Saturday, May 8, 2021

To Save a King by Rachel Hauck Blog Tour and Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  To Save A King

Author: Rachel Hauck

Genre: Christian Royal Romance

Release date: May 8, 2021

A modern-day fairytale of rescue and hope from NYT bestselling author Rachel Hauck

Growing up in small town Hearts Bend, Tennessee, Gemma Stone had big dreams. So she headed to Hollywood to make her mark in the world.

But dreams have a way of becoming nightmares. When she returns home twelve years later, she’s limping through life and harboring a dark secret.

Running a rescue ranch and raising her friends’ orphaned daughter is her sole mission now. All the while she’s well aware these defenseless ones are also rescuing her.

HRH Crown Prince John has learned a royal title cannot shield him from heartbreak. He had the perfect life as heir to the revered House of Blue, the royal dynasty of Lauchtenland, and married the love of his life. Then tragedy changed everything. Is there any way to be saved from a life of grief?

When he finds himself in Hearts Bend on a mission for his mother, Queen Catherine, he catches up with a good friend–country music great Buck Mathews. He has no intention of joining the 4th of July fun until he’s cajoled into a three-legged race with the beautiful Gemma Stone.

The disastrous race leads to a quick friendship. They are easy and comfortable around one another because love is absolutely not an option.

John desperately wants to hold onto the memories of his wife while Gemma refuses to trust her heart to any man. Even a prince.

When trouble in Lauchtenland calls the prince home, he realizes how much Gemma has rescued him. Saved him and restored his hope for his role as future king.

For Gemma, falling in love with the prince must be quenched. If it weren’t for her past, she’d give him her heart in a second. How could she risk bringing her shame to the House of Blue and the world stage?

However, she’s not the only one who can rescue and heal the wound. If she saved Prince John, why can’t he save her? And when he tries, will she have the courage to say yes to the best role of her life?

“Another compelling royal story by the master of princely tales!”  Susan May Warren, USA Today bestselling, RITA award-winning novelist

Click here to get your copy!

 My Review

We are never too old for a fairy tale and Hauck has given us an entertaining one. The characters are engaging. We root for Prince John, hoping he will take a chance on love again after the tragic loss of the wife he loved so dearly. We root for Gemma, hoping she will find love when she feels one mistake too many has forever ruined her chance for future happiness.

Hauck has included a few life lessons in the story. One is the distinction between our identity and our essence. Another is that God can use even our most terrible decisions for good. And there are some fun fairy tale characters included, like Emmanuel, so much like Jesus, and a quirky angel of princesses.

Yes, there are lots of loose ends and unanswered questions at the end of this novel. But then, this is a fairy tale and we believe everyone will live happily ever after, even when that seems to go against any reasonable future.

This is a good novel for readers who enjoy a modern day fairy tale of forgiveness, restoration, and unlikely love.

This is the second novel in a series but reads well on its own. You can read my review of the first in the series, To Love a Prince.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

 

About the Author

Rachel Hauck is an award winning, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author.

She is a double RITA finalist, and a Christy and Carol Award Winner. Her book, Once Upon A Prince, first in the Royal Wedding Series, was filmed for an Original Hallmark movie. Three more of her titles are under film contract.

Rachel was awarded the prestigious Career Achievement Award for her body of original work by Romantic Times Book Reviews.

A retired member of the American Christian Fiction Writers Executive Board, she teaches workshops and leads worship at the annual conference. She is a past Mentor of The Year.

In the real world, she’s a wife, writer, worship leader and works out at the gym semi-enthusiastically.

A graduate of Ohio State University (Go Bucks!) with a degree in Journalism, she’s a former sorority girl and a devoted Ohio State football fan. Her bucket list is to stand on the sidelines with Ryan Day.

She lives in sunny central Florida with her husband and ornery cat.

More from Rachel

One of the biggest challenges in a series is keeping the reader interested. Even more of a challenge is writing in a trope like royals.

I never set out to write a second royal series. With five stories in the Royal Wedding Series, I thought I’d explored the topic to my satisfactions.

Yet when readers asked for more, and when I found myself in a season to produce my own stories, another royal series seemed like the perfect fit.

But can I be honest? Really honest? Come close. I’ll tell you a secret. Closer…

Royals can be a bit boring. At least to write. You laugh but I’m serious.

