Tag Archives: Christian Fiction

#BOOK REVIEW BY @COLLEENCHESEBRO OF “Which Half David,” BY AUTHOR Mark W. Sasse

Which Half David

  • Title:  Which Half David
  • Author: Mark W. Sasse
  • File Size:  1929 KB
  • Print Length: 347 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN:
  •  Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Publication Date: September 15, 2016
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  •  Language: English
  • ASIN: B01KG3ZHJE
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Religious & Inspirational Fiction, Christian Fiction, Drama, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

*The author provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review which follows*

In the author’s words:

“Is your obsession worth killing for?

American mission worker Tobin Matthews becomes a local hero and celebrity in the Sulu Republic when he inadvertently foils a gang of human traffickers. But the heroism cannot mask his desperate soul, which wrestles with a broken marriage and a crippling set of doubts. As he sinks to a new low, his brazen ex-lover arrives in Sulu with her own agenda. The Asian beauty quickly becomes the greatest temptation of his life, and he must decide how far he is willing to go to have her.

Which Half David is a modern twist on the centuries old tale of King David. Set against the lush backdrop of the fictitious Southeast Asian island nation of Sulu, it is the story of one man’s dramatic fall from grace, and his struggle to come to grips with both halves of who he really is.”

My Recommendation:

Imagine if you found yourself in a situation where you had to fight to the death in order to protect yourself and survive. Would you be able to take on the challenge? When Tobin Matthews is faced with this exact situation he follows his instincts and survives. The price is high, and he wrestles with his choices much as King David did in the Bible narrative.

Mark Sasse triumphs in the reciting of this spectacular tale of Tobin’s fall from good will. A beloved missionary to the Sulu people, Tobin makes a stand in the defense of the small village. The killing weighs heavy on his mind and acts as the catalyst which sets the rest of the story in motion.

What follows is a story of a man conflicted by his choices and how he must reconcile his deeds with his religious beliefs. Through the author’s careful depiction, the reader steps inside the heart and the mind of Tobin Matthews. Each situation in the story builds off of the last. Tobin soars to fresh heights of depravity which catapult him back to the reality of his deeds. In the end, he is driven to confront the truth about himself and the type of man he has become.

However, from the beginning, Tobin is portrayed as the guy who does no wrong. He almost seems too good to be true. As the narrative progresses and he is confronted with one decision after another, you start to see his armor crack.

Tobin is not actually a hero. He just happened to be in the wrong place at the right time, and then it was doing something self-destructive – getting drunk. But that is what I most liked about the character. He was human. He didn’t arrive at the right decision all the time. He had a good inside that he didn’t realize he even possessed.

This battle, between the good and bad halves of Tobin Matthews, is what made this story shine. The conflict is real, and anyone who reads this story will recognize facing some of the exact trials in their own lifetimes. It all comes down to choices.

I have been a reader of Mark Sasse’s books for a couple years now. “Which Half David,” is by far my favorite of all of his novels. I loved the fact that the story took place in Asia. It gave it a different personality from that of the Bible story, without changing the message.

This is one book you will not want to miss!

My Rating:

Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 5
Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 5
Reader Enjoyment: 5
Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars

5gold-star3

 

 

Mark Sasse

Author, Mark W. Sasse

About Mark W. Sasse:

Mark is a proud Western PA native but has lived most of the last twenty years in Vietnam and Malaysia. His experiences in Asia have redefined everything including his palate, his outlook on life, and naturally his writing. You can find him most days cruising around Penang Island, eating the local delicacies and taking in the sun and exotic breezes as he looks for interesting places to write.

He has authored four novels with number five and six already somewhere on the horizon. His interests cast a wide net – from politics to literature – to culture and language – to history and religion – making his writing infused with the unexpected as he seeks to tell authentic and engaging stories about people from all walks of life. His writing is straightforward and accessible to all, especially those who enjoy writing injected with doses of Asian culture, history, adventure, and delightful humor. You never know what you might get when you pick up a Sasse novel.

Besides novel-writing, Sasse is a prolific dramatist, having written and produced more than a dozen full-length dramatic productions. He especially is fond of the short play format and has won the Best Script award three consecutive years at the Short & Sweet Theatre Festival Penang. His play, “Words to Say at the End of the World” won five awards this year including Best Overall Performance and Best Director. His plays and short musicals have also been produced in Kuala Lumpur and Sydney, Australia. Performances of his scripts also won Gold and Bronze medals at the Southeast Asian Forensics Competition 2014.

