The Deposit Slip review






Title:  The Deposit Slip

Author:  Todd M. Johnson

Pages:  368

Year:  2012

Publisher:  Bethany

Note:  I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.  Follow my other reviews at  and on twitter @lcjohnson1988

This is a debut novel by Todd Johnson, which kept getting better the more I read.  I just couldn’t put it down.  The story has many twists and turns that keep the ending veiled until the last page.  Unlike other novels, I liked that the chapters were short and always moving the story deeper into the mystery of the missing ten million dollar deposit.

Erin, as the only child, is settling her father’s estate.  While emptying a safety deposit box, she discovers what appears to be a deposit slip worth millions. In the small town of Ashley, her father was a farmer with his land in foreclosure and many buildings needing repair.  So where is the money?  The bank claims he had no deposit of that size.

Erin attempts to sue the bank in order to locate the money and find out where it came from.  Finally, a lawyer takes her case.  Jared grew up in Ashley as well with a past a little more painful than he is willing to revisit.  To top it all off, while his mother is living elsewhere, his father resides in Ashley.  Jared used to work for a large law firm.  While there, he meets a man he wants to work solo for because he wants to be a trial lawyer.  Clay and Jared both leave the firm and are working on their own; however, one is more seasoned and successful than the other.  Why doesn’t Clay take the case and instead he gives it to Jared?

Marcus has a past that haunts him as well as drives him in is work.  He wants to win the case and beat Jared.  Is there more going on here?  Stanley owns the Ashley Bank, and he is up to his neck in the hiding of the money.   If only Jared can locate the “key” that would bust the case wide open.  Jessie works for Jared.  She came from the same huge law firm that Jared left.  She came with Jared to start the law firm.  She is smart and hard-working.  Is there another reason why she came with Jared?

Ashley is a small town where everybody knows each other, some more than others.  In this wonderful work of fiction, Todd Johnson keeps the reader engaged and wanting to find out more the deeper the reader goes in this legal thriller.  This is the first book that literally had me up all night reading as I wanted to see how everything would come together to make the ending “one for the books”.  It is a masterpiece for sure, and I highly recommend this novel.  Be prepared to read to see what happens to the characters at the end!

My rating for this fictional story is five stars.


Firestorm by Lisa Bergren







Title:  Firestorm (Full Circle Series #6)

Author:  Lisa Tawn Bergren

Pages:  352

Year:  2001

Publisher:  Waterbrook Press

Note:  I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.  Follow my other reviews at  and on twitter @lcjohnson1988


The dragon is what the firefighters call it.  A wall of flames that shoots hundreds of feet in the air and jumping from tree to tree, it can change direction in a second.  Reyne is an experienced firefighter for the forest department during the summers while finishing school the rest of time.  She was fighting a particularly rough fire called Oxbow when her team and others were caught with no escape.  Renye’s biggest challenge was to keep the newest firefighters calm and to get them to remember their training.  However, this fire and its consequences scarred her heart for so long that after she graduated, she went into a different part of firefighting.

Renye meets for coffee with two other women every Saturday morning at her cottage.  Their friendship is steeped deep because of the mutual love they all have for Jesus.  During her time in the valley, she made friends that impacted her life, but can she ever conquer the fear of losing a loved one again?  Logan was a man who loved fighting the dragon.  His love for Renye grew and he planned on marrying her before the summer was out.

Beth was one of Renye’s friends, who battled cancer.  She had a deep faith, and she challenged Renye to risk.  What exactly are the words that Beth speaks to her?  Would Matt, Beth’s husband, ever dare to love again?  Would Hope, her daughter, remember her or allow anyone in her life again?  How will God move in their lives to help them each overcome the obstacles they face and to embrace Him without fear?

Ella is a nurse in California, and her faith gives her the strength to comfort many women facing cancer.  Ella is 34 years old and wonders if she will ever be married and have a child, then Matt came along.  Would Hope ever embrace Ella, loving her as a mom as well as learning to allow Ella to love on her?  In this book, we spend the most time reading the adventures the firefighters take fighting forest fires all over.  The characters and action are very engaging as well as the scenes in which the author places them.  After reading Firestorm, the reader is blessed to read a short story about Matt, Ella, and Hope called “Sandcastles”.  Both of the stories are very fun and entertaining to read.  This is the first novel I have read by Lisa Tawn Bergren, and I am sure it won’t be the last.

