9.19.2014

The Desire by Dan Walsh & Gary Smalley ~ A Contemporary Fiction Review



The Restoration Series, Book 3
Contemporary Fiction 

Back Of The Book:

CAN FAITH BUILD A BRIDGE
BETWEEN THEIR DREAMS?

For two years, Allan and Michele have been trying to have a baby. The emotional ride has been taking a toll on their hearts--and their relationship. Michele is obsessed with researching fertility treatments while Allan seems content to spend his time--and their money--on supporting displaced children in Africa. Something's got to give. But they both hope it's not their marriage.

Still, God has a plan for Allan and Michele that they could never have imagined. And all it takes to set it in motion is a change of heart . . .

READ AN EXCERPT

My Thoughts:

In The Desire we return to River Oaks, Florida where the Anderson family lives. This time the story is focused on Allan and Michele. For a little over a year they have been trying to have a baby, but nothing is happening. As each month passes Michele becomes more and more despondent and resentful towards others that seem to neglect their children. She desperately needs her husband's support and attention but his heart and mind keep turning to the needy children in Africa. They desperately need to find a common ground in their marriage.

A new character is introduced in this book. Her name is Christina and she is a young pregnant single mother needing to make a choice about her baby. She is paired with Marilyn at the pregnancy care center where Marilyn is a mentor. Before long the whole Anderson family has taken Christina not only into their home, but into their hearts as well. 

The Desire looks at adoption from several different angles. You get to see the struggles and the triumphs that surround the families involved in the adoption process. The premise of the story is beautiful. 

I am a fan of Dan Walsh's writing and I love Gary Smalley's work, my marriage has benefited from it immensely. Having said that, I must also say that this book and this series are not my favorites. Is it a good read? I'd have to say yes. It's just not a great read. I got the same feeling as when a movie does a blatant product placement in the middle of an intense scene. It just doesn't work very smoothly. Again, I am a fan of both of these men and I will continue to read and learn from their work.

Book four in the series comes out next spring. Will I read the book? Yes, because the stories told in this series are worthy of being read even if they are not my favorites from these particular authors.


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Photo Credit: © Dan Davis Photography

Photo Credit: © Dan Davis Photography







9.18.2014

Sky Zone by Creston Mapes ~ A Political Suspense Reveiw



The Crittendon Files, Book 3
Political Suspense

Back Of The Book:

WHEN TERRORISM HITS HOME, 
WHO WILL RISE TO STOP IT?

Jack and Pamela Crittendon have hit the breaking point. After months out of work as a reporter, Jack is playing Mr. Mom and working part-time at Festival Arena with his survivalist friend Brian Shakespeare. Meanwhile, Pamela has gone back to work full-time while eight months pregnant.

With financial pressures boiling. Jack reports for duty at a rally for controversial presidential candidate Martin Sterling, where he expects a mindless night on the job. But when Homeland Security picks up intel about a potential terrorist attack, Jack and Shakespeare are thrust into a life-and-death battle to save themselves--and thousands of innocent people.

My Thoughts:

Have you ever gone to a sporting event or concert in one of those large arenas? Did you look all the way up to the top and see that area that has access to the lighting and technical areas for the arena? Did you see how dark it was up there? How about the security? Did you notice who was directing people where to go? 

In Sky Zone we meet up with Jack Crittendon again. This time he is a part-time security guard at Festival Arena. (He lost his job as a reporter, but I'm not going to say much about that because it will spoil the previous book if you've not read it.) Jack is desperate to provide for his family so he needs this job. Most of his fellow security personnel are retired men just looking for a little extra income. None of them are armed and most aren't even formally trained. 

One seemingly uneventful evening Jack reports to work and finds out that the night's event is a political rally for presidential hopeful Martin Sterling. Shortly after arriving the team finds out that there have been terrorist threats. After much debate it is decided that the event must go on. Soon enough they find out that the threats were real. Now Jack and his fellow workers have to find a way to keep everyone safe and get them out alive. The stakes are even higher because of the unexpected guests in the audience. 

