Tag Archives: Revell

Book Review: Wild Montana Skies by Susan May Warren

Title: Wild Montana Skies
Author: Susan May Warren
Publisher: Revell
Published: October 2016
Series: Montana Rescue, Book 1
Genre: Contemporary Romance

About the Book: (from the publisher’s Web site)

The last thing Search and Rescue helicopter pilot Kacey Fairing needs upon returning home to Mercy Falls, Montana, is to run into her mistakes. After a devastating crash during her recent military tour in Afghanistan, she is emotionally broken but ready to start putting her life back together. She just wants to reconnect with her teenage daughter and spend the summer working as the new lead pilot of PEAK Rescue in Glacier National Park.

But her mistakes aren’t so easily forgotten. Because Ben King is also back in town.

Country music star Ben King abandoned his past when he moved to Nashville thirteen years ago to start his career. He hoped to heal his broken heart, caused by losing the woman he loved. But when his father is injured, Ben is called home to help manage PEAK Rescue during his recovery. He doesn’t realize his father has ulterior motives until his old flame, Kacey, walks into his house and back into his heart.

Now, with Mercy Falls in a state of emergency due to flash floods, Kacey and Ben will have to work together to save lives. But when secrets are uncovered and old hurts rise to the surface, will they walk away again? Or can they find a different ending to their country love song?

My Thoughts:

Susan May Warren is one name that comes up time and time again in blog posts, recommendations, award lists and discussions about Christian fiction. But somehow, this is the first novel I’ve read of hers. Shhh, don’t tell anyone…. 😉

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting this author in person and hearing her speak at a Christian fiction writer’s conference, and I’ve been reading a nonfiction book she’s written about fiction writing called The Story Equation. And finally, now I can say I have read one of her novels. And found that, yes, it lived up to what I’d been hoping it would be. So you can imagine I’ll be playing some serious catch-up to make up for lost time in reading her other books, particularly the others already published in this series. Next up, Rescue Me.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, about this book. The people and relationships have a depth and emotional resonance that’s a hallmark of good fiction. The kind of story you can get lost in for hours at a time. The setting sounds lovely, and the community welcoming, the kind of place I’d want to visit in real life… preferably not during flooding or other natural disasters though, if I can help it.

Ben and Kacey make great leads for this story. They each have their own issues and complicated backstories, but they’re clearly better together. It was fun to watch them working through it all and toward their happy ending.

The secondary characters are intriguing as well, with unexpected depth. Some of my favorite scenes involved Sierra and Ian’s relationship. I’m very much looking forward to reading more about these and other secondary characters within the PEAK Search and Rescue Team in other books in this series.

In fact, when I read this book, I didn’t realize there was a novella preceding it in the series that’s about Ian and Sierra, earlier in their relationship. I went back and read that one immediately. So good! And it fleshes out the backstory for Ian and Sierra beyond what you get in this novel. So I’d recommend reading that novella, called If Ever I Would Leave You, first thing and then immediately diving into Wild Montana Skies and the rest of the series.

Thank you to the publisher for providing the complimentary copy of Wild Montana Skies that I won in a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway! Reading and reviewing it has been a joy.

Quick Links: About the Book | About the Series | Author’s Site

Audiobook Review: The Raven by Mike Nappa

Title: The Raven
Author: Mike Nappa
Print Publisher: Revell
Audio Publisher: Oasis Audio
Narrator: Romy Nordlinger
Published: September 2016
Series: Coffey & Hill, Book 2
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Christian Fiction
Length: 12 hours, 16 minutes. Unabridged.

About the Book: (from the publisher’s Web site)

As part of his street performance, a deception specialist who goes by the name The Raven picks his audience’s pockets while they watch. It’s harmless fun–until he decides to keep the wallet of a prominent politician, hoping for a few extra bucks. When he finds compromising photos of the councilman and his “personal assistants,” The Raven hatches a plan to blackmail the man. However, he quickly finds himself in over his head with the Ukrainian Mafia and mired in a life-threatening plot code-named “Nevermore.”

