Friday, 28 December 2012

The Tao of Twitter by Mark W. Schaefer

The Tao of Twitter: Changing Your Life and Business 140 Characters at a Time
Now I know these reviews are coming thick and fast at the moment but this book has had such an influence on the way I use twitter that I had to review it in the hope that it would also help others.
This is essentially a book about how to use twitter to develop your business but I have been reading it with my authors hat on. Obviously being an author is a business and I have had a great time exploring the ideas presented in the book.
The book takes you through all the steps of using twitter and for those who already use twitter there are advanced user sections, so something for everyone in here. The text uses case studies very effectively. Each case study is followed by a list of lessons which can be gleaned from the case study. I found this approach really helpful as the real life stories brought it to life and demonstrated how effectively twitter could be used.
The book covers ever aspect of twitter and includes chapters such as
  • making targeted connections
  • providing meaningful content
  • Offering Authentic helpfulness
  • Lists
  • Secrets of influence on twitter
amongst many others. It also includes a number of other sites which can be used to support your use of twitter. I have explored most of these and found them really helpful but a couple might take a bit of getting used to.
I am now following Mark on twitter (his twitter name is @markwschaefer) and his tweets are excellent and a real demonstration of his use of twitter. He also interacts with those who tweet about him which shows the use of twitter in action. Today one of his tweets linked to the following article
Global Experts Predict Social Media marketing Trends for 2013 which I have included as it is both interesting and useful. It is well worth following him on Twitter.
I have read many books about Twitter but this is far and away the best one. I would advise anyone who is serious about developing their online presence to buy this and use it immediately. You certainly wont regret it. It will be the best money you have ever spent.


Thursday, 27 December 2012

Fragile World by Lucy Mills

Fragile World


Today I find myself in the unusual position of reviewing a book of poetry. Now those of you who know me and/or read my blogs will know that I am not a poetry type of girl. I'm more your murder mystery, blood and guts type of girl. So this will demonstrate to you the quality of this work that I felt I had to review it.

It is a short booklet, only 29 pages long, but I can assure you every word on these pages packs a punch emotionally. Some of the poems I enjoyed but others really spoke to me and several times I found myself challenged. One in particular "I have done nothing wrong" really spoke to me and challenged me about the way I live my life. I also liked "Childish Things" which remeinded me of being a child again and seeing the wonder in everyday things.

These poems are well thought out and most times are full of raw emotion. They speak to the heart, mind and spirit and obvioulsy come from a place deep inside the author.

This book can be read and enjoyed in one sitting. However, they can also be read and reread to refresh you spiritually and to challenge you in new and different ways

The proceeds for this book originally went to help projects in Darfur. Now the proceeds will help to fund a new Anthology of poems called beautiful. I would highly recommend you read this book.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Close to The Bone (Stuart MacBride)

It's Christmas eve and here I am writing a book review. Why I hear you saying? Get a life Wendy. Well this book is so good I had to tell you all about it. 
If you like Police Procedurals/Murder Mysterires which do not pull any punches then this is the book for you. Now for those of you who have not come across any of Stuart MacBrides's books previously my advice to you is remedy that immediately.
This series stars DI Logan McRae of the Aberdeen Police as well as a wide cast of equally lovable characters. I have to say that even some of the bad guys are lovable and that is hard to pull off in a series where the body count is higher than the GDP of a small country.
In this book Logan McRae is called to the scene of a murder where somone has been necklaced. This involves putting a tyre around his neck and arms, filling the tyre with petrol, setting it alight and waiting for the victom to die - slowly. A horrible way to go. To add to his troubles someone is leaving bundles of chicken bones, tied up neatly with ribbon, on Logans doorstep. There are also several more bodies littering both Aberdeen and the investigation making it difficult for Logan to know whaich way to turn.
This is not a book for the faint hearted as it is extremely graphic in places and has a lot of swearing. This adds to rather than detracts from the plot and I didn't find it offputting, but just be aware that this is indicitive of Stuart MacBrides novels.
The storyline pulls you along at a rattling pace with enough twists and turns to make you dizzy but it is all pulled very neatly together at the end making you wonder why you didn't know all along.
The characters are brilliantly scripted and in most cases eccentric. Logan McRae is so well written you can almost see him walking through your front door. The prize for the best drawn character has to go to that of DI Steel, Logans Boss. She is the PC Brigades worst nightmare and she uses Logan as though he were her personal skivvy. She is brilliant and has me laughing in every book.
This book can be read as a stand alone but to get the full flavour of the characterisation it is better to read them in sequence. I cannot recommend this book and all of Stuart MacBrides other books highly enough. He is a truly gifted writer.
I was fortunate to get an advance copy of this book as it is not released until the 17th january 2013. I have, however, given it a fair an unbiased review. Keep your Christmas money or Amazon Vouchers for this book. You will not regret it.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

A Writers Life

I know it's been a few weeks since I last updated my blog but there's a very good reason so please forgive me. If you read my last blog you'll realise I've been writing my first novel most of which was written during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writers Month). So I am sure you'll appreciate that it's been a busy month with much of my time taken up writing. Yet what a great month it's been. I am pleased to report I met my Nano target of 50,000 words with some to spare and I should complete the first draft of my novel this week. Then the next stage of editing begins.

I can now tell you a bit more about my novel. It is a murder mystery set in Dundee, Scotland my home town. The working title is Murder in Time but if I'm honest this could change. The main character is Detective Inspector Shona McLean of the Tayside Police who heads up a team of disparate detectives in the CID. There are enough bodies for the most hardened of Murder Mystery fans and yet it is a book which could be read by anyone. The idea is this will be the first in a series of several books. Ideas for the next books are already swirling around in my head adding to the excitemet in this writers life.

I started by saying I am new to writing novels so being a voracious reader myself I have been reading some books to help me develop my craft. One excellent book is How Not to Write a Novel: 200 Mistakes to Avoid at all Costs if you Ever Want to Get Published.

This book is really about how to write a novel but takes a novel appraoch (excuse the pun). It points out pitfalls that novice novelists make and then demonstrate them by writing passages from a book. It was laugh out loud funny at times and I could see things I was doing although not to the extent of their parodies. I have to say that this approach worked for me as it was easy to see immediately what doesn't work. Each chapter covers a different mistake and then demonstrates it in a number of ways. These are the types of mistakes that have publishers throwing your novel in the nearest dustbin rather than straight to the printing press so better to avoid them in the first place. I appreciate this type of book may not be to everyones taste but for those who are able to have a little gentle fun being poked a them this is definitely a winner. To all you aspiring writers out there get this book you wont regret it.

