Lost in Pages

I enjoy reading and sharing my review of the various material I read. There is also the fun of communicating with authors and publishers

Forgotten

 

Title:  Forgotten

Author:  Don & Stephanie Prichard

Pages:  336

Year:  2016

Publisher:  Stephanie S. Prichard

My rating 5 out of 5 stars.

What makes readers open a book?  What keeps them coming back to authors again and again?  For me, it isn’t any one aspect, except perhaps that these two authors write with such faith-gripping, heart- pounding, realistic stories!  The characters we met in the first book titled, Stranded, continue here in Forgotten as does the plot, so read Stranded before starting this one.

The lives of the four main characters were each changed, touched and forever bonded by their various experiences as well as faith on that lone island.  As a refresher, Jake is a Marine reservist, Betty is the great-aunt of Crystal, who is young budding teenage girl and finally the federal prosecutor, Eve.

I thought book one was worth losing sleep over, but I wasn’t sure the author duo could do it again.  Let me tell you this story was even more heart-pounding than the first!  The mystery, intrigue, danger and adventure thickens as Eve’s memory is gone and putting her life together is exceptionally tough.  Betty is beside herself with how her relatives are treating Crystal by sending her away to a boarding school.  Jake just wants to be beside Eve as she recovers and well, that isn’t where he ended up.  To find out where he did end up, you must read the story!

Jake’s faith is severely tested and his suffering is more than just his body.  Multiple times he faces enemies and hopelessness, but God touches his heart.  The way the authors portray the wrestling Jake goes through with living out his beliefs is so lifelike.  My heart was touched and challenged.  While I knew this was a work of fiction, I couldn’t help but see that there are truths being revealed that go far deeper than any suffering or loss of hope anyone experiences.

It is my firm and expectant hope that the authors are coming out with more stories that include Jake, Eve and Crystal.  I sure hope I don’t have to wait too long, but even if I do, I know it will be well worth it as I will again get lost in the pages of their tales!  So, please before another book is published grab copies of Stranded and Forgotten because you will definitely be glad you did!

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Stranded

 

Title:  Stranded

Author:  Don & Stephanie Prichard

Pages:  408

Year:  2014

Publisher:  Stephanie Prichard

My rating 5+ out of 5 stars.

Both the novel and the authors are new to me, and I haven’t read any of the over 1,000 reviews posted on an online bookstore site.  I am glad that I didn’t have anything in my mind before I opened the book.  If I could have kept my eyes from getting tired, this is one book I would have read from beginning to end in one sitting!  What an exceptional story that is filled with danger, mystery, conflict, and so much more!  It seemed like every page was filled with the tension of the four survivors figuring out a way to live on an island after a disastrous voyage on a ship had placed them in the perilous ocean for days.

Each of the four main characters has a story to tell of their life that is slowly revealed as they live on the island through heat, storm, dangerous animals not to mention the difficulty of finding food, shelter and a lone soldier still at his post?  Oh, but you must discover that one yourself when you read the story!

First, there is Betty who is the elderly great-aunt to Crystal who is a young girl in need of understanding God’s love.  Betty’s story of her past and her love for God is moving.  Then, meet Eva Gray or is that her real name?  Eva is a federal prosecutor who is trying to find evidence to put a dangerous man away for life.  Eva’s past and her well-protected heart make her furious every time Betty or Jake mentions God. Jake is a reservist with the Marine Corps who was on the cruise with his wife to make memories before her cancer would take her life.  Jake takes the lead when he is marooned with these three women.  His grief is threatening to strangle his heart, but he must take care of them all and hopefully get home to his two children.

What happens during the time on the island is both surprising and heart-gripping!  There are times of discovery that help buoy their hearts and other times where life hangs in the balance.  All four must pull together and learn new skills and constantly attend to the needs of the group as death is nipping at their heels.  Betty and Jake openly share their faith.  Jake had his Bible on him when he went overboard so he can teach Crystal about God and his actions help her understand how real God is.  The very end of the book is just brilliant and instills hope in the heart of readers as I can attest to!

Make time to read, experience and get lost in the pages of one stupendous novel!

