Monday, November 29, 2010

And the winner is...

It's time to announce the Gratitude Giveaways winner. Including Twitter entries, we had 65 people enter. Using a random number generator and numbering the entrants in the order I received them, the winner is:

Cindy W.
who won Christmas at Harrington's by Melody Carlson

Congratulations! I'll be contacting you for your address.

For those who didn't win, you can always buy a copy of this book from your favorite bookstore.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Medical Error by Richard L. Mabry, M.D.

book cover

Medical Error
by Richard L. Mabry, M.D.

ISBN-13: 978-1-4267-1000-1
Trade Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Released: Sept. 2010

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description from Back Cover:
Dr. Anna McIntyre’s life was going along just fine until someone else started living it.

Her patient died because of an identity mix-up; her medical career is in jeopardy because of forged prescriptions; and her credit is in ruins. She thought things couldn’t get worse, but that was before she opened the envelope and saw a positive HIV test with her name on it.

Her allies are two men who are also competing for her affection. Dr. Nick Valentine is a cynic who carries a load of guilt. Attorney Ross Donovan is a recovering alcoholic. The deeper Anna digs to discover who’s behind the identity thefts the higher the stakes. Finally, when her life is on the line, Anna finds that her determination to clear her name might have been a prescription for trouble.

My Review:
Medical Error is a well-written medical suspense novel with a romance. (While the culprit was unknown and was on my suspect list as someone who could have done it, there weren't enough clues to narrow it down to a specific name unless I missed something.) The suspense was created mainly by wondering what was going to go wrong next, but there was also physical danger to the characters near the end.

The characters were engaging, complex, and acted in realistic ways. The details about the job and setting brought the story alive in my imagination without slowing the fast pacing.

Anna was a Christian, but her main romantic interest felt he'd done something God wouldn't forgive. There were several comments made about God that occurred briefly and naturally in the conversation.

There was no sex and no bad language. Overall, I'd highly recommend this well-written and suspenseful novel.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
Eric Hatley’s last day alive began routinely enough.

He paused beside his brown delivery truck, shifted the bulky package, and turned in a tight circle to search for the right apartment.

Shouts filled the air. Firecrackers exploded all around him. A dozen red-hot pokers bored holes through his gut.

The package flew from his arms. He crumpled into a privet hedge at the edge of the sidewalk, clutching his midsection and recoiling when his fingers encountered something wet and slimy.

A wave of nausea swept over him. Cold sweat engulfed him.

Eric managed one strangled cry before everything faded to black.


Dr. Anna McIntyre bumped the swinging door with her hip and backed into Parkland Hospital’s Operating Room Six, her dripping hands held in front of her, palms inward. "Luc, tell me what you’ve got."

Chief surgical resident, Dr. Luc Nguyn, didn’t look up from the rectangle of abdomen outlined by green draping sheets and illuminated by strong surgical lights. "UPS driver, making a delivery in the Projects. Got caught in the crossfire of a gang rumble. Took four bullets in the belly. Pretty shocky by the time he got here."

"Find the bleeding source?"

"Most of it was from the gastric artery. Just finished tying it off."

Anna took a sterile towel from the scrub nurse and began the ritual of gowning and gloving made automatic by countless repetitions. "How about fluids and blood replacement?"

Luc held out his hand, and the nurse slapped a clamp into it. “Lactated Ringer’s still running wide open. We’ve already pushed one unit of unmatched O negative. He’s finishing his first unit of cross-matched blood. We’ve got another one ready and four more holding in the the blood bank."

"How’s he responding?"

"BP is still low but stable, pulse is slower. I think we’re catching up with the blood loss."

Read more of chapter one.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Don't Count on Homecoming Queen by Nancy Rue

book cover

Don't Count on Homecoming Queen
by Nancy Rue

ISBN: 1-57856-032-2
Trade Paperback: 218 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Released: 1998

Source: Bought through

Book Description from Back Cover (slightly modified):
At King High, six girls who met at See You at the Pole meet again to pray for each other and for their school. And it's a good thing they do, because they're all going to need prayer this year. Even popular Tobey, who's in for more trouble than she could have dreamed up in a lifetime.

As junior class president, member of the Judicial Board, cross-country team member, and star of the speech club, Tobey has gained a lot of friends on campus. But when she realizes the school's most popular coach is intimidating a freshman Hispanic girl into having sex with him, Tobey is faced with questions unlike any she has asked before. How could her favorite coach be doing this? She trusted him! And what should she do?

She wouldn't have chosen the backlash of standing up for what's right, but in the process she discovers a whole new meaning for the word "friend."

My Review:
Don't Count on Homecoming Queen is a young adult novel aimed at Christian, high-school-aged girls. I'd also recommend it to the parents of these girls so that they can see how much their teens need their support when standing up for what's right.

It's very well written, and I found myself deeply empathizing with what Tobey was going through. She dealt with realistic struggles (harassment for making an unpopular choice, deciding to stand up against a popular adult to help an outcast Hispanic girl, etc.) and hard issues (what to do when an adult sexually abuses a kid). And the author made the results of Tobey's decision about as hard as they realistically could be.

The novel was fast-paced and a quick read. The suspense was created mainly by relationship tensions (whose side everyone would take, verbal abuse, etc.) though some students threatened to beat Tobey up, too.

Tobey, her new Flag Pole friends, and her family were Christians, and the Christian elements felt like a natural part of the story. They prayed their way through this hard time, they credited God for helping them, and one time they each quoted a Scripture that spoke to them about struggles.

The sex wasn't graphically described. There was a very minimal amount of "he cussed" style bad language. Overall, I'd highly recommend this well-written and relevant novel to mature Christian teen girls and their parents.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
I was an aide in PE first period. Coach Gatney told me it was a waste for me to be in study hall when she could use somebody like me to keep "those little chickies" in line.

More like "those little vultures." They were already going after some poor little Hispanic freshman in the locker room when I walked in.

"I don't mean to be rude," Emily Yates was saying to her, "but why do you all wear your hair like that?"

Emily shot her hand straight up from her own forehead to imitate the sort of stiff wall Angelica Benitez had made with her bangs and a can of hair spray.

