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“The Preacher’s Bride” by Jody Hedlund

Book Cover - The Preacher's Bride

 

The power of Twitter can be remarkable. I ‘met’ Jody Hedlund a year ago while following a respected agent, Rachelle Gardner. Rachelle mentioned that “The Preacher’s Bride” was about to be released and I went to Jody’s blog, read it, then bought her book.

 

“The Preacher’s Bride” is an award winning, debut novel set in the time of Cromwell. I hadn’t read historical romance in a long time, and it was a pleasant surprise to return to that crowded arena with such a great, faith-based story. Elizabeth Whitbread defies the misguided leaders in her church in order to help a recently widowed man and his young children. John Crostin is determined to spread the Word of God throughout the countryside, but needs help with his household in order to do so. The two meet and despite many obstacles, help each other and unexpectedly fall in love.

 

The fight for religious freedom was a dangerous one in those days and being on the wrong side in politics sometimes landed you in jail (or worse) because of your religious beliefs. Hedlund based her novel on an actual couple, Elizabeth and John Bunyan, remembered in history because of “Pilgrim’s Progress.” John wrote this important piece of literature while sitting in jail for many years. It dealt with holding on to faith in the midst of incredible hardship, a tenet repeated in “The Preacher’s Bride.”

 

This book was a departure from what I usually review, but the memorable writing made “The Preacher’s Bride” a standout from the rest of its genre. It won the Colorado Romance Writers Award as well as the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award. I looked forward to reading Hedlund’s second book, “The Doctor’s Lady,” (it took First Place in The Golden Quill awards) and I was not disappointed. “Unending Devotion” came out this year and “A Noble Groom” is scheduled for 2013.

 

For more about Jody Hedlund and her books, visit http://jodyhedlund.com/

 

 

 

 

 

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“Killing Floor” by Lee Child

Book cover - Killing Floor

 

“I was arrested in Eno’s Diner” – the phrase that began the wildly successful Jack Reacher series.

 

Reacher strolls into a spotless, apparently prosperous little Georgia town, looking for a man his brother suggested he check out –  a musician from the area. Reacher eats breakfast in a brand new local diner and less than thirty minutes later, gets thrown in jail for a murder, just because he’s a stranger in town who passed a crime scene on his walk into the burg. But, he knows he hasn’t killed anybody. “Not for a long time, anyway.” Events go from bad to much worse. Within a few hours, he is taken to prison along with another innocent man and both are ‘mistakenly’ delivered to the 'Killing Floor.' Only Reacher’s exceptional skill set saves them from becoming two more bloody smears on the Floor.

 

Reacher is a loner who likes women and thinks of each of them kindly, fondly, respectfully. But, enjoying his six months of freedom on the road after years of following orders as a military brat and then doing a stint in the service as an MP, he is not thinking of settling in one place any time soon. He doesn’t even have a suitcase – he buys new clothes, takes the dirty ones off his back and throws them away. No need for a car either – he walks everywhere.

 

It is impossible to discuss the plot points without giving away the incredible story, but the thrill ride is spectacular and never disappoints. The bad guys are evil, the murders vicious and the twists and turns truly surprising. Throw in the reason for the entire town keeping a secret, as well as his own brother’s involvement in that secret, and Child hooks his readership for good.

 

“Killing Floor” was a solid beginning in 1997 to the tough guy Jack Reacher series and won the Anthony Award as well as the Barry Award. It is not a gentle read, but “Killing Floor” makes me want to find out more about Reacher’s inner workings. Lots of people choose to travel for a bit, but what would really cause Reacher to choose the life of a rambling man, off the radar, without even a mobile phone to call his own? Child has legions of fans that have followed the Reacher character through 17 books, quite satisfied with plots, action, and what makes Reacher tick. "A Wanted Man," published in 2012, received the UK National Book Award for Thriller and Crime Novel of the year.

 

Reacher enthusiasts are anticipating the release of the movie, "Jack Reacher," opening on December 21st. Tom Cruise fans (and detractors) are curious to see whether or not he measures up to the very tall shadow cast by the character developed during the 17 book (#18 comes out next year) run. Child is very happy with the casting and "Rolling Stone" says that Cruise nails it.

 

I can't wait.

 

(R for adult situations, violence, and some language.)

 

For more information about Lee Child and his books, visit www.leechild.com

 

 

 

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“The Reincarnationist” by M.J. Rose

 

"The Reincarnationist"

by M.J. Rose

 

A blinding flash from an explosion sends photojournalist Josh Ryder back into another era and into the life he left behind, over 1600 years ago. When he recovers from his near fatal injuries, he is back in the present, but his 21st century world has changed forever.

 

“The Reincarnationist” takes the reader on a quest to get to the root of Josh’s desperately disturbing images, a quest that uncovers a forbidden love in the time of ancient Rome and secrets that could change how the past merges with the present. Secrets for which people are willing to kill, no matter what the century.

 

Meticulously researched, “The Reincarnationist” delivers. Whether you believe in reincarnation or not, you will be intrigued by the plotting, the characters and the flashbacks between the centuries. And, you will completely believe that love has the power to reach across the ages to bring answers to the future that must be revealed.

 

I have a moviegoer’s approach when reading a work of fiction. I see the action and hear the dialogue as if I’m sitting in a movie theater and I become immersed as if I’m one of the participants. If the scenes don’t come alive for me, the author has left something on the editing floor.

 

In the case of “The Reincarnationist,” M.J. Rose has created an emotional, mental and visual canvas, a work easily transferred to the small or large screen. I hope that one day a movie producer will see the potential in this intelligent, fascinating tale. I’d love to have the DVD next to the book on my shelf.

 

"The Reincarnationist" was the first in this series. It was followed by "The Memorist," "The Hypnotist," and "The Book of Lost Fragrances," all as great as the first! Read the review of "The Book of Lost Fragrances" here.

*For more information about MJ Rose and her books, visit http://mjrose.com/content/

 

 

 

 

 

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