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The Tears of Dark Water ~ Review

The Tears of Dark Water
By Corban Addison

Each choice we make throughout our life is like a pebble tossed into a pond.  The ripples spread out touching and crossing the choices others have made, but how these choices merge is unpredictable.

Three different families are about to discover how the choices they've made throughout their lives are about to forever alter their lives.  In each the decision to take one course rather than another sets them on a path that leads to both tragedy and hope.

In an attempt to help save his son, Quentin from the self-destructive path he finds himself on Daniel Parker has embarked on a sailing trip that will take them around the world.  But an unplanned encounter with Somali pirates is about to reveal a world and a culture that is hidden behind media headlines.

The Tears of Dark Water is a brutal and eye-opening book that peels back the layers of a world held hostage by those who seized power.  What we see if not necessarily what is and this thought is thoroughly explored throughout this book.

The verse "We see through a glass darkly," suits The Tears of Dark Water.  We see the Somali pirates as mercenaries who are motivated by greed.  But why do they want this money? Why do they need this money?

To those who know Ismail, in no way could he be involved in piracy or the violence that followed. But the truth is hidden away in the mind of one young man - a truth that may or may not ever be known.

This book is unlike any previous Thomas Nelson I have before read.  I wouldn't label it Christian, though the publisher is known for its Christian titles.  There is a powerful message tucked within these pages - a message that is timely and may touch each reader's heart in a profound way.

Hope is a powerful weapon, allowing us to face the seemingly impossible.  It allows us to confront the day no matter what troubles we know are coming.  Hope allows us to heal.  To love.  To be willing to sacrifice what we have.  Hope allows those shackled by their life to search for a glimpse of freedom.

Be ready to be moved in both your way of thinking and feeling.  Look beneath the surface to discover the whole truth.

I was provided a copy of this book by the Fiction Guild in exchange for my honest review.

About the Book:
Daniel and Vanessa Parker are an American success story. He is a Washington, D.C. power broker, and she is a physician with a thriving practice. But behind the gilded fac̦ade, their marriage is a shambles, and their teenage son, Quentin, is self-destructing. In desperation, Daniel dusts off a long-delayed dream of theirs--a sailing trip around the world. Little does he know, the voyage he hopes will save them may destroy them instead.

Half a world away, on the lawless coast of Somalia, Ismail Adan Ibrahim is living a life of crime in violation of everything he was raised to believe--except this: the love and loyalty driving him to hijack ships for ransom and to plot the rescue of his sister, Yasmin, from the man who murdered their father. There is nothing he will not do to save her, even if it means taking innocent life. 

Paul Derrick is the FBI's top hostage negotiator. His twin sister, Megan, is a celebrated defense attorney. They have reached the summit of their careers by savvy, grit, and a secret determination to escape the memory of the day their family died. When Paul is dispatched to handle a hostage crisis at sea, he has no idea how far it will take Megan and him into the past--or the chance it will give them to redeem the future. 

Across continents and oceans, through storms and civil wars, their paths converge in a single, explosive moment. It is a moment that will test them, and break them, but that will also leave behind an unexpected glimmer of hope--that out of the ashes of tragedy and misfortune the seeds of justice and reconciliation can grow.


Ishtar's Odyssey ~ Review

Ishtar's Odyssey
A Family Story for Advent
By Arnold Ytreeide

Ishtar is a spoiled young prince of Persia, in line to one day assume the throne.  His life is one of study and relative ease.  At least it was until the night he saw the star.

The star Ishtar observed was not just any star, but rather it was a new star - one that had never before been observed.  And this special star is about to take Ishtar on a journey - journey that will lead him to a long prophesied king.

But this is not a journey of ease but one of dangers and hardships.  There are deserts to cross, rivers to ford, and devil sands to avoid.  And always a star to follow no matter where it would lead them.

Ishtar's Odyssey is a journey into the past and a search for a King that will take the reader through the days of Advent.  If you're looking for something a little different for this year's family advent readings Ishtar's Journey might be what you are looking for.  Add this to your Bible readings and take the journey with Ishtar as he follows the star to Bethlehem.  There are several options for reading depending on which day of the week Christmas falls on.  Even if one doesn't have children this is an interesting and educational read that will help one to understand the culture into which the Messiah was born.

