Saturday, August 23, 2014

My review: An Aria for Nick

I immensely enjoyed An Aria for Nick! Hallee's books are always fantastic and never disappoint!  :)

Raised in a loving home, Aria Suarez dreamed of becoming a professional pianist happily married to her high school crush. After the only boy who ever caught her eye dies a hero's death and her wrist is shattered along with her future plans, she turns her brilliant musical mind to nuclear engineering and solving mysteries of science. Abandoned to an abusive father at five, Nick Williams grew up dreaming of escape; of enlisting in the Army and leaving his wretched life behind; of proving himself worthy of the girl he loves. But the crucible of combat offers only the escape of death. A decade later, Aria uncovers a nuclear plot that threatens the heart of our very nation. Sinister forces surround and threaten her when, out of nowhere, the man who reportedly died so many years before returns as if from the grave - intent on protecting her. Has God finally joined them together? Or is Aria doomed to mourn Nick twice?

About the Author:
Hallee Bridgeman lives with her husband and their three children in small town Kentucky.  When not writing Christian romantic suspense novels or penning cookbooks, she blogs about all things cooking and homemaking at her Hallee the Homemaker blog.
Hallee loves coffee, campy action movies, and regular date nights with her husband.  Above all else, she loves God with all of her heart, soul, mind, and strength; has been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ; and relies on the presence of the Holy Spirit.
(Description (italics mine) and book cover from Christian Book.  About the author copied from book.  No infringement intended.)

My Review: 4.5 stars
A new favorite! An Aria for Nick is the second book in Hallee Bridgeman’s Song of Suspense series. I’m a big fan of Ms. Bridgeman’s books and loved this one as well!
While this is book two, technically, you don’t have to read them in order. The plots don’t overlap or anything. Several of the characters come back in this one (or are at least mentioned) and you might miss an inside joke or two, but that’s about it. I do highly recommend reading all of Hallee’s books, if you get the chance, but this one easily stands on its own.
Hallee has this wonderful talent for creating unlikely characters and making them incredibly real. For instance, Aria Suarez is a concert pianist-turned nuclear engineer. I would never have even come up with that combination, but I loved Aria and everything that made her who she is. She is obviously extremely smart, but is still very down-to-Earth. She is kind and caring, but also determined and stubborn. She has built a new life for herself after losing Nick and has moved on, somewhat, though she has never forgotten him. I loved her reaction when she first meets him again - it was very realistic, though I personally, I probably would have slapped him for what he did to Aria.
Nicholas “Nick” Williams “died” 12 years before, leaving everything to the young woman he loved. Honestly, I hated him a little for that, at first. After getting to know him and learning why he made that decision, I forgave him. It’s also really hard to hate someone as sweet and kind as Nick, even though he often hides those qualities. He is one of those macho, somewhat silent types. Though I don’t blame him for not wanting to talk about his past. The glimpses we get of it explain a lot and made me mourn for him a little bit; all he had lost and the regret he lived with.
I actually really enjoyed Aria and Nick’s relationship. It surprised me, but in a good way. I was a little concerned that it was going to be the same thing over and over, with Aria constantly nagging him about lying to her. I should have known better, this is Hallee Bridgeman we‘re talking about, after all. I loved watching their relationship grow through out the book, from the teenage feelings in high school, to the people they are now. Seeing them reconnect and get to know each other anew was great. I also enjoyed their banter and how they challenge one another. Aria pushed Nick, forcing him out of his comfort zone. He returned the favor by challenging her to face her fears head on and do the hard things required of her. I loved getting to know both of them through the other’s eyes.
The suspense and mystery were great as well! A couple things were a little obvious, but there were also some surprises along the way that kept me guessing. This book wasn’t extremely suspenseful, but it had its moments. A lot of it was Aria and Nick investigating and putting the pieces together, but I that actually made me respect Hallee more, as an author. She has a great talent for making the story fascinating and for drawing readers in, without having to have nonstop action to keep you hooked.
The spiritual content wasn’t in the forefront as much as in some of her previous books, but I can understand why. Aria and Nick are both already Christians, so that saved a lot of discussion and it probably would have seemed unrealistic if they had had a lot of talks about it, while on the run. What was there was skillfully woven in so that there was just enough, but not overpowering anything else. The same is true of the descriptions and details. They enhanced an already wonderful story, but in no way overwhelmed it.
I only have two complaints and they are mostly little nitpicky things. The beginning seemed a little slow to me, though looking back, I can understand why Hallee spent that time on it. It helped later on, to have the background. Also, there were a couple times where the point of view seemed to shift for just a sentence or two to a secondary character that Nick was talking with. It confused me for a moment, but I was able to move past it quickly, so it didn’t bother me much.

I highly recommend this book if you enjoy excellent writing with fascinating characters, and mystery/suspense.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author through The Book Club Network for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.

Thank you for coming by my blog!  As usual, here are a few links, if you're interested in checking out An Aria for Nick or another of Hallee's books, for yourself.  I happen to have heard that Aria is currently on sale for $0.99 on all eBook platforms.  Though you will most likely be hooked after reading it and feel compelled to get all of her other books too. :)


Barnes & Noble

Christian Book

I hope you have a lovely day!


