Deadlock ~ by DiAnn Mills

DeadlockWhen two murders rock the city of Houston, the big question is, “Is there a serial killer at large, or are these copy-cat murders?” Special Agent Bethany Sanchez partners with Special Agent Thatcher Graves in their first case as a fascinating team. Bethany, the junior partner, works by the book, while Thatcher likes to run with his instinct—a clear recipe for friction.

I enjoyed how both the heroine and the hero are far from perfect. Bethany not only comes from a dysfunctional family and suspects her brother’s involvement in the crimes, she also has to deal with diabetes. Thatcher has a reputation for being a ladies’ man who had a strained relationship with his now-deceased father. They are both Christians, but we find Bethany struggling with why God allows so much hardship in the world, while Thatcher is trying to find his way with his new-found faith.

This exciting Christian suspense novel has just enough romance to keep the story interesting without turning into a love story. It is the third and final book in the FBI: Houston series, but although I have not yet read either of the other two, this did not present a problem for me. Deadlock stands alone, although I would love to read the other two novels.

Thank you to Tyndale House Publishers for giving me a complimentary copy of Deadlock in exchange for my honest review. You can buy this book now in Kindle or print by following this link.

 

Hidden Agenda ~ by Lisa Harris

Hidden Agenda

“Michael Hunt staggered from the impact of the blow.”

This is the opening sentence of Lisa Harris’s Hidden Agenda, and the tension escalates from that moment.  Michael, an undercover cop investigating a drug cartel, has had his cover blown and has only a few hours to live. He is rescued by Ivan and Olivia, the son and daughter of Antonio Valez, the head of the cartel.

The story is fast-paced and believable, as the trio makes their escape from a heavily-guarded island, only to discover that Michael is also wanted by the police for a number of serious crimes.

There is an emotional tug each time Olivia and Ivan discover key people from their past are not who they believed them to be.  This is a direct contrast to the united and caring Hunt family who don’t hesitate to drop everything and come alongside Michael and Olivia.

The plot line is clever and keeps you guessing while each character is well defined. As a refreshing change for this genre of book, the three main characters all share a strong faith while still being far from perfect.  Where Olivia has difficulty releasing a protective control over her younger, deaf brother, Michael too is overly protective of his family and later Olivia. Even the two main “bad guys” have their soft spots and you can’t help having a smidgeon of sympathy with them, despite their evil way of life.

Despite the seedy background of drug running, Lisa has managed to keep the language clean while not in any way watering down the vivid narrative.

I read this book in less than 24 hours, reading until late at night and sneaking in a reading time the following afternoon to finish it.  If you enjoy suspense stories with some  romance, you will enjoy this book. I don’t hesitate to give it a 5-star rating. Hidden Agenda can be purchased here.

Thank you to Revell Reads for giving me this book for an unbiased review.Lisa Harris(2)

LISA HARRIS is a Christy Award finalist for Blood Ransom, Christy Award winner forDangerous Passage, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2011from Romantic Times.

She has over thirty novels and novella collections in print. She and her family have spent over ten years living as missionaries in Africa where she homeschools, leads a women’s group, and runs a non-profit organization that works alongside their church-planting ministry

Dangerous Passage by Lisa Harris

Dangerous Passage

Dangerous Passage features Atlanta homicide detective, Avery North, a widowed mother of a pre-teen daughter.

Avery juggles her responsibilities as a single parent as well as struggling to come to terms with the loss of both her husband and her brother during separate incidents. At the same time, she questions her ability to handle her new relationship with medical examiner Jackson Bryant.

The hero of the story, Jackson is trying to find the murderer of her brother while Avery herself has two Jane Does to investigate. The fact that both of these Asian girls have magnolia tattoos indicates a sinister crime ring.

While the book does have a strong element of romance, I enjoyed the gripping storyline with a number of subplots. The theme of human trafficking is horrific, and one we like to think of as happening in “far off foreign lands”. Yet the author brings to light that 27 million people around the world are trapped in some form of slavery. So not only is it a good story, it is an eye-opener we all need to read.

I also enjoyed the break from the usual scenario where the heroine initially dislikes the hero and the romance creeps in, to the surprise of the heroine (but never the reader). The relationship between Jackson and Avery had already commenced by the start of the book and was still continuing at the conclusion.

