Category Archives: Fiction

The Traitor’s Pawn

Title: The Traitor’s Pawn
Author: Lisa Harris
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2917-2

“I just … I need you to forgive me, Aubrey,” the policewoman is told in Lisa Harris’s novel, The Traitor’s Pawn.

~ What ~
This three-hundred-and-thirty-three-page paperback targets those who enjoy crime suspense with Christian undertones and light romance. Containing no profanity, the topics of kidnapping, murder, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The book ends with the first chapter of the writer’s next novel, author’s biography, and advertisements for other Revell books.

Set in Corpus Christi, Texas, Jack and Aubrey used to be best friends as teenagers, but their relationship abruptly ended, with one fearful of divulging true feelings. When FBI agent Jack happens to be in the area hunting down an American involved in a Chinese spy ring, Aubrey, a policewoman, is kidnapped. As their paths cross unexpectedly, they race to catch the traitor before more are injured or killed.

~ Why ~
This is a fast read that packs plenty of action and tension between two past friends who must work together to solve who is selling government secrets. I like the sensitivity of Jack and how he deals with his past decisions. Aubrey’s character shows how trusting God helps her deal with heartache, disappointments, and life-threatening situations.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not like the calling on God for His protection. Others may not care for a story of a woman dealing with forgiveness of those she loves. The reader may feel frustrated that Jack appeared unaware of all the turmoil in Aubrey’s family life if they were once close friends.

~ Wish ~
While I liked the relationship between the two protagonists and how they both were scared to move forward, I found the persistent interruptions too obvious every time they tried to discuss the future. I prefer all pronouns of God to be capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you are into spy stories involving the FBI and police, this is a quick read that caters to those who like re-establishing relationships, forgiveness, and trusting in God.

Thanks to Revell Reads for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be found at https://amzn.to/2yr27I1

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Ishmael Covenant

Title: Ishmael Covenant
Author: Terry Brennan
Publisher: Kregel Publications
ISBN: 978-0-8254-4530-9

“But know this … the box has a mission of its own. Do not deny the box from its intended purpose,” the Gaon warns in Terry Brennan’s book, Ishmael Covenant.

~ What ~
The first in the Empires of Armageddon series, this three-hundred-and-twenty-page paperback targets those who enjoy political Christian suspense involving the Middle East. With no profanity except for the use of the word hell, topics of torture, murder, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The beginning has a map and list of characters, while the ending includes acknowledgments, author’s notes, and an excerpt to the next book in the series.

In this read, Dipolocatic Secret Serviceman Brian Mullaney is banished to guarding the US ambassador in Israel, a man who has recently been given a special Jewish box that contains a centuries-old prophecy about the coming Messiah and destroys anyone who touches it. It is a race to get the unique box safely to a Jewish synagogue before Turk, a mysterious man, gets it first.

~ Why ~
I appreciate books about the future, especially if they involve the second coming of Jesus Christ. While this one is the first in a series, it shows how the Middle East is lined up for changes when the antichrist evolves and the Tribulation begins. I liked the portrayal of the main character and his struggles personally and spiritually.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like Christian-faith based novels or do not have a personal relationship with Jesus will not appreciate this book or care for its simple plan of eternal salvation. Others may already be aware of the Old Testament predictions, the history of the Middle East, and Biblical end-time prophecies.

~ Wish ~
While including detailed historical background information, the story often gets bogged down to the point the reader wants to skip sections if they already know about it. I found its unsatisfying ending abrupt, although I know it is only the first in its series.

~ Want ~
If you love a suspenseful and political read involving the Middle East, this first book in a series about its potential future may interest you, but I struggled to get through it and felt no closure at its rushed ending.

Thanks to the author, Bookpleasures, and Kregel Publishing for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#IshmaelCovenant #TerryBrennan #KregelPublications #Bookpleasures

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2WSplAV

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Filed under *** OK - Don't Love It, Don't Hate It, Book Review, Christian, Fiction

Chasing the White Lion

Title: Chasing the White Lion
Author: James R. Hannibal
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3578-4

“Welcome to the Jungle. Take care you are not eaten,” Talia and her elite team are warned in James R. Hannibal’s novel, Chasing the White Lion.

~ What ~
This three-hundred-and-eighty-five-page paperback is targeted toward those who enjoy a suspenseful thriller involving CIA agents, master thieves, and a team working together to bring down a syndicate boss. With no profanity, topics of violence, kidnapping, murder, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers.