Private investigators Trudi Coffey and Samuel Hill must scramble to sort out the clues to rescue The Raven from a wild card bent on revenge.

My Thoughts on the Book:

For a mysterious thrill ride of shifting allegiances, with devious plots to be undone, look no further than The Raven. I enjoyed reading this novel even more than I did its predecessor, Annabel Lee. Either book could be read as a standalone, but I recommend starting Mike Nappa’s Coffey and Hill series at the beginning if you haven’t already, as the characters grow and develop from one book to the next.

Recurring characters Trudi and Samuel continue to work through their personal issues, while they team up to solve another case. I felt these characters were more sympathetic than in the last book, maybe because they weren’t as hard on each other? Anyway, I do like the direction they seem to be headed, and hope to meet them again in a future installment of this series.

The lead character for this book, besides Trudi and Samuel, is The Raven, a street magician calling himself a deception specialist, whose attempt to blackmail someone lands him in a heap of trouble and smack dab in the thick of something bigger than he would’ve imagined. He’s not your typical lead for a Christian fiction novel, but his cool-headed and somewhat sarcastic analysis of even the most traumatic situations can be quite entertaining. And despite his many flaws, he also manages to be quite sympathetic, and I won’t give details away, but I like where the storyline takes his character arc by the end of the book.

Highly recommended if you enjoy a good mystery, and don’t mind witnessing some violence along the way.

Specific to the Audio Edition:

Romy Nordlinger’s excellent narration does justice to the story, with character voices and storytelling that immerse the reader into the thick of what’s happening. Whether she’s portraying a thug with an accent, or the sarcastically laid back analysis of The Raven, her narration fits just right, and is fun to listen to.

I borrowed this audiobook from my local library via Hoopla. I was not expected to write a review, but wanted to share how much I enjoyed the book.

Quick Links: About the Book | About the Series | Audio Sample | Author’s Site | Narrator’s Site

Audiobook Review: Annabel Lee by Mike Nappa

In case you didn’t already know, June is Audiobook Month! In case you’re thinking of celebrating by listening to an audiobook, here’s one worth considering.

Title: Annabel Lee
Author: Mike Nappa
Print Publisher: Revell
Audio Publisher: Oasis Audio
Narrator: Romy Nordlinger
Published: Print: March 2016; Audio: August 2016
Series: Coffey & Hill, Book 1
Genre: Christian fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Length: Unabridged. 10 hrs, 36 mins

About the Book: (from the publisher’s Web site)

Fourteen miles east of Peachtree, Alabama, a secret is hidden. The secret’s name is Annabel Lee.

She doesn’t know why her enigmatic uncle has stowed her deep underground in a military-style bunker. He’s left her with a few German words, a barely controlled guard dog, and a single command: “Don’t open that door for anybody, you got it? Not even me.”

Miles away in Atlanta, private investigator Trudi Coffey is visited by a mysterious older man calling himself Dr. Smith. He’s been trailing a man for a decade–a man she met through her ex-partner Samuel Hill–and the trail has led him to her office. The last thing Trudi wants to do is to contact Samuel. But it will take both of them to unravel this mystery–before it’s too late.

My Thoughts on the Book:

Mike Nappa’s Annabel Lee strikes me as an unusual novel with uniquely interesting characters. Its plot is quite suspenseful, with ever-present danger and an intriguing mystery to be solved. But be aware, it can also be quite violent at times, so if you’re especially squeamish about blood, consider yourself warned.

In my opinion, Annabel Lee, the Mute, and Dog pretty much stole the show from the series’ lead characters Trudi Coffey and Samuel Hill. Annabel’s uniquely child-like yet mature voice and way of looking at the world combined with Mute’s and Dog’s unique lack of voice (yet interesting personalities nonetheless) kept me turning the pages more than anything else. Well, okay, there was also that nagging curiosity about WHY Annabel was in this situation in the first place. And whether everything would turn out okay in the end.