Thursday, August 21, 2014

My review: Star Witness


Mackenzie Winters spent years building a life in Witness Protection, but when someone shoots at her, she fears her cover has been blown. Could the brother of the drug lord she put away be here for revenge? Mackenzie must rely on her handler's twin, world-weary Delta Force soldier Aaron Hanning, to protect her. Aaron doesn't want to be anyone's hero, but he can't let this brave woman die. Now, with danger stalking them, they'll have to make a daring choice that means life or death—for them both.

About the Author:
Lisa Phillips is an ex-pat Brit who crossed the pond to attend Bible College. She and her husband have two kids, but there's only one bunny rabbit now (sad face).
Lisa got her start writing while waiting for her employment authorization card to come through, and studied the craft with the Christian Writers Guild.
She can most often be found with a cup of proper tea and her nose in a book.
Find out more at
(Description (italics mine) and about the author from Christian Book.  Cover photo from Barnes & Noble.)

My Review: 4 stars
Great new book from Lisa Phillips!Star Witness is Lisa Phillips’ newest book from Love Inspired Suspense. It comes after Double Agent, though you don’t have to read them in order. I have quickly become a big fan of Ms. Phillips’ books and am happy to say that I really enjoyed this one!
Lisa does an excellent job of building the suspense and drawing you into the story. The descriptions and details were great, not overwhelming, but still enough to give you a clear picture. I confess that I don’t remember much about Double Agent, but despite that, I really enjoyed Sabine and Doug being back in this book. They bring a little comedic relief (Doug) and wisdom (Sabine).
I loved Mackenzie White, the heroine. I quickly connected with her and found her to be a very realistic character. She is sweet and kind, but she is also determined and stronger than she thinks. While she is on the run from mercenaries, she doesn’t focus on herself, but rather tries to take care of Aaron and others she comes in contact with.
Aaron Hanning is an interesting character. He is strong, a Delta Force soldier, but sees himself as a failure. He doesn’t want to help Mackenzie as first, because he is afraid of failing her and his brother. He doesn’t want to be responsible for someone else’s life. While he is strong, blunt, a little rough around the edges, there is also a brokenness in him that drew me in. I found that like Mackenzie, I wanted to help him heal.
I really enjoyed Aaron and Mackenzie’s relationship. It didn’t seem too fast, even though most of the book only covers a few days. It was sweet at times, but not really the focus of the story. They kind of start out as awkward friends. They are thrown together in the beginning and Aaron doesn’t want to get close to anyone, so he pushes Mackenzie away. But Mackenzie pushes back just as hard, determined that if she’s stuck with Aaron, she has to know him to be able to trust him.
My favorite part of the book is the spiritual theme: redemption. Mackenzie has spent the last 16 years trying to make up for her past life. She is determined to be a better person than she was before. She believes she has to atone for the past before she can come to God and ask for forgiveness. I love this quote from page 189, “Undeserved, just like God’s grace. She didn’t have to do anything to earn it. God would always love her no matter what she did or the kind of person she was.” I love the realization in this. So often we believe we must do something to be “good enough,” but as Mackenzie learns, you can’t earn grace. It is a gift, freely given.
Aaron also struggles with grace. He doesn’t really believe in God. He says a prayer once in a while, but feels God is more a crutch than anything. He feels trapped by his mistakes, by his failures. I love this quote from Sabine Laduca, “I had to give up my preconceived notions of what faith is like, but now I know. It’s freedom.” Aaron needed that freedom from all the burdens he had piled on his shoulders.
I admit to struggling to get into the story, at first. I had to really push myself to keep reading through the first 2 or 3 chapters. It didn’t draw me immediately like I’m used it, but made up for it later on when I was so hooked I didn’t want to put it down.
My only real complaint is that I was confused about how much time had passed at the end. A little “this many months later” note would have been nice, but I’m a nut about that stuff. It throws me off when I’m trying to guess how long it’s been.
I highly recommend this book if you enjoy mystery and suspense.

I received an advanced copy from the author for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.

*All quotations used with permission from the author. No infringement intended.

Do you or have you struggled with grace?  Why do you suppose it's such a difficult concept to accept and believe? 

Thank you for stopping by!  I hope you enjoyed my review! If you are interested in checking out the book, maybe preordering a copy (it releases Sept. 1st) here are some links to get you started.  I happen to know that Amazon has an excerpt from the book, if that's something you enjoy.  I personally don't read excerpts, because then I'm just disappointed I don't have the rest of the book. :)


Barnes & Noble

Christian Book

I hope you have a lovely day!  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

My review: Operation Zulu Redemption, part 4: Act of Treason

I can't believe it's over already!  Of course, I always feel that way about Ronie's books - like I need to go hide for a few hours and mourn the end of a book.  LOL  Anywho, read on for my actual review. :)
It’s Zero hour for Zulu. They’ve been targeted, hunted, deceived, and betrayed. Zulu is crumbling in their pursuit of justice. Even rifts within the team are tearing them apart. Téya can’t seem to unravel her bizarre connection with deadly assassin The Turk—and it’s causing her team to question her loyalty. Annie is unable to focus and sort out her strong feelings for Trace and Sam—and she fears she’ll end up losing them both. Nuala vows to support Boone, but a devastating tragedy pushes her limits. And Trace hates sending the team on dangerous missions alone, but there are some secrets he can’t reveal. In the shocking, explosive finale of Operation Zulu: Redemption, Trace has one last plan to draw the enemy out and take them down—for good. But will it work? Who can they really trust? Ultimately, what price will justice demand?   (italics mine)

About the Author:
Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author who grew up an Army brat. After twenty-plus years of marriage, she and her hunky hero husband have a full life with their four children, a Maltese Menace, and a retired military working dog in Northern Virginia. Author and speaker, Ronie loves engaging readers through her Rapid-Fire Fiction. Ronie can be found at, on Facebook (, Twitter (@roniekendig), and Goodreads (
(description, about the author, and cover photo copied from Christian Book. No infringement intended.)