As a page-turner, this lightly Christian-based tale focuses on Talia Inger, a CIA agent who has an eidetic memory and recently turned her life over to the Lord. With the help of a wheelman, she and a grifter, spy, thief, chemist, and hacker band together to be invited into the inner circle of a high-crime organization run by the White Lion and the Archangel in what they call the Jungle, a game of deception with high stakes involving thalers, arms deals, and child refugee kidnappings. As the highly-trained group chases down their marks, Talia must learn to lean and trust her rogue tribe and, most importantly, God.

~ Why ~
I like reading worldwide suspense that involves a female protagonist who has to deal and overcome her past as she relies on Christ. The story is fast-paced, with the band of misfits traveling from the United States to Russia, Africa, the Czech Republic, the Greek Islands, and Thailand to uncover a deadly crowdsourced crime syndicate.

~ Why Not ~
Those who are not followers of Christ and do not like stories about international crime blended with the underlying emotional impact of child trafficking may not appreciate this story. Others may tire of the bantering of the teammates, far-fetched scenarios, and limited relying on God.

~ Wish ~
Although I liked how Talia learned to depend on the Almighty through prayer, I felt the author missed the perfect opportunity to give the eternal plan of salvation. I found some of the team members’ quibbling and joking misplaced. Due to the plethora of characters, it would be ideal to include a list of them at the beginning of the book. I prefer all pronouns of God capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you are a fan of current-day international intrigue and suspense involving an eclectic group of clandestine professionals going after the bad guys, you may appreciate this read, but I found it confusing and complicated from start to end.

Thanks to Revell for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#Revell #JamesRHannibal #ChasingtheWhiteLion

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2wBS95M

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Filed under *** OK - Don't Love It, Don't Hate It, Book Review, Christian, Fiction

Out of the Embers

Title: Out of the Embers
Author: Amanda Cabot
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3535-7

“There was more to Miss Evelyn Radner than she wanted the world to see. The question was, what was behind the pretty mask, and why did she feel the need to hide?” Wyatt wonders in Amanda Cabot’s novel, Out of the Embers.

~ What~his three-hundred-and-thirty-six-page paperback is targeted toward those who enjoy a historical romance during the mid-nineteenth century in Texas involving racehorses, a restaurant, and finding love. The beginning includes a town map, while the ending has an author’s note, an excerpt from the next book in the series, writer’s biography, and advertisements. With no profanity, topics of abandonment, murder, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers.

The first in the Mesquite Spring series, this tale focuses on twenty-three-year-old Evelyn Radcliffe who senses she is being watched the past ten years after her parents are murdered. When the orphanage she and a young girl living at is burned to the ground, they flee to Mesquite Springs, an idyllic town where Wyatt Clark raises racehorses. While hiding her and her charge’s past histories, Evelyn opens a small restaurant yet wonders if she will ever feel safe enough to find true love.

~ Why ~
I appreciate a read when it is engaging enough without being too mushy in the romance department, and this one has mystery and intrigue trying to resolve who is after the protagonist and the little girl. I liked learning about the town and its many characters who will, no doubt, be part of upcoming books in the series.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like stories about living in a small Texan town in the 1850s, taking care of horses, and old-fashioned romance will pass on this series. Others may find the sweet romance with no sex or adult situations predictable and repetitive in its description.

~ Wish ~
Although I liked guessing the outcome of Evelyn and Polly’s past and how Wyatt had to figure out what he wanted in his life, I figured the outcome early. I wished the author mixed up some of the wording whenever the two main characters talked about not wanting to marry or  when they “pressed lips.”

~ Want ~
If you are an avid fan of horses and clean romance with a glint of mystery, this quick read of two individuals learning about love while finding themselves will keep you occupied for several hours.

Thanks to Revell for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#Revell #AmandaCabot #OutoftheEmbers

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2IfQDZv

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Book Review, Christian, Fiction

Star of Persia

Title: Star of Persia
Author: Jill Eileen Smith
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3471-8

“Why did she think for a single moment that God cared for a lonely young woman in a foreign palace in a foreign land,” Esther ponders in Jill Eileen Smith’s Biblical fiction novel, Star of Persia: Esther’s Story.