Okay, so it wasn't a good look for her, maybe for anybody. But it wasn't worth crushing the poor kid's feelings over it. I glared at Emily around my locker door. She ignored me. I went on to Step Two. "By 'you all,' you mean Angelica's whole culture?" I said.

Behind us, I heard Hayley Hatcher whisper, "Yeah, all the Beaners."

Emily caught it, too, and grinned.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Master's Wall by Sandi Rog

book cover

The Master's Wall
by Sandi Rog

ISBN-13: 978-1-936341-02-3
Trade Paperback: 300 pages
Publisher: DeWard Publishing Company
Released: 2010

Source: Won from a giveaway on another blog.

Book Description, my take:
As a boy, David watches his parents dragged away to their death for being Christians. He's badly injured while trying to stop the soldiers from raping his mother, so a slaver easily captures the Hebrew boy and sells him to a wealthy Roman living just outside of Rome. There he meets Alethea, the granddaughter of his owner.

Alethea watched as her grandfather ordered her father tied to a horse and dragged to death because her father refused to stop being a Christian. Alethea now lives in fear of her abusive grandfather and with the hurt that her father didn't love her more than his God.

David and Alethea strike up a friendship based on their mutual loss. As they grow up, David tries to teach her about Christianity, but she refuses to convert out of fear for her life. She also believes that she's never sinned and so doesn't need saving. David is tempted to escape but decides to stay and protect Alethea as best he can.

Then, in order to escape a painful punishment for disobedience, Alethea tells her grandfather that David put her in danger when the truth was that he saved her life. Can David forgive Alethea for her deep betrayal? Can Alethea become a woman who can win David's heart and find a way to marry him instead of her cruel betrothed?

My Review:
The Master's Wall is a Christian historical romance novel. It's set in Rome from 76 AD to about 84 AD. The characters were complex and realistic, and I liked Alethea even though she was a spoiled child. (She's 14 at the end of the book.) The romance didn't feel like a sure thing and had it's genuine struggles and problems. The Christian content was woven throughout the whole story and played a critical role in the story.

The setting was vividly described. While the historical detail was fairly good, it sometimes intruded on the story. Some details seemed present just to show off what the author had learned, but these instances were brief when they happened. However, the pacing would have been a little better in the first half if this excess detail was cut out along with some of the details of David's fight training. Incidentally, I doubted the fighting style that David was learning since, as described, it sounded impractical (mostly for show) but was supposed to be for actual combat.

There were also some historical and practical inaccuracies, though these were minor and uncritical to the story. One thing that confused me was that David called Jesus "Yahshua" instead of "Yeshua." (I looked it up, and apparently this is a re-naming of Jesus coined in 1930 AD and followed by a few people.) David referred to God as "Jehovah," which is also not historically accurate. Since I keep mentioning this, here's a quote from The Jewish New Testament Commentary by David H. Stern (page 4):

Long before Yeshua's day, however, the word "Adonai" had, out of respect, been substituted in speaking and in reading aloud for God's personal name, the four Hebrew letters yud-heh-vav-heh, variously written in English as "YHVH," "Yahweh," and "Jehovah." The Talmud (Pesachim 50a) made it a requirement not to pronounce the...("four letter name" of God), and this remains the rule in most modern Jewish settings....(Incidentally, the name "Jehovah" is a modern invention, an English hybrid based on the four Hebrew letters as transliterated into German, J-H-V-H, with the individually transliterated Hebrew vowel-points of "Adonai," e-o-a....

The Hebrew word for "he will save" is "yoshia'," which has the same Hebrew root (yud-shin-'ayin) as the name Yeshua (yud-shin-vav-'ayin). Thus the Messiah's name is explained on the basis of what he will do. Etymologically, the name Yeshua' is a contraction of the Hebrew name Y'hoshua' (English "Joshua"), which means "YHVH saves." It is also the masculine form of the Hebrew word "yeshu'ah," which means "salvation."

There was no bad language or explicit sex. Overall, I'd recommend it as an interesting and enjoyable novel.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
Rome, AD 76
David tried not to cry, tried not to breathe or make a sound as he crept along the dark street. Careful not to trip on the flat stones, he recalled how that morning he'd taken this same path, chasing friends between the alleys, pretending they were gladiators fighting at the Circus Maximus. Now again he followed the enemy. Only this enemy was real. There were three of them. And they had taken his parents.

Mamma. Abba. He wanted to shout out their names, to cry out to them.

He could still feel Mamma’s hand in his. Could feel her letting go as the soldiers pulled her away. Could feel her stola ripping as he clutched it. All he had left was the shredded fabric from her dress still in his hand. How empty his hand felt now that she was gone.

He made a fist. All he had in the world. Snatched away. And now their lives might depend on him. On what he would do at this moment. But he was just a child, a boy. What could he do? He'd follow them, see where they were taken. Then he could get help. Manius would know what to do.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Price by Kathi Mills-Macias

book cover

The Price
by Kathi Mills-Macias

ISBN: 080542566-7
Trade Paperback: 300 pages
Publisher: Broadman & Holman Publishers
Released: Sept. 2002

Source: Bought through

Book Description, my take:
Toni Matthews is growing closer to police detective Abe Matthews, but she's still not sure she wants to become a private investigator like her father had hoped. Her younger sister, Melissa, appears to be recovering from the trauma of her recent kidnapping, but it worries Toni that Melissa isn't talking with her about it.

Then a teenage high school drop-out comes back to school and starts shooting students and teachers. Melissa survives without a scratch, but her best friend who was standing right next to her is hit, hurt badly, and is paralyzed from the waist down by the bullet. Melissa struggles with why her best friend was hit when she wasn't. Meanwhile, Toni feels prompted by God that--despite all evidence to the contrary--the boy shooter was convinced to do the shooting by an accomplice. But how can she prove it, especially when troubles in her relationship with Abe are distracting her?

