Sunday, June 30, 2013

Unpardonable Objective by James T. and Cynthia A. Runyon



Title:  The Unpardonable Objective (The Blackwell Chronicles #1)
Author:  James T. and Cynthia A. Runyon
Pages:  295
Year:  2011
Publisher:  WestBow Press
                Unpardonable as defined by Webster’s means not to be forgiven.  There are characters in this story to which this word can be applied for what appear to be vastly different reasons.  Is there anything that can’t be forgiven?  The plot is part adventure, part action and part futuristic with other themes also present.  The setting is Washington D.C. and ancient Israel.
                Hudson Blackwell is a Christian, husband, father and Secret Service Agent.  He is training for a top-secret mission involving technology that will change the world.  The doctor of physics who created this technology has just committed suicide the day before this technology was going to be unveiled to top-level government officials and a few scientists.  Agent Blackwell finds it hard to believe the doctor would kill himself at this point in his life.  As he begins to investigate, he discovers the doctor was murdered.  He also discovers the identity of the assassin and proceeds to track him down.  As he locates the assassin in the lab where the doctor’s time machine awaits final testing, the assassin escapes into the machine and into the past.  Agent Blackwell learns of another target of the assassin and recruits Dr. Todd Meyers, a well-known archeologist and professor of ancient studies as well as a Christian, to help guide Hudson on their journey into the past to stop the assassin before he takes out his target.
                Agent Blackwell and Dr. Meyers survive being shot at, time travel, attempts on their lives, crawling through tunnels, culture shock and much more in their attempt to foil the assassin.  Along the way, these two form a strong bond as Christian brothers intent on accomplishing their mission, but more importantly glorifying God.  They must rely on Him to provide for them as circumstances force them to leave behind their bag of resources to help them in their new time.  One chapter in particular brings these brothers to their knees and brought tears to my eyes while reading it…very emotional.
                I don’t want to tell readers the time travel destination as it might give away some of the plot.  The story is full of action, turns and twists in the plot, faith under extreme pressure and so much more.  There is also someone behind the scenes, who has trained and paid the assassin for this specific journey.  Who is it?  What is their agenda?  The conclusion is open-ended and will leave you wanting more.  The next book in the series is titled, The Terminal Inception.  I can’t wait to see what Hudson’s next adventure will be!  This one was pure adrenaline and shouldn’t be missed!
My rating is 5 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

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Quarryman's Bride by Tracie Peterson



Title:  The Quarryman’s Bride (Land of Shining Water #2)
Author:  Tracie Peterson
Pages:  331
Year:  2013
Publisher:  Bethany House Publishers
                This is the second book in Tracie Peterson’s Land of Shining Water series.  Although these books can be read as stand-alone books, some people like to read things in order.  The first book in the series is titled, The Icecutter’s Daughter.  This story is again set in Minnesota in the late 1890s.
                Emmalyne Knox has fallen prey to tradition.  She was set to be married at the age of 17 to Tavin MacLachlan, but her father decides to follow tradition.  The tradition is that the youngest daughter gives up any thoughts of a life of her own to take care of her aging mother and father.  Due to the recent deaths of Emmalyne’s two younger sisters, she is now the youngest.  She loves Tavin and he begs her to elope, defying tradition and her father’s word.  Emmalyne refuses to dishonor and disobey her father and in effect God as God tells us in the Bible to obey our mother and father so that our days may be long.  Their engagement is cancelled and the Knox family moves to Minneapolis.
                Eleven years later, the Knox family finds themselves back in St. Cloud.  Emmalyne’s father is so full of anger and bitterness she realizes she doesn’t love him.  She prays to God to give her the ability to love her father and to show him this love.  She also prays for her father to return to the God he once worshiped.  Her mother, after 11 years, has finally come out of her deep melancholy.  Emmalyne finally has help around the house.  For the last 11 years, Emmalyne has done everything and been treated like a servant.  Now, her mother is better and trusting the Lord; her faith renewed.  They both pray for her father to experience this same renewal.
                Tavin has returned to St. Cloud to help out his family.  His sister is mentally unstable with two young sons.  His mother has been caring for them plus taking care of his father and the household.  She is at the point of collapse.  Tavin wants to avoid Emmalyne at all costs.  He still loves her, but knowing they can never be together hurts so much.  Tavin is angry and bitter at himself, Emmalyne and especially her father.  He has not been on speaking terms with God for quite some time.  He wonders if Emmalyne still loves him.  What is the point, however, as they can never be together, right?
                This is a story of hope, love and perseverance.  In the trials of life, where do we gain strength?  If we try to make changes of our own making or keep going in our own strength, we will fail.  Only God can sustain or change a heart.  There is much hurt, anger and bitterness that has festered for 11 years among most of the main characters in this story.  How they deal with this is interesting and how God works in the situation is remarkable.  This is a heart-warming and feel-good romance about earthly and Godly relationships.  The next book in the series, The Miner’s Lady, is due to be released in September 2013, and I hope to review that book as well.  I’m looking forward to another good story!
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

