Perception Filter

Over the last few months, as my family prepared for a move, then made the move, I used packing/unpacking/painting time to get caught up on episodes of Dr. Who. Then, this past weekend I started watching the spinoff, Torchwood.

I have to admit, it’s a strange, twisted relationship, me and the Doctor. You see, he’s come to my “aide” during some very difficult times. He’s distracted me from the pain of trials and frustrations. In fact, the reason I watched the first few episodes of Torchwood this weekend was to give myself a break. Dealing with disappointment, disillusionment, and discouragement, (doncha love all those Ds?) I needed a time-out. Away from social media, away from—well, pretty much everything.

As I prayed, read by Bible, worshiped, I grew to understand that much of what I’ve been feeling is “friendly fire,” self-inflicted. Not intentionally. I mean, I’m not sadistic or anything. But I am a dreamer. I have a very good imagination and I had all these wild notions of what life would be like once we made it to Virginia and were no long living apart. And the writing endeavors—I believed they’d smooth out and calm down so that I could slip into an “normal” rhythm of writing and homeschooling.

Ha! So didn’t happen.

In fact, things seemed to have gotten worse. And as I looked around and saw that things were still not as I wanted them, I (am ashamed to say) grew discontent. Over time, that hurt because a “sore” and the sore festered (not intentionally). Until this weekend. I’d gotten to the point that I was “so over it.” I saw things in a grim light, and it seemed that everything that happened seemed to prove my thoughts.

 Sitting here this morning, I realized I’ve been viewing things through the light of my perceptions. And that reminded me of Dr. Who—the perception filter: has the effect of directing attention away from the object or its bearer, rendering them unnoticeable. Where things/people exist just beyond the edge of our periphery that we often miss them. And even to the point that “we don’t want to know.” This creature below was one that used the telepathic perception filter to hide its presence.

And how often is that true of Truth--God’s truth--that we often miss it because we are so blinded by our own pursuits and dreams and goals?

I had expectations. I had hopes. I had dreams. Had it all planned out (well, mostly) how this thing called my ‘writing career’ would go. How our financial situation here in Virginia would go. How . . . just about everything would go. In my quiet time this morning, my devotional with Beth Moore said, “We see that God always fulfills His promises, just not always the way we imagine.”

And when they didn’t GO that way. . .I lost hope. Selfishly—(feeling very ashamed at this point)—I didn’t want to know that this wasn’t God’s way. Ouch! I wanted *my* way, because I had it all planned out. . . And honestly, I didn’t even realize that till I started writing this article. (Pardon me, while I stop and ask God’s forgiveness.)

Another great thing about the Dr. Who perception filter is this: Once a person became aware of a perception filter and the object it was disguising, they could no longer be affected. So, that’s my goal. I don’t want to be affected by MY truth of what’s happening, MY idea of how things should go. Yes, I want to have dreams and goals, but I do not want to be so rigid in my thinking, so inflexible, that when God sends me down another path, I wallow and become discouraged/depressed. I want to be transformed by the Truth—God always fulfills His promises.

When things go awry—and again, that’s OUR perception of how they “should” go—I want to be flexible and faithful enough to recognize that God’s plan hasn’t changed, and as long as I know He is there, He is leading, I’m GTG (good to go).




So, I decided to attend the Christy Award Banquet in Orlando. Not because I hoped to win, but because I wanted them to place that medal around my neck! I think that's one of the kewlest aspects of The Christy Awards!

Anyway...surprise of all surprises when the amazing Tyson Wynn started reading the first lines of the Contemporary Romance category winner:
Blood dripped into his eye. No, not blood. Sweat. Hands fisted tight against his sides, Captain Canyon Metcalfe blinked away the sting. Another salty drop slid down his temple.



Monday morning at ICRS, the American Christian Fiction Writers announced the finalists in the 2012 Carol Awards. WOLFSBANE FINALED!! Winners will be announced at ACFW in September!

