With Autumn’s Return

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Title: With Autumn’s Return
Series: Westward Winds
Author: Amanda Cabot
Publisher: Revell
Published: January 21, 2014
Pages: 416

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Elizabeth Harding came to Cheyenne, Wyoming to open her medical practice with high hopes. She’s certain she’ll have a line of patients eager for her services, but she quickly realizes that the town isn’t ready to welcome a new physician, particularly a lady doctor. Friends tell her that people will warm up, but Elizabeth has her doubts, particularly after a confrontation with the only other doctor in town.

Jason Nordling, a handsome young attorney and Elizabeth’s new neighbor, seems to also disapprove of Elizabeth’s chosen profession, but the more they get to know each other the more his opinion starts to change. He does, however, know that he can’t marry someone who will be a part time mother, particularly after his childhood. So, despite his attraction for Elizabeth and his ease at being around her, he’s determined to not fall in love.

Jason’s best laid plans might be futile when a web of deceit blankets Cheyenne’s wealthiest residents and threatens to entangle both him and Elizabeth. Despite the danger and the odds, they must work together to save one of Elizabeth’s patients and catch a criminal, even if it means falling in love in the process. Something neither of them want.

Can Elizabeth overcome the bias in town and become a successful doctor or will people avoid her because of her gender? Can Jason fall for Elizabeth despite of her career or is he too dead set on his idea of the perfect wife and mother? Can Elizabeth and Jason work together to set a trap without falling in love or will they fall hard as fast for each other? Can both Jason and Elizabeth follow God’s plan or will they be too caught up in their own stubbornness to follow?
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I’ve followed the Harding sisters’ journeys since the first book and have enjoyed every one, but this one has to be my favorite of the three. I loved the set up of this book and how it all came to an end. This book was definitely well written and captured me until the last page. I greatly look forward to what other adventures Amanda Cabot sends me on and how each one will play out.

The romance in this book is a slow and steady one. It’s not one with a ton of kissing or anything like that but it’s definitely very well written and was a favorite because of the sweetness. As the romance progresses you see Jason struggle with his idea of a perfect wife and mother and how Elizabeth isn’t that and you see Elizabeth struggle with how a family wasn’t in her plans. I loved the realistic look at love and I loved the fact that I got to watch it play out.

There’s a bit of intrigue in this book as well, but it’s a small chunk and the romance takes the limelight. However, this suspense is a critical part of the book and it gives the characters the shove they need to finally be together, not to mention it just works really well in the story. The culprit is fairly easy to figure out but it’s still a nice nail-biting suspense to complete the book. It makes the book more interesting and helps break up what could be called monotony that is an average romance.

Because this is the last book in the series, some loose ends that have been there since the beginning are tied up and I’m left with a feeling of completeness that I sometimes don’t get. All of my questions ended up answered and all the little side stories were completed and it made it easier to say goodbye to a series I have been reading for almost two or three years now. It makes me look forward to the future endeavors of this author.

Amanda Cabot created a hit in this one for me. Though it wasn’t my all time favorite, I definitely enjoyed it and the escape I got from it. This book is my favorite of the three and can be read alone but I usually recommend that you read them in order and this is one of those times. You just don’t get the same effect if you tea them out of order. I highly recommend this book and its series to any lover of historical romance.

Overall, I loved this book the most out of the series but I don’t think it’ll make it onto my all time favorite list. I did however absolutely adore the romance and it did make it up there. This book is perfect for anybody who like historical romance novels. I think this book is best left to the adults though the content can easily accommodate teens. I give this book a four out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

Dare To Love Again

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Title: Dare To Love Again
Series: The Heart Of San Francisco
Author: Julie Lessman
Publisher: Revell
Published: January 7, 2014
Pages: 416

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Spunky Allison McClare is determined to be a fearless independent woman, but when she decides to explore the wild Barbary Coast at dusk, she quickly realizes that she’s no match or the unsavory characters that haunt the dark streets. However, she’s determined to be independent and do what she wants without fear, so her uncle does a little arranging and sets her up with someone who might be able to teach her how to defend herself, the only problem, they can’t stand each other.

Detective Nick Barone would rather do almost anything then teach this petite socialite self-defense, but it seems he has very little choice. So he gets to work to help Allison but it’s not easy to do with sparks flying every time they’re near each other, so they come to a grudging agreement to be friends, but when that starts to become more Nick knows he has to make a choice.

With a past that he can’t outrun and a contract he can’t break, everything in him is telling him to run away far and fast from Allison, but his heart tells him to stay, even if he swore he’s never get involved. Allison must also make a choice give her heart away and risk deceit and heartbreak for the third time or miss out on something that could be beautiful. They both have everything on the line but something won’t let them pull away and maybe that’s a good thing.

