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A Brush with the Beast by Richard Sones

I really liked this book. I had never reviewed anything by Richard Sones but a Brush with the Beast is a great read. Writing this review took me at least an additional week because I could not get a handle on how to explain the style and evolution of the story. I like how the book is produced; the white pages give the book a nice look and feel.

When I started reading it, I was unsure if I was going to like it, I felt like the writing was a bit bland, almost cut and dry. For example, the only reason you know this is taking part after the rapture of the church is one small sentence. Then a bit further in there is a major attack on the US oil supply and there is not a lot of details about the aftermath or total chaos this would inflict on us, and then I finally understood the cadence of Richard’s writing style and realized that the character development and interactions was his major focus.

The three main characters in this book are masterfully developed. There is Nick Gooseberry, a very wealth and successful business owner who will literally sell his soul to the devil to get relief from excruciating back pain. Then you have Fayeed Mujammed a radicalized Muslim extremist, as known as Fanak (the fox) a nickname given to him for his prowess against the Americans. Last there is Sarah Johnson; she is a down and out drug addict that has been busted for selling drugs (a true set up of a crime). While incarcerated she becomes a born again Christian, and is pregnant.

The characters in this book get woven together with a very intricate plot line that is so well laid out that by the time you get 3/4 of the way through you don’t want the story to end and you realize that it won’t, this is just the first book in a series. If this first book is any indication then the remaining series is really going to be good. There is a strong Christian message of salvation and redemption.

I was given this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Not My Favorite Lauraine Snelling Novel

The Promise of Dawn is the first book in the new series Under Northern Skies by Lauraine Snelling. It starts back in Norway with Gunlaud Strand Carlson. You may remember her from the Red River of the North series, she was Ingeborg’s cousin. A letter is delivered to the Carlson’s home asking one of Gunlaud’s sons, Rune if he would like the opportunity to come to America and help with a logging endeavor. Einar and Gerd Strand (another of Gunglaud’s cousins) will pay the passage for Rune, his wife and three sons.

The passage to America is especially hard for Rune’s wife, Signe as she is pregnant and her mother was adamantly opposed to them migrating to America. Once they arrive to Blackduck, Minnesota life becomes very rough to the Carlson’s. Gert is very sick and bed ridden and both she and Einar are very hateful, rude and downright ungrateful for anything this family attempts to do for them.

The plot of the story brings these families closer but not really close, I can honestly say that this is my least favorite Lauraine Snelling novel. Usually when Lauraine begins a new series the characters are well developed, you get to really know them and what makes them tick. I did not get that in this series, Einar is just a horrible man and there is no explanation as to why he might be this way and he has zero redemptive qualities.

Rune and Signe take way more verbal abuse than anyone should ever tolerate, even after they have worked off their passage. There is a Christian message, however not as prominent as they usually are in Lauraine’s novels. So for me, I can only give this book three stars and I won’t be looking or anticipating then next book in this series.

I was given this book by NetGalley for my honest opinion.

 

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A Return to Cedar Cove

The fourth book in Cynthia Ulmer’s, The Cedar Cove Chronicles is a good one! The tile character Trudy is one that you find in the first book for a brief moment, her story begins with a brutal domestic violence ridden marriage to Mark Gideon. Trudy has finally found the courage to escape a loveless violent marriage once the violence escalates and now includes her son.

The story brings you back to Cedar Cove and all of your favorite characters. As Trudy reunites with her family and begins to heal from the emotional and physical wounds inflicted on her she begins to find herself attracted to the first book’s main character, Todd. The feeling is mutual but they both understand that the relationship cannot proceed until Trudy is able to divorce Mark, and he cannot be found.

Once her husband Mark realizes that he has been left, he begins to search for her and as he realizes he has no control over the situation any more, he begins to slip mentally into paranoia and delusions. It’s always “fun” to see a character start to lose connection with reality and in this case, it could not happen to a nicer guy.

Through a series of events, Mark finds himself working with Bob who has recently moved from Cedar Cove after he and Nancy broke up. As they become friends Mark finds out that Trudy is now in Cedar Cove and makes his way there, so he can give her a good beating and collect the money he feels his father-in-law owes him, because he married his daughter.

Violence follows with Mark and he ends up trying to rob her father and this ends with Mark shooting him in the process. Now the race is on to find Mark before he can find Trudy. There are several twists that you won’t see coming and this especially includes the ending (no spoilers here!)