What do we really know of their day to day lives? They attend national functions, patron charities, represent the nation on walkabouts around the world. They are ambassadors with no real political agenda. They champion causes.

But what exactly do they do with their days? What are the inner workings of palace life? What are the real expectations? Do they call the queen “her majesty” when talking among themselves? When talking to her? Are they as formal as it seems on television?

Yet royals are the most documented people in history. So there is a lot to glean from when I make up my worlds.

But at the end of it all, they key for me in writing royal characters is to make them real, everyday people. The prince is the kind of chap you want to chat with over tea. The heroine is the sort of girl you’d love to see become a princess. Maybe even see a bit of yourself in her.

In To Save A King, Crown Prince John is trying to emerge for a year of grief. Gemma Stone is desperate to escape her past.

Gemma’s story has some what of an edge to it. In her attempt to achieve her goals, she walked a path she never thought she’d walk when she was a girl growing up in Hearts Bend, Tennessee. And it proved her undoing.

While we may have never faced a past like Gemma’s, we can all relate to personal betrayal of our values from gossip to immorality. I hope Gemma’s story reminds us the nearness of love and forgiveness.

On a lighter side, I recently learned British society has moved away from chap and bloke, replacing it with the American term “guy.” Isn’t that funny. Louise Lee, my narrator, said it was funny to read those words in To Love A Prince since there were more her parents’ generation. Ah, the signs of a more global society.

Well, I didn’t care if they have gone out of style for young people. I used them anyway. I like them. Maybe we should adopt “chap” and “bloke” over here. What do you say, guys?

I hope you enjoy To Save A King, book two in the True Blue Royal series and find your heart cheering on broken, wounded characters to a happily ever after worthy of a prince and princess.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 8

Godly Book Reviews, May 8

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 8

Britt Reads Fiction, May 9

Debbie's Dusty Deliberations, May 9

Blogging With Carol, May 9

Worthy2Read, May 9

For Him and My Family, May 10

Genesis 5020, May 10

The Book Chic Blog, May 10

CarpeDiem, May 10

Because I said so -- and other adventures in Parenting, May 11

Hebrews 12 Endurance, May 11

Splashes of Joy, May 11

Cultivating Us, May 11

Texas Book-aholic, May 12

Just Writing, May 12

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, May 12

Kayem Reads, May 12

Blossoms and Blessings, May 13

Betti Mace, May 13

Inklings and notions, May 13

deb's Book Review, May 14

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, May 14

Inside the Wong Mind, May 14

Moments, May 14

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 15

Rachael's Inkwell, May 15

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 15

Connect in Fiction, May 15

The Christian Fiction Girl, May 16

Kathleen's Blog, May 16

Remembrancy, May 16

Mary Hake, May 16

Where Faith and Books Meet, May 17

She Lives To Read, May 17

Wishful Endings, May 17

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, May 18

Back Porch Reads, May 18

All-of-a-kind Mom, May 18

Livin’ Lit, May 18

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, May 19

Simple Harvest Reads, May 19 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Bizwings Blog, May 19

Mamma Loves Books, May 19

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 20

By The Book, May 20

The Sacred Line, May 20

Daysong Reflections, May 20

Through the fire blogs, May 21

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 21

Artistic Nobody, May 21 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)


Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away the grand prize of a Kindle Fire!!
*May be different than one pictured.

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10bb0/to-save-a-king-celebration-tour-giveaway

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)


Friday, May 7, 2021

No Ocean Too Wide by Carrie Turansky

About the Book:

Between the years of 1869 to 1939 more than 100,000 poor British children were sent across the ocean to Canada with the promise of a better life. Those who took them in to work as farm laborers or household servants were told they were orphans – but was that the truth?

After the tragic loss of their father, the McAlister family is living at the edge of the poorhouse in London in 1908, leaving their mother to scrape by for her three younger children, while the oldest daughter, Laura, works on a large estate more than an hour away. When Edna McAlister falls gravely ill and is hospitalized, twins Katie and Garth and eaight-year-old Grace are forced into an orphans' home before Laura is notified about her family's unfortunate turn of events in London. With hundreds of British children sent on ships to Canada, whether truly orphans or not, Laura knows she must act quickly. But finding her siblings and taking care of her family may cost her everything.

