Thursday, October 31, 2013

Double Exposure (The Justice Agency #1) by Susan Sleeman

Title: Double Exposure (The Justice Agency #1)
Author: Susan Sleeman
Pages: 254
Year: 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Books
Notes: I won a free copy of this book through a giveaway that Susan Sleeman had on her blog.

     October 18 -20, 2013 was the Christian Fiction Fall Scavenger Hunt. Susan had a bonus giveaway on her blog as part of the scavenger hunt. I had a wonderful time taking part in the hunt and reading all of the fantastic posts that each of the 25 authors wrote for it. Then on the 21st I had the added joy of receiving an email from Susan that I was one of the winners of all four of the currently available books in her The Justice Agency series. This is book #1 of the series.

     Jennie Buchanan is a photographer that unknowingly captured a drug-cartel meeting on film. Now she has become a killer’s next target. She has The Justice Agency providing her protection. The only problem with that is Ethan Justice is the one man that threatens her heart, and he is the one specifically taking charge of her protection. Which will be safer for Jennie, dodging bullets or facing the feelings stirred up by spending time with former FBI agent and ex-boyfriend Ethan?

     The plot of this romantic suspense is very well developed. The characters are well rounded and very easy to understand what makes them who they are. I really enjoyed looking at their backgrounds as they were revealed in relationship with the current situation they were in. Susan did an incredible job of building the story around the past actions and decisions affecting how people deal with current things.

     I’m really looking forward to reading the other books in this series and seeing what develops for the rest of the Justice siblings.

     This is the first book of Susan’s that I’ve ever read. I’m really looking forward to reading everything that I can find by her. She deserves a 5-star rating for this book.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Beloved Daughter by Alana Terry

The Beloved Daughter [Paperback]

Title: The Beloved Daughter
Author: Alana Terry
Pages: 230
Year: 2013
Note: I received a free copy of this book through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.

     Chung-Cha (Righteous Daughter) is taken captive when her father is arrested for his faith in Christ. Her father’s declaration is, “Chung-Cha belongs to Christ, even if you destroy me, God will still watch over my daughter.” So begins her path of persecution, despair, suffering, and glory. Some of the aspects of her captivity include physical and sexual abuse. There are no explicit descriptions or profanity given though.

     This book is set in North Korea and begins in 1998. The horrors that it recounts are things that I have never thought about. I’ve heard the statement that believers are persecuted in a many different countries, yet in my sheltered existence I’ve never tried to picture what that would really be like.

     Alana Terry has taken great pains to tell a first person account of these horrors. I can’t even begin to imagine the time and heartache she had to put into researching a country that I know so little about. Her account is very vivid and heart-wrenching.

     A part of me wanted to only give this book 4 stars because of the type of story it is. Yet the writing is so well done that I realized that would not be giving Alana the credit she so richly deserves for the work that she put into creating such a well thought out story. Therefore I find that I must give another book a 5 star rating.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Jewel Series Bundle 2: Emerald Fire & Topaz Heat by Hallee Bridgeman

The Jewel Series Bundle 2: Emerald & Topaz [eBook Download]

Title: The Jewel Series Bundle 2: Emerald Fire & Topaz Heat
Author: Hallee Bridgeman
Pages: 368
Year: 2013
Publisher: Olivia Kimbrell Press
Note: I received a free copy of this book from The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.

     This Bundle contains books 2 and 3 from the trilogy written by Hallee Bridgeman. The trilogy is about 3 adult half-sisters that are trying to make their way in life after a very harsh upbringing.

     Emerald Fire is book 2 and it is about the second sister, Maxine Bartlett. After a peek into her childhood in the prologue we are introduced to her the morning after she marries. We are then taken on a journey to discover how they came to marry and to see how they proceed to find their way with God as their guide.

     Topaz Heat is book 3 and it is about the youngest of the sisters. As a young girl Sarah Thomas was rescued from the horrors of her early childhood through adoption. She has no real memory of the horrors that she lived through though. Since her adoption she led a sheltered life with her Christian family. Derrick DeNunzio was a poor tough street kid. He was taken off the street and made into a billionaire’s protégé. When first Sarah and Derrick met Sarah simply saw the street kid. Now a decade after meeting Derrick DeNunzio they are suddenly back in each other’s lives through their family ties. Can Sarah set aside her prejudices and open her heart to true love?

     Both of these books have fantastic characters that have been well developed and brought through journeys of redemption and transformation. Both of these books along with the two stories contained in Bundle 1 are very intricately woven so that the same characters flow throughout all of them. Each story is focusing on a different pair of main characters and yet they are all in each book. I loved the marvelous way that Hallee Bridgeman built their stories and carried this family through all three books in the trilogy as well as the novella.

     I was very moved at many times while reading both of the books contained in this bundle. At a couple of times I was very happy that I had a box of tissues close by. God’s love is so freely given and He is so wonderful to see His children through the darkest of times. These books truly encouraged me to never lose sight of that. They earned a magnificent 5 stars from me.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Talent for Trouble by Jen Turano

Talent For Trouble (Oct) [Paperback]

Title: A Talent for Trouble (Ladies of Distinction #3)
Author: Jen Turano
Pages: 344
Year: 2013
Publisher: Bethany House
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

     Another great romantic comedy by Jen Turano.

     Miss Felicia Murdock has spent four years trying to live her life in a way that the minister she believes God wants her to marry will notice her. Of course a minister’s wife must be demure and willing to work hard in the church and in charitable endeavors. When the minister she has set her sights on marries another young lady she must reconsider her whole life.

     Grayson Sumner has had his fill of adventure and wants to settle into the life of a respectable New York gentleman. When he is encouraged to spend time with Miss Murdock in hopes of lifting her spirits he is surprised to encounter an adventurous young lady with an unfortunate knack for stumbling into trouble.

     When Grayson’s past comes back to haunt him while in the presence of Felicia will they be able to extricate themselves from the danger that arises? Will Grayson come to terms with his past and find forgiveness for the mistakes that he believes cannot be forgiven?

     Jen Turano has a remarkable talent for developing great characters. Though many times they do not behave in the manner that I have come to expect high society people in 1881 to behave they are definitely fun and extremely amusing. The friendships that have developed between the characters from the earlier stories in this series are very evident in this book as well.

     After my last review I received a comment from my sister that I seem to rate everything with 5 stars. I would just like to take a moment to explain that I’ve been reading lots of books for so many years now that I’m very aware of the style of books I enjoy. Therefore I do have a tendency to select books to read according to those tastes. This leads me to thoroughly enjoy and want to rate most books I read very highly. Please don’t dismiss my reviews just because most of them (all so far since starting this blog) receive 5 stars.

     Now that I’ve explained that, I again want to give a 5 star rating to this novel. It is a great book to read when you are feeling down and need to have something to smile and even laugh about.