I was provided a copy of this book by Kregel in exchange for my honest review and tour participation.

About the book:

A new Advent family devotional from the author of Jotham's Journey! Fourth in a set of Advent adventure books for families, Ishtar's Odyssey follows the ten-year-old son of a Persian wise man as their caravan follows a star across the desert. Ishtar would just as soon stay in the comfort of the palace, but slowly he learns that there's much to see, do, and learn in this world that can't be experienced in school. He eventually meets Jotham, Bartholomew, and Tabitha as he follows his father and uncles in their search for a newborn king.

Arnold Ytreeide's family advent devotionals have become a much-loved Christmas tradition, enjoyed by multiple generations. With over 100,000 in print they include Jotham's Journey, Bartholomew's Passage, and Tabitha's Travels


All is Calm, All is Bright ~ Review

All is Calm, All is Bright
by Colleen Coble

I have read Colleen Coble's books in the past, but somehow I missed the two series that these two Christmas novellas are part of.  Well, guess what I just added to my ever growing To Be Read (TBR) list.  Did I feel at a disadvantage having not read the previous books in these two series?  Quick answer no.  Did these two stories make me want to read the other books? Yes.

Now on to the stories themselves...
All is Calm at Bluebird Ranch is not quite accurate once Lauren Everman's presence there becomes known.  Lauren has decided that Bluebird Ranch is the perfect place to hideaway from those who don't believe her. Lauren is convinced that she witnessed a murder - but she's the one whom the police suspect thanks to her cousin.  

But Brendan Waddell is suspicious of Lauren Everman, he senses that she is hiding something. His main concern is that she is a danger to those who are calling Bluebird Ranch home.  But he is also concerned that Lauren may herself be in danger as is his heart.

In All is Bright Delilah Carter's life is in danger and Sheriff Tom Bourne is determined to keep her safe.  But to do this means bringing Delilah's past into the present.  Could Delilah have an enemy from her past who has tracked her down?

Delilah doesn't have time for all the fuss and bother, she has wedding to pull together at Tidewater Inn and weddings don't wait for troublesome crank phone calls or potential murder attempts.  But planning this wedding may be the last thing she ever does.

You will be kept in suspense trying to guess who has made Delilah enemy number 1.  I know I was misdirected in who the guilty party was.  Which in my opinion is so much better than when one figures it out right at the beginning.

These two novellas were a quick read and were enjoyed in an afternoon.  Would be a perfect early Christmas gift for anyone who gets caught up in the stresses of the season rather than the joys. Nothing better to unwind with than a well written seasonal mystery with a dash of romance thrown in.
I was provided a copy of this book by the Fiction Guild in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the Book:

Return to two of Colleen Coble’s most beloved settings
~ Bluebird Ranch and Hope Beach ~
for holiday romance and mystery!
All Is Calm
It’s going to be an unexpectedly romantic Christmas at Bluebird Ranch.
Brendan Waddell has always considered Bluebird Ranch a little piece of heaven: an idyllic ranch that pairs abused children with abused horses, run by one of his Marine buddies. Now, it seems just the place to spend Christmas recovering from an on-the-job injury.
Lauren Everman first came to the ranch as a foster kid, but now knows it’s the perfect hideout. As the witness to a murder, Lauren needs somewhere to lie low. Her beauty immediately catches Brendan’s attention—but so does her secretive behavior. This Special Ops Intel man knows a woman on the run when he sees one. Can he trust her, or is she putting the ranch at risk? One thing is certain: he’s going to do everything he can to keep her safe so he can see what magic Christmas brings.
All Is Bright
A romantic Christmas wedding at Tidewater Inn gives Delilah’s unique gifts a chance to shine. But will her light be snuffed out before the bride and groom say “I do”?
As manager of the Tidewater Inn, Delilah Carter has been planning a spectacular Christmas wedding for her friend, Elin Summerall. But when Delilah’s car is forced off the road and into the ocean, she finally has to admit that the strange phone calls she’s been receiving lately may be more than just pranks.
Sheriff Tom Bourne has always had a soft spot for Delilah, and he’s determined to protect her. He hopes to win her heart by giving her the surprise gift of a lifetime . . . but first he has to make sure nothing happens to her before Christmas Day.
It’s the season of miracles. But will both Elin and Delilah get the ones they need this holiday season?