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Icecutters Daughter




Title:  The Icecutter’s Daughter (The Land of the Shining Waters)
Author:  Tracie Peterson
Pages:  352
Year:  2013
Publisher:  Bethany
                The Icecutter’s Daughter begins a new series for Tracie Peterson entitled “The Land of Shining Water.”  The second book in the series, The Quarryman’s Bride, will be reviewed here in the next few days, while the third book, The Miner’s Lady, is due to be released this September.  The setting for the first book is 1896 in Minnesota.
                Merrill Krause is a 20-year-old female, living with her father and four brothers on a farm.  Their business is raising Belgian horses and cutting ice from the surrounding lakes to ship south to keep the southerners drinks cold.  She dresses in trousers and is a wonderful cook.  She promised to take care of her father and brothers to her mother as she was dying when Merrill was only 10 years old.  Merrill does all the household chores, takes care of the horses and helps harvest the ice.  She has despaired of ever marrying and having her own family, but soon those thoughts will change with the advent of a newcomer to town.  Merrill’s father also realizes she needs to find a husband and start a life of her own.  Help is hired on the farm and Merrill begins a part-time job painting designs on furniture at the local furniture shop.  There she meets Rurik Jorgenson and falls in love with him.  There is one problem though; Rurik is engaged to someone else.  Merrill keeps her feelings to herself.
                Rurik Jorgenson’s uncle has a successful furniture making business, but his health is very poor.  He writes to Rurik to come and help him in his business, so Rurik agrees.  He leaves behind his best friend, who had been counting on Rurik to stay in town and go into business with him.  He also leaves his best friend’s sister, his betrothed behind.  However, before leaving he tries to suggest the two need time apart to be sure they are really right for each other.  His betrothed wants to marry before he leaves, but Rurik refuses.  She then becomes angry and breaks the betrothal before he leaves Kansas for Minnesota.  Rurik feels relief and realizes that is the best thing for both of them.  He arrives in Minnesota, begins working with his uncle and meets Merrill.  He soon falls in love with her, but before he can declare himself, his best friend and former betrothed arrive in Minnesota with no plans to go back to Kansas.  His ex-fiancĂ©e refuses to accept that their betrothal is over and creates a scandal of epic proportions in the small town.  Circumstances look grim for Rurik and Merrill as the face potential hurdle after hurdle in their romance.
                I enjoyed the family loyalty aspect of this story.  The protection of Merrill’s brothers toward their sister is something not seen as often today and something I founding endearing in the story.  Merrill and Rurik both had their trust in the Lord put to the test in a situation that quickly got out of hand…something most of us can relate to.  They both have doubts, but in the end, their strong faith taught to them and modeled by their parents stands the test of trials.  This made me remember I must stand firm in my faith and when trouble comes as we are told in Scripture to expect, continue to stand firm.  The plot contains an excellent lesson in telling the truth and the consequences for lying.  A great example of a God-honoring relationship between Merrill and Rurik is also portrayed.  I’m going to keep this for future generations to read about His faithfulness and love for His children.
                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