Have I enjoyed writing so far. Theanswer to this is a catagorical yes. I love it. The characters daily become more real and they are taking on lives and characterisitcs of their own. Just when I think I know everything about them something pops up tha takes me by surprise. I certainly can't control them. It's been a whirlwind month full of highs and lows but I wouldn't swap it for the world. It certainly is a writers life.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Confessions of a Nervous Novelist

Bit of a different blog this week as there is not a book review in sight. Now before you turn away in your droves to read your latest book rather than my blog, I am taking a week out to talk about my first venture into writing a novel.

Despite the title of the blog this is not going to be a 50 Shades of Grey type effort, nor even 1 shade or even a little hint of anything grey, it is a look at my journey so far and what led me to this place of telling the world about my endeavours to write the next best selling book. Ok, maybe I'm a little ahead of myself here, so I'll tone it down a bit and say write a novel. Right, are we all on the same page here, or the same paragraph at least.  Let the ramblings begin. What do you mean I am rambling already? All right I'll give you that one.

For some time now I have had the idea for a novel kicking around in my head, but have never really done anything about it, or even thought about doing anything with it. One day, Christian writer Amy Boucher Pye was on a radio show talking about all things to do with books, and was taking questions. I rang up to ask a question, not expecting to get through, and the next thing I knew I was on the radio and talking to her. Now it is a good job I am not really that nervous (more about that later), so I mustered up all my courage and asked her what advice she would give to an aspiring writer. Her suggestions, were do it, write, write, write and had I thought about doing NaNoWriMo Luckily for me she went on to explain that this is National Novel Writing Month which happens twice a year and you pledge to write so many words per day which takes you up to 50,000 words over the month. So being the take the life by the horns and do it straight away type of girl, I promptly mulled it over for a few months.

The next NaNoWriMo is in November so I had to make a decision as to what I should do. In September I registered on the site and then as October hit, I really had to make a decision as to what I was going to do. I prayed about it and it would seem God appeared silent. However, I think God answered in his own way as I got a stronger and stronger feeling that now was the time to do it. I'm not saying God told me to write this novel, but he certainly hasn't convinced me that it is the wrong thing to do.

At the moment I am busy planning my novel, thinking about plot, character development, back stories and all the other things which need to be clear in my mind. As November approaches I am getting nervous (see I told you we would return to that), and I think my journey is more than a little scary. But I am also excited and ready for the challenge. I wasn't going to tell anyone that I was writing the book, but I am told by a lot of people much more experienced than I that I should do so. I have therefore told everyone I know, what I am doing and hence the blog. I am asking everyone to support me and keep me going if I falter, as it would be so easy to fall by the wayside. I certainly don't intend or even want to do this, but I am told that it can be hard. If I seem like I'm faltering cheer me on, as this is my own little marathon.

What's that you say? This is all very well, but what's the book about. Sorry I nearly forgot about that part. Well it is a murder mystery/Police Procedural/Thriller set in Dundee, where I live, and will be suitable for all audiences. That's the plan at the moment anyway. I am told that novels and characters take on a life of their own when you start writing, so watch this space. I have been inspired by many different authors in my journey both Christian and secular. As regular readers of my blog know I am an avid reader and a great fan of Murder mysteries. Dundee has a literary event on at the moment and I am going to two events to meet three different authors. Two of these authors are Scottish crime writers and one sets her books in Dundee. What an opportunity. The other is bestseling romantic crime writer Karen Rose who is coming all the way from America. See I told you, my life and this journey are very exciting. As an aside one of the events has tea and scones with Jam and Cream thrown in. My three favourite things, books authors and food. This is the life.

It's great to have you along for the journey and I definitely don't feel so alone knowing how many people are rooting for me. I would like to finish by thanking Amy Boucher Pye for pointing me in the direction which kick started this journey. I will keep you updated as to how I am doing, but not too often. I don't want to bore you to tears before you get a chance to read my book. I will definitely let you know if and when the finished product is published.

Bye for now. Normal service will be resumed next week. Have a great week reading and enjoying life.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Welcome Marlayne Giron

Today I am very excited to welcome Christian Author Marlayne Giron to Bookaholics, it is a great pleasure to have you join us Marlayne. Marlayne very graciously agreed to give up some of her precious time to be interviewed for our blog, and give us an insight into her life and work.

Image of Marlayne Giron

In Plain SightMake a WishThe Victor: A Tale of Betrayal, Love, and Sacrifice

To buy the Victor from Amazon UK Click here
To Buy the Victor from Aamzon US Click here
To buy In Plain Sight from Amazon UK Click here
To buy In Plain Sight from Aamzon US Click here
To Buy Make a Wish form Amazon UK Click  here
To Buy Make a Wish from Aamzon US click here
These books can also be purchased from your local Christian Bookshop
1. Could you start by telling us a bit about yourself and your journey to become an author?

I am actually a full time administrative assistant (have been since the age of 19), wife, mom and a Messianic Jewish believer in Jesus (not in that order).
I have to give credit where credit is due. Lisa and I have been friends since we were 12. We would take turns sleeping over each other’s homes every weekend. I fondly remember the feeling of happy anticipation as I watched The Mary Tyler Moore show on Saturday nights waiting for her to come over. Lisa is the one person I can most credit in my life for helping me to develop my writing skills. We wrote hundreds of short “Six Million Dollar Man/Steve Austin” stories together (with us as characters in every one). Lisa used to ‘red line” my stories (the aspiring teacher that she was) and it would make me so mad that I became determined to write error-free stories she couldn’t find fault with. My writing was greatly influenced both by Lisa’s writing as well as her critiquing of mine. It was also at Lisa’s suggestion that I checked into online publishing that led me to Tate Publishing and ultimately to realizing my life-long dream to see my book, The Victor, in print.

2. Your Faith is very obviously an important part of your life. Could you tell us a bit more about your walk in faith?

My entire family is Jewish. I attended a reformed Temple in my youth and observed the high holy days but it was mostly done out of a cultural obligation to Judaism rather than devotion to God. Like many Jews, I was raised with an anti-Christian/anti-Jesus “bias” and was taught that it was the height of betrayal to my Jewish heritage to "convert". Growing up I had little to no interest in “religion” and at the age 13 considered myself an atheist. At this time the“Jesus Movement” was in full swing and I found myself a “prime target” for the “Jesus Freaks”.  came to faith in Jesus as Messiah as a direct result of watching the television film, “Jesus of Nazareth” by Franco Zefferelli in 1977. From that moment on I began to read the Old Testament and discovered that believing in Jesus was the fulfillment of my Jewish faith.

3. If you could have a holiday in any country in the world what would it be and why?
Well just like my character Rebecca, in In Plain Sight, I really want to go to Germany and tour the Neuschwanstein castle in Bavaria, Germany (it's on my "bucket list"), I also want to see Italy, France and Switzerland.

4. The two books I have reviewed, Make a Wish and In Plain Sight are both very different, with unusual themes. How did you come up with the idea for these.

