Fire of the Raging Dragon (Pacific Rim Series #2)

Title:  Fire of the Raging Dragon (Pacific Rim Series #2)

Author:  Don Brown

Pages:  381

Year:  2012

Publisher:  Zondervan

My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.

Stephanie Surber is serving as a junior naval officer aboard a submarine tender that suddenly is embroiled in a conflict involving Taiwan and China.  Her ship is the first on the scene of the conflict that began when China invaded a small island manned by Taiwanese forces.  China took over the island because of the natural gas abundancy.  Taiwan sends forces to retaliate and the U.S. sends the closest available naval forces to intervene in the hopes of preventing escalation to war.  Stephanie’s ship is sure to see action.  The only problem is Stephanie is removed from the ship so she won’t face danger as her father is the President of the U.S.

Gunner McCormick returns from book one and in this tale, he is advising on the relationship between China and Taiwan, where various U.S. forces are positioned and he is sent to retrieve the President’s daughter.  However, on the way, his chopper has a problem that leaves Gunner promising to God that he will make changes in his life if God will get him out of his current situation.

There is also a Chinese civilian tanker transporting medical supplies as well as ammunitions to the small island to re-supply the Chinese forces.  The first mate is curious about these supplies and opens one of the crates in the cargo area of the ship to make a terrifying discovery.  He is unsure what to do with his discovery, but before he can do anything definitive his ship is intercepted by Taiwanese helicopters and given an ultimatum.  If others find out what is on board ship, what disaster might be unleashed?

For those who like suspense with a military focus, this series is for you.  I don’t have much familiarity with the military, but I have thoroughly enjoyed the first book, Thunder in the Morning Calm and now this second book.  The plot is action-filled and will grab the attention from the get-go.  I have liked learning about the military and in layman’s terms how it operates in general.  The setting and conflicts could be taken from front page headlines today, making it current and interesting.  The author writes with a great deal of knowledge and insight into the workings of the military, which made the story more realistic and believable for me.  I look forward to book three, Storming the Black Ice, soon.

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The Serpent’s Grasp

Title: The Serpent’s Grasp
Author: C. Kevin Thompson
Pages: 500
Year: 2017
Publisher: Hallway Publishing
My rating 5+ out of 5 stars.
For three days, I couldn’t look at anything else; I was glued to the novel! I’m not a fast reader by any means, but I sure love a good book. What’s a good book? Well, for me it’s one that is written to entertain, thought provoking, action packed, suspense filled and one wild and crazy ride! Here is such a novel by C. Kevin Thompson!
The story uses many aspects including military, intelligence agencies, science community, fascinating and clandestine characters, etc. At the beginning and throughout the novel, we are introduced to both the broken side of humanity and the hope that God alone can bring to peoples’ lives. There is a touch of romance in the book, but mainly it is the search for truth about a possible sea monster that for some reason is beginning to become extremely aggressive.
The author does a fantastic job of showing how one’s belief system whether creationism or evolution determines how one views every aspect of life. Yet, he goes further and has the character engage in activities either really searching for the truth of the evidence before them or perhaps trying to undermine such search for reasons that will boggle your mind.
The ending was spectacular and unexpected, leaving the door open for a sequel though I don’t know if the author plans one. One thing I did notice was the huge amount of research the author did in order to write such an informed, believable and captivating tale. I cannot recommend this novel highly enough and hope that people will get a copy to read or give as a gift for those who love such thrillers. I am not usually one to read a story with science in it because it isn’t one of my strongest subjects, but this fictional novel was out of this world! It would be a shame to not read it or share it with others.
Plan some time to sit and delve into one of the best and favorite novels of mine this year, The Serpent’s Grasp. Trust me, you won’t regret it!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Bringing Maggie Home

Title: Bringing Maggie Home
Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer
Pages: 352
Year: 2017
Publisher: Waterbrook
My rating 5 out of 5 stars.
What a challenging story to write, I thought as I read the synopsis before even getting the book. How can an author take a genre such as cold cases, family rifts, faith, and more to come up with moving book? I don’t know how Kim did it but she succeeded beyond my imagination!
I placed myself with in the novel whether I was the mother, grandmother or daughter. In any case I could understand the feelings expressed, words said and the healing that needed to be attempted after 7 decades of secrets. Not just secrets but guilt, and we see how unreleased guilt can destroy or bring difficulty not just within the person carrying the guilt but others within that character’s sphere of life.
I thought of the movie The Shack as I read it which made imagining the scenes more realistic for me. One of the reasons I read Kim’s novels is because as a reader one might conclude how the book will be ending only to find out the ending is breath takingly brilliant and unexpected. Using flashback in the story really helps move the story along yet also brings clarification to what happen, or what a character felt.
What a thought that in one instance a life is changed, but more so three generations within one family are touched by the moment Maggie disappears. So adding the aspect of a mystery really draws people into the book and before you know it time is flying by and the story is really causing the audience to become singularly focused. I don’t how authors do it but Kim has in the latest novel Bringing Maggie Home. Here again is another book to read, give as a gift or use in a book club near you.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

When the Bishop Needs an Alibi (The Amish Bishop Mysteries #2)

Title:  When the Bishop Needs an Alibi (The Amish Bishop Mysteries #2)

Author:  Vannetta Chapman

Pages:  352

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Harvest House Publishers

My rating is 4 stars out of 5.