Meet Aspen & Talon!

I am so tickled!! Earlier this week I heard from the amazing Ashley Schrock, who has designed all my covers. She was asking about harnesses and patches for Talon's cover. I was so excited doing the research to help her figure out what was best to use. Today, I got this email from her--along with photo: Hey Ronie, Got some more cool stuff for you. :) The designer sent over an outtake from the photo shoot today for Talon. She said the dog was very friendly and liked to roll in the dirt, so they played together a bit in-between takes. Happy Easter!


What do you think? Is this Lab happy or what? :-D

And what a beautiful model! I can't wait to see this cover. OORAH!

7 Hours & Whole Pieces

COMING MAY 2012!!It's hard to believe the release of the 7 Hours anthology from Tyndale House Publishers is only a month away. Later this month, I'll share the links for purchasing the novellas. Be ready! Each novella will be only $2.99!! In each installment of 7 Hours, a character is visited by the enigmatic Thomas Constant, who makes a heart-stopping statement: ”You are about to die. But you may choose from one of three options: Live seven more hours, travel back in time and relive seven hours, or accept the inevitable and die now.” 7 Hours anthology includes acclaimed authors Mike Dellosso, Rene Gutteridge, Robin Parrish, Tom Pawlik, Travis Thrasher, and James Andrew Wilson! Check out the 7Hours landing page! WHOLE PIECES by RONIE KENDIG After a brutal attack left him without a limb and his team dead, former Green Beret Haytham “Hawk” Wilson is angry at life and God. Bitter, he pushes everyone out of his life. Every day he relives his decision to send the Afghan boy home rather than following orders to kill any who came upon his hidden team. So when on his deathbed at age 36, eaten alive by grief and regret, he’s offered the chance to relive any seven hours, Hawk is determined to go back, kill the boy, and save his team. The decision is simple . . . until he gets there. The clock is ticking. What will you do with the time you have left?

Music To Write By

So, I know there are authors who need absolute silence to write. I think you'd have to straightjacket me and put me in a padded room if silence descended on my life. You see, with four kids and three dogs, life around here is anything but quiet. And if it *is* quiet--there's trouble. LOL Let me also state there are some songs/artists that I cannot write to because the music pulls me out of the story. The bands I listen to while writing are ones that have a natural rhythm that somehow matches the pace of the story and lyrics/beats that aren't so distinct that don't create dissonance. One of my favorite bands, Fireflight, is releasing a new album March 6, so I thought I'd share their debut single for that album...then share with you what songs/albums I listened to while writing various books. I wasn't sure I could remember, but as the albums played, pieces of story came to mind. Without further ado, here is Fireflight's new single, STAY CLOSE, from their NOW album (releases 3/6/12): For Talon and Trinity, I've been using a playlist that included 12 Stones and The Letter Black. For Firethorn, I was able to find a groove with Kazi mostly when I listened to Fireflight's Unbreakable album. For a speculative story, Tej, I've been listening to the soundtrack for (get ready for this) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Don't laugh. The score is done by Hans Zimmer. Amazing music. Always puts me in the mood to write. Check it out:

Do you listen to music while you write or read? If so, what's pumping through your speakers/headphones/earbuds?


Surrendered or Fighting?

I'm a writer and the way I work through things it to, well, write. So lucky ducks that you are, you get to hear my thoughts today.