Can Nick gain peace with his past or will he constantly be bitter and anger over his life? Can Allison risk heartbreak again or will she hide her heart away and possibly miss out on true love? Is love worth giving up everything or will the risks be too great? Is Nick another liar or is he genuine? Can two enemies reconcile and become a couple or is it too much to overcome?
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Having read every single Julie Lessman book on the market to date, I can tell you that even though the O’Connors will forever hold a special place in my heart, this series is the product of Julie finding her happy medium. So far this series is very well crafted and thought out and, as much as I hate to admit it, better formed than her previous two series. I’m very impressed with how far Julie has come and so glad that I’ve been able to be along for the ride thus far.

That said, this book as a novel is actually very good. It gave me my romantic gestures, like kissing, and gave me my emotional development to make it seem more realistic. Though, at the end it seemed to resolve a bit too easily, it was still very well done and I thoroughly enjoyed every page of this book. I absolutely can’t wait to see what other magnificent story I get next, I hope it’s about Bram, and what drama could be stirred up in this next one.

The concept of this story is pretty good and I loved watching the romance go from swatting to teasing to kissing in about half a book, and yes ladies and gentlemen there is some swatting involved. The conflicts seem a bit far fetched at times but are well done enough that I believed it all hook, line, and sinker. It’s hard to tell about the the last half of the book because it’s spoiler alert after spoiler alert, but let’s just say that the drama kicks in and it’s definitely worth the wait.

My favorite character in this story has to be Allison. She’s not your average heroine from romance novels. She’s awesome and independent and doesn’t want to rely on any man for stuff she’s perfectly capable of doing herself. Most of this attitude comes from being deceived twice but it comes across as strength not bitterness or fear so I greatly loved the change of pace. The other characters all have their quirks and are all lovable in their own ways so I can’t help but look forward to every new Julie Lessman book that comes out.

Julie Lessman has been a favorite since her first book and I’ve had the pleasure of being able to watch, book by book, her grow into the wonderful author that she is. This book is definitely one of her great ones and I completely look forward to falling in love with this new family just like I did her last. I highly recommend this book and any of this author’s others, as long as you read them in order.

Overall, it had some unrealistic moments but in general I loved it. This book is perfect for fans of the author or fans of early-1900s fiction. This book is bed left in the hands of the adults only. I give this book a four and a half out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

A Promise Kept

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Title: A Promise Kept
Author: Robin Lee Hatcher
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Published: January 7, 2014
Pages: 304

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Allison’s dream can true when she met Tony Kavanagh. They fell in love in days, engaged within weeks, married and expecting a baby within a year. Her cup had bubbled over with joy, but years later, that joy was extinguished by unexpected trials. Those trials took their marriage in a bad direction. So one day, she issues her husband an ultimatum, hoping that it would save him and their marriage, but instead, he left and left her crushed in the wake. She was positive God had promised to heal her marriage, but now it seems she’d misunderstood.

So Allison retreats to her quiet mountain cabin she inherited from her single self-reliant great aunt Emma. There Allison must come to terms with her grief and figure out how to adapt to small-town life. Along with these struggles, she finds a wedding dress and a collection of journals in Emma’s attic. Reading these journals paints a portrait of her aunt that leaves Allison stunned. The portrait is of a heart broken woman a lot like herself and helps with Allison’s healing as well as letting her see a side of her aunt she never knew existed.

As Allison reads her aunt’s story, she’s forced to ask some difficult questions and work through some tough emotions but with The Lord nothing is impossible and sometimes promises you thought you misheard can come true in the strangest ways you thought possible. Allison greatest struggle will be giving up everything to God because she was always everyone else’s savior.

Can Allison work through her grief and anger toward her marriage or will bitterness consume her? Can something good come from a divorce or will only bad come from it? Is it possible top piece together a life broken or are the pieces too small to pick up? Can Allison give everything she is and has to The Lord or will she remain selfish and mad at God?
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I’ve read a few Robin Lee Hatcher books over the years and enjoyed them but this one seemed so much more personal to me, probably because this book alludes to Robin’s own life and has elements of her own divorce and remarriage (to the same man) in it. The personal touch gave it a depth that I’ve very rarely seen and I loved the courage it took the author to be so vulnerable and write something so close to her own story. That wins some brownie points for me.

Despite the heavy tone of the back cover and premise, it’s actually a fairly light read and is really easy to devour. My favorite parts of the book were the story of Emma, Allison’s great aunt. Emma’s story is like many women’s but hers is different in the path she takes and I loved getting to “know” Emma through the chapters that made her the focal point. The whole story of this remarkable woman is played out but by bit and it really gets your emotions involved and engaged in the outcome of the story. I enjoyed every second of this book.