Henry Lapp, the bishop for the local Amish community, is a widower.  As a result, he eats at a local diner often.  He develops a friendship with one of the young waitresses.  He notices that she always seems wary and looking over her shoulder to see if someone is watching her.  He asks what is wrong and she eventually confides a little of her suspicions to Henry.  Henry once again uses his amazing drawing talents to recreate scenes from the diner and others to help discover commonalities and perhaps what this young waitress was afraid of.

Henry is also an avid birdwatcher and goes to a federal nature refuge to watch cranes.  On one of his treks, he discovers a dead body.  Since the body was discovered on federal land, the FBI is involved.  Henry is the number one suspect in the crime from the get-go according to the agent in charge.  Of course, anyone who knows Henry finds the idea of him as a murderer ludicrous, but he has no alibi for the time of the murder.  He was at home alone.  His good friend, Emma, teams up with the decedent’s sister to clear Henry’s name and bring justice to the victim’s killer.  However, the closer they get to unraveling the mystery, the more danger to Emma.  Henry realizes he feels more than friendship for Emma and is going to protect her.  Does Emma feel the same for him? 

Henry Lapp is an example for all believers.  In the midst of his own personal trials, he kneels to pray.  His prayer includes supplication for his friends, community, even an ambitious FBI agent who is trying to hurry up and close the case to spur on his career.  He doesn’t pray, “Lord, get me out of this!  Amen.”  He encourages others to depend on God no matter what and he lives out that example.  He reminds his flock of appropriate Scripture at times when they need it most.  He is not afraid to share his faith with others outside the Amish community.  It was nice to read about a romance for Henry, a man in his mid-sixties.  I thought the mystery portion of the story was very original.  I hope there are many more mysteries to come in this series!

Copper Country (A Copper Island Novel #2)

Title:  Copper Country (A Copper Island Novel #2)

Author:  Kristin Neva

Pages:  286

Year:  2017

Publisher:  The Christmas Tree House

My rating 5 out of 5 stars.

The series begins with the novel titled, Snow Country where we meet a wide variety of characters.  The author writes from her personal knowledge gained as she was raised on Copper Island.  That enhances her ability to describe scenes that are riveting.  I believe too that with the firsthand experience of living on that island she can place her characters into situations that are captivating for readers.

The uniqueness of the story continues with the way the old Finns language is used as well as some of the unique foods that are favorites served in the book’s café.  One of the main characters is Amiee Mallon who has come from a family where her father abandoned her, her only sibling is a brother who doesn’t care about their parents and her mother has let herself go.  Amiee though feels responsible for her mother even though her mother doesn’t take care of herself let alone pay attention to anything Amiee is saying.

The tension in the book is happening both within the hearts of a couple of the characters as well as in some relationships.  One of the characters has ALS, which the author is quite familiar with as her husband battles the disease.  It helped me understand what the person and those who love that person suffering with ALS feel, and how they try to cope each day with faith and thankfulness for that day.

Amiee’s boyfriend, Russ, really can’t decide what he wants with Amiee.  Is it marriage or just friendship?  Amiee is one who speaks her mind; yet, when she finds herself trying to handle her father’s reappearance and his request to see her, she must face her deepest darkest place in her heart.  The novel touched my heart as I read about the character I met in book one and now read about in book two.

I hope readers will read and enjoy both Snow Country and now Copper Country with the hopes that the author plans another story on Copper Island sometime in the future!

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Vanishing Point (A Nikki Boyd Novel)

Title: Vanishing Point (A Nikki Boyd Novel)
Author: Lisa Harris
Pages: 307 (ARC)
Year: 2017
Publisher: Revell
My rating is 4 out of 5 stars.
Most this novel takes place in the past with just the last quarter of the book taking place in the present day. This story focuses on a serial killer that has left a string of dead girls, but no clues. The first case occurs in 2002. The task force is formed spearheaded by Garrett Addison and Jordan Lambert. Time goes by and then another body is found or another girl is reported missing. The count gets to six with the team no closer to finding the killer. One of the missing girls is Nikki Boyd’s sister. Garrett and Jordan have been dancing around their feelings for one another, but in the end, they both go their separate ways in 2006. Garrett changes jobs while Jordan continues working for the FBI.
A decade passes with no missing girls and then the pattern starts up again. A young girl’s body is found and Garrett and his old team are reunited to finally try to put an end to the killings. Nikki is on this task force, but only on the perimeter. The focus is still on Jordan and Garrett. Another girl is thought to be taken and a member of the task force is shot. Now, the killer has escalated to taking out members of the task force. Jordan and Garrett are targets, but they have finally figured out who the killer is. Can they catch the killer before the killer catches them?
I like the character of Nikki Boyd and her unfailing desire to find out the truth about what happened to her sister. She has never given up searching for clues or digging through old case reports. With the Angel Abductor cases back in the spotlight, Nikki now might get an answer to what happened to her sister all those years ago. Jordan and Garrett are fairly typical law enforcement agents in their dedication, but they allow their careers and pride to keep them apart for years. However, they both come to realize that God hasn’t abandoned them, especially in the heartbreaking difficulties of the victims of the Angel Abductor. Lisa Harris always writes exciting, interesting and timely stories. I can’t wait for the next one!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”