Tag Archive | betrayal

The Serpent Beguiled Eve by Acacia Slaton

HEALING THE WOUNDS OF ABANDONMENT, BETRAYAL AND SHAME

Serpent-Beguiled-Eve

While this is a story of infidelity and betrayal, it goes much deeper…

A young married woman with two daughters deals with her husband’s infidelity and his struggle with the demons of his past.  She seeks spiritual counsel, but when her husband refuses to cooperate with spiritual leaders—other than on a surface level—she has to make the most important decision of her life. 

Find out what this courageous young woman does to turn her life around for her children and her walk with God.

Acacia

Author Bio:  Acacia Slaton is a graduate of Oral Roberts University and has earned her Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy in 2012. She works in the Social Service field and finds a sense of  joy from helping others.

She has two daughters;  Jana and Jaci.  Acacia loves to interact with  readers and welcomes questions and feedback. Visit Acacia On Facebook

Benefits Of This Inspirational Book

Trust In God

You’ll learn from the author how to look to God in the midst of all trials.

Forgiveness

You’ll learn about true Biblical forgiveness that brings new life and healing.

Renewal

Follow the author from feelings of worthlessness to God’s will for her life!

Acacia empowers her readers to overcome trials, to forgive and to begin again in victory!

  • The book is filled with inspiration and God’s truth to overcome the difficulties of life.
  • The story teaches how to overcome feelings of  condemnation and worthlessness.
  • Acacia shares the importance of putting a relationship with God  first over all things

Source: http://lifepurposebooks.com/blog/infidelity-and-betrayal/

My Review:

Acacia has written a very transparent story of her life.  The desire to be married before she got too old and the warnings against this marriage.  It’s a matter of listening to God or your own desires.  The consequences of her choice echoes down the hall of her life.  Her story is a lesson we all need to heed in all the decisions of life.

Her compassion and forgiveness toward her husband is clearly displayed, but he must ultimately make a choice as well.  His choices bring about the dilemmas she must face.

Despite all Acacia goes through, God’s word for her life helps her overcome her multiple difficulties, but not without consequences.  Before you marry, please read this book and learn to follow God’s voice and warnings He gives through others in your life.  Do not let the serpent beguile you.

This book was provided by the author in exchange for my honest review. No monetary compensation was received.

Review: “Miracle Play” by Lynn McMonigal

BATTLING LEUKEMIA:  SECOND-TIME AROUND

Ten-year-old Jacob Thomas is rapidly losing his battle with leukemia. His mother, Whitney, begs God to spare her only child. When the doctors suggest a new treatment plan, Whitney hesitates. To save her son, she will have to face a past she would rather forget.

Reese Jordan should be basking in the glow of new motherhood. Instead, she fears that her premature daughter may not survive. Her little girl could save a life–the life of a boy she never knew existed. Reese just doesn’t know if she can make that choice.

God has blessed both women in ways they don’t think they deserve. Can they trust that He will provide each of them with just one more miracle?


Bio:

I am a wife, mother, writer, and Christ-follower. When I was 12, I knew that I would someday write novels. I just didn’t expect it would take me 20 years to really devote myself to writing. Funny how quickly things fell into place when I stopped running from God and started doing what He asked.

My books are inspired by friends and family or by dreams that I have. All of my stories are rooted in a love of Christ and a belief that He loves us, no matter what mistakes we have made in our lives.

I make my home in Jackson, MI, with my husband of 12 years and our three sons.

See the trailer:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Rzl9ObV3CY

My Review:

Miracle Play, by Lynn McMonigal, is about ten-year-old Jacob Thomas, an only child of his single mom, Whitney.  He’d survived leukemia as a five-year-old, but it had returned with a vengeance.  To save his life, Jacob needed a bone marrow transplant, only Whitney isn’t a match.  Is she willing to reveal the father’s name in order to find a match?

Reese and Blake Jordan were surprised with an unexpected pregnancy fourteen years after their last child, and she was high risk because of her age and medical conditions brought on by the pregnancy.   Due to the premature birth of Miracle Grace, Reese was given the opportunity to provide Miracle’s placenta blood for this ten-year-old boy who needed a bone marrow transplant.  Emotionally, is she willing to make that decision?

