I read an electronic version of the Advanced Reader’s Copy of Lights Out by Natalie Walters. First I would emphasize that the characters were well drawn out with strong and very different identities. The cybersleuth, Kekoa steals the show with his upbeat dialogue. Lyla is another full of life character who doesn’t pull any punches. I was a little surprised at the amount of romantic content. I chose the book to read because I thought it was a mystery. From the start, the loop back to romantic notions appears frequently. This swing in the action from modern day espionage to matters of the heart I found too much in the beginning. I hung with it and eventually warmed up to the story with greater engagement.
The main characters, Jack Hudson and Brynn Taylor, are competent professionals in the business of tracking down threats to our government and way of life. Each individual has a multilayered backstory that is 100% believable and wins you over to their side. As a CIA analyst, Brynn shows she is competent at her job. Jack Hudson, a private contractor, who specializes in identifying and resolving security threats, is surrounded by a top-notch and caring team. When they join forces, the plot thickens as there is a missing person to find amidst Brynn and Jack’s blossoming relationship. This duo went through CIA agent training eight years ago and began a relationship. But choices made at the program’s end, caused a break-up and Jack moved on with a broken heart. Now they are thrown together to find a missing Egyptian operative whose disappearance has caused alarm at all levels of homeland security. As they chase down clues, one Egyptian American contact is poisoned and murdered. Brynn narrowly escapes multiple threats with her life and only minor broken bones. Jack’s quick thinking saves her from fatal consequences.
The contemporary setting accurately portrays just how complicated things are in the area of foreign relations. It takes place in a post 9/11 World and its impact is evident. Both in the political sphere and in Brynn’s personal life. Her father, a firefighter, survived the attacks, but was injured and was unable to do his job due to the injuries. She felt the tragedy on a personal level in addition to responding to it as an American Citizen. This experience drove her to serving in the CIA and doing whatever was possible to avoid another terrorist attack in the future.
The setting is based in greater Washington DC. This part makes sense. There are just a few jumps to a setting in Egypt and a human traffickers home in Georgia that seem choppy.
The author shows she writes on an advanced level when focusing on contemporary topics with an ample dose of technology woven into the plot. There’s an implied Christian theme and the story is told with appropriate language throuhgout. It is a novel with fast paced action, likable characters, and a satisfying plot. Lights out is Book #1 in a series on Jack Hudson’s private agency dedicated to national security.
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A Sparkle of Silver delivers as expected. Author Liz Johnson gives us Book #1 in the Georgia Coast Romance series. You’ll be drawn into a dual timeline romance complete with mystery, laugh out loud fun, and characters that prove to be overcomers through clever reasoning and persistence. Added to all this is a fantastic setting for both plotlines. The Chateau Dawkins, a Gilded Age Mansion, boasts lavish interiors, rooms galore, manicured gardens, and secret passageways. You will follow the rich and famous through social engagements and clandestine rendezvous. At first, the present day characters seem very dissimilar. Ben Thornton is an adjunct history professor, on his own, with no memories of a stable family network. Then there’s Milly Sullivan, who is devoted to the grandparents who raised her on their Georgia farm. Her current goal in life is to provide for her aging Grandma Joy, who suffers from dementia. The Chateau and a treasure hunt bring them together. Ben and Milly push on, knowing the treasure’s discovery would reverse their dismal financial situations and solve a family mystery. At one key point in the story, Ben’s internal dialogue reveals one truth Christians ought to ask themselves. He asks, “Why hadn’t he spent every day since he’d met Milly asking God for direction and clarity and wisdom?” He regrets that he went headlong down the road on a unconventional endeavor without consulting God first. Instead, he did it his own way and hoped God would look favorably on his actions after the fact.
Liz Johnson’s prose is crisp and the dialogue has great momentum. Along the way you’ll meet a cast of endearing supporting characters, some helpful and others villainous.
I was supplied with a complimentary copy of this book from Baker House Publishing Group in exchange for my honest review. Readers of Liz Johnson are likely to also enjoy books by Melissa Tagg and Denise Hunter.
I always look forward to reading a Susan May Warren book. Storm Front met my expectations and then surpassed them. It’s a romance story wrapped in a fast paced plot. Life and death hang in the balance as extreme weather events sweep through the story. The storm chasers and rescue teams join forces to locate the missing. It’s a rescue and recovery story on two levels. Sure there’s the physical part of setting things right in the wake of a devastating tornado. Rubble is bulldozed away. Electricity and water are restored. The community can rebuild. Running through this story line is the rescue and recovery of many characters, who pick themselves up from the pit, anchor themselves to solid and healthy relationships, and then adopt strategies to hope again with an optimistic outlook for the future.
We meet the female characters in real-world situations. Some are working hard to balance careers and family. Brette manages her personal battle with disease, its treatment, and finding out what the future holds. The male leads are also embroiled in captivating scenarios. Ty is sure he has disappointed his mentor and can’t shed the emotional baggage. Ben is trying to make a star-quality musical career work while simultaneously being a devoted family man. You’ll warm up to these characters and care about how their stories end.
Susan May Warren’s prose teems with quotable quotes. Peppered throughout her chapters are nuggets of wisdom, readers will take to heart. The ending wraps up nicely. You can’t go wrong with this book that is book five in the Montana Rescue series. I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.