BOOK REVIEW: Hanging By The Thread

I have found a new favorite author. The discovery came when I received a book for free, sent for me to review. The book is called, Hanging By The Thread. The author, Donald B. Anderson, debuts well in this political suspense novel.

Here is the back cover copy:

For ten years, a secret society has risen to power. They have infiltrated every facet of the federal government. They are powerful. They have extraordinary access to public funds and government technologies. The Constitution stands in their way.

They have sought to destroy economic freedom, amass power to the federal government, and create mass dependency. They call themselves THE THREAD. And now, they are poised to rise to power.

But, on the eve of their burst into power, a copy of their plan falls into the hands of a young man in the Utah State Capital building. And now, the race is on. Time is short and a small group must struggle to preserve their lives, their nation, and freedom itself.

This book has already received positive reviews, but I’m never convinced until I’ve read the thing myself. So I opened to the first chapter a bit suspiciously to see if it–for me–would live up to the press it’s received thus far.

By the end of the book, my hands were sweating and I was astonished. It held my attention and kept me guessing throughout the read. In fact, it was one of those books I really, really did not want to be interrupted at all. You know those kind. You tell yourself, “It’s not like the ink will fade before morning. The story will still be here. Get some sleep.” But some books have a certain urgency; you cannot stop until you know the end of the story. This was that kind of book.

I do not want to read very many books twice. This book now joins a coveted group of:

1. I must read this again.

2. My friends need to know about this book!

3. This is a book I’d take with me to a deserted island.

When I turned the final page of Hanging By The Thread and reluctantly closed the book, I had an instant desire to tell every friend I had that this was a “must-read” book for this summer. That’s why I’m sharing that thought with you.

So get this book. If you’re going on vacation, it makes the perfect read. If you’re spending a day at the park, this is the perfect read. If you’re staying home, it is the perfect read.

The flaws in the book are so tiny as to seem immaterial (i.e. two transition scenes could have been smoothed).

I highly recommend Hanging By The Thread. Not only might it make your hands sweat like it did mine towards the end, but you’ll pick up a few fun economic facts along the way!

Here’s the link to the book’s trailer where you can get an idea of its flavor. And here’s where you can get your own copy. I think you’ll be glad you did. Soon you may be like me, perhaps recommending it to everyone you know!

Lisa Mangum’s Newest Book, THE GOLDEN SPIRAL

Any lovers of Twilight out there? Pay close attention to this title…


Yep, that’s the one.

(Not that THE GOLDEN SPIRAL has any kind of male with vampirish tendencies. But, wow, if your daughters want to read about a dreamy guy, get them this is the book. This one is nice clean fun.)

Here is the information from the back cover:

“His eyes. His touch. His kiss. Now Dante’s gone, and Abby will do anything to get him back…

“The hourglass door has closed behind Dante, sending him back in time to hunt down Zo, Tony, and V. Abby knows that Dante, as a Master of Time, is the only one who can stop them from destroying time itself. She also knows that he will need her help. But almost immediately, things start to change, and Abby’s worst fears are realized when Zo begins targeting her past specifically.

“The bank is eroding. The barriers are thinning. And time is running out.”

THE GOLDEN SPIRAL is the second book in The Hourglass Door Trilogy. Not only is it imaginative, but I loved the author’s experimentation with the physics of time. Truly a delightful read. If you’re looking for a fun book to get for a long car trip this summer or to read while on the beach in Cancun (or any other kind of family vacation), this would be one you’d enjoy…and then wait eagerly for the final in the series due in 2011. :0)

P.S. Do know that the book gets intense at the end and without being a “spoiler”, there is a knife involved. If you do not like peril, you might skip quickly through that scene. You’ll know it when you get there. As I pondered it later, it made sense that it needed to happen. It was just a little sad. 😦

Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen’s book: Missing

I get so tired of smutty books. You know the kind: books with content that is salacious, contain foul words, etc. Call it what you want, but for me I decided some time ago to pick books very carefully so that I feel better after having read them, rather than feeling like I just descended into some filthy mud puddle.

Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen has written a novel that I can highly recommend. It is called Missing. If you like suspense novels, I think you may enjoy this one. Here is the storyline blurb from the publisher:

“A BYU-Idaho choir tour in British Columbia turns out to be anything but ordinary when soloist Stacie Cox spots a kidnapped child from Rexburg during a performance. Before Stacie can alert the authorities, the little girl disappears. Stacie vows to find and rescue her, a choice that forces her to deal with her guilt-ridden past and another little girl that haunts her dreams. When the handsome Matt Brennan helps Stacie in her search, she tries to resist the attraction she feels for him. Yet as he gains her friendship and trust, her resolve to never fall in love begins to crumble. And after a series of harrowing events, Stacie must decide if she is willing to sacrifice her life–and a possible future with Matt–to save a stranger.

I enjoyed the first chapter as it introduced us to Stacie as a child. I found the scenario very compelling and believable and I could empathize with this young person who had been blamed for a crime that was not her fault. Flash forward eight years and you now find Stacie aware–more so than the average individual–of children’s suffering. This propels us into the story where Stacie now determines to sacrifice herself to try to wipe away the guilt she carried from the experience in the first scene of the book.

This is Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen’s first novel. Although there were a few spots where I felt transitions could have helped make a scene or two feel less coincidental (i.e. the diner scene), I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Ronda has a second book set to come out this spring. I am excited for her. I feel that she is a writer that will continue to bring books to bless us all… books that will get us to think and help us to stand outside our tiny worlds and consider the world of another.

You just might find yourself more aware of the importance of kindness and courage after reading a book by Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen. Kudos to her for writing pleasurable fiction that uplifts and doesn’t leave you feeling like you’ve rolled around in a filthy mud puddle! Here is a link to her website and here is a link to where you can purchase your own copy of Missing! I cannot wait to read her next book… and that is saying a lot for me.


Karen Hoover is an author with a heart of compassion and inventive playfulness, all wrapped up in delight. I met Karen Hoover at an event for writers several years ago. At that time, she told me of a manuscript she had worked on for years, but was having trouble finding a publisher.

Imagine my delight when this year I heard her happy news. THE SAPPHIRE FLUTE: Book One The Wolfchild Saga had been picked up by Valor Publishing. Recently I received an ARC (advanced reader’s copy) to review here. I received the copy for free and when it came in the mail, I remember holding it and thinking back to my discussion with Karen so long ago about her two characters in this story, and how long she’d been nursing them to life.

Before I mention more, though, about the book or the author, I want to share a quote she’d given recently at Valor Publishing’s own blog spot. When asked what her advice was for young writers, Karen shared a favorite quote from author Ginny Smith:

“God has plans for your writing, and they are better than any plans you have for yourself. Let Him be in charge and let Him delight you with what He has in store.”

Karen Hoover’s inspiration comes from her God and it shows in her writing. Not that THE SAPPHIRE FLUTE is a religious book. Far from it. It falls squarely in the category of fantasy for teens and pre-teens alike. Here is the information from the back cover:

“It has been 3000 years since a white mage has been seen upon Rasann.

“In the midst of a volcanic eruption miles outside of her village, Ember discovers she can see magic and change the appearance of things at will. Against her mother’s wishes, she leaves for the mage trials, only to be kidnapped before arriving. In trying to escape, she discovers she has inherited her father’s secret–a secret that places her in direct conflict with her father’s greatest enemy.

“At the same time, Kayla is given guardianship of the Sapphire Flute and told not to play it. The evil mage C’Tan has been searching for it for decades, and the sound alone is enough to call her. For the flute to be truly safe, Kayla must find its birthplace in the mountains high above Javak.

“The girls’ paths are set on a collision course . . . and C’Tan will do whatever it takes to keep them from fulfilling their destiny.”

My first impression of the book came from my children. My son in particular was fascinated. We began reading the story out loud together. But soon, he was carrying the book everywhere. He read it once. Then he read it again. Then he read it again. And when he wasn’t reading it, he was carrying it everywhere (we put a stop at it coming with us to church).

Is this a book to recommend to kids? Absolutely! I am thrilled for Karen. Her story which had been nestled for 17 years in her heart now is in print for many to read. Here is where you can get your own copy.