The book ends with a tantalizing glimpse of what I’m sure will appear in the next book, and I can’t wait for that to come out.

I encourage anyone that enjoys suspense books with a purpose to get this book. You will enjoy the read as well as the opportunity to Step Away from Ordinary! (Lisa’s well-earned tagline.)

Lisa Harris(2)LISA HARRIS is a Christy Award-nominated author who has over twenty novels and novella collections in print.

She and her husband, Scott, along with their three children, live near the Indian Ocean in Mozambique as missionaries. As a homeschooling mom, life can get hectic, but she sees her writing as an extension of her ministry which also includes running a non-profit organization The ECHO Project.

To find out more about her books, you can visit her website.

Dangerous Passage is a finalist for the 2014 Christy Award in the Romance/Suspense division. Congratulations Lisa Harris!

Heavenly Haven by Christine Lindsay

Heavenly Haven (1)Heavenly Haven is a beautifully-woven short story by Christine Lindsay.

It is Shaina and Jack’s tenth wedding anniversary, and Shaina has great plans for the evening. She is devastated when her husband announces he has to work, and their marriage turns as icy as the weather outside. In an attempt to deal with her disappointment, Shaina makes a foolhardy decision that puts her and her young children in deadly peril.

Christine’s gift with words comes to the fore as she describes the scenery in 3D–without for one minute slowing down the action. I could see the ice-encrusted trees and ski-slopes thick with heavy banks of snow. I could feel the terror of the climax and held my breath as I sped through the words, anxious to see how the story would end.

This is a Christmas story with a difference, and I recommend it for a cosy evening’s read.

I received this story in return for an honest review, and I didn’t hesitate to award it five stars on Amazon.

Christine Lindsay

 

Irish-born Christine Lindsay writes multi-award-winning inspirational historical novels. Her great-grandfather and grandfather both worked as riveters on the Titanic, so perhaps the excitement of her ancestors has encouraged her great way with words.

 

Tangled Secrets by Carol Preston

tangledsecretssmall
In tragic circumstances Beth and her brothers are left in England to grow up without their parents. When Beth’s childhood dream to be reunited with her father in Australia finally eventuates she finds that dreams do not always come true.The reality she faces is a tangled web of disappointment, deceit and mistakes. Further abandonment follows.
Will she ever find true love? And will she discover she doesn’t have to be alone before it is too late?Set in the early colonial days of New South Wales and based on real characters in the mid-1800s.Revisit Charlotte and Thomas from Charlotte’s Angel and Mary’s Guardian, and meet new characters in this new novel by Carol Preston. Mary’s Guardian was a finalist in the fiction section of CALEB 2011.
carol-photo
 Carol lives in Wollongong, NSW with her husband, Neil. As well as writing novels based on her family history, Carol has a private counselling practice and enjoys reading, gardening, spending time with her four grandchildren and bushwalking. She has pursued with great admiration the lives of her ancestors in Australia and has greatly enjoyed writing novels based on their stories and the inspiring history of the Australian people.
 
For more information about Carol’s books and her other interests she can be contacted on her website.

Unexpected Christmas Hero by Kathi Macias

Unexpected Christmas Hero

What a delightful read! I hated to put it down, even to eat.

By using a young woman and her two children as the main characters, Kathi Macias immediately draws her reader into their desperate situation. I ached for them to have a warm meal, or a proper bed to sleep in. I felt quite cross with Josie at times when she turned down offers of shelter, even though I understood her point of view. I don’t think I could have been that brave. The idea of this young woman and her children curled up in her little “spot behind the cleaners” terrified me, especially with the approaching winter.

I ached for them to have a warm meal, or a proper bed to sleep in. I felt quite cross with Josie at times when she turned down offers of shelter, even though I understood her point of view. I don’t think I could have been that brave. The idea of this young woman and her children curled up in her little “spot behind the cleaners” terrified me, especially with the approaching winter.

Despite it having a Christmassy title, this is a book for all year round. As I followed the story, I became increasingly aware of the tragedy and despair of homelessness. Josie had done nothing to deserve this, and it made me realise how often this is probably the case. I will never look at a homeless person in quite the same way again.

It also made me aware of the even more helpless situation for the homeless person in South Africa, where we do not have the regular soup kitchens and shelters that are described in this book. Oh, that Unexpected Christmas Hero will come to our country so I can encourage people here to buy it. Maybe someone somewhere will catch a vision and start a new work.