Make a Wish had a very innocent beginning. A good friend of mine, Henry, who has been a quadriplegic since the age of 14 (and is now in his early 50s at the time of this writing), was really down in the dumps. He had been stood up for a fishing trip and because of his condition; he is subject to the schedules and whims of others. He wouldn’t get out of bed, wouldn’t do anything and his wife Vicki had given up trying to coax him. Henry and I had become good friends ever since Vicki reviewed my book, The Victor, on her blog.

I had already spoken with Henry several times before this so I was distressed when I heard how low he was feeling. But what could I do? I lived on the west coast and he lived on the east coast. How could I possibly cheer him up? Then a light bulb went on over my head and I thought, “I can write him a story”…and that’s exactly what I did. I wrote “A Gift for Henry” in about one hour and then emailed it to them that night. The first thing the next morning I checked my email to see what the response was. Well…it was amazing! Vicki had written me and told me that they had wept for 20 minutes after reading it. That it had truly been inspired of God because of the details I put in that I were not aware that were perfect for Henry. Such as the smell of orange blossoms being his favorite, how he was always trying to wiggle his toes to see if they had started working and that all he wants to do when he gets to heaven is to run, run, run for the Lord.
All of these stories were written as gifts for others either because I was inspired to do so or because they were requested. Some are deeply emotional, heartfelt and inspirational while others are just fun.
For In Plain Sight I was asked to write an Amish fiction. Being from Southern California, the land of "fruits and nuts" and having no real experience of Amish except as a tourist, I was wondering what I could possibly write about. I didn't want to do the same exact thing that had been done hundreds of times by many other authors. So I wrote the back blurb first and then married ideas from "Out of the Silent Planet" by C.S. Lewis, Romeo and Juliet, the movie "Signs" with Mel Gibson and the book cover of "The Host" by Stephanie Meyer. I really had no idea what I was going to write when I started; it was literally like pulling teeth until I got halfway and the inspiration kicked in on all cylinders. Then the story began to write itself.

5. You have written another book, the Victor. Could you tell us a bit about this.

The Victor is "my baby". I was inspired with the idea by an Amy Grant song from 30 years ago called "Fairytale". There was a verse in that song that said: "Two princes wage the battle for eternity by The Victor has been known from the start". I began to write the book on a typewriter at work when I had nothing else to do and it took me about a year to finish the first draft. For the next 25 years I wrote and rewrote it and as I grew and matured, the story matured with me. Shortly after I began to write the first draft, I asked the Lord for a scripture verse that would confirm my belief that the idea had come from Him and the response of "Psalm 45" popped into my head. The first verse said: "My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer." The rest of the Psalm describes the wedding of the King to his bride which I use almost in its entirety at the end of the book.

6. An easy one to finish and a question dear to my heart as I love eating, what is your favourite type of food.Like most Jewish people I love good Chinese food. Also deli...Italian...and fried chicken (I've been fasting for the past 13 days for my country to turn back to God so can you tell I'm hungry?
Thank you Marlayne, you seem such a busy person, working full time, looking after your family and still writing books that bring, us and so many other people pleasure. Sorry about the last question, I'd forgotten that you were doing a 40 day fast for America when I asked it :-) I ahve to say I am impressed that you can do this, I am sure I would find it difficult to fast for 40 minutes. It is really great to have had you join us, and thank you for your patience, in answering the questions of a firly novice blogger.
My review of Make a Wish: I wasn't sure what I would think about this book as I don't usually read short stories. To be honest I often find them lacking in substance. However this was certainly not the case with this book which turned out to be exceptional and far above my expectations. Each chapter tells you a little bit about a real life person and then has a short story based on a wish they have made. The real life stories are emotional but the fiction stories based upon them are real tear jerkers. Marlayne's writing brings the stories to life and I actually felt like they were happening. I found myself crying several times, which at one point was a bit embarrassing as I was in a hospital waiting room. I'm sure everyone wondered what was up. However, do not get the idea this is a sad book, these were tears of joy and happiness. The character's faith in God shines through in every page, and a few times I felt my faith being strengthened. Despite not having had the difficulties that any of the characters faced, I found that some of them definitely resonated with me. I would highly recommend this book and it would also be a great book to give Christian friends and family as presents. I wont say if I'm going to do this as many of my friends and family read my blog and I wouldn't want to give the game away.
 My Review of In Plain Sight: I am usually fairly eloquent but for once I am struggling to describe this book, and trust me that is a good thing. The story involves two young Amish men who appear, as if from nowhere, in an Amish Community. A relationship quickly builds up between one of them, Seth, and a young woman from the community. What genre does it fall into, it's Amish, it's contemporary fiction, it's a romance, it's a mystery, it's sci fi, it's fantasy, it's Christian, it's biblical, it's paranormal, in fact it's all these and more wrapped up into one fantastic story. I started reading with a little bit of trepedation as I'm not really a paranormal fan and I was a bit puzzled as to what it was really all about,and how Amish and Paranormal would fit together. However, I like Amish books so I thought I would give it a go. Marlayne's writing soon swept me up into the story, and I was completely hooked. I loved all the characters and they were all true to life. Seth and Silas's characters were extremely well drawn and I could picture them perfectly. It's a story where you need to suspend belief and go with the flow and it is extremely entertaining, involving and engrossing. I had to keep reading to find out what happened. I couldn't figure out at all how this was going to end, and when the end came it was a complete surprise. However, I realised the clues were there all along, and I should have known. This is a book that everyone should read, whatever genre you like. There is something here for everyone. Buy it and read it immediately. You will not regret it. It is 100% entertainment.
You tube links for the book trailers
Well, I am sure you will agree, another fascinating insight into the life of an author, and some differetn books to read. And remember, we all love reading. See you next week with another author interview in Bookaholics.



Saturday, 29 September 2012

Author Interview with Karen Arnpriester

When I started writing my bookaholics blog I didn't realise what an exciting journey it would be. I am apssionate about reading, as you will know if you have been following my blog, but even more exciting is the fact that Authors are kind enough to take time out of their busy lives to be interviewed. This week we have an interview with Christian Author Karen Arnpriester. Karen has written two fabulous books which I will also review today. .


Raiders Vendetta can be bought from Amazon UK here and US here
Anessia's Quest can be bought from Amazon UK Here and US here
These can also be bought in your local Christian Bookshop

I would like to start by welcoming Karen and thanking her for giving up some of her precious time to tell us about herself and her writing.