My rating for Firestorm is four stars.




Implosion by Joel Rosenberg












Title:  Implosion

Author:  Joel Rosenberg

Pages:  400

Year:  2012

Publisher:  Tyndale

Note:  I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.  Follow my other reviews at  and on twitter @lcjohnson1988


Implosion, according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, means “to collapse inward as if from an external pressure; to break down or fall apart from within; to self-destruct.”  The definition you just read is quoted by the author on page one and it sets the stage for what he is going to propose is happening today in America.  Joel Rosenberg shares his family heritage as well as the questions some well-known historical persons have had regarding spiritual issues of all kinds.  We are given the experience of what the author has heard and experienced as he travels widely and as he receives questions about what the Bible may or may not say about the future of America.

As I read this interesting book, it was of course hard not to become scared or pessimistic about the future of our nation.  Yet, what balances out the fear or rather eradicates it is the belief that God is sovereign and in control.  Does this mean we do nothing?  Absolutely not!  Neither I nor the author of the book put that premise forth.  Joel is able to help us understand from a viewpoint that interacts with politicians and other people that most Americans don’t get a chance to do.  Would you be surprised to read what questions past Presidents have asked?  What would you think if you knew politicians today are asking if America is in any way, directly or indirectly, implied in the Bible in regards to end times?  Do you think we are in trouble and without hope?  Do you see the trouble we are in, but with hope believe America can become “one nation under God, indivisible”?  Joel shows us what it is Americans across the board and people around the world are thinking about this great nation at this time in history.

I am looking at the future with my experiences at the grassroots.  I see where the Body of Christ must wake up, repent, and begin to touch people where they live and not just spiritually either.  If we go to the Book of Acts and share as the Body did then, maybe we would see the need to spend more of God’s resources helping the sheep instead of building bigger or more tech savvy places to worship.  Maybe the church has become so bogged down with a system like our welfare system that we have lost our way and aren’t doing what we need to do in providing the basic needs to anyone in need.  Yet, I have personally seen some who give what little they have and God has caused, through those self-sacrificing moments, blessings to occur for both the giver as well as the receiver.  Perhaps we, the church, need not look to a nonliving entity called the government for help, but once again become the living organism called the Body of Christ.

Rosenberg shares how many leaders, including those from the Church, see that now is the time for Americans to seize the opportunity to make changes.  This is not a time to lose hope or be pessimistic; it is a time to make radical changes and restore hope.  How this is to be accomplished or can be accomplished is shared within the pages of this book.  This is not the only book I have read that brings forth where we are right now and where we might go as a nation to the forefront of our thinking.  It is not the only book that says there is hope either.  Perhaps, then, it is time we Americans, particularly the Church, seize the day to bring America back to where God has called her to be and more importantly who God has called her to be.

One definite reason to read this book is to catch a brief understanding of what is at stake in the United States elections in November 2012.  We need to understand, without political rhetoric, what facts and choices are before us.  While some of Joel’s theology I disagree with, many things are a statement of fact not an opinion.  Read this excellent book as a way to help further your understanding and help you decide what God is calling you to do.

My rating for this book is 4.5 stars.



Skip Rocks Shallow by Jan Watson

Title:  Skip Rock Shallows

Author:  Jan Watson

Pages:  370

Year:  2012

Publisher:  Tyndale

Note:  I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.  Follow my other reviews at  and on twitter @lcjohnson1988

The year is 1908, and the setting is in the coal mining mountains of Kentucky.  At this time in history and in this area, there weren’t a lot of modern conveniences and the people weren’t “up with the times” according to the society at that time.  Will the character adapt or run for home?