The real-life miracle that occurred at the same time as the book’s release was so very exciting, and made to an even more thrilling read. For those who don’t know, the man the publishers chose for the book cover was indeed homeless. As a result of this book’s promotional material, friends of the family recognised him, and today he is reunited with his own family. This book has already brought change and transformation into the lives of many, and I believe it will continue to do so.

Kathi Macias

Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored nearly 40 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. She is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences. She won the 2008 Member of the Year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) and was the 2011 Author of the Year from BooksandAuthors.net. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband.

 

The Greenfield Legacy by Rose Dee, Amanda Deed, Meredith Resce and Paula Vince

Greenfield
Mattie was in love with Billy, but she was too young to wed. When Billy was conscripted to fight in Vietnam, they made a decision that affected their lives and their future. But so much pain resulted that Mattie never really healed. Every turn Mattie made affected her daughter and her granddaughter in ways she didn’t even realise. But forty-six years later, is it time for things to be set right?

Navy is a young woman who has never known her family. But what could be a wonderful opportunity is met with jealousy and apprehension from her cousin Brooke and her aunt Connie, especially with handsome Aidan around. Each must look past their struggles and find forgiveness and trust and perhaps even love.

This absorbing family drama, set in South Australia’s beautiful McLaren Vale wine region, is written by four of Australia’s outstanding Christian fiction authors who have brought you best-selling and award-winning novels.

My Review

This is an unusual book for two reasons. It has been written by four authors, and it has four main characters. Each character is written by one of the authors, and the four stories are brought together in a skilful way. The story is clever and clearly shows the impact one foolish decision can have on future generations. A harsh, judgemental father triggers turmoil that disrupts the lives of four women and their families. The story reveals the hardship and bitterness than can occur as a result of unforgiveness and family secrets.

It is almost like reading four novellas interwoven to make one story. I found this book difficult to get into as the story jumped back and forward between the characters, and I battled to figure out who the characters were and how they related to one another. Once I discovered the Character List at the end of the book, I found it easier to follow. As the characters developed in my mind, I began to relax and enjoy the story. Being from South Africa, I appreciated the Australian descriptions and context, and I wondered how often the same story occurs undiscovered in our own country.

I would definitely recommend this book for an intriguing read although I would like readers to know about the Character List before they started reading. Thank you, ladies, for a brave idea cleverly implemented.

About the Authors
Writer's get away. 006

Left to Right: Rose, Meredith, Paula, Amanda.

ROSE DEE was born in Ingham, North Queensland, Australia. Her childhood experiences growing up in a small beach community would later provide inspiration for her first novel. Rose, who holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree, decided to try her hand at writing two years ago. The result of that attempt is her first novel, ‘Back to Resolution’. Her novels are inspired by the love of her coastal home and desire to produce exciting and contemporary stories of faith for women. ‘Beyond Resolution’, and ‘A New Resolution’ are the second and third books in the ‘Resolution’ series. Rose resides in Mackay, North Queensland with her husband, young son, and mischievous pup, Noodle.
 
South Australian Author, MEREDITH RESCE, has been writing since 1991, and has had books in the Australian market since 1997. Following the Australian success of her “Heart of Green Valley” series, an English Publisher has taken the first three books in this series, and has released them to the British and American markets. ‘The Greenfield Legacy’ is her 15th novel published. Apart from writing, Meredith also takes the opportunity to speak to groups on issues relevant to relationships and emotional and spiritual growth. Meredith has also been co-writer and co-producer in the 2007 feature film production, “Twin Rivers”. With her husband, Nick, Meredith has worked in the ministry since 1983. Meredith and Nick have one daughter and two sons.
 
Award winning Australian author, PAULA VINCE, loves to evoke tears and laughter through writing fiction. She has a passion to provide inspiring stories that highlight her own beautiful country.
 
AMANDA DEED grew up in the South Eastern suburbs of Melbourne in a Christian home, and found faith at an early age. She has followed her passion to serve the Lord through music and literature since her teen years. Now married, with three children, Amanda enjoys the variety of being a mother, finance administrator, musician and historical romance writer. Her debut novel, The Game, won the 2010 CALEB Prize for fiction, and Ellenvale Gold was a finalist for the same prize in 2012.