His professional background is as diverse as his writing. He holds Master’s degrees from California State University Dominquez Hills and Azusa Pacific University in Humanities and TESOL respectively. His undergraduate degree was in English, which helped him develop his passion for creative writing. He has extensive experience in teaching English, history, and drama.

On top of all of this, he loves to cook everything from gourmet pizzas to Mexican, to various Asian dishes. Flavor is the key to both his cooking and his writing. He very much hopes you enjoy the taste.

Published Novels and Short Stories of Mark W. Sasse
2016 Which Half David (release date TBD)
2015 A Love Story for a Nation – Kindle & Paperback
2014 If Love is a Crime: A Christmas Story – Kindle only
2014 The Reach of the Banyan Tree – Kindle & Paperback
2013 The Recluse Storyteller – Kindle & Paperback
2012 Beauty Rising – Kindle & Paperback

Make certain to connect with Mark through Facebook at Author Mark W. Sasse and his blog at MW Sasse.com.

Book Review by @ColleenChesebro of silverthreading.com

Colleen 5.3.16

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#BOOK REVIEW BY @COLLEENCHESEBRO OF “The Heart of Annie – The Strength of God,” BY AUTHOR MARIANNE COYNE

The Heart of Annie

  • Title: The Heart of Annie… The Strength of God
  • Author: Maryanne Coyne
  • File Size: 655 KB
  • Print Length: 88 pages
  •  Publisher: Maryanne Coyne, 1st Edition
  • Publication Date: March 30, 2015
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  •  Language: English
  • ASIN: B00VGNP8UC
  • Formats: Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Literature & Fiction, Romance, Religious & Inspirational, Christian Literature

In the Author’s Words:

“Fifteen-year-old Annie Salvatore loves the opportunities and excitement of growing up in early twentieth century America. Her dream of falling in love and escaping the tradition of an arranged marriage, much as her mother did years ago in Italy, is her future hope. But sometimes life doesn’t give us what we want in the package we had envisioned. As the year’s pass, Annie discovers that the love in her heart is not enough without strength.

Through life’s joys and woes, Annie’s faith presses her closer toward God. He gently teaches her heart to forgive and to love more deeply, as her spiritual journey unfolds. In surrendering her heart to His strength, Annie discovers the ability to conquer. Step back in time into Annie’s shoes and walk her journey, as it leads her to make one of the most important decisions in her life and the life of another.

Based on a true story of faith, courage, sadness and joy, The Heart of Annie…The Strength of God will uplift, encourage, and entertain you from the first page to the last.”

My Recommendation:

*The author provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review which follows*

You know, sometimes I just want to read a book that is inspiring and uplifting. Believe me, this is one of those books! The Heart of Annie… The Strength of God will make you feel like you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. Prepare to be awakened to the joys and sorrows of one woman’s life and how your own life journey can be renewed through love and compassion.

So much of our news today centers on immigration and the plight of immigrants across the world. It was important for me, to step back in time and remember that most of us in America would not be here but for our brave immigrant ancestors that started their lives anew in a foreign country. As the child and grandchild of immigrant parents and grandparents from Russia, I was deeply touched by Annie’s journey. Her story is one that will resonate with many women.

The novel is set in West Orange, New Jersey. It is the early 1920’s. Born in Italy, Annie balances between the two cultures, Italian and American, in a society that desperately clings to their Italian heritage. At the same time, she wants to embrace the language and customs of her new country. It appeared the younger generation of men and women were excited to embrace the new land, while the older men and women struggled to maintain their way of life from the old country.

Annie’s story is unique because of how she learns to deal with life. When fate deals some harsh blows to Annie and her husband, she rises to the occasion. Through her faith in God, she finds the strength to change and grow. What she finds is a gift of the purest kind, love, and compassion.

I read this book in one night. I loved this family and how they stuck together through thick and thin. The fact that the story is based on true incidents and people made it all the more special to me. No matter what your belief system is, you will love this story. Annie shows that through faith and compassion, we can overcome anything!

My Rating:

Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 5
Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 5
Reader Enjoyment: 5
Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars

5gold-star3

 

 

 

Maryanne Coyne

Author, Maryanne Coyne

About Marianne Coyne:

Marianne Coyne is a licensed artist, an author, independent publisher, a published writer with Blue Mountain Arts, and an occasional public speaker. She finds immense joy in creating and affecting others in a positive way with her work. Marianne’s unique ability to inspire and encourage others is admired and respected by many.