She scrambled out of bed and stepped to the door. Was that breathing on the other side? Her heart thumped hard in her chest. Someone was there, she just knew it. She glanced around for a weapon. Once upon a time, she'd had a gun—until she pawned it. Now all she had were her cuticle scissors, but she was strong. If she jabbed the point into someone, it might be enough to allow her to get away.

She held up the scissors and flung open the door.

A Respectable Actress ~ Review

A Respectable Actress
by Dorothy Love

India Hartley's whole life has been the theater.  Traveling both abroad in Europe and at home in the United States.  She has just launched a tour of theaters across the South when, in Savannah, the unthinkable happens.  A last minute change in the play ends in the lead actor's death and India's arrest for murder.

As single woman, in a less than respected profession, what chance does India have at a fair trial? When a benefactor arranges for India to be represented by Philip Sinclair, she at least has hope that she may survive her visit to Savannah.  But all the evidence and witness testimony, though circumstantial, seems to point directly at India. 

While awaiting her trial India is allowed to travel to St. Simons Island under the protection of her lawyer.  But the Sinclair estate on Indigo Point seems to be guarding a secret - a secret which India seems determined to understand.  But Indigo Point guards its past carefully against outsiders and India is an outsider.  

The more India discovers the more she is convinced this has something to do with her own situation. But how a tragedy 5 years old could have a bearing on a recent murder is something India must determine before she is found guilty of murder.

I haven't read Dorothy Love's work before, so I was pleasantly surprised when I received this book from the Fiction Guild.  The cover, which is stunning, does this book proud and is the perfect introduction into what the reader is about to partake.  The writing style is exquisite, the story tantalizing, and the characters are real.  

Set after the Civil War Savannah is a city that is still in pain.  Lose of the life to which they were accustomed - wealth was gone, lives had been lost - had resulted in suspicion of any who weren't a native.  I find it interesting that many wanted to go to the theater, to be seen there and yet they held a high disdain for those who acted. 

My favorite line in the book comes from page 47 Anybody who collects books can't be all bad. Want to know more?  Read the book and add to your own collection.

I was provided a copy of this book through the Fiction Guild in exchange for my honest review.   

About the Book:

When India Hartley is accused of murder, she must uncover the 
deceptions of others to save herself.

India Hartley, a famous and beautiful actress, is now alone after her father’s death and embarks upon a tour of theaters across the South. Her first stop is Savannah’s Southern Palace. On the eve of the second night’s performance, something goes horribly wrong. Her co-star, Arthur Sterling, is shot dead on stage in front of a packed house, and India is arrested and accused of the crime.
A benefactor hires Philip Sinclair, the best—and handsomest—lawyer in Savannah to defend India. A widower, Philip is struggling to reinvent his worn-out plantation on St. Simons Island. He needs to increase his income from his law practice in order to restore Indigo Point, and hardly anything will bring him more new clients than successfully defending a famous actress on a murder charge.
Because India can’t go anywhere in town without being mobbed, Philip persuades the judge handling her case to let him take her to Indigo Point until her trial date. India is charmed by the beauty of the Georgia lowcountry and is increasingly drawn to Philip. But a locked room that appears to be a shrine to Philip’s dead wife and the unsolved disappearance of a former slave girl raise troubling questions. Piecing together clues in an abandoned boat and a burned-out chapel, India discovers a trail of dark secrets that lead back to Philip, secrets that ultimately may hold the key to her freedom. If only he will believe her.

"Gunfire exploded to the right of the stage, a burst of sound that temporarily deafened her. When the ringing in her ears subsided she was aware of the screams, of shouts for policemen and for a doctor, of the ensuing chaos as officers arrived and began ushering patrons out of the packed theater. Two burly officers leapt onto the stage, seized her by both arms, and manhandled her into a police wagon parked in the alley, the officers with their weapons at the ready, the horses stamping impatiently in the cold."

A Reason to Stay ~ Review

A Reason to Stay
A Texas Gold Novel #3
By Kellie Coates Gilbert

Faith Martin appeared to have it all.  A journalist early in her career on a highly motivated upward path, a marriage to a successful, champion sports fisher - what more could she want?  But Faith's life was more than the outer package that she had so carefully crafted for the world to see.