My Review:
The Price is a romance novel with a mystery. The romance was pretty typical: worries that could easily be put to rest if they simply asked about them came between the "perfectly matched" pair, Toni and Abe. The main "whodunit" was never in question, but Toni did question some people about a possible accomplice. Though the unknown accomplice was not obvious, anyone who reads a lot of mystery novels should have no trouble spotting the accomplice. However, Toni and the police--though getting close--were stumped until said accomplice decided to kill Toni (for being nosy) instead of sensibly going into hiding in another state.

Anyway. The Christian general fiction aspect of the novel was very good. Teenaged Melissa had to deal with why God would allow her best friend--who loves God and wanted to be a missionary--to be shot by a school shooter and paralyzed by the bullet, yet Melissa and others weren't even hurt. Melissa's friend and an elderly lady living with Toni and Melissa gave good, godly answers to her questions.

Melissa's turmoil, struggle, and way of reacting to the people around her was realistic, and her best friend also struggled realistically with forgiving (or not) the boy who shot her. The other characters were complex but their actions sometimes didn't seem realistic to me.

There was no sex or bad language. This book was the second in the series, and it thoroughly discussed the case and "whodunit" of the first novel. However, the first novel hit about every pet peeve I have, so I'd recommend you just start with this book if it sounds interesting to you.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Healing Promises by Amy Wallace

book cover

Healing Promises
by Amy Wallace

ISBN: 1601420102
Trade Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Multnomah Publishers
Released: April 15, 2008

Source: Bought through

Book Description, my take:
FBI Agent Clint Rollins is working on an urgent Crimes Against Children Unit case when he discovers that he has cancer with only a 40% chance to live--and he must start treatment immediately. But young boys are being kidnapped and may be killed if the kidnapper isn't stopped soon. Clint struggles with his body betraying him right when he's needed most. Can Clint trust God to get those children home safe even if Clint isn't personally there to handle it?

His wife, Sara Rollins, is an oncologist who has been fighting cancer with treatment and prayers for years. She's shocked by how different it is to be the wife of a cancer patient instead of the doctor treating it. She feels like a failure and begins to lose hope when a favorite, godly patient dies and her husband fights her concerns at how he's risking his health to get back on the case. A friend asks Sarah if she's depending on God or circumstances. She knows what she should be doing, but how does one get there?

My Review:
Healing Promises is a Christian general fiction book. Much of the story was about the stress that Clint's cancer put on Sarah and Clint's relationship to each other and with God. Near the end, though, the FBI case came to the forefront and resolved with a suspenseful standoff with the bad guy. The story's suspense came from wondering if Clint would survive the cancer and, if he did, if his marriage would survive. It also came from the danger that the missing children were in.

The characters were realistic and complex, and they dealt with realistic struggles. The details about the cancer treatment and FBI unit were good but didn't have a lot of depth to them. The story felt slower-paced because there were really four overlapping stories going on: Clint and Sarah, Steven and Grace, Hannah and Michael, and the FBI case.

A major element woven into the story was the characters' struggle to understand and trust God when everything seemed to be going wrong. I thought it was handled well and liked what was said, but those who prefer minimal Christian content probably won't like it.

This book is the second in the series. I felt like the author assumed I knew the characters and relationships from the previous novel (which I haven't read), but if you remember what everyone's first and last name is, you can follow this story well enough without having read the first. However, there were vague references to "whodunit" in the first story, so read Ransomed Dreams first if you want to be completely surprised.

There was no bad language or explicit sex. Overall, I'd recommend this well-written book.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
Most days, Clint Rollins loved his work.

Most days. But not today.

He leaned back in his swivel chair and listened to the hum of voice, computer keys, and his partner's detailed explanation of a new case. Only a week back to work, and he already needed a quiet weekend to rest.

"You listening, Rollins, or still suffering from vacation withdrawal? Maybe it's just too early on a Friday morning."

Steven Kessler's ribbing jerked Clint back to the reality of working in the FBI's Crimes Against Children Unit. Another child missing. No easy cases.

"I'm listening." Clint rubbed the back of his neck.

Too bad criminals didn't care if cops were up to snuff or not. His head still ached from a nasty cold that'd been dogging him for weeks. According to his physician wife, he needed a vacation to recover from his unprecedented two-week vacation. But no one in DC stayed home with just a cold. So he was back on the job in mid-January, doing his second favorite thing.

Putting criminals in jail

He'd still rather be hanging out with Sara and the munchkins.

Read more using Google Preview

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

When the Devil Whistles by Rick Acker

book cover

When the Devil Whistles
by Rick Acker

ISBN-13: 978-1-4267-0767-4
Trade Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Released: Oct. 2010

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, my take:
Allie Whitman, a temp-for-hire accountant and professional whistleblower, excels at finding and exposing corporations that over-charge on government contracts. Her lawyer and friend, Connor Norman, keeps her identity a secret while helping her rake in the money that finances Allie's opulent lifestyle.

But when she goes to work at a new corporation, the tables are suddenly turned. The corporation figures out that she's the whistleblower behind Devil to Pay. They threaten to expose her to all those corporations that hate her unless she takes down their competition--and that may mean planting false evidence. Then Allie's live-in rock-star boyfriend sells drugs to a teen at a concert, the teen dies, and Allie's worried she'll go to jail, too, if she turns her boyfriend in.

Allie's afraid to ask Connor for help since he glories in making criminals pay for their crimes. Does that mean her, too? There seems to be only one option that will keep her safe, but there's more at risk than even Allie knows.

My Review:
When the Devil Whistles is a legal thriller that also works in some military suspense. It's fast-paced and keeps the reader guessing as to how everything will work out. The suspense was created by possible physical danger to the various characters as well as curiosity about the various decisions they will make and how it will all play out. The characters were complex and dealt with realistic problems (though--specifically--not ones most people face). The vivid details of the job and setting brought the story alive in my imagination.

For those who care, Allie sometimes drank to excess and lived with her boyfriend. (It's implied they have sex.) She knew he used meth and he knew she disapproved, but she didn't take a strong stand on it until worried for her own neck. But she found some healing and made some hard choices after seeing where the easy ones got her, and I liked who she was by the end.