Andrew Fraser, a wealthy young British lawyer and heir to the estate where Laura is in service, discovers that his common practice of finding new homes for penniless children might not be all that it seems. Together Laura and Andrew form an unlikely partnership. Will they arrive in time? Will their friendship blossom into something more?

Inspired by true events, this moving novel follows Laura as she seeks to reunite her family and her siblings who, in their darkest hours, must cling to the words from Isaiah: “Fear thou not, for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am they God.”

You can watch the book trailer here.

My Review:

This is an engaging novel based on historical events. I was appalled that overseers in homes for orphaned children in England had the right to gather children for just about any reason. In the story Turansky tells, it was because their mother was temporarily sick. I was also appalled that the children could be sent to Canada without their parent's permission. (206) That was well portrayed in this novel too.

We readers get a vivid idea of how this handling of children could go terribly wrong. Turansky does a good job of showing how some children are brought into homes in Canada and horribly mistreated. Sensitive readers might have trouble reading about some of that treatment. Turansky also paints a clear picture of the social levels in England at the time, especially on the sea voyage to Canada. The travel accommodations for first class passengers was certainly different than those of the emigrating children.

This is a good book for readers who like a novel based on historical events, especially dealing with how penniless children were treated. Turansky's writing style is good and her characters engaging. Readers who liked Orphan Train or Before We Were Yours will like this one.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author:

Carrie Turansky is an award-winning author of more than twenty novels and novellas. She has won the ACFW Carol Award, the Holt Medallion, and the International Digital Award. She loved traveling to England to research her latest Edwardian novels, including No Ocean Too Wide, Across the Blue, and the Edwardian Brides series. Her novels have received starred reviews from Library Journal. They have also been translated into several languages and enjoyed by readers around the world. You can find out more at http://carrieturansky.com/.

Multnomah, 364 pages.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Status-6 by W Craig Reed Blog Tour and Giveaway

STATUS-6

by W. Craig Reed

May 1 - 31, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:

Deep beneath the Arctic Ocean, a covert team of Chinese operatives uses stolen U.S. technology to capture Russia’s newest attack submarine. Loaded with 100-megaton nuclear torpedoes, the sub is headed west. The Americans want to sink her, the Russians want her back, and the Chinese claim they’re not responsible.

NCIS agent Jon Shay is a former SEAL Team Two operator. Still shattered by the murder of his wife a year earlier, he places the barrel of a revolver against his temple, spins the cylinder, and squeezes the trigger. He hears only a click—and the chime of his phone. Activated for a mission in the Arctic, Jon pairs with British scientist Kate Barrett to battle a ticking clock, trained operatives, and top government officials. Together, they must find and stop the world’s most lethal submarine. The stakes are raised when they learn that the Russian sub is controlled by an infected AI system bent on completing its mission to create a nuclear winter.

Praise for Status-6:

"W. Craig Reed's Status-6 is my vote for Thriller of the Year. The protagonist is Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan meets Lee Child's Jack Reacher." -- Grant Blackwood, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Tom Clancy's "Under Fire"

"W. Craig Reed's latest novel, Status-6, is the best book I've read this year—a ripped-from-the-headlines military technothriller that literally left me awake at night, fearful of where we're headed as a nation and a species. What's next after the nightmare coronavirus pandemic? Don't miss this first book in the NCIS Special Ops series that promises to shatter the thriller genre." -- James Rollins, #1 New York Times bestselling author of "The Demon Crown (Sigma Force)"

"W. Craig Reed's Status-6 grabs you from page one and doesn't let you go. The global security crisis revealed in this book is all-too-real and could well be tomorrow's headlines. The characters are well-nuanced and provide a powerful urge to root for or against them. Don't read this thriller before going to bed—you'll be awake all night!" -- George Gladorisi, New York Times bestselling author of the Tom Clancy Op Center series

My Review:

I enjoyed this thriller. I like the plot with a few highly trained but rather regular people pitted against a villain's nefarious plan. I like Reed's writing style, providing almost continuous action. I like the advanced submarine technology and cutting edge artificial intelligence. I like the thought provoking aspects of the novel such as government officials creating clandestine operations.

This is a great novel for readers who like special ops thrillers. The characters are well crafted and I found most of them, except the villains, engaging. The action is almost continuous. I did not understand all the military and technology terminology and I have no idea if the underwater vehicles can do all Reed devised, but I trust he got it right.