This book touches on two very different but just as sensitive topics: abuse and alcoholism. The way Robin Lee Hatcher addresses each instance is done remarkably well, it’s addressed without excuse but the whole book isn’t set around it. Instead, the book is set around forgiveness and surrender. Towards the end the forgiveness seemed to come too easily at times and the ending seemed too neat to be real life, but to have that neat little bow made the story have a happy ending and I love happy endings.

This book is one of the first divorce/marriage issue book that I’ve truly enjoyed and recommend to more than just married folks. It wasn’t a book that revolved around the divorce part but more of the forgiveness and healing that comes for God alone part. Because it didn’t focus so much on divorce, I understood this book, and though I couldn’t fully relate, I could empathize with each character and feel each pain in a different way. It definitely makes this book unique.

Robin Lee Hatcher did a glorious job making a book about divorce into a book an eighteen year old girl really enjoy. It was so well done that I just sped through it and enjoyed it too. This book definitely touches on some difficult topics but with grace and class that is amazing. Thank you Robin for having the nerve to put part of your story out there and doing it so well. I highly recommend this one.

Overall, surprisingly, I truly enjoyed this one. This book is perfect for anyone struggling with their marriage of some sort or even someone who wants a good book on healing. This book is probably bed left to the adults but there’s nothing keeping your teens from reading it. I give this book a four and a half out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

Captives

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Title: Captives
Series: The Safe Lands
Author: Jill Williamson
Publisher: Zondervan
Published: April 2, 2013
Pages: 416

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Eighteen year old Levi has just returned from Denver City with his latest scavenged finds, only to find his beloved village of Glenrock decimated, loved ones killed, and many – including his fiancé, Jemma – taken captive. Now the leader of their village, Levi knows he can’t stay behind and forget about those he loves, so he’s on a mission to rescue what remains of his people, even if it means going into the infamous Safe Lands, a walled city that seems anything but safe.

Omar brought the enforcers to his village and he knows he betrayed his brother by sending him away but he get helping the enforcers was necessary. Omar is tired of living off the land and clinging to what he believes is an outdated religion and he’s ready to change his way of life for the good. The Safe Lands have offered him power and wealth beyond Omar’s dreams if he just tells them where his village is. Omar never expected the carnage that would ensue.

Meanwhile, Mason, Omar and Levi’s brother, has been granted a position inside the Safe Lands, and may be able to use his captivity to save his people and possibly find a cure for the virus that threatens everyone within the Safe Lands’ walls. That is if he can manage to stay out of trouble and keep from falling for someone with the plague and destroying his chances of succeeding.

Can Levi rescue his people from the Safe Lands or will he fail and lose everything in the process? Will Omar realize what the Safe Lands really are or is the gilded cage enough to keep Omar satisfied? Will Mason be able to help his fellow villagers to freedom or will he get caught and get into serious trouble? Can Mason find a cure for the thin plague or will he have to choose between a girl he likes and freedom?
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With all the excitement over post-apocalyptic movies and books, I decided to see what all the attention was about and I chose Jill Williamson’s book to do that. Now I know what everyone loves and I must say that this type of book just skyrocketed up my list of favorite genres and I fully intend to find more books like it. This book was better than my expectations, and I had high ones, and completely surprised me with the intricacy of this book. Just when you think things will work out something happens to change that and it ended on a cliffhanger, guaranteeing that I’ll be back to see how all this works out.

Though this book is set in 2088, a year that is 74 years in the future, it doesn’t feel too far off or too extreme to really happen. In fact, the attitude of the Safe Landers isn’t that different from regular secular people today, it’s just a bit more extreme. With e-cigarettes and a party/casual sex attitude out world is well on its way to becoming the fictional Safe Lands. Jill Williamson’s realistic, just extreme, take on us in the future is the most fascinating part of this book and definitely makes you think and question. I think she did an amazing job if her goal was to make teens question their life choices and where their future’s headed.

Tense and nerve-wracking scenes are the pinnacle of this book and it definitely gets your emotions involved. You want the Glenrock residents to escape before impregnation but you also want Mason to find a cure, not because of all the Safe Landers but just one. It gave me conflicting feelings on top of the taut nerves and nervous stomach, leaving me absolutely involved and emotionally invested in the outcome of this book. Very rarely do I feel this so I’m incredibly pleased it was with this one.

