Friday, March 27, 2015

A Story of Faith and Healing from Helo Matzelle’s ‘Halo Found Hope’ (Plus a Kindle Giveaway)

This story of hope and faith in the midst of great physical and medical adversity is sure to encourage you in your faith. Helo Matzelle's Halo Found Hope is a must-read. Machines beeping, the blur of medical staff running, a crash cart whizzing into an ICU room—was there any hope? Halo Found Hope is the story of a beautiful, busy wife and mother of three whose life changes instantly with the diagnosis of a rare brain tumor.

Halo is offering a Kindle Fire to one lucky reader to celebrate the release of Halo Found Hope!


One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire

  • Halo Found Hope

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 3rd. Winner will be announced April 4th on the Litfuse blog.



Halo Found Hope by Helo Matzelle

Halo Found Hope (December 2014)

Machines beeping, the blur of medical staff running, a crash cart whizzing into an ICU room—was there any hope?

A young woman lay, packed in ice, as doctors attempted to somehow stop the swelling in her brain that threatened to take her life… and her family waited.
Six days turned into eight weeks. She awoke to discover that she was not the same. She saw two of everything, couldn’t feel half of her face, couldn’t hear from one ear, and could not speak. She couldn’t even tell anyone that she felt hopeless… or could she?

Halo Found Hope is the story of a beautiful, busy wife, and mother of three whose life changes instantly with the diagnosis of a rare brain tumor. An exceptional ENT, a brilliant neurosurgeon and a dedicated medical team tackle the tumor, setting off a series of unbelievable miracles. Helo’s story is not one of survival, or of salvaging a life through a broken body. It is not about endurance through pain, but victory because of it. While the family heard her silence, God heard her prayer. Helo’s story is simply this: Wherever you are and whatever you are going through, God is right there. He doesn’t need to be re cognized by you, to be there for you. He can replace fear with courage and discouragement with determination, if you let Him. Helo did, and that is how she found hope.

Learn more and purchase a copy at Helo’s website.

Watch the trailer.

About the author: 

Helouise "Halo" Matzelle led a charmed life until receiving a shocking diagnosis in 2011 of a rare brain tumor sitting over the main artery in her brain. Matzelle's passion is helping those who face various challenges and afflictions discover where true hope is found. She resides in Redmond, WA, with her husband and their three children.

Find Helo online: website, Facebook, Twitter

Margie's Comments: What an encouraging read! As Helo Matzelle tells us of her unexpected diagnosis and subsequent surgery with all of its incredible risks, I was reminded of God's faithfulness in every area of our lives. Helo is transparent and honest in discussing the terror she felt from the diagnosis to waking up weeks later to realize she still had SO much to overcome. But through it all God gave her hope and through her family and friends showed her she was not alone. I could hardly put the book down, as I followed her painful and incredibly difficult journey. I highly recommend this book. It's not always an "easy" read, and many times I found myself crying with the author as she told her story. But through it all, I found the encouragement of hope and peace that only comes from God. Each chapter is chock-full of God's faithfulness and His incredible love for each one of His children.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Tomb by Stephanie Landsem

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Tomb

Howard Books (March 17, 2015)


Stephanie Landsem


A word from the author:

I write historical fiction because I love adventure in far-off times and places. I’ve traveled since I was a teenager—backpacking through Germany and Eastern Europe, studying German in Salzburg, eating gelato in Italy, and riding camels in Morocco were some of the highlights. Travel kindles my imagination, fuels my love of history, and introduces me to one-of-a-kind characters. It’s the best kind of research.

When I can’t travel, I read. I love fiction, of course, but I’m often found behind a stack of history books or searching the web for historical tidbits. How people lived together, worked, and what they ate (I love food!) is usually what catches my imagination. No matter where or when we live, people are more alike than they are different. I love to find the similarities between our lives and those of the men and women of the ancient world.