Today, I got some news that proved pretty devastating. It's not just bad news. It holds the potential to be career altering. Life changing. After the boom got lowered, I went through the stages of grief: denial, anger...but I never made it past bargaining. Because who am I supposed to bargain with? See, here's my "problem," (which really isn't a problem): I committed to the Lord that I would be surrendered to His will. I said, "Whatever you want Lord, that's what I want too." I've been around the block enough to know the "danger" of those words. I've seen and lived beneath God's sovereignty. I've been abused. I lost both of my parents by the age of 29. My husband and I lost the first home we ever owned to foreclosure when the technology bubble burst in 2001. All those things happened, despite me begging God to change/prevent them. So, when today's news came, when the waves of this hurricane-strength storm crashed over me (how's that for drama), I cried. I ranted at God. And I told my husband I was having a hard time not being angry at. God. He said--it's okay, he can handle it. Very true. But my good buddy Jim Rubart called me. Talked to me. Encouraged me (check out his post on NovelRocket from yesterday--intriguing, isn't it?). And over the course of our conversations, the anger bottomed out. I told him--ya know, either I'm surrendered to God's will or I'm not. And if I *am* surrendered, how can I be angry? Because this is God's will. As Jim said, "Gods in this somewhere."

Think of an attic. Unfamiliar objects blocking your path. You stumble. You trip. You cut your hand on a loose nail. But just because you can't see where you are, or where you're going, doesn't mean it's worthless. You just have to find the treasure.

Did this news today go the way I wanted? Nope. It sure didn't. Yeah, I'm hurt. Yeah, I'm disappointed. Absolutely I want to stamp my foot and tell God it's not fair. But this is what I asked for--a shut door, if it wasn't right. For God to lead me, for HIS WILL to rule in my life. So, how can I persist in anger? How can I be angry if I am surrendered? The truth is, I can't. If I am angry still, if I rail at Him, then I am not surrendered. I'm fighting. Check out Romans 8:7-8 "For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law; indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God." I don't know about you, but I don't want to be *hostile* to God. Therefore, I surrender that anger borne out of heartache. Pick up the dregs of my courage and keep going.

Hafta Have Fiction Reads of 2012

Wow! It appears 2012 is shaping up to be an awesome year for fiction!! One of my favorite things to do is browse sites like and Amazon to see what books are coming up. And let me tell you--2012 has some awesome looking reads. Or in the words of my daughter, "schmexy" books.

Here's what I'm looking forward to:

The 13th Tribe by Robert Liparulo - April 2012
Robert Liparulo sits firmly at the top of my favorite/auto-buy author's list. 13th Tribe looks absolutely stunning in its concept and exhilarating as Liparulo layers in some of the supernatural that I have grown to love in fiction. Simply said: I'm champing at the proverbial bit to read this one!

Their story didn't start this year…or even this millennium.

It began when Moses was on Mt. Sinai. Tired of waiting on the One True God, the twelve tribes of Israel began worshiping a golden calf through pagan revelry. Many received immediate death for their idolatry, but 40 were handed a far worse punishment-endless life on earth with no chance to see the face of God.

This group of immortals became the 13th Tribe, and they've been trying to earn their way into heaven ever since-by killing sinners. Though their logic is twisted, their brilliance is undeniable. Their wrath is unstoppable. And the technology they possess is beyond anything mere humans have ever seen.

Jagger Baird knows nothing about the Tribe when he's hired as head of security for an archaeological dig on Mt. Sinai. The former Army Ranger is still reeling from an accident that claimed the life of his best friend, his arm, and his faith in God.

The Tribe is poised to execute their most ambitious attack ever and the lives of millions hang in the balance. When Jagger's wife and son are caught in the crossfire, he'll stop at nothing to save them. But how can one man stand against an entire tribe of immortals?

Illusion by Frank Peretti - March 2012
Woot! Peretti's back! Need I say more? *grins*

Dane and Mandy, a popular magic act for forty years, are tragically separated by a car wreck that claims Mandy’s life—or so everyone thinks. Even as Dane mourns and tries to rebuild his life without her, Mandy, supposedly dead, awakes in the present as the nineteen-year-old she was in 1970. Distraught and disoriented in what to her is the future, she is confined to a mental ward until she discovers a magical ability to pass invisibly through time and space to escape. Alone in a strange world, she uses her mysterious powers to eke out a living, performing magic on the streets and in a quaint coffee shop.