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Interview of Don & Stephanie Prichard

 

Interview of Don & Stephanie Prichard

 

  1. You two co-author your novels. How did this happen?

 

Steph: Funny that Don is the one who got us started. He is dyslexic, therefore hated writing, and seldom read anything growing up other than comic books. I always loved reading and writing and wanted to be an author. When I became a wife and mom, I simply forgot about the dream. Then one day, at age 57, Don told me this storyline was stuck in his head and he wanted to publish it as a novel. I confess I snickered. He worked at it for four years before inviting me to join him. I figured I’d be nice and correct the spelling and grammar, but instead I fell in love with the story. Little did I know that I had to “learn to write” too. It took us ten years to reach publication, but sharing the “passion” has been a fantastic experience.

 

 

  1. Did you find it easy to work together on it?

 

Don: It really helped to have a division of labor. While I wrote the initial draft, I realized I had to turn my precious baby over to Steph and trust her feminine sensibilities to soften the way I’d told the story. At first I gritted my teeth at any suggestion of change, but as we read how-to books together and attended writers’ conferences, I realized the worth of literary surgery on my poor child.

 

  1. How did the team-work impact you?

 

Don: It ultimately caused me to love my wife more as I grew in respect for her. I marveled at the way she was able to elegantly express ideas that I was just clumsy with.

 

Steph: I tend to be a global thinker and often reduce my knowledge to the bottom line. Over and over I was impressed with the details Don had imbedded in the story, especially from his experiences as a Marine Corps reservist and Viet Nam veteran. I also discovered that although he wasn’t a big reader, all those movies he watched had made him into an excellent plotter. Most important for both of us was that collaborating on our novel created a terrifically enjoyable bond for us as husband and wife.

 

  1. What is the hardest thing about writing as a team?

 

Steph: We rarely disagree but when we do, we feel free as husband and wife to, um, clearly express ourselves. However, with fifty-one years of marriage under our belts, we also know how to get over it, find a way to agree, and move on. Being Christians with access to prayer definitely makes a difference.

 

 

  1. What are you reading right now?

 

Don: I like Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series because there is lots of action and the story is not slowed with unnecessary description.

 

Steph: Our church has a women’s book club, so right now I’m reading A Different Sun by Elaine Neil Orr for them, and The Distant Hours by Kate Morton for me.

 

 

  1. How did you choose your characters’ names?

 

Steph: Poor Don, we’ve ended up changing most of the names he started out with. He had all the first names of the protagonist’s family handily begin with J, and all the names of the antagonist’s family begin with R. Not any more! The protagonist’s last name is Chalmers, which is a family name in Don’s ancestry. Otherwise, the names were randomly chosen or selected from a list for the year they were born.

 

 

  1. Do your novels feature certain themes?

 

Don: I pretty much focus on the action of the story. Steph “discovers” and develops the themes.

 

Steph: I love developing the themes of our books. Our overall plan is to subtly feature a character quality of God in each novel and man’s struggle with it. In Stranded, the character quality is God’s sovereignty; man’s struggle is seeing God as good in light of the hard things that happen to us. In Forgotten, God is featured as the Just Judge; man’s struggle is with not taking vengeance into our own hands.

 

 

  1. Anything else you want to tell us about your books?

 

Don: Men will enjoy reading them.

 

Steph: Women too, of course! I think having a man and a woman co-author the stories has made them an attractive mixture of adventure and suspense on the one hand, and warm relationships between the characters (eventually—ha!) on the other hand.

 

 

Thanks, Lisa, for inviting us to your blog! Your readers rock!

 

The Saboteur

 

Title:  The Saboteur

Author:  Susan Page Davis

Pages:  248

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Tea Tin Press

My rating 5 out of 5 stars.

While looking for a couple of new books to read, I came across Susan’s newest novel.  After reading the synopsis, I bought it.  When I finished it, I was thirsting for more of her writing and thankfully another novel had recently been published and written with her son titled, The Seafaring Women of the Vera B.  Be looking for a review in the near future.

The story takes place in a small town where Debra Griffin is looking for a job after deciding that her current path of studies at college wasn’t looking favorable.  While stopping to get gas at a local station, which is owned by her best friend, a man comes running out and quickly drives off.  Debra runs in to find out a robbery occurred and then meets Detective Michael Van Sant when he comes to question her at the gas station.  In that moment, Debra’s life is about to change in many ways.  She has no idea what is coming around the corner.  When she lands a job, it is as a secretary to the detectives with Michael being her boss.  Soon it becomes apparent that there is something wrong in the department as various items come up missing or damaged, as well as other mysterious happenings.