But when a tragic incident occurs, Faith's carefully crafted image is about to crumble and she'll learn that even something broken can be fixed if only she will allow it to take place.

A Reason to Stay starts with the incident that is about to change Faith's life.  We are then taken from the present to the not too distant past - the beginning of Faith's phenomenal career launch, with a few bumps along the way.  Faith's story is then a forward progression that that alternates between both past and present events to tell a story that is both moving and healing.

Faith's story is like that of many others - no we don't all suffer from a traumatic event that has quite the same effect as Faith.  But rather we allow hurts from the past to shape us into whom we are today. The question one must ask one's self is did I allow this hurt to stay broken or did I allow it to heal? Hurts all too often are allowed to twist our thinking so that in trying to prevent future pain we further damage ourselves.  This is Faith's journey to discover which path she chose and a chance to rethink and reexamine her options before she makes a choice that can't be undone.

I have to be honest in some of the instances  where Faith has trouble with her husband Geary's family I can totally see her point.  I also think of her in-laws, Geary's father seems to best see Faith's point of view.  Family can be interesting to say the least and Geary's and Faith's are no exception.

The Texas Gold books are standalone titles. There is no particular order that these books have to be read in as each deals with different people.  Texas and family are the themes that these books have in common.  Each person faces a potentially life-altering situation that could destroy them or make them stronger.  It is how one faces this trial that determines who they will become.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher Revell in exchange for my honest review.

About the Book:
Sometimes the thing that keeps us from making the wrong choice is the one thing we can't control

As an investigative reporter and the host of her own TV talk show, Faith Marin works to expose the truth for her viewers. But in her personal life, she's anchored her world with firm boundaries in order to hide a family history she'd like to forget. By contrast, her husband Geary's life is an open book. An easygoing pro bass fisherman, Geary is the ultimate family man--and his overbearing relatives don't know the meaning of boundaries.

Faith and Geary haven't been married long when their differences start to derail their tender relationship. Surely love shouldn't be this hard. While Faith considers whether divorce is the only answer to their issues, tragedy strikes. With her life in the balance, she finds that the one she has been shutting out may be the very one she cannot bear to lose.

Kellie Coates Gilbert takes you on an emotional roller coaster as she weaves together unexpected trial, self-discovery, and forgiveness in this profoundly honest portrait of the tensions that can break a marriage--and the ultimate healing power of love.

Kellie Coates Gilbert is a former legal investigator and trial paralegal and the author of A Woman of Fortune and Where Rivers Part. Gilbert crafts her emotionally charged stories about women in life-changing circumstances in Dallas, Texas, where she lives with her husband. Learn more at


Sterling Bridge ~ Review

Sterling Bridge
By Chad Robert Parker

It will take more than a ball and a coach
to heal this broken town.

1926 Tooele, Utah, is not a welcoming place to outsiders, those who aren't part of the church or 100% pure Tooele.  Living on the wrong side of these tracks could get you into a heap of trouble.

It is to this divided community that Sterling Bridge has come to coach the high school football team. But unlike those of Oldtown Tooele he feels that education and football should be available to all the children Newtown and Oldtown alike.  In his opinion religious belief should not be the deciding factor in who does or does not attend secondary school.  Now he just has to convince Tooele.

But old fears and prejudices are hard to break and all too often those who hold the greatest opposition to immigrants have forgotten their own roots.  But Sterling Bridge was not a man easily intimidated by the unfounded fears of others.  Though it took years and times of hardship he achieved his goal - healing the division in Tooele and this is his story seen through the eyes of one of his students.

The main focus of this story is set in 1928 - 1933, a time of trial for most of America with both the economic collapse and the fallout from the Dust Bowl.  Trials and changes can have interesting affects on those who find themselves caught in their midst - some succumb to their fears while others rise to the occasion.

I was provided a digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review and tour participation.

About the book:

Tensions are high in small-town Tooele, Utah, during the Great Depression, but coach Sterling Harris knows football is the answer. With his job on the line, he makes a bold play to find victory for his team and unity for his town. Based on a true story, this inspiring book gives you a fresh perspective on the past and hope for the future.

