who is very “human-like”. The author raises a lot of thought provoking questions about Heaven and souls and free will.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story and devoured it in a few days (which is rare for me). Steven James is an underrated author, in my opinion. I feel like more people need to pick up his books, they are definitely worth the read!

I received this book from the publisher/author to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

About the Author

stevenjamesSteven James is the critically acclaimed, national bestselling author of sixteen novels. His work has been optioned by ABC Studios and praised by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, the New York Journal of Books, and many others. His pulse-pounding, award-winning thrillers are known for their intricate storylines and insightful explorations of good and evil.  When he’s not working on his next book, he’s either teaching master classes on writing throughout the country, trail running, or sneaking off to catch a matinee.

 

More from Steven

“James is a pro at creating suspense.”

Criminal Element

 

“stimulating tale…thrilling story of greed and corruption”

Publishers Weekly STARRED review

 

Read my op-ed on robots and faith in the New York Times

 

I grew up reading and loving science fiction stories. I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of artificial intelligence, but as I’ve thought about it over the years, I’ve realized that our lives are not based just on what we know, but also what we believe. So, I started asking myself, “What would the world look like if machines developed artificial belief?” Within a few decades, advanced AIs might very well have consciousness and self-awareness. At that point, what will they choose to believe about the meaning of live, God, and the afterlife?

All of these questions were in my mind as I wrote Synapse, a story that takes place 30 years from now in a world very much like our own. This is a cautionary tale with implications that are both chilling and revealing and I think that if you like suspense, you’ll love this near-future thriller.

Steven

Learn more at stevenjames.net

Facebook and Twitter: @readstevenjames

Buy the book: https://www.tnzfiction.com/synapse-a-novel/

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 8

Just Your Average reviews, October 9

Emily Yager, October 9

amandainpa , October 10

Wishful Endings, October 10

Just the Write Escape, October 11

Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections, October 11

Pause for Tales, October 12

Mary Hake, October 12

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 13

For The Love of Books, October 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 14

Hallie Reads, October 15

Blogging With Carol, October 15

Remembrancy, October 16

Through the Fire Blogs, October 16

Simple Harvest Reads, October 17

Texas Book-aholic, October 18

Rebekah Jones, Author, October 18

janicesbookreviews, October 19

Bigreadersite, October 19

A Reader’s Brain, October 20

Inklings and notions , October 21

By The Book, October 21

Unscripted by Davis Bunn Review

un

Synopsis

Young line producer Danny Byrd is well-known in Hollywood for being someone who gets things done on time and under budget. But when his reputation takes a beating after his partner–and former best friend–makes off with their investors’ money, Danny has but one chance to redeem himself and restore his ruined career.

LA lawyer Megan Pierce has sacrificed years of her life proving herself to her impossible bosses only to find herself disgusted at their snobbery and their specious business practices. When an opportunity to actually make a difference comes her way, she knows she has to grab it–even though she’s not entirely clear what “it” is.

Danny and Megan are each other’s best hope for redemption. What they never could have imagined was that they might also be each other’s best hope for love.

Bestselling and award-winning author Davis Bunn takes you into the beating heart of Hollywood with two characters determined to thrive in a cutthroat business.

My Thoughts

I was intrigued by the synopsis of this story as I’m curious how movies are made. Unfortunately, this one missed the mark for me. The plot is a bit muddy and convoluted and the scenes that deal with “movie making” were less than exciting.

The characters were pretty basic and I didn’t find anything about them that made them stand out or be memorable. I did enjoy the setting of the story.

Overall, this book was not very interesting to me and I found it kind of boring. Not one that I would revisit.

My Rating

2 stars

I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Lies Girls Believe & The Truth That Sets Them Free by Dannah Gresh Review

LiesGirlsBelieve_COV.indd

Description

You can’t change the world, but you can prepare her for it.

Today’s girls face a number of challenges we never dealt with at their age. From skyrocketing anxiety rates to bullying on social media, the Enemy’s lies are everywhere. How do you help the girl you love walk in freedom?

