Thursday, August 5, 2021

Ambush Valley

 

Title:  Ambush Valley (The Last Gunfighter #17)

Author:  William W Johnstone & J. A. Johnstone

E-book:  289

Year:  2012

Publisher:  Pinnacle Books

My rating:  5 out of 5 stars

Frank Morgan is still the marshal in Buckskin as he has been for six months since going there to seek the man responsible for Vivian Browning’s murder.  As the story starts, all is quiet for the town and for Frank; no man has come to test his mettle against Frank for a while now.  All that is about to change when the stage comes rolling in, and the folks that are on it are what starts the action!  For whom else could get the attention of Frank Morgan as quickly as his son Conrad and his wife Rebel showing up unannounced.  From there, Frank’s quiet life becomes not only noisy but very deadly too when Frank ends up in prison!

The story and action never stop once the reader opens the book!  I have read The Loner series, whose main character is Conrad Browning, as well as the previous books in this series.  The father-son relationship is not a normal one as it’s complicated and fluid.  Conrad doesn’t much care for Frank, but he respects him, and he needs him.  Frank knows the way of the western frontier where Conrad is more comfortable in the East.  However, Conrad needs Frank because a gang of ruthless men not only stole money; they took lives.  Frank’s grit will be needed when the only way to find out where the outlaws hid the money is to go to prison.

Here is another page-turning western adventure that is entertaining as well as exciting!  Expect few quiet lulls in the pages.  The air is filled with gun smoke as there are many adversaries on the frontier and that sometimes makes for unusual partners in order to survive!

Visit the authors’ website to view all the wonderful stories just waiting for readers: https://williamjohnstonebooks.com

Note:  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Jewel of the Nile

 

Title:  Jewel of the Nile

Author:  Tessa Afshar

Pages:  432

Year:  2021

Publisher:  Tyndale

My rating is 4 out of 5 stars.

The setting is ancient Cush and Rome.  The author does a great job of putting the reader in the setting with her descriptive details of scenery, clothing, food, etc.  I could smell the spices in the spice shop where Chariline met with her long-time friend from the queen’s court to play chess or just talk. She longs to feel loved as her grandparents, especially her grandfather, barely tolerate her.  Her mother died while giving birth to Chariline and she has been told that her father is dead.  However, she overhears a conversation between her grandparents that lets her know that her father is alive.

She will stop at nothing to find out who her father is and where he is.  Her only clue leads her to make a decision to travel to Rome, but how?  She is a young, single woman with no money.  She stows away on a merchant ship of a man who dines with her family.  Once discovered, she is too far from home to turn the ship around, so the captain agrees to take her to Rome.

Theo loves being at sea.  His ship is his home away from home.  His discovery of a young woman onboard and her quest leads him to offer to help her.  She is a beautiful woman and shouldn’t be traveling or searching alone.  Theo is a God follower as is Charline, and their faith in dire circumstances will be heavily relied upon as attempts are made on Chariline’s life.  Who could possibly want to kill her?

This author does a wonderful job of making her characters come to life.  Their emotions are easily to identify with and experience right along with the characters.  This isn’t a light piece of fiction to just pass the time with.  There are some heavy subjects brought up, and I enjoyed seeing how the characters reacted.  Here is another interesting historical fiction novel from a fabulous author.

Note:  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

The Whole Truth

 

Title:  The Whole Truth (A. Shaw Book #1)

Author:  David Baldacci

Pages:  496

Year:  2019

Publisher:  Grand Central Publishing 

My rating:  5 out of 5 stars.

The main character in the series is a man whose life depends on his abilities to adapt to every changing situation; his name is A. Shaw.  Shaw works for an agency that isn’t revealed in the novel, and he is sent on many missions.  As I read the story, slowly the author revealed the character’s family history as well as his hopes for a less lonely future.

Throughout the book, Shaw is battling against those who desire to bring mayhem at any expense to all.  As the tale progresses, Shaw wants to live his life with a woman who is intelligent, strong, and loving.  Shaw hasn’t revealed much of his past or present to her, then slowly he begins to unravel for her his complicated existence.