I make my home in Minnesota with my husband of 22 years, four children, three fat cats, and a tortoise named Moe. When I’m not writing Biblical fiction, I’m feeding the ravenous horde of kids and their friends, volunteering at church and school, battling dandelions, and dreaming about my next adventure – whether it be in person or on the page.


In this captivating retelling of a classic biblical story, Jesus shocks the town of Bethany with Lazarus’s resurrection from the dead, leading Martha—a seemingly perfect woman trapped by the secrets of her past—to hope and a new life.

Everyone in Bethany admires Martha—the perfect Jewish woman. She feeds and clothes her loved ones, looks after the family farm, and meticulously follows every precept of the Pharisees’ strict laws. But Martha is hiding a secret. At her sister’s marriage feast, she gave her heart and her innocence to a young musician who promised to return and marry her, but instead betrayed her love and abandoned her.

Seven years later, only two people in Bethany know of Martha’s secret sin: her brother, Lazarus, and Simon, the righteous Pharisee to whom Martha is betrothed. When Lazarus falls ill, Martha is faced with a choice: send for Jesus to save her dying brother—risking the wrath of Simon who threatens to betray her—or deny Jesus’ healing power and remain trapped in her tomb of secrecy and lies.

Meanwhile, on the shores of Galilee, Isa roams the wilderness, tortured by demons and knowing only that someone is waiting for him. When he is healed by Jesus, he finds that seven years have passed since his descent into madness. Isa journeys home to Bethany only to find he is too late to win back Martha’s love.

When Martha risks all to heal Lazarus, will Jesus arrive in time, or will he—like Isa—come too late?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Tomb, go HERE.

Margie's Comments: I've started this fascinating book, but I haven't read nearly enough to write a review. Please return later and hopefully I will have a review done.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Dauntless by Dina L. Sleiman

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


Bethany House Publishers (March 3, 2015)


Dina L. Sleiman


A word from the author:
Since selling my first book, I have also become an acquisitions editor for the company. I am a member of the Inkwell Inspirations blog, HEWN Marketing, ACFW, and a contributor to Christian Review of Books. I hold publishing credits in poetry and songwriting, and I was the writer and featured teacher in a nationally distributed instructional dance video for children. I have written several songs about the plight of the Islamic people, which have been produced in association with the Christian Broadcast Network. In addition, I have taught college and high school classes in writing and literature, as well as homeschool classes in the fine arts, and now enjoy teaching at writers conferences throughout the nation.


Where Legend and History Collide,
One Young Woman Will Fight for the Innocent

Born a baron's daughter, Lady Merry Ellison is now an enemy of the throne after her father's failed assassination attempt upon the king. Bold and uniquely skilled, she is willing to go to any lengths to protect the orphaned children of her former village--a group that becomes known as "The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest." Merry finds her charge more difficult as their growing notoriety brings increasing trouble their way.

Timothy Grey, ninth child of the Baron of Greyham, longs to perform some feat so legendary that he will rise from obscurity and earn a title of his own. When the Ghosts of Farthingale Forest are spotted in Wyndeshire, where he serves as assistant to the local earl, he might have found his chance. But when he comes face-to-face with the leader of the thieves, he's forced to reexamine everything he's known.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Dauntless, go HERE.

Margie's Comments: I love when an author combines legend with history, and I haven't been disappointed with Dina Sleiman's twist on the familiar Robin Hood legend. In Dauntless, the author stays true to the historical details of medieval England in both the story line and the characters. I fell in love with Merry and her "family" of orphans on the first page and cheered Timothy on in his desire to make a name for himself, not willing to stay in the shadow of his older siblings. This was a thoroughly enjoyable read from start to finish, and I look forward to reading the author's next book in the Valiant Heart series. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Spy of Richmond by Jocelyn Green

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Spy of Richmond

River North (March 1, 2015)


Jocelyn Green


Jocelyn Green is a child of God, wife, and mom living in Cedar Falls, Iowa. She is also an award-winning journalist, author, editor, and blogger. Though she has written nonfiction on a variety of topics, her name is most widely recognized for her ministry to military wives: Faith Deployed. Her passion for the military family was fueled by her own experience as a military wife, and by the dozens of interviews she has conducted with members of the military for her articles and books, Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives and its sequel, Faith Deployed...Again: More Daily Encouragement for Military Wives. She is also co-author of both Stories of Faith and Courage from the War in Iraq & Afghanistan and Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front (May 2012). Her Faith Deployed Web site and Facebook page continue to provide ongoing support, encouragement and resources for military wives worldwide.