I found the story heartwarming and interesting even though there really wasn’t lots of action, adventure or danger.  Really the action focuses on Debra and Michael leading to possible romance as well as a working relationship.  The faith theme is strongly woven throughout the novel and I liked how it was written in a way that reflects the realistic struggles and triumphs of life lived with faith.  I hope many take time to enjoy curling up with this novel as it was well written and tugs at the heart without a whole lot of unnecessary drama.  I loved the compassion and faith with which Michael sought to let Debra know how he felt.  This is a great novel for which I would love to see a sequel written!

Of Moose and Men

 

Title:  Of Moose and Men

Author:  Torry Martin & Doug Peterson

Pages:  224

Year:  2016

Publisher:  Harvest House Publishing

My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.

This book is about the hilarious misadventures of Torry Martin and his friend Rob in the beautiful but dangerous state of Alaska.  I say dangerous, but only because of the bears and other predators that live in the wilderness.  In each hilarious misadventure that Torry reiterates, he finds God working in mysterious ways.  For this hippie, his trials work to make his spiritual life stronger in his walk with God, which is an inspiration to all of us (however hilarious).

I would recommend this book to others for its clean humor and insights that God can use anyone, even a misfit like Torry Martin to use his gifts to inspire others to find God.  At the end of each chapter, he makes some excellent points such as at the end of the final chapter he states that Jesus doesn’t promise an easy life once you have accepted Him, but things are easier to bear knowing we will be with Him in the end.  I like also how he writes this book with a wonderful sense of humor.  I hope others who read this book not only read it for a good laugh, but also find the spiritual insights the author(s) give that in the midst of life’s craziness our Heavenly Father is always with us.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Still Life (Chesapeake Valor #2)

 

Title:  Still Life (Chesapeake Valor #2)

Author:  Dani Pettrey

Pages:  348

Year:  2017

Publisher:  BethanyHouse

My rating is 4 stars.

Parker Mitchell misses Avery Tate more and more every day.  Six months ago she left his employment and his life because their relationship became more personal and he couldn’t wholeheartedly commit to her.  His first love, Jenna, was murdered several years ago and he hasn’t been able to move on in his personal life.  Her killer was never caught and Parker feels he failed to protect her.  He cares for Avery, but knows she needs someone who can give her 100%.  Out of the blue she calls him, needing his expertise as a crime scene processor.  Everyone in the business knows he is the best and as Avery used to work as his crime scene photographer, she knows it too.  Parker hopes Avery is back in his life for a lot longer than this case as he spends more and more time with her, trying to help her.

Avery Tate’s best friend, Skylar, is missing.  She posed for a bizarre photograph for a gallery showing, but evidence in the photograph leads Avery to think Skylar is dead.  She calls the best in the business to come look at the photograph and Skylar’s trailer to process them.  The best being the man she has given her heart to, Parker Mitchell.  She and Skylar grew up together and had a past riddled with alcohol, drugs and petty crime, but eight years ago Avery became a Christian and has never looked back.  She totally turned her life around.  Unfortunately, Skylar has not.  Avery desperately wants to find out where Skylar is and try again to get her out of her seedy lifestyle.  Parker and Avery embark on an investigation with the help of Charm City Investigations, which includes their friends Griffin, Finlay, Kate, Tanner and Declan.  Their search leads them after an obsessed man, his girlfriend, some college kids who were in Skylar’s trailer as well as some other people from Avery’s past.

While this story definitely had moments of tension and suspense, I felt that Declan and Tanner were too much in the story.  They took the focus sometimes off of Avery and Parker.  I know the third book in the series is to focus on Declan and Tanner, but having them appear so often in this story dimmed my enjoyment somewhat.  I was glad to see Griffin and Finlay make appearances in the story, and since their story was told in book one, I was okay with them being in the story.  I did really like how Avery and Parker both prayed and kept each other accountable in their relationship with God.  God was definitely a part in their relationship, drawing them together and strengthening them.  I look forward to book three being released in October 2017 titled, Blind Spot.  Also, check out Dani’s other great series set in Alaska called Alaskan Courage.

The Shack

 

Title:  The Shack

Author:  Wm. Paul Young                                                                           

Pages:  272

Year:  2007

Publisher:  Hachette-Windblown Media

 

The Shack, a novel by Wm. Paul Young, is a story about Mack, a man who is suffering over the loss of his youngest daughter and the guilt that haunts him. Apparently, God has invited Mack to the very place where his daughter died a tragic death. Mack wonders if the invitation is a cruel joke or if God really did send the invitation. Mack cautiously accepts, and heads into the woods where the shack is located, and he finds a world that is both familiar and, at the same time, strange.

