Sunday, July 14, 2019

Defender, Shadows of Sunlight City #4

Book description:

The end has come.Martial law has been declared in Sunlight City. Granter Andrew McKellan has overthrown his fellow leaders and now rules alone. The formerly freewheeling city has been locked down, its promises of unlimited freedom crushed under McKellan’s iron fist, and rebellion will not be tolerated.But McKellan is not satisfied. Not when he has been betrayed by those he once trusted and wounded more deeply than any man can bear. McKellan puts his endgame into motion and hides himself within the walls of the Defender, a towering weapons platform with terrifying firepower. No one will penetrate his armor. Those who try will be met with devastating force. And McKellan has one last card to play to guarantee his survival… or the ultimate destruction of all who oppose him.And five and a half million people in Sunlight City may die.Sunlight City’s only hope lies in Mona Johansen, Tom Collins and several unlikely alliances of wounded, desperate people, hunted by Granter McKellan and thrown together by two common goals: the fight for survival and the liberation of Sunlight City. But any hope of defeating the mad Granter lies in breaking through walls built strong enough to withstand any punishment.Both his walls and their own.Defender, the concluding chapter in a story that began in Victor and continued through Orion and Brimstone, is a story of emotional walls, the wounds people carry and hope for healing. Defender is a thrilling tale of conflict and loss, redemption and sacrifice, and most of all, the power of God’s love. 

Book review:

  The previous book, Brimstone, ended with quite the cliffhanger. Thankfully, this book was already out and I didn't have to wait long to find out what happened.


  Defender is an awesome action packed book that shows what can happen when an evil power hungry individual has too much power in his hands. In a world of nanobots, government seeing everything you do, and people living godless lives, those doing right are a minority. As with most books like this, you assume the good guys will win, but it was still a suspenseful and great read getting to that point.

 Slight spoiler: it looked like something bad happened at the end of the last book, which I figured wasn't going to happen......and I was right, but then the author made me think it did happen towards the end of this book... and again staved off my disappointment by not letting it happen. 

 I enjoyed this book, and really liked the characters, especially David.



About the author:


Tony Ross is an author who's not afraid of the dark.

In his first book, The Ugly Duckling's Revenge, he opens the door to his own past struggles with alcoholism and depression. He shares what God did to pull him out and offers a message of hope to readers: "If God can do it for me, He can do it for you!"

His next few are what Tony defines as "thrillers for thinkers," stories filled with action, adrenaline and deep spiritual meaning, stories that look into the deepest darkness of man to shine a brighter light. Victor won a silver medal for Christian Fiction in the Readers Favorite 2013 International Award Contest.

Melody's Memory is a departure from thrillers; it's a novella focusing less on suspense and action and more on the condition of the heart. Tony invites readers to open the long-locked doors of their own hearts, shine the light on what may be hidden there, and allow healing to come.

Tony is now revisiting the world he created in Victor and Orion in The Black Cat Chronicles, a series of short novellas set before Victor. 



When he's not writing, Tony enjoys country living, backyard campfires, recreational reading and outdoor sports. He has been a member of the ministry team at Calvary Apostolic Church in Clintonville, WI since 2004. Tony is happily married and has five children.

Storm Rising, The Book of Wars #1 by Ronie Kendig

Book description:

Does an Ancient Book of Prophecy Hold the Answers to Saving the World . . . Or Predict Its Destruction? 

Mentioned in the pages of the Old Testament but lost to history, the Book of the Wars has resurfaced, and its pages hold secrets--and dangers--never before seen on earth. 

Tasked with capturing the ancient text, former Navy SEAL Leif Metcalfe is once more given command of his own team. But their best efforts are ruined when a notorious Bulgarian operative known as Viorica snatches the volume right out from under them.

Iskra "Viorica" Todorova is determined to use the book to secure the thing that matters most--freedom. But a series of strange storms erupts around the globe, and the coming dangers foretold in the text threaten crops, lives, and entire nations. Though both are haunted by secrets of the past and neither trusts the other, Leif and Iskra must form an uneasy alliance to thwart impending disaster. However, the truth hidden in centuries-old words could unleash a storm of their own destruction.