She shares:

“I started as an artist.  When I painted a picture it told a story. Presently I tell stories that paint pictures.  As an artist and writer, I find immense joy in creating. Sharing what I create is the icing on the delectable cupcake of life. Painting and writing have impacted my journey in a remarkable and positive way, and I hope what I share with you will impact your journey in a positive way, too. I am a published writer with Blue Mountain Arts and have self-published two novellas and short stories, now offered as ebooks in Amazon Kindle. I have written children’s stories and songs, fairy tales, poetry, and much more. Many of these are being prepared to share with the public.”

Make certain to connect with Maryanne through her blog, Leisurelane.wordpress.com.

Book Review by @ColleenChesebro of silverthreading.com

Colleen 5.3.16

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#BookReview of The Chip Maker by Bridgette L. Collins.

The Chip MakerThe Chip Maker: Prophecy of the Beast

by Bridgette L. Collins with Terry E. McGee Sr.

Fiction: Mystery/Suspense/Religious/Inspirational/Christian. 176 Pages Print. Just In Time Publishing (May 9, 2016)

4_stars_gold

Author Biography

Fitness coach Bridgette L. Collins is the owner of Total Innovative Wellness Solutions, LLC, a consulting firm that provides individuals and organizations with strategic solutions for implementing and sustaining healthy lifestyle habits. Through MAC Fitness and Origins Bridgette CollinsPublishing Company, subsidiaries of Total Innovative Wellness Solutions, LLC, she introduces innovative and creative resources for achieving well-being and physical fitness to help her clients gain traction on disease prevention and management. Coach Bridgette is also the author of Destined to Live Healthier and Imagine Living Healthier, which have educated and empowered many through the collection of fictional stories that tell of real life challenges with weight, health, work, marriage, and lack of self-love. She is also featured in The Ultimate Runner by Ultimate HCI Books, publisher of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

Book Review

The Chip Maker: Prophecy of the Beast is Christian Suspense novel by Bridgette L. Collins, author of Broken in Plain Sight: A Story of Truth, Healing, and Love. In The Chip Maker we see the story of several lives as they run parallel to each other during a time of what seems to be biblical prophecy coming true. World chaos, the mark of the beast, the antichrists, and more. Each person makes a choice that has a definite consequence and we see how the worst can be counted among the best. Using scripture, headlines, and real possibilities, the authors tell a convincing story of what could happen if people put their minds to it. A fast paced read, I read it in one day. The book starts off in the then present day, and then switches back to several months prior. I would have liked the reverse but the story was still a good read. Overall a realistic possibility if egos got out of hand, which we can see happening in the news even today. I recommend the book to people interested in biblical prophecy or even slightly techno thrillers. Even if you’re not into prophecy you’ll still enjoy the book as a world domination story.

By: Ronovan Hester

Get Chip Maker at:

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Connect with Bridgette L. Collins at:

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The Chip Maker: The Prophecy of the Beast #BookReview

  • Title:  The Chip Maker: Prophecy of the Beast
  • Author: Bridget Collins
  • Print Length: 176
  • Publisher: Origins Publishing Company
  • Publication Date: May 8, 2016
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0979093244
  • ISBN-13: 978-0979093241
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Christian Fiction

Most of us already know by reading the Bible that the antichrist will show his face and essentially rule the entire world. As chaos ensues, people will be looking for someone to lead them. Unfortunately, a great many will be looking in the wrong place. The Chip Maker: Prophecy of the Beast is about a man by the name of Jim Natas. His goal in the story is to insist upon the people of the world to have a small chip be inserted into their body, or they will face severe consequences. This chip will tell everything about everybody from their bank accounts to their social security numbers, to the food they eat.

The Chip Maker reminds me a lot of the Left Behind saga. We start into the story with various Christians vanishing, as told in the Bible. Then, starting in the second chapter, we jump a few months back to the beginning, where Natas is introducing the chip to the public. Throughout all of the chip talk, we hear of behind the scenes where planes crashes, car crashes, etc.

The dialogue can be a bit tedious and long at times, but it tends to give important information as to what’s going on. At times, the conversations between certain characters appear unbelievable. In the narrative, there was a bit of telling, rather than showing. However, at the same time, it explained in explicit detail what we needed to know.

Jim Natas’ entire demeanor was built quite well. It’s easy to see why so many of the other characters were eager to follow him, but as a reader, knowing the kind of man he is, we dislike. Most of the other characters appeared one dimensional or “out there.” One thing that bugged me the most was a man who decided to go by his given name rather than his rapper name. The narrative continued to call him the stage name whilst the character is upset when everyone does the same.

It is a short book, slow, but steady, and somewhat of an entertaining read, considering everything that’s going on in real life today. Bridgette Collins wrote a message in the pages of her story, telling us the time is coming, and we need to start paying more attention to what’s God-like and what’s Satan-like.