I am thoroughly enjoying the Crittendon Files. This third installment just continues the heart-pumping, adrenaline rush that the first two books began. I like the realistic feel to this story. If you've ever been to a big arena you can completely imagine how the story could unfold. The characters are flawed but continue to work on being better people. I particularly enjoyed Jack's mother-in-law. That woman has spunk! 

If you like a good political thriller that will keep you guessing, this is the book and the series for you! Sky Zone can be read as a stand alone novel, but there is an ongoing story line that I think you would enjoy reading from the beginning. The first book in the series is Fear Has A Name then it is followed by Poison Town. The back of the book doesn't mention a fourth book in the series, but I suspect there will be one. There are too many little threads hanging loose not to have another installment! I know that I will be eagerly waiting to read it.

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9.15.2014

The Legend of SHEBA: Rise Of A Queen by Tosca Lee ~ Historical Fiction Review



Tosca Lee
Historical Fiction 

About The Book:

"A woman cannot rule like a man. No. 
We must be far more clever . . ."

Her name is legend. Her story, the epic of nations. 
The queen of Sheba.

There is the tale that is told: A desert queen journeyed 
north with a caravan of riches to pay tribute to a king and 
his One God. The story of a queen conquered by a king 
before she returned to her own land laden with gifts.

That is the tale you are meant to believe.

Which means most of it is a lie.

IT IS THE TENTH CENTURY BC. Sheba's king is dead and Bilqis, his exiled daughter, has gained the crown after a desperate overland march and battle for the capital. Now the new young queen must wage a cunning war to rule over the nobles who ushered her to the throne in their own bid for power.

Solomon, the brash king of Israel famous for his wealth and wisdom, will not be denied the tribute of the world--or the riches of Sheba. With the future of her nation at stake, the one woman who can match wits with Solomon undertakes the journey of a lifetime in a daring bid to save her kingdom.

But neither ruler has anticipated the clash of agendas, gods, and passion that threatens to ignite--and ruin--them both. An explosive retelling of the story of the legendary king and queen and the nations that shaped history.





A mysterious beauty, a destiny set in the stars. Born under an inauspicious sign, young Ismeni is feared by her own people. The single thing she prays for: to live an invisible life. But that is not to be for the young woman who has captured the attention of the king’s youngest son. A story of love, passion, and twists of fate through the eyes of the woman who will one day give birth to the legendary Queen of Sheba.

This eShort prelude to The Legend of Sheba gives an intriguing bit of background that sets the stage for the opening of the book. You can download it for free on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

My Thoughts:

The biblical account of the queen of Sheba is short. It is located in I Kings 10 and 2 Chronicles 9. In these verses there are very few details about who she was and what surrounded her visit. In The Legend of Sheba Tosa Lee has used her vast amount of research and her brilliant storytelling abilities to fill in some of the gaps.

This book is a literary delight. It is both gritty and beautiful at the same time. If you have delicate sensibilities you may consider passing on this one. But if you aren't faint of heart, you should really enjoy the story. Remember that it is primarily about an ungodly group of people that worshiped multiple idols. During this time in history bloody sacrifices were made by both pagans and believers alike. Temple prostitutes and priests participated in immoral sexual practices and some of these rituals are portrayed. (I should add that Tosca doesn't sensationalize this part but does politely say what is happening.) 

If you stick with the story you will eventually come to the point where Solomon and Bilquis begin to exchange letters. Those exchanges are some of the best writing from Tosca's pen. I know it is fictional but I love the voice that she gave to king Solomon through these missives. She also does a brilliant job of intertwining some of Solomon's other writings into the storyline. 

Once again Tosca has used her amazing skill with words to pen a compelling tale about two legendary figures. The Legend of Sheba is bound to be another big hit to add to her growing list of titles.

