Thursday, June 24, 2010

Nightshade by Ronie Kendig..... and an Author Provided Giveaway, updated with added content

                                  (First chapter and book trailer added)
Book description:

After a tour of duty in a war-torn country, embattled former Navy SEAL Max Jacobs finds himself discarded and alienated from those he loves as he struggles with war-related PTSD. His wife, Sydney, files a restraining order against him, and a petition for divorce. Max is devastated.

Then a mysterious a man appears. He says he’s organizing a group that recycles veterans like Max. It’s a deep-six group known as Nightshade. With the chance to find purpose in life once again, Max is unable to resist the call of duty and signs on.

The team handles everything with precision and lethal skill—until they’re called upon to rescue a missionary family, and avoid a reporter hunting their identities. When the team effects the rescue, their paths collide with the reporter—Max’s wife. As they sneak through the rebel-infested jungle something about the missionary couple speaks to Max—and re-awakens the love for his wife.

Will Max yield his pride and anger? Can they escape the jungle before it’s too late?

My review:

I got to read and review Ronie's first book, Dead Reckoning, back in March. (Review here.) It was an awesome read, so I was looking forward to reading more from her, and here it is. Nightshade, the first in a series of four books, The Discarded Heroes Series.

This book easily launched into my "read-in-one-sitting" rating. I started reading it last night a little after 9, and finished it around 11:30, pausing only to chat briefly on the phone and use the "little men's room." What a totally awesome read! When an author writes a really great debut novel, you wonder if they can follow up. In addition, no offense to any publishing company, but when the second novel is with a different publisher, at least I have to wonder the same. Well, no worries. She topped her first book.

This book isn't necessarily mystery/suspense in the same vein as her first, but there is a lot of action and suspense. Military stuff, special black ops. All that. And since the author was a "military brat",  she knows her stuff.

So, what did I like about the book? Everything. :-) Definitely the action/suspense. The characters...... she paints a great picture of Max, a soldier who fought for our country, now fighting a different kind of battle - post traumatic syndrome. One that he is losing, one that is destroying him and has already destroyed his marriage. Then there is Sydney, his wife. A reporter who is determined to hunt down a story about this secret special ops group, having no idea her estranged husband is in it. And of course, the rest of the men in Nightshade, the name for this special black ops group of soldiers.

There are no curse words in the book, just a few slang, and there is a definite Christian element, as Max battles his personal demons and is forced to realize where he needs to go for help.

This truly was an entertaining read, and also informative. It gives a good look at PTSD, and also at how black ops works. I have to admit I was rooting for the romance part too - hoping Max and Sydney would patch their marriage together, and more than once had to talk myself out of looking at the end of the book to find out. So do they? Read the book and find out. They just might...... or the author may plan that for the next book. :-)

And in closing, this is one of those books that I just can't say enough good about - a very excellent read, and I am looking forward to more in this series.

This is definitely a book that men will enjoy, but also women. So ladies, don't be turned away by talk of soldiers and special ops - you will enjoy the book also. And a side note: I have read similar books written by men, which were great, and I enjoyed them, but this was an easier read, and in my opinion, tops those.

About the author: (from her website)

"Thank you for taking the time to read more about *moi*.

You've come to this page to learn about me, so let's see what juicy details I can give you without jeopardizing myself. *g* I have several aspects to my personality (hey, I was a psychology major--it was bound to happen!):

The Christian - All of the other aspects of my life are grounded in my faith. Without the mercy and peace of God, none of the others would have or could have happened. I'm a product of growing in grace, and having the benefits of His healing mercy in my life after a rough childhood. My heart goes out to those who are hurting and searching. You are my reason for writing (besides obeying God's will LOL). I've been there.

I've been through grief, abuse, and then faced the difficult journey of restoration and reconciliation.

For me, my faith is not a religion. It's an every-second relationship, where I make decisions,
and those decisions will decide whether I am honoring Him with my life or not.

Now, that doesn't mean I'm infallible. Ask my husband. But I try.

The Wife - I've been married since 1990 to a man who can easily be defined in classic terms as a hero.
No kidding. He's just that amazing.Brian graduated from his seventeen-year track plan in college with a 4.0. Now he's aiming for the FBI. Go, dude! My husband helps me in my writing by reading the chapters for military/tactical authenticity, and he's the one I go to for political and historical content review. Brian is also the one who helps me flesh out stronger plot points. I definitely could NOT do this without him and his belief in me! I know if I can get my story past Brian, then I can (most likely) get it past my agent.

The Mother - Okay, so maybe I did these personalities out of order--but with four kids, chaos like that just sort of happens. :-D I have four beautiful children. My eldest daughter will be 15 this year, my second daughter will be 12, and my twin boys are 8. I've been blessed and challenged to no end with my children. My twins have tendencies toward Asperger's Syndrome, and one has been diagnosed with ADHD.

The Writer - This is a challenging part of my life. Sixteen years ago when my husband suggested I write for publication, I refused to entertain the idea. I told him it would remove the pleasure I got out of writing. And sure enough, when I became consumed with publication, I lost my joy. So God led me through a series of experiences--excruciating ones, if I do say so myself--that forced me to grow up or give up. :-D

I'm not a quitter.

I grew up. Got serious about writing, and man! Writing got hard. But I love writing more now than I ever have. Part of becoming a better writer involved joining the American Christian Fiction Writers.

This is the most amazing group of people who are loving and encouraging. Visit the ACFW
and consider becoming a member if you are a writer.

In February 2007, I signed with my "dream" agent (miracles can and DO happen!), Steve Laube.