Put on an extra sweater and get yourself a hot beverage as you plunge beneath the frozen arctic to see if an ex-navy SEAL and a bright scientist can save the world from destruction. It looks like there might be another novel featuring these heroes. I will definitely by watching for it.

My rating: 5.5 stars.

Status-6 Book Details:

Genre: Military Thriller
Published by: Post Hill Press
Publication Date: April 13th 2021
Number of Pages: 256
ISBN: 1682619354 (ISBN13: 9781682619353)
Series: Status-6 is the first book in the NCIS Special Ops Thriller series.
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

 

Read an excerpt from Status-6:

With his legs sore and lungs burning from the cold, Jon arched his back and stretched when the group finally stopped marching thirty minutes later. To his right, about a quarter-mile distant, the bright blue stripes covering the mess tent signaled the location of the ICEX camp. Two holes, three feet in diameter, had been carved into the ice a few feet from where the group now stood. Jon surmised they were the spent practice torpedo holes drilled by Navy Divers. Liang and company must have parked the ASDS nearby and used the holes as infiltration points. Also, Liang must have had some inside help to deactivate the intruder detection system surrounding the holes. But who? Rinaldo? When would she have had access to that system? More unanswered questions.

Rinaldo approached and said, “Since you’re the former Navy SEAL, why don’t you help our female guest suit up?”

Jon crossed his arms. “This has gone far enough. Time for some answers, Rinaldo.”

Rinaldo pointed her M-16 at Kate’s head. “How’s this for an answer—she suits up or dies.”

Jon uncrossed his arms and fought to quell the ire-stoked coals in his chest. He turned toward Kate. “Are you a certified diver?”

Kate’s nose and cheeks were red. She shivered. “I hate water.”

“Drinking or swimming?” Jon said, hoping to diffuse Kate’s angst.

It didn’t work. Kate looked like a small child being forced to brave a dark alley. “I can’t do this.”

While donning a dry suit, Rinaldo cocked an ear. “What’s the problem?”

Kate stared at the hole in the ice. Frigid blue water lapped against the sides. She backed up and turned away.

“I think she has a water phobia,” Jon said.

“Get her over it,” Rinaldo said.

Jon bristled. The muscles in his face tightened. He grabbed Kate’s suit and brought it to her. Facing her back, he said, “Turn around.” Shaking, Kate remained facing away.

“Please, turn around.”

Kate turned.

“Good,” Jon said. “Now look at me.”

Kate’s eyes met his. Though full of fear, they were riveting, like a blue morning sky touching the edges of a Nebraska corn field. Jon felt his heart flutter. He tried to hold on to the feeling, but it refused to linger. A year had come and gone since he’d lost his wife, but the pain in his chest still held the high ground.

“I’m not setting a foot in that water,” Kate stammered. Her eyes burned with defiance.

“What about a toe?”

Kate crossed her arms and said nothing.

“Just put on the suit to keep the witch happy while I think of something,” Jon said.

“Something?”

“Yeah, something.”

“Like what, mate?”

Rinaldo called over from the other side of the ice hole. “Five minutes, Shay.”

Jon held up the suit. “Just put it on, please. I promise I’ll think of something.”

Kate rolled her eyes and held out her arms. “Fine, but you’d better not be lying to me.”

“Who’s your colleague?” Jon asked as he moved in close to help Kate don the dry suit.

“Bobby Ruppert. He’s a bit rough around the edges and goes into panic mode in stressful situations, but he’s a brilliant engineer.”

While Jon zipped up Kate’s dry suit, the scent of her perfume conjured a memory. He shivered.

“Now what?” Kate said. Her bottom lip quivered. Annelia had also done that when she was frightened.

Jon pulled on his suit. He stepped toward Kate and said, “Let’s just put on our SCUBA gear and then I’ll make my move.”

“Your move?” Kate shot back.

Jon said nothing as he helped Kate into a BC vest, saddled up her tank, and held a Kirby Morgan diving mask in her direction. “Put this on.”

Kate’s tone turned urgent as she grabbed the mask. “You said you’d think of something.”

“Just follow my lead.” Jon pulled on his tank and ran through a system check. The action felt like a visit from an old friend and reminded him of dozens of missions survived.

