Steal Away Home

Steal Away HomeAuthor: Billy Coffey

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: January 2, 2018

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Batter up! Coffey’s produced another hit that’s sure to be a grand slam!

Owen Cross was brought up to do one thing: play baseball. His father was a promising pitcher that would have made it to the big leagues if he hadn’t blown out his shoulder in college.  Instead of facing disappointment in his life, he focused all his ambitions onto his son to make it for both of them.  He found work as the school janitor in Camden, Virginia and continued to make his son the best catcher and hitter that the school could produce.  Owen also focused on his love of baseball until he met Michaela Dullahan, a young girl from Shantytown.  She was poor, abused, lonely, and considered plain white trash.  Owen immediately fell in love with her and they quickly formed a bond.  He was going to go off to play college ball and she would go with him to save her from a life of despair.  Then the night of senior prom changed everything.  A stupid idea of some classmate’s decision to play chicken with the train brought forth a supernatural experience to Owen and Michaela that will change them forever and possibly drive them apart.

Of all Coffey’s novels, this one may be the one that speaks the most to me. It reminds me so much of the town that I grew up in and how divided and cliquish it was.  Even though I grew up in Texas, the same scenarios took place at high school.  My husband also read the book and said it sparked a memory of his from high school as well.  There was a girl a couple of years younger than him that was considered white trash who had to walk about three miles to school every day.  No one would pick her up along the way, they just passed her by.  Than one day, he decided to give her a ride to school, which then turned into most days.  They never really talked along the five minute drive, but she always said thank you when they got there.  One day while sitting in his car, he overhead a group of kids talking about him, mostly in a negative aspect.  Out of nowhere, the girl that he helped stood up for him to the group.  All it takes is a little kindness to make a difference.

As always, Coffey’s books deal with the supernatural and with religion. This book once again puts the small town church in the spotlight with its traditions and prejudices that members are often blind to.  And it’s not just in small town churches.  I’ve seen the same thing happen in many churches where people go to socialize more than get sustenance for their faith.  If someone they didn’t like from town were to suddenly show up, would they be able to show kindness?  Or try to keep them from coming in?  We always hope for the former, but sometimes the latter is true in our hearts.

Being a fan of baseball, I thoroughly enjoyed how Coffey told the story through the innings of a major league baseball game. Alternating between Owen’s present troubles and thinking of his past really kept the story flowing well.  I was just enjoying the story and wanted to know the middle to see how things dissolved when I reached the train scene and everything got thrown for a loop in true Coffey fashion.  I also thought it was interesting that we jumped out of Mattingly again, except for the championship baseball game, which featured Junior Hewitt who once struck out Chipper Jones in the majors (read There Will be Stars).

All this to say, Coffey is on his game and I recommend this book to supernatural lovers and anyone who loves a good story.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Cold Water

cold WaterAuthor: Samuel Parker

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: January 2, 2018

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A pulse-pounding thrill ride that will haunt you past the last page and well into the night.

When Michael wakes up after being buried alive, he just wants to give up at first. He has spent half his life behind bars since before he was a teenager. Now, he has gone back to his home town hoping to live a quiet life and be left alone. The people of Coldwater have other ideas, set on seeking the punishment they feel the prison system lacked. Michael is trying to keep himself alive and figure out the dark powerful forces that are creeping inside him and destroying everything he comes in contact with. The only question now is whether or not he be able to stop it before it is too late.

From the extraordinary mind that brought us Purgatory Road comes the next dark and chilling tale that will be sure to keep readers up well past their bedtime. I was once again mesmerized by the work of Samuel Parker. His writing is so real and chilling that I find the hairs on the back of my neck stand up as I turn each page. For a supernatural thriller to be this chilling and realistic is a feat not many can accomplish.  After Purgatory Road, I knew I had to read what Samuel Parker wrote next and I am happy to say I was not disappointed. There are several aspects to this story: the darkness within us all, how we deal with said darkness, and also how our darkness can affect those around us in ways we may never know or understand.  This is not a book for the faint of heart, readers need to be aware that it is dark and just might keep you up at night. With that being said, it is also a good look into the soul of man and a way to see just what we all need to see and be aware of about ourselves. I recommend this to readers wanting a look inside and willing to take what they see and use it for good.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Top Supernatural Thriller

These books might not seem totally realistic, but they are still fun to read.  Here are our top picks for the year!