Readers who enjoy the Left Behind series would stand to enjoy The Chip Maker.

Overall rating: 3 of 5 stars

Connect with Bridgette Lachelle Collins at thechipmaker.com.

A Dream for Love by Lisa Belcastro @VineyardRomance #BookReview by @JERoyle

I want to begin by saying, I need to stop passing these great books on to Jason and read them myself! I believe this so much so I went and bought the author’s award winning Christmas novella as soon as I read this review.Ronovan

To be honest, I am typically not a Christian romance reader. But A Dream for Love by Lisa Belcastro took me by surprise. This is my first book by Belcastro and I enjoyed her wholesome approach. To some extent, at first, the story seemed like it was going to be highly predictable, but it wasn’t; it had just the right amount of “I wonder what is going to happen next” in the air to keep me guessing and A Dream For Love by Lisa Belcastroreading. An attractive story-line, foreshadowing, subtle humor, and good grammatical flow are several of the qualities which kept my attention.

Even though it is a story of relationships and romance, I still found myself taking out my pencil and underlining several thought provoking statements here and there. In chapter ten, for example, I underlined the quote “God doesn’t leave us in one place.” 

In short, if you are in the mood for an emotional love story with a Godly message, then this book is for you. Fate will bring your dreams to life in A Dream for Love.


Get the book  by clicking the book title or click HERE for her Amazon Author Page for all her selections. Including her award winning creations. Visit http://lisabelcastro.com/ and follow Lisa on Twitter



ABOUT LISA BELCASTRO

Lisa BelcastroLisa Belcastro lives with her family on Martha’s Vineyard, the ideal setting for her novels with the ocean, sandy beaches, rolling hills, and ancient cliffs. Lisa has published A Shenandoah Christmas by Lisa Belcastrofive books to date, with her  Christmas novella, A Christmas: A Novella (Winds of Change) released November 17, 2015 has already won the SELAH Award for Best Novella. Lisa’s debut novel, Shenandoah Nights, Shenandoah Nights by Lisa Belcastrowon the Christian Small Publishers Association’s Romance Book of the Year in 2014, and also won the RWA New England Chapter’s Reader’s Choice Award in 2014.

She loves time with her family and friends, running, gardening, outdoor activities, cooking, chocolate, reading, traveling, a healthy dose of adventure, and her cat, Ben, who keeps her company while she creates fictional lives for the numerous characters living inside her head.

Lisa runs as an ambassador for TEAM 413 (www.team413.org), and has completed a marathon (26.2 miles) in all fifty states.



Writing, for Jason Royle, is a way to express the ongoing story of theology. With every book or article, he hopes readers get a sense of the complexity of God and the necessity of faith. Captivated by the spiritual component of life, Jason loves to read everything from the Greek classics to the Sunday comics.  Amazon Author Page.

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“Always have beta readers who are willing to be honest” @SbethCaplin Where There’s Smoke Q&A

where_theres_smoke_sarabeth_caplin.jpg“Okay, where do I start? This quick read was not what I expected. When asked to review the book, I had expected some kind of romance novel. One featuring religious themes for sure, but a romance novel nonetheless. But what I got instead was a fascinating young adult novel all about hypocrisy, being human, and the cost of living a lie.”-Amazon Review

“There is something that draws someone to such a taboo matter, but beyond the tense/angst amongst the characters there is a seriousness that can not be ignored. That choices we make, individually or together, can change the lives of many. To write about such matters with religion mixed into the storyline takes guts and walks a fine line that I enjoyed reading about.”-Book Flirts

 

Meet Author

Sarabeth Caplin

“I write to entertain, but also to make people think, which is why I turned to self-publishing: certain stigmas and taboos are not always marketable or easy to categorize. So I write the kind of stories I like to read, and wish I could read more of  (I guess I just have weird taste?).”-From her website.

author_sarabeth_caplin.jpgRW: You write young adult fiction that appeals to older adults as well, how did you come to choose this particular genre?

SARABETH: I grew up on young adult fiction. It may sound lame, but some of my best friends and role models are found in fiction. I like to think I have the spunk of Anne Shirley, the independence of Jane Eyre, and the bravery of Katniss Everdeen. It’s safe to say that books helped shape my identity and made me feel less alone during the lonely years of middle school.

RW: Why is your most recent novella called Where There’s Smoke?

SARABETH: The story centers around a fire that not only causes physical destruction, but threatens to expose lies and secrets as well. I like the title because it sounds ominous.

