Kelly Klepfer came on board Novel Reviews several years ago as the Senior Editor through her connections with Gina Holmes, Ane Mulligan and Jessica Dotta of Novel Journey fame. Novel Reviews is the baby sister of the popular Novel Journey. At Novel Reviews we offer honest reviews of Christian and secular fiction titles and love to promote exceptional fiction. We began to do so after we met the authors via their interviews at Novel Journey. Disclaimer: Our reviewers are not paid for their reviews. Some may consider the receiving of a complimentary book or loosley bound manuscript (by publisher or author), as a form of compensation, so, be forewarned that our reviewers RECEIVE BOOKS. In our defense, it would be difficult to review without them. (Also, we are not affiliated or paid for any links to online bookstores.)
By Bryan Davis
Headline: The Time Has Come As the long-awaited invasion of human forces looms, Jason, Koren, and Elyssa struggle to alert the soldiers to an unforeseen menace on the planet of Starlight---a deadly illness has been released, one that already has Koren in its grip. Starlighter Cassabrie harbors a secret she believes can counter the devastation being unleashed by dragon king Taushin's latest maneuverings, but she can disclose little of her risky plan. As Cassabrie fights to save her people, the dragon Magnar works to move the Starlight prophecy in his favor. His actions could release an ancient race of dragon-like beings, making the plight of humans even more perilous. Wishing only to free the slaves and to bring peace, a few young warriors are poised to face three armies as they battle for control of two worlds. Can love, faith, and courage be enough? Will Cassabrie be the human's last hope?
Coming in on the fourth book of a series is always a tough transition, but author Bryan Davis did a great job of brining a newbie like me up to speed. Right from the start, I felt connected to the characters of Jayson, Elyssa and Koren.
Dragons are everywhere. Some are more easily controlled than others. The old adage of “Never trust a dragon” certainly plays out in this adventurous tale. And worse, many dragons are downright cruel, starving and whipping children an spreading a deadly disease to the masses.
I really like how the themes of justice and mercy are touched on throughout the book, cultivating in a very satisfying ending.
If dragons and lots of action are what you’re craving for a summertime read, LIBERATOR is the book to toss in your beach bag.
Reviewed by: Michelle Griep at: Michelle Griep
Echoes of Titanic
by Mindy Starns Clark
& John Campbell Clark
Published by Harvest House Publishers
Kelsey Tate comes from sturdy stock. Her great-grandmother Adele endured the sinking of Titanic and made it safely to America, where she not only survived but thrived. Generations later, Kelsey works for the firm Adele founded nearly 100 years ago.
Now facing a hostile takeover, the firm’s origins are challenged when new facts emerge about Adele’s actions on the night Titanic sank. Kelsey tries to defend the company and the great-grandmother she has long admired, but the stakes are raised when Kelsey’s boss is murdered and her own life threatened. Forced to seek help from Cole Thornton, a man Kelsey once loved—and lost, thanks to her success-at-all-costs mentality—she pursues mysteries both past and present. Aided by Cole and strengthened by the faith she’d all but forgotten in her climb up the corporate ladder, Kelsey races the clock to defend her family legacy, her livelihood, and ultimately her life.
I’ve never read a book by Mindy Starns Clark before and was thankful to receive a review copy of such a haunting, compelling, dramatic suspense novel. I liked the style in which the novel was written using two story lines; one from the present and one from the past. It was amazing how the two intertwined. This author’s husband John Campbell Clark is a lifelong Titanic buff so the setting for this story is fascinating and it addresses the fact that this is the 100th Anniversary year of the disaster.
It became so clear to me how a family’s heritage was very important from generation to generation. What I do today can and will affect my children, and their children’s children. The book opens up with Kelsey Tate giving a talk about her great-grandmother Adele at an event her families company hosted to commemorate the disaster. Adele was a Titanic survivor and founder of Brennan & Tate (over 100 years ago)
Gloria, Kelsey’s mentor is acting funny and leaves Kelsey to speak at this event alone. She tells Kelsey it’s her time to shine. She didn’t want to overshadow the young lady’s day. Everything they’d been doing lead up to this point. She knew Kelsey would make Adele proud.
Kelsey had always wanted to grow up to be like Adel, “who had found a way to have a successful career and a happy family and have a full life…Kelsey realized she had grown up to be just like Gloria, who was an empty workaholic who channeled all of her emotions and her energies onto her career, pursuing success at all costs. Kelsey had turned her back on God. She had nothing in life, nothing to live for.”
Then the author switches to the POV to Adel on the Titanic making plans to work at her father’s company when she arrived in American. Her role model was Margaret Brown who tells her, “If you want to invest, honey, look to the people and places the big boys are ignoring – women’s interests, for example, show me a woman with a good idea and a strong work ethic, I’ll show you somebody who can succeed like the dickens if she’s given a proper chance.”
“It is one thing to try to break down those barriers that stand in my way, Adele thought, and quite another, to help other women get started out as well, how fulfilling that would be.” Adele was a business minded woman in a time when that wasn’t fashionable.