There was no bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this suspenseful and intriguing novel.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
Connor Norman loved a good fireworks show. He especially liked the ones that took place once or twice a year in the conference rooms at the California Department of Justice. Some executive or general counsel whose company was under investigation would come in for a witness interview, would lie, and would get caught. Then Deputy Attorney General Max Volusca would go off and the show would start. DAG Volusca did not suffer liars gladly. Fools he would tolerate, often longer than Connor. But if Max felt he was being misled, he soon lived up to his nickname, "Max Volume."

Connor didn’t mind it when Max got loud. In fact, he liked the DAG’s outbursts because they usually rattled whoever was sitting across the table from him. And that usually meant more money for Connor and his qui tam clients. A qui tam plaintiff is a whistleblower who sues on behalf of the government and gets a cut (generally 15-20 percent) of whatever the government recovers. Better yet, if the Department of Justice likes a case, it takes on the lion’s share of the work. Envious defense counsel sometimes complained to Connor that he wasn’t really litigating these cases, just riding a gravy train driven by DOJ. Though Connor never told opposing lawyers, the real fun wasn’t the train ride so much as tying corporate criminals to the tracks in front of the engine.

Today, Connor’s client was Devil to Pay, Inc., a shell company he had created to bring qui tam lawsuits while protecting the identity of its owner. Most contractors assumed that Connor was the force behind Devil to Pay and that he recruited new whistleblowers for every lawsuit. In fact, all those suits were the work of a single woman: a professional whistleblower named Allie Whitman.

The corners of Connor’s mouth twitched. Allie was probably the most widely hated and feared woman in California’s government contracting industry, even though no one knew she existed.

The person who probably hated Allie most at this particular moment was Hiram Hamilton, the CEO of Hamilton Construction. He was sitting at a cheap wood table in conference room 11436 at the San Francisco office of the California Department of Justice, where he was being grilled by Max Volusca.

Read more from chapter one.

Happy Haul-idays: a chance to win books from Chronicle Books

Chronicle Books is doing a Happy Haul-idays promotion. It works like this: I, as a blogger, post a list of Chronicle Books valued at up to $500 that I’d like to win. I'm automatically entered into a drawing to WIN that list of books. Now, if any of my readers would like to win this same list of books, you just comment on this post and you'll be entered to win the list, too!

My list:

Shell Games by Kirk Russell.

The discovery of thousands of empty abalone shells and two murdered divers sends Lieutenant John Marquez's poaching investigation in a new—and very risky—direction. Former DEA agent and now head of a special operations unit of the California Department of Fish and Game, Marquez learns he himself has been targeted as the next victim. Stalking him is Kline, a vicious drug smuggler turned abalone poacher who has a vendetta against Marquez. John Marquez is supposed to protect wildlife, not solve murders, but the only way he can break the multi-million-dollar abalone-smuggling ring, as well as save his own life, is to find and stop Kline. A fast-paced crime novel set along the majestic Northern California coastline, Shell Games introduces a tough, complex, and appealing hero and a masterful new series.

Night Game by Kirk Russell.

The tough, caring, and distinctive John Marquez is back. In this gripping new crime novel, former federal drug agent Marquez again pushes the boundaries of safety and politics when he takes his team of Fish and Game officers on a dangerous operation in pursuit of bear poachers. Night Game hits hard and moves fast toward a finish that ricochets through wilderness, backwoods towns, and the darker recesses of love and greed. A second novel that delivers -- and firmly establishes a great series.

Dead Game by Kirk Russell.

Ex-DEA agent John Marquez, now head of the undercover unit of the California Department of Fish and Game, is closing in on sturgeon poachers, whose highly profitable caviar trade is backed by the Russian mafia. When his key confidential informant disappears, Marquez follows the trail directly into the middle of a deadly FBI operation and a web of conflicting loyalties. This fast-paced, compelling, and vivid ecothriller pushes the tough-but-sensitive Marquez to the limit.

Hieroglyph Detective: How to Decode the Sacred Language of the Ancient Egyptians by Nigel Strudwick.

Egyptian hieroglyphs have long fascinated people the world over, though traditionally only specially trained scholars have been able to unlock their esoteric secrets. In Hieroglyph Detective, renowned Egyptologist Nigel Strudwick offers a historical background for the symbols as he takes the reader on a visual tour of museums around the world and provides step-by-step instructions on how to decipher inscriptions from ancient Egyptian tombs and temples. This hands-on field guide contains everything one needs to uncover age-old mysteries like a true detective!

Signing Their Lives Away: The Fame and Misfortune of the Men Who Signed the Declaration of Independence by Denise Kiernan and Joseph D'Agnese.

In July 1776, fifty-six men risked their lives and livelihood to defy the British and sign the most important document in the history of the United States—and yet how many of them do we actually remember? Signing Their Lives Away introduces readers to the eclectic group of statesmen, soldiers, criminals, and crackpots who were chosen to sign this historic document—and the many strange fates that awaited them. Some died from war-related injuries; others had their homes and farms seized by British soldiers; a few rose to the highest levels of U.S. government (ten signers were later elected to Congress). George Wythe was murdered by his nephew; Button Gwinnet was killed in a duel; and of course Sam Adams went on to fame and fortune as a patriot/brewer. Complete with a reversible parchment jacket (offering a facsimile of the Declaration on the reverse), Signing Their Lives Away provides an entertaining and enlightening narrative for history buffs of all ages.

The Worst-Case Scenario Almanac: History by Joshua Piven, David Borgenicht, Piers Marchant, and Melissa Wagner.

Best-seller history repeats itself with this dynamic new "almanac" format that broadens the scope and content of the Worst-Case Scenario handbooks. The Worst-Case Scenario Almanac: History offers step-by-step illustrated scenarios on how to win a joust, survive in a dungeon, and overcome other plights of yesteryear, but the volume also features hundreds of pages of additional—and hilarious—information in the form of lists (the worst jobs to have during the Industrial Revolution), offbeat profiles (Attila the Hun, Idi Amin), Worst-Case Wisdom (bad advice), descriptions of disasters narrowly averted, and much more. Packed with charts, graphs, maps, and timelines, The Worst-Case Scenario Almanac: History is an invigorating look at all that's gone wrong in the past and the best way to prepare for the future.