Kate shook her head in defiance as she sucked in a breath. The hiss of compressed air echoed off nearby shards of ice pushed skyward by Mother Nature.

One by one, Liang’s men entered the water. Jon watched Kate recoil with each splash.

Rinaldo approached. “Ready?”

Kate’s eyes widened. She held her palms up as if to say, “Something?”

Now fully suited, Jon led Kate toward the water. He had to drag her the last few feet. He turned toward her, lifted up his mask, and said, “I’ll hold your hand all the way. This will all be over in five minutes.”

Her eyes still wide, Kate tried to step backward but Jon held onto to her hands and gently kept her in place.

“Just follow me,” Jon said. “I’ve done this hundreds of times.”

Kate shook her head as she dug her heels into the ice.

Rinaldo slapped Jon’s back. The gesture did not feel friendly.

Jon slowly guided Kate toward the hole’s edge. She fought to pull away. He held on tight and looked into her eyes, assuring her in silence that she could do this. Tears streamed down Kate’s face and dripped onto the mask’s rubber lining. Her breathing was erratic. Jon’s heart ached with compassion and guilt. He felt like a jailor forcing an innocent victim into a torture chamber. The bitter taste of choler filled his mouth as he stole a glance at Rinaldo. The beast in his gut grumbled and demanded to be set loose. Jon closed his eyes and slowly breathed in and out to quell the angst.

He opened his eyes, lifted his mask again, and focused on Kate. Softening his voice, he said, “Close your eyes.”

Kate stared at him through her mask. Jon could tell she wanted to trust him, but fear remained her master. He had seen this kind of panic before on the faces of green wannabe SEALs learning how to dive the Navy way. None of them had ever made it through training. For sure, none of them would have survived a dive in Arctic waters.

“Close your eyes and trust me,” Jon said. “Don’t open them until we’re out of the water.”

Trembling, Kate closed her eyes. Jon pulled on her fins and helped her into a seated position with her legs dangling into the water. He did all this with slow movements so as not to make a splash. Rinaldo stood by and watched with impatient indifference. Jon slipped into the hole…

***

Excerpt from Status-6 by W. Craig Reed. Copyright 2021 by W. Craig Reed. Reproduced with permission from W. Craig Reed. All rights reserved.

 

Author Bio:

William Craig Reed is the New York Times bestselling author of thrillers and non-fiction military and business books including Spies of the Deep: The Untold Story of the Most Terrifying Incident in Submarine Naval History and How Putin Used The Tragedy To Ignite a New Cold War and the critically acclaimed Red November (HarperCollins). Also, The Seven Secrets of Neuron-Leadership (Wiley), an award-winning business book, and Tarzan, My Father (ECW) co-written with the late Johnny Weissmuller, Jr.

Reed served as a U.S. Navy submariner and diver during the Cold War and earned commendations for completing secret missions, some in concert with SEAL Team One. Reed’s military experience and inside contacts help infuse his writing with intrigue and realism, and inspired his next non-fiction book, Also, this novel: STATUS-6 about a former SEAL Team Two operator turned NCIS agent that teams with a British female scientist to stop a Russian submarine controlled by an infected artificial intelligence.

Reed holds an MBA in Marketing and was a former vice president and board director for the Silicon Valley American Marketing Association. Reed is the co-founder of Us4Warriors, an award-winning Veterans Non-Profit and serves on the Board of Aretanium, a wellness firm that leverages the neuroscience he wrote about in his leadership book to provide personalized wellness and professional development programs to accelerate brains, careers, and relationships.

Catch Up With W. Craig Reed:
WCraigReed.com
Goodreads
BookBub: @wc14
Instagram: @wcraigreed
Twitter: @wcraigreed
Facebook: @wcraigreed

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

Click here to view Status-6 by W. Craig Reed Participants.

 

Enter the Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for William Craig Reed. There will be ONE (1) winner who will receive TWO (2) physical William Craig Reed books (including The 7 Secrets of Neuron Leadership AND Spies of the Deep). The giveaway begins May 1, 2021 and ends on June 1, 2021. This giveaway is available only for shipping addresses located in the US, UK, and Canada. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 
I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Right Cross by Andrew Huff

About the Book:

First he left the CIA. Then he left pastoral ministry. Now John Cross has been imprisoned in one of Great Britain's most infamous prisons. Has he reached the end of his rope? Or is this another move in a dangerous spy game?