My Review: 4.5 stars
Is this the end of Team Zulu? It’s over?! This is the last episode of season 1 of Operation Zulu Redemption (personally, I’m hoping for another season) and it went way too fast for my tastes! As in the previous ones, I was hooked from page one ‘til the very end! The stakes are higher than ever and the suspense is on steroids or something, I think. I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath! As soon as one fiasco would pass, another would follow right on its heels! I actually kind of thought that this episode would be a little less suspenseful, because it is the final part and things should be winding down - I was so wrong! I think I’m going to have to read the whole series over again, so I can better keep up with all that was going on.
As always, the descriptions and detail was excellent, as was Ronie’s writing. I love how she can make it feel as though you are actually there, but somehow not overwhelm the story with tedious details.
Ronie has a special talent for creating characters that draw you into their story and lives, and make you miss them when you turn the last page. I fell in love with all the characters (well, except for the villain, of course), even the ones that annoyed me a bit, at first. I just wasn’t ready to say “goodbye” to them, yet. I feel like I lost a friend, or something.
As per the other episodes, there were surprises galore and I did not even see the ending coming! I was as shocked as the characters who the masterminds were! Which kind of ticked me off a little bit, because I felt almost as deceived as the team. I generally try not to review based on emotion, but I can’t help it in this case. I was so attached to the characters and so invested in what was happening. The only reason this book is missing a half star is because I was seriously ticked off at the ending! It felt abrupt, like ripping off a bandage. Looking back now, after having thought about it for a few hours, everything that needed to be said, was said. No, it wasn’t as long and drawn out as I would have liked, and no, we don’t get a complete picture of what happened to them after the fact, but sometimes that’s okay too. Who knows, I may have been more disappointed had Ronie done that and I didn’t like where she took it.
I highly recommend this episode and the whole series if you love military suspense that keeps you guessing!

I received a free download of this book from the publisher for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.

I hope you enjoyed my review!  I'm sorry I'm not really doing anything special for it - the end of a serial novel like this deserves fireworks, or dressing in all black, or something, but I'm not up to it today. 
As usual, here are the links I have for you, if you want to check out the book, maybe buy a copy, maybe not.  These aren't intended to pressure you or anything, just help you out, 'cause honestly, that title is super long. ;)


Barnes & Noble

Christian Book

I hope you have a wonderful week!! 


Monday, August 18, 2014

My review: With Every Breath

"Was she brave enough to love when it was hard?" - Kate Livingston, page 240

In the shadow of the nation's capital, Kate Livingston's respectable life as a government worker is disrupted by an encounter with the insufferable Trevor McDonough, the one man she'd hoped never to see again. A Harvard-trained physician, Trevor never showed the tiniest flicker of interest in Kate, and business is the only reason he has sought her out now.
Despite her misgivings, Kate agrees to Trevor's risky proposal to join him in his work to find a cure for tuberculosis. As Kate begins to unlock the mysteries of Trevor's past, his hidden depths fascinate her. However, a shadowy enemy lies in wait and Trevor's closely guarded secrets are darker than she ever suspected.
As revelations from the past threaten to destroy their careers, their dreams, and even their lives, Trevor and Kate find themselves in a painfully impossible situation. With everything to lose, they must find the strength to trust that hope and love can prevail over all.

About the Author:
Elizabeth Camden is the award-winning author of five books, including Against the Tide, which won a RITA Award, a Christy Award, and a Daphne du Maurier Award. With master's degrees in history and in library science, she is a research librarian by day and scribbles away on her next novel by night. Elizabeth lives with her husband in Florida. Learn more at
(Description and about the author from Christian Book.  Cover photo from Amazon.)

My review: 5 stars
Another for the keeper shelf!I have loved Elizabeth Camden’s other books, so the fact that I absolutely adored With Every Breath comes as no surprise. I had very high expectations for it and am thrilled to be able to say that it surpassed them all!

One thing that is always a given in Ms. Camden’s book is the historical accuracy and detail. She seamlessly weaves it in a story, bringing the setting and time period to life, without overwhelming readers. Her writing was fantastic, as always, as were the descriptions. I often felt like I was actually there, with the characters. I was drawn in from the first page and didn’t want to put it down!

It’s a toss up who I loved more - Kate Livingston, or Trevor McDonough. Kate is a great protagonist and I was drawn to her immediately, wanting to find out who she was and what made her different. She is bold, determined, competitive, sarcastic, a bit nosy, but also kind and caring. She takes care of everyone, in little ways and can’t help but care about everyone she meets. This is also a problem for her, since it means facing her biggest fear. She sounds almost perfect, but her fear made her human, real. I felt for her and was cheering her on every step of the way. I loved watching her grow and learn to trust God more fully.