Every character has different strengths, weaknesses, and personalities, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to get to see them all. However, I do look forward to seeing them in the next books in this series. From what I was able to see, I picked a few favorite characters: Mason, Levi, and Shaylinn. I liked Mason because of his willpower and strength in tough situations, Levi because he’d do anything for Jemma, and Shaylinn because I can relate to her and her body image issues. I think no matter the person, you can relate to this book.

Jill Williamson is a new author for me but she has amazed me with Captives and I fully intend to read the next books in the series and even see what else she has come up with before this one. She’s very good at making a book a teenager, both boy or girl, will love. She even managed to do it without vampires or werewolves! I highly recommend this book for any teen and even some adults.

Overall, I really liked this book. It’s perfect for people who love dystopian novels or teen sci-fi. This book is perfect for teens, adults and maybe mature tweens. I give this book a five out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

Elusive Hope

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Title: Elusive Hope
Series: Escape To Paradise
Author: MaryLu Tyndall
Publisher: Barbour Books
Published: November 1, 2013
Pages: 320

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Magnolia Scott is a Southern Belle forced against her will into the forests of Brazil. With her overbearing father insisting on uprooting her family to escape the uncertainty of Southern life after the Civil War, Magnolia doesn’t have much of a say in the matter. As Magnolia sees her life full of suitors, parties, dresses, and beauty fade, she realizes she needs to find a way out of this horrid jungle, even if she has to run away to do it.

Hayden Gale had spent years seeking revenge against his scoundrel of a father. His search leads him to Brazil, where he’s believed to be helping colonize the jungle, and he plans to seek out his father and finish his search once as for all. With nothing to lose, definitely not a good reputation, Hayden keeps searching, but he didn’t think he’d have a companion particularly not the snooty Magnolia Scott.

As they journey to Rio de Janeiro, each for different purposes, they both try and use the other for their own purposes, but the more they travel together the closer they get and the harder the deception is to uphold. Magnolia begins to love the place she used to hate and Hayden begins to see a different side of Magnolia he never knew existed and both begin to feel differently towards each other with every step. One thing’s for certain, falling in love wasn’t in the plans.

Can Magnolia Scott learn to love the tropical land that is Brazil or will she leave to try and find love back home? Will Hayden get his revenge against his father or will he realize that revenge isn’t healthy? Can Magnolia an Hayden fall in love despite their differences or will their love be ripped apart by life and status? Can Hayden and Magnolia realize that the only One who truly matters in this life is Jesus?
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I love MaryLu Tyndall’s work. I have since the beginning and her first book, a pirate series that captured my heart. Since that first book MaryLu has definitely improved as an author and this book proves it. This book was eloquently written and heart tugging and I couldn’t get enough. Only MaryLu could make a book involving a con-man and a woman obsessed with her looks into a viable and romantic romance.

This romance is one of the best I’ve ever read! It had complexities and issues that made the romance feel realistic yet and kept my interest. This isn’t a hugely passionate romance, but neither is it stale. It has enough kisses and emotional connections to keep your attention without making it feel forced. The whole romance is just terribly romantic and plays on pretty much any historical romance buff’s fantasies. I absolutely loved this one!

The storyline of this novel is actually more than just a romance which definitely keeps your interest and because of the suspense of it, I actually stayed up until 2:30 in the morning to read it just because I couldn’t stop. There’s actually a really interesting secondary plot line that completely fascinates me and definitely makes me want to read the third book in the series. Without saying too much, it involves some creepy happenings and visions. It’s so gripping!

The setting of this book is gorgeous. I’ve never been to Brazil but MaryLu Tyndall’s description of this lush and green terrain creates a mental image that makes you feel like you’ve been there. In this book you really get to “experience” Brazil and because of that my opinion has kind of changed toward these colonists and their leaving America. This terrain has captured my heart along with the quirky mix of colonists that call it home.

MaryLu Tyndall captured me with her very first words in print and the inspiration for them, but this book captured me for a different reason and I’m glad I got the opportunity to see her grow into the amazing author she is today. This book is absolutely amazing and is definitely worthy rereading let alone reading. This author and all of her books come very highly recommended by me.

Overall, I loved it. It captured me from the beginning and I loved every second of the journey I got to go on. This book is perfect for romance lovers and lovers of the forest. This book is best left to adults and very mature teenagers. I give this book a five out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

Burning Sky

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Title: Burning Sky
Author: Lori Benton
Publisher: WaterBrook Multnomah
Published: August 6, 2013
Pages: 416

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Willa Obenchain’s life changed when she was abducted by Mohawk Indians when she was fourteen. After twelve years and the loss of her husband and two daughters, she decides to go back home to her family’s New York territory homestead. She intends to keep to herself and live alone, but her plans are dashed when she finds an injured Scotsman lying in her path and her feeling of obligation to nurse him back to health kicks in.