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Place to Belong




Title:  A Place to Belong (Wild West Wind)
Author:  Lauraine Snelling
Pages:  384
Year:  2013
Publisher:  Bethany
                Valley of Dreams and Whispers in the Wind are the first and second novels in the Wild West Wind series.  Here, readers get to read the third installment of the series with Cassie Lockwood as the main female character in A Place to Belong.  At one time, Cassie belonged to a traveling Wild West show with her parents and many other people, including her father’s partner Jason Talbot.  Now, Cassie has found the place her father long desired to retire to since he became half-owner of the Bar E ranch.
                In one night, Cassie loses all her personal affects when riders descend on her small cabin, firing shots and the setting ablaze her wagon.  The one remaining link and treasure from her parents is lost, and Cassie is wounded.  Now, she can no longer travel nor work on her trick riding or shooting skills until her arm heals.  In the meantime, she begins to learn what it takes to make a home, cook meals and run a ranch.  At one point, Cassie is all set to be married when the unexpected happens, and though disappointed she realizes something was missing in the relationship with Lucas…love.
                Cassie is feeling like she still must earn her way even as part owner of the ranch, but she has no clue how to do any jobs.  From milking a cow to baking bread, the one thing Cassie wants above all is a home.  Not just any home, but one filled with the love of the Lord as well as a loving husband.  Will Cassie see the delight of her heart become a reality?  Read this novel to find out all the action, adventure and conclusion to the dreams of Cassie Lockwood.
                I really enjoyed reading this novel as the theme about family and the acceptance of so many different people made it special.  The conglomerate of various people, differing in ages, backgrounds and personalities keeps the story engaging.  I also thought the characters having faith and some not so sure about their faith was a real reflection on real living.  It was interesting too that the author gives readers introspective moments into some of the thoughts and internal wrestling some players were going though.
                One can appreciate the simple pleasure of sitting back and getting lost in a romantic, adventure-filled story.  As I was reading, the scenes were changing between city life and ranch life, showing the contrasting lifestyles and changes that were occurring in both places but in different ways.  The author, I believe, highlights the impact a mother with faith can have, balanced with giving room for her grown kids to make their way.  The mother figure is an example of how mothers can be prayer warriors and receive strength by reading the Bible and then, in turn, being a conduit to share her knowledge and faith with others.
                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, June 25, 2013

Second Time Around




Title:  Second Time Around (Lewis Legacy #2)
Author:  Joann Durgin
Pages:  258
Year:  2011
Publisher:  Torn Veil Books
                Second Time Around continues the story begun in Joann Durgin’s first book titled, Awakening.  This story focuses on newlyweds Natalie and Marc Thompson.  Readers were introduced to Natalie in book one at a TeamWork mission in Texas.  This book is a continuation of her story, but mainly told from the point of view of her husband.  Most of the characters from book one make an appearance in this story as well.
                Marc and Natalie are the proud owners of a 100-year-old house they are renovating when the unthinkable happens…Natalie steps on an old stair in the basement plunging headlong onto the cement floor.  As a result of her fall, Natalie strikes her head and bruises her brain, causing amnesia.  She has no memory of her relationship with Marc.  At first, Marc is angry with God for giving him the perfect wife for two short months and then in essence taking her away from him.  Marc is a fairly new Christian of about three years’ duration.  He didn’t grow up in a Christian home and a godly marriage between his parents was certainly not modeled.  He feels like he is in a boxing match with God and refuses to give up his control of the situation.  He will make Natalie remember him.
                In an effort to help her regain some of her memories, Marc contacts Sam and Lexa Lewis who are in charge of a district of TeamWork, a missions ministry.  Marc and Natalie agree to a two-week mission in Montana where Marc hopes to get his wife back in his life permanently.  Marc discovers along the way that he isn’t in control of this situation.  Can he surrender complete control to God?  Marc doesn’t know if he can survive without Natalie.  He feels she makes him a better man.  He at first thinks, “What if God doesn’t heal her and takes her away from him?”  Will Natalie ever remember him and her love for him?  What will he do if she doesn’t?
                Throughout the story, readers see Marc make huge strides in his walk with God, which is wonderful to read about.  He truly becomes a strong man of God.  The length he goes to in order to show Natalie his love and devotion to her is heartwarming and endearing.  Joann writes an entertaining story filled with deep emotions between husband and wife as well as between God and his children.  Readers will see God glorified, trusted and obeyed and how He is the center of life.  The romance continues in the third book in the series titled, Twin Hearts.  I recommend this contemporary romance.
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