Trevor McDonough is the “hero” of this novel, though he is a very atypical one. He is a doctor, determined to find a cure for tuberculosis, not exactly an exciting career. His description isn’t overly dashing, either. But Ms. Camden has a talent for creating unlikely and unique characters, and making us fall in love with them anyway. And seeing him through Kate’s eyes quickly changed my opinion of him, anyway. Trevor is just as determined, competitive and sarcastic as Kate, which led to many interesting encounters between them. I loved getting to know him, too. Learning what made him the way he was, finding out what made him tick - I felt like Kate, nagging at him to find out his secrets.

I loved Kate and Trevor’s relationship. They knew each other from years ago and quickly fall into their familiar banter, picking at each other and nagging. Ms. Camden had me laughing out loud several times at the outrageous things they would say to each other. They are both unswervingly blunt, especially Trevor, which makes for an interesting friendship. I love this quote, which I think sums up their relationship really well. “I always thought you and Trevor McDonough were destined to be either mortal enemies or the very best of friends. You’re too alike to be anything else.” - Charlie Davis, page 36

They are both incredibly stubborn, as well, and face off often. But what makes them so special is that they started off as enemies, slowly became friends, then ended up as something more. I kind of wish Ms. Camden could have done a few chapters with them after marriage, so we could see them in that light, but I understand that probably wouldn’t have worked very well - I can dream anyway.

There is also a mystery woven throughout the story. While it was rarely the main focus, it still fascinated me and I kept trying to guess “whodunit” - I was wrong, in case you were wondering. I did love having that aspect in it, a little mystery and suspense to give Kate and Trevor something else to argue about. I also really enjoyed that I wasn’t even close to guessing who the “villain” was.

The spiritual theme was one that really touched my heart. Trevor’s faith isn’t mentioned that much, except for when he’s talking with Kate, but for Kate it was a big deal. She had to learn to trust God again. I really appreciated how carefully Ms. Camden dealt with this subject. She never made Kate seem foolish for struggling with trust, but rather gently guided her through Trevor and a few other people toward Him. And after losing her brothers and husband, I kind of think she had a right to fear losing anyone else. But her work with tuberculosis pretty much guaranteed that she would face more loss. I love this quote, taken from when she realizes that she either has to figure out how to confront her fear and trust God, or risk losing more than she was willing to.

“God never asked her to understand Him. He asked her to trust Him.” - Kate Livingston That’s pretty much the definition of faith - trusting, even when you don’t understand.

I honestly can’t think of a single thing I did not like about this book - a rarity for me. As I’ve already said, I loved the characters, the dialogue, Ms. Camden’s writing, the historical facet, and the spiritual theme. To sum it up, I loved everything about it! I even enjoyed the ending, which is always the worst part of a great book for me. I don’t want it to end! But Ms. Camden did an excellent job of tying all the loose ends together and bringing it to a satisfying end.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys excellent historical romance!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.

*Please note, all quotations used with permission from the publisher. No infringement intended.

Okay, I have to confess that even though I loved the book, I don't particularly like the cover.  I'm sorry, but it's one of the few from Bethany House Publishing that I really just don't like.  The overall effect is just a little off, I think, and after reading the story, I honestly still cannot explain the background they used.

On a different subject - what are your thoughts about the quote I opened with?  To refresh your memory is was, "Was she brave enough to love when it was hard?"  This quote really challenges me.  It's easy to love in the good times, when things are going well and everyone is happy.  But when times get tough and you're faced with everything life can throw at you, it's not so easy.  In fact, for a lot of people, it's almost impossible.  It's human nature to run, to try to protect yourself, but that isn't love - that's being selfish . . . .  You, know, I read an interesting statement just yesterday, "Love is the antithesis of selfishness."  It was actually a sample sentence in a dictionary, but how true that is. 
And I will close with that, because I could talk about this all day, but I honestly don't think either of us has the time for that - me for typing it, you for reading it.  I will probably do another post later about it.

Well, thank you for stopping by my blog!  I know this isn't really a normal review post, but that's okay, right?  Sometimes something different is a good thing.
As usual, here are the links I have for the book, if you want to check it out and maybe consider purchasing a copy.


Barnes & Noble

Christian Book

I hope you have a wonderful week! :)


My review: Operation Zulu Redemption, part 3: Hazardous Duty

The series is almost over!  I can't believe it!  Only one book left! *deep breath* Anyway, now that I have freaked out a little bit, please allow me to share my review with you - I promise to pretend to be a normal human being (maybe).  :)

The odds are stacked against them, but Zulu refuses to surrender. After all the hits they’ve taken, it’d be easy to quit. But Annie, Teya, and Nuala didn’t train so intensely to be part of the first all-female special ops team to let their enemy win. Now that the fight’s been incited so fiercely with Jessie, Candice, and Keeley, the rest of Zulu won’t go down without a fight. They’ll find answers, justice, and vindication for that tragic night they were set up in Misrata. Or die trying. Giving up isn’t in the bones of Sam Caliguari either—not even after thugs snatch him from Manson. He won’t be muzzled in his effort to get Annie out of trouble. Annie knows Sam will use every bit of his SEAL training to track her down, but she didn’t expect the tangle of strong feelings she’d have for him and Trace. Téya never imagined the nightmare that would hit after crossing the deadly path of The Turk. What could he possibly want with her so specifically?
And while Trace anticipates physical threats, he’s also watching his back for the next political fallout, because Francesca Solomon is unyielding in her quest to bring him down. Will Zulu ever catch a break?