Trust none. Risk all.

Richmond, Virginia, 1863. Compelled to atone for the sins of her slaveholding father, Union loyalist Sophie Kent risks everything to help end the war from within the Confederate capital and abolish slavery forever. But she can't do it alone.

Former slave Bella Jamison sacrifices her freedom to come to Richmond, where her Union soldier husband is imprisoned, and her twin sister still lives in bondage in Sophie's home. Though it may cost them their lives, they work with Sophie to betray Rebel authorities. Harrison Caldwell, a Northern freelance journalist who escorts Bella to Richmond, infiltrates the War Department as a clerk—but is conscripted to defend the city's fortifications.

As Sophie's spy network grows, she walks a tightrope of deception, using her father's position as newspaper editor and a suitor's position in the ordnance bureau for the advantage of the Union. One misstep could land her in prison, or worse. Suspicion hounds her until she barely even trusts herself. When her espionage endangers the people she loves, she makes a life-and-death gamble.

Will she follow her convictions even though it costs her everything—and everyone—she holds dear?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Spy of Richmond, go HERE.

Margie's Comments: Review to come.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Then Sings My Soul by Amy Sorrells

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Then Sings My Soul

David C. Cook (March 1, 2015)


Amy Sorrells


An Indianapolis native and graduate of DePauw University, Amy lives with her husband, three boys, and a gaggle of golden retrievers in central Indiana. After writing and editing for her college newspaper, she combined a nursing degree with journalism and creative writing, which led to publishing and editing a wide array of medical and nursing writing and multimedia projects over the past 21 years, a position as director of communications of her church’s children’s ministry, as well as a weekly column for a local newspaper which ran from 2009–2012.  She has been a two-time semi-finalist for the ACFW Genesis awards, and was the winner of the 2011 Women of Faith writing contest.

When she’s not reading or writing, Amy loves spending time with her three sons; spicy lunches and art gallery walks with her  husband; digging in her garden sans gloves; walking her dogs; up-cycling old furniture and junk; photography; and friends.


When Nel Stewart returns home due to the sudden death of her mother, she realizes her beloved father, Jakob, is struggling with dementia.

With the reappearance of a high-school sweetheart, deliveries from Ukraine addressed to her, and the discovery of a mysterious, vintage aquamarine gemstone, Nel senses God is pulling her into the past to restore their faith and their futures. Told partially through Jakob's flashbacks of fleeing genocide-ridden eastern Europe at the turn of the twentieth century, the novel combines elements of mystery, history, faith and romance to reveal how God redeems the broken years . . . and our future.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Then Sings My Soul, go HERE.

Margie's Comments: Review to come. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Unbound by J.B. Simmons

Unbound is an apocalyptic thriller by J.B. Simmons. The first book in The Omega Trilogy follows 18-year-old Elijah as his nightmares of a dragon turn into reality when the beast of the end times is released.

Simmons offers a fascinating glimpse into the way our world could look in 50 years. Mixing futuristic technology with historical places and end-times theology, Unbound is both thoughtful and entertaining. As many reviewers have said (including me! see below), you won't be able to put it down.

About the book:
From the back cover:
He must be released for a little while.
But the one who sees doesn't believe.

Elijah Goldsmith has nightmares he needs to ignore. Why would a rich kid from Manhattan dream three straight nights about a dragon and the destruction of St. Peter's Basilica? He's never even been to Rome.

It's bad timing, too. He's graduating soon and applying to be a spy in the International Security Agency. That's where he meets Naomi. She's the kind of girl who makes boys like Elijah want to share their secrets. Were they brought together to learn what his secrets mean? There's more to their sparks than they think.