A secret from the past had brought about a fallout between Reese and Blake, which is bad enough, but it also destroyed the relationships between the parents and their children.

Lynn does an excellent job in describing the repercussions  between husband and wife and their children when indiscretions are revealed.  The situations are volatile and very real.  The feelings of betrayal are enormous and seem insurmountable.  Without the grace of God and forgiveness between family members, the marriage will crumble.  Are each of the family members willing to forgive and move on?

On the other end, Whitney’s distress over watching Jacob struggle with the onslaughts of leukemia a second time and the realization that the bone marrow transplant may not ‘take’ are heart-wrenching.  It’s Jacob’s last chance.  Will Jacob recover from leukemia and continue his life with his mom and step-dad?

A few drawbacks are some typos and name mix-ups.   Yes, I prefer the book be edited more closely, but they didn’t detract from the book for me.  The characters could have been a little more fleshed out, but the main issues involved were expressed well.  The choice to believe, pray and forgive were present throughout the book, knowing that God was in control of all the circumstances and outcomes.

You will also get to learn a little about The Swihart Follies, which is a team taking part in the Relay for Life.

This book was provided by the author in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was exchanged.

Lightning Book Promotions Blog Tour: “Shadows From The Past” by Ashley Dawn

“It is the price you pay for choosing to be a cop. Your brother’s life…”

These words haunt her dreams and waking moments.  LAPD officer, Aurora Kavvan cannot rest until she finds her brother’s killer.  Digging into the past always brings back unpleasant things, memories, guilt…a hit man.  Now she is in a race against time to find the murderer before he finds her.

“Kill her. I don’t care how and I don’t care where, but I want her dead now!” 

Someone was trying to kill his dead partner’s sister.  FBI agent, Jordan Reiley, will stop at nothing to protect the woman he loves.  Even if it means going against her wishes–putting himself between her and the man who murdered her brother.

Will God keep them alive long enough to find the truth?

Bio:

Author Ashley Dawn was born and raised in rural Arkansas where she developed her love for writing while helping in her parent’s office. She graduated with an accounting degree from the University of Central Arkansas but is currently working as a legal assistant.

Ashley has been writing professionally for the past seven years and has two published books.  She is currently working on multiple projects including the third in her ‘Shadows’ series entitled “Shadows of Pain” and also a standalone mystery about a serial killer that remains untitled.  She and her family make their home in Texas.  To learn more about the author, check out her author website or follow her book reviews on Ashley’s Bookshelf Blog.

My Review:

LAPD officer, Aurora Kavvan, is tormented in her dreams by the killer’s voice yet cannot rest until she finds her brother, Lance’s, killer. She follows every lead no matter how small.  Since the killer is now after her, the ante is upped.

FBI agent, Jordan Reiley, was Lance’s partner.  At the time of the murder, Jordan and Aurora were engaged.  With Aurora being the next target, he will stop at nothing to protect her.

What follows is a vicious and deadly cat-and-mouse chase to find Jordan and Aurora and take them out.  The story is action-packed and fast-paced.  It’s filled with betrayal, love, and suspense.  Though it’s a quick read, it’s exciting, compelling and thrilling.  I loved the characters as they intermingled.  The camaraderie between partners was interesting. The humor between Jordan and his partner was light-hearted and took the edge off some of the dangerous circumstances.

Jordan’s faith, along with several other characters, is permeated throughout the story.  It’s about Aurora letting go and allowing God to protect and reveal the truth of what’s going down.

I did find the romance a little over the top when considering the circumstances, but romance readers will be in for a treat!

This book was provided by Stormi Johnson at Lightning Book Promotions in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was exchanged.  You can peruse Lightning Book Promotions here.