Christine Lewis, United News Network's rising star television anchor, is determined to find out. But in her pursuit of answers, Christine finds herself at the center of a cyberterrorist plot to alter the balance of power in the world. From the English coastline to the Rocky Mountains, John must partner with the CIA and MI6 in a race against the clock to stop the threat of nuclear war and save the lives of everyone he holds dear.

The concluding story in the Shepherd Suspense trilogy is a globe-trotting, action-packed adventure with threads of biblical truth woven in. Fans of high-octane thrillers will be on the edge of their seats with Right Cross.

My Review:

I have enjoyed this series featuring John Cross. His character is really unique. He's been a CIA operative but then got saved. He has all the expertise from his CIA training so he can outwit the smartest and worst of the villains. He also has the moral character of a Christian so he refuses to kill anyone. This makes for some tense confrontations.

Huff gives readers a good balance of action and character development. The action revolves around a top hacker who has the evil desire to control some nuclear warheads. This villain has a group of well trained military style men and many advanced offensive devises. John has to be at the top of his abilities to prevent disaster.

The character development comes from previous novels as John is ready to finally allow his growing love for Christine be evident. Just when I thought there would be a lengthy passage of character interaction between the two, bad guys arrive and suspense ensues.

Besides top suspense and touching character interaction, the real strength of this series is the reality of the Christian life John and Christine portray. They think and act and pray like real Christians do. Huff's characterization of Christians is perhaps the most realist in fiction I have seen.

This is a good novel for readers who like international suspense. It is the third and final novel in this series yet reads very well on its own. You can read my reviews of the previous novels: Cross to Kill, Cross Shadow.

You can read and excerpt here and watch the book trailer here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author:

Andrew Huff is the product director at Igniter Media, one of the largest church media companies in the nation. He has also spent ten years in church ministry as both a youth pastor and creative arts pastor.

He is a two-time finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Genesis Contest for unpublished authors (2014, 2017) and also won the best screenplay award at the 2015 48 Hour Film Festival in Richmond, VA.

Huff holds a bachelor of science in religion degree from Liberty University and a master of arts in Christian education from Dallas Theological Seminary. He resides in Plano, TX, with his beautiful wife, Jae, and their two boys. Learn more at www.andrewhuffbooks.com.

Kregel Publications, 272 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by the publisher.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Never Miss by Melissa Koslin

About the Book:

Former CIA sniper Kadance Tolle possesses a special set of skills and a rare pedigree. She comes from a family of assassins, and by saving Lyndon Vaille's life she risks being found by them. Despite the danger, Kadance feels compelled to help Lyndon discover who is after him – and his research that seems to prove that the Ebola virus was manmade and is about to be weaponized.

With shadowy figures pursuing them and a Mastermind watching their every move, Kadance and Lyndon must scramble to stop an impending bioattack at the State of the Union address. But their warnings fall on deaf ears, and it becomes increasingly clear that there's no one they can trust – except perhaps each other.

My Review:

I expected this to be a suspense novel but it was not. Most of the novel was character revelation and dialog about character revelation. There might be a scene of suspenseful action and then what seemed like pages and pages of Kadance or Lyndon trying to pry family or career information out of the other. Granted, Lyndon's family background has a great deal to do with the impending bioattack. But rather than a few revealing back story sections, the back story for both characters seemed to be the major element of the whole book.

I found it hard to become engaged with the characters. Kadance, an accomplished sniper, seemed to quickly latch onto Lyndon after the opening where she spotted a sniper and saved his life. Lyndon is an unusual character. He had an eidetic memory, three doctorates, a brain that has issues with focusing causing him headaches, yet is muscular and can fight like the best of them. He can also hack into any computer system since one of his doctorates is in cyber security. His personality revelation was almost painful to read.

I did appreciate the apologetics exploration as Lyndon explains how he can be a dedicated scientist and still believe in God. There is also sort of a gospel message included as one of the characters come to accept God's existence.

This is Koslin's debut novel in the inspirational romantic suspense genre. The suspense was periodic and the romance was very different with the emphasis on the characters prying information out of each other. This is a novel for readers who like an emphasis on revealing character personal history and its effects on current actions. Preventing the bioattack is almost a side issue.

