Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin

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The Sea Before Us
by Sarah Sundin


ISBN-13: 9780800727970
Paperback: 375 pages
Publisher: Revell
Released: Feb. 6, 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
In 1944, American naval officer Lt. Wyatt Paxton arrives in London to prepare for the Allied invasion of France. He works closely with Dorothy Fairfax, a "Wren" in the Women's Royal Naval Service. Dorothy pieces together reconnaissance photographs with thousands of holiday snapshots of France--including those of her own family's summer home--in order to create accurate maps of Normandy. Maps that Wyatt will turn into naval bombardment plans.

As the two spend concentrated time together in the pressure cooker of war, their deepening friendship threatens to turn to love. Dorothy must resist its pull. Her bereaved father depends on her, and her heart already belongs to another man.

The tense days leading up to the monumental D-Day landing blaze to life under Sarah Sundin's practiced pen with this powerful new series.


My Review:
The Sea Before Us is a Christian historical romance set in January 14th, 1944 to June 15th, 1944 in England. It shows the lead up to D-Day from the viewpoint of a USA naval officer and a WRN officer involved with sorting through the intelligence about the target beaches. The rich, vivid historical details brought the setting and time period alive. The D-Day battle scenes were very suspenseful.

The hero feels guilty about his past actions, which broke his family apart when he ran away. He's trying to earn forgiveness from his family by getting everything just right before getting back in contact with them. He has accepted God's forgiveness, but he hasn't yet forgiven himself.

The heroine has lost her brothers and mother in the war. Though her father shows her no affection, she loves him and takes care of him. She's desperate to win the affections of a dashing man whom she knew as a child, so she tries to be someone she's not.

The main characters acted realistically to events and had depth. The hero and heroine were very good influences on each other and fell in love with the other's character, not just their looks. They each helped the other grow and heal, though it was a rocky road to get there due to how they feel about themselves. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd highly recommend this excellent and exciting historical romance.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Friday, February 16, 2018

A Light on the Hill by Connilyn Cossette

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A Light on the Hill
by Connilyn Cossette


ISBN-13: 9780764219863
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Released: Feb. 6, 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
Seven years ago, Moriyah was taken captive in Jericho and branded with the mark of the Canaanite gods. Now the Israelites are experiencing peace in their new land, but Moriyah has yet to find her own peace. Because of the shameful mark on her face, she hides behind her veil at all times and the disdain of the townspeople keeps her from socializing. And marriage prospects were out of the question . . . until now.

Her father has found someone to marry her, and she hopes to use her love of cooking to impress the man and his motherless sons. But when things go horribly wrong, Moriyah is forced to flee. Seeking safety at one of the newly-established Levitical cities of refuge, she is wildly unprepared for the dangers she will face, and the enemies--and unexpected allies--she will encounter on her way.


My Review:
A Light on the Hill is biblical fiction with romance and suspense. This novel was set 7 years after "Wings of the Wind" and followed what happens to Moriyah, a character from that story. The Israelites have taken much of Canaan and the first cities of refuge have been established. Moriyah has isolated herself out of shame for the brand on her face and feels no one can see past the rumors to see and love her. After an accident results in the deaths of the twin 13-year-old sons of a man who might have married her, Moriyah flees into a hostile land in disguise as she tries to survive until she can reach a city of refuge.

Moriyah was often guided by her emotions. For example, when a faithful friend was injured, she didn't want to leave him in someone's care even though doing so would be the one chance for everyone to survive. However, she started hearing God's guiding voice again and decided to follow His instructions and laws, no matter the cost. She falls in love with someone who helps her as he admires her courage and can see both her inner and outer beauty. They agonize that, no matter what happens, they could never marry. (After building these obstacles up so high, I would have liked it if the author had taken a little more time to resolve them rather than basically dismissing them at the very end.)

Overall, I enjoyed the story, but the characters did some things that I don't think would have been allowed in that culture. For example, Moriyah's Egyptian father married a woman from Judah but was given some land in Ephraim for a special reason. Then a man from Naphtali was told he'd inherit this land when her father died if he would marry Moriyah. The Bible makes a strong point that the land should remain with (owned by someone of) the tribe that inherited that territory, so I can't imagine the elders allowing this. Also, since her potential husband will live on and eventually inherit land several days journey away, this isn't a very desirable deal for him (though they act like it is). I can't understand why the author didn't just make the man from Ephraim! I had similar doubts about several aspects of the trial and what happened after it. Unfortunately, I found this distracting from the good insights (mercy, atonement) the author brought out.