The Kindle version is available here at Amazon.

https://mail.google.com/mail/?ui=2&ik=4fe5176b32&view=att&th=132092c2758a4806&attid=0.3&disp=inline&realattid=f_gru00svc2&zw

FIRST Blog Tour with review: “Wolfsbane” by Ronie Kendig

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Wolfsbane, Discarded Heroes #3

Barbour Books; Discarded Heroes edition (July 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Camy Tang and Ronie Kendig for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Ronie Kendig grew up an Army brat, married a veteran, and they now have four children. She has a BS in Psychology, speaks to various groups, volunteers with the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and mentors new writers. Nightshade, Discarded Heroes #1, has earned recognition as a finalist in Christian Retailing’s 2011 Retailer’s Choice Awards as a finalist and with The Christian Manifesto’s 2010 Lime Award for Excellence in Fiction. Ronie lives in the Dallas/Ft Worth her family and their pets, Daisy, a Golden Retriever and Helo, the Maltese Menace.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Embark upon a danger-laden mission within the pages of Ronie Kendig’s riveting Wolfsbane. Demolitions expert Danielle Roark thought escaping from a brutal Venezuelan general was a challenge. Now she’s charged with espionage and returned to the jungle where a new nightmare begins. Will Dani survive or become just another political pawn destined to be lost forever? Former Green Beret Canyon Metcalfe is disgusted with the suits on Capitol Hill. Still wrestling with the memories of a mission gone bad, he and Nightshade launch a mission to find Dani. Can Canyon rescue Dani, armed with nothing but raw courage?

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books; Discarded Heroes edition (July 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602607842
ISBN-13: 978-1602607842

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

The Invitation

Judicial Building, Virginia Beach

Blood dripped into his left eye.

No. Not blood. Sweat. Hands tight against his hips and fists balled, Captain Canyon Metcalfe blinked away the sting. Another salty drop slid down his temple. Eyes ahead, he focused on his reflection in the massive mirror. Between it and him sat an eight-foot table harboring a panel of three Army investigators from Criminal Investigation Command sent for his one-year evaluation. More like interrogation. And he knew they weren’t legit. Nobody got a review once they were out. This wasn’t about legitimacy. This was about them insuring he’d kept his mouth shut.

Canyon watched his reflection as a bead skidded over his forehead and nose. Felt warm and moderately sticky. So much like. . .

It’s not blood. Not blood.

“Captain, do you have anything to add?” Major Hartwicke lifted the inches-thick file in her manicured hands and stared at him.

“You understand, Captain, if you reveal anything about what has happened here, you will face a full court-martial and dishonorable discharge.”

The voice from twenty-one months ago forged his response. “No, sir.”

Behind the one-way mirror a ghost of a shape shifted. Or was that a shadow? No, he was pretty sure he’d seen the human outline. So, there were more eyes monitoring this so-called review. They’re testing me. No surprise. As a matter of fact, he’d expected them to drag him out of bed in the middle of the night, haul him into the woods, and try to beat a confession out of him.

Innocence didn’t matter. Justice didn’t matter.

Only one thing mattered: silence.

Hartwicke pushed her chair back from the table and stood. “Captain, I don’t understand.” She motioned to the two investigators with her. “We’ve told you the CID believes there is enough. . .ambiguity in the charges and proceedings from thirteen March of last year to question the guilty verdict.” She tilted her head. “In fact, this panel believes you may be innocent.”

“You are not innocent in this brutal crime, Captain Metcalfe. No matter your role, you are guilty. As the officer in charge, you bear that responsibility. Do you understand?”

The eyes of the government held no boundaries. They saw everything. Knew everything. One way or another. Always waiting to throw him away for good. Just as they’d done with the villagers.

Her shoes scratched against the cement floor as she stepped nearer. “Why are you doing this?” she whispered. “Why would you throw away your career?”

Throw away his career? Was she kidding? It’d been ripped from his bloodied hands in a colossal mistake twenty-four months ago. Canyon ground his teeth together. Do not look at her; do not respond. She didn’t deserve a response if she thought this was his choice.

A chair squawked, snapping his gaze to the second investigator who moved from behind the table, his gaze locked on Canyon. What did they want from him? He’d kept the dirty little secret. Lived with it. Relived it night after painful night. Living when she died.