Equip her with Truth. Dannah Gresh, author of Secret Keeper Girl and Lies Young Women Believe (coauthored with Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth) brings you Lies Girls Believe. This fun, easy-to-read book engages your daughter in the twenty most important truths she needs. She’ll help solve problems using fun sidebars and it’s packed with wisdom, quizzes, games, exploded quotes, and graphics to help her absorb the message. Prepare your daughter for the difficult challenges she’ll face in the world today with sections addressing:

Lies about God
Lies about Friendship
Lies about the Future
Lies about Myself
Lies about Boys

And more! 

Lies Girls Believe is designed to help your daughter fully understand the Truth so she can live the way God meant for her to live—free!

For the best results, use the accompanying Mom’s Guide to Lies Girls Believe which invites you to critically examine the lies girls believe and discover how to set your daughter free. It also helps facilitate discussion between you and your daughter.

My Thoughts

Being a pre-teen/young teenage girl is tough at any time but in this age of social media it’s probably the hardest time in history to deal with changing hormones, emotions, and bodies.

This book discusses 20 lies that the world tells these young ladies and counteracts them with truths from the one thing that never changes, The Word of God. Lies like, “Pretty girls are worth more” and, “Boys and girls really aren’t that different”. Timely and very “tween/young teen friendly”, this book is definitely a great tool to help young ladies as they navigate through these extremely difficult years.

The book is very visually pleasing…full of colorful illustrations and text, it is very fun to look through. The book does not require a lot of writing but it does have some questions in each chapter where the young lady writes her answers. (This book would make a wonderful group study for young ladies).

My 13 year old daughter perused the book and said that she loved the format and cannot wait to read it. She was especially excited to see that Sadie Robertson had contributed a quote on one of the pages (she loves Sadie).

Overall, this is a great resource for young ladies that tackles many difficult topics that they will encounter. I highly recommend it!

My Rating

1280px-5_stars.svg

I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Girl behind the Red Rope by Ted and Rachelle Dekker Review

gbr

Synopsis:

Ten years ago, Grace saw something that would forever change the course of history. When evil in its purest form is unleashed on the world, she and others from their religious community are already hidden deep in the hills of Tennessee, abiding by every rule that will keep them safe, pure–and alive. As long as they stay there, behind the red perimeter.

Her older brother’s questions and the arrival of the first outsiders she’s seen in a decade set in motion events that will question everything Grace has built her life on. Enemies rise on all sides–but who is the real enemy? And what will it cost her to uncover the truth?

For the first time, bestselling authors Ted Dekker and Rachelle Dekker team up and deliver an intense, tightly focused ride through the most treacherous world of all.

My thoughts:

In a lot of ways, this story reminded me of the film, The VIllage, which was a movie that I loved. A group of people living off the grid to avoid the terrifying Furies that are lurking outside the red rope that circles the perimeter of the compound.

I enjoyed the story but for some reason I had a difficult time connecting with the characters. I’ve found that fictional stories about spiritual warfare can be difficult to pull off. I didn’t find this one to be well done. I loved the atmospheric quality to the story but the plot was somewhat lacking.

Overall, this was a book that I was not bored by but I wasn’t a huge fan of it.

I received this book from the publisher to read and review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

My Rating:

2.5 stars

Hagar: Rediscovering the God who sees me by Shadia Hrichi Review and Giveaway

hg

About the Book

Book: Hagar

Author: Shadia Hrichi

Genre: Religion / Bible Study

Release Date: October 10, 2017

Hagar-3D-no-shadow-for-webYou are ”The God Who Sees Me.”

Discover a close relationship with God–no matter the pain or suffering in your life. Witness the depths of God’s compassion through the eyes of Hagar, a runaway slave who meets the living God in a desert of despair, where she gives Him the name El Roi, ”The God Who Sees Me.”

Through this seven week study, you will find that when you surrender your life into God’s hands, your trials and triumphs serve a magnificent purpose: to draw you into the arms of the faithful God Who Sees Me.

”Deep and packed with surprising insights!” Francine Rivers

 

Click here to grab your copy.

 

Click here to download a free sample, explore Shadia’s video teaching sessions, or sign up for the online Bible study.

My Thoughts

I’ve always felt a lot of sadness for Hagar…she was used, abused, and thrown out by the people in her life…but God still looked down on her with love. I was very excited when I found out that there was a Bible study focusing on this lonely woman in the Bible.