About the Author:
Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author who grew up an Army brat. After twenty-plus years of marriage, she and her hunky hero husband have a full life with their four children, a Maltese Menace, and a retired military working dog in Northern Virginia. Author and speaker, Ronie loves engaging readers through her Rapid-Fire Fiction. Ronie can be found at, on Facebook (, Twitter (@roniekendig), and Goodreads (
(Book description, about the author, and cover photo from Christian Book.)

My review: 5 stars
Another suspense-filled episode! Okay, I have to confess that I read the first episode of this series and was cocky enough to think I knew the characters pretty well and had a decent idea of where everything would end up. I have given that up completely now. Ronie has blown all of my preconceived notions out of the water, never to return to Earth. There are so many twists and turns that it is seriously pretty much impossible to guess where the story will go next. I was on the edge of my seat through most of the story - I loved it and didn’t want to put it down! It is quite rare for a series - even though each episode is shorter than a full length novel - to hold my attention this long and still be able to keep me guessing! 
I’m still loving getting to know each of the characters better and I was thrilled that Sam was in this one more (if you’ve read my other reviews, then you know that was a complaint of mine). I particularly liked getting to know Nuala better - she’s been the quiet one in the background for most of it, but here we get to see the team through her eyes and know what she’s thinking a little more often. She gives interesting insight into the story and the other players. I’ve heard a little talk of which Zulu member is everyone’s favorite and things like that, but honestly, I could never pick one. They are all so different and unique that you just can’t compare them (well, you can, but you get my point). They are all wonderfully diverse people that I‘m sure will be sticking with me for a long time to come. I do have to admit to being a little more curious about Trace, though. I may have given up trying to predict what will happen next, but that doesn’t mean I’m not extremely interested in where he’ll end up (and with whom).
I really enjoyed the fact that they are talking/thinking about God a little more in this part. Ronie gently integrated a few conversations about Him, without it seeming stilted or faked. Their conversations in general are a little deeper here as they grow closer as a team.
As I reached the end of this episode, I had mixed feelings. I am dying to get to the end and find out how everything is going to play out, but finishing this part also means I only have one left. I’ve grown so attached to the characters and don’t want to face having to let them go. I’ll probably be crying at the end of the final one, simply because I know it will be the end for Team Zulu.

I received a free download of this book from the publisher for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to read my review!  I know everyone is super busy, so I don't take the time you spend here lightly. 

Here are a few links to the book, if you're so inclined to check it out some more, or perhaps purchase a copy - I know Ronie would love your support.  :)


Barnes & Noble

Christian Book

Thursday, August 14, 2014

My review: Operation Zulu Redemption, part 2: Out of Nowhere

Episode 2 of Operation Zulu picks up where 1 left off (thankfully) and keeps the action going!
Zulu races around the world fighting for answers—and their lives! The remnant of the first all-female Special Forces team, Zulu, will do whatever it takes to determine what really happened that night five years ago—when a trap entangled the team in the deaths of twenty-two innocent people in Misrata, Libya. With Lieutenant Colonel Trace Weston and Boone Ramage leading the way, Annie Palermo, Téya Reiker, and Nuala King are training harder and stronger, digging deeper for clues, and tracking down leads in the U.S. and Europe to clear their names. Former Navy SEAL Sam Caliguari refuses to believe Annie left of her own free will, not after what they shared. But his determination and efforts to find her have put Zulu at greater risk of being discovered—and eliminated—before they can find the truth. Francesca Solomon is determined to bring down Trace Weston, whom she believes is responsible for the tragedy in Misrata, for ruining her father’s career, and for tarnishing her family’s good name. When a source gives her pivotal information, Francesca leaps at the chance to make Trace answer for his crimes. Just when things start to turn for Zulu, a member of the team is targeted by one of the world’s deadliest assassins. Then another vanishes. Zulu wants the truth, but they didn’t know it might cost every one of their lives.

About the Author:
Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author who grew up an Army brat. After twenty-plus years of marriage, she and her hunky hero husband have a full life with their four children, a Maltese Menace, and a retired military working dog in Northern Virginia. Author and speaker, Ronie loves engaging readers through her Rapid-Fire Fiction. Ronie can be found at, on Facebook (, Twitter (@roniekendig), and Goodreads (

(Description, About the author, and cover photo from Christian Book - no infringement intended.)