Brown eyes cut off his visual escape. “Captain Metcalfe,” Major Rubart said in a low, controlled voice. “I don’t know what they”—he rolled his eyes to the side to indicate the one-way mirror—“told you or what they used against you as a threat in retaliation for talking, but I think you know something.”

Despite his every effort not to, Canyon looked at the mirror.

“You know the truth about that fateful night, don’t you?”

The words yanked his eyes to Rubart’s. Did this officer really want the truth? Or was this another test? What Canyon wouldn’t do to tell, to right the wrong, to relieve the burden. . . But that’s just what they wanted him to do—relieve his mind and prove they were right, that he could be coerced into talking. That he was weak.

He flicked his attention back to the glass and the shadow moving behind it.

“You disappoint me, Captain.” Air swirled cold and unfeeling as Rubart eased away. “Your sister says you’ve not been the same since you returned from that mission.”

“My sister puts her mouth before her brain.” And for that, Canyon would have a long talk with Willow.

“Do you understand what your silence means?” A bitter edge dug into Rubart’s words as he glared at Canyon, who stared through the man.

“What I understand is that you’ve abused a relationship with my impressionable sister to extract information for the military.”

Rubart’s lips tightened. “Your silence means the people of Tres Kruces receive no justice.”

The thick-bladed words sliced through Canyon’s heart.

Quiet tension tightened the air.

“Willow says you’ve wanted to be a Green Beret since you were twelve.”

“Ten.” Canyon bit his tongue on the automatic correction. He wouldn’t do this. Wouldn’t cave under the pressure. He’d endured far worse.

“How can you let them rip it from you? Everything you love and worked for with blood, sweat, and tears?” After several slow, calming breaths, Rubart gave a single nod. “Enough evidence exists to open a full investigation that could reinstate you with full honors, full rank. Just give us one word, one inclination that you’ll work with us, and it’ll be as if you never left.”

Everything in Canyon wanted that back. Wanted the career he’d felt called to, the adrenaline rush of battle, the humanitarian work of helping villages after a tragedy or an insurgency. . .

Screams howled through the fires. He glanced back. Where was she? How had they gotten separated? He spun, searching the debris and crackling embers.

A scream behind him.

He pivoted. Two feminine forms raced into a hut. “No,” he shouted. “Not in—”

BOOM!

His body lifted, flipped as he sailed through the taunting flames and grieving ashes.

“Captain?”

Canyon blinked back to Major Rubart.

“Just give us some indication you’ll help. We’ll mete out the details later. Just don’t let it go at this. You know this is wrong. Don’t let them win.”

Irritation clawed its way up Canyon’s spine, burrowing into his resolve. He saw through the tactic. “Are we done, sir?”

Rubart’s cheek twitched. “You’re going to walk away?”

“In a three-to-one decision, you are hereby discharged. Your actions will be mentioned in limited detail in our final report to the congressional oversight committee. Should you speak openly about this again, you will find yourself in a federal prison for the rest of your life. Do you understand the ruling, Captain Metcalfe?”

“Yes, sir.”

“I cannot express this enough—this favor we are extending you will be revoked completely if you ever again speak of Tres Kruces.”

“Captain?”

He met Rubart’s gaze evenly. “Decision’s been made.”

“You can’t mean that.” Hartwicke’s voice pitched. “Think—”

“Dismissed, Captain,” the third investigator barked from his chair at the table.

Canyon saluted, then pivoted and strode out. He punched open the door. As he stomped across the parking lot, he wrangled himself free of the dress jacket. He jerked open the door of his black Camaro and snatched off the beret. Flung it into the car. Slammed the door shut. Shuffled and kicked the wheel.

Voices behind pushed him into the car. Letting the roar of the engine echo the one in his head, he peeled away from the curb. Screaming tires fueled his fury. He accelerated. First gear. Second. He sped down the streets. Third. Raced out of Fort Story as fast as he could. He shifted into fourth.

They’d stolen everything from him. What did he have now? The last twelve months had been a futile attempt to plaster meaning to the disaster of a thing called life. Can’t serve. What was the point? They had him on an invisible leash. Shame trailed him like the dust on the roads.