Realms of God

1. The Realms of God by Michael Livingston

In the exciting conclusion to the Shards of Heaven series, the timetable fast forwards 20 years with several of our favorite characters perishing.  Who survives?

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

The Delusion

2. The Delusion by Laura Gallier

When a small town becomes the center of a supernatural battle between good and evil, one young man must face the worst to find the best in everyone.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Invitation

3. The Harbingers Series

Each of these books brings four top supernatural suspense authors together to create new thriller stories for our heroes!

Read the review for The Invitation.

Read the review for The Assault.

Read the review for Probing.

 

 

Death in the minds eye

Death in the Mind’s Eye by Rick Acker

A combination of a legal and psychological thriller, the perfect read for anyone wanting a book that will keep them on the edge of their seat.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some Small Magic

5. Some Small Magic by Billy Coffey

Things are not always as they seem.  The living might be dead and the dead might be alive.

Read the full review here.

Probing

ProbingAuthor: Bill Myers, Frank Peretti, Angela Hunt & Alton Gansky

Series: Harbingers Cycle 3

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: December 5, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Our ragtag team of heroes are back to tackle the newest evil lurking around every corner, and dimension.

The third installment of the Harbingers series picks things up where the team left off. Bill Myers starts things off with Leviathan, where our team has been invited to Hollywood for a taping of a new reality show, Live or Die: The Ultimate Reality.  Things get a little too tense when they realize how much control the dark side has over those involved. Frank Peretti continues the story taking us on an amazing adventure with The Mind Pirates. The team has to deal with an enchanted pirate earring and an evil scheme at sea. Part three, Hybrids by Angela Hunt, gets even more chilling as the team encounters two children with black eyes and a pregnant woman who is no longer pregnant with no recollection of what happened to her baby. Our story concludes with The Village from Alton Gansky, where the team is sent to the Blue Ridge Mountains to a town that is more mysterious than anything they have ever encountered.  And with this team, that is saying a lot.

If you are a fan of supernatural suspense you have probably heard of and read one or more of these authors. I don’t know whose idea it was to get them together in this way, but it works. Each book in the series gets better. You do have to enjoy the supernatural aspect to get into these books. While it is beneficial to have read both the previous installments, I wouldn’t say it is absolutely necessary. Each story is broken up with enough backstory that the reader can tell what is happening if they haven’t read the previous two.  Just like most of the works I have read by these authors, there is a lot written that we can’t explain and some of the events will make you scratch your head, but these characters tackle each situation they encounter and bring it to life for the reader. It is nice that there isn’t a lot of time between releases of each book; with each author only writing a quarter of the story, it doesn’t take them as long to get it out to the anxiously awaiting readers.  I do enjoy how each section is from a different character’s view point. Each author has done a fantastic job embodying their character and bringing in to life in a realistic manner. I don’t particularly care for a few of the characters, however it is in the way I’m not really supposed to care for them, which can actually make them more memorable and enjoyable.  I recommend this book to those readers who enjoy a supernatural suspense story by some of the best in the business. Putting these four together was a great idea and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

The Delusion

The DelusionAuthor: Laura Gallier

Publisher: Tyndale House

Release Date: October 3, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

When a small town becomes the center of a supernatural battle between good and evil, one young man must face the worst to find the best in everyone.

Owen Edmonds has moved to Masonville, Texas in the middle of his senior year where almost a dozen students have committed suicide. The school and town are becoming the center of a media frenzy and the battle for souls is just getting started.  In the woods one night, Owen has his own near-death experience which causes him to see the people around him differently. Almost everyone is wearing shackles and being followed by what Owen calls Creepers. It takes a while for Owen to reach the conclusion that he is not imagining what he sees but that everyone else is blind to it. Knowing everyone he knows and cares about is in danger, Owen must do everything in his power to warn them and stop the evil beings from taking their souls.