Essentially, Mack has an encounter with God, who manifests as a theophany of three individuals. There have been some books and reviews written that question the theology portrayed in the novel; however, the focus of the story is not on theology. The focus is on relationship between God and one particular man who needs his soul to be healed from guilt and loss. Some might find it blasphemous that God the Father, known informally in the story as Papa, appears as a woman. The dialogue clearly states that God is neither male nor female, and Papa appears to Mack as a woman because that is more comforting to Mack and what he is going through. In addition, the story alludes to Mack having a very broken relationship with his earthly father, so it makes sense that God would appear as a women to help Mack feel more comfortable. Papa later appears as an elderly man because at the time, Mack needs a father figure. Jesus appears as authentically Jewish in appearance, and the Holy Spirit appears as a female who seems to flutter around just as the wind would do. This appearance is also consistent with the Spirit being compared to the wind. Although there is much speculation on how God might appear physically and communicate to a human being in this tale, I don’t see any contradiction to how he has revealed himself in Scripture, which must be the standard that we judge theological positions. Critics also need to remember that this is a work of fiction and not a theological dissertation.

Overall, The Shack is a wonderful story of God’s loving relationship within the three persons of the Trinity as well as love for individuals. The story’s focus on relationship, love, loss, grief, forgiveness, brokenness, and healing make this novel one of the best Christian novels that I have read in several months. I highly recommend the book, and I look forward to seeing the movie.

My rating is 5.

Guest review by Cleve Johnson

Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ .  Also follow me on Twitter@lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

 

Legacy of Deer Run

 

Title:  Legacy of Deer Run

Author:  Elaine Marie Cooper

Pages:  277

Year:  2012, 2016

Publisher:  CrossRiver

My rating is 4 stars.

This is the third and final book in the Deer Run Series.  This story centers on Daniel Lowe, Sr., his son Daniel Lowe, Jr. and his daughter Polly Lowe.  There are some other minor storylines as well, but these three are the main ones.  The year is 1800, and there is still fear that England will retaliate for their loss in 1776, so the armory in Springfield, Massachusetts is operating at full capacity.  There is also a shaky relationship with France to take into consideration as well.

Dan Jr. or Danny has left Deer Run to work in the armory in Springfield.  He overhears two men talking in what he thinks is French, so he reports this to his supervisor.  Unfortunately, it is dark outside when he makes this discovery and that conceals the identity of the two men.  Soon after accidents begin happening, putting Dan Jr. in the line of fire.  He also has made the acquaintance of the lovely Susannah Dobbins, who is the daughter of a local merchant newly moved to the area.  Dan Jr. doesn’t think she will take a second look at him due to their differences in social status.

Polly Lowe has fallen in love.  Unfortunately, the man is the son of her father’s bitter enemy and her father forbids her from continuing the relationship.  She rebels, but soon the man leaves the area, taking Polly’s heart along with him and leaving Polly in dire straits.  Dan Sr. is convicted of his bitterness and begs forgiveness from his enemy and his daughter.  However, Polly’s situation causes a rift in the community and her heart still longs for her love.  Dan Jr. has an idea to solve the situation, so his plan is put into action.  But has his plan, if successful, been implemented too late?

There were a couple of instances that were a little too “earthy”, as the author calls some of the more physical aspects of the story, for me, but otherwise I enjoyed the story.  I liked reading about this time in history and how the people dressed, talked, worked and survived in a sometimes very harsh environment with not many, if any, conveniences.  They had to work very hard every day.  I know I would not have made a good colonial woman!  I treasured the respect and protectiveness the men had for the women in their lives.  I also liked the big families in the story and how they managed and interacted with one another.  I hope Ms. Cooper continues to write books set in this time period as I will be sure to read them!

Her Secret (The Amish of Hart County #1)

 

Title:  Her Secret (The Amish of Hart County #1)

Author:  Shelley Shepard Gray

Pages:  272

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Avon Inspire

My rating is 4 stars.