The only qualm or quandary about the book? It is a seven-book series…which means that not all plot twists are resolved (obviously) in the first book. So Karen, please get those fingers typing as fast as you can. We want to know this story from the front of it . . . all the way to the very end!

BOOK REVIEW – Prayers That Bring Miracles

I received a free book in the mail recently from a publisher requesting that I read the book, Prayers That Bring Miracles by Stephen M. Bird, and consider writing a review. I never know how these experiences will go. Honestly, there are some books I do not feel hold up to the premise stated on the book’s cover.

For example, on the back cover of Prayers That Bring Miracles:

“As I read Prayers That Bring Miracles, I knew almost instantly that this is a book for which many people are hungering….Rarely have I read a work that touched my spiritual senses so deeply.” – Julie Davis Jensen, book evaluator

Prayers That Bring Miracles opened my mind to the magnitude of possibilities through prayer. I no longer go through a ritual for the sake of obedience, but look forward to the answers and direct guidance that I once thought only a few were privileged to experience in this life.” – Michael Strode, real estate agent

There are other endorsement on the back of the book equally as glowing. Thus, I was curious as I began reading the book for myself whether or not the book could live up to this kind of exuberant reviews.

Now that I have spent time with this book myself, I know why the reviews were so positive. The author Stephen M. Bird’s words and his approach to the sacred matter of prayer have changed my life.

That simply put!

This book has changed my life. From the story entitled, “Chaplain, You’ll Never Believe What Happened,” to teaching me to better trust the prayer/answer process, to understanding why it is the Lord answers prayers, I love this book.

In fact, I kept waiting for something not to like. Reviewers are supposed to do that, you know. Find at least one thing that is yuck about the book and mention it to appear that you are balanced. I find that approach to reviewing books ridiculous when there isn’t anything to quibble with during the reading.

That’s how this book moved for me. I read chapters, stopped, pondered the meaning. OK, well, here perhaps could be one complaint. And yet it is not a complaint…it is a call for spiritual maturity. If you’re wanting a quick read, one that doesn’t challenge you, this book is NOT for you. These chapters cannot be read swiftly. That would be like eating in a $500/plate restaurant, but staying only long enough for the lemon-with-water glass brought at the beginning of the meal.

No, Stephen M. Bird’s book is to be read slowly. Pondered. Experimented with. Just the chapter “The Road to Faith in God” was worth the entire exposure to the book. He delineates how to get rid of skepticism, one of the biggest impediments to sensing answers from God and to receiving them. That chapter is worth the entire book.

But would I want only that chapter? No. I would want the whole book. And now that I have it, I give thanks for the opportunity given me to review it.

Here are the chapters contained in this book. Read this list and consider if this book doesn’t belong on your bookshelf or especially the bookshelf of someone you know who is struggling with “why doesn’t God answer my prayers?” The chapter titles may appear simplistic, but their content is anything but.

“Chaplain You’ll Never Believe What Happened”
“God Is Your Father”
“Approach Him Reverently”
“Submit to Your Father First”
“Request Specific Blessings in Faith”
“Remembering Our Father’s Son”
“The Road to Faith in God”
“The Blessings of Faith in God”
“The Importance of Faith in God’s Will”

Remember those glowing reviews? I now want to add mine. You can find this book online at Amazon.

GG Vandagriff’s Newest Book!

Whew, it’s been a flurry of a summer. The busiest I think I’ve ever had. But I’m so excited! My dear friend, GG Vandagriff’s newest book is coming out this month. And here is the schoooop!

The Hidden Branch will be released on or before September 16th.Taking place in Huntington Beach, CA, it is the fifth in the Alex and Briggie Mystery Series, but can also be read as an introduction to the series.

Visit for more info. But here is the cool part. Anyone who buys the book online or in the store before September 17th can qualify for an Alex and Briggie gift package (it’s the coolest) AND a chance to win an autographed set of the entire series by doing the



  • Email GG Vandagriff (visit to contact her) with your name, address, place you bought the book and the date of purchase.

It’s that simple! The Hidden Branch is a riotous romp through an artfully told mystery story. A super way to end the summer.

Now back to life’s flurries. :0)