When I started reading this book I was having a hard time with insomnia. Reading this while going through insomnia or something similar is not something I would recommend. A book about someone with delusions while experiencing my own because of lack of sleep made for a difficult start to the book. I found myself not wanting to continue because so much of it hit a cord with me. That’s not a bad thing, everything was portrayed so well it made it hard to want to read and be able to relate with what I was going through. It is difficult for me to believe this is the author’s debut novel. The story flowed smoothly with the characters making a connection that pulled me deep into the book. I didn’t realize when starting that this was going to be the beginning of a series and after reading the last page I am thirsting for more. The good vs. evil is something we all deal with, maybe not in the ways described in the book, but we all have our demons we have to face, even if we don’t want to admit it. This is a book that I think many will enjoy, especially those who enjoy the works of Ted Dekker and others that write supernatural thrillers.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

The Day the Angels Fell

The Day the Angels FellAuthor: Shawn Smucker

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: September 5, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Unique, supernatural, and a twist on a tale we have all heard!

The summer that Sam was twelve years old changed him forever. His mother was killed in a terrible accident that left him without knowing how to grieve and a father who didn’t know how to either.  But then the strangers showed up.  First was Mr. Jinn, a neighbor who he had never seen, comes to his house to discuss what happened and if Sam would do anything to bring her back.  Then Mr. Tennin shows up asking Sam’s dad about work and suddenly is living with them.  Mr. Tennin tells a very interesting story about the tree of life that dates back to the Garden of Eden and the two cherubim who were put in place to guard the tree.  The tree of life has the power to bring someone back to life, but the power should not be used as death is a gift.  Sam becomes consumed with bringing his mother back no matter what it cost.

This book was definitely unlike anything I have ever read before. It centers around Sam and is inability to grieve for his mother’s death and how he feels responsible for it.  His father is no help to him and he begins to cut himself off from his only friend.  This book may be difficult for people who have lost someone close to them to understand that death is a gift to leaving this world and the pain that comes with it.  Those that are left still have the pain and it is hard to see through what it will become.

The story bounces between present day elderly Sam and twelve year old Sam. We see that he develops several habits based on the events of this summer; habits that aren’t good to keep.  Ultimately, the supernatural story within this book is what really keeps it moving.  Bringing the story of the Garden of Eden and intertwining it with present day is a fresh way to look at this aspect.  Be sure to grab a copy of this one!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

The Assault

The AssaultAuthors: Bill Myers, Frank Peretti, Angela Hunt, & Alton Gansky

Series: Harbingers Cycle #2

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: August 1, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The second installment in the Harbingers series brings the team into even more danger and turmoil while testing their faith in each other and a higher power.

Bill Myers starts things off this round with The Revealing, where the team has traveled to Rome to find a mystical spear that is thought to have been used by Hitler and as well as have pierced the side of Christ during the crucifixion.  The team has to travel through hidden chambers to avoid those sent to keep them from accomplishing their goals.  Frank Peretti continues the story in Infestation.  In this installment, the team has to tackle a monster that is unlike anything anyone has ever seen before.  In Infiltration, Angela Hunt takes the team to rest after being attacked and wounded.  Finally, Alton Gansky’s The Fog brings forth a supernatural mist that attacks anything in comes in contact with, including the team and those they are trying to protect.

In another interesting compilation, these four authors are brought together to do what they do best, tell supernatural thrilling stories that will leave the audience thirsting for more. You have to enjoy the paranormal and supernatural to enjoy this book.  The authors all write with such creative power in their characters and how they tell their stories it will bring everything together as if it isn’t unbelievable.  For some, this might not be considered a Christian book with the way it gets so dark, but there is a spiritual element to it that the audience will resonate with.  These four authors are the top in Christian supernatural fiction and bringing them together gives a tale like no other.  Each author gives his/her unique voice and writing style to a different character that brings the whole group together and ties the different elements of the story in a nice little bow.  If this were another set of authors, I don’t believe it would work.  These four have found a way to come together and weave a story that is worth reading and waiting for more to come.  I recommend this to readers that enjoy a deep, dark, supernatural thriller that will test the limits of your imagination and leave you aching for more.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.