Book Review | The Switch by Joseph Finder

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This was a fun and fast-paced novel! Michael Tanner went through LAX airport and unfortunately after the TSA check, picked up the wrong laptop.  No big deal, right?  Just switch back with the original owner.  However, the original owner is Susan Robbins, a US Senator with some very confidential information on her laptop, with password protection, encryption… oh, and a sticky note with the password written on it inside of the laptop case!  When Will Abbott realizes his mistake, he is frantic to get it back!

Abbott, the chief of staff, is in charge of retrieving the laptop, and there is definitely an intense need to get the laptop back. What exactly is on it that people will die to protect? You’ll have to read to find out.

Tanner’s life turns upside down as Abbott sends people after him and he goes on the run. I thought the story was easy to follow, I loved the suspense and Tanner is a likable character. There are some extreme moments and I love how the author kept the pace fast. If you like government fiction, grab this!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Penguin Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and I appreciate the opportunity to receive an advanced reader copy to do so. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

Book Review | The Unexplainable Church by Erica Wiggenhorn

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The Unexplainable Church is incredible! It’s a ten-week study, or fifty-day journey into the book of Acts, starting in chapter 13 and continuing through 28. Wiggenhorn’s first Acts study is called An Unexplainable Life and focuses on Acts 1-12.

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Erica begins the study with a divine invitation for us to listen to the Holy Spirit. He calls in Acts 13:2, to “Separate yourself for the special work I have planned for you.” And from there, we chronologically work through the rest of Acts. I found the workbook format to be easy to read, each section is timely spaced, and engaging for groups or individual study. I liked the detailed questions and areas to reflect. I would highly recommend it for groups or individual believers who are looking for a deeper study that makes you think, makes you dig deeper into God’s Word and ignites a greater understanding of the Holy Spirit’s insistence on the urgency to share the truth of the Gospel.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Moody Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and I appreciate the opportunity to receive an advanced reader copy to do so. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review | Daring to Hope: Finding God’s Goodness in the Broken by Katie Davis Majors

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BOOK NOW AVAILABLE!  ON SALE AS OF OCTOBER 3, 2017! GET YOUR COPY NOW!

Katie Majors is the author of “Kisses from Katie” and the founder of Amazima Ministries in Uganda.  She adopted 13 girls and made them a family.  And her second book details her life in Uganda, heartache when children are taken away to live with biological parents, friends and loved ones die from disease, and endings don’t go as planned.  I don’t want to share any details, simply because I wouldn’t do them justice.

I grabbed a box of tissues and curled up on the couch, only to weep, read her words and have my heart break with her.  But her story isn’t all sadness and despair.  Her words of truth in describing death and pain draw us nearer to our Heavenly Father and point us to Jesus and the hope that HE is for us.  You just have to read it for yourself.  Allow your heart to break, to hear the Lord’s voice, to see the Lord move and to find a renewed sense of faith in Him.

I am grateful to be a part of Katie’s launch team as she publishes her second book, brings awareness to another part of our world we’d much rather not focus on, and shares the pursuit of hope.  Thank you to Waterbrook/ Multnomah for the Advanced Reader Copy and the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.  Keep Katie on your list for future publications.  Her eloquence and wisdom is necessary for today’s journey with Jesus.

Book Review | Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber

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Whoa…talk about suspense!  Twins who grew up together shared a very sad secret for years, but it looks like it has finally caught up to them.  Josie and Lanie’s father was murdered, and a man has been in prison for over ten years, due to Lanie’s eyewitness account.  But when a woman who runs a podcast begins to question if the right person is serving time, it shakes the remaining family members to the core.  Did Lanie tell the truth?  If she didn’t, who killed their father?

The sad truth too, is that Josie, unable to trust her twin, moved away after the murder and has no relationship with her sister.  When their mother, who had run off to join a cult commits suicide, they are brought together to unravel the lies, determine the truth and shut down the suspicion of the podcast following.  Their interactions are believable (I have a sister) and I was able to relate to Josie very easily.