Extreme Encounters: How It Feels to Be Drowned in Quicksand, Shredded by Piranhas, Swept Up in a Tornado, and Dozens of Other Unpleasant Experiences by Greg Emmanuel.

Did you ever wonder what it’s like to be struck by lightning? To run with the bulls in Pamplona? To ride the crushing swell of an avalanche? Extreme Encounters describes these adventures and 37 others with endlessly addictive “you-are-there” second-person narratives—so you chill to the numbing effects of frostbite, you hear the 110-decibel roar of a grizzly bear, and you feel the stomach-lurching drop of an elevator freefall. Extreme Encounters is a moment-by-moment, blow-by-blow account of what happens to you physically, emotionally, and scientifically during life’s most perilous experiences. Like a cross between The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook and Into Thin Air, these heart-racing stories take readers where few have gone before.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gratitude Giveaways: Shadowed Mind or Christmas at Harrington's

Gratitude Giveaways Hop

As a part of the Gratitude Giveaways - Blog Follower Appreciation Hop, I'm holding a "your choice" giveaway.

book coverYou can enter to win either
Christmas at Harrington's by Melody Carlson
or The Shadowed Mind by Julie Cave.

Read my review to learn more about Christmas at Harrington's by Melody Carlson, a Christian "Christmas lit" novel.

book cover
Read my review to learn more about The Shadowed Mind by Julie Cave, a Christian suspense/mystery novel.

This contest is for USA & Canada residents only.

To enter the giveaway:

1) you can twitter me saying "Hi @genrereviewer. Enter me in the giveaway for ___________." For example, if you wanted The Shadowed Mind, you'd twitter: "Hi @genrereviewer. Enter me in the giveaway for THE SHADOWED MIND by Julie Cave."


2) You can leave a comment to this post asking to be entered and naming which novel you'd like to win. Please also leave some way for me to contact you--or follow this blog so you can see the winner announcement. I'd be fun if you also included why you're interested in reading this novel.

Last time I did a "your choice" giveaway, people chose more than one book. If you do this, you still only have one entry (like everyone else) but, if you win, I'll select which novel to send to you.

This giveaway ends on November 28, 2010 at midnight. The winner will be randomly selected. I'll announce the winner on Nov. 29, 2010 on this blog.

If you entered using twitter, I'll send you a @ or DM telling you of your win and asking where to send the book. If you entered using the blog comments, you'll need to leave your e-mail address or check back to see if you won so you can e-mail me your mailing address. If the winner hasn't responded with a mailing address within four days, I reserve the right to pick a new winner.

I hope everyone has fun with this!

The blogs participating in the Gratitude Giveaways Hop:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Christmas at Harrington's by Melody Carlson

book cover

Christmas at Harrington's
by Melody Carlson

ISBN-13: 978-0-8007-1925-8
Hardback: 176 pages
Publisher: Revell
Released: Oct. 2010

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description from Back Cover:
Sometimes the best gift is a second chance

Christmas is approaching, and Lena Markham finds herself penniless, friendless, and nearly hopeless. She is trying to restart her life, but job opportunities are practically nonexistent. When a secondhand red coat unexpectedly lands her a job as Mrs. Santa at a department store, Lena finally thinks her luck is changing. But can she keep her past a secret?

Reading Christmas at Harrington's, a story full of redemption and true holiday spirit, will be your newest Christmas tradition.

My Review:
Christmas at Harrington's is Christian general fiction. It's got the heart-warming ending expected in a Christian Christmas short novel, but it dealt with a subject I think most people haven't even considered: how tough it is for those released from prison to find a person willing to give them a job. In Lena's case, it hurts even worse because she's innocent. She was set up by her pastor husband to take the fall for his theft. So Lena hides her past to get a job, and she makes some friends. But someone that she knew "from before" wants to make sure "she pays for what she's done" even though she's lost everything and served her time.

The characters were engaging and dealt with realistic troubles. (There was also a mom and a young daughter trying to make it after running away from an abusive husband and a single mom who was dealing with potentially having to close her store and with her teen daughter having cancer.)

The Christian element was mainly Lena comparing the hard, legalistic God that she grew up with (parents & husband) to the caring, forgiving God that her few, new friends showed her by their actions. She has to decide whether or not to take a chance on trusting people and God again.

There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd highly recommend this heart-warming, enjoyable book.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
The slate-colored sky matched Lena's spirits as she sprinted toward the bus stop. "Don't be late," Mrs. Stanfield had warned earlier. "The bus leaves promptly at 5:15 and there won't be another until tomorrow morning."

Lena hadn't planned to be late. But with two hours to spare, she had ducked into the public library to use the restroom and escape the elements, then found a comfy easy chair. While reading a recipe for cranberry cake in the December issue of Better Homes and Gardens, Lena had dozed off, lulled by the warmth, the flickering fluorescent lights, and the sweet, musty smell of books. If not for the librarian's nudge, since the library closed at six, Lena would probably still be sleeping.

Instead, she was running down the sidewalk with the icy wind in her face and her purple parka flapping wildly behind her like a parachute. She waved her arms, calling frantically to the bus driver. "Wait! Please, wait!"

"You were cutting that mighty close," he told her as he opened the door for her. "Hurry up, lady, I've got a schedule to keep."

"Thanks," she gasped breathlessly as she handed him her wrinkled ticket. "I really appreciate--"

"Grab a seat--now." He jerked his thumb backward.

As the bus lurched forward, Lena found an empty pair of seats near the back and quickly ducked in. Scooting next to the window, she clutched her handbag in her lap with trembling hands. That had been close. But she'd made it.

Read more from chapter one.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Shadowed Mind by Julie Cave

book cover

The Shadowed Mind
by Julie Cave

ISBN-13: 9780890515907
Trade Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: MasterBooks
Released: Nov. 2010

Author Website

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description from Back Cover:
Who will be found worthy to live; who is the next victim?

After the deadly investigation into the Smithsonian murders, Dinah Harris is now facing a daily battle to keep her sobriety while struggling to form a new career from the ashes of her former job as an FBI agent. From the shadows will emerge a cunning and terrifying killer, who carefully and methodically will decide whose life has value to society and whose does not.