When Willa rounds the road dragging her wounded Scotsman, Neil MacGregor, behind her, she’s shocked and dismayed to see that a lot has changed in he twelve year absence. Her childhood home is in disrepair, her parents are missing and rumored to be Tories, and the young Richard Waring she once adored has now become a man twisted by the horrors of war. With Richard, Neil, and her Mohawk brother, Joseph Tames-His-Horse, pulling her in separate directions, Willa begins to realize that her life of solitude might not be so solitary anymore.

As Neil and Willa become closer, the homestead is plagued by tragedy after tragedy that are a lot more than coincidence and with the strong feelings against “savages” and anyone associated with them, Willa’s safety is unsure. With the possibility of losing the homestead to auction and Richard, Willa is willing to do almost anything to save it, but it seems someone else has other plans for her.

Can Willa save her homestead or will she lose it to the ruthless Richard Waring? Will Willa choose to go back with Joseph Tames-His-Horse to the People as Burning Sky or will she find her place in the world she once lived in? Will Willa let Neil into her heart or will she drive him away with her thickly constructed walls? Can Willa prove her parent’s innocence before auction or not? Can Willa find a place in the world of her childhood or will she decide she needs the Mohawks to be happy?
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Ever since I saw this book was up for review, I was excited about it. So excited, I jumped on it with lightning speed and have been patiently awaiting a time for me to read this one. It was completely worth the wait. I loved this one! Though it’s a debut novel for Lori Benton, I couldn’t really tell. This book flowed so well and worked so well that this book is fantastic for any author let alone a debut author. This is definitely going on my “favorites” list.

This book is set in post-Revolutionary War New York and it worked really well. The scenery is gorgeous and the terrain is rugged, which makes for the perfect historical novel. The author is very good at drawing you a mental picture of the lush, green terrain without being wordy and keeping you interested without being overt. The historical facts were sprinkled in without being too much or feeling like a history lesson and she showed a side of history few of us think about – what it was like after the war. It definitely worked well with the storyline and expanded on a very popular war.

The romance in this book was kind of a love-triangle but was also one of the more sweetly subtle ones that I’ve read, but trust me it works and it works well. Never once did I feel like the romance was rushed or was disappointed with the romance being laid out for me. There was enough passion to make it feel real but enough emotional bonding to make a solid believable romance. Lori Benton just crafted one of the best romances I’ve ever read.

There’s also some drama and suspense in this book. It’s enough to keep the book interested but not too much to make you feel jolted around. It definitely worked with the storyline and though I could’ve called the ending from the first quarter of the book, and I did, I enjoyed the road to get to the end and didn’t mind at all that I guessed the ending a long time ago. Flow is definitely a strong suit of Lori Benton’s and I look eagerly look forward to anything else she has for me.

Lori Benton’s first novel has made a fan out of me and I’d be lying if I said that she didn’t capture my heart with Willa Obenchain formerly Burning Sky. I can’t believe I enjoyed a debut novel as much as I enjoyed this one. I will jump at any opportunity to read more from this author and I can’t wait to see her grow. This author has created a fan and has me highly recommending this book to anyone looking for a 18th century Native American love story.

Overall, I loved this book. This book is perfect for those that love historicals or books about the Native American culture. This book is great for adults and maybe mature teenagers. Children should stay away as there is some very emotional and possibly frightening scenes. I give this book a five out of five. The highest score I’ve ever given a debut before.

*I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

Fire Storm

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Title: Fire Storm
Author: Mackenzie Dare
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Published: February 16, 2013
Pages: 288

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When an incident occurs that threatens the life of young, happily married, mother Jess, it’s chocked up as an accident. That is until another incident happens right after with no logical explanation why. Jess is now a target in a murderer’s sights and no one knows why. She’s innocent and untouched by evil but she is marked for murder despite not having any enemies.

Jess’s husband, Jim, is a firefighter and loves excitement and danger, that is until that danger creeps closer to the one thing he loves most – his wife. Jim is trying to protect his family, but protecting them from someone unseen is harder than it sounds and Jim begins to feel helpless as more attempts begin to occur and he can’t stop them. He’s determined to keep his family safe but with an unknown enemy the only thing he can do is pray.

With Jim and Jess struggling to stay alive, their relationships to each other and God begin to grow but their determination to find the killer is just as strong. When one attempt goes too far, both Jim and Jess are pushed to the limit and their faith is tested as they find out just how much they trust God to take care of the ones they love and just how much they’re willing to let God have.

