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!

Helsinki Sunrise, ~ by Marion Ueckermann Review & Interview

Passport to Romance Blog Tour Logo

This post is a combination close look into the background of Helsinki Sunrise, a Passport to Romance book, and an interview with author Marion Ueckermann.

Interview with Marion Ueckermann

 SC: Hi Marion. Great to have you visiting my blog. I have lots of questions for you so let’s get started.
SC: Where were you born?
MU: Firstly, thanks for hosting me today on your blog, Shirl. I was born in Mufulira, Zambia a handful of decades ago. My paternal grandfather was a pure Scot and this gave me the incredible privilege of holding a British passport—a great money, time and effort saver when travelling.

Countries Visited

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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.

Soul Friend by Jo-Anne Berthelsen

Soul Friend
Soul Friend is an honest and intimate portrayal of the author’s own journey with her wise, spiritual mentor and the warm, life-giving relationship that developed between them during their fifteen years of meeting together.
This story is written in the hope that it will inspire many not only to seek out such a spiritual friendship for themselves but also to provide such a friendship for another.Beautifully written, this honest and insightful memoir is an inspiring celebration of the ancient art of spiritual companionship. Dr. Rick LewisSoul friendship is a very under-emphasised resource of Christian discipleship, particularly for Christian leaders. Jo-Anne has written honestly, beautifully, sensitively and powerfully. Read an interview of the author by Shirley.
Jo-ANne Berthelsen
Jo-Anne Berthelsen lives in Sydney but grew up in Brisbane. She holds degrees in Arts and Theology and has worked as a high school teacher, editor, and secretary, as well as in local church ministry. Jo-Anne loves communicating through both the written and spoken word.
She is the author of five published novels – Heléna, All the Days of My Life, Laura, Jenna andHeléna’s Legacy, with a sixth, The Inheritance, due for release in 2013. Her first non-fiction work Soul Friend: The story of a shared spiritual journey was released in October 2012. Jo-Anne loves music, reading, mentoring younger women, and sharing with community groups about writing. She is married to a retired minister and has three grown-up children and three grandchildren.

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.