Wednesday, July 17, 2013

In Golden Splendor by Michael K Reynolds

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

In Golden Splendor

(B&H Books - July 15, 2013)


Michael Reynolds


Michael K. Reynolds is the writer and producer of Emmy and Telly Award-winning film campaigns and has more than two decades of experience in fiction, journalism, copywriting, and documentary production. He owns Global Studio, a marketing agency, and is also an active leader in church and business, speaking in both ministry and corporate settings. Michael lives with his wife and three children in Reno, Nevada.


Irish immigrant Seamus Hanley is a lost soul, haunted by his past as a U.S. Army deserter and living alone in the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains in 1849. But after witnessing a deadly stage coach crash, he finds purpose in the scattered wreckage -- a letter with a picture of a beautiful and captivating woman named Ashlyn living in San Francisco at the height of the Gold Rush.

Moved by her written plea for help, he abandons all and sets out on an epic journey across the wild and picturesque American frontier. While being pursued by those who want to hang him, Seamus encounters fascinating characters including a young Pauite Indian who makes the ultimate sacrifice in helping Seamus to cross the snowy Yosemite Valley.

Battered but changed for the better, Seamus reaches San Francisco on Christmas Eve as the city burns in the tragic fire of 1849. But there is little time for rest, as an even greater, more harrowing adventure involving Ashlyn is about to begin.

If you would like to read the first chapter of In Golden Splendor, go HERE.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Grounded by Dave & Neta Jackson

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


(Worthy Publishing - May 7, 2013)


Neta and Dave Jackson


As a husband/wife writing team, we are enthusiastic about books, kids, walking with God, gospel music, and each other! Together we are the authors or coauthors of over 120 books. (You can see our Publication Record by clicking HERE.) In addition to writing several books about Christian community, we have been privileged to coauthor numerous books with expert resource people on a variety of topics from racial reconciliation to medical ethics to ministry to kids in gangs.

But over the years the we have especially enjoyed writing for children and young people! This includes our award-winning TRAILBLAZER series, historical fiction about great Christian heroes and heroines for young people ages 8-12, and the four-volume HERO TALES: A Family Treasury of True Stories from the Lives of Great Christians, and the companion book, Heroes in Black History.

Somewhere along the way, our own children grew up! Son Julian is Director of Experience Design for the Alder Planetarium in Chicago where he “provides the experience of exploring space” for visitors. He has two sons, Liam Isaac and Elijah David. Daughter Rachel graduated from Eastern Mennonite University and after working in the field of rape-crisis prevention went on to earn a Masters Degree in counseling from the University of Illinois. She is now a counselor at “Uni High School” in Champaign, Illinois. She is the loving mother of Havah Noelle (our first grandchild!) and Noah Zion, our youngest grandchild. The Jackson family also includes a Cambodian foster daughter, Samen Sang, who has four children.

We live in Evanston, Illinois, where for twenty-seven years we were part of Reba Place Church, a Christian church community. We are now members of a multi-racial congregation in the Chicago area.


...But Hope May Be Just Across the Street

Grace Meredith is a beloved contemporary Christian recording artist whose career--and personal life--hits unexpected turbulence. She feels grounded--in more ways than one.

Grace's fiancé, bothered by her outspoken stance on purity and her near-constant travel, has broken off their relationship. Exhausted and unable to continue her current concert schedule, Grace returns home to Chicago, where she is soon stranded in a major snowstorm. Facing new questions about her future and her faith, Grace finds herself connecting for the first time with the residents of her neighborhood. What she discovers in these unexpected relationships could change everything.

Welcome to the Neighborhood

The first in the Windy City Neighbors series, Grounded is an uplifting, contemporary story about ordinary people wrestling with the spiritual and practical issues of real life. The series employs the innovative storytelling technique of parallel novels, each with its own drama and story arc, but whose characters lives become intertwined and affect one another. Grounded welcomes you to Beecham Street--a typical, isolated American neighborhood that might just be a place of hope.

My thoughts:

It's been a while since I last read something by Neta Jackson - the Yada Yada Prayer Group series a few years back. Somehow I just didn't fit in her "House of Hope" and "SouledOut Sisters" into my reading time. For some reason this series really drew me and I felt like I had to "make time" to read it. I'm glad I did!

I couldn't totally relate to all of Grace's specific circumstances, but I did find it easy to connect to her as she experiences some things that bring some of her latent fears to the surface as I am not the most "fearless" person around. I know it couldn't have been easy for Grace to let her guard down and trust her new neighbor, but you could really tell that as Estelle reached out with arms of compassion, Grace was able to set her reservations aside and allow Estelle to pray her through some tough times.

This story of Grace working to overcome the shadows of her past is one that will speak to many - even as it spoke to many of the people in the audience of the West Coast tour in the pages of the book. God's love is strong enough to reach us no matter how deep our hurts and His grace is greater than all of our fears. This story is for anyone who has been hurt or disappointed or someone who just needs a reminder of how big God is and how leaning on Him can help us when times are tough.

I give this book four stars - and I'm eagerly anticipating a return visit to Chicagoland in book 2,Derailed, due out in October.

My sincerest thanks to CFBA and Worthy Publishing for generously providing copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Grounded, go here.