Using her profiling and security skills as a private consultant based in Washington, DC, Dinah uncovers a connection to the shadowy world of neoeugenics, and those who publicly denounce the killings but privately support a much different view.

Against this backdrop, Dinah must come to terms with her own past. Those associated with the deepening mystery face their own personal demons and struggle with the concept of God's inexhaustible grace and forgiveness. Old secrets are revealed, tragedies unearthed, and the devastating legacy of science without compassion is finally brought to light.

The second book in this thrilling new fiction trilogy!

My Review:
The Shadowed Mind is a well-written, fast-paced detective suspense novel. It's the second novel in the trilogy, but you don't need to have read the first novel (Deadly Disclosures) to follow what's happening in this one. However, the "whodunit" in the previous novel is somewhat revealed in this one, so I'd recommend reading them in order if both sound interesting to you.

The suspense came from trying to stop the killer before he killed again, personal danger to the main characters, and Dinah's struggle with alcoholism. A subplot with some secondary characters also created suspense by the stresses the daughter (Ella) underwent in dealing with her father's Alzheimer's Disease and her anger after learning a horrible secret about his past.

The characters were interesting, complex, and had realistic struggles. Dinah struggled with staying sober during a stressful case and with her quick temper.

The details about the police work, setting, and historical information relating to the case where excellent and interesting yet didn't slow the story down. These details brought the story alive in my imagination.

I don't think most people will figure out who the killer is before Dinah does, but it is possible to do so. Overall, I thought this was a more polished novel than the first one, but I still noticed some inaccurate, conflicting, or odd minor details. Like why did Cage and Dinah (who's on the case as a profile consultant) ignore that the profile she made of the killer didn't match their favorite suspect?

Dinah and several minor characters were Christians. Dinah and Ella struggled realistically with forgiveness and grace in their difficult circumstances and talked with other Christians about this struggle. Also, Dinah consulted a Christian about the Christian viewpoint of eugenics, but she also consulted a secular source and heard the views of several pro-eugenics characters. I felt the pro-eugenics characters were handled realistically.

There was no sex and no bad language. I'd highly recommend this well-written, suspenseful novel.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
He looked utterly ordinary.

Cruising the streets of Washington DC, he looked like he belonged there. He was wearing a charcoal pinstriped suit, a red and blue silk tie, and shiny Italian leather shoes. He carried a calfskin briefcase. His cell phone was tucked in his pocket — one of his most useful props. Who would look twice at a man in a suit with a briefcase and cell phone, in the heart of DC?

Yet his reasons for being in the city were far from ordinary. He had come to find and stalk his prey.

It was early evening in the first week of a promising summer. The streets were busy and the restaurants and cafes packed with patrons, enjoying the arrival of longer, warmer days. A new, wild optimism seemed to charge the atmosphere when summer arrived — the shackles of winter thrown off, thoughts turned now to vacations, beaches, and the possibility of a tan. Business lunches seemed less highpowered, with talk revolving around yachts and summer houses rather than the economy and falling commodity prices.

He should know — he existed in that world during the day and partook in those very lunches and conversations. But at night, when the mood overcame him, a new creature emerged.

His prey wouldn’t be found on Pennsylvania Avenue or Constitution Avenue. He would have to traverse the shadowy alleyways and the darkest corners of the city to find what he was looking for. He wasn’t afraid. He was the one who struck fear into the hearts of others.

He headed northeast of the city, where crack cocaine was sold on the streets only blocks away from Capitol Hill. He was entering neighborhoods where the shade of his skin could put him in danger, but he strode confidently. As he walked, his eyes constantly roamed, taking in the people around him. Though he received several catcalls and jeers, those who got sufficiently close enough to see his eyes soon backed away.

He realized that in this part of town, potential victims were plentiful. Human life was cheap and could be bought by the highest bidder. But he wanted more than a chance to buy five minutes in an alleyway.

It took some time, but finally he found someone who had real potential. She stood on a street corner, arms crossed over her skinny ribcage, and shoulders hunched defensively. Her dirty blonde hair hung forward over her face, but he could see that she was still attractive despite the weariness evident in her face. Track marks dotted both arms. Boldly, he approached.

Read more from chapter one.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I Shall Not Want by Debbie Viguie

book cover

I Shall Not Want
by Debbie Viguie

ISBN-13: 978-1-4267-0190-0
Trade Paperback: 268 pages
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Released: Oct. 2010

Author Website

Source: Advanced Reader Copy from the publisher.

Book Description from Back Cover:
Charity work can be murder!

It’s Thanksgiving and Joseph Tyler, one of the members of Cindy’s church, has organized a new charity that provides homeless people with rescue dogs to love and care for. But one by one, the homeless recipients are being murdered and their dogs stolen.

Could an overly competitive millionaire with his prize-winning pooches and a grudge be behind the crimes? Or could it be someone much closer to Joseph who has something sinister to hide?

Cindy and Jeremiah must rush to find a killer before he strikes again.

My Review:
I Shall Not Want is a fun cozy mystery. This book is the second in the series, but you don't need to read the first book in order to understand this one. However, this book promptly revealed who the murderer was in the previous novel, so you'll want to read the first novel before this one if you're intending to read it.

There's an underlying humor to this mystery, and the characters were engaging and interesting. I figured out whodunit long before the characters did (due to understanding mystery forms, not because the characters overlooked obvious clues), but the writing was good enough to keep me reading and enjoying it.

While the "police stuff" was generally good (and safely vague), I did wonder about the scene where two men entered a dark, apparently deserted morgue to set the corpse of a murder victim on an examination table and promptly left. Wouldn't they need to process the body (paperwork) and refrigerate it until it was time to examine the body?

Though the main characters were a church secretary, a rabbi, and an atheist police detective, there was very little religious content. Certainly, none of the characters tried to convert each other.

