Kelly Klepfer came on board Novel Reviews several years ago as the Senior Editor through her connections with Gina Holmes, Ane Mulligan and Jessica Dotta of Novel Journey fame. Novel Reviews is the baby sister of the popular Novel Journey. At Novel Reviews we offer honest reviews of Christian and secular fiction titles and love to promote exceptional fiction. We began to do so after we met the authors via their interviews at Novel Journey. Disclaimer: Our reviewers are not paid for their reviews. Some may consider the receiving of a complimentary book or loosley bound manuscript (by publisher or author), as a form of compensation, so, be forewarned that our reviewers RECEIVE BOOKS. In our defense, it would be difficult to review without them. (Also, we are not affiliated or paid for any links to online bookstores.)
by Ronie Kendig
Published By: Barbour Books; Discarded Heroes edition (July 1, 2011)
Embark upon a danger-laden mission within the pages of Ronie Kendig’s riveting Wolfsbane. Demolitions expert Danielle Roark thought escaping from a brutal Venezuelan general was a challenge. Now she’s charged with espionage and returned to the jungle where a new nightmare begins. Will Dani survive or become just another political pawn destined to be lost forever? Former Green Beret Canyon Metcalfe is disgusted with the suits on Capitol Hill. Still wrestling with the memories of a mission gone bad, he and Nightshade launch a mission to find Dani. Can Canyon rescue Dani, armed with nothing but raw courage?
I was thankful for the review copy of this realistic, thought-provoking, fast-paced novel. It had me look at war in a way I hadn't before.
It’s a gift to be able to write such a compelling, death-defying drama that stirs a reader's emotions deep to the depth of their soul. Ronnie Kendig has this gift and talent. This author had me laugh, cry and glued to the page anticipating the enemies next move. I was instantly wrapped up into her characters and there horrific situation. If this book were a movie I would have covered my eyes in several parts because I was afraid of what would happen next and what I might see. Yes, I'm a chicken! Grin! But since I've read several of Ronnie’s books already I knew things wouldn’t get too graphic. That was reassuring.
Ronie Kendig pens an honest portrayal of how disturbing it is to be a female POW. Women face unique challenges to survive. A person never knows what they'll be willing to do to escape. Fear. Hatred. Guilt. Hope. Finally--Peace are all felt. Ronnie takes the reader through a wide range of emotions with her larger than life characters. The rhythm and flow of this suspenseful story-line took the reader from extreme riveting highs, to heart-wrenching moments you’ll never forget. This is a book you’ll want to experience.
This author has written a powerful and moving book that transported me to the front lines of war like I’ve never experienced before. I could feel the intense humidity, hear the explosion of gunfire, see through their night goggles, and hear the intense quiet sounds of the enemy slivering near; it’s nothing like you've ever seen or heard before. There is a depth and intensity in the characters that touched me. This is a page-turning action story, with vivid imagery, engaging characters, and a lot of heart. I highly recommend Wolfsbane, It’s brilliantly written and an emotionally compelling a book you shouldn't miss!
Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent at: The Book Club Network
by Steven James
Published by: Revell
Critically acclaimed author Steven James has written four other award-winning Patrick Bowers novels as well as many works of nonfiction. He has a master's degree in storytelling and has taught writing and creative storytelling on three continents. He lives near the Blue Ridge Mountains of Tennessee with his wife and three daughters.
Latest in the Patrick Bowers series by Steven James is the best yet!
I am lucky enough to be married to a woman who reads voraciously and happens to know many authors. A couple of years ago Nora happened to hand me a copy of The Pawn by Steven James. She knows me well and understands that I cannot resist a good detective novel. I am captured by thrillers, mysteries and lawyers fighting in the court room stories.
From the very first chapter of Steven James' series about FBI Special Agent Patrick Bowers series, I have been inextricably pulled into his world of suspense. His books are not for the timid. Keep in mind that Agent Bowers chases down serial killers and investigates some heinous criminals. However there are other sides to Patrick that take us deep into his relationships. He is a widower with a teen step daughter. His wife who he loved intensely is diagnosed with cancer and dies not too long before we meet him in the first book. He was struggling to be a husband and stepfather to his wife's daughter before losing her and now two unrelated, grieving, extended family members are thrust into a relationship they both need and desire but have no clue about what to do with.
This is one of many relationships that complicate Patrick Bowers personal and professional life throughout the series. I mention this because, although one could pick up the Queen and enjoy the exciting pace of the story without ever reading the first four books, I must tell you that you will miss the richness and depth of the relationships that are developed from the first page of book one.
The Queen is clearly the best book of the series so far! I am not saying that the other books lacked anything, because they did not. Each book in this series is well crafted and the endings of all of these stories kept me up much later than I planned, because I was compelled to finish them. They pick up momentum and become a irresistible force, page after blistering page. Special Agent Bowers is a geospatial investigator. What this means is that time and location matter, though mostly the location of the crimes, in the due course of his investigations. He is at odds with his co-investigators who lean primarily on profiling, most of the time. He is Sherlock Holmes meets Criminal Minds!
Interspersed, really woven into the fabric of these stories are the issues surrounding grief, forgiveness, who God really is and who we are to Him and to each other. The richness of this book is in the inner healing of the people who are a part of this story. There are questions asked that the reader is left to answer. I highly recommend this book for reading groups who can handle stories about homicidal maniacs and the people who catch them. I guarantee that there will be topics in each of these books that will generate deep discussion of issues that lead to healing. Teen relationships, self inflicted cutting, alcohol abuse, marriage, broken homes, grief, un-forgiveness and forgiveness and much more.
When I said that the Queen is the best of the series I mean it. Is it because of the culmination of so many issues involved with the story line? Is it because I have come to know these people in the book and care about them? Or is it because the author has created a world where we can care deeply for these characters and what happens to them? Maybe it is all of that.