~ What ~
This three-hundred-and-sixty-eight-page paperback targets those who enjoy an enhanced version of the Biblical story of Queen Esther and her oftentimes lonely relationship with King Xerxes. Containing no profanity or explicit sexual scenes, topics of execution and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. An author’s note, acknowledgments, biography, and advertisements complete the book.

In this retold story taken from the Old Testament, King Xerxes banishes his favorite wife when she would not show herself at one of his banquets. Forlorn, depressed, and quick to make rash decisions, the dictator trusts the wrong people continually but finds new love in young Hadassah, a Jewess who has been unwantedly chosen as his new queen. As she falls in love with a Persian leader who is almost two decades older than she, the renamed Esther must not only deal with her secret of being a Jew and solitude lifestyle but also a vicious, scheming wife, an over-achieving advisor, and others.

~ Why ~
The book of Esther is one of my most cherished stories in the Word of God, so I was excited to read this rendition. I like the secular history interjected throughout the story as it relates to palace politics, interaction with guards and servants, and family-related dynasty outcomes. The trustworthiness and sincerity of young Esther are well developed and promoted between her relationship with the king and her cousin, Mordecai.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like fictionalized Bible stories may pass on this one as the author has used ample liberties to enhance the story. With Vashti having met Esther when the younger girl was only six years old, parts of the story are fabricated. Some may find the mix of secular history blended into Scripture confusing, but it does help comprehend Persia’s military and kingdom nances.

~ Wish ~
I liked the detailed descriptions of palace life in Susa during Old Testament times. I wish the novel was more accurate to the Bible and included the full story (however, the author does explain why parts are omitted). With a plethora of characters, it would be helpful having a list at the beginning of the book of which ones are fictional.

~ Want ~
If you enjoy learning about Esther’s rise to becoming a queen and how she had to stand up for her belief in God and her people, this is an intriguing read that has plenty of fiction added.

Thanks to Revell for this complimentary book that I am not obligated to review.

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2I6YPvi

#StarofPersia #JillEileenSmith

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Biography, Book Review, Christian, Fiction

A Death Well Lived

Title: A Death Well Lived
Author: Daniel Overdorf
Publisher: Crosslink Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-63357-188-4

“One thing was certain, though — today he’d have to suppress any admiration that had been growing in his heart for the Jews. He was a Roman centurion. Dominant. Powerful. Violent,” Lucius reminds himself in Daniel Overdorf’s novel, A Death Well Lived.

~ What ~
At two-hundred-and-twenty-six pages, this paperback is a rendition of the last few weeks of Jesus’s life, observed by a Roman centurion named Lucius Valerius Galeo. After Lucius beats an innocent Jew almost to death and witnesses the Nazarene’s miracles, he struggles with his anger, vocational power, and spiritual beliefs while trying to come to terms with his involvement controlling Jewish rabble-rousers. Due to topics of physical abuse, crucifixion, and death, the story may not be apropos for immature readers.

~ Why ~
If you are interested in a historical fiction depicting one soldier’s viewpoint of learning about the King of the Jews, this book focuses on one’s internal conflict of power and hate versus love and kindness. I liked how the writer conveyed the main character was torn by his Roman loyalties and the Truth. While explaining how Christ had to die on the cross for our sins and rise again, the novel hones in on dealing with forgiveness, especially regarding those under the soldier’s protection.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have or want a personable relationship with Jesus Christ may avoid this book. Some may not like such an iconic story being retold. Others may not appreciate the ample liberties taken by the author by adding conversations and scenes to Scripture.

~ Wish ~
I felt there were several inconsistencies with the Word of God such as depicting Jesus’s ribs were cracked and he lost consciousness. I wish the version of the Bible used was stated and all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a story of what our Lord did by shedding His blood on the cross for our sins from a fictionalized soldier’s outlook during Jesus’s last days on earth, this will be a helpful reminder.

Thanks to BookCrash and the author for this book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2wKgDda

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Book Review, Christian, Fiction

Collision of Lies

Title: Collision of Lies
Author: Tom Threadgill
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3650-7

“You’ll see. Everybody lies, either intentionally or because of their skewed point of view. The witnesses. The suspects. Even the victims sometimes,” Amara is reminded in Tom Threadgill’s novel, Collision of Lies.