I was reading an advanced reader copy, so this may be changed in the final version. However, several times the rabbi referred to God as "Jehovah" in his casual conversations. First, that's not the Hebrew spelling of God's name. Second, he also referred to God as "Yahweh" once, near the end. Third, Jews--even those not highly devout--don't casually refer to God by His personal name. They even write "G-d" rather than "God" when referring to Him. Also, when asked to pray before the Thanksgiving dinner was eaten, the rabbi gave a very Christian-style prayer rather than a Jewish one. Granted he's a cool character with a mysterious past, but I didn't find him very convincing as a devout Jewish believer let alone the leader of a synagogue.

There was no sex and minimal gore (mainly just references to pools of blood). There were a few uses of both explicit and "he cussed"-style bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable novel, especially to those who love dogs and mysteries.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
Cindy Preston loved Friday. Anything-can-happen Fridays was how she liked to think of them. As they neared the holidays, they became even more deserving of their name as First Shepherd church became a center of activity. Being a secretary at a church was a far more chaotic job than most people imagined.

For Cindy, the job had gotten even more exciting a few months earlier when she had stumbled across a dead body in the church sanctuary. The week that followed had seen many people murdered by a serial killer, one whom Cindy had helped stop.

For a couple of months afterward, the church had seen a large swell in attendance as people wanted to come gawk at the woman who survived attack by the Passion Week killer and helped the police turn the tables on him.

Their interest had gradually waned, and aside from three new members who actually joined the church, things had pretty much returned to normal. That was just how Cindy liked it.

The one unfortunate thing was that her friendship with Jeremiah--the rabbi at the synagogue next door--forged in shared danger, had slowly faded as well. They still exchanged pleasantries over the shrub hedge that separated the parking lots of the church and the synagogue, but not much else. It made sense, really. They had nothing in common.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Please pray for...

The 13-year girl I mentor & her father woke up this morning to discover that her mother died during the night. Please pray for them. Thanks.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

For Whom the Stars Shine by Linda Chaikin

book cover

For Whom the Stars Shine
by Linda Chaikin

ISBN-13: 1-55661-647-3
Trade Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Released: 1999

Source: Bought through

Book Description from Back Cover:
Set in Hawaii in 1888 to 1891, Eden Derrington's world is in disorder. When she was young, her mother died in a boating accident that no one in the family wants to talk about. Her father travels far and wide looking for a cure for leprosy as the disease gets worse on the islands and Hawaiians who catch the disease--no matter their influence--are forced to live in isolation on the island of Molokai. For years, she's lived with an uncle and his native wife who continue the family's missionary past by ministering to the native Hawaiians. But recently she's been taken to live with an uncle and aunt who own a huge plantation.

The family is dividing down political lines. The king of Hawaii is ill and may die soon. The plantation owners are worried that his sister will make political ties with Britain instead of America when she becomes queen. Eden's uncle is pressuring America to take Hawaii as a territory and make it a republic. Her aunt is a staunch supporter of the queen's right to rule.

But when Eden receives a mysterious note implying that her mother's accident was really a hushed-up murder, Eden begins to question everything she thought she knew. If only she could remember that night when she last saw her mother; the night Eden fell down a flight of stairs and hurt her head...

My Review:
For Whom the Stars Shine is a historical set mainly in Hawaii from 1888 to 1891. It also has a fairly typical romance and a mystery about Eden's mother's death. However, it's primarily a historical novel, and anyone skilled in solving mystery novels will probably have this mystery figured out before the book is halfway done.

Daily and social historical details were woven into the story which created a vivid picture of what life was like then. There was also a lot of information on the (past) Hawaiian missionary movement and (current) political turmoil in Hawaii due to the plantation owners wanting to have Hawaii made an American territory. If you're not interested in this, then you'll probably find the level of detail a little heavy since more information was given than was strictly needed. However, if you are interested, this story is a very enjoyable way to learn about about this history.

The characters were engaging, though Eden was rather naive and the only other character we really got to know was Rafe. The suspense was created by the mystery surrounding Eden's mother's death and the family discord.

There was a high level of Christian content, from giving the history of the missionaries on Hawaii to a preacher character who liked to quote Scripture. But I didn't feel like any of it was preaching at the reader. There was no bad language or sex. Overall, I'd recommend this novel as an enjoyable way to learn more about this period in Hawaiian history.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
On Oahu, near Honolulu
Pearl Lagoon, Kea Lani Plantation

White moonlight filtered through the palms and reflected from rain beads, illuminating the distant wooden cross on the small mission church founded by Eden Derrington's parents. Nineteen-year-old Eden galloped her horse along the wet sandy beach as leafy fronds shook overhead. She must hurry! Would Ambrose still be at the church?

It was after ten. The night was full of wind, shaking trees and raising ocean waves that inched closer toward the narrow dirt road.

Not far from the little church, a golden light glowed in a window of a thatched-roof house built on silts. Nearby, heaps of coconuts, bananas, and mangoes shone with pale muted tints of yellow-golds and browns.

Eden urged her mare onward, its dainty hooves kicking up sand. She had just left a prestigious dinner at Kea Lani Plantation House, and there hadn't been time to change into her riding habit. As she raced along, her silken frock flowed in the moonlight, the stylish Victorian eggshell lace at the high neck and wrists fluttering like nervous bird wings. A strand of her ebony hair had come loose from its sedate chignon and whipped over her shoulder. Eden's eyes, like two green peridots, shone in the moonlight. She breathed gulps of warm, moist, salty air mingled with a strange potpourri of sweet-scented flowers that shook on tall bushes and robust vines.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Toxic Waste by Helen Goodman

book cover

Toxic Waste
by Helen Goodman

ISBN-13: 978-0-373-26642-5
Mass Market Paperback: 252 pages
Publisher: Worldwide Mystery
Released: 2008

Source: Bought at a library book sale.

Book Description from Back Cover:
Recently recovered from a stroke, Fonnie Beachum is ready to reclaim her life--with a little help from her grandson, a rookie cop, and a competent but preoccupied aide who helps out daily. But her bustling North Carolina town is embroiled in a bitter controversy over a proposed landfill, and Fonnie has divided loyalties. When Christine Hauner, Fonnie's aide, is found dead at a demonstration, the older woman takes it personally.

Along with her new friend Bebe Englehook, a dedicated activist determined to expose the dangerous landfill scheme, Fonnie digs into Christine's past. But high-stakes corruption and scandal are dangerous traps for a woman just learning to walk with a cane. But Fonnie hasn't come this far to sell out to a clever killer--at any price.