1. Firstly, before we start it would be really good if you could tell us a bit about yourself.

I own my own graphic art business, Karen's Koncepts. My husband and I became foster parents two and half years ago. We are weeks away from adopting our two girls. 15 and 7. I started writing three years ago and just released my second novel. I am a Christian woman, but kinda on the edgier side I guess you'd say. I struggled with my faith and belief in God for many years before realizing I had to make a decision. We live in central California. We own two dogs and a stray cat that visits periodically for food. Between my husband and myself, we have four grown children, seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren. I love movies, music, reading, writing and art.
2. Your faith is obviously important to you, and this comes out in your writing. How would you say your Christian faith has helped you as a writer.

My faith is why I write. I never had the desire to become an author. I made up stories for my kids when they were young but thats about it. My women's group at church announced that they were doing a testimonial book for a fund raiser. I submitted several stories regarding my relationship with God. Several women asked if I had considered writing. They loved my contributions. This planted a seed. I then read The Shack. This book changed how I looked at Christian fiction. I was a Koontz and King fan most of my life. I story began to simmer and I started writing my first book. A good friend from church read as I wrote and encouraged me to continue. It became a wonderful journey. I had no idea what I was going to write until I typed it. I felt God's lead in much of the story. I would get stuck or backed into a corner, and I would suddenly get a clear picture in my head where I should take the characters. It was truly a collaboration with my Dad (God). I believe that I will touch lives with my stories.
3. Without giving too much away, Anessia's quest has an unusual theme with a real twist. Where did you get the idea for this book.

I always wondered WHAT IF? It is so hard to explain without giving away the plot and twists. I knew how I wanted it to start and how it would end, the journey in between was totally unplanned.

4. Your books bring pleasure to so many people, but what books bring you pleasure. What would you say was your favourite Christian book and favourite non Christian book.

My favorite Christian book was THE SHACK. I was really struggling with some tough questions about my faith at the time and this book really spoke to me. It showed me that you can look at things from a different place, not the staunchy, traditional place we were taught. My favorite non-Christian may surprise you. Dean Koontz wrote several books that I just love and will reread. The Husband, Frankenstein Series, Watchers and Life Expectancy are some of my absolute favorites. I love a mystery or thriller with twists and turns. I figure out things very quickly, so if I find an author or movie that trick me, I love it. Sixth Sense was one of the few movies that I said WHAT????? at the end. I went back right away and watched carefully to see how they tricked me.
5. As a writer what is a typical day like for you?
I am up at 5 or 5:30, once awake, I check emails, posts, etc. Girls are up at 7:30, I keep them moving, and then off to school. I work on my graphic art projects until 3:30 when my older daughter comes home. We visit, chat about school. I usually work until 5:00, pick up youngest from after school program. Homework, dinner, baths, tucking in. By now it's 9:00. I then either pass out watching tv or write. Now that I'm marketing my second book, it is hard to find time to write. Some evenings are taking girls to church youth events, dance lessons, or school activities. Weekends vary, sometimes it's cleaning up a trashed house that's been ignored all week, book events, movies, general life events. Not too terribly exciting, but fulfilling.

6. Can you tell us a bit about Raiders Vendetta?

This book is very different from Anessia's Quest, my first. This is a Christian thriller with lots of surprises. I took full advantage of miracles and had fun with the unique ways Heaven intervened. The bad guy is filled with a fury for God and torments his hostage once he discovers that she is a Christian. A battle of will and faith begins. The questions that Raider struggles with were my questions. Questions that kept me from a relationship with God. This book hits these tough questions head on, which most Christian books will not do. I loved writing Raider's character. We go through live pretending everything is okay, we're not mad, blah blah blah. Being nice and appropriate. To get to think vindictive and mean was really fun in a deranged sort of way.

7. Finally, the question I am sure everyone wants to ask, have you got any more books planned.

Yes, my third book is in the works. I am fictionalizing my own story. I was one of those kids that was bullied horribly in school. Fifth grade through to the ninth. Some very interesting stories about myself and other kids that had to survive. The belittlement dramatically shaped my self image and affected life decisions I made. I would say that I was forty before really understanding how I allowed the experiences to take away the joy in life. I looked for acceptance and validation from others, which can be very unhealthy. If I can help other teens and parents to see how damaging bullying and isolating can be, then it will be worth dredging up all the pain.

Wow Karen, you are such a busy lady, I cannot beleive how muich you pack into your life, and yet you still write books whch give so many people pleasure. It really sounds like you have your hands full, so I am even more appreciative of your taking time to join us today. I loved both of your books and I am sure this will be indicted in my reviews below

ANNESIA'S QUEST: This has to be one of the best books I have read in a long time, and that, from someone who has read a lot of good books recently, is high praise indeed. Initially I was a little puzzled as to where the book was going until I realised that the first few pages were about the guardian angel. Once I got this straight in my head, I was quickly immersed in the story. This is the story of Pagne a young woman who is born to a dysfunctional and abusive mother. She ends up in the American foster care system, and I cannot say too muych more without giving the game away. The book drew me in almost from the beginning and from there it was a rollercoaster ride of emotions. I read the whole book in one day and cried through most of it. Don't get the impression this is a sad book as there were as many tears of joy as there were sadness. Karen  uses words to brilliant effect in order to garner this level of emotion, and this is a true sign of a gifted writer. I loved the characters, who were lifelike and real. This is a Christian book, but the Christianity is not all syrupy sweet. The characters have periods of doubt, and their own inner demons sometimes drive them in ways which are not honouring to God. This ensures that the characters are shown realsitically rather than cardboard cut out Christians. The ending was superb, and a real surprise to me. You can probably tell I loved this book, and I really would highly recommend it.

RAIDER'S VENDETTA: Wow. What can I say bout this book and give you the full flavour of what it is actually like. In this book, karen Arnpriester picks up the story of one of the minor characters from her first book Anessia's quest. You don't need to have read the first book as this one stands alone. There are a couple of very subtle places where the stories intertwine but you do not need to know them to enjoy the book. This is the story of a woman who is caught up in a bank raid when she goes into the bank one morning. She is then kidnapped and held to ransom by one of the raiders. This book is non stop action, and there were times I was on the edge of my seat, literally holding my breath to see what would happen next. There is a really strong emphasis on Christianity and relying on the presence and support of God in this book, but it is a real and very essential part of the story. This is so much more than an action adventure, it is also a roller coaster ride of emotions. The people are real, they are dysfunctional, they are kind, they are cruel, they doubt God and they shout out to God, both sides of every coin, which is what makes them real people, with real worries and concerns. I loved this book, I liked and hated the characters as I was meant to, I emphasised with them and I rooted for them in turn. There are also some real twists in this book with surprises I did not seem coming. If you like Christian fiction with an edge, then this is the book for you.

Book Trailer for Raiders Vendetta on YouTube
Book Trailer for Anessia's Quest on YouTube
Anessia's Quest Web Page
Raider's Vendetta Web Page

I hope you enjoyed getting to know Karen as much as I did, and as I say I would highly recommend both these books. Till next time, keep reading and remember whatever the weather it's always an excuse for finding a good book.


