Kindness and Goodness are Gifts Most Rare

Deb’s Dozen: Nothing replaces kindness as a way to change people’s lives for better.

I believe wonderful novels should be read all year long–even if they’re holiday related. Tom Leihbacher wrote one such novel A Gift Most Rare . Set in the small village of Briarcliff Manor, close to New York, in the early 1970s, his book warms your heart and convinces you of the inherent kindness of people.

The hero, a young sixth grader named Charlie Riverton, typifies a boy his age. But unlike most of his somewhat rowdy peers, Charlie feels compassion by nature and notices those who are alone or set apart. His acts of kindness set the stage for this endearing novel. I especially liked his befriending a lonely widower.

Boys will be boys, and Charlie and his friends fit the saying. They play soccer and ice skate and get into trouble and begin to pay attention to girls (although they’d deny it if asked).

A stranger comes to town, and, of course, Charlie befriends him. He shows up at unusual times and seems to know what is going to happen. Together they set out to craft a special Christmas for the town, lives are changed, and people look at Christmas a bit differently.

Tom writes the character of Charlie so well, you feel he’s your friend, younger brother, or son. If my daughter were younger, he’s the kind of first boyfriend I’d want for her. You feel his emotions, marvel at his kindness, appreciate his joy. You root for him and his plans all the way through the book. Five stars—a delightful read.

About the Author

Tom Leihbacher, to quote his bio, “grew up in Briarcliff Manor and has lived there for most of his life.” After high school, he attended the University of Florida, then returned home, began a career in media ad sales, married, and became a father. His first novel, A Gift Most Rare, won my heart. The summer sequel should come out later this year.

The author gifted me with a copy of his book but did not obligate me to write a review.

Stalker! More Danger than Afghanistan!

Deb’s Dozen: A retired field surgeon, a stalker, a security agent, romance. What action!

I love Lynette Eason books and Active Defense (third book in the Danger Never Sleeps series) became one of my favorites. Lynette manages to write unforgettable characters, who get into unimaginable difficulties. How the characters get out of their scrapes always entertains. Lynette Eason takes us to places that excite, terrify. and surprise!

In Active Defense, Heather Fontaine, a former field surgeon in Afghanistan saw plenty of action. I always wanted to be a doctor, so any character who practices medicine automatically becomes a favorite. When Heather returns home, she finds safety there as elusive as on the battlefield. Someone searched her house, completely canceling her sense of security.

In the meantime, Heather correctly ascertains the surveillance. Not only by the stalker, but by Travis Walker, who watched her surreptitiously for weeks. He owns his own security agency, and asked him to help. When they team up, they have to figure out who wants Heather dead before the stalker gets his or her woman.

Of course, Heather and Travis end up together–one of the hallmarks of an Eason book. But how they get there creates the fun of the reading. In addition, trying to figure out the stalker before the end of the book challenges the reader.

To quote her Amazon Author’s page: “Award-winning, best-selling author, Lynette Eason writes for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense line and for Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Her books have hit the Publisher’s Weekly, CBA and ECPA bestseller lists and have won numerous awards such as the prestigious Carol Award, the Selah, the Daphne, the IRCC award and more.” Married, Lynette treasures two children and lives in Greenville, SC.” As Lynette continues as one of my favorite authors, I read every book she writes.

NetGalley gave me a copy of Active Defense, but I was in no way obligated to post a review.

Power of Evil Fights Angels of Heaven

Deb’s Dozen: We aren’t fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but powers of the unseen world.

Ottoman Dominion is the final book in the Empires of Armageddon series by Terry Brennan. This series embodies Ephesians 6:12, giving substance to the battles Christianity fights against the power of evil. A series about prophecies of the Vilna Gaon: the first of which came true; the second a product of the author’s imagination, thank goodness.

Knowing revelation of the prophecy would mean defeat, the creature known only as The Turk takes over the body of the prime minister of Turkey to wreak havoc on the American embassy in Israel and the ambassador’s residence. He must obtain the box and the prophecy, or he loses the battle and his power. Then Messiah comes again.

The players from the first two books, Ambassador Cleveland and Brian Mullaney, play huge roles in this book as well. The third member of the triumvirate, Tommy Hernandez, lost his life in book two. They labor against the machinations of Noah Webster, the US Deputy Secretary of State, who covets power and more power and will stoop to nothing to attain that power. And, unknown to them, Cleveland and Mullaney labor against the authorities of the unseen world.

But heaven favors them—and the mighty angels of heaven fight on their behalf. Not only are their human battles occurring, but heavenly battles as well. Mullaney has been made the guardian of the box and the prophecy and has no choice but to serve that role after Cleveland disappears. And heaven’s power narrowly overcomes the power of evil
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Bloody battles, technology of the latest design, people and powers operating for their own benefit, murder and mayhem permeate the pages of Ottoman Dominion. The ending is predictable, but the manner in which they arrive at the conclusion is both bloody and beautiful. Four stars for this book and the series.

“The LORD bless you and keep you, the LORD make his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you, the LORD lift up his countenance on you, and give you peace.”

About the Author

Terry Brennan is the award-winning author of The Jerusalem Prophecies as well as this series. He also led a Pulitzer-prize winning journalism team. He is married to Andrea, and they have a daughter, Meghan.

Kregel Publications gave me a copy of Ottoman Dominion but in no way required me to write a review.