As he rounded a corner, a light glinted—yellow. Speed up or slow down?

Slow down? I don’t think so.

Canyon slammed into fifth and pressed the accelerator. The Camaro lunged toward the intersection. A blur of red swept over his sunroof as he sailed through and cleared it.

Ahead, a sign beckoned him to First Landing State Park. The beach. Something inside him leapt.

Sirens wailed.

He glanced in the rearview mirror and growled. Banged the steering wheel. One more violation and he’d lose his license. Two seconds of fantasy had him on his bike screaming off into the sunset.

Yeah. Right. A high-speed chase. Wouldn’t his mother love that? She’d give him that disappointed look, and in it, he’d read the hidden message—“what would your father have said?”

Dad.

His foot hit the brake. He eased the gears down and brought the car to a stop along the pylons that led to the beach. Less than a mile out, blue waters twinkled at him.

He eyed the mirror as a state trooper pulled in behind him. Lights awhirl, the car sat like a sand spider ready to strike.

Canyon roughed a hand over his face. This was it. Career gone. License gone. He gave his all for his country, and all of it had been systematically disassembled in the last two years.

Hands on the steering wheel, he let the call of the Gulf tease his senses. He should’ve taken a swim instead of unleashing his anger on the road. He was a medic. He knew better than to endanger lives. How stupid could he get?

What was taking so long?

He glanced back to the mirror, only. . .nothing.

Huh? Canyon looked over his shoulder. Where. . .?

An engine roared to the left. A Black Chrysler 300M slid past him with a white-haired old man inside.

But where was the cop? Again, he double-checked his six.

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

With more care and attention this time, he pulled back onto the road and drove to the ocean. He parked and stared at the caress of the waters against the sand that lured him out of the Camaro and to the warm sand. Rolling up his sleeves, he made his way down the beach.

On a stone retaining wall he stood and watched a couple of surfers ride a wave. Canyon squatted. Hands fisted against his forehead he struggled through Rubart’s promise—they’d give him his career back if he ratted out the very people who’d made the nightmare go away.

He wanted to. Wanted to set the record straight. Knew they’d done wrong, but blowing this thing open meant they’d pin every drop of blood and blame on his shoulders. He’d go down in a blaze of disgrace. It was bad enough he’d had to tell his mom he was put out of the military for “medical” reasons. She didn’t buy it. She was smarter. But she didn’t press him.

Maybe. . .maybe he should let the panel dig into the tsunami-sized disaster and find the truth.

But he couldn’t. They’d promised to make his life a living hell.

That happened anyway. Everything that felt right and just died. Just like her.

Canyon closed his eyes against the pull of memories and allowed his mind to drift. To everything he felt for her. To all the things he’d done wrong, could’ve done better.

I’m sorry.

Lot of good that did. She died.

He hopped off the wall and strolled to where the waters stroked the sand. He let out a long breath and ran a hand over the back of his longer-than-normal hair. He’d tried to leave the tragedy behind. Move on. But who could move on after something like that? Even the government was scared of Tres Kruces. Nice PR disaster with the whole world as witnesses.

Canyon drew out the small vial. Shouldn’t do this. The back pain was gone. The heart pain permanent. He popped two pills into his mouth and swallowed.

His hand closed around the Emerson in his pocket. Canyon drew it out and eyed the gleaming metal. He’d used it to cut her tethers the first night his team had come up on the backwater village. Flipping the blade to the ground, he tamped down the fireball in his gut. He saved her that night only to end up killing her thirteen months later.

She was gone. His career was gone. The government had a shackle around his neck. What was there to live for?

He retrieved it and swiped the sand from the blade on his rolled cuffs. The silver glinted against his forearm. He pressed the metal against his flesh. Wouldn’t be the first attempt. Maybe he’d succeed this time. Drew it along his arm—

“Never did understand how they stand up on a piece of wood.”

Canyon jerked at the deep voice. He returned his Emerson to his pocket and eyed the old man a few feet away. Looked like the same man from the 300 earlier. What was he saying? Something about wood. . .?