Hannah Hilty is a 20-year-old Amish woman who is the victim of a stalker.  She and her family are forced to quit their jobs, leave their friends and move to a different state and different Amish community to flee this stalker.  The local police were not too responsive to the Hilty family’s reporting of the stalker, so no legal action was taken.  Hannah is now afraid to leave her new home.  Her two younger, teenage siblings blame Hannah for making them move and leave all their friends.  Hannah’s mother is forced to take a job outside the home and they are now living in a much smaller house.  The whole family is in upheaval.  This family secret is kept from the new Amish community, and there are other secrets the Hilty family is keeping as well.

Isaac Troyer is unsure what to think of his new neighbors, the Hiltys.  Their oldest daughter never leaves home alone and then very rarely.  He jokingly calls her The Recluse.  He is a 22-year-old Amish man who works in the family woodshop.  He runs into Hannah one day while she has bravely decided to take a walk alone.  The impression he makes on her he knows is unfavorable.  A couple of days later he apologizes as well as lets her know that he knows her stalker history.  The begin to form a tentative friendship.  Isaac feels protective of Hannah and senses her fear of trusting others.  Hannah feels safe with Isaac and begins to live again.  However, her newfound freedom is threatened by her sister who unknowingly tells Hannah’s secret to the wrong person.

I thought this was a good story to introduce the series and it kept me flipping pages quickly.  The story is easy to read and I read it in one sitting.  The romance between these two young Amish people is gentle, slow and tender.  The mystery/thriller aspect of the story set in Amish country is a new twist for me and I liked that aspect especially.  Readers can see the multiple secrets the Hilty family keeps from each other that create much dissension and disunity within the family, which added realism to the story.  I’m looking forward to book two in the series and to what mystery the author will weave into the tale!

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Mercy at Midnight

 

Title:  Mercy at Midnight

Author:  Sylvia Bambola

Pages:  408

Year:  2016

Publisher:  Heritage Publishing House

My rating is 5+ out of 5 stars.

My introduction into the author’s writing style was when I read her novel, The Daughters of Jim Farrell a year ago or so.  When Mercy at Midnight came out, I knew I had to read the book.  Why?  I found Sylvia’s stories well-crafted.  She deals with issues head on and tells a heart-gripping story right from the start!  There are other books by this author I have yet to read, but they are in my reading pile or list to enjoy very soon!

Mercy at Midnight weaves together threads of homelessness and redemption right alongside action, danger and mystery.  The main character is a pastor named Jonathan who is a prayer warrior, tries very earnestly to obey the Spirit’s leading even when he doesn’t understand the why of it and yet his struggles are transparent to Jonathan.  The female lead is a news reporter named Cynthia who has a nose for a story, and this one she is on right now might cost her more than she thinks if she isn’t careful.

Jonathan’s past plays a role in who he is today in the story and opening a homeless shelter was the last thing he wanted to do.  Some of his actions in the book reminded me of the ways God used Old Testament prophets to bring his message in a very real in your face kind of way.  Cynthia’s past influenced her decisions to erect walls around her heart, but with her latest undercover experience she just might find her walls slowly coming down.

Throughout the book I read and loved some of the background characters whose personalities were unique.  I loved the possible budding romance between the pastor and reporter and the way the book ended was great as it leaves to the imagination of readers in a way.  I cannot wait to see what Sylva brings to her readers in 2017 because her books are engrossing, entertaining and enrapture the heart of readers.  Please read Mercy at Midnight and see if she doesn’t soon become one of your favorite authors and you find yourself reading her other fantastic novels!

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Our Man in Charleston (Britain’s Secret Agent in the Civil War South)

 

Title:  Our Man in Charleston (Britain’s Secret Agent in the Civil War South)

Author:  Charles Dickey

Pages:  400

Year:  2015

Publisher:  Crown

My rating is 4 out of 5 stars.

The Civil War is just one historical event that continues to fascinate me as a reader.  The author does a magnificent job of detailing the ins and outs of what occurred in our nation at a time when chaos reigned.  I am continuously learning so much about what was going on at a time when many people even knew where their next meal was coming from.

The author packs so much information into his book that it really causes the reader to become engrossed with the intrigue that happened off the battlefield.  As I read I was humbled as I learned of events that never entered my thinking before.  Of course, today many people are even on a higher alert for those who are observing them or interested in what their activities may be.

What the author shares never before entered my mind as a possibility at a time we look back on as perhaps being centered on the battlefield.  Some of the nefarious transactions weren’t easy to read such as the way some viewed lives as of little to no value, no caring what happened to them even when separating loved ones.