There was no bad language or sex scenes. Overall, I'd recommend this exciting novel.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers

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The Masterpiece
by Francine Rivers


ISBN-13: 9781496407900
Hardback: 512 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publisher
Released: Feb. 6, 2018

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description from Goodreads:
New York Times bestselling author Francine Rivers returns to her romance roots with this unexpected and redemptive love story, a probing tale that reminds us that mercy can shape even the most broken among us into an imperfect yet stunning masterpiece.

A successful LA artist, Roman Velasco appears to have everything he could possibly want―money, women, fame. Only Grace Moore, his reluctant, newly hired personal assistant, knows how little he truly has. The demons of Roman’s past seem to echo through the halls of his empty mansion and out across his breathtaking Topanga Canyon view. But Grace doesn’t know how her boss secretly wrestles with those demons: by tagging buildings as the Bird, a notorious but unidentified graffiti artist―an alter ego that could destroy his career and land him in prison.

Like Roman, Grace is wrestling with ghosts and secrets of her own. After a disastrous marriage threw her life completely off course, she vowed never to let love steal her dreams again. But as she gets to know the enigmatic man behind the reputation, it’s as if the jagged pieces of both of their pasts slowly begin to fit together . . . until something so unexpected happens that it changes the course of their relationship―and both their lives―forever.


My Review:
The Masterpiece is Christian general fiction, though there is a romance in it as well. The two main characters had childhoods full of violence and fear, and we get a series of flashbacks about critical points in their past. Both lost their parents by the time they were seven. Both have put up walls to prevent caring about someone who may abandon them.

Grace has found healing and forgiveness in Christ but still hasn't forgiven herself for her bad decisions. And she still has to deal with the consequences of those bad decisions. Roman scoffs at her belief in God until he has a near death experience of hell. But recognizing that the supernatural exists is not the same as surrendering your life to Jesus.

The main characters acted realistically, and I cared about what happened to them. They didn't have an easy road to travel. The author learned about graffiti art in order to vividly describe Roman's passion for it. The bad language was conveyed using a "he cussed" style rather than the actual bad words. There were no graphic sex scenes. Overall, I would recommend this excellent novel.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Sunday, February 11, 2018

Kill Shot by Susan Sleeman

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Kill Shot
by Susan Sleeman


ISBN-13: 9781455596492
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: FaithWords
Released: Feb. 6, 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
As the ballistics and weapon's expert for the FBI's special task force nicknamed the White Knights, Rick Cannon has known the Department of Defense was developing self-steering bullets. Rick feared these smart bullets--which have one hundred percent accuracy that can turn even a novice into a lethal sniper--would eventually end up in the hands of the wrong people. But since the ammunition was still in the development stage, he figured they had plenty of time before that happened. He was wrong. Dead wrong.

When a homeless vet is killed with a smart bullet, it's clear that the ammunition has been stolen, and the Knights are called in to find the thief and stop the killings. But they aren't the only ones desperate to find the killer. Therapist Olivia Dobbs is well known for her success in counseling military veterans with PTSD. When she discovers one of her clients moments after he is murdered, she becomes both the FBI's prime witness, and suspect.

Despite the mutual attraction that immediately sparks between them, Rick can't--no he won't--let Olivia interfere with his investigation. But when the sniper trains his rifle on her, Rick must recall all the skills he learned as a Marine sniper to make sure the next bullet fired isn't a kill shot that takes Olivia out.


My Review:
Kill Shot is a Christian romantic suspense novel. It's the second book in a series, but you can understand this book without reading the previous one as each focuses on a different couple. This story did not spoil the previous novel.

Olivia may have seen the serial killer and knew several of his victims, so the FBI team questioned and suspected her. But when someone targets her, they keep her with the team so they can protect her. This provided a chance for the hero and heroine to get to know each other. Both had dysfunctional family relationships, and they motivated each other to deal with this. Rick dealt with forgiveness and trust issues while Olivia struggled with how her family used and manipulated her. Both felt that they needed to deal with these issues before they could make a romantic relationship work, though they were attracted to each other.

The suspense came from the bad guy hunting down and killing certain people and the worry that the weapon might be sold to another country. I rolled my eyes when, near the end, the heroine took a BABY out in a car to calm her down when she knows she's a target. Putting a baby in potential danger because you don't want her to cry? Seriously? Except for that bit, the twisty story line of who took the bullets and why was an interesting, exciting read. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this exciting suspense novel.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Seven Dead by J Jefferson Farjeon

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Seven Dead
by J Jefferson Farjeon


ISBN-13: 9781464209086
Paperback
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Released: Feb. 6, 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description from NetGalley:
Ted Lyte, amateur thief, has chosen an isolated house by the coast for his first robbery. But Haven House is no ordinary country home. While hunting for silverware to steal, Ted stumbles upon a locked room containing seven dead bodies. Detective Inspector Kendall takes on the case with the help of passing yachtsman Thomas Hazeldean. The search for the house's absent owners brings Hazeldean across the Channel to Boulogne, where he finds more than one motive to stay and investigate.