Canyon followed the man’s gaze to the water, the surfers. Ah. Surfboards. “They’re not wood.”

“Really?”

“Polyurethane and fiberglass or cloth. Depends on the board.” He might be off-kilter, but he wasn’t stupid. The man had a military cut and bearing. “What’s your game?”

A slow smile quirked the face lined with age. White hair rustled under the tease of a salty breeze. “Recycling soldiers.”

Why wouldn’t they leave him alone? Believe he’d keep his trap shut when he said he’d keep his trap shut? “Sorry, I don’t have anything to say.”

“Yes, that was quite apparent.”

Hesitation stopped Canyon from trudging back to his car. This man had been at his evaluation? Where. . .? “You were behind the mirror.”

“While you said little, your actions said much more, Captain Metcalfe.”

A knot formed in his gut. “In case you missed the point, I’m no longer a captain. Go back to your leeches and tell them I’m done.”

“Is your career worth cutting your wrists, Captain?”

The knot tightened. “My career was everything,” he ground out. “It’s who I am.” He swallowed. “Was.”

“Yes.” The man smiled. “You wanted to finish what your father started.”

A blaze scorched his chest. “Who are you? What do you know about my father?” Who did this guy think he was?

“Major Owen Metcalfe lost his life trying to free his spec-ops team from a POW camp during Vietnam.”

Canyon jerked his attention back to the water. Focused on the undulating waves. The way they rolled in, rolled out. Just like breathing. In. . .out. . . “How. . .how do you know about my father?” The only reason Canyon knew was because the government tried to use it against him in his trial.

Slowly, the man turned toward him, his smile growing.

Only then did Canyon recognize him. “General Lambert.” He took a step back. “I didn’t. . . You’re out of uniform.”

“Yes, thank goodness. I’ve put on a few pounds since they issued the last uniform.” Lambert laughed and pointed. “Walk with me, Captain.”

What possessed Canyon to indulge him, he didn’t know. But he found himself walking the quiet beach, curious that the general would seek him out. Was it yet another trap?

“So that you will understand me, I have read the full file on Tres Kruces.”

Of course. He’d fallen right into the general’s trap, hadn’t he? “This conversation is over.” He pivoted and started back to his car.

“If my memory serves me correctly, the vote was three to one.”

Canyon hesitated. Cursed himself for hesitating. Just walk away. That’s what they’d done to him.

“What would you say the value of that single dissenter is worth?”

“Nothing. I still lost my career, everything.”

“What if that dissenter held the power to change everything? What would you say it was worth then?”

Eyeballing the man, Canyon tried to think past his drumming pulse. “My life.”

Lambert grinned. Nodded. “Good. . .good.”

Good? How could he say that? What use was a dissenter now anyway? But that unflappable grin and knowing eyes—this man knew something.

“You.” Canyon stumbled back as if hit by a squall. “It was you. You were the dissenter.” He slid a hand over his head and neck. “General, I— It has to stay buried. Or I go down hard and fast. I’m not playing with this fire.”

Hands in his pockets, Lambert smiled up at him. “I am not here in any official capacity related to the U.S. government.”

Dare he hope that this nightmare was over?

“How do you like working as a physical therapist?”

Canyon shrugged. “Not bad. It’s work. I help people.” He hated it.

“That’s what’s important to you, helping people, is it not?” When Canyon shrugged again, Lambert continued. “Thought so. I have a proposition for you, Captain. One that will get you back in your game.”

Wariness crowded out hope. “What game is that?”

“The one you do best. The one that allows you to serve your country, use the medic skills crucial to saving lives, and be part of a winning team.”

“They benched me, said I was done, no more or they’d—”

“What do you say?”

A wild, irregular cadence pounded in his chest. “I’m ready to get off the bench.”

My Review:

Danielle Roark, a demolition expert, and her Army Corps of Engineers team were captured in Venezuela.  After six months of torture and rape in the hands of her captor, Dani escapes.  The evidence she retrieves ends up getting her charged with espionage and returned to the jungle to prove a nuclear facility exists.