There are some real historical figures readers will learn about who were brave and worked diligently behind the scenes to improve life for all.  The nonfictional book is one that lovers of history will want on their shelves to share with others for generations.  Here is a great book that will make a great gift for the lover of history, the Civil War or secret agents!

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Grace & The Preacher

 

Title:  Grace & The Preacher

Author:  Kim Vogel Sawyer

Pages:  352

Year:  2017

Publisher:  WaterBrook

My rating 4 out of 5 stars.

Romance, history, fiction and in a sense a couple of unusual characters…what a story!  The female character is Grace who is postmistress and being pressured to settle for less than what her heart desires.  Theo, with a past he regrets and can’t seem to get far enough away from, feels as though it’s right on his heels!  Well, in one sense, it is as those who went to jail are bent on making him pay as they brand him a coward for failing to do one thing.

I have read a variety of Kim’s books and for the most part enjoyed them a lot; this one seemed to move a little slow at the beginning.  The dragging out of the meeting between Grace and Theo caused me to lose interest at first.  I knew they were the focus of the novel, but there was no suspense to keep me in the pages like her other novels.

I love historical fiction with a little romance but also with some action, adventure, mystery and/or just something to make the story pop off the page.  Unfortunately, for me, this one just didn’t pop.  I will still read other Kim Vogel Sawyer books because her novels always have a strong theme of faith throughout the story.  I hope that the next novel the author presents has more action, adventure or mystery that helps me stay up to finish the book long into the night!

So, read the book as it does progress after some chapters.  It might not seem slow at first to you like it did for me.  While we wait to see what she presents next, read her other stories as they were very enjoyable!

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

They Danced On (The Darlings #3)

 

Title:  They Danced On (The Darlings #3)

Author:  Carrie Armstrong Gardner

Pages:  400

Year:  2016

Publisher:  Tyndale

My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.

The other two novels in the series are titled, All Right Here followed by Better All the Time by the same author.  I didn’t read the other novels prior to reading They Danced On.  However, for me, it was still a very potent story being told by the author.  The Darling family has had its share of trials; the characters deal with life issues just like other families.  The book in some ways was hard to read because I could identify strongly with the matriarch of the family named Jane who was wrestling with many trials one being her youngest moving out.  Jane wasn’t ready for the empty nest period of her life, especially with her husband’s ALS struggles.

One of the Darlings daughters is named Laura and was struggling with alcohol while another daughter just got married and leaves to work as a missionary with her new husband.  Jane begins to wrestle with what her future is going to be when all she has been identified with is being a mother, wife and taking care of the home.  Now, as she looks down the road, she isn’t sure what she will be doing with her time or what is God’s purpose for her in this season and more.

I could identify with Jane as my family will be going through some good changes next year and I am thankful so far our health is good.  Like Jane, I look to the Lord and believe He has a job for me to do and that my identity is in Him and not earthly titles.  Other readers may understand some of the siblings’ issues or marital stuff that occurs.  I loved how Jane and her husband, Leander, walked together through the tough season of his decline due to ALS.  The author doesn’t spell out in detail what happens, but focuses the readers on the faith of the various family members as well as how strength from being a family unit helps as they walk through life experiences.

Personally, I wouldn’t recommend reading this during the holidays if readers have suffered with someone who has ALS or a long term illness or a recent loved one passing.  Whenever people choose to read this novel and perhaps the prior two, I believe they will come away as I did with hope.  For with God we can walk through the various trials and come out with a closer relationship with Him. 

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

Hide and Seek

 

Title:  Hide and Seek

Author:  Major Jeff Struecker and Alton Gansky

Pages:  369

Year:  2012

Publisher:  B&H Publishing Group

My rating is 5 stars.

J.J. Bartley has been assigned his first special ops mission as team leader, and boy does it turn out to be a doozy!  He and his team are tasked with finding a missing daughter of the current president of Kyrgyzstan and a female American Foreign Affairs Officer who has been trained by the Army with an impressive set of survival skills.  They are on the run as the president’s daughter barely escaped being kidnapped as riots plague the city of Bishkek.  The attempt was thwarted by Amelia Lennon, the Foreign Affairs Officer.  As they are in survival mode, Amelia leaves coded messages behind for a hoped for rescue team.  However, they must keep moving as the kidnappers are hot on their trail.  With the political unrest that has cut phone lines and cell towers, communication is almost impossible.

