Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Cycle Three: The Probing by Bill Myers, Frank E. Peretti, Angela Elwell Hunt, and Alton Gansky

Cycle Three: The Probing (Harbingers #9-12)Cycle Three: The Probing by Bill Myers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First of all, I took a major reading break. I don't want to do that again!!!

This book was presented to me to review by the publisher. These novellas are #9-12 in a series. I missed the first 2 books (or 8 novellas) so I will admit, I was lost on the characters and their previous adventures. That being said, I could still follow the 4 different stories but was a little frustrated by the missing holes in some of the situations.

"Leviathan" is the first novella in this book. Imagine a reality show like "Fear Factor" only it's life or death. The team of Tank, Brenda, Andi, the Professor, and Daniel are invited out to a taping of this popular show. Everyone starts hearing weird things and exhibiting even stranger behaviors. The team has to figure out what's behind all this "weirdness" before it's too late.

What a swashbuckling adventure was had in "Mind Pirates". Andi is abducted by pirates and the rest of the team has to figure out how to get her safely returned. In the meantime, she knows things she doesn't know and the pirates are using this to their advantage. Of the four stories, I had the hardest time with this one.

Did you ever watch the movie "Children of the Corn"? That's what "Hybrids" reminded me of!! Dark-eyed children walking around doing strange things to make people disappear is the subject of this novella. If you see these children, you should run for your life and hide or you might be the next to disappear. Also, we learn about the Professor and his research in this story.

Last, but not least, the team finds themselves in a very unique village called Newland. The people here are straight out of an episode of Twilight Zone!! They talk weird, look even stranger, and warn the team to get out before it's too late. Will the team ever get back to "normalcy"?

Overall, I found this book to be interesting. I have mixed feelings about it, only because I hadn't read the other books previous to this one. I am interested in going back to read those so I can put some pieces together. This particular book can still be enjoyed as a stand-alone book. I love the sci-fi aspect and it's been awhile since I've read at all, but even longer since reading sci-fi. I would recommend this book to teens and adults how love sci-fi, Twilight Zone, etc!!

Thank you to the publisher for a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my personal review. All thoughts are my own.

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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan

Deadly Proof (Atlanta Justice #1)Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm hooked on this "new-to-me" author! Rachel Dylan packs a punch in the first book in the Atlanta Justice series where Kate Sullivan is lead council against a major pharmaceutical company. Kate's opposing council, Ethan, is one of her closest friends from law school. Can their friendship survive this difficult case full of legal and ethical complexities?

Landon hasn't been home from the war too terribly long but he's really trying to get his life together. He loves working as a private investigator and when he's contacted by Kate Sullivan to provide security for a high level court case, he starts to feel even more human. Landon is looking forward to putting his past behind him and this court case will definitely keep him busy.

This book is a really quick, interesting read. This book is very much a work of fiction but covers a lot of cases heard in courts today. When Mason Pharmaceutical Company creates a drug, Celix, that's known to cause tumors and has been blamed for the deaths of many people, there are many questions that arise. The politics behind the moves of MPC are very common in today's society as well. CEO's trying to line their pockets for the sake of another dollar without thinking or caring about the adverse effects. Even worse, hiding the facts of the case!! It's rare to find a work of Christian Fiction in the area of a medical or legal thriller so this was exciting to find!! I'm looking forward to more books in this series!

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander

Christmas at Carnton (Carnton, #0.5)Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This novella held my attention from word one!! Aletta and her son are really struggling with the news of the recent passing of their husband/father in the war. The entire community is reeling from the losses due to casualties of war. At risk of being evicted from her home, Aletta does all she can to save her home and make life as comfortable as she can for her son and the child she is expecting. When an opportunity at the Carnton estate comes about, Aletta doesn't hesitate to apply for the job.

Jake is a sharpshooter and finds himself injured to the point that the doctors are telling him he can't go back into the war. Jake finds himself being sent to Carnton to deal with all the local bittys and their charity Christmas auction. There are far too many frills and grins for poor Jake and he strongly desires to head back to his buddies in combat. Little does he know, that he still can serve a great purpose at Carnton.

This novella is the intro to a full series that will begin to release in 2018. I can't wait to read more about the owners of Carnton, along with their friends. I am hoping to be able to stop and view this land in Tennessee one day when I'm travelling through!