This is 2066. The year the world ends.

About the author:
J.B. Simmons writes thrillers with an apocalyptic twist, and political philosophy clothed in fantasy. His latest novel, Unbound, is the first book in The Omega Trilogy. Book two, Clothed with the Sun, released February 27, 2015.

The Omega Trilogy is his second series. in his Gloaming books, J.B. carries the torch of Tolkein and C.S. Lewis into an underground city with an exiled prince. The Gloaming's characters champion the philosophies of history's great thinkers and bring them to battle.

J.B. lives outside Washington, DC, with his wife, two toddlers, and an intriguing day job. He writes before dawn and runs all day. His secret fuel: coffee and leftover juice boxes.

Well-educated and highly articulate, the emerging author has learned to combine his love of fiction with his own creativity.

When asked why he became a writer, J.B. points to a defining moment early in his career. Late one night, he was sitting in a windowless office toiling over a legal brief. "It was a season of questions: who am I, why am I here, what am I doing? An answer flashed in my mind like a bolt of lightning: 'You are a writer.' Ever since, I have felt peace when filling a page with words. I am a writer."

J.B. went to law school with the main goal of becoming a better writer. Years of practice in the professional legal world have honed his skills—because in law and in fiction, every word must have a purpose, chosen with care. J.B. writes smart fiction. Picking up what he can from his favorite novelists, he strikes a chord between the crispness of Hemingway, the complexity of Faulkner, and the accessibility of C.S. Lewis.

J.B. is a graduate of the University of North Carolina and the University of Virginia.

Learn more at

Margie's comments: As I hinted at above, I did have a hard time putting Unbound down. It held my attention from start to finish. The first chapter plops the reader right into the action, and the story doesn't really let you go even at the end, where the narrative lets you know there is another book coming. In fact, that's probably the only thing that detracts from the reading for me. I like to feel like a book is completely standalone, even in a series. While the story did wrap up the particular vision this book reveals and leaves Elijah and Naomi recouping their strength for the next phase of their work, it still was a little open-ended for me. At least I don't have to wait for the next book, Clothed with the Sun, to read the next installment, since it released today.

The characters in Unbound are well developed and interesting. The technology as the author sees it in 2066 is intriguing. Elijah is fascinated with Naomi, but is not sure what to do with his dreams or her faith. She introduces him to more people of faith in order to get answers to his dreams. So not only is he having these nightmares that keep increasing in intensity, he's having to learn a belief system that is totally foreign to him.

I highly recommend Unbound to readers who enjoy apocalyptic thrillers. And I look forward to reading more from this author.

**I received this book from The Believers Media group in exchange for a review.**

Monday, February 16, 2015

Return to Exile by Lynne Gentry

Return to Exile (Howard Books, January 2015)

About the book:

How far would you go to save the ones you love?

Six years ago, impossible circumstances forced Dr. Lisbeth Hastings to leave behind the love of her life, not just in another country, but in another time. Her work as a top-notch epidemiologist and parenting her little girl helps alleviate the pain, but at night when her exhausted head hits the pillow, images of her beloved Cyprian haunt her sleep.

Cyprian Thascius returns from political exile a broken man. He’s lost his faith, the love of his life, and his purpose. He attempts to move on, to face the danger that is looming over Carthage, but when Cyprian’s true love suddenly reappears, his heart becomes as imperiled as the fledgling church he seeks to save.

Have the years that kept Lisbeth and Cyprian apart created too wide a chasm to bridge? In the midst of a new epidemic and rising oppression, will their love be the most costly fatality? Filled with gripping action and raw emotion, this spell-binding adventure of star-crossed lovers captivates with every turn of the page in this electric continuation of The Carthage Chronicles.

About the author:

Lynne Gentry has written for numerous publications. She is a professional acting coach, theater director, and playwright. Lynne is an inspirational speaker and dramatic performer who loves spending time with her family and medical therapy dog.

