Booty Bones (A Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery #14) – Carolyn Haines

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Booty Bones
by Carolyn Haines

Series: A Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery #12

Genre: Fiction, Mysteries & Detective Stories

Published by Minotaur

Publication Date: May 2014

Reviewed by Sarah Lara

Purchase at Amazon three-half-stars

QUICK HIT – Island adventures, romantic getaways, secrets, and pirates all make up this fourteenth installment of the Sarah Booth Delaney series

The Story Keeper – Lisa Wingate

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The Story Keeper
by Lisa Wingate

Genre: Christian, Fiction

Published by Tyndale House

Publication Date: August 2014

Reviewed by Elizabeth Olmedo

Purchase at Amazon five-stars

QUICK HIT - A riveting story of a young woman who discovers that the only way to move forward is to go back to the one place she had hoped to leave behind for good.

Ismeni (A Prelude to The Legend of Sheba) – Tosca Lee

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Ismeni
by Tosca Lee

Series: The Legend of Sheba #0

Genre: Christian, Fiction, Historical, Suspense

Published by Howard Books

Publication Date: August 2014

Reviewed by Josh Olds

Purchase at Amazon five-stars

QUICK HIT - Many authors can't manage the same level of characterization and depth that Tosca Lee crams into fifty action-packed pages. Don't think of this as a prelude, prologue, or promotional teaser for The Legend of Sheba, treat it like it's a story in and of itself: beautiful, complex, and deep. And, best of all, free!

Murder at the Mikado (A Drew Fatherington Mystery #3) – Julianna Deering

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Murder at the Mikado
by Julianna Deering

Series: A Drew Farthering Mystery #3

Genre: Christian, Fiction, Historical, Mystery & Detective, Suspense

Published by Bethany House

Publication Date: July 2014

Reviewed by Jessica Higgins

Purchase at Amazon four-half-stars

QUICK HIT - Drew, Madeline, and Nick are back with yet another murder mystery to solve, but could this case unravel Drew and Madeline’s relationship?

Hounded (Andy Carpenter #12) – David Rosenfelt

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Hounded
by David Rosenfelt

Series: Andy Carpenter #12

Genre: Fiction, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Suspense, Thrillers

Published by Minotaur

Publication Date: July 2014

Reviewed by Jessica Higgins

Purchase at Amazon three-half-stars

QUICK HIT – An entertaining mystery while it lasts, but it won’t leave you begging for more.

Manroot – Anne Steinberg

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Manroot
by Anne Steinberg

Genre: Fiction, Historical, Literary

Published by CreateSpace

Publication Date: March 2014

Reviewed by Kathleen Edwards

Purchase at Amazon four-half-stars

QUICK HIT – Bleak, dark, haunting novel of humanity’s struggle with good and evil.

My #icebucketchallenge and Thoughts on ALS

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The room is bright, uncomfortable, hot. I will myself to move. Synapses fire, fizzle, fail. I struggle to think of how I got this way. There was the letter, the demand, the shock, the pain, the blackout...and now here. Here, unable to move - and panic, don't forget that - a sharp sense of it right now, but a dull underlying sense that never really ever goes away. I'm here. I'm trapped. My eyes move. I try to signal to someone somehow. It's all I got, it's all I have....what's going to happen to me now?

You’d think it was a line from an intense thriller. The protagonist has gotten in a bit over his head, the crafty killer is circling in for the kill. He’s managed to disable our hero. Some sort of neurotoxin that’s temporarily shut down the brain-body connection. All the hero can do is lie there as the killer masterfully and meticulously monologues his final speech. In a book, that’s when the scene would shift. Somehow, some way, the protagonist would be saved, would be healed, would defeat the baddie, would win the girl, and so on and so forth.

But this isn’t a movie, isn’t a book, isn’t a game. For thousands of people per year (5,600 in the US alone), this is their new reality. Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a degenerative disease that, by its very nature, is always lethal. We call it Lou Gehrig’s Disease, because when we give a disease a face, it humanizes it and makes us realize it affects real people. But it’s not just Lou Gehrig’s Disease. It’s Stephen Hawking’s disease, it’s Ed Dobson’s disease, it’s Dmitri Vasilenko’s disease….and many more.

Simply put, your brain stops working with your body and you lose any ability to function. Not that you can’t live with hope. Hawking is and has been one of the world’s foremost thinkers despite the disease. Pastor Ed Dobson still speaks on occasion (click that link and read it. seriously). And the stories continue.

Ever since the fall, mankind has battled with the effects of sin and physical disease is one of the most outwardly obvious battles we face. As Christians, we have a calling to fight this battle – not just as a spiritual battle with prayers and petitions, but as a physical battle with our love, our support, our money, and our knowledge. When Jesus began his ministry, his overriding concern was that he preach “The Kingdom of God.” OK, excellent, we understand that, he’s talking about heaven and the next life. But he went out of his way to heal. Throughout the Gospels, there are three things that Jesus is constantly doing: 1. praying, 2. teaching, 3. healing, and usually a conjunction of the three. As his followers, we have been commissioned to do the very same thing. Sure, some miracles happen and we don’t really understand them. But more miracles happen because we put the money and the effort and the care into discovering how to push back the Curse.