Katie James is a journalist who has known success and now knows what rock bottom looks like due to alcohol.  When she inadvertently runs into Shaw, she thinks she has hit on a much brighter future.  What she does not see is the danger that will become part of her life.  The author slowly reveals Katie’s background, including what happened that led to her downfall.

The Whole Truth is a spell-binding novel of danger and intrigue, with many twists in the plot.  While I figured out what was going to happen in the book, I can say that I didn’t see it happening the way it did. The author is a master at surprising his readers.  I look forward to reading the second book in the series, Deliver Us From Evil.  I hope the author plans on resurrecting this series soon as it is very entertaining!

Note:  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.

Monday, August 2, 2021

First Steps in Messianic Jewish Prayer

 

Title:  First Steps in Messianic Jewish Prayer

Author:  Aaron Eby

Pages:  168

Year:  2014

Publisher:  First Fruits of Zion

My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.

For the last couple of years, I have been studying the Jewish faith with a messianic perspective in order to learn how Christianity was birthed.  I have read several books, but not one on messianic prayer until this one.  This author does a wonderful job of guiding the reader through the daily prayer services observed by Jews, some of the texts that are used and how Gentiles may participate, if appropriate.

As I am not Jewish, I appreciated the easy to read and understand writing as well as the historical and cultural aspects of Judaism.  I was fascinated to learn about prayer alone, in groups, at home, or in a communal effort.  I never really understood corporate prayer with its prepared prayers, but now I am approaching it in an all-new manner.  The author goes into some detail, but not exhaustive, on the importance of some essential prayers of Judaism and Christianity from a messianic view.  The last chapter is on prayers and blessings with these printed in English as well as Hebrew with instructions on how and when to pray these prayers.

I found that there is much I still have to learn about this particular subject, but that I have made a small step in beginning to understand messianic Jewish prayer.  This book can be used as a small group study or in individual study.  It offers a lot of information and is a helpful guide to a changed and richer prayer life.  Thank you, Aaron Eby and First Fruits of Zion for publishing this wonderful book that teaches prayer and praises that glorify God.

Note:  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

The Jensen Dynasty

 

Title:  The Jensen Dynasty (Omnibus: 3 Books in 1)

Author: William W Johnstone & J. A. Johnstone

Pages: 631

Year: 2021

Publisher: Kensington

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars                  

Note: The book is available through SAMS club or from the author website at https://williamjohnstonebooks.com/product/the-jensen-dynasty-the-journey-begins-3-books-in-1/

 

The Jensen Dynasty hardback novel gathers three well known and beloved characters from Johnstone country and puts them together for readers enjoyment!  There is Smoke Jensen: The BeginningMatt Jensen: The Last Mountain Man and Luke Jensen: Bounty Hunter.

Book 1: Smoke Jensen: The Beginning

It portrays how serious Smoke took to taking care of the farm, his mother and sister when his brother and father left to join the fight. I enjoyed learning how Smoke met Preacher who taught him how to live off the land and how to survive the ruggedness of life on the frontier. As I read, it was interesting to read the beginnings of Sally Reynolds, who also is a main character in the Smoke Jensen series as well as other novels by Johnstone.
Whether you’re well-versed in the Smoke Jensen novels or you’re new to Johnstone tales, this book is one not to miss. There is so much to this character and all the various adventures he has, the other characters he meets, and places he travels that readers could be engaged in the West for days! 

 

Book 2: Matt Jensen: The Last Mountain Man

Matt is a man now on a mission, vengeance to those who took what was his. He has a moral compass and doesn’t take life just because he can. He knows that with the ability to use a gun comes the responsibility to use it to protect life. In the novel, Matt is a young man who must bring the killers who stole from him to justice. The main villain sends out many dangerous men in the hopes that he never sees Matt.
When the two meet, the ending is quite fascinating. I have read other Johnstone novels with Matt Jensen as part of the story, so it was great to go back to Matt’s beginning and learn more about how he came to be a Jensen. 