Margie’s Comments: I have enjoyed reading Lynne Gentry’s The Carthage Chronicles, including the “e-shorts” A Perfect Fit and Shades of Surrender, and the first book in this series The Healer of Carthage. While these novels include a bit of time travel, putting modern women into ancient Carthage, I didn’t find it difficult to make that suspension of belief to enjoy the stories. The rich historical detail, the medical details, and the full body of characters in the series make for an entertaining read. Lisbeth and her mother Magadalena both are victims of a time portal but learn to adapt their medical training to deal with epidemics that had no cure in the ancient world. In Return to Exile, the second book in this series, Lisbeth makes the return to ancient Carthage when Cyprian, her husband, is released from exile where he’d been sent because of his Christian beliefs. Together they struggle to keep the church going as they begin to deal with yet another epidemic, this time typhoid fever. When their daughter contracts the deadly disease, they know the only way she will survive is for Lisbeth to take her back into the modern world. While the book is a standalone story, the book still ends with a cliffhanger, making the wait for the concluding book in the series difficult. But that is my only complaint about the book. For a rich reading experience, I highly recommend Return to Exile by Lynne Gentry.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden

Beyond All Dreams (Bethany House, January 2015)

Is bringing the truth to light worth risking all they’ve ever dreamed for their futures?
Anna O’Brien leads a predictable and quiet life as a map librarian at the illustrious Library of Congress until she stumbles across the baffling mystery of a ship disappeared at sea. Thwarted in her attempts to uncover information, her determination outweighs her shyness and she turns to a dashing congressman for help.

Luke Callahan was one of the nation’s most powerful congressmen before his promising career was shadowed in scandal. Eager to share in a new cause and intrigued by the winsome librarian, he joins forces with Anna to solve the mystery of the lost ship. Opposites in every way, Anna and Luke are unexpectedly drawn to each other despite the strict rules forbidding Anna from any romantic entanglements with members of Congress.

From the gilded halls of the Capitol where powerful men shape the future of the nation, to the scholarly archives of the nation’s finest library, Anna and Luke are soon embroiled in secrets much bigger and more perilous than they ever imagined. Is bringing the truth to light worth risking all they’ve ever dreamed for their futures?
Learn more and purchase a copy at Elizabeth’s website.

Elizabeth Camden is the author of six books and a RITA and Christy Award winner. With a master's in history and a master's in library science, she is a research librarian by day and scribbles away on her next novel by night. Elizabeth lives with her husband in Florida.

Margie’s Comments: Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden is one of those rare books I had trouble putting down in order to get other things done. The author has vividly brought to life the world of late-nineteenth century Washington D.C. The events of that time and how they affected not only the policy makers but also their constituents both in our nation’s capitol and in their home states is fascinating. The characters are well developed and by the end of the first chapter I had fallen in love with both Anna and Luke. As the title suggests, the dreams and aspirations of the characters peopling this story world are pursued and many are realized beyond what they expected. The romantic tension between Anna and Luke was another factor that kept me reading, just to see what would happen next. I highly recommend Beyond All Dreams.

New from Elizabeth Camden | ‘Beyond All Dreams’ Kindle Fire Giveaway and Author Chat Party

Travel back in time to the U.S. Capitol and the Library of Congress in Elizabeth Camden's newest release, Beyond All Dreams. From the gilded halls of the Capitol where powerful men shape the future of the nation, to the scholarly archives of the nation's finest library, Anna and Luke are soon embroiled in secrets much bigger and more perilous than they ever imagined. Is bringing the truth to light worth risking all they've ever dreamed for their futures?

Elizabeth is celebrating the release of Beyond All Dreams with a Kindle giveaway and Facebook party on February 17.


One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire

  • One copy of Beyond All Dreams

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 2/17. Winner will be announced at Elizabeth's 2/17 Beyond All Dreams Facebook author chat party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Elizabeth and historical fiction fans, as well as for the opportunity to win some great prizes!



RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 17th!