Lilly Corbett has just graduated from medical school in Boston and has agreed to a short 3-4 month stay in Skip Rock as the coal company’s physician.  The old doctor has passed away so she is just filling in until a permanent replacement can be found.  She has her fiancé waiting for her in Boston.  He is a surgeon and from a wealthy family.  Lilly grew up in the mountains not far from Skip Rock.  She has her life all planned out and can’t wait to get back to Boston.  At first, she is unwelcome by the town’s people because she is a female physician and no man is going to be treated by a woman!  Then, it is discovered that the man who has been working as her assistant is in fact her cousin.  He lets everyone know she is his kin, and Lilly becomes much more welcome.  She begins to treat more and more people and develops a love for this town and its’ people.

Tern Still or is it Joe Repp?  Whatever his real name is, he is a coal mine worker who reminds Lilly of someone familiar.  Who does he remind her of?  Where could she have met him?  Why has he shown up here in this small town?  Is he following her?  Tern has eyes only for Lilly and begins to spend time with her in hopes that he can reveal to her the truth about himself.  He has strayed from being a practicing Christian and he has no prayer life.  In the midst of tragedy, does he remember what his mother taught him about God?

Lilly receives a letter from her boss asking her to commit to five years as physician at Skip Rock.  The town desperately needs a physician and she is already there and begun to be accepted by the people.  What should she do?  Should she stay?  If she stays, will her fiancé support her decision?  Will they still have a relationship?  How does she really feel about Tern/Joe?  Will Lilly obey what she knows the Lord has put on her heart or will she follow her head and continue with her well-laid plans?

Jan Watson does a nice job showing the interactions between the characters and gives them a depth so they are not just surface characters.  There is a great supporting cast of characters.  I loved the character of Armina!  She is sassy, but also a hard worker, and caretaker.   So come and spend some time with the characters of Skip Rock.

My rating for this work of fiction is three stars.

The Blessing Seer, a Novella











Title:  The Blessing Seer

Author:  Paula Mowery

Pages:  125

Year:  2012

Publisher:  Harbourlight Books

Note:  I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.  Follow my other reviews at  and on twitter @lcjohnson1988

This is a contemporary novella about a pastor’s wife and a short time in her life when she experienced the hand of God.  The main character, Addy, is the wife of Griffey.  They have one child, Elianna, who is a college student.  Addy works in a dentist office and tends to be quiet and timid with any people except her family.

Addy has had a difficult childhood.  Her father was verbally abusive to his wife, Addy’s mother.  At the age of 10, it is discovered Addy’s sister has leukemia and that same night her father leaves the house and their lives for good.  At the age of 18, Addy must take care of all the funeral arrangements for her mother, who has died of cancer.  She gets involved in a young people’s church group and meets Griffey, and they eventually marry.  They begin their married life, careers, and family.

We come back to the present, and Addy is out for her morning exercise when she meets Conrad, who brings up the very topic that has been troubling Addy since her husband’s sermon yesterday.  Have you really counted your blessings?  Have you received all that you possibly could?  Does God have a storehouse of blessings just waiting to be distributed?  Conrad brings up the point that “blessings are often contingent on obedience”.  Could we receive more blessings if we were more obedient to God?

The author then takes us through various scenarios in which Addy is given the opportunity to obey God more than she has in the past.  This is definitely outside of Addy’s comfort zone, and she faces doubts.  If she doesn’t obey, will there be any consequences?  If she obeys God, has she really made a difference to anyone?  Finally, who is Conrad?

This is a good short story or novella.  The author fleshes out her characters well in the short space used.  The feelings of Addy are easily able to be identified with by this reviewer.  The story really made me think of what blessings I’ve missed by being disobedient, but also encouraged me that I can still make a difference in someone’s life by being obedient.  In turn, we will both be blessed.

My rating for this novella is four stars.

The Gifted












Title: The Gifted

Author:  Ann Gabhart

Pages:  426

Year:  2012

Publisher:  Revell

Note:  I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.  Follow my other reviews at  and on twitter @lcjohnson1988


In the beginning of the book, the author gives the reader a brief history of a group that existed in the 18th century known as the Shakers.  Basically, there was a woman who believed that she was Christ at his second coming in female form.  Throughout the novel, the author shares different beliefs and practices the Shakers incorporated in their lives in 19th century in Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio.