Why would a killer come after this family? Who is a secret enemy of the family or do they even know them at all? Will Jim and Jess be able to live through attempt after attempt or will one or both of them succumb to killer’s weapons? How will they find a killer that leaves almost no trace that he was there? Will everything work out for this farm grown Illinois family or will their lives be destroyed by the attempts of a killer?
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I tend to avoid self published books or books published by upstart or little known publishers because the quality of story usually isn’t as high as a well known publisher’s offerings, not to mention the covers and editing usually isn’t up to par. However, I’m very glad to have broken habit here because this book genuinely surprised me with how well it was written. There are some typos and flow issues but in general this book’s story was a very well written one and one I’m glad I got to read.

Being a first book by Mackenzie Dare, this book was actually really good. The suspense was actually pretty unpredictable with an unknown enemy, that I didn’t guess and was shocked to find out who he actually was, and a surprisingly taut pace. I was pleasantly surprised at the ability of the author to successfully keep me hooked until the very end, particularly after a somewhat slow start to the action. There was some pacing issues and at the end it felt a little forced and had a bit too much action but was still enjoyable and actually was one of the better suspenses that I’ve read.

The characters in this story were a bit too perfect with absolutely no real doubts about God or anything, but one part of this book stuck with me and I think it deserves a little nod. Without saying too much it’s basically a scene where Jess, instead of disregarding same instruction and being a hero, listens to her husband and goes and gets help without second thought. That’s usually not something a heroine does in a story and it showed extreme trust for her husband’s leadership to me. I felt it was worth noting. I think that detail was a nice addition on the author’s part.

There was a touch too little dialogue, a bit too much repetition of thoughts and ideas, and not enough portrayal of the character’s feelings so I could connect to them, but as I type this I remember my own failed attempts at a novel and how I struggled with these very same things so I give every new author a little leeway in this area. Another thing worth noting is that this book delves into some deep issues about Christianity and people sensitive to that could possibly did this book a bit preachy but for me I liked all the bible verses and answers to tough questions, I don’t get that very often in books so it was refreshing.

I don’t know anything about this author but I think I know that she lives around horses, possibly in the Mid-West, maybe even in Illinois herself because her knowledge and love of the area came out through these pages and made me fall for the land and horses too (and I’m a city girl). I also know that this author has amazing talent and with some work, she could easily become a household name in Christian fiction. If she isn’t published with a big publishing company in five to ten years I think I’ll have take up a petition to get her published. I actually really look forward to Mackenzie Dare’s next book and to seeing how she grows as an author.

Overall, this wasn’t a bad book particularly for a self-published debut. Fans of complex suspenses will enjoy this one and people who like a book that answers the tough questions will enjoy parts of this book. This book is actually a pretty family friendly read despite the genre it falls in. I’d say be careful of the age range but anyone thirteen and over should enjoy this one. I give this book a three out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

No One To Trust

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Title: No One To Trust
Series: Hidden Identity
Author: Lynette Eason
Publisher: Revell
Published: January 7, 2014
Pages: 336

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When Summer Abernathy wakes up one morning to find her husband missing and three men intent on finding him, life as she knows it is now gone and replaced with a life that she never thought existed. She now has to navigate the hurt and pain that her husband’s lies and betrayal bring but also the uncertainty and danger her new world has to offer. Now’s the time to decide her fate, if she can stay alive long enough to choose.

David Hackett, AKA Kyle Abernathy, made some decisions and some enemies that placed him in Witness Protection with a new name and new life. He never intended to involve someone else, until he met Summer and married her. Now he’s been found again and on the run – again, but it’s not just him he needs to worry about this time, but with Summer’s trust for him shattered, it’s hard to protect her.

While Summer tries to stay alive, she searches for answers about her husband and his life before her. Her search takes her deep into a world of organized crime where people are used one minute and discarded the next. And with her deepest relationship of trust destroyed, she doesn’t know who to believe or whether she can forgive her husband again, but one thing she does know, it’s a fight to stay alive and she’ll fight even if she has to do it with her lying husband.

Can Summer dig up the truth about her husband and his past or with her digging cost her everything? Can Summer forgive her husband or will his lies be too much for her to forgive? Can Summer and David stay alive long enough to do what made David get into Witness Protection in the first place or will the Mafia get to them first? Can U.S. Marshall’s keep them safe or is the Mafia’s reach just too far and strong to really escape?
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After Lynette Eason’s last series, I became a huge fan of hers and was very excited to the the opportunity to review her newest one. However, though this was typical Lynette style, it wasn’t a favorite of mine and didn’t grab me like her previous ones. It’s hard for me to pin down just why I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the others but I do know that there was something off about this story.