Hoping to discover an exciting new talent, Dane ventures into the coffee shop and is transfixed by the magic he sees, illusions that even he, a seasoned professional, cannot explain. But more than anything, he is emotionally devastated by this teenager who has never met him, doesn’t know him, is certainly not in love with him, but is in every respect identical to the young beauty he first met and married some forty years earlier.

They begin a furtive relationship as mentor and protégée, but even as Dane tries to sort out who she really is and she tries to understand why she is drawn to him, they are watched by secretive interests who not only possess the answers to Mandy’s powers and misplacement in time but also the roguish ability to decide what will become of her.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth - May 2012
Roth's DIVERGENT stunned me with it's clean storyline and compelling characters. One of my favorite reads from 2011, Divergent made me long for the next book. May can't come soon enough!

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

Mortal by Ted Dekker & Tosca Lee - June 2012
When Forbidden released last year, I felt like someone had realigned a portion of the universe. Dekker returned to his fantasy roots and brought the stunning new voice and style of the inimitable Tosca Lee. This is probably my #1 "look forward to" read of 2012!!

Nine years have gone by since an unlikely hero named Rom Sebastian first discovered a secret and consumed an ancient potion of blood to bring himself back to life in Forbidden. Surviving against impossible odds, Rom has gathered a secret faction of followers who have also taken the blood-the first Mortals in a world that is dead.

But The Order has raised an elite army to hunt and crush the living. Division and betrayal threaten to destroy the Mortals from within. The final surviving hope for humanity teeters on the brink of annihilation and no one knows the path to survival.

Eyes of Justice by Lis Wiehl - April 2012
There is an authenticity behind Wiehl's stories and characters that have kept me reading. I love that the stories tend to be "ripped from the headlines." Really looking forward to next installment!

The Triple Threat Club has solved intense mysteries before . . . but this time it's personal.

Cassidy, Allison, and Nicole fight for justice every day-Cassidy as a crime reporter, Nicole with the FBI, and Allison as a federal prosecutor. Together they're a Triple Threat to be reckoned with.

But never have they faced a case so full of blind alleys-or so painfully close to home.

When a devastating turn of events upsets the balance of the Triple Threat team, they discover an ally in a quirky Private Investigator named Olivia. The women vow not to stop until the case is solved and justice is served.

Yet just when it appears the police have the killer in custody, he somehow strikes again. Not knowing who to trust, the Triple Threat women go undercover for an intricate and deadly cat-and-mouse game where nothing can be taken at face value . . . and nothing will ever be the same.

Prophet by R.J. Larson - April 2012
Love it when a new SFF author splashes onto the scene. I am looking forward to reading this!

Ela Roeh of Parne doesn't understand why her beloved Creator, the Infinite, wants her to become His prophet. She's undignified and bad-tempered, and at age seventeen she's much too young. In addition, no prophet of Parne has ever been a girl. Worst of all, as Parne's elders often warn, if she agrees to become the Infinite's prophet, Ela knows she will die young.

Yet she can't imagine living without Him. Determined to hear the Infinite's voice, Ela accepts the sacred vinewood branch and is sent to bring the Infinite's word to a nation torn apart by war. There she meets a young ambassador determined to bring his own justice for his oppressed people. As they form an unlikely partnership, Ela battles how to balance the leading of her heart with the leading of the Infinite.

Beckon by Tom Pawlik - April 2012
Tom is amazing with the whole chilling and haunting thing. Looking forward to his newest chillfest!

Some things weren’t meant to be discovered. Three people are each drawn to the small town of Beckon, Wyoming. A young anthropologist researches a Native American legend and makes a terrifying discovery. An ex-cop investigating her cousin’s disappearance finds herself in grave peril. And an aging businessman is lured by the promise of a miracle. One by one they discover the town’s ghastly secret. The only question is . . . will any of them make it out alive?

The Soul Saver by Dineen Miller - May 2012
Dineen in my "twin"--and I adore her amazing way with words. I'm sure you'll love her debut title as much as I do!