My review

  For years, my favorite genre' to read has been Christian suspense. In more recent years, there have been a few authors come on the Christian market who brought fiction that deals with military and special ops. In my opinion, Ronie Kendig is the best of those authors to write this kind of fiction, and has certainly put more of it out than the handful of others who have written it.

 This novel is the first in a new series of hers, and I was eager to read it. It, and the rest of the series, centers on a minor character from her last series: Leif Metcalfe, nicknamed "Runt". On a side note, he was actually introduced as an even more minor character in Wolfsbane, the 3rd book in her first series, Discarded Heroes.

  Storm Rising is another masterpiece of Christian suspense/special ops type of book. I have no idea where this author gets her ideas for the plots, but they are never your run of the mill plots. She also excels at coming up with colorful, unusual,  and likable characters. I didn't know if she'd be able to top Tox from her last series, but Leif may topple him as a fan favorite. Iskra/Viorica also turned out to be a most interesting character, one I had a hard time deciding if she was good or bad, but liking her in spite of that conflict.

 As with the Tox Files, this series seems like it will be about ancient artifacts, but in this case just one throughout the whole series....yet it already is obviously totally different than the Tox Files Series. Toss in the storm maker phenomena and the mystery surrounding Leif's past and abilities, you have the makings of another awesome series by this author who never disappoints.

 Kendig's series always has a team of men and women with their own talents and abilities, and this series is no different. It was cool to have a few make it onto this team from the previous series.

  Storm Rising is an awesome suspenseful book that spans a few countries, showcases the talents of some great special ops characters, and is a roller coaster of a ride. I loved the book, the plot, and definitely the characters. I am looking forward to the next book in this great series.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.


About the author:


Ronie Kendig (www.roniekendig.com) is an award-winning, bestselling author of over twenty novels. She grew up an army brat, and now she and her Army-veteran husband live a short train ride from New York City with their children and a retired military working dog. Ronie's degree in psychology has helped her pen novels of intense, raw characters.


Storm Rising is available from Bethany House Publishers, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Cross My Heart, Legacy of Faith #2 by Robin Lee Hatcher

Book description:

Two broken paths lead toward God’s redemption in the next installment of Robin Lee Hatcher’s Legacy of Faith series.

Ashley Showalter and Ben Henning have so much in common. Both were raised by single moms. Both want to help where they see a need. And both work with horses in the Boise valley. Ashley runs a horse rescue operation, while Ben has started an equine therapy barn on his great-great grandfather’s farm—and both Ashley and Ben have the feeling that there could be something more between them.

But they share something else that may drive them apart if the truth is ever revealed. Ben is a recovering alcoholic with ten years of sobriety behind him, while Ashley’s brother, Dylan, is an opioid addict, currently residing in court-ordered rehab. Ashley has promised herself she would never walk knowingly into the chaos created by addiction—because in her mind, addicts can never be fully cured. But with God, all things are possible. Will Ashley find it within herself to give love a chance, or will her brother’s mistakes jeopardize her future with Ben?

My review:

   I reviewed the first book in this series last year, and enjoyed it a lot. This author never disappoints, so I jumped at  the chance to review this second book in the Legacy of Faith series. I'll be honest: when I read a book like this that goes back and forth between the past and present, I tend to focus on the present story more than the past one....but I did enjoy the historical one also.

  The historical/past part of the book centers on ancestors of the male protagonist, Ben,  in the present part of the story. The historical part is set during World War 11, and Hatcher did a great job of portraying the family and what life may have been like then.

  The present focuses on the great grandson of the couple from the past. I did find the past part interesting, but Ben and Ashley's story was even more interesting. It is a romance, but between two unlikely people. I liked both characters, but Ben was such a cool guy. Though fictional, it was encouraging to read that recovery from alcoholism is possible, especially with God's help.

  The most fascinating part of the story was the equine therapy part. Hatcher wrote about that in a way that was really interesting, and grabbed my attention at the possibilities. It is not the first time I have heard of it, but this novel dealt with it in more detail.

 As with these kind of books, you know the guy will get the girl, but the story woven around that was a great read, and I appreciated the focus on recovery from something like alcoholism, and the equine therapy.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.