The suspense was awesome. It was full of action and bullets and definitely was a nail biter. At times I felt that the Mafia was a bit of a stretch for the story but overall, Lynette Eason did really well in crafting a believable and intense story about the Mafia after one man with the key to their freedom. For me it was fairly easy to guess certain things that were going to happen, others were a surprise, but that’s generally how Lynette Eason’s books go and I enjoy being surprised because it doesn’t happen often.

I think my problem with this book might stem from the characters. Summer was a but over dramatic about some of the secrets her husband had, others she was spot on about. She really held onto her anger towards her husband over his name the most and though I can agree with her anger, I think she maybe blew it out of proportion just a little bit and for a bit too long. David on the other hand is too perfect. Not once does he get frustrated with Summer, or anyone for that matter, and he manages to do everything right all the time, never once messing up.

That said though, the rest of the book was pretty good and I enjoyed the fact that the couple was already married so there was already love established. It made it easier and more believable to see their love reestablished instead of forming. It was also nice to see how a married couple could go through anything and come out with a stronger marriage on the other side. It shows a hopeful side of marriage that we don’t get to really see anymore.

Lynette Eason is still a favorite author of mine, but this book isn’t. I still look forward to her next book in the series, thanks to the nail-biting teaser at the back of the book. Lynette Eason is still the queen of thrilling suspenses that stretch the imagination, but this book didn’t feel as put together as I would’ve liked. I recommend this author and this book, but big fans of the author might feel like something’s missing too.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, but it wasn’t my favorite Eason book. I look forward to her next one to hopefully redeem this one. I recommend this for fans of suspense and or the Mafia. This book is not recommended for children but adults and very mature teenagers may really enjoy this one. I give this book a three and a half out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

Singularity

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Title: Singularity
Series: The Jevin Banks Experience
Author: Steven James
Publisher: Revell
Published: November 5, 2013
Pages: 464

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Illusionist Jevin Banks is determined to find out what happened when his friend is murdered deep in the jungle. Labeled as an accident, Jevin and his crew know differently and are drawn to the mystery that no one seems interested in solving. So the hunt begins and the more Jevin digs the deeper he’s drawn into a dark world of secrets and conspiracies until Jevin and his crew are in too deep to escape unscathed.

Jevin is determined to find out the truth, no matter what and that leads him and his crew into a world few even thought existed, a world where the human body is only a suggestion and the human consciousness can be uploaded into a robot. This discovery only leads to more confusion on Jevin’s side and questions about why his friend was involved in this world.

With more questions than answers Jevin keeps digging but the more he digs the bigger and more complicated the puzzle gets until it seems like it’ll never be solved. Still Jevin persists and soon the puzzle starts to get solved but what they discover is a dark secret that could change the fabric and future of humanity forever. Now Jevin and his crew must try and defeat an enemy that is different than any of them expected and hopefully come out alive.

Can Jevin find the reason his friend was killed or will he get lost in the puzzle? Will Jevin defeat the madman who’s after them or will they end up as mere casualties to his plan? Will Jevin be able to help save humanity or will he be too late to save anyone? Can Jevin and his crew outsmart the enemy and win the battle or will they be defeated by someone smarter?
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Having loved the first book in the series, Placebo, I was excited to get my hands on Singularity. Having extremely high hopes, I embarked on yet another journey with our lovable and trouble-prone hero/illusionist, Jevin Banks, and thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed. Steven James concocted yet another spine tingling, mind boggling, intellectually stumping suspense that definitely kept me on my toes.

My favorite part about all Steven James novels is the creepy almost horror-like bad guy and the realistic torture and gore scenes. Morbid but true. Steven James has a real talent for making a sadistic killer and thinking up new and unique ways to kill people. The one that I felt was the most gruesome and unique was at the very end. This may sound sadistic and morbid to those that have never read a Steven James novel, but for those of us that have and keep coming back for more, it makes total sense.

This book had a much thicker plot than Placebo and frankly at times it felt almost too thick. There was so many threads and people to keep track of that half the time you forgot who somebody was or why that part of the story was significant. In the end all the threads are connected and the story makes sense but the road getting there is a long, mind boggling one, which I guess help it be unpredictable but it still felt a little overwhelming at times. Not to mention that almost half of the research and technical talk I didn’t understand and because of that found myself skimming. I’m not a dummy, but I’m not a genius either and I found it very difficult to follow when they started talking about artificial intelligence. I am still very curious how the next book is going to go, though, because of how this one ended. It doesn’t seem like there’s much of a plot left for a third, but knowing Steven James, he will find a way.

