Not In The Heart

Not in the Heart


Book Description

Publication Date: January 20, 2012
Truman Wiley used to report news stories from around the world, but now the most troubling headlines are his own. He’s out of work, out of touch with his family, out of his home. But nothing dogs him more than his son’s failing heart.With mounting hospital bills and Truman’s penchant for gambling his savings, the situation seems hopeless . . . until his estranged wife throws him a lifeline—the chance to write the story of a death row inmate, a man convicted of murder who wants to donate his heart to Truman’s son.

As the execution clock ticks down, Truman uncovers disturbing evidence that points to a different killer. For his son to live, must an innocent man die? Truman’s investigation draws him down a path that will change his life, his family, and the destinies of two men forever.

MY REVIEW

The quote from Tom Stoppard “Life is a gamble, at terrible odds – if it was a bet, you wouldn’t take it” starts off this latest novel by Chris Fabry.

Truman comes across as a very selfish man, caring for himself rather than for his wife who is the sole caregiver for their son, Aiden, who was born with congenital heart disease, and at the age of eighteen years old is on the list for a heart transplant and their daughter Abigail. I had a hard time connecting with Truman for this reason. In contrast to this, Ellen his wife is approachable as a mother trying to do all she can to save her son, while also being their for her daughter. Terrell is someone you are anxious for, a guy that you hope will get a second chance.

Yet in spite of that I found Not in the Heart to be an emotional, edge of your seat novel as Chris takes us through the legal quagmire of organ donors, innocent men on death row and the families of those who are facing a sure imminent death. The tension was so tight, that even thinking about it a while later, I need to remind myself to relax, and take a deep breath. The twists and turns kept me reading long after I should have put it down. But this is not a novel only of doom and gloom and darkness. Chris Fabry writes a novel of hope and redemption.

I believe that the sign of a excellent novel is one where you remember the characters long after you are finished reading it, and this is one of those.

The Last Plea Bargain

The Last Plea Bargain

Overview

Plea bargains may grease the rails of justice, but for Jamie Brock, prosecuting criminals is not about cutting deals. In her three years as assistant DA, she’s never plea-bargained a case and vows she never will. But when a powerful defense attorney is indicted for murder and devises a way to bring the entire justice system to a screeching halt, Jamie finds herself at a crossroads. One by one, prisoners begin rejecting deals. Prosecutors are overwhelmed, and felons start walking free on technicalities. To break the logjam and convict her nemesis, Jamie must violate every principle that has guided her young career. But she has little choice. To convict the devil, sometimes you have to cut a deal with one of his demons.

MY REVIEW

The Last Plea Bargain

 

Randy Singer does an awesome job of walking a lay person, or the average reader through the technicalities of the judicial system. I may not remember most of it, but enough that the novel came alive in his words.

Jamie Brock has a lot on her mind…her mother was killed 3 years ago and at the start of the novel her father is on life support since his latest stroke. Besides that, she is assistant District Attorney in the office of the man who is running for political office. This novel is primarily the story of her trying to avenge her Mother’s death, while dealing with her job. Let’s not forget her brother Chris, who is a preacher, and has unconditionally forgive the one convicted of their mother’s murder, who has said he has had a conversion and is now following Christ. Bereavement and subsequently the grieving, hate, then forgiveness of both herself and others, reaching out to those you love, trust, these are all tightly intertwined with felons, betrayal, murders and more to make a deep impact on the reader. It explores the question of how different are we from any one else? Is there any room for changing our firm decisions on what we believe to be true?

Although the story started out slow and almost benign, it became the heart stopping, edge of the seat drama I expect from a suspense novel. Full of twists and turns that make it such a great read, the climax still caught me by surprise.

 

The Widow of Saunders Creek – Tracy Bateman

Product Details

Book Description

Publication Date: May 8, 2012
A grief that knows no boundary. 
A love without any limit. 
A need that doesn’t end at death. 
 