My Review:
Seven Dead is a mystery set in England and was originally printed in 1939. Detective Inspector Kendall was observant and quickly worked out what had happened. The question wasn't so much whodunit but rather who the dead people were and why the murderer had killed them. I enjoyed following Kendall's finding of the clues and working out what they meant.

A journalist happened to see the thief leaving the house and so got to see the crime scene. He became enamored with a girl in a painting, and he traveled to talk with her in France before Kendall arrived. Whole conversations were in French. We're given a sense of what was said, but most mysteries don't use quite that much untranslated French. As whodunit was also there, the journalist was in danger. Answers were found in the end, though whodunit's ending was a bit unusual.

There was no sex. There was some bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting mystery/suspense.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Strongheart by Candace Fleming

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Strongheart
by Candace Fleming


ISBN-13: 9781101934104
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade Books
Released: Feb. 6, 2018

Source: ARC review copy from the publisher through Amazon Vine.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
For fans of Balto and other real-life dog stories, here's a heavily illustrated middle-grade novel about a canine movie star of the 1920s, dramatically told in both words and pictures by an acclaimed author and a Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator.

When movie director Larry Trimble travels to Berlin searching for his next big star--a dog!--he finds Etzel, a fierce, highly trained three-year-old German shepherd police dog. Larry sees past the snarls and growls and brings Etzel back to Hollywood, where he is renamed Strongheart. Along with screenwriter Jane Murfin, Larry grooms his protege to be a star of the silver screen--and he succeeds, starting with Strongheart's first film, The Love Master, which is released in 1921. Strongheart is soon joined by a leading lady, a German shepherd named Lady Julie, and becomes a sensation. But when Strongheart is accused of attacking a girl, he must prove his innocence--and it will take his best acting skills to do so.

Touching, charming, playful, and based on real events, this moving tale by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Eric Rohmann tells all about "the wonder dog" who took America by storm.


My Review:
Strongheart is an illustrated middle-grade novel based on the true story of a movie star dog. We follow Strongheart's life from when he was chosen to be a police dog as a puppy, to his being chosen to be a movie dog and his learning how to play again, to the filming of two of his movies: The Silent Call (1921) and The Love Master (1924), to incidents that happened on publicity tours. The author took information that is known about Strongheart and used that information (while filling in the unknown details with fiction) or made it more dramatic (like the trial at the end that is based on an incident that never went to trial according to her end notes). There were cute illustrations of Strongheart's life mixed in with the text. Overall, I'd recommend this quick, fun read, especially to dog lovers.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Friday, February 2, 2018

High Treason by DiAnn Mills

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High Treason
by DiAnn Mills


ISBN-13: 9781496410993
Trade Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Tyndale
Released: Feb. 6, 2018

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
When Saudi Prince Omar bin Talal visits Houston to seek cancer treatment for his mother, an attempt on his life puts all agencies on high alert. FBI Special Agent Kord Davidson is the lead on the prince's protective detail because of their long-standing friendship, but he's surprised--and none too happy--when the CIA brings one of their operatives, Monica Alden, in on the task force after the assassination attempt.

Kord and Monica must quickly put aside interagency squabbles, however, when they learn the prince has additional motives for his visit--plans to promote stronger ties with the US and encourage economic growth and westernization in his own country. Plans that could easily incite a number of suspects both in the US and in countries hostile to Saudi Arabia. Worse yet, the would-be assassin always seems to be one step ahead of them, implicating someone close to the prince--or the investigation. But who would be willing to commit high treason, and can Kord and Monica stop them in time?


My Review:
High Treason is a Christian romantic suspense. It's the third in a series, but it works as a stand-alone. This story didn't spoil events in the previous books.

The main characters were likable and interesting. Monica had to earn the respect of the Saudi men that she needed to work with while trying to discover if any of them had betrayed the prince. She also had to work through her trust issues with men (due to a previous partner manipulating and betraying her). Kord was friends with their top suspects, so he had difficulty really suspecting any of them. There were few clues for them to work with at first, but more came to light as more assassination attempts were made. They followed up on those leads. The suspense came from the physical danger involved in being a body guard trying to thwart a determined assassin.

Monica was a Christian, but she struggled to forgive herself for not stopping that crooked, manipulative previous partner before so many people were hurt by him. Kord was uncertain which religion was the correct one and questioned why a good God would allow so much suffering. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable suspense novel.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.