Monday, 24 September 2012

A Man of Honor

To buy from Amazon UK click here
To Buy from Amazon US click here
This book can also be purchased in paperback from your local Christian Bookshop
Loree Loughs First Responder series is based on those who are closely linked to the events of 9/11. This is the third book in the series and, having read them all I can assure you that this one is certainly a worthy sequal. This book does not realy on the others for a back story so it does not matter in which order you read them.
This is esentially a romance, but I found it to be so much more than that. It is also a story of hope, of caring for others and of thinking of and putting yourself out for others. Dusty Parker is a part time pastor as well as running a home for teenaged boys who come from a troubled past. He also volunteers as a first responder, in which role he has repsonded to a call to look for a young girl who ahs gone missing. Grace Sinclair is a School Teacher who cares about the students in her charge, and meets Dusty whilst they are both searching for the girl, who is one of her students. Their attraction to each other is evident from the beginning. This is their story as well as that of a number of others with whom they live and work. They both have inner demons following 9/11 and this has made them so much more responsive to others who also have problems.
Loree Lough has an excellent wrting style which draws you into the story. She paints a picture of the characters so vivid you find yourself imagining them and empathising with them. As I said this is so much more than a romance, the story unfolds at a steady pace and then delivers a couple of real shocks about 2/3 of the way through the book. I cannot say too much without spoiling the plot, but I can say they are major and quite unexpected. My emotions were all over the place in this book which is the mark of a good writer. I laughed, I cired and experienced the gamut of feelings in between.  This is a Christian novel and the Christian theme is strong throughout the book, however, this is blended in well, and comes across as being completely natural. Their faith is part of who the characters are, and makes them the people they are.
So as I say, so much more than a romance. This is a story of hope, redemption and a strong conviction that no matter what the situation God is with you and will not turn from you. It is one of love, not just the love that Dusty and Grace have for each other, but the love they also have for others, particularly those in trouble.
I would highly recommend this book and any other in the series. This is a story with which you could curl up on a rainy afternoon and forget the raging storms outside.

I was given a copy of this book from the publishers for review. This has in no way impacted on my review which is fair and impartial based on my reading of the book.

So until next time enjoy whatever book you are reading and I'll see you all again next week. 

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Psalms of Hope

 Link to Amazon UK Here
Link to Amazon US Here

We are currently living in difficult and troubled times. The world seems to be in turmoil and news of the ever escalating economic crises bombards us from every angle. There has never been a time when we need the hope, we can only get from god, more. The book I am reviewing today points you to this hope through 10 of the Psalms.

I was fortunate to be a Beta Reader for this book, and wanted to share it with everyone and shout it from the rooftops immediately. However, for obvious reasons , I had to contain my impatience until it was published.

This book provides an overview and in depth study of 10 of the Psalms of hope. Bob Saffron has a real understanding and love of these Psalms and it is obvious that he wants to share this throughout each page. This is not a superficial study but one which asks you to look at your emotions in light of what David was feeling when he wrote these Psalms. I now feel I know David more intimately having shared in the pain and suffering he felt whilst writing them.. However, this is not a book which foccuses on suffering but on the hope David felt in whichever circumstance he found himself. He had a sure knowledge that God was there beside him, wherever he was, or whatever he might have been doing. Despite the distance in time from when David wrote these, to my modern day existence, I could find myself identifying with many of his situations and feelings.

Each chapter of the book covers a different Psalm and at the end there are a set of questions called Life Lessons. These are an integral part of the study, and I found them to be quite insightful. They encourage you to ask searching questions, the answers to which will demonstrate your relationship with God and the application of the Psalm to your life today.

This is not a book to read and forget. It can  be used for either group or individual study. I found that the best way to use the book was to read the Psalm a couple of times, read the commentary and pray before and whilst thinking about and answering the questions. This gave me, not only a deeper understanding of the Psalm, but of myself, and the hope that I have in God, and the way he answers me and gives me hope in even the simple things.

I would highly recommend this book, I have been blessed by reading it, and am so pleased I am now able to share it with you. Read it, enjoy it and learn more about God and yourself through it.

Although this book is currently only available on kindle it will be released in paperback in the near future.

Monday, 17 September 2012

We've Gone all Historical

No not hysterical, Historical. Although I suppose you could say we are hysterical about history. This week we are going to do a little time travel and go back to places and events which we often hear about. The authors in this weeks four fabulous books, will transport you back to a time you can only imagine. We are going to spend time in The American Revolution, Victorian England and post WW2 Germany. What no Scotland? That I will have to address soon I feel :-) We have Murder Mystery, Romantic Suspense and Romance/Family Drama. Surely something for everyone in this weeks offerings.

We are going to start our trip through time in America during the Revolutionfor no other reason that it is first on our timeline. The first 2 Books are by author Rita Gerlach who I interviewed in last weeks Blog post. This is the first two books in her daughters of the Potomac Trilogy.

The first in the Trilogy is Before the Scarlet Dawn. This is the story of   feisty heroine Eliza, who after losing both her father and brother in the same day, marries Hayward and moves out to the colonies with him. I loved Eliza and the way she fights for what she believes.On the other hand, I was in two minds about her husband Hayward, who displayed as many unlikeable traits, as likeable. It is, however, apparent that he loves his wife. Haywards, story is part of the story and gives it a richness it would otherwise lack. It is good to have real and honest characters in a novel, ensuring a balance that is often missing in so many books these days. . The story is extremely well written, you really get the sense of America at the time, and how the civil war impacted on ordinary people. You also get to know a lot about the English class system, which seemed to continue free and unfettered in America.

I was fortunate to be given an advance copy of the second book in the trilogy  Beside Two Rivers  by the publishers. I loved this book but I am going to be honest and say I am struggling to know what to say about it. This is not because I don't have a lot to say, but I don't want to give too much away about the plot of  the first book. We are once again on the banks of the Potomac River, following the story of another feisty yet loving and kind young woman called Darcy. It is also the story of Ethan, with whom Darcy falls in love. There are a lot of elements and strands to this book but Rita pulls them together beautifully, weaving a tale which draws you completely into the story. I found myself reading long into the night to finish. About half way through the book the plot moves once more to England, bringing in characters from the first book getting to know more about them, and changing the way you feel about them. It is an emotional book and the characterisation is outstanding. I felt I knew every single person personally, and really cared about their lives. This book will be released in the UK on 01 October 2012. Unfortunately the next book in the trilogy Beyond the Valley will not be released until February 2013. How can I wait that long for the conclusion to this :-( Oh well, it will be all the better when it arrives :-)

Both of these are faith based books and the Christian ethos is strong. However, this does not at any point overwhelm and the books could be read by Christians and non-Christians alike.