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Cherished Mercy by Tracie Peterson

Cherished Mercy (Heart of the Frontier #3)Cherished Mercy by Tracie Peterson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Have you ever read a story that you didn't want to end? Do you mourn over the loss of characters from a story once you finish a book? That's where I'm at right now!! I have anxiously been awaiting the release of the third book in the Heart of the Frontier series by Tracie Peterson. I finally took the time to read this book today. It only took me 5 hours to reunite with Mercy, fall in love with Adam, and grow a great appreciation of Hope, Grace, and Faith. I probably cried 2 of the 5 hours reading this fabulous book, so fair warning, have tissues handy!!

Mercy has been called upon to go to Issac and Eletta's to assist Eletta in her final days of pregnancy. She is excited about the prospect of going but with all the unrest between the Indians and the white man, there is a lot of fear and trepidation facing her. She's also likely to miss the birth of another niece or nephew while gone, and Mercy feels a bit torn about leaving her sisters and going so far away. However, her faith in God gives her the courage to travel to see her life-long family friends.

Eletta and Issac are thrilled with this new life they are bringing into the world but they have no idea if Mercy is going to be able to come and assist them. The Indian tribes are warring daily with the white man and the tensions are higher with each passing day. When Mercy arrives, it gives both Eletta and Issac a peace knowing she is there and can help assist with day-to-day chores and helping with Faith.

Adam is the brother of Issac. He's also a minister of the Word like Issac and teaches the children in Eletta's absence from the school. He's had a pretty tough go of things lately and has no interest in doing anything other than serving the Lord. He's concerned about the increased tensions between the Indians and white man and is doing this best to keep the peace. His internal peace is stirred when he meets Mercy and he wonders if he can keep his focus on important matters.

This story is a true page turner and it's a little difficult for me to say much more about this story without giving away too many things. This book is full of hope, grace, mercy, faith, forgiveness, love, and compassion but also has a darker side of rape, murder, and racism. While I read the first two books out of order, I would definitely recommend reading the first two books before reading this one to get the full back story on Mercy. I love how the Flanagan sisters' story came full circle here and I will miss reading more about them.

I would have to say that, so far, this is my favorite book of 2017!!!

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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Fatal Trust by Todd M. Johnson

Fatal TrustFatal Trust by Todd M. Johnson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ian Wells had absolutely no idea what he was getting into when he took over his father's law practice upon graduation. He didn't know what to think when a malpractice suit landed on his desk either. How in the world was he to ever have a successful practice when money was tight, this lawsuit against him, and dealing with a mother with Alzheimer's?

One day he gets a mysterious phone call and subsequent appointment about a potential client. This client is willing to pay a very large sum of money up front, as well as more at the conclusion of the case, providing certain conditions were met. Ian is overwhelmed, because this offer couldn't have come at a better time. Can he meet the client's demands for meting out the trust funds?

I was completely captivated by this book from the first line. I do struggle with flash back scenes so I was a little confused for awhile but it didn't take long to figure out the differences. (Truth be told, I hate books and movies with flashbacks!) This story unwound and weaved through various angles and just when I thought I had it figured out, I realized I didn't. The twists and turns throughout this novel will have you wanting to go back and reread passages to see what you missed!! I was thoroughly entertained by this story and was completely surprised by the ending. I love it when a great author, such as Todd Johnson, can weave a story to keep the reader on his or her toes!

I would recommend this book to those who love a great mystery, thriller, or action! I appreciate very much reading a book of this magnitude that does not include the language and unsavory actions that is read in mainstream media. I'm so thankful for great quality books from authors like Todd Johnson and publishers such as Bethany House to keep me reading books in this genre without all the garbage!!!

Many thanks to Bethany House and Todd Johnson for providing a complimentary copy for review. The thoughts you have read here are my own.

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Treasured Grace by Tracie Peterson

Treasured Grace (Heart of the Frontier #1)Treasured Grace by Tracie Peterson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Having recently read Beloved Hope and finding out it was the second book in the Heart of the Frontier series, I had to come back and read the first book!! While Beloved Hope can be read and understood without reading the first book, I did feel like I could tie up a few loose ends. I was not at all disappointed by doing so!