Trudi and Samuel have more than their fair share of baggage as ex-spouses and ex-business-partners, which I presume they’ll continue working through in future installments of this series. I am interested to see where the author will take their relationship in the future, but I have to admit to being a bit annoyed by some of their more petty moments and occasional tactical blunders in this book. I’m hoping to see them get their act a bit more together in The Raven. Which, by the way, has what sounds like another intriguing storyline.

The Christian thread in Annabel Lee seems subtle and well thought out, with a lot of the deeper story coming to fruition within the Epilogue.

Overall, a delightfully unusual offering in this market, and one that I would recommend to fans of mystery and suspense.

Specific to the Audio Edition:

The narrator, Romy Nordlinger, does a fabulous job portraying the voice of a young girl, complete with accent, as well as voicing a variety of male and female characters with nuance and emotion. If you can get a copy of the audiobook, listening will be a treat.

My copy of the audiobook was borrowed from my local library.

Quick Links: Audio Sample | Audible | Author’s Site | Narrator’s Site

Audiobook Review: Moving Target by Lynette Eason

Title: Moving Target
Author: Lynette Eason
Print Publisher: Revell
Audio Publisher: Tantor Audio
Narrator: Rachel Dulude
Published: January 2017
Series: Elite Guardians, Book 3
Genre: Suspense
Length: 8 hours, 19 minutes. Unabridged.

About the Book: (from the publisher’s Web site)

Intensity. Skill. Tenacity. The bodyguards of Elite Guardians Agency have it all.

When Maddy McKay and Quinn Holcombe don’t show up for Quinn’s birthday party, his friends know that something is very wrong. Their search turns up little beyond evidence that Quinn and Maddy have vanished. And it soon becomes apparent that they did not leave of their own accord.

Maddy awakens in a cement room with no idea where she is. But it’s not long before she realizes she’s in the clutches of a madman who exacts revenge through games–hunting games. His prey of choice? Humans. Now Maddy and Quinn must run for their lives and outwit their killer when their game begins.

Because if they don’t win this game . . . they die.

My Thoughts on the Book:

The Elite Guardians series is sooo good! If you haven’t read Always Watching and Without Warning yet, check out my reviews. Each book can be read independently, but I recommend reading them in order for continuity from one storyline to the next. Best of all, each book in the series is as unique as its lead characters, so you won’t get bored or feel like you’re reading variations on the same book repeatedly.

Moving Target is Book 3 in the series and I found it as fresh and enjoyable as I did Books 1 and 2, in its own unique way. I found the villain and the whole “game” scenario, particularly creepy. Maddy and Quinn face a cunning adversary, who packs the book full of action and suspense. Meanwhile, our hero and heroine are working through issues of their own and coming to grips with what the nature of their relationship actually is and what they want it to be. I liked the fact that both hero and heroine in this story were professionals and treated each other accordingly, even as they watched each other’s backs and protected and supported one another. They make a really great team on multiple levels!

It was nice to meet up with the other ladies of the Elite Guardians agency again, even if they played a smaller role than in earlier books. I’m very much looking forward to reading Haley’s story next in Chasing Secrets.

Specific to the Audio Edition:

Narrator Rachel Dulude is very good at what she does, and I appreciate the consistency she brings from one book to the next in this series. I’ve already said so many great things about her narration of the earlier two books, I feel like no matter what I say, I’ll be repeating myself. So can I just use the word “excellent” and leave it at that? Those readers who enjoy a good and suspenseful audiobook will not be disappointed.

Thank you to Tantor Audio for providing a complimentary copy of the audiobook for review purposes.