Lexie Baltimore is in the supernatural battle of her life. In obedience to God’s calling, Lexie uses her art and dreams to help others. But will she have enough courage to help herself when she becomes torn between her atheist husband and a godly man? A widower and a father, Pastor Nate Winslow is drowning in darkness. Will he resist his treacherous assignment to win Lexie’s heart or give in to the attraction between them? As events unfold, Lexie becomes entangled in a twisted plot. Will she overcome the evil assailing her or yield to the dark side?

Nothing to Hide by J. Mark Betrand - July 2012
Yes, I'm behind. I still have to read Mark's Pattern of Wounds, but I absolutely his voice and style!

The body was an undercover agent working to bring down Mexican cartels. The feds want the case closed rather than risk exposing other agents in the field, but March can't abide letting a murder go unsolved. And he doesn't have to dig long to figure out something isn't right. Someone is covering something up, and it seems that everyone has something to hide. Maybe even March, as the case soon intersects, unexpectedly, with the murder that led him to become a homicide cop, all those years ago.

So. There you have it. I'm sure there will be more titles that come to mind, or ones that haven't been posted yet, in which case, I'll post another list later in the year.

Tell me what books you are looking forward to. Why? What makes you want to read it?



Alienation, A CHAOS Novel by Jon S. Lewis

High-tech gear, shape-shifting aliens, simulated reality, and hoverboards...Colt must step into his true destiny before our world falls in chaos!

Today I'm featuring a fun YA novel, Alienation (A C.H.A.O.S. Novel) by Jon S. Lewis. This is the second CHAOS novel, and I found it to be a fun read. I am sure my 12.5 year old twin boys will love it. I found it to be adventurous! If you have a pre-teen or teen who loves novels with supernatural elements, action, adventure and heroes--this is the book for them!


Earth's last line of defense against the coming alien invasion is 16-year-old surfer Colt McAlister.

But before he can save the world, he has to survive the day.

All Colt wants to do is return to his old life . . . where aliens don't exist . . . where mankind hasn't been targeted for destruction . . . and where his parents are still alive. Unfortunately life doesn't work that way.

The United States government believes Colt holds the key to our survival, so they're sending him to the CHAOS Military Academy along with his best friends Oz and Danielle. There they'll be trained to defend Earth against a swarm of alien shapeshifters known as the Thule. But someone is trying to eliminate Colt before he can lead that charge. Shocked to learn about key events in his past and unsure who he can trust, Colt is alienated and on the run.

You can check out more about the CHAOS novels at


Jon S. Lewis is the coauthor of the Grey Griffins trilogy and the upcoming Grey Griffins Clockwork Chronicles. He also writes for the DC COMICS family of publishers. He resides with his family in Arizona.

* * *


Win an iPad from @JonSLewis and @NelsonFiction in the Alienation iPad2 Giveaway!

The invasion was only the beginning! Jon Lewis is celebrating the next adventure in his fast-paced C.H.A.O.S. series with an explosive giveaway!

One thrill-seeker will receive:

  • iPad2 with Wi-Fi

  • Copies of the C.H.A.O.S. novels, Invasion and Alienation

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends at noon on February 7th. Winner will be announced at the Alienation Facebook Party on 2/7. Jon will be hosting an Author Chat, giving away copies of the books and gift certificates to iTunes and! Don't miss a second of the intrigue!

Grab your copy of Alienation and join Jon on the evening of February 7th for an author chat, spy training (How much do you know about alien invaders?) and lots of giveaways.
Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 31st!

Firethorn Giveaways!!

Hey, y'all! This is Firethorn's launch month, so I wanted to share a few giveaway opportunities with you!

Edgy Inspirational Author Michelle Sutton is offering a copy on her blog:

Friend and Reviewer Anne Payne is offering a copy on her blog:

Reviewer and friend, Katie McCurdy loved Wolfsbane so much, she's hosting Dani and Canyon (the hero/heroine from the story) and doing a giveaway--this one, you can win Wolfsbane, or your choice of the Discarded Heroes books! WOW!!