The study is 7 weeks long, with 5 days of study per week. Each day took me about 45 minutes to complete. The study goes deep into scripture and causes the person who is studying to really ponder and think about many different things along the way.  Each day starts with a reading by the author, followed by a time of reflection, called “Pause to Ponder”. Then it is time to dig into scripture, with many questions to answer. There is plenty of space in the margins to write answers to questions.
Some of the questions are very straight forward and easy to answer, while others are thought provoking and cause you to look into your life and reflect on your life and experiences.

The content of the study was excellent. I loved the lessons that I learned and the time that I spent with God. I highly recommend this in depth study!

I received this book from the author/publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

About the Author

shadiaSHADIA HRICHI is a passionate Bible teacher, author, and speaker who has a heart for seeing lives transformed by the power of God’s Word. She has received a master’s in biblical and theological studies from Western Seminary as well as master’s in criminal justice from the State University of New York. Shadia is the author of several Bible studies, including HAGAR,Worthy of Love, and her latest study, LEGION, comes out in October. Shadia is often invited to speak at churches, conferences, and other events. Her insightful, witty, yet vulnerable teaching style reveals a compassion for the hurting, love for Jesus, and uncompromising commitment to the truth of God’s Word. Visit shadiahrichi.com

 

More from Shadia

Am I known? Am I loved? Am I home?

Every human heart is searching for the answers to these questions. Yet when pain and heartache enter our lives, we feel betrayed and cry out one question: God, do You see me?

The answer is yes. He is Behind the Seen.

Because we live in a fallen world, each of us will inevitably face hard times, even painful ones. Who among us has never seen or felt the fallout of broken homes, broken lives, or broken dreams? Hagar is a great example of someone who discovered God during a difficult time.

Maybe you have never heard of her. Or perhaps you came across her name in a study of the book of Genesis. But how much do you really know about this young slave girl? We often relegate her to the backstage as a minor character in God’s redemptive story. But was she?

As I explored Hagar’s story for another book I wanted to write, God continually amazed me as we journeyed together from the affluence of Egypt, into a life of slavery, to a desert of despair. It seemed the more I studied her life, the more I discovered about God. What began as a chapter evolved into a study all its own.

Two years and several thousand hours of study and prayer later, HAGAR: Rediscovering the God Who Sees Me came to be. Consider this book as your backstage pass to the life of Hagar.

I have never actually gone backstage during a live event, but I know that much more goes on behind the scenes than meets the eye. I invite you to come backstage with me and explore how God was involved in every detail of Hagar’s life. Her story has all the ingredients of a Hollywood tragedy: betrayal, loss, abuse, crisis pregnancy, abandonment . . . any of that sound painfully familiar?

Thankfully, Hagar’s story does not end in despair. God was working Behind the Seen—just as He has in your life and mine—all along. As a matter of fact, Hagar emerges victorious!

Hagar: an unsung hero if there ever was one.

Beloved, is the enemy using anything in your past to try to derail you from God’s plan, or hold you back from experiencing God’s joy to the fullest? Be assured, that is not how your story will end. Just as God did for Hagar, when He enters your story, victory is already assured.

So strap on your sandals and a grab a bottle of water. We’re heading into the desert. A place where we will rediscover the God Who Sees Me.

“The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.”
—Isaiah 9:2

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 7

Books, Books, and Books., September 7

Inklings and notions , September 8

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, September 8

amandainpa , September 9

Emily Yager, September 9

A Reader’s Brain, September 10

Lights in a Dark World, September 10

Inspired by fiction, September 11

Genesis 5020, September 11

Robin’s Nest, September 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 12

Quiet Workings, September 12

Through the Lens of Scripture, September 13

Mary Hake, September 13

Godly Book Reviews, September 14

Rev. Rebecca Writes: Read, Write, Pray, September 14

Moments, September 15

Retrospective Spines, September 16

Batya’s Bits, September 16

Pause for Tales, September 17

CarpeDiem, September 17

Aryn the Libraryan ?, September 18

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 18

For The Love of Books, September 19

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 19

Texas Book-aholic, September 20

janicesbookreviews, September 20

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Shadia is giving away to TWO winners 1 book of Hagar, 1 book of Legion and a $50 gift certificate for leafwoodpublishers.com!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/eb32/hagar-celebration-tour-giveaway