Jessamine is a young woman who was brought to the Shaker community when her great-grandmother died.  Throughout her years with her “granny”, she knew she was loved by granny as well as God.  Granny encourages Jessamine’s gifts of storytelling as well as tells her that she has the gift in her veins.  As Jessamine grows older she wants to know more about her mother and father, but before she learns anything granny dies and Jessamine is taken to the community by the local preacher.

During one of her times of picking berries, Jessamine’s desire to know the world gets the better of her as she tries to sneak a peek through the forest.  One of her sisters is with her and tries to continually pull Jessamine back away from the world when they stumble upon a young man lying on the ground.  As they approach him it is evident he is badly hurt with a broken arm as well as an injury to the head he may have received from a gunshot they heard previously.

During his time in the village receiving care, Tristan is treated well though at first has problems remembering who he is.  Why is Tristan anywhere near a community of Shakers anyway and who shot him?  Tristan is finally well enough to leave, but he is torn because he is in love with Jessamine.  Is that all there is to the story?

Laura is a well-bred southern lady who receives the attention of all gentlemen at a place made with all the comforts and beauty of the area.  Mr. Green wants to have Laura all to himself.  Laura’s father is set on having Tristan marry his daughter though they are not in love with each other.  Is this a marriage of convenience or is there more to this arrangement than meets the eye?  What do a buggy business and a lawyer have to do with the arrangement?  Tristan feels the pull of love he feels for Jessamine and trying to meet the demands of his mother.

Sheldon Brady is a well known writer of romance who lost his wife during childbirth, but gave his daughter to his grandmother to raise.  He leaves a letter for his daughter to read when she turns 12 years old.  How does Jessamine get to read the letter while living with the Shakers?  Where does she decide to live her life, with the Shakers or her father?  Does she indeed have the gift of writing stories like her father or some other gift?  There is more to this novel for readers to enjoy, so grab a copy a cold drink and enjoy!

My rating for this work of fiction is four stars.


Trauma Plan, a novel













Title:  Trauma Plan

Author:  Candace Calvert

Year:  2012

Pages:  389

Publisher:  Tyndale

Note:  I received a complimentary copy for this honest review.  Other reviews can be located or requested at

Candace Calvert has crafted an entertaining work of fiction for her readers.  This is a contemporary medical story with suspense, romance, and mystery all neatly packed together and fun for the reader to unwrap.  There is an interview with the author at the end of the book.  There are also discussion group questions if this book is used in the group study forum.

The two main characters in this novel are Riley Hale and Jack Travis.  Both work at the same hospital.  Riley works there as the trauma chaplain, and Jack works there part-time as a physician.  He spends the rest of his time running a clinic for the poor.  Also some of the other characters are Riley’s best friend, Kate; clinic volunteer, Bandy Biggs and his dog, Hobo.

Growing up, Riley led a very sheltered and protected life as her parents went through a devastating loss of their first child, who was kidnapped and murdered.  Riley’s family is very wealthy, but she wants to prove that she can be independent.  She leaves home for nursing school, graduates, and then gets a job at Alamo Grace Hospital.  One night after work, she experiences her own trauma, which leads her on a long road to recovery.  She is determined to get back her job as an ER nurse, even though her recovery isn’t 100%.  In order to get more practice, she volunteers at Jack’s clinic in hopes that Jack will write a recommendation to help her get her old job back.  Riley is a Christian, and serves the patients and families of trauma victims who come to the hospital.

Jack is an adventurer and daredevil.  He loves to skydive, mountain bike, and ski.  In his past, he was involved in a trauma also that continues to effect his decisions and how he lives his life.  He is not a Christian, but hasn’t ruled out the existence of God—he’s just better at depending on himself.  Jack offers Riley a volunteer job at his clinic in hopes that her family name will help bring positive attention and perhaps funding to his desperate clinic.  There have been a rash of incidents that are increasing in severity that happen very close to his clinic and the wealthy neighbors who live near want the clinic gone.  What will they do to make this happen?

Both Jack and Riley begin their relationship with intent to use each other for their own ends.  As their relationship develops and they begin to care for one another, will events from the past destroy their budding romance?  Can they learn to trust each other?  Will they see how God is at work in their lives or will they distrust Him and continue lives of discontent?

My rating for this book is 3.5 stars.