The novel does a great job of furthering the characters and I like the plot line. My only complaint is I thought there was a little too much attention given to Bob and Nancy, several times I wanted to reach in and shake Bob, I also felt Mark’s mental disintegration could have been a few pages shorter.

This book was given to me by the author Cynthia Ulmer for my honest review.

 

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Beloved Hope by Tracie Peterson

Hope Flanagan has seen complete horrors that no one should ever witness. In this novel by Tracie Peterson, Beloved Hope, you see the continuation of her new series, Heart of the Frontier. In this book the focus is on Hope and the horrific ordeal she went through in the first novel. It begins by letting you know that those responsible for the rapes and murders have been arrested and are now standing trial for their crimes.

Hope is terrified that she will need to testify against Tomahas because she has worked very hard to bury those memories by raising her sheep and developing a cliental for her hand spun yarn and now all those memories are resurfacing. Lieutenant Lance Kenner is ready to leave his military service and begin a new life back in Louisiana, however before his service is up, he is ordered to take care of the Indian prisoners during the trial to make sure that they are treated humanely.

During the trial Hope decides to take justice into her own hands and this is where she and Lance meet, in the jail cell with Hope pointing a gun at Tomahas. The story then starts with their friendship and grows into love. Tracie does a good job of growing the characters from the first novel. She also expertly handles the tension between the Indians and the new settlers very well and covers this difficult time in American history fairly.

I like the book, though there are some rough subject matters but they are covered in a very proper way with no over the top violence needed. There is a strong message of restoring faith and reconnecting to God.


This book was given to me by Netgalley for my honest opinion.

 

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Without Warning by Joel Rosenberg

Without Warning by Joel Rosenberg

Wow! What an ending to a series! If you have never read a book from Joel, I would highly recommend this series. When you read the story line its like Joel has actually sat in on intelligence meetings at the highest level. He completely understands what radical Islamic extremism is and what groups like ISIS ultimate goals are.

This is the third book in the J.B. Collins series and you must read the first two books (The Third Target and The First Hostage) in order to understand what is happening and keep all of the characters straight. I must say that I love the story line and all of the supporting characters. This book does have violence and death but it done in a very realistic way.

You will not believe the ending, however I began to wonder about the fifth to last chapter about how Joel was going to wrap it up and then when you realize exactly how its going to end you can not read fast enough to see if its true (I said as much as I can without spoiling it!). I highly recommend this entire series its a fictional read that seems like it came straight out of the local news.

This book was given to me in Ebook format by Netgalley for my honest review.

 

 

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Alternating Perspectives of the Same Tragedy, If Only by T.K. Chapin

If Only, by author T.K. Chapin, is a well written story about a family torn apart by a very ugly divorce and the aftermath that follows. This book is written from both the mother’s, Elizabeth and her daughter Lilly’s point of view, with each chapter alternating view points. There are some very tough subjects covered in this book including kidnapping and teenage pregnancy.

However, they are handled well and done with a message of hope and forgiveness.
As with all of the books written by T.K. the characters are well developed and with this one, I never saw the ending coming. My only disappointment was that the book wrapped up very quickly after such good development of the storyline. The book is an easy read and has a strong Christian message throughout.

This book was given to me through the Kindle Scout program by Amazon for my honest opinion.

 

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Treasured Grace By Tracie Peterson

Treasured Grace is the newest novel by Tracie Peterson and is set in the 1840’s when Americans were moving and settling out west. This novel is a little different from many of Tracie’s previous work, there is still a strong message of faith but this story has more violence and takes on a very tough part of our American history.

With that being said, the violence is not overly graphic but along with touching on the trouble between settling Americans and the local Indian tribes, there is also the fact that many of the women in this story are sexually assaulted and raped. As with any of Tracie’s novels, this one has characters that are very well developed and there is a strong story line.

The main character, Grace is a young women moving west with her new missionary husband. This marriage was a marriage of mutual convenience, not a marriage of love. However, on the trip west he comes down with cholera and does not survive.

Grace has been trained by her mother and grandmother in the art of midwifery and the use of natural herbal healing remedies, she is able to use these remedies to help both the locals at the missionary and some of the surrounding local Indians as she and her sisters wait to travel to meet her Uncle. During her stay she meets a trapper, Alex and slowly a romantic relationship begins.

I enjoyed the story even though it tackled a lot of very tough subject matters but it was done using faith and with a Christian message.


This book was given to be by Netgalley for my honest opinion.

 

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