My Review:
Toxic Waste is a cozy mystery with an elderly lady doing the detecting with the help of some friends. The target audience appeared to be adult women. This book is the second in the series, but you don't need to have read the first book to follow this one.

The story had a serious tone since the characters were dealing with realistic problems, like Fonnie learning to get her independence back and dealing with feeling insecure in her house after her house was robbed. The characters were varied and engaging. The mystery was a somewhat complex whodunit with a surprising solution. Suspense was created by the physical danger to those investigating the crime.

I accept why Fonnie felt the need to "help the police out" up until she solved the crime. However, I wasn't convinced by her reasoning after she solved the mystery which led her to put herself (and others) in danger in the grad finale scene. The author also had a supporting character do something supremely stupid (tell information to someone she suspected which would put her life in danger if he indeed was the killer) near the end to create suspense. Characters that suddenly do something (uncharacteristically) stupid which puts them in danger is a pet peeve of mine, so I found this annoying.

Cover Note: While there was concern in the story about landfill leakage contaminating local water sources, this story has nothing to do with dumping toxic waste directly into streams like this cover and book title suggests.

There was no sex. There was a very minor amount of bad language. Despite the author hitting a pet peeve of mine, I enjoyed this mystery and would recommend it.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
October 5

I'm scared. It's a new feeling for me. Even when I had my stroke I wasn't scared. Depressed? Yes. But not scared. I knew I would either die or learn to cope. Dying would have been easier, but instead, I coped. It hasn't been simple. Physical therapy is brutal, but I've made progress. My doctor says I don't need to be at Springwillow now. I've gone from a wheelchair to a quad cane. I can shuffle down the hall. And with Velcro, I can pretty much dress myself. But am I really ready to go home?

And the worst thing about being afraid is I can't tell anybody. I have my public persona to protect. I'm the invincible Fonnie Beachum, next in line to the unsinkable Mollie Brown. But surely even Mollie had her periods of self-doubt, her "monsters under the bed" moments.

Fonnie studied the computer screen; she glanced over her left shoulder to be sure no one had come up behind her. The room was empty except for the row of monitors with their multicolored screen savers waiting to commune with other lonely souls. Several months ago she'd started keeping a journal. Brian had suggested it. "It'll be good for you, Gram. Just write whatever comes into your head. It's like having your own private shrink, except instead of lying on a sofa, you can spill your guts to the computer."

"And this is supposed to save my sanity?"

"Well," Brian said, giving her a big grin. "Maybe not save it, but it'll make losing your mind more interesting."

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Three Doors to Death by Rex Stout

book cover

Three Doors to Death
by Rex Stout

Mass Market Paperback: 150 pages
Publisher: Bantam Books
Released: June 1966

Source: Bought at a library book sale.

Book Description, my take:
Nero Wolfe solves three cases in this short story collection:

"Man Alive" - A young fashion model comes to Wolfe because she saw her uncle, who supposedly committed suicide months ago, at her last fashion show. But then the uncle is found dead in his old office, and Wolfe must discover who killed him.

"Omit Flowers" - Wolfe's friend and favorite chef asks him to investigate a murder that he swears a chef friend was framed for. The wealthy widow of a fast-food chain married a man she wanted trained to take over the business. The chef and her children didn't want him to take over, and they were all present at the time of the murder. But who did it?

"Door to Death" - Wolfe is in desperate need of a good gardener to take care of his orchids--so much so that he actually goes to the gardener to convince him. But right after the gardener agrees to come, they discover the dead body of the gardener's girlfriend in the greenhouse. The police arrest the gardener, but Wolfe isn't about to lose his orchid expert!

My Review:
Three Doors to Death is a collection of three short mystery stories that were written in the late 1940s and set in New York. The mysteries were whodunit logic puzzles in style but have an underlying humor. Due to the short story format, the characters didn't have much depth or complexity...though Wolfe and his clever assistant were engaging and a little more filled out.

I think I like Nero Wolfe as a brainy detective better than Sherlock Holmes and the like. It's Wolfe's genius that allows him to ask the right questions and know how to play various characters off each other. However, we get the clues as he does and so the exact moment that Wolfe knew (without a doubt) who did it, I did, too. The timing was impeccable, keeping me fully engaged in the puzzle but never feeling frustrated. I've never read anything else by Rex Stout, so I wonder if his novels are like this, too.

There was a minor amount of cussing and swearing. There was no sex. Overall, I'd highly recommend this novel (and author) to those who like logic-puzzle mysteries.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from "Man Alive"
She said in her nicely managed voice that was a pleasure to listen to, "Daumery and Nieder."

I asked her politely, "Will you spell it, please?"

I meant the Daumery, since I already had the Nieder down in my notebook, her name being, so she had said, Cynthia Nieder.

Her lovely bright blue eyes changed expression to show that she suspected me of kidding her--as if I had asked her to spell Shakespeare or Charlie Chaplin. But I was so obviously innocent that the eyes changed again and she smiled.

She spelled Daumery and added, "Four ninety-six Seventh Avenue. That's what we get for being so cocky about how famous we are--we get asked how to spell it. What if someone asked you how to spell Nero Wolfe?"

"Try it," I suggested, smiling back at her. I extended a hand. "Put your fingers on my pulse and ask me. But don't ask me how to spell Archie Goodwin, which is me. That would hurt."

Wolfe grunted peevishly and readjusted a few hundred of his pounds in his built-to-order high-test chair behind his desk. "You made," he told our visitor, "an appointment to see me. I suppose you need a detective. If so tell me what for, without encouraging Mr. Goodwin to start caterwauling. It takes very little to set him off."

Monday, November 1, 2010

And the winner is...

It's time to pick the winner of Hangman's Curse by Frank Peretti. Including the Twitter entries, we had 69 people enter. Using a random number generator and numbering the entrants in the order I received their entries, the winner is:

Kristina Barnes

Congratulations! I'll be contacting you for your address.

For those who didn't win, you can always join in the fun by buying the book at your favorite bookstore!