About the author:

Chad Robert Parker lived in six states growing up, and is the second of six boys. Each served two-year missions. He is the son of two great, humble parents. They taught him a love for family, church, and life. Chad is an avid sports fan and likes creating games. He also likes juggling; he chose to juggle publishing his first book with getting married and starting a new venture hosting a site to share and collect good everyday life stories. Chad works in the library at BYU and lives in beautiful Saratoga Springs, Utah, with his lovely wife.


The 33 ~ movie

From Alcon Entertainment and Warner Bros. Pictures 
comes the untold true story of 
“The 33.”

In 2010, the eyes of the world turned to Chile, where 33 miners had been buried alive by  the catastrophic collapse of a 100-year-old gold and copper mine.  Over the next 69 days, an international team worked night and day in a desperate attempt to rescue the trapped men as their families and friends, as well as millions of people globally, waited and watched anxiously for any sign of hope. But 200 stories beneath the surface, in the suffocating heat and with tensions rising, provisions—and time—were quickly running out.

A story of resilience, personal transformation and triumph of the human spirit, the film takes us to the Earth’s darkest depths, revealing the psyches of the men trapped in the mine, and depicting the courage of both the miners and their families who refused to give up.

Based on the gripping true story of survival—and filmed with the cooperation of the miners, their families and their rescuers—“The 33” captures the never-before-seen actual events that unfolded, above and below ground, which became nothing less than a worldwide phenomenon.

The international cast is led by Antonio Banderas, Rodrigo Santoro, Academy Award winner Juliette Binoche (“The English Patient”), James Brolin, and Lou Diamond Phillips, with Bob Gunton and Gabriel Byrne.  The cast also includes Mario Casas, Jacob Vargas, Juan Pablo Raba, Oscar Nuñez, Tenoch Huerta, Marco Treviño, Adriana Barraza, Kate Del Castillo, Cote de Pablo, Elizabeth De Razzo and Naomi Scott.

Patricia Riggen directed “The 33” from a screenplay by Mikko Alanne, Oscar nominee Craig Borten (“Dallas Buyers Club”) and Michael Thomas, based on the screen story by Oscar nominee José Rivera (“The Motorcycle Diaries”) and the book Deep Down Dark by Hector Tobar.  The film was produced by Oscar nominee Mike Medavoy (“Black Swan”), Robert Katz and Edward McGurn. Carlos Eugenio Lavin, Leopoldo Enriquez, Alan Zhang and José Luis Escolar served as executive producers.

The behind-the-scene creative team included cinematographer Checco Varese, production designer Marco Niro, editor Michael Tronick and Oscar-nominated costume designer Paco Delgado (“Les Misérables”).  The Academy Award-winning team of Alex Henning and Ben Grossmann (“Hugo”) supervised the visual effects.  The score was composed by Oscar winner James Horner (“Titanic”).

“The 33” was filmed on location in Chile’s harshly remote yet breathtakingly beautiful Atacama desert just kilometers away from where the event took place, and deep within two mines located in central Colombia.

“The 33” is a presentation of Alcon Entertainment, co-founded by CEOs Andrew A. Kosove and Broderick Johnson.  A Phoenix Pictures production, the film is being distributed domestically and in select international territories by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company. This film has been rated PG-13 for a disaster sequence and some language.

August 5, 2010, had begun like any other day for the men who worked the San José Mine near Copiapó, Chile.  As the 33 miners descended deeper and deeper into the cavernous mine, they could not have imagined the events that would place them at the center of a drama that captivated the entire world.

Sixty-nine days later, on October 13th, more than a billion people watched as, one by one, those same men emerged from the ruins of the then-collapsed mine, which had held them captive for more than two grueling months.  It was a miracle for the miners and their families and a victory for the Chilean government and the international team of rescuers.  But there was much more to their inspiring story yet to be told.

Now, as we pass the five-year anniversary of the historic rescue, the feature film “The 33” shows for the first time the ordeal of the miners and their brave battle to survive even when faced with the grim reality that help might never reach them.  It also reveals the hope and resolve of their families, who did not know if their loved ones were even still alive, but would not let them be forgotten, as well as the determination of the rescuers who surmounted every hurdle in bringing them home.

The 33 opens Friday, November 13, 2015.