So, all of this to say….Here’s my #icebucketchallenge. Because so many have already donated to the future prevention of ALS, I have chosen to donate to Compassionate Care ALS, an organization that seeks to help those suffering from ALS cope with their disease. Also, for any wondering, the T-shirt that I am wearing does have some relation to helping those in need. My wife (the wonderful Crazy Girl) had this crazy idea to raise $10,000 for international special needs adoptions. Pretty crazy but it’s now become a part of our lives. If you’d like to learn more (or donate), go to GatheringFamily.org.

My nominations to further the challenge and raise awareness includes: Jacob Olds, Jamie Olds, JD Hopkins, and Ted Dekker.

Free Book Saturdays

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Week 2 of the new feature, featuring some amazing books! Just click on the book’s cover to go to the download page! Note: All ebooks are free as of 12:00pm CT on 8/23. Life is Story is not responsible for book prices and cannot guarantee how long a book will remain free.

 

 

 

 

 

thickerthanbloodThicker Than Blood - C.J. Darlington (link to review)

Publisher: Tyndale

Genre: Christian, Suspense

Two estranged sisters, one a rare book dealer, the other a cattle rancher, meet again after fifteen years. 

Christy Williams finally has her life on track. She’s putting her past behind her and working hard to build a career as an antiquarian book buyer. She could never imagine that a stolen first edition of “For Whom the Bell Tolls” would lead her back to the sister she abandoned fifteen years ago. With her life in danger, can May’s Triple Cross Ranch be the safe haven Christy’s searching for? Will the sisters realize before it’s too late that each possesses what the other desperately needs?

Blue Hole Back HomeBlue Hole Back Home – Joy Jordan-Lake

Publisher: David C. Cook

Genre: Christian, Historical

Sacred’s not a word I’ve ever much liked. But maybe some things, and some places, just are. And maybe the Blue Hole was one of those things.”

Shelby (nicknamed Turtle) never had any female friends. But when a mysterious girl from Sri Lanka moved to town in the summer of 1979, Turtle invited her to a secret haven: the Blue Hole. Turtle had no idea how much that simple gesture would affect the rest of her life, or the lives of those she loved.

In a time when America was technically well beyond the Civil Rights era, there were those in Turtle’s small Appalachian town who rejected the presence of someone different. And in just one summer-in a collision of love, hate, jealousy, beauty, and a sacred, muddy swimming hole-nothing and everything changed.

 

Book Cover for Awakening by Tracy HigleyAwakening – Tracy Higley

Publisher: Stonewater Press

Genre: Christian, Romance, Suspense, Mystery

Kallie Andreas is a mystery, even to herself.

Seven years ago Kallie woke up in a New York City museum, injured and traumatized. Alone and unclaimed.

Despite her shattered memories, she’s worked her way into a position as assistant curator in that very museum, and now she wants nothing more than to pursue funding for her project–assembling pieces from the ancient Minoans.

But then the blackouts start. Lost time, stranded in terrifying danger, frantic visions that can’t be real. A threatening phone call may be nothing more than paranoia and madness. Or perhaps not.

It’s time to start seeing her psychiatrist more often.

 

unwrittenUnwritten – Charles Martin (AUDIOBOOK. Suggested tip: $7) [link to review]

Publisher: Center Street

Genre: Suspense, Literary

An actress running from her past finds escape with a man hiding from his future.When someone wants to be lost, a home tucked among the Ten Thousand Islands off the Florida coast is a good place to live. A couple decent boats, and a deep knowledge of fishing and a man can get by without ever having to talk to another soul. It’s a nice enough existence, until the one person who ties him to the world of the living, the reason he’s still among them even if only on the fringes, asks him for help.

Father Steady Capri knows quite a bit about helping others. But he is afraid Katie Quinn’s problems may be beyond his abilities. Katie is a world-famous actress with an all too familiar story. Fame seems to have driven her to self-destruct. Steady knows the true cause of her desire to end her life is buried too deeply for him to reach. But there is one person who still may be able to save her from herself. He will show her an alternate escape, a way to write a new life. But Katie still must confront her past before she can find peace. Ultimately, he will need to leave his secluded home and sacrifice the serenity he’s found to help her. From the Florida coast, they will travel to the French countryside where they will discover the unwritten story of both their pasts and their future.

Fourth of July Creek – Smith Henderson

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Fourth of July Creek
by Smith Henderson

Genre: Fiction, Literary

Published by Ecco

Publication Date: May 2014

Reviewed by Jessica Higgins

Purchase at Amazon one-half-stars

QUICK HIT – Overhyped, oversold, and overall just a big disappointment.

Interview with Liz Curtis Higgs | Bad Girls of the Bible

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She’s an NYT bestseller, a well-known conference speaker, author of fiction and non-fiction alike, and even a bit of a jazz singer. I’m – of course – talking about the ever-entertaining Liz Curtis Higgs, who graced Life is Story with her presence yesterday morning. Liz wrote Bad Girls of the Bible fifteen years ago, but the message is still going strong and has recently been updated and turned into a small group DVD series.

Listen in to an amazing conversation as we discuss how the series got started, what she’s learned since the book’s initial debut, and how the book has been an impact on others.