This book is set in one my favorite cities and my future home, Las Vegas. It’s also the home to Jevin Banks and his illusion show on the Strip. The book was chock full of fun facts and history about Vegas that were handy, but probably not very necessary to the storyline, not that you’ll find me complaining. Though for those of you who don’t like the city or don’ care about learning about it, this will definitely get in the way for you. I loved it though, because it helped me learn about the city I will soon call home.

Steven James definitely knows how to construct a complex and unique suspense and I love it. I fully intend to keep coming back for more horror, gore, and mystery, because Steven James has hooked me yet again and I can’t wait to see how it all ends. I will eagerly anticipate the next installment of Jevin and his girlfriend Charlene’s story. This author, series, and book come very highly recommend.

Overall, though it can be confusing at times, it’s still a classic Steven James novel and fans of him will flock to this book and fall in love with his writing all over again. Fans of Steven James and fans of edgy suspense will love this book and it’s predecessor. I don’t recommend this book for anyone but adults as some scenes can be horrific and terrifying. I give this book a four out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

Memory’s Door

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Title: Memory’s Door
Series: A Well Spring Novel
Author: James L. Rubart
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Published: August 6, 2013
Pages: 368

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The four members of Warriors Riding have learned to wage war in the supernatural, to send their spirits into people’s souls, to battle demonic forces, and to bring deep healing to those around them. But their leader Reece struggles with the loss of his sight and his passion photography along with it. Brandon is being stalked at his concerts by a man in the shadows, Dana’s career seems to consume her, and Marcus starts to question his sanity as he seems to be slipping in and out of alternate realities.

Now they have to prepare for war as the Wolf begins to hunt them, fulfilling the second part of the prophecy. His traps are set and he’s waiting to devour anyone who steps into it. His supernatural hate of all they stand feeds his mission and he won’t stop until he destroys not only their bodies but their souls as well. The Warriors Riding need the Armor and blessing of God to defeat their greatest enemy yet.

As the team tries to stay together and close to the Spirit, attacks are launched from all sides to try and separate them from their strength. On their own their powerless, but with Christ no enemy is too big and the team clings to that as their lives are turned upside down and decisions made that can alter their lives forever. The battle has begun and it’ll be the biggest one yet. The team will need their faith like never before if they ever hope to defeat the Wolf.

Will Reece see again or is his vision lost for good? Is Brandon’s stalker dangerous or friendly? Will Dana’s career be her undoing or will she be able to prevail? Will Marcus be stuck between realities forever or will he gain freedom from the confusion? Can the Warriors Riding defeat the Wolf or will they die trying? What decisions will each character make and will they be the right one?
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Having loved the first book in this series, I was excited when I got offered the opportunity to read this one as well. My expectations were high, and this book met some of them while others fell flat. I can’t really place my finger on one thing that made this book different, but for some reason it was. This book didn’t resonate the same way that the first did and even though I enjoyed it, something was different and it affected the structure of the story.

The story started kind of slow for about half of the book, there were some confrontations and confusions but overall it was a touch slow for me, particularly since the end felt too rushed and I wasn’t able to truly become engaged with the final battle before it was over. Pacing was an issue here but the story was nice and fairly easy to follow if you’ve read the first book in the series. If you haven’t read the first book I don’t recommend starting with this book, but starting at the beginning.

The message behind this book, though it can get mixed up in some fuzzing theology and ideas, is very solid and freeing. Jesus loves you for who you are and doesn’t want you weighed down by mistakes, regrets, or fear. That is the true reason why these books speak to me so much. I think every one of us needs to hear that every now and again when the lies and fear and regrets start creeping in again. Most other ideas broached in this book, other than The Lord speaking and spiritual warfare, I don’t believe for an instant (mostly soul travel) but part of me thinks it would be cool if some of it did exist.

The characters in this book have started to really develop nicely. Dana had really grown Into her role as the Leader very well and spiritually, I felt that she was the strongest one in this book. Reece was the character that took some steps back this book. He seems to question God at every run because of his lack of sight and the fact that it hasn’t been restored yet, but honestly I can’t l him blame him for questioning particularly since he knows it’s to be restored. That said it was still a bit disappointing to see him stumble like that.

This author captivated me with his first book in this series and though I never really believed soul travel existed it was still fun to say what if and read the message behind the blurred lines. This book was different somehow an I don’t really know how. Maybe the novelty of it wore of or maybe it’s something deeper. I don’t know. All I know is, I’d didn’t enjoy this one as much as I enjoyed the first. I recommend this to a select audience.

Overall, I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the first but still enjoyed it. This book is perfect for fans of speculative fiction. This book is definitely best left to adults only. I give this book a three out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

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