Corrie Saunders grew up in a life of privilege. But she gave it all up for Jarrod, her Army husband, a man she knew was a hero when she vowed to spend her life with him. She just didn’t expect her hero to sacrifice his life taking on an Iraqi suicide bomber.  
 
Six months after Jarrod’s death, Corrie retreats to the family home her husband inherited deep in the Missouri Ozarks. She doesn’t know how to live without Jarrod—she doesn’t want to. By moving to Saunders Creek and living in a house beloved by him, she hopes that somehow her Jarrod will come back to her. 
 
Something about the house suggests maybe he has. Corrie begins to wonder if she can feel Jarrod’s presence. 
 
Jarrod’s cousin Eli is helping Corrie with the house’s restoration and he knows that his dead cousin is not what Corrie senses. Eli, as a believing man and at odds with his mystically-oriented family members, thinks friendly visits from beyond are hogwash.  But he takes spirits with dark intentions seriously. Can he convince Corrie that letting go of Jarrod will lead to finding her footing again— and to the One she can truly put her faith into? 
 
MY REVIEW

Tracy has done a phenomenal job of taking a controversial subject and dealing with it realistically, and nonjudgemental in this heart warming novel of a woman who lost her husband to the war too soon. Are ghosts real? Do they talk to the living? Can we really communicate with our loved ones who have died? The story is told from two points of view, both in the first person, but it draws in the reader and you feel as if Corrie and Eli are in the room telling you what has happened in the last month. Only it becomes more intimate because you don’t need to stop and say I said, she said, he said or did. And by giving the name at the beginning of section, the reader is not confused as to whose mind we are inside. The characters are all well developed, and we see the carpentergrowth in them, both Corrie and Eli to the secondary characters of Lola (Corrie’s sister) and Joe (carpenter) as well as others in the community. From deep mourning and dispair in Corrie’s case to reaching out to others, and in Eli’s situation from envy to acceptance. I would recommend this to my friends.

 

I received this ebook free from Waterbrook Press through their Blogging for Books program. I was not required to give a positive review, just an honest one which I have done. The opinions stated are my own.

 
 

The TouchSurgeo…

The TouchThe Touch
Surgeon Andrew Jones is blessed with a rare, God-given ability to heal people. But after failing to save his fiancee, he shuns his gift. When Lara Blair pursues Andrew’s skill to test a cutting-edge surgical tool, will their close friendship help Andrew discover the healing secret that his former love left behind?
 
MY REVIEW
 

The Touch by Randall Wallace

 

I really enjoyed the book more than I thought I would. Throughout the novel it was hard to actually get inside the head of Andrew Jones (or Jones, as his colleagues call him) Faith Thomas or Lara (Laura without the u) Blair. So why did I like it in spite of that fact? Or why did I not really connect with them? All three of these characters were wrapped up in their professions as doctors, Lara being a researcher. They were well developed, but I seemed to miss that part that brought them into my life for me.

The story line was well written, and flowed rather like a river, but I am thinking that it could have had more depth, and the suspense could have been more developed. Actually, on second thought, perhaps it just was that it is a short story, easily read in an afternoon. As that, it was clearly a great little book.

Having said that, I am not criticizing the author or the editors…and the surprises were there. Randall clearly shows “The Touch” from the time Jones and Faith see the painting by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel until the end of the novel. It is understood that The Touch is the touch of God’s hand to man’s hand, as the artist portrayed it. Both Jones and Lara grow from being rather reclusive and selfish to learning more about God’s great love and plan for them.

I will definitely be telling others about Randall Wallace and The Touch, and will be looking for more novels by him.

 

The opinions stated in this review are my own, and this is an honest review.

Beckon – Tom Pawlik

BeckonSome things weren’t meant to be discovered. Three people are each drawn to the small town of Beckon, Wyoming. A young anthropologist researches a Native American legend and makes a terrifying discovery. An ex-cop investigating her cousin’s disappearance finds herself in grave peril. And an aging businessman is lured by the promise of a miracle. One by one they discover the town’s ghastly secret. The only question is . . . will any of them make it out alive?