 

Book 3: Luke Jensen: Bounty Hunter

Luke is the oldest son of the Jensen family.  He has no idea whether his parents survived the war in Missouri, nor does he know the whereabouts of his brother Kirby or sister Jane.  After the war, he drifts for a while when he meets strangers on a cold night at a “saloon”, which will turn out to change the direction of Luke’s future.

I enjoyed reading the novel as I learned Luke’s history and past experiences.  The story starts out with Luke in a present-day firefight with men he is seeking to bring to justice.  Then, readers are taken back into what has happened to Luke.  Then, the story thrusts them to the present day to reveal the outcome of Luke’s predicament.

Note:  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.

 

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Yours Truly Thomas

 

Title:  Yours Truly, Thomas

Author:  Rachel Fordham

Pages:  320

Year:  2019

Publisher:  Revell

My rating is 4 out of 5 stars.

Penny Ercanbeck is a young woman working at the Dead Letter Office in Washington, DC.  She was once a wealthy young woman but has fallen on hard financial times after the untimely death of her father.  Now, she must work to support herself and her mother.  Her mother is still in denial about their financial and social standing and longs to return to the high society that she once was part of.  Penny reads a letter that touches her heart so much that she begins collecting all the letters from this particular sender.  She worries about the state of his mind and heart as he is grieving so much.  When faced with a difficult decision about her future, Penny decides to travel to Azure Springs, Iowa, to take time to explore her options and check on Thomas, the letter writer.

Thomas initially feels stuck in Azure Springs, Iowa.  He had been planning on heading west for a fresh start in life after tragedy in Alexandria, Virginia.  His wagon broke down, and he now awaits a replacement.  While waiting, this small community welcomes him with open arms.  He decides to buy a farm and see how things go.  He begins to feel like this might be home, and when Penny arrives, she captures his heart.  However, is he worthy of her due to his past actions?

What a sweet love story!  Penny’s antics with her dog, Honeysuckle, made me chuckle.  My favorite character though was Margaret, the owner of the boardinghouse.  She told things like they were without garnish, but she had a heart of gold and a romantic streak of her own.  She dispensed wise advice and wisdom to Penny and Thomas.  Enjoy this western romance set in beautiful Azure Springs, Iowa in the year 1883.  You won’t regret this trip to the past!

Note:  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Aftermath

 

Title:  Aftermath

Author:  Terri Blackstock

Pages:  336

Year:  2021

Publisher:  Thomas Nelson

My rating is 4 out of 5 stars.

Taylor Reid went out with her two best friends to hear their favorite musical group play at a political rally.  They aren’t interested in the politician, just in having a good time.  She never thought that before the night was over, her life would be turned upside down.  She has battled OCD but has been managing it.  In the aftermath of tonight, that issue will come to the forefront.  She seeks justice and will go to extreme lengths to achieve it.

Dustin Webb is an Army veteran who owns his own business with a former Army buddy, Travis.  He has had some troubles in the past, beginning with his aunt.  She took him in when his parents were killed.  Dustin wasn’t like her own children and the two of them clashed constantly.  She still barely tolerates him.  His only real friend growing up was a young girl, Jamie, who lived next door.  They have since fallen out of touch.  He has been arrested on false charges according to him, but the authorities have physical proof of his guilt.  He calls the only person he can think of who can help him…Jamie.

Jamie Powell is a defense attorney.  When she receives the call from Dustin, her thoughts turn to the past and how he always protected her and was there for her.  She immediately accepts his case.  She is able to get Dustin released into her custody and the race is on to discover who framed him and why.  Along the way, she discovers that Dustin has always had romantic feelings for her but stepped aside as she married another man.  Now, as Jamie spends time getting reacquainted with Dustin, she discovers her own budding feelings for him.  The court of public opinion already has him tried and convicted.  Can she discover the truth before he is sent to prison?

There is plenty of non-stop action and suspense in this novel.  The story is told from the point of view of four characters.  The chapters are short, keeping the reading at a quick pace.  The plot is fairly predictable, but I still enjoyed experiencing the thrills of getting to the end.  The author shows readers the different ways some might react to a terrible event.  I would have liked to see more faith evident in the lives of the characters and their dependence on God.

Note:  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.