Quick Links: About the Book | About the Series | Audio Sample (Audible) | Author’s Site | Narrator’s Site

Audiobook Review: Without Warning by Lynette Eason

Title: Without Warning
Author: Lynette Eason
Print Publisher: Revell
Audio Publisher: Tantor Audio
Narrator: Rachel Dulude
Published: August 2016
Series: Elite Guardians, Book 2
Genre: Christian Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Contemporary.
Length: 8 hours, 52 minutes. Unabridged.

About the Book: (from the publisher’s Web site)

Intensity. Skill. Tenacity. The bodyguards of Elite Guardians Agency have it all.

Katie Singleton, a partner with the Elite Guardians Protection Agency, stumbles upon her next assignment quite by accident. Spotting blue lights at a familiar restaurant, she stops to investigate, only to discover that owner Daniel Matthews has become the target of someone who will go to any lengths to put him out of business.

Daniel might be concerned, but he’s not convinced that a bodyguard–and a female one at that–is necessary. A new attack and his niece’s urgings are enough to make him reconsider. He and Katie must figure out who’s behind the intimidation and threats–before a would-be killer strikes again.

My Thoughts on the Book:

I recently enjoyed listening to Lynette Eason’s novel Always Watching so much that I was quick to track down a copy of the second book in this series – also in audiobook format. Without Warning did a great job maintaining the tone and style of its predecessor, while keeping the story fresh, engaging, and suspenseful. I said it in my last review, but I’ll say it again. I love the premise of this series, based around a group of female bodyguards. It was great to get to know Katie better. She’s a strong and capable woman, yet she’s okay with relying on the people around her when she needs to. And her struggle with making peace with her past and her family situation had me rooting for her all the way through the story. Daniel made a great hero too, plenty capable himself, yet comfortable enough in his own skin to not be bothered by his niece wanting to hire a bodyguard for him. Speaking of the niece, she’s quite mature for her age, kind of the opposite of the teenage character found in Book 1. In fact, maybe a little too precocious at times? Or maybe not…? I kept going back and forth on that. Either way, both she and Katie are forced to face their fears before this book is over, and it was great to see how they handled that. Overall, this is quite a suspenseful and action-packed novel, with elements of mystery and sweet romance. Once again, I guessed part of the outcome, but not all of it. I’m hopeful that by Book 3 I may be able to figure it all out ahead of the characters… or maybe the author will keep me guessing. Either way, I’m looking forward to seeing what these elite bodyguards will be up to next in Moving Target. :)

Specific to the Audio Edition:

This audiobook was read by Rachel Dulude, the same narrator as for the prior title in the series. Hooray! (I say that both because the narrator is good in general, and because I appreciate it when character voices are consistent through the series.) Once again, there’s a good variation in voices to help the listener keep straight who’s talking when, and a couple of the more challenging voices (a teenager and a character with an accent) are handled particularly well. Audiobook listeners who enjoy a suspenseful faith-based tale will want to track down the audio editions from this series.

I borrowed a copy of this audiobook from my local public library. I was not expected to write a review.

Quick Links: About the Audiobook | About the Series | Author’s Site | Narrator’s Site | Publisher’s Site

Audiobook Review: Sea Rose Lane by Irene Hannon

Title: Sea Rose Lane
Author: Irene Hannon
Print Publisher: Revell
Audio Publisher: Recorded Books
Narrator: Therese Plummer
Published: June 2016
Series: Hope Harbor, Book 2
Genre: Christian fiction, Contemporary Romance
Length: 10 hours, 20 minutes. Unabridged.

About the Book: (from the publisher’s Web site)

Two people starting over . . . in a town known for second chances

After a devastating layoff, attorney Eric Nash heads back to Hope Harbor–only to discover that his childhood home is being transformed into a bed and breakfast. Instead of plotting his next career move in peace, he’s constantly distracted by noise, chaos–and BJ Stevens, the attractive but prickly blonde architect who’s invaded the house with her motley crew. As for BJ, her client’s son might be handsome, but after a disastrous romance, dating isn’t high on her agenda. Yet when they join forces to help Hope Harbor seniors, might they also find healing, hope, and a new beginning themselves?