~ Wha
This four-hundred-page paperback targets those who enjoy a suspense story about a school bus traffic accident that may have been covered up. With no profanity, topics of exhuming bodies, murder, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes an excerpt from the next author’s book, biography, and advertisements.

In this tale based in SanAntonio, Texas, thirty-two-year-old policewoman Amara Alvarez wishes she could be promoted from stolen property to homicide, especially when she learns a local mother recently received a text from her son, who was supposedly killed in a bus accident three years ago. As the detective tries to uncover the truth about the incident and if the boy may still be alive, she puts her life and others in danger.

~ Why ~
This is an interesting read for those who like mysteries involving how the police handle local, federal, and international situations involving kidnapping, especially when they concern young ones. I appreciated the last third of the book tracking down the culprits and what had to be done to solve the problem.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like novels about children possibly dying may want to avoid this book. Others may find the often bantering between the protagonist and several of her co-workers campy or some of the resolutions skeptical. Some may consider the storyline predictable.

~ Wish ~
I found the first half of the book a struggle to get through due to its unnecessary filler content involving gym workouts, Downton Abbey, and innocuous flirtations between a few characters that were never resolved. If these were limited, it would have held my attention more to get to the ending.

~ Want ~
If you want a suspense thriller about complicated lies covering up a crime in a Texan town that takes you to Mexico, this may be a decent read, but I struggled to complete it.

Thanks to Revell for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#Revell #TomThreadgill #CollisionofLies

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2UkUAmY

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Filed under *** OK - Don't Love It, Don't Hate It, Book Review, Fiction

Isaiah’s Legacy

Title: Isaiah’s Legacy
Author: Mesu Andrews
Publisher: Waterbrook
ISBN: 978-0-7352-9188-1

“I thought we wanted to make Judah better. Teach Nasseh about the true gods that could make him the greatest king in Judah’s history,” a confused Shulle considers in Mesu Andrew’s novel, Isaiah’s Legacy: A Novel of Prophets and Kings.

~ What ~
The third book in the series, this four-hundred-page paperback targets those who enjoy Biblical historical fiction involving King Manasseh, Israel’s Old Testament king whose reign of terror forced Jews to worship and sacrifice to other gods. Containing no profanity or explicit sexual situations, its topics of sorcery, physical abuse, torture, child sacrifices, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. A chart of characters, reader’s note, map, and prologue is at the beginning, while the ending includes an epilogue, acknowledgments, and author’s note. Corresponding Bible verses are written out at the beginning of each chapter with references.

Written mostly in first person, this comprehensive story covers over fifty-years of Judah’s history when King Hezekiah dies and his smart but troubled and dysfunctional son takes his place and turns from trusting Yahew, the God of his father, to worshipping foreign idols. Told mainly through the eyes of Shulle, the child, friend, and lover of the young king, she learns slowly how trusting in the Almighty no matter what the cost is the only answer to the evil, tragic, and cruel ruling of her husband, Nasseh.

~ Why ~
Having read the Bible cover to cover yearly, I was extremely impressed with the detail Andrews divulges in this rewritten story. With the tale’s focus on dark arts of curses, cures, and charms, it shows how demonic planning and plotting to take our eyes off the Lord can never be overshadowed by God’s eternal plan, even when we do not understand what it is. The writer’s characterizations are flawless of a protagonist, young king who becomes a ruthless dictator, and family members who either religiously follow or blatantly disregard God’s Word.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not appreciate the beliefs and prayers to Him for help, support, and peace. Others may not care for the ample liberties taken to enhance the storyline, but they are well written and believable. A couple of times I had to check the Bible verses or research historical facts (example: Isaiah’s death by being sawed in half is not in the Old Testament but documented in ancient manuscripts).

~ Wish ~
Although the author’s note explains vaguely what portions are historical or fictional, it would be helpful if Hezekiah’s demise, Manasseh’s release from prison, and the royal family’s extensive background were verified. I had always thought cats were the only domesticated animal never mentioned in the Bible.

~ Want ~
If you love Old Testament historical fiction about forgiveness, love, and redemption, this creative, imaginative read will not only educate you about a wicked time in Hebrew history, but it may also captivate your heart as what is your eternal legacy when you leave this earth.