RW: Your book touches on some themes that are somewhat timely today. Some of those being Christianity and how certain elements of it can take things a bit to the extreme, such as people being outcasts for their sexuality. What was the inspiration for Where There’s Smoke?

SARABETH: I had a brief stint in seminary a year after undergrad. I saw the worst stereotypes of what Christians could be, and found more encouragement with my atheist friends than I did with many of the students I met there. That angered me.

RW: Who is the main character?

SARABETH: A teenage girl named Hannah who belongs to a very conservative Christian community, where the “Cool Crowd” consists of wannabe missionaries who believe they hold a monopoly on the truth.

RW: Is Hannah the “perfect” Christian?

SARABETH: Hannah isn’t always likeable, and she doesn’t make the best decisions, but she’s real. How many of us survived high school without saying, doing, or believing things we weren’t sure about just to fit in? That’s human nature. Flawed, yet empathic characters are my favorite to write.

 

RW: I’ve experienced the adult version “Cool Crowds” in churches. What reality does Hannah find out about this “Cool Crowd”?

SARABETH: They use their faith to manipulate and alienate people, which Hannah doesn’t realize until she befriends a lesbian student, Lia, whose coming out made her an outcast. It’s through Lia that Hannah experiences genuine respect and friendship, and is confronted about her own hypocritical tendencies.

RW: What message do you think your book delivers to the reader?

SARABETH: That authenticity is always worth it, despite the personal costs to your popularity or reputation. That people who don’t always agree with you can still teach you valuable lessons.

RW: What did you learn about yourself from writing this book?

Sarabeth: That I am by no means as pure in my motives and as sincere as I’d like to be, since I too am a Christian.

RW: Describe your book in one word.

Sarabeth: Gutsy.

To get Sarabeth Caplin’s books:

Amazon Author Page

sarabeth_caplin_book_covers.jpg

Confessions of a Prodigal Daughter: my memoir about growing up Jewish and becoming a Christian as an adult.

Someone You Already Know: My first YA novel about two teenage rape victims struggling to understand what the other went through, and how societal views and stereotypes about rape affect them both.

Public Displays of Convention: Another YA novel about a modern-day Elizabeth Bennet kind of woman trying to figure out how best to live as a single woman after her college boyfriend unexpectedly dumps her.

Sorting Myself: a short collection of poetry, with mainly religious and feminist themes.

 sbethcaplin.com


To Connect With Sarabeth:

Twitter: @SbethCaplin

Facebook: Author Sarabeth Caplin


RW: Tell us about your early journals?

SARABETH: I’ve been making up stories as long as I can remember, and have always had a habit of narrating my life as it happens. Because my first love was fiction, my journals read like first-person young adult novels.

RW: And how did you come to self-publishing

SARABETH: It wasn’t until 2012, after graduating college, that I figured out self-publishing. But one need not be published to call themselves a writer.

RW: What is your biggest tip for someone to getting published?

SARABETH: Always have beta readers who are willing to be honest with you about what needs improvement in your story. Even if you think you’re ready to publish, it’s always better to wait. The first versions of my first two books were published before they were ready, and it was such a pain to redo them.

RW: Are  you opposed to having an agent and doing what is called ‘traditional’ publishing?

SARABETH: I like being my own boss for now, but I’m not ruling out the possibility. It’s important for me to find an agent who is okay with self-publishing on the side.

RW: What are you working on right now?

SARABETH: My first attempt at a New Adult novel about a young woman whose boyfriend is accused of rape by an ex girlfriend, and he challenges her to interview all his previous exes to prove he’s innocent.

RW: What book are you reading at this time?

SARABETH: I’m rereading Mockingjay in preparation for the movie, as well as The Hardest Peace by Kara Tippetts.

RW: If you could have written any book that exists, other than your own, what would it be and why?

SARABETH: I admire the deviousness of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. I wish I were capable of that level of intrigue, suspense, and psychological mind-bending. Also Lauren Winner’s Girl Meets God, because it’s basically a far more articulate version of my life story.

 

Sarabeth writes about real topics and not just what ifs. I’ve personally started a number of what Christian communities can really be like books but never finished them. I think perhaps in part I’m just old. I need some of Sarabeth’s youth and energy. To take this topic head on is admirable, especially being a Christian. I think people might find it surprising that one Christian author finds another Christian author writing about the realities of some communities as being admirable. Don’t be. We know there are the bad communities out there. Connect with Sarabeth and support her through the purchase of her books. Young indie authors, old indie authors, all authors need our support.  And as always, remember . . .

Read a Book, Write a Review.

Much Respect

Ronovan

Ron_LWI

 

 

 

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