Grace is moving her sisters and herself from St. Louis to the unsettled Oregon country. She and her husband join a band of others travelling for the same make a better life for themselves. During the trip, Grace's husband dies along the way. Once they arrive to their destination, Grace sets out to find her Uncle Edward, hoping that he can take the sisters in and help them establish their new life. While waiting to find Uncle Edward, Grace and her sisters find a place to stay at the Whitman mansion. Dr. Whitman isn't fond of Grace using her healing methods, as they are not true medicine in his eyes. However, several people in the mansion, along with the Cayuse Indians, are coming down with "white man's illness" and Grace feels obligated to help out. When the Indians decide that Dr. Whitman is killing their people instead of helping them, things get very heated and a massacre takes place. Will Grace and her sisters survived this tragedy?

This book is captivating from the very beginning and is a rather fast read. Grace is a strong woman who doesn't back down easily. I love that about her! Her strength is what helps Hope and Mercy endure the struggles that they will all face. I love the names that this author has chosen for these women, as they seem very fitting to their characters. I would caution allowing tender hearts to read this book as it is filled with tragedy and difficult situations. It's a heavy read, but one that I enjoyed despite all the turmoil.

I look forward to reading Cherished Mercy when it is released later on this year!!

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Saturday, August 5, 2017

Beloved Hope by Tracie Peterson

Beloved Hope (Heart of the Frontier #2)Beloved Hope by Tracie Peterson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In this second book in the Heart of the Frontier series, we learn that Hope has survived the Whitman massacre. However, just because she survived doesn't mean that she doesn't carry very deep scars of the event. Hope is not sure she will ever trust anyone again, especially a man. After what she's endured, Hope doesn't seem to have a lot of hope for her future. She's living with her sister, Grace and her husband, Alex, as well as her younger sister, Mercy. Hope spends her day tending to their flock of lambs.

It's time for the trial of the Cayuse who caused the trauma that happened at the Whitman plantation. Hope is expected to testify against those who wronged her and many other women in the community but she's not sure she can do it.

There's a new guy in town named Lance who's working at the jail that's holding the Cayuse until they go to trial. Lance is about to get out of the military and he's contemplating returning home to New Orleans to start his law practice and continue to run his family's plantation. After a chance meeting with Hope, Lance isn't sure he wants to go back home. There's a lot of factors that go into this though, including his secret past that he's not sure he could share with someone.

In this novel, Tracie Peterson picks up where she left off in the first book of the series, Treasured Grace. I have not yet read this book but it's my next read as this one was so captivating. I had to download it immediately!! I have also learned that Cherished Mercy, the third book in this series, is set to release in Sept. 2017!! How exciting to read more about this family!

I really fell in love with this book pretty quickly. The story captivated my attention, even though there were a few moments that I was unclear on having not read the first book. For the most part, this is an easy read in terms of picking up pieces though. It is a bit of a heavy read learning of Hope's situation and all she endured while being captured by the Cayuse. For that reason, I would not recommend this book to tender aged readers. There are several "adult" issues faced in this book that might be difficult for a younger crowd.

I loved the story of Lance as well. The way that he handled the past issues he faced was done with much grace. I am not sure I could have been as forgiving as he was (or Hope either for that matter). The overarching theme of this book is forgiveness as well as hope. I felt I could identify with both Lance and Hope on some level and I appreciated the ways in which they handled their issues. My only real issue with this story is that the path to salvation was shortened by a few steps. I do believe that one must Hear the Word (Romans 10:17), Believe on the Word (Matthew 16:16, John 8:24, Acts 16:30-31), Repent of those sins (Luke 24:47, 2 Cor. 7:10, Acts 2:37-38), Confess their sins publicly (Matt. 16:16, Matt. 10:32-33; Romans 10:8-10; Acts 8:35-38), and be Baptized (immersed) (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Col. 2:12; Acts 22:16) for the forgiveness of sins. Then and only then do I believe, as the Bible points out, that one is saved (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). In this story, Lance was strongly encouraged to hear the Word, believe on the Word, and ask for forgiveness. He was not encouraged to follow through with baptism for the remission of his sins.

Many thanks to Bethany House publishers, as well as Tracie Peterson, for allowing me to read a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. The thoughts written here are my own and I was allowed to read this novel in exchange for my personal thoughts.

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