Meet the Misfits and Odd Girl Out by Melody Carlson Review and Giveaway

mm

About the Book

Book: Zoey:  Meet the Misfits & Zoey: Odd Girl Out

Author: Melody Carlson

Genre: Middle grade fiction for girls

Release Date: April 15/ August 15, 2019

Meet the Misfits and Odd Girl Out coverZoey’s pretty sure her life is over when her wannaba-rockstar mother uproots her from from their home in Seattle and deposits her in Nowheresville, Oregon to live with her whackadoodle grandparents. Things start to look up, though, when she reconnects with Louisa, the girl from across the street. Maybe, just maybe, Louisa won’t mind that Zoey’s always been a bit of a misfit. Louisa’s ex-BFF, however, doesn’t seem too happy to welcome Zoey to the neighborhood. And when they all end up at church camp together, it’s not just a matter of whether or not Zoey can fit in…it becomes a firsthand lesson in what it really means to “love your enemy.”

When the school year begins, Zoey’s terrified to go without Louisa—who’s out with a nasty flu. The same enemies she made over the summer are there to haunt her, but she and another new girl stick together…and even seem to find a place among the in-crowd. But is this who Zoey wants to be? Are they really her friends? Who’s going to stick beside her when cyber bullying leaves her as the odd girl out?

 

Click here to grab your copy.

My thoughts

These books took me back to my pre-teen years…those moments of insecurity, awkwardness, and longing for acceptance. Both stories focus on a girl named Zoey, who just moved in with her grandparents after her mom decided to pursue her dreams of becoming a rockstar. Zoey encounters bullies and peer pressure and also comes to know Jesus.

I really enjoyed these books as an adult and know that I would also have loved them as a child. Zoey was very relateable…she was reserved and didn’t like to stand out. She also struggled to fit in. The first book, “Meet the Misfits”, focuses on the summer before 6th grade and Zoey’s adjustment to living with her grandparents. She also goes to church camp, which was a lot of fun to read about…I have many memories (good and bad) about church camp…I can attest to the fact that mean girls go to church camp too. The second book, “Odd Girl Out” revolves around Zoey’s 6th grade year…her friend is sick and she makes a new friend that wants to be part of the popular crowd.

These stories contain themes that are great for middle school girls, many lessons can be learned and the faith content is subtle but powerful.

I highly recommend these books to the middle school aged girl in your life, I’m sure she will love them!

I received this book from the publisher/author to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

About the Author

Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books for teens, women, and children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller.” Her young adult novels appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She’s won a number of awards (including RT’s Career Achievement Award, the Rita and the Gold Medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog.

 

More from Melody

Being a tween these days is more complicated than ever. With our culture’s fast pace, social networking, peer pressure . . . growing up is hard to do. So I wanted to create a relatable character with some tough challenges. And Zoey Petrizzo definitely gets more than her fair share. About to start middle-school, Zoey is forced to relocate her life with her less than conventional grandparents. And it’s not easy! My hope is that readers will either relate to Zoey, or develop more empathy for ‘misfit’ kids like her.

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, August 29

Blogging With Carol, August 29

Andrea Christenson, August 30

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, August 30

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, August 31

Christian Bookaholic , August 31

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, September 1

Remembrancy, September 1

Older & Smarter?, September 2

Artistic Nobody, September 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 3

Back Porch Reads , September 3

Through the Fire Blogs, September 4

Just the Write Escape, September 5

amandainpa , September 5

A Reader’s Brain, September 6

Patiently Waiting, September 6

Godly Book Reviews, September 7

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 7

Texas Book-aholic, September 8

For the Love of Books , September 8

Reader’s Cozy Corner, September 9

Vicky Sluiter, September 9

Hallie Reads, September 10

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 10

janicesbookreviews, September 11

Inklings and notions , September 11

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Melody is giving away a grand prize package of Meet the Misfits and Odd Girl Out, Sketching Pencils, and a Sketchbook!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e809/meet-the-misfits-odd-girl-out-celebration-tour-giveaway