Green Beret Canyon Metcalfe wrestles with a life full of bumbling mistakes, rebellious behavior, and a mission gone bad.   He is haunted with the possibility of always being a failure. Yet he urges Nightshade to accompany Dani back to the jungle to protect her as she proves her innocence.

Canyon and Dani are separated from Nightshade due to a landslide. During this time, he promises not to return to the U.S. without her.  However, a special-ops team removes a drugged Canyon while leaving Dani in captivity.  He in turn returns to make good on his promise, endangering others.

This is one high-octane, fast-moving, mind-bending, action-twisting ride of suspense and danger from the first page to the end.  The rebel activities, dangerous special ops planning and executions, the demands of a special ops unit, the dilemma of highly guarded structures, captivity, rape, betrayal, and landslide dangers from the monsoon rains all culminate into one intense read.  The actions and reactions of the characters are personal and intense. The circumstances are very believable for the conditions.  Imagining yourself in their positions is hard-hitting and raw.  Not a place I’d like to be in!

Romantic tensions involving Dani at the Metcalfe home between two brothers is palpable due to a previous situation.  Secrets and betrayals abound in the book, which take your breath away in disgust and shock.  Is forgiveness even possible?

Intense feelings of abandonment by God and country play a big part in both Dani and Canyon’s lives. Their faith and courage that help bring them through their trials in unexpected ways.  Though Canyon had rededicated his life to the Lord, he did have a moral lapse, which he owned up to and bore responsibility.  Ronie shows that just because one is a Christian doesn’t bar them from temptations and sin.   She shows that one can be forgiven if he/she repents.

Dani’s ease of overcoming six months of rape and getting caught up in a romantic rendezvous in such a short period of time was a little unrealistic to me.

That aside, I came to appreciate the men and women of our country who are willing to place themselves in death’s path to keep our country safe.  This is a great book for both men and women.  There’s enough of the military for the guys and romance for the women.  Now I need to read her other books in this series!

Bethany House Historical: “The Sweetest Thing” by Elizabeth Musser

A Touching Story of Friendship and Faith During the Depression

Anne “Perri” Singleton’s world is defined by the security of family, the camaraderie of friends at an exclusive Atlanta girls’ school, and an enviable social life. She isn’t looking for new friends when Mary Dobbs Dillard arrives from Chicago. Besides, “Dobbs,” the passionate and fiercely individualistic daughter of an itinerant minister, is her opposite in every way.

But just as the Great Depression collides disastrously with Perri’s well-ordered life, friendship blossoms–a friendship that will be tested by jealousy, betrayal, and family secrets…

With her endearing characters and poignant storytelling, Atlanta native Elizabeth Musser vividly re-creates the charm of her beloved city amid the poverty and plenty that shaped the 1930s.

Price: $14.99
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0831-7
ISBN-10: 0-7642-0831-4
Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5
Number of pages: 400
Carton Quantity: 32
Publication Date: Jun. 11
Formats: Paperback

Elizabeth Musser, an Atlanta native, lives in southern France with her husband and their two sons. Her acclaimed novel, The Swan House, was a Book Sense bestseller list in the Southeast and was selected as one of the top Christian books for 2001 by Amazon’s editors. Searching for Eternity is her sixth novel. Visit Elizabeth’s Web site at www.elizabethmusser.com

Endorsement:

The Sweetest Thing is a touching story of friendship and faith. Musser’s characters are as real and as unforgettable as the friends I grew up with.”
Lynn Austin, bestselling author of While We’re Far Apart

My Review:

Elizabeth Musser, in her book, The Sweetest Thing, gives you a very personal, bird’s-eye view of life during the Depression years in different parts of the country in the early 1930s.

It’s a book of contrasts:  Anne “Perri” Singleton’s wealthy socialite family and Mary Dobbs Dillard’s poor family whose father is an itinerant pastor;   Anne who has a well-ordered, busy social life and Mary who is an outspoken individualist;  and the possibility of polar opposites becoming friends.