About the author:


Robin Lee Hatcher is the author of 80 novels and novellas with over five million copies of her books in print. She is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. Her numerous awards include the RITA® Award, Christy Award, Carol Award, HOLT Medallion, National Reader’s Choice Award, and the Faith, Hope & Love Reader’s Choice Award, and she is also the recipient of prestigious Lifetime Achievement Awards from both American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America®. When not writing, she enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, Bible art journaling, reading books that make her cry, watching romantic movies, and decorative planning. A mother and grandmother, Robin makes her home on the outskirts of Boise, sharing it with a demanding Papillon dog and a persnickety tuxedo cat.


Cross My Heart is available from Thomas Nelson Publishing.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Living Lies, Harbored Secrets #1 by Natalie Walters

Book description:


In the little town of Walton, Georgia, everybody knows your name--but no one knows your secret. At least that's what Lane Kent is counting on when she returns to her hometown with her five-year-old son. Dangerously depressed after the death of her husband, Lane is looking for hope. What she finds instead is a dead body.

Lane must work with Walton's newest deputy, Charlie Lynch, to uncover the truth behind the murder. But when that truth hits too close to home, she'll have to decide if saving the life of another is worth the cost of revealing her darkest secret.

Debut novelist Natalie Walters pulls you to the edge of your seat on the first page and keeps you there until the last in this riveting story that will have you believing no one is defined by their past.


My review:

  Natalie Waters is a new author to me, and I believe a completely new author, if I am correct. I like trying out new authors, and this is one to keep your eye on if you like Christian suspense. Living Lies is an excellent read, and Walters is off to a great start with this entrance into the Christian fiction world.

  What I liked:
1) Setting: I'm not picky about settings, but I do like small town settings where everyone knows everyone. I found the setting for Living Lies attractive and ideal.

2) Characters: They can make or break a story. The author created some great and very likable ones for this book and series. At the center is Charlie and Lane. Charlie is former military, and the new deputy on the force. We fiction lovers get attached to characters, and I found myself really liking him..very cool dude for a fictional character.

  I found myself identifying some with Lane. I like it when an author tackles tough issues, and depression is the one in this book. Depression is still something many people don't understand, especially Christians. Many think it is a spiritual issue and a trip to the altar will fix it. As someone personally dealing with severe depression, I can attest otherwise. I feel Walters did a great job of portraying the realities of it, and the shame that accompanies it.

 Books with kids/families in are always ones I enjoy, so of course I liked Noah.

 And last, but not least: Deputy Frost, who will star in the next book. A bit geeky, but an expert on computers and eager to prove himself.

3) Suspense. The plot and suspense were great in this book. I had my suspicions fairly early as to the who, but it was fun getting to the reveal point and the "why".

4) Romance. I'm a guy, single for life, but I do enjoy the romantic aspects of this book. I liked how it was done, and kind of wished it had gone faster, but also felt it was more realistic the way it did go.

 What I didn't like: Well, nothing.....to be honest. I found this a great Christian read, and am looking forward to more from this author.

I was given a copy of this book to review in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:


Natalie Walters is the author of Living Lies and Deadly Deceit. A military wife of 22 years, she currently resides in Hawaii with her soldier husband and their three kids. She writes full-time and has been published in Proverbs 31 magazine and has blogged for Guideposts online. In addition to balancing life as a military spouse, mom, and writer, she loves connecting on social media, sharing her love of books, cooking, and traveling. Natalie comes from a long line of military and law enforcement veterans and is passionate about supporting them through volunteer work, races, and writing stories that affirm no one is defined by their past. Learn more at www.nataliewalterswriter.com.

Living Lies is available from Revell, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to Revell for the review copy.

Brimstone by Tony Ross

Book description:

Sunlight City is burning.

A religiously motivated arsonist, identified only as Brimstone, has used a brutal murder to make one emphatic statement: repent or perish. Nearly six million people in this city that champions choice and tolerance must now decide what they will do. But Brimstone will not wait long to strike again. He has declared himself the judgment of God on a sinful city, and he will continue to escalate until his demands are met.

Behind the scenes, the Granters who rule Sunlight City are faced with their own impossible decision. The key they have long searched for has unexpectedly been offered to them, and their greatest fear can now be conquered if they are willing to move swiftly and boldly… but the price may be higher than they are willing to pay.

