Monday, January 25, 2016

The First Hostage- Joel C. Rosenberg

My Rating: 4 Stars

Description: “The president of the United States . . . is missing.”

With these words, New York Times journalist J. B. Collins, reporting from the scene of a devastating attack by ISIS terrorists in Amman, Jordan, puts the entire world on high alert. The leaders of Israel and Palestine are critically injured, Jordan’s king is fighting for his life, and the U.S. president is missing and presumed captured.

As the U.S. government faces a constitutional crisis and Jordan battles for its very existence, Collins must do his best to keep the world informed while working to convince the FBI that his stories are not responsible for the terror attack on the Jordanian capital. And ISIS still has chemical weapons . . .

Struggling to clear his name, Collins and the Secret Service try frantically to locate and rescue the leader of the free world before ISIS’s threats become a catastrophic reality.

My Thoughts:  Normally I do not read this sort of book, preferring my fantasy and historical novels. But since this story was set in Amman, I decided to give it a try after spending the summer in Jordan last year. This made it a lot of fun to read about King Abdullah, after seeing pictures of the royal family in nearly every business I had visited there.

The First Hostage is an intense, fast paced story about terrorism and the efforts of political leaders toward world peace. It was gripping and engaging (so much so that I was almost late to work a couple times because of reading it). I am certainly glad that I decided to give it a try.

The one detractor from the story was J.B. himself. For most of the first half of the book, I had forgotten he was the narrator all together because he interjected his own opinion so infrequently. Then, because I had forgotten about him, I was slightly irritated when the story took the time to catch back up with his life instead of continuing with the unfolding drama in Amman. It was not until the last quarter of the book that his character really shown and I found myself caring about what happened to him.

This story has certainly made me excited to read more books by Rosenberg and I hope to find more like this in the future.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Broken Things to Mend- Tour and Giveaway

Broken Things (1)

My Rating: 4 Stars


***This book is part of the Power of the Matchmaker series that features one recurring character—the match maker—but it is a STAND-ALONE novel.***

Celia is in desperate need of a change--a change of scenery, a change of pace, and a complete redo of all relationships. Not knowing what else to do, she opens a map, closes her eyes, and lets fate decide her future. Then she packs her meager belongings and buys a one-way ticket to a little town on the fringes of Oregon's Deschutes National Forest called Sisters. She's wanted a family for years. Will she find one in Sisters?

What Celia doesn't plan to find is a strange Chinese woman whose meddling ways keep throwing her in the path of a handsome, but reserved, forest ranger. But no matter how kind or dependable Silas seems to be, there are some things in Celia's past that neither of them can escape, and this time, the damage might be too much to mend.

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed Broken Things to Mend. While I don't think that the writing was quite as good as in the series prequel short story, it was still a well written love story. Celia and Silas are two broken people who find solace and contentment together. I loved their relationship and found them to be perfect for each other. I'm not even sure that I can express just how happy I was to see them get their happy ending.

There were somethings that did bother me. A couple times the story seemed to head-hop, and Silas' Aunt Nancy was a busybody who needed to butt-out. As well, the matchmaker, who is supposed to connect all the stories together, seemed out of place as she was the only fantasy element to the story. While I understood that she was there to connect the books, I felt that the story could have been stronger without her character.

I'm really looking forward to the next book in the series. Though it is written by a different author, I am hopeful that it will be just as good.

I received this book through I'm a Reader, Not a Writer in exchange for an honest review.

Karey White Author Karey White: Karey White grew up in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Missouri. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Her first novel, Gifted, was a Whitney Award Finalist. She loves to travel, read, bake treats, and spend time with family and friends. She and her husband are the parents of four great children. She teaches summer creative writing courses to young people and is currently working on her next book.

   Blog Tour Giveaway - $50 Amazon Gift Card or $50 in Paypal Cash Ends 2/2/16 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Monday, January 11, 2016

A Time to Speak- Nadine Brandes

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Descriptions: What happens when you live longer than you wanted to?

