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!  

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