The Student - Ever met one of those amazing people who aced college in like two-point-five years? Me neither. And you won't meet that person here. I took the seventeen-year track (oops!). After having four children, I finally finished my degree in December 2006. I now have a B.S. in Psychology through Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. Getting my degree is a huge triumph for both me and my family--we survived!! This degree has also given me a fabulous perspective on my characters and how to not only make them deeper, stronger, but to make them realistic and know how they'll respond to each situation."

Check out her website. It is rather intriguing, and has bullet holes to click to get around. Cool. :-) And there is more info about The Discarded Heroes Series, so check that out.

The Giveaway:

Ronie has graciously agreed to give away and autographed copy of her book, Nightshade, to one lucky person. Comment on this post and to make it a bit more interesting than just "enter me", tell if you have a loved one in the military - and if you entered the military, what branch would it be.

I will draw a winner 10 days from today on July 1. The author will mail the book out to the winning person.

Thanks to Barbour Books for the review copy, and thanks to Ronie Kendig for writing such a great story and for doing the giveaway.

First chapter:

Cracking open the throttle ignited a wild explosion of power and speed. Zero to sixty in less than three seconds left Max Jacobs breathless. Gut pressed to the spine of his Hayabusa, he bore down the mountainous two-lane road away from civilization, away from . . . everything. Here only pine trees, concrete and speed were his friends.

His bike screamed as it ate up the road. The thrill burst through him. He needed the rush. Craved it. Stop running, Max. Her words stabbed his conscience. Made him mad.

Rounding a bend, he slowed and sighted the drop-off in the road—remembered a full 10% grade, straight down. His gaze bounced between the speedometer and the cement. Common sense told him to decelerate. The boiling in his veins said otherwise.

He twisted the throttle.


Max leaned into the bike and felt the surge.


He sucked in a breath as he sped toward the break.

The road dropped off. The Hayabusa roared as the wheels sailed out. He tried to grip the handlebars tighter as nothing but tingling Virginia oxygen enveloped him. Silence gaped.

This could be it. This could end it all. No more pain. No more life without Syd . . .

Take me. Just take me.

The Hayabusa plummeted.

Straight down. Concrete. Like a meteor slamming to earth.

The back tire hit. A jolt shot through the bike. Then the front tire bounced. Rattling carried through the handlebars and into his shoulders. He grabbed the brake—

Stupid! The brake locked. Rear tire went right. He tried to steer into the skid but momentum flipped him up. Over. Pops snapped through his back as he spiraled through the air. In the chaos his bike gave chase, kicking and screaming as it tore after him.

Crack! Pop! The sound of his crashing bike reverberated through the lonely country lane. Scenery whirled. Pine trees whipped into a Christmas-color frosting. Tree bark blurred into a menagerie of browns, drawing closer and closer.

Thud! His head bounced off the cement. He flipped again.

Finally. It’d be over. He closed his eyes. No more—

THUD! “Oof.” The breath knocked from his lungs. Pain spiked his shoulders and spine. Fire lit across his limbs and back as he slid from one lane to another. Down the road, spinning. Straight toward the trees.

He winced, arched his back. Kicking, he tried to gain traction. If he wasn’t going to die, he didn’t want to end up paralyzed. Just like you not to think it through.

He dumped into a ditch.


Everything went black.


Rel said...

Enjoyed your review, Mark :) I agree that Nightshade is exceptional. Don't include me in the draw.

Annette W. said...

I love that a woman is writing books like this that can appeal to both men and women. Ronie's site is enjoyable, too! I remember your previous review...and have it on my list to read!

Ronie Kendig said...

Wow! Excellent review, Mark! Thanks so much for reading NIGHTSHADE and posting your review. Knowing that a guy enjoyed it really is a boon! Many thanks for featuring NIGHTSHADE here.

Renee (BlacknGoldGirlsBookSpot) said...

You have a great site here! I really enjoyed your review of Nightshade and between what you said and what Rel has said about it I can't wait to get my hands on it!

Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

XOXO~ Renee

Carmen said...

My nephew's wife joined the army. Hasn't been deployed as yet, but her brother has been to Afghanistan.
Nightshade intrigues me because I once had a boyfriend with PTSD after coming back from 'Nam. Didn't understand it back then. Now I do. Would love to read this one. Please add me to the giveaway. Thanks.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

wmmahaney said...

This book sounds great.
I do not have any family in the military at this time, but my Dad was in the Army.


Mozi Esme said...

Looks like an interesting book! We posted about this giveaway at Winning Readings:

And I've got no family members in the military. I think the Coast Guard would be my choice... :)

janemaritz at yahoo dot com

Melissa M. said...

Sounds like a good book!

My brother-in-law's brother (I guess he's also my brother-in-law technically?) is in the military. He's not been in on a lot of fighting, but more the planning and undercover angle.


Merry said...

Nightshade sounds excellent and something my DH would love too! Thanks for a chance to win it.

Linda Kish said...

My DIL's younger brother is a Marine.

I never wanted to go in the service and dropped out of nursing school in 1967 because there was talk of drafting nurses. Once I was older, I changed my mind but then too old.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Unknown said...

Sounds like a great book. I have a cousin serving right now. I'm thankful that there are brave men and women willing to serve and defend our thankful and in prayer for them and their families. If I had to choose, I'd pick the army.

ebeandebe at gmail dot com

Cindy W. said...

Nighshade is definitely on my must read list. I also love the cover art. Thanks for the great review Mark.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.


karenk said...

would enjoy reading this novel...thanks for the opportunity :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Unknown said...

I am a fan of Ronie Rendig. Please enter me in the contest.
sharonalavy at gmail dot com