I loved the book, enjoyed the characters and appreciated the outcome.  Very well written first book!  I would gladly read another book by Kathleen Barber.

Thank you to NetGalley, Gallery, Threshold and Pocket Books for the advanced reader copy and the opportunity to read and review this book honestly.  It is a privilege and an honor.

Book Review | The Devil’s Work by Mark Edwards (and I mean, THE Mark Edwards)

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Oh, how I love Mark Edwards’ suspense novels!!  This one did not disappoint!  Sophie Greenwood is the main character who finally begins her dream job at a publishing firm, only to realize after she is hired that she has a connection with an employee’s family member.  She keeps it secret, thinking it has nothing to do with her current position, but as she begins to work there as a replacement for another employee who went missing, she begins to see that things aren’t exactly what they seem.  Workers seem to be keeping tabs on each other, a dear friend gets beaten up almost to the point of death, and she ends up getting locked in the building one night working late.

The story is told well through her perspective, and to give insight into what is really happening, it jumps back to her past which shares a lot of detail, but still keeps you guessing until the end. I had some ideas of who was behind a few of the events, but I only got one of them right!  And I don’t know about any other readers, but I couldn’t help thinking how I wanted to search the whole publishing firm building myself!

Bonus: As someone who has read multiple thriller novels by this author, I loved his nod to the draft of “The Devil’s Work” that the publishing company was reading and editing, as well as the reference to the neighbors, Lucy and Chris from his book “The Magpies”.  And he included a magpie in this book.  It felt like an inside joke between the author and his loyal fan base. 🙂

If you love suspense and reading about workplace craziness, this is a book anyone can relate to, and will keep you on the edge of your seat.  Highly recommend!

Thank you to NetGalley, Mark Edwards and Thomas & Mercer for the advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest review.  I will definitely read another book from this author and am anxiously awaiting it.

Book Review | The Girl Before by JP Delaney

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Cannot wait to see how the movie directed by Ron Howard turns out! This book was definitely psychological! From the very picky architect who “screens” applicants to stay in his intricately-detailed home in London to the quirky applicants themselves who take the chance to live there, this book was quite a ride.

Edward Monkford has specific (and I mean, specific) ideas for the tenants who reside in his pristine home, and only after the applicant meets the requirements is SHE allowed to stay. At the beginning of the novel, I thought it was odd at first, but as I read on, the reasons why he has such high standards begins to unfold, and to say that the owner of the home is narcissistic is an understatement.

The story jumps back and forth between Jane who lives in the home now, and Emma, who lived there before, hence the title. Similarities begin to emerge in their personalities, and interactions between the owner and others who notice the women living in the home begin to shed light on what is really happening inside of the four walls. I loved the suspense and the ending. I was annoyed with Jane at some points, because her strength seems to get stripped away as the book moves forward, however it is essential to the plot line. Some of it was predictable, but some of it wasn’t, and to me, that makes for a fun read! I would read from this author again.

Thank you to NetGalley, JP Delaney and the Random House Publishing for the opportunity to read this advanced reader copy.

Book Review | To Have and To Hold (Autumn Love Stories) by Betsy St. Amant, Katie Ganshert, and Becky Wade

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‘Tis the season for pumpkins, spice, leaves falling, love in the air!

First and foremost, thank you to the authors for allowing me to be an “influencer” of these novellas. These were quick reads, but with amazing depth.  Each story was rich with romance, uncertainty in how to reach out to love, silly faux pas that ensued with each of the believable main characters, humble lessons learned and believable end results! It was the first time I’d read from each of the three authors, but I would definitely read them again.

In each of the three stories, I could see myself, a woman who has been scorned once before, but is ready to accept fault and try again. And each of the characters developed nicely throughout their stories. I loved these and recommend these to any reader who loves Hallmark movies. These stories could easily fall into those feel good, happy ending scenarios!