My Review: 4 stars
Team Zulu is back for round two against the thugs and assassins out to kill them!I really enjoyed part two of Team Zulu, though it is a little slower than the first one, in my opinion. It is kind of like the middle of a book - you’re halfway through and it slows just a smidge, as the author works to begin bringing everything together for the final chapters. It didn’t hold my attention quite as tightly as the previous one, but that actually wasn’t a bad thing. It didn’t have me on the edge of my seat constantly, since there was a bit more dialogue, investigating, and planning in this part. That is in fact one of the things I particularly enjoyed about it - it allowed me to get to know the characters better, instead of being swept up in the action all of the time.
Ronie once again does an excellent job with the details, descriptions, and making me feel as though I’m there with them. I’m spending a lot of my time between episodes trying to guess what will happen next, which isn’t working at all! Just when I think I have a handle on what’s happening, she either takes it the complete opposite of what I excepted, or throws something else into the mix! Ronie is definitely keeping readers on their toes with this serial novel!
I liked the team getting to travel some in this one - gets the ladies out of the bunker and we finally get to see them in action, though things do go wrong right and left, it seems. One of them even becomes the target of a notorious assassin (not a spoiler, unless you didn’t read the description then, sorry). We also get to know Trace a bit better, which was cool. Up ‘til now he’s kind of been an ambiguous character. Giving us just a glimpse then leaving the rest to our imagination. That still happens here, but a few more of the blanks are filled in, which was nice.
The biggest reason this one is only getting 4 stars? I’m getting kind of annoyed with Sam. I want him to be in it more, or to have made more headway, or to have found Annie, or something. He’s basically just ramming his head into a brick wall, which makes sense, I get it. It’s just starting to get a little old for me. I’m hoping he shows up a bit more in the next one.

I received a free download of this book from the publisher for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.

Thank you for coming by!  I hope you enjoyed my review and will check out my blog again!
If you're interested in purchasing a copy of this episode, or perhaps just looking into it some more, here are a few links to get you started.  :)


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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

My review: Operation Zulu Redemption - Collateral Damage, part 1

I have been anxiously awaiting the opportunity to read the next (or first, I guess) part of the series - though I was waiting for them to all release, so I wouldn't have much of a wait in between parts.  May I just say that it was great?!

They want answers. They want redemption. And they want to live. Five years ago, six soldiers made American military history as the first all-female Special Forces team, named Zulu. A tragic mistake in Misrata, Libya, leaves twenty-two innocents dead and Zulu fleeing for their lives. Now Jessica Herring and Candice Reyna are dead at the hand of an assassin, and Keeley Shay clings to life in a hospital. The last three Zulu members are forced into a fight for answers, for redemption, and for their very lives. Annie Palermo and Téya Reiker had settled into their hidden identities when their lives are upended and their loved ones attacked. Annie’s flame, Samuel Caliguari, is a former Navy SEAL who can hold his own, but the attack leaves Annie livid—and fleeing once again. When Téya’s Amish loved ones are threatened, she must also hide. But how can she not go back and protect these peace-loving people, no matter the risk? Nuala King never really settled after Misrata, and she can’t shake the horror of the disastrous mission, the lives lost, or the terrible nightmares that still haunt her. Lieutenant Colonel Trace Weston and his right-hand man, Chief Warrant Officer Boone Ramage, struggle to hold the Zulu remnant together. They must track down who hit the team and deliver justice to the enemy—if Sam Caliguari and relentless Army intelligence analyst Lieutenant Francesca Solomon don’t get them all killed first. . . .

About the author:
Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author who grew up an Army brat. After twenty-plus years of marriage, she and her hunky hero husband have a full life with their four children, a Maltese Menace, and a retired military working dog in Northern Virginia. Author and speaker, Ronie loves engaging readers through her Rapid-Fire Fiction. Ronie can be found at, on Facebook (, Twitter (@roniekendig), and Goodreads (
(Book description, about the author, and cover photo from Christian Book - no infringement intended.)

My review: 5 stars
Heart-pounding suspense that will keep you guessing! Operation Zulu Redemption started with a prequel: Overkill. It began with a bang that had me on the edge of my seat and Ronie keeps the non-stop action going in this episode! I’ve heard a serial novelization compared to a television mini-series: a new “episode” each week and cliffhangers to keep you wanting more. Ronie definitely has the cliffhanger thing down! I was so engrossed in the story that when it ended I was going, “what?! No!” and berating myself for not already having the next part downloaded. The story pulled me in so completely that it took me a moment to get my bearings and remember where I was.
The writing was wonderful, as always! I have no idea how Ronie kept up with everything and was able to switch view points so seamlessly, but I applaud her efforts nonetheless! The suspense was great, as previously noted, and kept me constantly guessing (which I loved)! Reading any of Ronie’s books is not for the faint of heart, though. They are real and raw in a way I’ve rarely seen. She crafts her words in such a way that draws you in and makes it seem as though you are actually there with them.  
I was under the apparent misconception that each part of the serial novel would focus on one of the remaining ladies, instead of following the whole team. I was very happy to find out that I was wrong! Even though I was confused a little at the beginning, trying to remember who was who (thank you, Ronie, for the character list), it would have been even harder had it just been one person. That would have made each installment seem tedious and difficult to follow, I think. 
In part one we get to know the members of team Zulu a bit better and watch them work together as a team, again. We also find out more about what happened to sideline them to begin with. Ronie has a knack for creating realistic characters that get into your heart and refuse to let you go! I loved getting to know each person, figuring out what makes them stand apart from the others, discovering loyalties, and learning their strengths and weaknesses. There are so many view points that I finally grabbed a notepad and wrote down who everyone was so I wouldn’t have to keep flipping back to the character list. Once I got caught up, I came to really appreciate having all those different opinions and views, as it gave a more complete picture of what was going on.
I can totally understand why there are 4 parts and a prequel to this series - the story is so complex, I’m sure the author needed all of them to bring everything back around! I really enjoyed this episode and will hopefully be reading the rest of them very soon!