J.J. and his team are following Amelia’s clues, but soon realize they are also being hunted.  Armed men with military training are tracking J.J. and the team.  Using drone technology, the team eventually finds Amelia and the president’s daughter, but they are on the verge of being taken hostage.  J.J. and his team are too far away to make it in time to stop the attack as they are seemingly trapped on a roof top by a team of armed men.  How can the get out of this?  Can Amelia somehow stop the kidnapping a second time?

These four books have been such a pleasure to read.  The action and life situations are very realistic and get readers involved from beginning to end.  The characters on the special ops team are likeable and with the reading of each book become more and more like visiting familiar faces.  My favorite character is J.J.  He is a Christian in the military where there aren’t a lot of other Christians.  He doesn’t beat his fellow soldiers over the head with his beliefs, but he isn’t afraid to stand up for his values either.  The team knows where he stands and respects him, some even asking for prayer occasionally.  J.J. doesn’t enjoy having to kill, but knows that it is sometimes necessary to stop evil men from doing evil deeds.  Thank you to the authors for showing the military to this reader who has not had much experience or knowledge of that arena.  Thank you to our men and women who sacrifice daily for our country!

Devoted Defender (Danger in the Deep South #2)

 

Title:  Devoted Defender (Danger in the Deep South #2)

Author:  Rachel Dylan

Pages:  192

Year:  2016

Publisher:  Create space

My rating 5 out of 5 stars.

This series starts with the first book titled, Lethal Action where the focus is on two characters named Gabe and a lawyer named Hope.  The action takes place in a small town named Maxwell and Gabe is undercover working there, but I won’t reveal more so you can enjoy the books mystery and suspense when you read it.

Now, in the sequel, Devoted Defender, Caleb, who is the local Chief of Police, becomes entangled in a web where someone is out to take Annie’s life because she witnessed a crime.  Annie was originally from Florida and worked hard to become a chef.  She was working for a family in Atlanta where the crime occurred.  Now, being on the run, she ends up in Maxwell and before too long Annie and Caleb are dodging bullets and unsure who to trust.

The author is planning a third novel in this series and I cannot wait as it focuses on another character we meet in book one and see again in this story.  The stories weave tension and action right from page one all the way to the end, including a touch of romance.  What I love about the stories besides the suspense, action and such is that the characters are not perfect.  The characters are crafted to include brokenness, faith, fear, love and more humanlike qualities and personalities so it is really easy to connect with them in the book.

I hope you read soon Lethal Action & Devoted Defender before the third book is released; I guarantee you will soon become lost in the pages!

Lethal Action (Danger in the Deep South #1)

 

Title:  Lethal Action (Danger in the Deep South #1)

Author:  Rachel Dylan

Pages:  224

Year:  2015

Publisher:  Create Space Independent

My rating 5 out of 5 stars.

Rachel Dylan is a new author to me.  I saw her novella when perusing an online bookstore and saw too that she has written a few Love Inspired Suspense novels.  On top of being a lawyer, she writes novels whose central character is a lawyer and a strong-headed one!

Attorney Hope Finch worked hard to get where she is as an attorney with a top law firm in New York and hopes to make partner within a few years.  Hope had a very rough upbringing that she used to not only help her work through the tough rigors of academia and work, but also she built a wall around her heart for protection.  The wall was due to an ex-boyfriend who betrayed her trust and therefore Hope decided she would be married to her job so she keeps other people out of her life.  Of course that was before she met Gabe.  The way she meets him doesn’t exactly instill the number one trait she looks for in a person and that is trust.

When Hope travels to a small town for a case, Hope figures her work long hours have finally paid off.  However, that all goes south when people start coming after her to do her physical harm in order to find out what she knows about a computer chip in her possession or is it?

With tense moments, some well-placed humorous scenes, Rachel keep readers such as myself entertained all the way till the end of the book.  The twists and turns in the plot kept me guessing as to who the powerful antagonists were and how Gabe was going to keep Hope alive.  Hope doesn’t rely on anyone but herself in all areas of her life and her facing danger head on makes protecting her rather daunting.  The next installment is titled, Devoted Defender with a third and final book to be added to the series in the near future.  So watch for Rachel’s novels and then enjoy the well-crafted high suspense tales within the covers of her books!