Monthly Archives: September 2016

Book Review: The Methuselah Project by Rick Barry

Title: The Methuselah Project
Author: Rick Barry
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Published: September 2015
Genre: Speculative, Romantic Suspense, Christian Fiction

About the Book: (from the publisher’s Web site)

Nazi scientists started many experiments. One never ended.

Roger Greene is a war hero. Raised in an orphanage, the only birthright he knows is the feeling that he was born to fly. Flying against the Axis Powers in World War II is everything he always dreamed–until the day he’s shot down and lands in the hands of the enemy.

When Allied bombs destroy both his prison and the mad genius experimenting on POWs, Roger survives. Within hours, his wounds miraculously heal, thanks to those experiments. The Methuselah Project is a success–but this ace is still not free. Seventy years later, Roger hasn’t aged a day, but he has nearly gone insane. This isn’t Captain America–just a lousy existence only made passable by a newfound faith. The Bible provides the only reliable anchor for Roger’s sanity and his soul. When he finally escapes, there’s no angelic promise or personal prophecy of deliverance, just confusion. It’s 2015–and the world has become an unrecognizable place.

Katherine Mueller–crack shot, genius, and real Southern Belle–offers to help him find his way home. Can he convince her of the truth of his crazy story? Can he continue to trust her when he finds out she works for the very organization he’s trying to flee?

Thrown right into pulse-pounding action from the first page, readers will find themselves transported back in time to a believable, full-colored past, and then catapulted into the present once more. The historical back-and-forth adds a constantly moving element of suspense to keep readers on the edge of their seats.

My Thoughts:

This is a fascinating story, unusual enough to defy categorization. Part romantic suspense, part speculative fiction, part contemporary, part historical. Perhaps the best way to describe it is simply to say that it’s a real page-turner. From the first moments in the cockpit of a World War II fighter plane, I was hooked and ready to be swept along for the ride. And what a ride it is. At turns humorous, shocking, thought-provoking, tender, and thrilling, this story of a WWII era prisoner finally escaping to modern day America without having aged a day, is one I’m happy to recommend.

The premise is intriguing and thought-provoking. How would you handle being locked up in a jail cell for decades without aging, even as the world passes you by? Historical details are vivid and well-placed, from descriptions of dogfighting to period lingo. Characters leap off the page, particularly Roger with his wry sense of humor and WWII-era outlook on life clashing with modern-day realities. Thematically, the book looks at the power of prayer and the way someone’s convictions can get them through difficult parts of their own life as well as positively impacting others.

There’s a great discussion guide for this book available on the publisher’s Web site. I participated in the ACFW Book Club discussion of this book, and found the discussion based on these questions quite thought-provoking and enjoyable. I would recommend it for book clubs as well as anyone who’s up for an adventure a little outside of the ordinary.

Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Site

Three for the Books: Featured Reads in Christian Fiction, September 2016


The monthly “Three for the Books” post is where I feature new (Hot Off the Presses), best selling (Topping the Charts), and award winning (Cream of the Crop) Christian fiction books. I select one title to feature in each category, as well as providing links to where you can browse additional newly released, best selling, and award winning titles. Have you read any of these featured titles? Any others you’d like to give a shout-out? Comments are always welcome!

Hot Off the Presses

This Road We Traveled by Jane Kirkpatrick released this month from Revell. It’s a historical novel set on the Oregon Trail. The book is available in print, electronic, and audio editions.

Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Site | More New Releases

Topping the Charts

Without Warning by Lynnette Eason appears on the September 2016 ECPA Bestsellers list. This romantic suspense is Book 2 in the Elite Guardians series (see my review of Book 1). It’s available from Revell in print and electronic formats, with an audio edition available from Tantor Audio.

Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Site | More Best Sellers

Cream of the Crop

The Five Times I Met Myself by James L. Rubart is winner of the 2016 Christy Award for Book of the Year, as well as the 2016 Carol Award in the Speculative fiction category. It’s published by Thomas Nelson, and available in print and electronic editions.

Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Site | More Award Winners

Book Review: Step by Step by Candace Calvert

Title: Step by Step
Author: Candace Calvert
Publisher: Tyndale House
Published: February 2016
Series: Crisis Team, Book 2
Genre: Christian fiction, Contemporary Romance

About the Book: (from the publisher’s Web site)

Three years after a tragic accident left her a widow, ER nurse Taylor Cabot is determined to move on, checking off one item after another on her survival list. Her relationship with a handsome plastic surgeon even gives her hope for the last point—“fall in love again.” At least until crisis chaplain Seth Donovan steps back into her life, reawakening unanswered questions about her husband’s death.

While in San Diego to train community volunteers, Seth hopes to learn why Taylor is backing away from the crisis team and from their friendship. But nothing prepares him for the feelings that arise when he sees Taylor again . . . and sees her moving on with another man.

When a community crisis hits home and puts lives at risk, emotions run high and buried truths are unearthed. Will hope make the survival list?

My Thoughts:

Last year I wrote an enthusiastic review of By Your Side, and because I loved that book so much, I sought out of this next book in the Crisis Team series. Let’s just say I was not disappointed in the least. Step by Step has less emphasis on suspense than the last one did, and more focus on the friendship to romance angle. But in the areas I liked best about the last one, this book delivers. Its inspirational message isn’t preachy, but makes you stop and think about control versus trust, and there are some wonderfully emotional parts to the story that really tug on the reader’s heartstrings. Having met both Seth and Taylor in the previous book, I was happy to spend time with them again, and see where things might go. They make quite a likeable pair, and it was a delight to see them learning to move on…together. :) I get the feeling the author does her research, and I appreciated learning a bit about the work of crisis volunteers as well as about grief, how differently people deal with it, and the value of skilled listening. The sub-plot with Sloane (and Marty) raised my curiosity about her past and future, so I’m very much looking forward to continuing to read this series when Maybe It’s You releases early in 2017.

Thank you to the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of the book for review purposes.

Quick Links: About the Book | About the Series | Author’s Site

Christian Fiction Book Club Connection, September 2016

Book Club Connection

Welcome to the September 2016 edition of the Christian Fiction Book Club Connection. Thanks for stopping by! Whether you’re a pastor or ministry leader thinking of forming a book discussion group at your church, a current member of a book club, or simply a fan of Christian fiction hoping to connect with other readers, you’re in the right place. Please consider subscribing to my blog so you won’t miss future posts.

Today I’m providing information on Christian fiction discussions scheduled to take place around the web this month. I’m also featuring a handful of recently released Christian fiction titles for which a discussion guide is available, either included in the book itself or on the author’s or publisher’s web site.

Online Discussions Coming Up This Month

The ACFW Book Club‘s September selection is The Bones Will Speak by Carrie Stuart Parks. You can subscribe to the group’s e-mail list now, by following the instructions on their Web site, to be sure not to miss any announcements or discussion questions.

For September, the Christian Fiction Devourers group on Goodreads is discussing The Dandelion Field by Kathryn Springer AND Secrets She Kept (see my review of the audiobook here) by Cathy Gohlke. Grab your copies and head on over to the discussion forum to check in with others who are in the midst of reading these books.

The Christian Book Lovers’ Hideaway group’s monthly discussions can be found on their Goodreads discussion page. No September discussion title has been selected, and messages sent to members indicate the group may be discontinuing soon.

The Fans of Amish Fiction Goodreads group discusses one Amish fiction title and one Christian fiction title per month. A message in the discussion forum this month noted the group is seeking a moderator for the monthly Christian fiction read and has put this discussion on hold in the interim. The Amish fiction selection for September is Her Brother’s Keeper by Beth Wiseman. To join in, visit the group’s online discussion board.

Jamie of the Books and Beverages blog hosts a monthly Inklings discussion series for fans of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Sometimes fiction, sometimes non-fiction, the title for the month of September is The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis. The discussion is planned for September 21, 2016.

The Christian Fiction Book Club, and the Fans of Christian Romance Goodreads group are taking breaks from discussion for the time being.

Recent Christian Fiction Releases Featuring Discussion Guides

Deep Shadows by Vanetta Chapman (July 2016, Harvest House, Speculative Fiction)

The Courtship Basket by Amy Clipston (July 2016, Zondervan, Amish Romance)

Magnolia Moonlight by Mary Ellis (August 2016, Harvest House, Mystery/Suspense)

A Heart Most Certain by Melissa Jagears (August 2016, Bethany House, Historical Romance)

So, friends, what have you been reading lately? Any titles you’d recommend for book club discussions?