Parvin Blackwater wanted to die, but now she’s being called to be a leader. The only problem is, no one wants to follow.

The Council is using Jude’s Clock-matching invention to force “new-and-improved” Clocks on the public. Those who can’t afford one are packed into boxcars like cattle and used for the Council’s purposes. Parvin and Solomon team up to rescue the people. Instead, they find themselves on a cargo ship of Radicals headed out to sea. What will the Council do to them? And why are people suddenly dying before their Clocks have zeroed-out?

My Thoughts: A Time to Speak is even better than the first book, A Time to Die, which many of us can surely agree does not often happen in the middle book of a series. Yet I found this world far easier to digest and understand, with a good portion of the story taking place in Unity Village instead of an environment and culture that I am completely unfamiliar with. While A Time to Die was engaging, A Time to Speak was relatable.

When Parvin hears God telling her to SPEAK, I felt a true connection to her predicament and the knowledge that she should do something that she is terrified off. I felt for her every time she had to ask God to give her courage, to make her rely on him so much that she wasn't afraid to speak.

I was very tempted to give this 5 stars, though after thinking about it decided that I could not say I found the book perfect. This was mostly because of Frenchie and Madam's characters, two individuals whose real names Parvin never seemed inclined to learn even though they have a lot of scene time. Both characters are supposed to be French and Nadine chose to show this by altering the spelling of words they said to reflect pronunciation rather than speech patterns. While not a glaring problem, it still irritated me to the point where I wished those characters had not existed.

Even with my dislike of Frenchie and Madam, I absolutely loved A Time to Speak and now cannot wait for A Time to Rise. This is one of the few books I have purchased recently and it was well worth it.

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Wedding Chapel- Rachel Hauck

My Rating: 3 Stars

Description: An old, forgotten chapel holds the key to love and forgiveness.

Retired hall-of-fame football coach Jimmy Westbrook never imagined anything would come of his labor of love—building a wedding chapel for Collette Greer, the woman he fell in love with in 1949. But now a realtor wants the land the chapel sits on, and he sees no reason to hang onto the past.

Photographer Taylor Branson is trying to make a life for herself in New York. Leaving her hometown of Heart’s Bend, Tennessee, she put a lot of things behind her, including her family’s string of failed marriages. When she falls head-over-heels for Jack Gillingham, a top ad man, their whirlwind romance and elopement leave her with doubts. Jack, while genuine in his love for Taylor, can never seem to find the right way to show her he really cares.

When a post-mortem letter from Taylor’s Granny Peg shows up, along with an old photo, she is driven to uncover family secrets and the secret to her own happiness, starting with an assignment to photograph an unknown, obscure wedding chapel back in Heart’s Bend.

Taylor begins a mission to convince Jimmy that the chapel is worth saving—and that forgiveness and healing might happen within the chapel’s walls . . . for both of them.

My Thoughts: The Wedding Chapel is written well, with gripping emotions and settings, yet I found myself more frustrated by the story than drawn into it. All four of the point of view characters suffer from character flaws and past hurts that keep them from fully trusting anyone, including the one they love most. While I understand the realism to this brokenness and the tendency to not say the things we know we should because we fear the consequences, I still found myself getting angry at characters who I was probably meant to sympathize with.

This alone would not have frustrated me as much had the story been told in chronological order instead of present day and flashbacks. Through the book, I would find myself finally setting into a scene and becoming fully engaged, when it would suddenly end and the story would shift in time, leaving the last story line behind.

There is not much I can actually say is *wrong* with The Wedding Chapel, only that it was not the story for me. The characters were well written and the story interesting, but I didn't like the number of flashbacks or the characters' continued fear of letting anyone in to the point that none of the characters had any real confidants. I'm certain that there will be those who absolutely adore this story, however it was not that way for me. This is the type of story that relys very heavily on the emotions of the reader and their connection with the characters rather than outside conflict. If you enjoy those internal struggles, then I would suggest this book to you.

I received this book through Fiction Guild in exchange for an honest review.