When disaster strikes Perri’s life, Mary is there to encourage her with her faith in God.  When sickness and secrets strikes Mary’s life, she questions and doubts her faith.  Jealousy, betrayal, and family secrets eventually causes an estranged in their friendship.  But it’s faith that comes from the least likely source that will surprise you through the end of the story.

The ups and downs of the girls’ friendship are typical for the circumstances and age of the girls.  They seem very familiar.  The descriptions of the calamities that befall some of the families are well-developed and so very real.  The destitution during the Depression is palpable and realistic. The mystery that is woven into the story keeps the pages turning!

A point I failed to mention earlier is that I loved the point of view rambling back and forth between Perri and Dobbs regarding the same episode, depicting their specific frame of mind about the circumstances transpiring.  It felt like you were eavesdropping!  Made for a fantastic read.

God’s intervention stands out in ways that shouldn’t surprise a believer, yet in ways it does.  God is faithful, just not always in how we expect.  Trust in God is the main emphasis that comes to my mind in the midst of trying circumstances in Elizabeth’s story.  Along with the faith, love and help of people when desperate times hit those they have come to love.

Friendship and the faithfulness of God are The Sweetest Thing.

This book was provided by Jim Hart of Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

“Softly and Tenderly” by Sara Evans with Rachel Hauck

Betrayal:  Termination or Opportunity?

Maybe in the Wide-Open Country She Can Learn to Breathe Again

Book Blurb:

Happily married and owner of two successful boutiques, Jade longs to begin a family with her husband, Max.  But when she discovers that Max has an illegitimate son–who he wants her to help raise–Jade’s life is turned upside down.

She flees to her childhood home, a rambling Iowa farmhouse, with enough room to breathe.  There–while her mother’s health grows fragile, and the tug of her first love grows stronger–Jade begins to question everything she thought she knew about family, love, and motherhood.  In the wide-open landscape, Jade begins to see a future that doesn’t rest on the power of her past, but in the goodness of God’s tender mercies.

Bios:

Sara Evans                                                                                Rachel Hauck

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sara Evans: Multi-platinum recording artist has garnered such honors as ACM’s Female Vocalist of the Year, CMA’s Video of the Year, one of People Magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People,” and the first country star to compete in ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.

Rachel Hauck: RITA-finalist and best-selling author lives in Florida with her husband, Tony.  In addition to her collaboration with Sara, she’s the award-winning author of Dining with Joy, Sweet Caroline, and Love Starts with Elle.

Endorsements:

Exquisitely written, an achingly beautiful story about lost and found relationships that made me ponder my own.  This story is not to be missed.”  –Susan May Warren, Rita award-winning, best-selling author of Nightingale.

“Hang on for an emotional ride as a woman who ‘married into a Southern soap opera’ learns to forgive and trust again.” –Booklist

My Review:

Softly and Tenderly, by Sara Evans with Rachel Hauck, is anything but soft and tender as the story first unfolds.  Secrets and betrayal open with painful harshness.  You find your heart bleeding all over the pages with the characters.  There’s no sugar-coating on the raw emotions felt and displayed.  Honest, heartfelt, and painful conversations are held.  Heart-wrenching in every way.  Choices made could have easily been my own.

Sara pulled out all the stops on a very touchy, harsh reality for some women.  Had it not been for the mix of humor and hope, the pain and rejection could have almost been too overwhelming, but overall I believe Sara did it with just the right balance.

Added to these scenarios is the cold reality of an imminent death to be dealt with, one where the past has almost devastated the relationships.  With maturation, reconciliation is cautiously and even humorously worked out.

Despite the gravity of the subjects, I don’t think I’ve ever been moved as much by a story as I was with this book.  It was deep and intense, and you felt every part of it. The pain, grief and sorrow were not glossed over.  Very realistic, yet encouraging. God’s grace was apparent throughout the gamut of circumstances, though not necessarily seen ‘in the moment.’  His power of forgiveness is strong, but not always instant.

A powerful book to help women in situations such as these.  Softly and tenderly does work its way in at the end in an unexpected way. Top of the line writing!

Here’s to ‘all the women out there just trying to live a little stronger.’

This book was provided by BookSneeze in exchange for my honest review.