“Unlikely Praise” by Carla Rossi


Book Cover - Unlikely Praise


“Unlikely Praise” features Candi Canaberry, a terrific musician who leads the Praise & Worship team in a small, but growing, evangelical Texas church. She is a Worship Leader with lots of rules, a teacher at the local college, always dresses in skirts or suits, wears high heels even though they hurt, and she likes to be in control of every aspect of her life.


Pastor Charles is like a father figure to Candi and wishes to prepare for the growth that will occur when the church building expansion is complete. The Pastor knows that Candi will need help with her mounting duties and that she would never ask for it, so he invites someone new to the congregation to help out. One problem. The Pastor neglects to tell Candi and she feels her leadership role in the church is being threatened.


Candi wants to follow God’s plan for the church as well as for her life, except that the ‘new guy’ is former rock star, Samuel Blackledge, who arrives complete with long hair, tattoos, holey jeans, and musical expertise grounded in years on the road.


Hmmm…did someone say ‘oil and water’?


In addition to the obvious style clash, both musically and personally, they both have secrets. The Pastor knows the secrets, but lets them deal with telling each other – with occasional nudging.


In a clever nod to the role of technology in the modern church, Rossi begins the chapters with emails from the Pastor, communicating to Candi and Sam his grand plans for everything from music competitions to youth ministries. The two musicians are not completely comfortable with the ever-growing ‘to-do’ lists, but each has trust in God to show the way.


“Unlikely Praise” is a faith-based book, with some serious, very current, occasionally funny, topics at its core. Rossi’s novel peeks at behind the scenes church dynamics, with a Pastor that has to balance disparate gifted members of the congregation, a Worship Leader who works hard to bring out the best in her quirky talented band, and a handsome newcomer/outsider thrown into the mix.


There are no murders, but “Unlikely Praise” is a book about second chances and forgiveness for serious past mistakes, with a little romance and mystery thrown in. Some of those mistakes? Out-of-wedlock children, embezzlement, jail time, and drugs. Rossi’s Pastor Charles Littleton challenges Candi and Sam to act out their faith, not just give it lip service.


Please visit for more information about Rossi and her other books.



“Unlikely Praise” by Carla Rossi Read More »

“Proof” by Jordyn Redwood

Book Cover - Proof Lilly Reeves is an ER doctor who chooses to live alone. She stays in shape, attends martial arts classes, owns a gun, and has three locks on her front door. She is a caring doctor, good at her job, and well liked by her colleagues. She has a close friend and a nice guy who wants to date her. None of that prevents her from being attacked and raped in her own home. And she may be the fifth victim of a serial rapist.  

She accidently discovers the identity of her attacker at work, but when she makes her accusations, DNA testing proves her wrong and she in turn, is accused of being unstable. Even her friends begin to doubt her sanity. At first, Reeves thinks she has it all together, that she will be fine as soon as the rapist is behind bars. But, that is far from reality.  

There are multiple twists and turns as the rapist proves to be more cold-blooded than anybody could have imagined. Reeves speeds ever downward, trapped in her despair and acts of self-destruction. Her friends, along with the policeman assigned to the case, do their best to help, but Reeves doesn’t want to be helped, especially when the worst news possible is revealed. This is a faith-based book, with a Christian perspective as how best to handle the many issues that arise, but to Redwood’s credit, the true-to-life discussions have non-believer Dr. Reeves standing firm, several times.  

“Proof” is a debut novel, but compares favorably with more established medical thrillers. ER procedures as well as difficult deliveries are meticulously written, yet easy to read. The medical oddity that identifies the killer is well-researched and thoroughly fascinating. The lead characters are fully developed and realistically supportive. “Proof” does not shy away from the subject, but it does not actually contain a violent re-enactment of the rape. Rather, it is an absorbing study in how a woman and the people who surround her, deal with the challenging aftermath of that rape. This is an honest, Christian look at a serious problem.  

The Twitterverse is a terrific place to discover new authors. I ‘met’ Jordyn Redwood because of her blog, “Redwood’s Medical Edge.” Jordyn is an ER nurse who created the blog in order to help authors write correctly about medical details in their work. On Fridays, many writers/reviewers on Twitter share a heads-up about good research sources; Redwood’s column is an excellent place to find great information about life in an ER. In addition to doing her own columns, she has guest bloggers who address certain areas of interest related to the medical field, as varied as Civil War medicine and neonatal emergencies. Great blog.  

“Proof” is the first in the ‘Bloodline Trilogy,’ and was nominated for the Carol Award. The second book in the series, “Poison,” was released on February 1, 2013.  

For more information, please visit    



“Proof” by Jordyn Redwood Read More »

“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






“The Preacher’s Bride” by Jody Hedlund Read More »

Scroll to Top