Ronie's Top Ten Fiction Picks for 2011

Okay, so I hesitate to do this because some of the best books I read last year did not hold 2011 copyrights, like Markus Zusak's The Book Thief--which now sits comfy-cozy at the top of my favorites pile--and Steven James' THE ROOK and THE KNIGHT, or Laura Hillenbrand's Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, or Orson Scott Card's Pathfinder.

Then there are books I wanted to read, but didn't get to or didn't finish reading that would probably end up on my favorites list like J. Mark Bertrand's PATTERN OF WOUNDS, or Camy Tang's PROTECTION FOR HIRE, or Lis Wiehl's HEART OF ICE, or Sandra Byrd's TO DIE FOR, or Jeanette Windle's FREEDOM'S STAND.

And of course, I never want to hurt anyone by NOT mentioning their book. Anywhoooo...without further ado, here are my 2011 Favorites (NOT in any particular order!):

Kathy Tyers's Wind and Shadow - The desolate world of Mikuhr is home to a proud people now on the verge of distinction. Conflict explodes when apprentice priest Kiel Caldwell arrives to investigate rumors of new spiritual revelation, but he is kidnapped by a demon-possessed telepath who thinks he might be a predicted messiah. And when Kiel's loose-cannon military brother Kinnor arrives to investigate, a local leader with revenge on her mind threatens to bring ruin on them all. It's up to returning Mikuhran diplomat Wind Haworth to head off a confl ict that could have spiritual, political, and military repercussions-but no one has foreseen the consequences of introducing the Mikuhran Wind Haworth to the Federate military Sentinel Kinnor Caldwell.

Bob Hamer's Targets Down: A Novel - Targets Down is the follow-up to retired FBI agent Bob Hamer's Enemies Among Us, which Publishers Weekly hailed as "a page-turning roller coaster that feels like Jack Bauer’s 24 without sailing over the top."

When an FBI wife is critically wounded and two people are found dead on a mountain pass, special agent Matt Hogan is tasked with identifying those responsible. The undercover assignment takes him into the shadow world of Russian organized crime, neo-Nazis, and the sex-slave industry. Matt's cover is almost blown twice—once by accident, once by incompetence within the FBI ranks—making violence appear to be his only solution. As he confronts evil, Hogan relies not only on the strength of his wife's faith but his own quest to find God. He also finds terror and terrorism on this heart-pounding journey.

William Boykin & Tom Morrissey's Kiloton Threat: A Novel - Taken from what could be tomorrow's headlines, Kiloton Threat is a novel that explores the frightening potential of nuclear weapons in the Middle East today. Out of the house churches of rural Iran, a Christian masquerading as a Muslim gains the confidence of a high-ranking leader in the Iranian nuclear program and opens his eyes to Christianity. The man’s newfound faith stirs his desire to flee to the West, taking with him intelligence that would allow Coalition forces to neutralize his nation's devastating capabilities. But no one in such a position could ever escape unnoticed.

Enter Blake Kershaw, a highly trained U.S. Special Forces officer who has already made extraordinary sacrifices for his country that include faking death and losing his true identity. His mission to infiltrate Iran and extract the high-value defector strains the relationship with the woman he loves— one of the few people on earth who knows his real story. With even more intensity, it shows the price that must sometimes be paid when political correctness fails and a man has to stand up for what is right.

James L. Rubart's The Chair: A Novel - If you were given an ancient-looking chair and told Jesus Christ made it, would you believe it?

When an elderly lady shows up in Corin Roscoe’s antiques store and gives him a chair she claims was built by Christ he scoffs. But when a young boy is miraculously healed after sitting in the chair, he stops laughing and starts to wonder: Could this chair heal the person whose life I destroyed twelve years ago?

