Thursday, October 23, 2014

Playing Saint


Title:  Playing Saint
Author:  Zachary Bartels
Pages:  352
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
Let me introduce to you a new author with a knockout work of fiction…Zachary Bartels!  Playing Saint is not just an outstanding piece of work, but the message really is relevant for today.  I was glued to the pages until the very end due to the ingenious placing of more twists and turns of the plot than expected.  With each twist and turn of the plot, the tension ramped up and before the end characters’ revelations kept me turning the pages with eagerness to read the finale.
The story is a mystery with spiritual overtones as the killer leaves a “calling card” that looks like an object, but is it really what it appears?  While trying to capture the person responsible for these murders another killer seems to be on the loose that draws figures on the bodies before leaving the scene.  To help solve the cases the police ask a pastor, who is on the rise to stardom with a growing flock, to join their team as a consultant.  Before too long the pastor’s life is endangered, but what really strikes Pastor Saint is what is revealed about his true spiritual life.
When I read the synopsis of the book, I was captivated and desired to read it as soon as possible.  What I read defies description.  The story is captivating and the plot truly brilliant.  I haven’t read anything of this nature in a long time.  There are spiritual themes, mystery, flashbacks and characters that may not be what they appear to be or are they?  After the audience is done reading, there is a note from the author that will truly drive home the main theme of Playing Saint.  All I can say is that I will be watching this author closely in hopes that in the near future he will write another outstanding piece of work that will be on my shelf to read again and again.
My rating is 5+ stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
 Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457


The Other Side of Darkness


Title:  The Other Side of Darkness
Author:  Linda Wood Rondeau
Pages:  323
Year:  2011
Publisher:  Harbourlight Books
Samantha Knowles is a prosecutor in the Special Victims Unit in Manhattan.  She has been working on one particular case for over three years and has finally succeeded in getting the criminal sentenced to jail for life.  However, her victory is short-lived.  Her boss forces her to take a vacation away from the case because he fears she has become obsessed with it.  On the way to her vacation destination, Sam has an accident that will change the course of her life.  She ends up in the small town of Haven where she is welcomed with open arms.  She still thinks about the case a lot, sleeps with the lights on, when she can get any sleep and eats very little.  She can’t wait to get back to work, but is continually put off by her boss.  She knows something is going on with the case, but trusts that her boss will do what is right as he is handling the case now.
Sam delves into the history of the town, specifically the Gladstone family.  She meets Jonathon Gladstone, a famous artist.  They snarl at one another one minute and then kiss the next.  She also has feelings for Zack, teacher at the local school.  She draws both men closer, but then pushes them away.  She is confused about what she feels for each man.  She is also faced with her broken relationship with God.  Her past abusive relationship with her father also plays a huge role in her life whether she admits it or not.  Something keeps drawing her to stay in Haven, but what about her big case?  Complications develop with it and the criminal has threatened Sam.  Will her life ever settle down?
I enjoyed the legal thriller/suspense aspect of this story and the way Sam’s relationship with God evolved throughout the story.  Her best friend Justine was too preachy and judgmental in my opinion.  I thought Zack and Jonathon were good romantic interests for Sam, although the ending left me a little unsatisfied.  All three of these characters are lost in their own way and struggling through life.  The faith aspect was well-woven into the story without being “in your face”.
My rating is 4 stars.

Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Promise to Protect


Title:  A Promise to Protect (Logan Point #2)
Author:  Patricia Bradley
Pages:  331
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Revell
Ben Logan has been made acting sheriff after his father, the elected sheriff, is shot in the line of duty and then suffers a stroke, leaving him unable to perform his job.  Ben had wanted to be a U.S. Marshal, but has decided that he belongs in Logan Point and that he wants to be sheriff permanently.  He still suffers occasional panic attacks around some children sometimes when he has flashbacks of the day Tommy Ray drowned while Ben was in charge of the scout pack.  Ben hasn’t let go of the guilt of this tragedy even though it happened three years ago.  Most people tell him it was an accident and that he did everything he could to save the teen, but Ben runs into the boy’s father sometimes and he never lets Ben forget his culpability in Tommy Ray’s death.  Now, his old girlfriend from ten years ago has returned to town and he begins to wonder what happened to kill their romance.  He also watches as her brother dies in his arms after being shot by an unknown assailant.  He has distanced himself from God, using work as an excuse.  Can Ben get his life back on track with God and solve the case?
Leigh Somerall has returned to Logan Point to fulfill the terms of a loan agreement that allowed her to finish medical school.  She must stay for a year and then she is free to leave.  She has moved with her son during the summer and hopes she can avoid Ben Logan at all costs.  She lives with her brother until she receives notification of his murder.  Who would want to kill him?  She is forced to deal with Ben now on a daily basis as he promised her brother he would protect her.  After a series of increasingly dangerous attempts on Leigh’s life (or is it Ben’s life?), Leigh has a tough decision to make for her future as well as that of her son.  Can she trust Ben not to let her down like she thinks he did ten years ago?
There is action, humor, love, tension and drama in this suspenseful mystery.  I thought the plot easy to follows and the pages kept turning quickly as I wanted to find out who was responsible for all the difficulties happening to Leigh and Ben.  I was a little put off by Leigh’s character at the beginning as she had a chip on her shoulder, but as the story progressed I began to like her more and more.  I’m looking forward to the next book in this suspense series.  This is one you won’t want to miss!
My rating is 4 stars.

Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Destiny by Don Brown


Title:  Destiny
Author:  Don Brown   http://donbrownbooks.com/
Pages:  462
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Mountainview Books
Three men, three countries and many readers will get to journey and discover what holds them all together.  As I read, I couldn’t imagine the many families who lived through the beginning of WWII.  For me, the novel brings to the forefront the many lives affected during the war, along with afterwards.  Walter is mailman in a small town and recently married when the war is brought to the shores of the United States on December 7th by the Japanese.  Heinrick is a married man with two young girls who works at a factory in Germany when he joins a group who seeks revenge for the assignation of a government official.  Darwin is a young man who longs to be an actor and wants to simply enjoy the pleasures of the stage and success.
The action takes place on several continents and readers get to follow the journey of these three young men.  Never did these three young men ever think their lives would take the course they have due to the war.  It also brings them to a place where they consider their eternal destination as battle rages around them along with seeing death constantly stare them in the face.
Now, on the eve of the Normandy Invasion, each character is very aware that death may truly await them, so they place their thoughts on paper.  Will these last words change the hearts or minds of not just their comrades, but more so the enemy they are fighting against?  Part of the tale focuses on their families they leave at home and how they try to deal with the fear they may never see their loved ones again.  How do the wives keep going while raising children without worrying constantly about their loved ones?
The audience will truly fall in love with each story these characters share.  At times, readers will get a glimpse of how a particular character is thinking or feeling, which brings a point of view to the story that otherwise wouldn’t be revealed.  I loved how Walter works through or talks through the issues of his heart or his thoughts.  I believe the author makes these characters leap off the page by the description of the scene set for the characters to act out.  I lost myself very easily in the fictional tale mainly because it seemed so real or at the very least a possible way of an outcome to a problem.
Don’t miss reading Destiny as it is the prequel to the Jag novel series written by Don Brown!  Very well done!
My rating is 5+ stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457