Back into our time capsule as we are now moving forward in time to Dickensian London with a book title based on the graveyard in one of Dickens books.

Again, I was fortunate to be given a review copy of Tom All Alone's by Waterstones Bookshops and the book can be bought from them here. However, I realise this is a British bookshop so not accessible to my international readers so I will point out it can also be bought from Amazon in whichever country you reside. It is based on Charles Dickens novel bleak house, bringing it up to date for the modern reader. and is extremely well done. I could actually believe I was reading a Dickens novel and was back in Victorian London. The opening prologue is atmospheric and sets the scene well. I thought the characters were well written and I found I could empathise with them and picture them well. The descriptions of Victorian London are spot on and at times very graphic. The main character Charles Maddox is a likeable chap and I really loved his uncle who is just like many old men of his age. His character made me chuckle. I liked the ending and despite having read Bleak House some number of years ago I was taken completely by surprise. Overall, I enjoyed the book, but a couple of times I found it a little bit slow. I am also a lover of Dickens novels so was comfortable with the writing style, but some people may struggle a little to start with. If you do not like Dickens then this would not be the book for you.

This is not a Christian book, but again it is a book which could be read by anyone. When I say that some of the descriptions are graphic I mean the descriptions of Victorian London rather than sex, swearing and murder.

Once again it's back to our time capsule to finish our little stroll through history, in post WW2 Germany. Having served in Germany during my time in the Military this was particularly interesting to me. I have seen modern Germany, so it was interesting to see what the towns and Cities were like prior to all the rebuilding which went on after the war.

Just in case you think I am only reviewing books I receive free for reviewing I paid good money for Songbird Under a German Moon and it was worth every penny.  This is the Story of Betty, a young American girl who goes out to Germany just after WW2 to sing for the troops who remain there. On the way she meets a US Army "Photographer" Frank, who has a double role as an agent. Other people say this is somewhat implausible, but I do not find this implausible at all., and if you do, it's a novel and some level of poetic licence has to come into play. The story is well written and both mystery and romance are there in equal measure. Although I started to guess who the protagonist was near the end I still feel the suspense built up well and had me enthralled. The ending was excellent and came as a complete surprise to me. This is a Christian book, written by a Christian author, but this is not overwhelming and fits into the story well. If you like this genre then I could highly recommend this book, as a light ready for a rainy afternoon. Tricia Goyer is an excellent author, who has written a number of books, both fiction and non-fiction and I would highly recommend her as an author.

I know I was given a couple of these books to review, so I need to add that these were fair and honest reviews based on my thoughts on the books. I was not asked by the publishers to give favourable reviews and if I had not liked the books I would have said so.

Well ladies and gentlemen that concludes our trip today. I hope you had a safe an pleasant journey, and enjoyed reading the reviews. I hope you find some books you like amongst them, and you enjoy reading them. I'm now wondering what I could read out of my vast library for my next Blog. All will be revealed next week. Until then, keep reading


Saturday, 8 September 2012

Interview With Rita Gerlach

   Book 1 in The Daughters of the Potomac Series    Book 2    Beyond the Valley (Daughters of the Potomac, # 3)         
I am very excited this week to welcome Rita Gerlach to the Bookaholics blog. Rita is a best selling Christian author who has written a number of Historical Fiction Books. One of my personal favourites is The Rebels Pledge. This is the story of Matthew Hale who is sent to the American Colonies as a slave, having rebelled against the evil King James. His Godly owner, sets him free and asks him to return to Britain to bring his daughter to America. It's the sort of book you can't stop reading, and the characters are so alive they leap from the pages and are a part of your life. Rita has also written The Daughters of the Potomac Series, book one of which, Before the Scarlet Dawn  is already available to buy, with book 2, Beside Two Rivers being released on 1st of October, and is available to preorder. The Third book in the series Beyond the Valley, will be available in February 2013.
I would like to thank Rita for taking time out of her hectic schedule to tell us a bit more about herself and her books. This is the first interview I have undertaken for the blog and Rita has been very gracious in helping me, a fairly rookie blogger.
1. Could I start by asking you to tell us a little bit about yourself
I’m a middle child from a large family. I had a vivid imagination, still do, and made lots of stories up. I have a memory as a preschooler standing in my mother’s kitchen chattering on and on about some event. She paused from washing the dishes and said, ‘Re Re, are you telling me a story?” I smiled and nodded that I was. And here I am so many years later, still telling stories. Only now I’m writing them down.
I married my high school sweetheart — a state champion gymnast back in the day, who traded in tumbling for fly-fishing and raising our two sons. I was a stay at home mom thankfully to his job, and was able to write full-time while the boys were in school.  We live in central Maryland in a town rife with history that dates back to the French and Indian War. Besides writing, I love photography, quilting, and exploring out of the way historical places.
2. You obviously love writing historical fiction. Where did you get your passion for this genre?
I think it was borne in me as a child. Old black and white movies would come on television that I was riveted to. I know this because anything else did not hold my attention. Some of those films that influenced me were Captain Blood, The Sea Hawk, Frenchman’s Creek, Jane Eyre, Pride & Prejudice, and Jamaica Inn. Later on Masterpiece Theater stirred my passion for historicals with Poldark. I read all these novels and so the seeds were sown into my heart. In all these novels I saw faith, but they went deeper into the human heart, into the hardships people face no matter who or what they are. Not even the most spiritual of characters has a trouble-free character. That is what molded my passion for writing historical dramas.

3. If you were able to go back to any other time period, what would it be?
Oh, that would be a hard decision to make. I would love to live for a while in the Hope Valley, Derbyshire during the Regency period. I would also love to live along the Potomac River in the colonial era. It would be amazing to see how it looked in a time when there were not paved roads, cars, airplanes, or trains. However, I think I would find life a little easier in England than in the wilderness of Maryland where life was a fight for survival.
4. You have so many interesting characters in your novels. Which is your favourite and why?
My favorite hero is Matthew Hale in The Rebel’s Pledge. Matthew possesses all the qualities of gallantry and bravery. His father, a respected physician, and his kind mother, raised him to be a man committed to the scriptures, and reliant on his faith in God’s mercy. His belief in the biblical mandate for husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church and laid his life down for it, is the premise for his pledge to protect Lara—even before he lays eyes on her.
My favorite heroine is Darcy in Beside Two Rivers. Darcy has courage and an adventurous spirit. However, she has an impulsive streak that leads her into trouble. Strong willed and independent, she relies upon an uncomplicated faith and an unwavering trust in God that He will lead her in the way she should go.
5. What advice would you give to anyone thinking about writing Christian Fiction?
I have an article on my website for aspiring writers called Perseverance, Patience, and Humility. It is my story of how I acquired a contract and encouragement for writers. In it I share the following.
No matter what happens, if you have a burning passion in your soul to write, never let rejections discourage you.  It may take a while to produce a polished manuscript. It may take a long time to find the publisher that is right for you.  I learned waiting for that to happen was worth it.
The industry may be tough. But there is one thing for certain. Whether you are published or not, no one can say you are not a writer, and no one can take away the talent that God gave you. Only you can decide what you will do with it.
Read bestselling books on writing. Learn everything you can about the craft, from character development to plotting, to how to write tight. Study how to edit your work. Study the industry and get an understanding of how publishing works. Read bestselling books within your genre. Listen to seasoned authors advice. Above all do not let discouragements get the best of you, and do not write for fame or fortune, or the praise of others. If that is your goal, you are starting out for all the wrong reasons. Write because you love it and because God blessed you with a talent.
My website is
Thank you once again Rita. It has been a real pleasure finding out more about you and great advice for all budding authors out there. I agree with you about Matthew Hale, I think I fell in love with him myself. I can't wait to read Beside Two Rivers, and find out more about Darcy. She sounds a bit like me. Rita, if you like history then you need to come and visit Scotland, where there is history around every corner :-) 
You can find the Link for Rita's Amazon UK authors page Here and Amazon US author page Here
I hope you enjoy reading Rita's books. I certainly do. Have a great week everyone and whatever you are reading enjoy it.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Special Giveaway