Book Review | Subject 375 (or The Spider in the Corner of the Room) by Nikki Owen

 

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Dr. Maria Martinez is being accused of murdering a priest, and is awaiting trial in prison while the details get figured out.  Sadly, she has no recollection of the event.  She also has Asperger’s and is incredibly intelligent.  While in prison, she meets with a few therapists and others who try to help her determine what really happened the night the priest was murdered.  Could she really have killed him and then forgotten about it?  Did she commit the murder, or is she being set up?  And if so, by whom?  Who is Subject 375?

This story moves around quite a bit, as it jumps from present to Maria’s early childhood and back again.  And sometimes it seems as if her “memories” may have been fabricated.  She questions everything and everyone so often, you wonder midway through the book if she has a type of paranoia or some other type of mental illness.  The characters she encounters are well-defined.  Some relationships seem strained, but the reasons for people distancing themselves from Maria is explained later in the book.  I enjoyed the suspense and recommend it for anyone else who does, especially when it’s a trilogy, with two more books to come.  Can’t wait to see how this unfolds!

I would like to thank NetGalley and Blackstone Audio for the opportunity to receive an advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest review.  It’s my privilege and honor to do so.

Book Review | The Domino Effect by Davis Bunn

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I loved this book!!  It follows the story of Esther who is a high risk analyst at a very high profile bank.  Her ability to see trends and decipher some kind of pattern in her bank’s behavior alerts her that something heavy will affect the stock market and result in a 2008 mirror effect of today’s economy.  She goes to her bosses with her urgent intel, only to find out that they have an escape plan for what’s coming, and she’s not part of it.

Among the constant urgency that can be felt throughout the book are two additional subplots: one is that her brother was in a very tragic accident that left him in a nursing home and she is the only survivor in her family to take care of him.  Due to his dependency on her, she is forced to deal with some painful memories from their childhood.  And in addition to visiting him on a regular basis, she also meets a man who has quite an effect on her, and helps her learn to let go of some things and to love again.

I enjoyed the overall story line, even though I’ll admit, some of the banking and economical words were over my head.  But even for a layperson reading this novel (hoping it’s not prophetic!), it’s a simple read with depth page after page.  I would definitely read another book by this author.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Baker Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and I appreciate the opportunity to receive an advanced reader copy to do so. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review | Eight Twenty Eight: When Love Didn’t Give Up by Larissa Murphy

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Eight Twenty Eight was a very easy, yet emotional read.

Larissa Murphy writes a first-person account of meeting a young man and falling in love with hopes of a picture perfect wedding, only to have those dreams shattered when her new love survives a very tragic accident that changes both of their lives forever.  She writes deeply about the love that she has for him which was maintained during learning what it’s like to live with someone who can’t do things by themselves anymore.

Ian and Larissa, both young Christians, demonstrate intense faith amidst great tragedy.  Much of what is in the book comes from Larissa’s journals during that time, and she struggles very candidly with whether or not she has the level of love needed to continue the new relationship with Ian.  Trust in God becomes a new trial and she questions God’s grace and purpose in all of it.  But with a renewed sense of who she is and who God is making Ian, she pushes forward to care for, live with and pursue a relationship, and ultimately a marriage with the man she knows God had in mind for her.

It’s beautiful how she writes through the pain, allows us to see the heartache, and the hunger for God during her questioning, struggles and uncertainty.  With raw emotion, she details exchanges between herself and Ian’s family, friends and others whom she encounters.  And she’s not afraid to admit her anger during her grief.  I enjoyed this book a lot and shed many tears through its pages.

The flow of the story was disjointed at times, and I believe it was because her emotions were the focus of the story and not a chronological timeline.  It’s still understandable, but that would be my only con.  Other than that, a great read about faith being strengthened, relationships growing and grace persevering.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through B&H Publishing and NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and I appreciate the opportunity to receive an advanced reader copy to do so. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”