Come home to Hope Harbor–where hearts heal . . . and love blooms

My Thoughts on the Book:

Fans of Irene Hannon’s Hope Harbor (see my review of the first book in this series) will be delighted to return to this small seaside town for another fun contemporary romance with emotional and spiritual depth. The romance between Eric and BJ is sweet, with some whimsical interruptions by local wildlife – namely harbor seal Casper and seagulls Floyd and Gladys. The lead characters are sympathetic and relatable, as they work through past hurts and challenging decisions. And I appreciate the roles faith and community play in both the main plot and several subplots.

Sea Rose Lane could easily be read as a stand-alone, but those who have read Hope Harbor will enjoy spotting a number of striking parallels in plot and theme between the two stories, as well as familiar people and locations. The lead characters (and seagulls) from the last book make cameo appearances in this one. And Charley, with his seaside taco stand and incredible intuition, takes on an even bigger role than last time.

Speaking of which, after reading Hope Harbor, I made a point of trying fish tacos the next time I found the opportunity, and discovered I really like them! Reading this book brought them back to mind, so writing this review is making me hungry. LOL! Too bad Charley’s taco stand isn’t right around the corner, or I know what I’d be doing for lunch.

This book touches on some thought-provoking issues in a gentle manner that could make for a natural conversation starter. So if anyone’s looking for a book for their discussion group, this one could be a great pick. There’s even a pre-made discussion guide available on the publisher’s Web site.

Specific to the Audio Edition:

After listening to two full-length audiobooks read by Therese Plummer, her vocal inflections are becoming very familiar. I have a feeling that even if I read the upcoming Book 3 (Sandpiper Cove) in print format, I’d still “hear” it in her voice… but I plan to seek out the audiobook edition anyway. Her voice feels very natural to the series. Perhaps it’s the laid-back, casual quality that fits the small-town vibe of the book? Either way, the emotion and the characterization reflected in her reading results in a satisfying listening experience – one I would highly recommend.

Thank you to Recorded Books for providing a complimentary copy of the audiobook for review purposes.

Quick Links: About the Audiobook | About the Series | Author’s Site | Narrator’s Site | Publisher’s Site

Book Review: Through Waters Deep by Sarah Sundin

Title: Through Waters Deep
Author: Sarah Sundin
Publisher: Revell
Published: August 2015
Series: Waves of Freedom, Book 1
Genre: Historical Romance

About the Book: (from the publisher’s Web site)

War is coming. Can love carry them through the rough waters that lie ahead?

It is 1941 and America teeters on the brink of war. Handsome and outgoing naval officer Ensign Jim Avery escorts British convoys across the North Atlantic in a brand-new destroyer, the USS Atwood. On shore, Jim encounters Mary Stirling, a childhood friend who is now an astute and beautiful Boston Navy Yard secretary.

When evidence of sabotage on the Atwood is discovered, Jim and Mary must work together to uncover the culprit. A bewildering maze of suspects emerges, and Mary is dismayed to find that even someone close to her is under suspicion. With the increasing pressure, Jim and Mary find that many new challenges–and dangers–await them.

My Thoughts:

I read Through Waters Deep in order to participate in the ACFW Book Club’s monthly discussion, and the story and characters captured my imagination. There’s a lot to this book, including sweet romance, a mystery to keep both reader and heroine guessing, a glimpse into U.S. Naval history and shipbuilding around the time of WWII, and a riveting conclusion complete with danger and heroics.

Jim and Mary are easy characters to like. They moved in the same social circle for a long time, though they were eclipsed by more extroverted people in their circle and didn’t know each other well until they wound up in a different time and place, surrounded by different people. There are romantic sparks, but each leading character believes them to be one-sided. Sigh. They both have a lot to learn about pride, humility, and acting boldly for the glory of God, when the situation calls for it. And it was a pleasure to watch them learn and grow, and embrace change.