This is not my usual weekly blog but a link to a special giveaway on another blog. Now being Scottish I am always keen to find a bargain, but a $300 giveaway for Amazon US is one awesome giveaway. Before you think my Scottish nature is changing rapidly and I am giving this away myself, fear not :-)

This giveaway is brought to you by Christian Fiction Book Reviews and a number of Christian authors who are very generously donating the money between them.

Now I know a number of you who are not living in the USA are thinking what use is an Amazon US gift voucher to me. Well, panic ye not. You can register on Amazon US with your UK email address. As long as you have a US gift card or credit card, you are cooking on gas, or buying books anyway.

So why not pop along to the Christian Book Reviews Blog and follow what it says to do. You never know you might be buying lots of lovely books before you know where you are. Perfect for someone who writes a bookaholics blog don't you think.

My usual blog will resume in the next couple of days, with an exciting author interview, so well worth looking out for. Good luck with the contest. Actually why am I saying that, I want to win it myself. Until next time, choose a good book and enjoy reading.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Lets Go Deeper

A bit of an enigmatic title today, but this book, and my title, have got me thinking. In so many situations in life we are superficial and don't really go deeper than the surface. This can be particularly true when it comes to bible study. Although I read the bible I came to the realisation that I needed to go deeper and to really study the bible and how it applies to my life. The book I am reviewing has really helped me to do that, and I wanted to share with you today why this is the case. I have been using this book to support my bible study for some time, but am blogging about it now because I now feel better placed to give a proper overview of the book. This is not a "read it and put it aside" book. But one which you will use regularly to develop your study of the bible.

How to Study the Bible for Yourself

How to Study the Bible for Yourself

Firstly, I need to explain that I have read several of Tim LaHaye's books and I really like his writing. However, you do not need to be a Tim LaHaye fan to enjoy and make use of this book. Can I hear a collective sigh of relief from all those who either, have never heard of him or are not a great fan of some of his other work.

The purpose of this book is to help you really understand the bible through a systematic and thorough study by yourself. It is not a commentary, and will not give expanations or expositions of any of the books or the text. So what does it do then, I can hear you ask.

What it does is help you to approach your bible study in a systematic way, exploring the themes and principles and key teachings and verses. It will help you to develop strong habits in bible study, allowing you to discuss the bible with others and apply it to your life. Ok, I have to admit some of that came from the blurb on the back, but it portrays the essence of this book perfectly. But more than this it explains how to read the bible and gives different methods for doing this. It takes you in detail through these, such as studying the bible by books, subject analysis or chapters. It sets out a bible reading plan which helps you read the whole bible from cover to cover. This is not the start in Genesis finish in Revelation style of study but uses a different approach, starting with 1 John. LaHaye is very clear about why you are starting with this book and what it will do to help you in your spiritual life.

This is an excellent book which has inspired me and really encouraged me to take my study of the bible more seriously. However, this is not a book for the faint hearted. In the first week you are encouraged to read 1 John seven times, and keep a spiritual diary. It takes between 30-60 minutes a day depending on what approach you take. You are also encouraged to keep a spiritual diary, and to memorise bible verses each day. However, I have not found this to be difficult to do. For example when memorising verses, LaHaye suggests you write them on a small card which you carry around with you. You then memorise them when you have a few moments throguhout the day. I have put them on my phone in a free word processing app so always have them with me. If you are anything like me you will never be far from your phone.

I think I need to finish there before my blog is as long as the book. This is an excellent book which I would advise anyone to buy if they are serious about their study of the bible. This is a paperback and not available on kindle. However, it is not that big and you can take it anywhere. It was one of the few paperbacks I took on my recent trip to Cambodia, and given todays weight limits that should give you some indication of how I rate the book. My hope is that you will enjoy this book. My prayer is that you will find yourself going deeper with God through your study of the bible.

Till next time, keep reading.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

It's Autobiography Time

I was recently asked the question Why do you enjoy reading biographies? My answer to this question was - they inspire me and make me look at life in different way. They make me try different things and give me an insight into a world in which I would not normally play a part. Christian biographies make me realise that often I am not on my own in the way I feel and that there are many others who stand beside me. They make me marvel and wonder and cheer at the people who are portrayed in them, and take me away from my own world for a brief period of time.

The two books in todays blog certainly cover all of those points and more. I have read both of them this week and although both different, they each demonstrate that we as humans have a teancity of will and spirit which can go beyond what we could ever think we could bear.

The first, and this is in no order of favouritism or liking one more than the other is Hiking Through: One Mans Journey to Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail by Paul V. Stutzman.

This book had me so engrossed I literally could not put it down, starting to read at midday and finishing at midnight. The book starts when the authors wife is firstly diagnosed with and then dies of cancer. In order to fulfill a promise to himself whilst she was ill he hikes the whole length of the appalachian trail in order to come to terms with her death, and work out his relationship with God, who he is busy blaming for her death. This book had me gripped from the get go. From the inital preparations for the hike, to the very final step I felt like I had gone every single step right alongside him, at all times being completely immersed in his story. Paul is an excellent writer and he brings the breathtaking scenery, the storms, the sunlight, the pain , the joy. the good days and the bad completely to life. I could imagine every single detail as though I were actually there. Paul at times hikes alone and at others is accompanied by a cast of colourful characters, these being the other hikers on the trail. At times eccentric, they still demonstrate the rich tapestry of people who each year take to the trail to complete its 2100 miles. But this is so much more than a physical tale it is also one of a spiritual seeking after God. Each person has their reasons for going on the trail, and for Paul this journey is one of finding himself closer to God. At times he speaks to, and is answered by, God. Although God is talked about and Pauls faith is real, this part of the story does not overwhelm and is a natural part of the story. There are moments of sadness, moments of laughter, moments of joy and many moments of just putting one foot in front of the other, but they all add to the richness of the story. When the final step was taken I felt like I was losing a good friend. I celebrated with him, and then had to move on. An excellent book which I would highly recommend.