As word spreads of the boy’s healing, a mega-church pastor is determined to manipulate Corin into turning over the chair. But the mysterious woman who gave him the piece insinuates it is Corin’s destiny to guard the chair above everything else. But why? Desperate, he turns to the one person he can trust, a college history professor who knows more about the legend of the chair than he reveals.

Searching for truth about the artifact and the unexplained phenomena surrounding it, Corin soon realizes he isn’t the only one willing to do almost anything to possess the power that seems to surround to the chair.

Ted Dekker & Tosca Lee's Forbidden (The Books of Mortals)(Yay! Ted went back to his fantasy roots!) - New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker teams with Tosca Lee to create this gripping thriller set in a desolate future.

Many years have passed since civilization's brush with apocalypse. The world's greatest threats have all been silenced. There is no anger, no hatred, no war. There is only perfect peace... and fear. But a terrible secret has been closely guarded for centuries: Every single soul walking the earth, though in appearance totally normal, is actually dead, long ago genetically stripped of true humanity.

Tracy Higley's Pompeii: City on Fire: A Novel-

Pompeii, a city that's many things to many people. For Cato, it's the perfect escape from a failed political career in Rome. A place to start again, become a winemaker. But when a corrupt politician wrongfully jails Cato's sister, he must oust the man from power to save her.

For Ariella, Pompeii is a means to an end. As a young Jew, she escaped the fall of Jerusalem only to endure slavery to a cruel Roman general. She ends up in Pompeii, disguised as a young man and sold into a gladiator troupe. Her anger fuels her to fight well, hoping to win the arena crowds and reveal her gender at the perfect time. Perhaps then she will win true freedom.

But evil creeps through the streets of Pompeii. Political corruption, religious persecution, and family peril threaten to destroy Ariella and Cato, who are thrown together in the battle to survive. As Vesuvius churns with deadly intent, the two must bridge their differences to save the lives of those they love, before the fiery ash buries Pompeii, leaving the city lost to the world.

Marie Lu's Legend - What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Joel Rosenberg's The Tehran Initiative - The world is on the brink of disaster and the clock is ticking. Iran has just conducted its first atomic weapons test. Millions of Muslims around the world are convinced their messiah—known as “the Twelfth Imam”—has just arrived on earth. Israeli leaders fear Tehran, under the Twelfth Imam’s spell, will soon launch a nuclear attack that could bring about a second holocaust and the annihilation of Israel. The White House fears Jerusalem will strike first, launching a preemptive attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities that could cause the entire Middle East to go up in flames, oil prices to skyrocket, and the global economy to collapse. With the stakes high and few viable options left, the president of the United States orders CIA operative David Shirazi and his team to track down and sabotage Iran’s nuclear warheads before Iran or Israel can launch a devastating first strike.

Lisa T. Bergren's Torrent: A Novel (River of Time Series)-
When Gabi and Lia finally learn to surf the river of time, they realize they must make hard choices about life and love in Torrent, the third and final book in the River of Time series.

Gabi and Lia Betarrini have learned to control their time travel, and they return from medieval Italy to save their father from his tragic death in modern times.

But love calls across the centuries, and the girls are determined to return forever—even though they know the Black Plague is advancing across Europe, claiming the lives of one-third of the population. In the suspenseful conclusion of the River of Time series, every decision is about life … and death.

Lis Wiehl's Waking Hours (The East Salem Trilogy)(*with a side note...if I didn't know this was the first on a series, it probably would not make my top ten list...the ending felt lacking and did not tie up much) -

All towns have secrets. Some have demons.

Welcome to East Salem. A deceptively sleepy town where ancient supernatural forces are being awakened.

A local high-school girl is found murdered in a park amid horse farms and wealthy homes of northern Westchester County, New York. The shocking manner of her death confounds the town and intrigues forensic psychiatrist Dani Harris, who is determined to unravel the mystery. All the suspects are teenagers who were at a party with the girl-yet none remembers what happened. Could one of them be a vicious killer? Or is something more sinister afoot-something tied to an ancient evil?