You can read an excerpt here.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

About the Author:

Melissa Koslin is a fourth-degree black belt in and a certified instructor of Songham Taekwondo. She is a commercial property manager. She and her husband live in Jacksonville, Florida. You can find out more at

Revell, 352 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by the publisher.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Seven Perfect Things by Catherine Ryan Hyde

I thoroughly enjoyed this touching novel featuring Katie, a tenderhearted thirteen year old. She sees a man stop his car on a bridge, toss a heavy bag into the river and speed off. She notes parts of the bag are moving. There is something alive inside. A member of her school's swim team, she jumps in braving the cold water and swift current. Grabbing the bag and reaching shore, she rips it open. Out pops the head of a coughing and sputtering puppy. And then another and another. Seven bedraggled puppies in all.

Katie knows her mean father would never allow her to keep them. Her attempt to leave them at the full animal pound fails. The only other option is the abandoned cabin up the mountain from her home. Her plan to save the rescued puppies becomes complicated when the owner of the cabin shows up. Elliot hadn't been to the cabin in years. He's only done so now to clear his mind after the long illness and subsequent death of his wife. Can an unlikely friendship form between a grieving middle aged man and a tender hearted girl with seven puppies to take care of?

Hyde covers some serious issues in this novel. On the one hand is a recent widower dealing with the loss of his his wife from a wonderful marriage. On the other hand is a troubled marriage with Katie and her mom harshly controlled by an abusive man. Hyde has done well to contrast the two situations. When is it right to flee? How can a woman ever feel worthy of respect and love after being so mistreated? And how could one teenage girl ever take care of seven rambunctious puppies?

Hyde's writing style is a pleasure to experience. I found the novel so engaging I zipped through it in two days, all the time rooting for Katie. I hoped so much she would find lasting happiness. It was she who gave us food for thought:

“It's impossible to not be happy with seven puppies climbing all over you.” (960/4427)

My rating: 5/5 stars.

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the New York Times bestselling author of forty books (and counting). She is an avid traveler, equestrian, and amateur photographer. Her novel Pay It Forward was adapted into a major motion picture. Man of her novels have won or been finalists for awards. Over fifty of her short stories have been published in journals and have won or been nominated for awards. She is the founder and former president of the Pay It Forward Foundation and still serves on its board. She is a popular professional speaker as well. You can find out more at www.catherineryanhyde.com.

Lake Union Publishing, 320 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Monday, May 3, 2021

Day Hikes in Washington State by Don J Scarmuzzi

This is a good collection of a number of hikes in (mostly) western Washington State that vary in length and difficulty. It contains good topographical maps and good trail details. Information is given about the elevation gain, the distance, time needed and difficulty level. There are directions to the trailheads too as well as information about permits or passes required.

Most of the trails are in the central or south western Washington and Olympic Peninsula. Living on an island in the Salish Sea, I have not gone on most of these hikes so cannot verify the information. I can verify the details are correct on the few hikes in the book I have been on.

There are hundreds of hiking trails in western Washington so this book covers only a few of them. It is a good addition to a library of hiking books. Some of my most favorite scenic hikes are in the North Cascades and Mt. Baker area. While a couple from that are are included in the book, there are scores that are not. Also missing are hikes on islands, including Whidbey and Deception Pass, the most visited state park in Washington. As an avid photographer, I was disappointed the book does not rate the most scenic hikes for photographers.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

In case you are not familiar with the beauty of Western Washington State, I have included a few of my own photos. The first photo is of Mt. Rainier from Sunrise. Several hikes at Rainier are included in this book. The next photo is Rainy Lake, a two mile round trip, wheel chair accessible and very busy hike off the North Cascade Highway. The last photo is a view of Mt. Baker from a short hike at Artist Point. There are limited hikes on the North Cascade Highway included in the book and none from the Mt. Baker Highway and Mt. Baker ski area and Artist Point.

Don J. Scarmuzzi is the author of several hiking guidebooks, including Telluride Trails, Day Hikes in the Columbia River Gorge, and Day Hikes in the Pacific Northwest. An avid hiker and passionate photographer, Don has lived and hiked in the Pacific Northwest for several years now. He currently lives in Portland, Oregon.

West Margin Press, 292 pages.

I received an egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an honest and independent review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)