The Mansion Across the Street (ACK ONLY)
My next book is The Mansion Across the Street: Abundantly Beyond all that We Ask or Think  by Rose Anne Daniels.

In this book the author gives an honest and brave account of her life, particularly her struggles with bipolar disorder. Having had a somewhat difficult and, in some ways, unconventional upbringing, her childhood and early life was not the easiest. Then in her twenties she was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and committed to a psychiatric hospital without her consent. This could be a book which is as depressing as the disorder of which it speaks, yet it is not. It is full of hope and courage and Rose Anne's faith in God shines through in every page. She does not feel sorry for herself, but lives her life to the full and in the way God would want her to. Her life and everything she does is firmly rooted in scripture. As I say the author is extremely honest and I felt that I was right there with her throughout. During this time Rose Ann knew that God was with her and would help her to get through anything.There were many times in this book where I found myself crying, but there are also many moments of joy, and sharing in Rose Anne's excitement of life. Despite being told she would never amount to much she now has a nursing degree and works with Brain Injured patients. This is a moving account which fills you with hope and gives you the courage and determination to deal with whatever situation God has put you in. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has or is interested in bipolar disorder, and to anyone who is struggling with their own issues. It will bring you hope.
As I say, two very different, but eqaully honest and encouraging memoirs. I am cetainly glad that each of the authors wrote them as they give me hope and strength that I can cope with any situation which may come my way. I feel as if I have made two friends, and far from leaving them behind, I know their words and actions will be with me well into the future. I hope you enjoy these books and until next time, keep reading.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

The Psalm 23 Mysteries

As you have probably gathered by now if you have been reading my blogs I have a wide taste in reading. My two favourite genres however, are Christian Literature (or fiction) and Murder Mysteries. This series The Psalm 23 Mysteries by Debbie Viguie combine both, so perfect for me then. These are mainly murder mysteries and the Christian Theme is subtle rather than in your face, about the right mixture I feel. There are 4 books in the series so far and today I am dedicating this blog to introducing you to all four books.

The first book The Lord is my Shepherd introduces you to Cindy, a church Secretary who, on going to work one morning stumbles over the body of a man, a parishioner, dead in the church sanctuary. Cindy's screams bring Jeremiah, the Rabbi from the Synagogue next door, running to her rescue. In this way the two main characters are introduced to us, and to each other. It is a fast apced opening to a book and the thrills, of what turns out to be a fast paced ride, continue from here. You never know what is going to happen next, and just when you think things are on an even keel, along comes something else which takes you completely by surprise. The characters are well drawn and completely believable. The intraction between Cindy, Jeremiah and the detective Mark is portrayed just right. We get to know enough about their background to keep us wanting to find out more in the next book. There are hints that Jeremiah is not all what he seems, enough to tantilise but not irritate.  Thre is also a frisson of interest between Cindy and Jeremiah, with enough happening to keep the reader interested, but enough left out to want you to keep reading the next book. The mystery is top notch and the scenes are described well, if a little graphically. I personally don't mind this but I have mentioned just in case it would not be everyone's cup of tea.

The second book in the series I shall not want is an excellent and certainly worthy follow up to the first.  The first body appears within the first few pages and they continue to come thick and fast. In this novel someone is murdering dog owners and stealing their dogs. The first murder is apparently unrelated to these events and this seems slightly puzzling, but the author pulls it in beautifully before the end. Cindy and Jeremiah are back in this book, although we do  hear slightly less of Jeremiah. This said we do get to see a bit more of who he really is and a little bit of insight into his mysterious past. That said it was just enough to keep you wanting to find out more. There is not so much interaction between Cindy and Jeremiah in this book either, but enough to keep us waiting for the next installment. The sign of a good writer I feel. This book would work as a stand alone with regards to the mystery element but you may be slightly confused with regards to the personal lives of, and interaction between, the main characters.

The third novel in the series is Lie Down in Green Pastures  and what a book it is. I read it from start to finish in one go barely taking a break. This is certainly a book which grabs you by the troat and holds your attention. Yet again Cindy and Jeremiah find themselves surrounded by a veritable array of dead bodies. Cindy is still in Town but Jeremiah has gone to a camp with a group of kids from both the church and the synagogue. He then gets stranded with some of the kids, and without giving the game away the tension builds rapidly from here, with of course, Cindy riding (figuratively) to the rescue. I certainly didn't guess the end or who did it. There is a cliff hanger at the end which will make you want to read the next book immediately. I, unfortunately, had to wait for some time for it to be released, but fortunately for anyone interested in reading these books it is now available.

The fourth novel in the series Beside Still Waters has only recently been released.  The continuing story  of Cindy and Jeremiah continues to delight and enthrall as have all three of the previous books which you will have seen by my reviews.  This is an excellent series and this book was as good as, if not better than, the others. Cindy, has gone off to Hawaii to have a well deserved rest, probably from the mayhem and madness and array of dead bodies which seem to litter her path and life. Needless to say she hasn't been there for long when she stumbles over, yes, another dead body and another murder. Someone then tries to murder her and she ends up kidnapped. Jeremiah, the Rabbi from the synagogue next door, who is mulling over his own dark and secret past, rushes to her aid the minute he realises she is missing. The action and tension in this book had me on the edge of my seat and breathless with excitement practically from the beginning. As the action unfolds we get to know a little more of Jeremiah's past, but you will need to read the book to find out what this is as I don't want to spoil the story. Jeremiah and Cindy's relationship also develops a little and we get to see more of their feelings for each other. With regards to whether the question of the cliffhanger is settled, again you will have to read the book. No plot spoilers here. This is an excellent book. If you have read the first three you will love it. If you haven't the mystery part will still be enjoyable but the relationships between the characters and the reasons they' are like they are will not. I would advise you to read them in order. A brilliant book which I would highly recommend.

I have not read any of Debbie Viguie's other books, but I would say from this series she is an excellent writer. She uses words to very good effect, to pull you into the story and to keep you wondering what is going to happen next. The plotlines in each and every book are superb, and highly entertaining. My only regret now is that book number five is not being released for some time. What on earth am I going to do to keep myself entertaned until then. Oh yes, I know, read some of the several thousand other books I have, and no I am not exagerating. See you next time in the bookaholics blog. Until then enjoy whatever book you are reading.