I was lucky enough to meet Steven James at the 2010 Christy Awards in Atlanta. (I am trying to entice him into joining www.bookfun.org ) I felt myself wanting to ask him to say hello to Agent Bowers for me! He makes his characters that real!
I know one thing. I am looking forward to getting my hands on the next book (due out in the Fall of 2012)!!
If you would like to know more feel free to visit his website http://www.stevenjames.net/ and while there invite him to join us here at TBCN? I honestly believe that his books will lead to intimate discussions in any reading group!
Reviewed by: Fred St.Laurent at: The Book Club Network
by Nick Daniels
Publisher: Risen Books (September 15, 2011)
Paperback: 348 pages
THE JIHAD'S MESSIAH (JIHAD SERIES BOOK I) In a future when world power has shifted to the Middle East, and the Arab nations have signed a seven-year peace treaty with Israel, a radical Iraqi leader-known as Al-Mahdi, "the Awaited One"-rises to power promising to convert the world to Islam. Major General Farid Zadeh is Al-Mahdi's most loyal follower and the next in line to become the Full Army General of Iraq-until he is falsely accused of being an Israeli spy. Determined to vindicate himself, Farid flies to Jerusalem to spy on the Israeli military. But before he can return home with the intelligence, the peace treaty is broken and war breaks out between the Arabs and Israel. Now he must run for his life, as both armies consider him their enemy and want him dead. Help-and perhaps redemption-come from unlikely sources: a stunning Jewish woman and a Christian prisoner. When his faith and his loyalties are tested, Farid must decide which side to take.... His decision could alter the course of Man's final war. PRAISE FOR THE JIHAD'S MESSIAH "The Jihad's Messiah is a thrilling ride into a very probable future. No other apocalyptic novel brings the current events in the Middle East so close to the biblical prophecies about the last days. This book will both entertain enlighten you, leaving you hungry for more.
What can be said about “The Jihad’s Messiah” besides the Premise above? It is labeled as a Christian fiction book talking about the End of the World issues. It is set about 13 years into the future and is also controversial. How is that for enticement to get you wanting to read this book?
Alright, then how about these points for consideration…. “The Jihad’s Messiah” is exciting to read. It is filled with the author’s opinion on the Quran and Islam and the Anti Christ rising from its religion’s ashes. It is a story from first person accounts of Major General Farid Zadeh, a very devout Muslim, and his fall from grace to realization of how life is outside of his own bubble.
Nick Daniels, author of “The Jihad’s Messiah” and published by Risen Books, has written a thought provoking, edge of your seat thriller that could be compared to Joel Rosenberg’s End of the World trilogy dealing with similar subject matter. He talks about events as if they were in the past and why things are always as they seem including a new look at people from an unfiltered Islamic structure.
What makes it a Christian novel? The events in the story are mostly laid out in the Holy Bible dealing with end of time sequences and the “Rapture” of all those believing in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Further, it shows how Christians differ from Islam and might interest you or anger you depending where you fall in the two spectrums.
I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. I challenge those that love Christian fiction or who are Christians to give “The Jihad’s Messiah” a read and see if your curiosity was worth a glimpse as it was for me.
Reviewed by: Bradley Evans at: Fearless Fighter
In a future when world power has shifted to the Middle East, and the Arab nations have signed a seven-year peace treaty with Israel, a radical Iraqi leader—known as Al-Mahdi, “the Awaited One”—rises to power promising to convert the world to Islam.
Major General Farid Zadeh is Al-Mahdi’s most loyal follower and the next in line to become the Full Army General of Iraq—until he is falsely accused of being an Israeli spy. Determined to vindicate himself, Farid flies to Jerusalem to spy on the Israeli military. But before he can return home with the intelligence, the peace treaty is broken and war breaks out between the Arabs and Israel.
Now he must run for his life, as both armies consider him their enemy and want him dead. Help—and perhaps redemption—come from unlikely sources: a stunning Jewish woman and a Christian prisoner. When his faith and his loyalties are tested, Farid must decide which side to take…. His decision could alter the course of Man’s final war.
Okay, moment of shocking honesty here…when I first started this book, I didn’t expect I’d like it. Nothing personal about the author, mind you. I was sure Nick Daniel’s writing would be fabulous and the story solid in plot and morals and all that. It’s the genre that kind of threw me. End times thriller? Yeah. Been there, done that. I read all the Left Behind series, so count me out.
Wow. Was I ever dead wrong.
Not only is the writing stunning, beautiful and so tight you can hardly breathe, but the action—fan-freaking-tastic. The Jihad’s Messiah has some crazy kind of magnetic action. I was totally sucked in. In fact, I had to duck a couple times and then do a double-take to make sure I wasn’t bleeding. Seriously. Nick Daniels takes an action/adventure scene and tosses the reader into the midst of the chaos.
What I found to be most interesting was getting inside the head of a Muslim character. Two, actually. The protag and antag are both devotees of Islam. Being an American Christian, this was a completely foreign and interesting point of view, sometimes alarming but all the time intriguing.
Now then, besides the spectacular writing and story, there’s something even better to rave about…the message. There’s a ton of Biblical truth in this tale. Not beat-the-reader-over-the-head kind of Bible thumping, but heart piercing, soul wrenching truths that are interwoven so deftly, I wouldn’t hesitate to hand this to a staunch skeptic.
The Jihad’s Messiah is the first in a three book series. When the next installment comes out, I’ll have a whole new attitude about cracking it open. In fact, I think I’ll be ordering pizza delivery for din din that night because there’s nothing going to stop me from reading it cover to cover in one sitting.
Reviewed by: Michelle Griep at: Michelle Griep