MY REVIEW

 

Hang On…the ride is wild and fast, like the fastest most daring roller coaster ride times one hundred! Definitely NOT for the faint of heart. It is the kind of novel where you have to remember to breathe, and to unclench your fingers from the book or armrest. Where your heart can be in the throat, and your mind dizzy with all the sensory overload. I think HORROR would be the most appropriate to describe Tom Pawlik’s newest novel, Beckon.

The novel starts out innocently enough with 21 year old Jack trying to find out what happened to his father when he disappeared out of Jack’s life twelve years ago. Jack does not go on his own, but takes his best friend, seemingly his only friend along. Along the way, they pick up a guide to take them into an isolated area of the Wyoming mountainous region.

It also follows Elena as the young police woman from California searches for her cousin who has disappeared, and an elderly couple, George and Mariam. Mariam has had Alzheimer for four years, when Thomas Vale contacts him with a proposition that George finds impossible to ignore.

Will I pick up another Tom Pawlik novel? Well, if I am going to be honest with you, and honesty is what Tyndale and my readers are looking for in my reviews, no, I do not expect to. Even now, after I have put the book down, my heart races as I think of the word pictures Tom drew, and I know that it all comes from his own wild imagination. So, would I recommend it to others. In one word, yes I will, with the disclosure written above. It is a super well written novel, keeping the reader’s attention throughout, no dragging moments, characters are well formed. In fact, dispite the fact that I did not like it because it is totally out of my genre, it is a great novel.

Tidewater Inn – Colleen Coble

Book Description

Welcome to Hope Beach

Where the sea breeze is fresh, sun sparkles on sand . . . and trouble appears with the force of a hurricane.

Inheriting a beautiful old hotel on the seaward shore of Hope Island could be a dream come true for Libby. The inn cries out for her restorer’s talent and love of history. She’s delighted to learn of family she never knew she had. And the handsome Coast Guard lieutenant she’s met there on the island could definitely be the man of her dreams.

But Libby soon realizes that only way she can afford the upkeep on the inn is to sell it to developers who are stalking the island. The father who willed her the inn has died before she could meet him, and her newfound brothers and sisters are convinced she’s there to steal their birthright. Worst of all, her best friend and business partner has been kidnapped before her eyes, Libby’s under suspicion for the crime, and her handsome lieutenant clearly doubts her innocence.

Libby’s dream-come-true is becoming a nightmare. Can she find her friend and establish her innocence? Must she sell Tidewater Inn and lose her family again? Or can she find a home for her heart on the beautiful shores of Hope Island?

My Review

 I was just sitting here and reading Tidewater Inn and thinking that this was different from Colleen’s other novels – more a cozy rainy evening read than a romantic suspense, when bam! Out of the blue came the first shot. And no…that’s as far as I am going to go with that except to tell you I read this in one day. I adore Libby and the staunch loyalty she had for her business partner and best friend, Nicole and I loved how she lived out the question “What Would Jesus Do?”. Yes, she messed up in living that motto, but she acknowledged it both in her thoughts and in her journal.

There were a lot of twists and turns and surprises in the novel, just what I have come to anticipate from Colleen and a satisfying way of tying up the ends. A fairly new Christian, with little teaching from her family from what I could gather, yet willing to learn, ready to listen. Alec is a strong individual, fisherman by trade, but Coast Guard all the way. He took in his brother’s son when his brother and wife were killed in a plane crash, and becomes parent to a teenager, Zach who not only is a teenager, but dealing with anger and grief.

This book is definitely a page-turner suspense novel, and I will recommend it to my friends and aquaintances. I received this ebook free from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their booksneeze program in exchange for an honest review. A positive one was not required. The thoughts and opinions stated in this review are my own.