Monthly Archives: October 2014

Keepers of the Covenant by Lynn Austin

During a life-changing time in Jewish history, Ezra, an intelligent and shy scholar, is suddenly thrust into the role of leader of the Jewish exiles in Babylon. Unsure how to lead an army when his training is in reading scrolls, Ezra depends on God’s faithfulness to help his nation fight for their very lives. This struggle takes precedence over Ezra’s desire for family and love and his visions for his future. Meanwhile, other Jews and Gentiles similarly find their lives thrown into a world of hatred and revenge. Each character must learn to seek God’s will as they strive to survive in unusual circumstances that test their maturity and faith.

Once again, Lynn Austin uses the Old Testament to expertly weave together a story full of deep relationships, each character under Ms. Austin’s pen being brought to life in a new way.   She accurately and skillfully uses true facts from the Bible and adds her own creative depth to allow the reader to better understand the thoughts, feelings, and actions of individual characters. It is interesting to read the story of Esther from a different perspective and to see how God carried His people through a seemingly impossible situation. The story flows well as the author weaves together complex sentences telling of the difficulties the Jews faced during this time of the Old Testament. There are realistic struggles and moments of difficult growth for the characters, but the supremacy of God reigns true throughout the novel. Ms. Austin is truly extraordinary at penning emotionally gripping Biblical accounts and this newest series is no exception. A most highly recommended book!

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

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A Promise to Protect by Patricia Bradley

Leigh Somerall is back in her hometown, but only temporarily. After her rural residency program for her medical doctorate is finished, she is ready to move back to the East coast and work at the prestigious Johns Hopkins. But when a situation with her brother Tony throws Leigh into a spiral of dangerous circumstances, she finds herself unsure of her next steps. Acting sheriff Ben Logan, despite his misgivings, has offered to help Leigh’s family, forcing both of them to remember events from the past. And although Leigh attempts to avoid Ben and his desire to help her, she cannot seem to run away from him or the secrets she carries. Both Leigh and Ben must learn who to trust and where to turn before the perilous situations alter their lives forever.

A Promise to Protect is an interesting and complex contemporary suspense novel, its clever storyline full of twists and surprises. Secrets are constantly being revealed that are unexpected, creating a plot that is enjoyable to read. The characters may have flaws from their past, but their believable struggles make the story more realistic and allow the reader to better connect with each of them. The author’s writing style is a perfect balance of intricate sentences and complicated life choices that speak of real situations. The ending is most unexpected and the growth of the characters and their relationships with each other throughout the novel is truly exceptional. There are excellent themes to this novel and the story is exciting, deep, and suspenseful. It is highly recommended!

I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

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Thunder by Bonnie S. Calhoun

Set in a futuristic society that resembles America after nuclear attacks and natural disasters, Thunder is an odd mix of fantasy and futuristic science fiction. Selah has always wished to prove herself as able and independent as her two older brothers. Excited for her eighteenth birthday, she sets out to demonstrate that she is worthy of the praise her father lavishes on her siblings. However, a series of events the day before her birthday turn her world upside down, disrupting everything she thought she knew about her past. She must learn to depend on a virtual stranger, Bodhi, and a young girl, Amaryllis, to figure out from where she came so she can determine her future.

It is very rare that I do not finish a book, but this particular novel was extremely hard to get into and after finally reaching the halfway point, I set it aside. I normally wish to give authors the benefit of the doubt, for I know that writing a book is a lot of work, and for which I applaud Bonnie S. Calhoun in completing that task. I also appreciate her attempt to create a creative plot and her imaginative effort to produce a unique story. However, this novel fell short in many, many ways. The style of writing is much too simplistic and more than once I had to make sure I did not pick up a book suited for young readers. In addition, the content is not pleasant; many times, the graphic details of certain scenes made me feel uncomfortable. This novel also attempts to convey a society that is most confusingly a mix between science fiction and some type of fantasy but it did not communicate that properly. Certain aspects of the futuristic society (such as their cars, homes, etc.) did not make any sense to me and I spent more time being frustrated at these details than enjoying the story. The strange telepathic nature of the characters is also creepy. In addition, the storyline is weak; Selah cries at every little thing and the romance between her and Bodhi is much too quick paced and borderline obnoxious. I did not find a character with which I connected at all and their interactions are more annoying than enjoyable. The dependence of Amaryllis on Selah is ridiculous after the child has survived three years alone in the wilderness (another illogical scenario). There is also no Christian aspect to this book; I would classify any of the “spiritual” aspects as being more in line with a New Age Religion. If I had to compare this novel to a food I would choose plain, white rice – there is no richness to the story or any character development that pulls the reader in and captures the reader’s attention. I do not recommend this book at all.

I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

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Deceived by Irene Hannon

Since a tragic boating accident that took the lives of her husband and son three years ago, Kate Marshall has mourned their loss, relocated to a new city, and established a career as director of an organization geared towards helping battered women. However, a chance encounter in the mall one day suddenly throws her new life into a loop. Convinced she saw her deceased son, Kate turns to private investigator Connor Sullivan for help after the police brush aside her crazy story. As they dig further into the case, they both realize that this boating “accident” is not as innocent as it once seemed. And someone is equally determined to keep the events surrounding that day three years ago a secret, putting the lives of Kate and Connor in danger.

What an exciting read! Deceived is fast-paced from page one, the contemporary suspense novel keeping readers hooked as they frantically speed through chapters to find the answers the characters seek. Twists and unexpected events maintain an interesting plotline throughout the entire book. The strong character development is very well written and the romance in the novel is not forced at all, adding a pleasant side to the plot. As a noteworthy bonus, the author gives clues through two sides to the story, but does not reveal all the facts until the end. For those worried about the theme of the novel involving a young boy, rest assured that the details of this story are handled very well and no part makes the reader uncomfortable. This book is most highly recommended, as are many of Irene Hannon’s suspense novels!

I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

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