Thanks to the Waterbrook & Multnomah Launch Team for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#MesuAndrews #Isaiah’sLegacy #Israel’sKingManasseh #WaterbrookMultnomah

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2NhCBcG

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Filed under ***** Great - A Keeper, If You Borrow It, Give It Back!, Book Review, Christian, Fiction

Darling Hedgehog Goes Down a Foxhole

Title: Darling Hedgehog Goes Down a Foxhole
Author: Auralee Arkinsly
Illustrator: Julia Swezy
Publisher: Capture Books
ISBN: 978-1-951084-06-6

“We’ve each learned a lesson about the nature of things … Not every stranger can be a friend,” the little critter is told by her father in Auralee Arkinsly’s children’s book, Darling Hedgehog Goes Down a Foxhole.

~ What ~
This numbered forty-four-page paperback targets four to nine-year-old children who like stories about animals and befriending strangers. Being a three-chapter book, it would best be read out loud to beginner readers due to some complicated wording. Colorful but rudimentary illustrations are on each page.

In this short tale, a little hedgehog named Darling wakes up to find her parents missing so goes on a search to find them. When she falls down a hole and meets a fox, she tries all she can to friend the animal by helping out or doing exactly what it says. Only when the small spiny animal finds her parents in a precarious position does she realize that friendships may have the wrong intentions.

~ Why ~
This is a story about an innocent, naive creature who is beguiled by a fox for ulterior motives. The chapters are short and direct; the illustrations are easy to understand without providing too much detail.

~ Why Not ~
Children who are leary of strangers may become more fearful of them as the learn what intentions the fox has for the hedgehog. Some may get scared when it is discovered that the fox captures and imprisons small animals, later planning to eat them.

~ Wish ~
With this being a discouraging book about a fox tricking a hedgehog into doing what it wants, it did not address how the little animal easily forgot about its parents and never considered freeing the other imprisoned animals. Although the writer’s purpose may have been to be careful of strangers by stating not everyone can be a friend, it may establish insecurity and fear in trusting others.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a kid’s book that is about a hedgehog learning to be cautious when meeting strangers, this may work, but I think it could potentially frighten some children.

Thanks to BookCrash and the author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#DarlingHedgehog #AuraleeArkinsly #CaptureBooks #Bookcrash

This book can be found at https://amzn.to/30LIxik

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Filed under *** OK - Don't Love It, Don't Hate It, Animals / Pets, Book Review, Childrens, Fiction

Unscripted

Title: Unscripted
Author: Davis Bunn
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2787-1

“Despite the fact that you were arrested for fraud, everyone I spoke with declared you were both honest and good at your job,” Danny is told in Davis Bunn’s novel, Unscripted.

~ What ~
This three-hundred-and-sixty-eight-page paperback targets those who enjoy a fictional story about the movie and film industry. With no profanity, topics of depression, abandonment, and drug abuse may not be appropriate for immature readers.

In this tale based in Southern California, up and coming Danny Byrd finds himself in jail, broke and with a ruined reputation due to his business partner and once-best-friend absconding all funds from their two-bit movie production company. Mysteriously, Danny is freed from jail and given part ownership in a hotel in San Luis Obispo. Offered a chance to redeem his career by revamping a television movie script, he meets lawyer Megan Pierce, who would do anything to protect him, her newfound client. While dealing with the shame, rage, and deep-setted scars from the past, the man who wants to make his mark in the industry has to open up and realize he is not in control to move on with his life, work, and love.

~ Why ~
Having been born and raised in the San Fernando Valley and my husband was a child actor, I immediately related to the storyline of the Hollywood “climbing the ladder no matter who you trample on” scene. I enjoyed the two main characters’ roles and how they related to each other as they worked through their struggles and pain. The young new actress was genuine and realistic in how she consistently tried to please Danny.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like in-depth novels about the movie industry’s behind-the-scenes, legal issues, and sometimes underhanded deals may not be interested in this read. Others may get confused in the many individuals playing their parts so a list would be helpful at the beginning of the book.

~ Wish ~
With this being a technical novel regarding the LA film industry, it rarely mentions how God can heal and redeem those deep, hurtful of the past. I feel Bunn missed the perfect opportunity to have Megan’s father show Danny a Bible verse or two about dealing with pain and learning to trust God.

~ Want ~
If you want to know more about the ins and outs of corporate wheeling and dealing when it comes to film production, this story of a man’s unscripted path to redemption, hope, and acceptance will keep your attention.

Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Thanks to Revell for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#Revell #DavisBunn #Unscripted

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2m0u2sJ

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