In tracking down leads about her families past Kelsey questions her Grandpa Jonah. He reminds her, “The secret to a happy life is in the hanging on and in the letting go…., “Let go of your hurts, your grudges, and any possessions that aren’t a necessity. Hang on to your memories’, your loved ones, and most of all your faith. Do that, Little Bit, and your life will be more rewarding than you could ever imagine.”
“When did your heart check out of the equation entirely and turn you into this automation? This shell? (Kelsey’s mother asked her) ….I love you, honey, but I do not know you. What could possibly have happened in your life to bring you to this?”
Good question. Mom just didn’t understand business. Kelsey was trying to survive on her sinking ship, the family business. The scandal inside Brennan & Tate, rumors that were making the value of their stock plummet and recent disturbing discoveries about her families past made Kelsey think about her ex-boyfriend Cole, who left her and the company, after a deal went bad, “…looking back now, it struck Kelsey that it wasn’t just her under cutting of a deal that had ended their relationship. It had been her stubborn pride and her unwillingness even to consider that she’d been wrong to do what she did. Her refusal to apologize or even feel bad about it…Kelsey finally realized something. It was the after math of the event, far more than the event itself that had driven Cole away five years ago.”
Brennan & Tate was in the middle of a hostel take-over and the police wouldn’t say if her friend was murdered or committed suicide. Kelsey’s world was crashing in on her. Who could she turn to? Who could she trust? Kelsey was racing against time. Adele’s time on the Titanic was reaching the end of its existence. Time was running out for both ladies. Adele had secrets that Kelsey needed to know. Could she find the clues from the past in time to save the company?
Love this novel. I couldn’t put it down. I was so wrapped up with the characters and their pain and disappoint from both generations. I loved the style in which this author wrote this narrative just when I thought I had it all figured out then Kelsey would discover something new and it changed the way I thought the ending must be. It also changed the way I viewed the characters in the story. I was also on pins and needles for Adele as she was in the middle of a business deal herself that was turning out to be something unexpected. This book is filled with so much from the past and excitement in the future. I’ll definitely be reading more of these authors’ books. I highly recommend this book for reading and for a book club selection.
Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent at: The Book Club Network
by Jim Hamlett
Perfect Paperback: 329 pages
Publisher: Graceful Word
Two are better than one...for if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 ESV
Fresh from seminary, Moses Mackenzie leaves his beloved Scotland and travels to the rural upstate of South Carolina. He searches not only for work that will give meaning to his life, but for an answer to the question that has plagued him since childhood: How does the mutation of a single gene square with being ...fearfully and wonderfully made... ?
In South Carolina, Moe meets Kirk Vaughn, pastor of the Blue Ridge Fellowship, a man desperate for a miracle. When Kirk realizes the last candidate for associate pastor is a man named Moses, he believes God may be sending a prophet with the miracle the whole church is expecting. Full of anticipation, Kirk arrives at the airport to pick up their guest, but instead of the prophet-like figure he expects, he finds a dwarf in kilt a miniature Moses-in-a-skirt.
Through circumstances that neither man envisions, Moe and Kirk are thrown into a working relationship that tests their understanding of themselves, of each other, and of what it means to be a true friend. Each man travels to the end of his own way before realizing the answer to his need lies on a path he least expects.
Moe is a story of friendship of how desperately we need at least one true friend to help us up when the inevitable trials of life put us down.
Moe is one of the more unique books I’ve read of late. Jim Hamlett has taken a modern day story about the struggles of ministry and finding God in the midst of people’s expectations and good intentions and added some surprising elements to create a charming and thought provoking tale. A young preacher from Scotland crosses “the pond” to candidate in America for an assistant pastor position. He lands to discover a polished pastor, a strong elder board and a very ill pastor’s wife. Told through revolving points of view the reader gets a glimpse into Moe’s thoughts, Pastor Kirk’s and a few other key players as the story unfolds. Ultimately this story is about the things of God, His paths, and His plans, even when they don’t make sense.
I tend to avoid self-published books. Why? I never know what I’m going to get. Is the novel going to be a rambling tribute to the author’s dream of tweed with leather patched elbows, or is the book going to be rough as a cob with points of view all over the map in a single paragraph? Will the story be trite or clichéd or will it be a well written story that just isn’t easily pigeonholed into a hot selling genre? When I agree to read a book, I take that commitment seriously so my reading time is spread pretty thin. Once I open a book I usually know within a page or two if I can review it with any amount of positivity. When I find a book I can fall into and get lost, sigh, it's such a pleasure.
That said. Moe falls into the category of a very unique storyline and one written by an author without a massive selling platform. But, Hamlett’s not fitting the mold doesn’t mean the book isn’t a good read. On the contrary, Hamlett has all the skills and abilities of a good writer and storyteller. The pacing is just right. His characters are well developed and rich and even though he has several characters he juggles I didn’t get lost in the sea of people. The writing is spare but sense triggering. And the story is compelling on several levels. Overall I’m impressed and glad Mr. Hamlett took the necessary steps to polish his manuscript because it’s well worth the time investment.
Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer at: Scrambled Dregs