I received a free download of this book from the publisher for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.

Have you read any of Ronie Kendig's novels? If so, which one is your favorite? Why? What is something you have taken away from one of her books?

Thank you for coming by my blog!  I will also be reviewing the rest of the series, so I hope you will come by and check those out, too! 

If you're interested in purchasing this "episode" or perhaps downloading the prequel, Overkill, for free, here are some links to help you out. 


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Friday, August 8, 2014

My review: In Perfect Time

In Perfect Time is the third and final book in Sarah Sundin's Wings of the Nightingale series!  It follows the story of Kay Jobson and Roger Cooper - as excited as I was to finally read their story, I was equally disappointed to see the series end! 

Bold, sophisticated, and flirtatious, Army Air Force flight nurse Lt. Kay Jobson collects hearts wherever she flies, leaving men pining in airfields all across Europe. So how can ruggedly handsome C-47 pilot Lt. Roger Cooper be all but immune to her considerable charms? In fact, he seems to do everything he can to avoid her.

Still, as they cross the skies between Italy and southern France, evacuating the wounded and delivering paratroopers and supplies, every beat of their hearts draws them closer to where they don't want to go. Can they confront the fears and misunderstandings in their pasts?

About the Author:
Sarah Sundin is the author of With Every Letter, On Distant Shores, and the Wings of Glory series. In 2011, A Memory Between Us was a finalist in the Inspirational Reader's Choice Awards, and Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, she works on call as a hospital pharmacist. During WWII, her grandfather served as a pharmacist's mate (medic) in the Navy and her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England. Sarah lives in California, with her husband and three children. Visit for more information.
(Book description - italics mine - and about the author copied from Amazon.  Cover photo from Deeper Shopping)

My review: 4.5 stars
Great finale! 
In Perfect Time is the final book in Sarah Sundin’s, Wings of the Nightingale series.  The series follows a group of WWII flight nurses as they face the uncertain times of war, along with the trials that come their way.
One of my favorite things about Ms. Sundin’s books is that they all tie together very neatly and with this series, they also overlap each other a bit.  I highly recommend reading them in order, if possible, but they can also standalone, though it may be a tad confusing until you catch up.  The historical detail is great, as usual, and the descriptions bring the story to life.  With a novel such as this one, that obviously involved a great amount of research and detail, it would be easy for the story to become bogged down with facts, but I believe Ms. Sundin found a great balance between the two.
Kay Jobson is heroine in this book.  After following Kay through both Mellie and Georgie’s books, I thought I knew her pretty well, but I learned very quickly that those had only scratched the surface of who she is.  I loved Kay’s character.  She is so strong and determined, but under that façade, she is so broken.  She has heard for years that she isn’t good enough, or lovable, and that she is unredeemable.  I really wanted someone to correct that mistaken belief and when they did, I was cheering for her.  The story follows Kay’s transformation, as she learns who God is, what it means to be loved, and how to love in return.  I loved seeing her grow and change into the person God intended her to be.
Roger Cooper is also a character we know fairly well from the previous books, though he isn’t in them as much as Kay is.  I really liked Roger, too.  He is strong, kind, compassionate, and determined to follow God.  I loved seeing Kay though his eyes and I also appreciated his struggle with following God’s leading at times.  Roger also contends with the belief that he isn’t good enough and will never amount to anything.  I enjoyed seeing him grow in confidence and discover what his dreams really were.
I found their romance to be very realistic and sweet, if a little drawn out at times.  There were a couple instances toward the end when it seemed as through Ms. Sundin had a word count to meet, so she threw in another conflict to drag it out a few more pages.  I did enjoy their relationship and the honesty in it.  I also liked watching them overcome their differences and the misunderstandings that seemed determined to keep them apart.
I believe the main spiritual theme of this book is redemption, though there may be another I‘m missing.  Both Kay and Roger struggle with believing they are truly forgiven.  I loved this quote from Roger: “Stop thinking your sins are so big, so much worse than anyone else’s that even the almighty God who created the universe isn’t capable of taking them away. . . .  His mercy is a gift.  Not something you earn, not something you deserve.  But like any gift, it isn’t yours until you take it.” - Roger Cooper, page 145  (Quotation used with permission from the publisher.)  I love the truth in those words, the honesty.  Like everyone, they stumbled and fell, but they got back up again and continued holding onto the Lord.
The novel is titled In Perfect Time which is theme throughout.  Kay and Roger learn that God’s will is always perfect and good, and that everything happens “in perfect time.”  I really appreciated how Ms. Sundin incorporated it, without it seeming cheesy or overdone.
I always hate reading the last book in a series, because I can’t stand knowing it’s the end.  Despite that, I was able to appreciate how Ms. Sundin ended the book.  It was wonderful - sweet, maybe a smidge sappy, but it also ties everything together.  It’s the kind of ending that makes you sigh and smile, while fighting a couple tears. 
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys WWII fiction with delightful characters who tug at your heart.  
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review, which I have given.  I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way.  All opinions expressed are my own. 