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Nowhere To Turn by Lynette Eason ~ A Romantic Suspense Review



Hidden Identity Series, Book 2
Romantic Suspense

Back of the book:

SHE THOUGHT HER DAYS OF HIDING WERE OVER . . . 
BUT THE DANGER HAS JUST BEGUN

The day Danielle Harding takes her eleven-year-old son and flees from her abusive husband is the same day Kurt Harding dies. A relieved Dani believes she and her son are finally safe--but in reality, things are just heating up. When Kurt was alive, he took something important from a mysterious individual--who wants the item back and believes Dani now has it. As she and her son run for their lives, they have nowhere to turn, until she hires Adam Buchanan of Operation Refuge and goes into hiding. Unfortunately, she won't be able to hide for long . . .

From the first breathless scene, this tension-laced story will hold you in its iron grip as bestselling author Lynette Eason propels you along in a race to discover the truth.

READ AN EXCERPT


My thoughts:

The opening scenes of this book were so intense that I think I held my breath through chapter four. Danielle Harding is an abused wife. She longs to flee from her husband, but he has threatened to kill their son if she tries again. Just when all hope of ever leading a normal life is lost she gets news that her husband has died. Finally, the ability to live life without the threat of violence. But just when she thought it was safe she begins to feel threatened by her brother-in-law Stuart. He is determined to make her his.

Danielle's husband Kurt and his brother Stuart are both FBI agents so turning to law enforcement for help isn't an option. She knows from experience that you never fully know who you can trust. What she does know is that if she doesn't find help fast she and her son are in big trouble. 

In a desperate attempt to free herself and her son she contacts Operation Refuge. Adam Buchanan and his group seems to be her only chance at a normal life. They help her and Simon with new looks and identities and will effectively make them disappear so they can start a new life. She feels safe and protected in their presence until their security measures are mysteriously breached. The lengths they go to to keep Danielle and her son Simon safe are part of what makes this story so fast-paced. The plot twists and underlying currents are sure to keep you reading as fast as you can. Once again you will be left wondering what else could possibly happen up until the very end. 

This second book in the Hidden Identity series is every bit as adrenaline pumping suspense as No One To Trust. The series has connecting characters from the first book, but the storyline of this book is completely separate from the first. If you do plan on reading the whole series I would suggest you read it in order so little details don't giveaway the overall plot. But if you want to just jump in and read this second book without the first you will be completely fine in doing so. 

The Hidden Identity Series

       


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9.12.2014

The Sign Painter by Davis Bunn ~ A Contemporary Fiction Review



Davis Bunn
Contemporary Fiction

Back Of The Book:

From bestselling, award-winning author Davis Bunn 
comes a deeply emotive story about a young mother struggling 
to get back on her feet after a devastating loss.

Amy Dowell had always considered herself a very good mother. But when she loses her husband to illness and her home to debt, she finds herself and her young daughter, Kimberly, homeless as she struggles to find a job that will get them back on their feet. When she's offered a break, can Amy subject herself to the possibility of disappointment and hurt by hoping again?

Inspired by a true story. The Sign Painter is a tale of desperation, taking chances, and, ultimately, redemption. This heartwarming novel blends mystery and romance with characters you'll root for, and will leave you wondering--is home really where the heart is?

My Thoughts:

The Sign Painter is a story that has become all too familiar in America today. Amy Dowell has lost almost everything. Her beloved husband became seriously ill and due to that situation they lost their home and their income. Eventually Amy lost her husband to the cruel disease. She now finds herself living in a rundown pickup and camper with her young daughter Kimberly. For months they have been going from place to place as Amy finds work to keep them going. 

By a complete act of Providence Amy comes upon a job and a housing situation that promises a second chance. In the shadow of Disney's Magical Kingdom sits the First Methodist Church. This church has a ministry to care for the least of these. Through their loving guidance Amy and Kimmie have an opportunity to start again making a new life. 

If the story ended there it would be a lovely redemptive tale, but this story is written by Davis Bunn so you know there is another layer. Just down the street from the church complex is a small nondescript house that the drug cartel have moved into. The drug lords are also looking to take care of the least of these. In a very interesting twist of fate Amy finds herself right in the middle of a very dangerous drug ring. 

For an added degree of interest this is based on a true story. I always enjoy Davis' writing and he has once again put together a compelling read that makes you consider the world past your manicured lawn. 

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