David and Mona Johansen are brought back to Sunlight City at the request of the Granters. David finds himself working with a team of government agents as he tries to predict Brimstone's next moves and save countless lives. Mona's assignment may be of even greater importance. But time is critically short.

In fact, it may already be too late.

"Brimstone" follows "Victor" and "Orion" in a series of fast-paced thrillers that combine action, adrenaline and spiritual insight. "Brimstone" looks closely at questions of justice and takes the readers on a non-stop race against two mad agendas, building relentlessly to a shocking conclusion that will leave you breathless.
 


My review:

   This is the third book in this series, and I have read and reviewed the other two. As much as I enjoyed them, this third book is by far the best.

 Set about twenty years in the future, Brimstone shows the depths human beings can go to do away with God, and make sin undeterred. Though the author writes nothing graphic, the book does show that the world could be even more evil and godless than it already is.

 Brimtone also shows that those who believe in the Bible and good, can take drastically wrong actions in fighting evil, as the man named Brimstone does in the book.

  Brimstone is different from the average Christian fiction novel. It deals with cloning, nano tech, and other futuristic things that may or may not be developed. Interwoven throughout it is the Gospel and the fact that God is so much better than what the world is offering.

  Characters from the other books came back in this one, and things were not looking too good for one of them at the suspenseful and cliffhanger ending.

 Brimtone was a great suspenseful read that also remained Christian and Biblical. Looking forward to the next book.

About the author:



Tony Ross is an author who's not afraid of the dark.

In his first book, The Ugly Duckling's Revenge, he opens the door to his own past struggles with alcoholism and depression. He shares what God did to pull him out and offers a message of hope to readers: "If God can do it for me, He can do it for you!"

His next few are what Tony defines as "thrillers for thinkers," stories filled with action, adrenaline and deep spiritual meaning, stories that look into the deepest darkness of man to shine a brighter light. Victor won a silver medal for Christian Fiction in the Readers Favorite 2013 International Award Contest.

Melody's Memory is a departure from thrillers; it's a novella focusing less on suspense and action and more on the condition of the heart. Tony invites readers to open the long-locked doors of their own hearts, shine the light on what may be hidden there, and allow healing to come.

Tony is now revisiting the world he created in Victor and Orion in The Black Cat Chronicles, a series of short novellas set before Victor. 


When he's not writing, Tony enjoys country living, backyard campfires, recreational reading and outdoor sports. He has been a member of the ministry team at Calvary Apostolic Church in Clintonville, WI since 2004. Tony is happily married and has five children.
  

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The Guy's Guide to Four Battles Every Young Man Must Face: a manual to overcoming life’s common distractions by Jonathan McKee

Book description:

Honestly?. . . 

"Why wait for something when I can enjoy it now?"

“These images don’t really affect me. . .do they?”

"How could smoking a little weed really be that bad when it's becoming legalized everywhere?”

“I’d like to tell you I don’t care what others think, but honestly, I want to be liked."


Maybe you're thinking, "I've had one. . .maybe even a few of these thoughts, and I don't know how to even begin to deal with them."

The good news? You're not alone. And there is a way to fight these battles head-on, overcoming the past, pressing forward, and becoming the person God designed you to be.

So what's a guy to do? . . .

Join youth culture expert and author of the popular Guy's Guide to God, Girls, and the Phone in Your Pocket, Jonathan McKee, as he gets real about the four common battles every young man will encounter in his life:

1: Sexual Temptation
2. Screens
3: Controlled Substances
4: Self-Esteem


With humor and honesty, McKee offers up practical, spiritual advice filled with real-world application helping you face today’s distractions.

My review:

  This book is written for and geared towards teenage boys, which I am obviously not. However, I do review books occasionally that don't apply to me. What the author covers in this book could still be beneficial to guys out of the age group it is for.

  The book is well put together, and the author presents his facts and case very well. I found it even more interesting when he used real life examples of young men and adult guys.

  When I requested the book, I was puzzled by the one battle - screens. That involves cell phones, computers, video games....pretty much anything that is electronic and has a screen.

  I found the book an interesting read. The author knows what he is talking about, and gives a lot of invaluable advice for young guys in the 4 areas mentioned.