Thank you for taking the time to stop by!  I hope you enjoyed my review!  If you are interested in checking out other reviews or perhaps purchasing a copy of the book, here are a few links to help you out!  :)

Christian Book

My review: Captured by Love

Captured by Love is Jody Hedlund's newest book in her Michigan Brides series.  It follows the story of Angelique MacKenzie and Pierre Durant as they face the British occupation of Michilimackinac Island.

Michigan Territory, 1814
A voyageur and a young woman swept up in a time of upheaval and danger
discover firsthand the high price of freedom.

The British Army has taken control of Michilimackinac Island and its fort, forcing the Americans to swear an oath of loyalty to the crown in order to retain their land. Pierre Durant is a fur trader who returns after being away from the island for years, only to find the family farm a shambles and those he cares about starving and at the mercy of British invaders.

Torn between the adventurous life of fur trading and guilt over neglecting his defenseless mother, Pierre is drawn deeper into the fight against the British--and into a relationship with Angelique MacKenzie, a childhood friend who's grown into a beautiful woman. She now finds herself trapped by the circumstances of war and poverty, and the cruelty of her guardian, Ebenezer Whiley.

As tensions mount and the violence rages on, Pierre and Angelique must decide where their loyalties rest and how much they'll risk for love.

About the author:

Jody Hedlund is the author of Rebellious Heart, Unending Devotion, The Doctor's Lady and The Preacher's Bride, winner of the 2011 Award of Excellence and a finalist for the 2011 Carol Award in First Novel. She received her BA from Taylor University and her MA from the University of Wisconsin, both in social work. Currently she makes her home in Midland, Michigan, with her husband and five busy children. She can be found online at
(Book description - italics mine - and about the author copied from Amazon.  Cover photo from Deeper Shopping.)

My review: 4 stars
Great new historical novel!
Captured by Love is Jody Hedlund’s newest historical novel.  I have really enjoyed her other books.  So I had high expectations for this one and am happy to say that it surpassed them all!
This book is set in 1814 on Michilimackinac Island during the British occupation, something I didn‘t know much about.  I loved all of the history Ms. Hedlund included!  It never overpowered the story or made it feel like a history lesson, but is skillfully woven in and used to highlight certain events, bringing the setting and time period to life.  I also really enjoyed the descriptions, which were understated, giving us a glimpse of what it would look like, but also leaving some things to the reader’s imagination.
I loved Angelique MacKenzie!  She is such a sweet, loving, down to Earth character, while also being strong, determined, and a bit on the stubborn side.  I enjoyed seeing the island, Pierre, and everything else through her eyes.  We quickly learn that she attempts to care for everyone, even those she doesn’t particularly like.  Even when abused and threatened, she still tries to help others, something I greatly admired about her.  Angelique desires to be a woman of honor, something she felt her mother was not.  I enjoyed watching her grow and change as she faced circumstances beyond her control and learned to trust in God.
Pierre Durant is a great hero and an excellent match for Angelique.  He is adventurous and just as stubborn and determined as Angelique.  He often has to curb his instinct to walk straight at trouble or head off in search of his next adventure.  When he returns home it is with the desire to make amends for the past and show his mother that he is a changed man.  Even though he has changed, which we discover as we hear more of the story of his departure, he has even more changes to face. He questions at one point why it is always so painful, when God goes to work on him.  I loved watching him mature and his faith increase.
I adored Pierre and Angelique’s relationship.  They’ve been friends for years, so they have a fun banter that isn’t often found in the more serious historical fiction.  I found myself smiling often while reading and just enjoying the dialogue.  It starts out with both of them determined to keep their relationship the same, but as they get to know each other again, it becomes something more.  I enjoyed their teasing each other, but also the protectiveness Pierre feels toward Angelique, which is surprisingly (and for him, insultingly) returned.  They have the kind of relationship that is sometimes called “iron sharpening iron.”  They challenge each other and bring out the best in one another, as any good relationship should.
I think perhaps my favorite part of the story was the spiritual facet.  It is entwined throughout the story, sometimes in the forefront, sometimes in the background, but always there.  There are two main themes that I can pick out, as well as a couple other smaller ones.  The first is forgiveness, which is what Pierre struggles with the most.  He feels unworthy of the forgiveness being offered.  The other is trusting the Lord.  Both Pierre and Angelique must learn to lean on God and trust Him with their circumstances.
My only complaint is that the ending seemed a little rushed and I didn’t like that a couple of the chapters skipped weeks and months (though it is clearly noted).  I wanted it to be a bit longer and I would have enjoyed a few more details.  But that’s just me nitpicking.
I highly recommend this book if you enjoy great historical Christian fiction!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through The Book Club Network for my honest opinion, which I have given.  I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Are you a fan of Ms. Hedlund?  What is one of your favorite historical novels?  

Thank you for stopping by!  I hope you enjoyed my review!  I hope you will stop by again and see what's new in my book life!  In case you are interested in reading more reviews, or perhaps purchasing a copy of the book, here are a few links to get you going.  :)


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