Monthly Archives: November 2016

A Primary Decision by Dr. Kevin Leman and Jeff Nesbit

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Sarah Worthington is tenacious and fierce and refuses to lose—even while prosecuting the president of the United States. She is surprised to be vetted as the US attorney general at such a young age yet is excited to use the opportunity to further her career. But it is not easy being in such a position of power, and political wars may extinguish all that she has built. Someone is determined to destroy the Worthington family, attempting to reveal family secrets and incorrectly incriminate Sarah’s family in a political scandal. As Sarah pursues truth in an effort to save her family and friends, she will have to outsmart anyone who wants to watch them crumble.

Although not absolutely necessary to read the first two books in the series first, it is helpful to gain more background on each of Sarah’s siblings. The novel contains suspense and mystery, which are enjoyably intermixed with interesting political intrigue. Family relationships are explored and the depth of their love and connection is notable. It also examines birth orders, compliments of Dr. Leman, as well as compassion, faith, and doing the right thing. I enjoyed this well-written book, and the entire series, and recommend it to anyone who enjoys contemporary suspense.

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

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One Enchanted Eve by Melissa Tagg

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Rylan Jefferson is frustrated with her wayward student Colin Renwycke. When he is not destroying something in her kitchen, he’s messing up her impeccable recipes. On the brink of being kicked out of culinary school, Colin invites Rylan home to Iowa for the holidays on a whim, hoping he can help her find a perfect recipe to impress a chef for a new job. Rylan is not exactly sure why she agrees to spend several weeks with this aggravating man, but as she travels with him to idyllic Maple Valley, she soon realizes that there may be more to Colin than meets the eye.

I must say I am amazed that Melissa Tagg can write a novella that reads exactly like a full-length novel. There is no corny romance that makes you want to roll your eyes or plot points that feel entirely too rushed due to a quicker timeline. Instead, the characters possess quite a bit of depth for a shorter story and I found myself connecting with them almost immediately. Although this is the second novella is a series, you do not need to read the other first to understand the book. This novella has it all—a pinch of warm holiday spirit, a dollop of romance, a dash of deeper Christian themes, and a smidgen of amusing cooking scenes—and I guarantee you will not be disappointed! So grab some hot chocolate, turn on the twinkle lights, and enjoy this delightful read this Christmas!

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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Storm by Bonnie S. Calhoun

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Selah must complete the Third Protocol before it is too late, leaving her little time to grieve over lost loved ones that perished in the Mountain. Selah’s abilities are growing, but danger and destruction may await her as she and her unlikely friends travel through the mountains. She discovers strange new settlements that may hold answers to her questions. As more and more individuals hunt for Selah and her powers, Selah and her friends must continue to complete the mission that they have set out to accomplish.

First of all, you must read these stories in sequence in order to understand this novel. Since this is the third book (and there are three other novellas in between), it will be very confusing for readers if they have not yet read the background on the characters and events. I think this series is best suited for young teens as it is a dystopian type series, similar to other popular novels and movies in this style (Hunger Games, Divergent Series). This novel has a distinct New Age feel to it and, in my opinion, any spiritual content does not meet Christian fiction standards. The writer attempts to be creative, but the characters lack any significant depth and the romance is focused more on physical attraction than anything else, causing me to roll my eyes more than once at their interactions. The pacing of the novel is fast, but honestly, I am simply ready for this series to have some sort of conclusion. Perhaps this type of series is not my style, but I have read other Christian fiction novels in this format and enjoyed them much more. I do not particularly recommend this series.

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

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Fatal Frost by Nancy Mehl

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U.S. Marshal Mercy Brennan is not interested in restoring her relationship with her father, a law enforcement officer himself yet also a man who abandoned her as a young girl. But when he asks to meet her and seems suspiciously emotional, Mercy begins to wonder what her father has been involved in lately. She is not thrilled to learn that there may be a tie between her father and some very dangerous gang members, gang members who have suddenly become bolder as they have worked behind the scenes in St. Louis. Recovering from an injury, she is excited when her boss asks her to undertake a special assignment—that is, until she is paired with her ex-boyfriend U.S. Marshal Mark St. Laurent. Mercy is worried that her boss and Mark are keeping something from her, especially when an ice storm strands them at a remote location with the gang hot on their heels. She and Mark must put the past behind them and work to discover who they can trust before it is too late.

I enjoyed the Finding Sanctuary Series I recently read by Nancy Mehl and therefore was excited to start this new series. I appreciated her nod to law enforcement, a sensitive subject in this current age, and overall enjoyed the novel. I did think the beginning was a little slow, especially since there were too many points of view and a lot of characters to keep straight. I was disappointed that she gave us too much information from the villain’s perspective, which detracted a bit from the suspense. There was still a surprise further along, but it was a little predictable at that point. As I continued to read, however, the action built in a satisfying manner. I can’t say that I loved Mercy’s character; on one hand, I understood her strong need to be an independent woman, but her absolute stubborn desire to prove herself grew a little tiresome to me. Parts were rather unrealistic and the ending was rather abrupt, but nonetheless I look forward to reading more about the characters in the second novel. I recommend this novel to those who like contemporary suspense.

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

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Lady Maybe by Julie Klassen

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Normally I attempt to summarize the plot rather than simply copy and paste the publisher’s description, if only to give my readers another perspective on the book. However, this novel has many secrets, and for fear of giving them away, I decided to simply paste the publisher’s description to hint as to the book’s contents:

One final cry and suddenly her world shifted violently, until a blinding collision scattered her mind and shook her bones. Then, the pain. The freezing water. And as all sensation drifted away, a hand reached for hers, before all faded into darkness. Now she has awakened as though from some strange, suffocating dream in a warm and welcoming room she has never seen before, and tended to by kind, unfamiliar faces. But not all has been swept away. She recalls fragments of the accident. She remembers a baby. And a ring on her finger reminds her of a lie. But most of all, there is a secret. And in this house of strangers she can trust no one but herself to keep it.

I am a big fan of Julie Klassen and attempt to read her novels as soon as they release, knowing that her books never disappoint. I must say I particularly loved this novel, and it has risen, in my mind, as one of her best works. It is difficult to specifically say what it is I loved about this book for there is a fair amount of mystery throughout the novel that I would hate to give away, but suffice it to say that the characters are so well written that their sins and their faults, although perhaps not exactly similar to my own sins, nonetheless drew me in because the feelings of remorse and regret are not unlike what I experience when I disappoint God. I absolutely loved the theme of forgiveness in the novel and the never-ending grace of God. I think readers need to realize that women in the early 1800s faced a much different world than the one we face today; not excusing, perhaps, all the sins of the protagonists, but certainly allowing a certain understanding for this particular reader. The scenes are so beautifully told, the romance so achingly unexpected, the characters so broken and healed, and the plot so mysterious and surprising, with twists and turns that made it most difficult to put the book down. It is impossible, I think, not to fall in love with the characters and identify yourself with even small fragments of their pain, love, and difficult choices. It is true that some romantic scenes may be more detailed than Julie’s earlier works, but I did not think them too graphic for Christian fiction. I most highly recommend this novel.

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