 One section that stuck out to me was in the controlled substances section where he discussed marijuana. There are a lot of people, even Christians, who want it legalized. Those people deny it is a gateway drug, and that there is any danger. However, McKee shows the dangers of it, and that it is indeed a gateway drug.

 This is not the first book of this kind on the market, but I do believe it is one of the better ones. It is something a teenage boy should read, and hopefully learn from.

 I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:


Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new IF I HAD A PARENTING DO OVER; 52 WAYS TO CONNECT WITH YOUR SMARTPHONE OBSESSED KID; and the Amazon "Best Seller," THE GUY'S GUIDE TO GOD, GIRLS AND THE PHONE IN YOUR POCKET. With over 20 years youth ministry experience, Jonathan speaks to parents and leaders worldwide. You can follow Jonathan on his blog at JonathanMcKeeWrites.com, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife, Lori, and their three kids live in California.


The book is available from Shiloh Run Press, an imprint of Barbour Publishing.

Thanks to Barbour for the review copy.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Golden Bride, Daughters of the Mayflower #8 by Kimberly Woodhouse

Book review:


Can Olivia survive the crime and Gold Rush fever of 1849...and the countless marriage proposals?
A series for fans of all things related to history, romance, adventure, faith, and family trees.

The Daughters of the Mayflower series continues when Olivia Brighton finds herself widowed and working her brother’s restaurant in San Francisco during the height of the rush for gold. Even though she receives at least twenty marriage proposals a day, she will never marry a gold miner. Her brother’s friend Joseph Sawyer has gotten caught up in local politics and the plight of Chinese in forced labor. The more Joseph gets pulled into investigating crime in the city, the less Olivia sees of the compassionate man. And just when she thinks she could love again, a fire threatens to steal all hope.

My review:

  I ran across Kimberly Woodhouse some years ago when I reviewed two suspense novels she wrote for Broadman & Holman with her daughter, Kayla. Suspense is my favorite genre', so I was hooked. However, not all of her books are suspense, though many do have some element of suspense in them. I blame this author for my foray back into romance novels. As a guy - and for other reasons, I have steered clear of romance books, other than romantic suspense for years. However, when you really like an author, you read whatever they write. So here I am reading romance novels. (Smile)

  This is the eighth book in the Daughters of the Mayflower series. Woodhouse has written three books in this series: The Mayflower Bride (#1), The Patriot Bride (#4), and this one. I really enjoyed the previous two, especially Patriot Bride, but I enjoyed Golden Bride even more. Many of Woodhouse's books are historical, and she excels at historical accuracy, and I have learned a lot by reading her books. I am one of those readers who will Google things to see if it really did happen or exist, and she never disappoints.

 The Golden Bride is such an example. I have read about the Gold Rush before, but she focused more on the city of San Francisco and what it was like at that time. This book was more suspenseful than her other two in this series, and had bad guys who were more evil and unlikable than the other two books. I did find the descriptions of life there in that time fascinating, and liked the three main characters: Olivia, Joseph, and Daniel. There was a lot to like and find interesting, including the running of a restaurant in that time and setting.

 The illegal slave trade brought the reminder how evil can be, and how evil is not bound to any time or place. The secondary character Julia was a reminder that God can reach, save, and change any individual, no matter how wicked and sinful they are.

 I try not to give spoilers away, but will say I also liked the minor character Luke, and how that played out.

 The romantic element of the story was well done....not gushy or overdone, and I was rooting for it throughout the book.

 The Golden Bride had a very satisfying and suspenseful ending, and I only wished it had gone on a little longer....a normal feeling when a good book ends.

 This series can be read out of order, and each book stands independently of each other. I have only read the three by Woodhouse, and definitely recommend them....especially The Golden Bride...but I am sure the whole series is good and worth reading.

 The Golden Bride is available from Barbour Publishing. I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:


Kimberley Woodhouse is the best-selling author of more than twenty books who loves the JOY of story. A lover of history and research, she often gets sucked into the past and then her husband has to lure her out with chocolate. She's spoken to more than 800,000 people at more than 2,000 venues and has taught the craft of writing around the country. Married to the love of her life for twenty-five plus years, she makes her home in Montana. You can connect with Kimberley at: www.kimberleywoodhouse.com www.facebook.com/KimberleyWoodhouseAuthor