The mystery thread was an interesting one, in which Mary attempts to help the FBI identify a saboteur. There are plenty of clues and competing theories to consider over the course of the book. I did correctly guess the saboteur by about the halfway point in the book, but that didn’t diminish my enjoyment at all. As I got closer to the end, I devoured the book with an urgency to see how it would all end up.

There were a few mix-ups important to the plot that could have been cleared up if characters had just talked honestly with each other. While this sort of thing can come across as contrived, in this case I felt the characters’ motivations for their actions (or inactions) were plausible (if a bit frustrating).

The first kiss scene has some unique and entertaining elements to it (that I won’t spoil, as much as I might want to), and the book ends on a fabulously romantic note, that has the perfect resonance for wrapping up the book. Overall, very well written and engaging. And I’ve begun to grow attached to some of the secondary characters to the point where I’m looking forward to seeing them get their own happily-ever-afters in future books within the series.

Thank you to the author for providing a free copy of this book. I was not expected to write a review, but am happy to do so.

Quick Links: About the Book | About the Series | Author’s Site

Audiobook Review: Always Watching by Lynette Eason

Title: Always Watching
Author: Lynette Eason
Print Publisher: Revell
Audio Publisher: Tantor Audio
Narrator: Rachel Dulude
Published: February 2016
Series: Elite Guardians, Book 1
Genre: Christian fiction, Romantic Suspense
Length: 8 hours, 31 minutes. Unabridged.

About the Book: (from the publisher’s Web site)

Intensity. Skill. Tenacity. The bodyguards of Elite Guardians Agency have it all.

When it becomes clear that popular psychiatrist and radio personality Wade Savage has a stalker, his father secretly hires Elite Guardians to protect his son. But when Wade’s bodyguard is attacked and nearly killed, agency owner Olivia Edwards must step in and fill the gap.

Olivia’s skills are about to be tested to the limit as Wade’s stalker moves from leaving innocent gifts at his door to threatening those closest to him–including Olivia. But in her mind, even more dangerous than the threats to her life is the hold her handsome client has on her heart.

My Thoughts on the Book:

Always Watching by Lynette Eason is among the best romantic suspense novels I’ve read in a while. I particularly enjoyed the premise of this series based around a group of female bodyguards. And I’m happy to report that Olivia and the other bodyguards in her agency are in fact pretty awesome people, both professionally and personally. The romance between Olivia and Wade was fun and believably done. But I think my favorite part is seeing Olivia and Amy (Wade’s preteen daughter) face down their fears to do what needs to be done. The stalker’s attacks keep the level of suspense significant, and the author does a good job keeping readers guessing at who the culprit could be. I guessed some aspects of the ending and was completely surprised by others. I also appreciated the inspirational message. I’m definitely looking forward to reading future installments in the Elite Guardians series.

Specific to the Audio Edition:

Rachel Dulude’s reading of this audiobook is excellent. The character voices, both male and female, are believable and unique. I was particularly impressed by the narrator’s rendition of the voices of a couple of preteen girls, and of one of the bodyguards who had an accent. The bulk of the story is told in a crisp matter-of-fact way, but when characters are talking and when things get emotional, the narrator puts you right there in the characters’ heads. Very well done. If audiobooks are your thing, this is definitely one worth listening to.

Thank you to Tantor Audio for providing a complimentary copy of this audiobook for review purposes.

Quick Links: About the Audiobook | About the Series | Author’s Site

Audiobook Review: Hope Harbor by Irene Hannon

Title: Hope Harbor
Author: Irene Hannon
Print Publisher: Revell
Audio Publisher: Recorded Books
Narrator: Therese Plummer
Published: July 2015
Series: Hope Harbor, Book 1
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Christian Fiction
Length: Unabridged, 9 hrs, 42 minutes

About the Book: (from the publisher’s Web site)

Come home to Hope Harbor–where hearts heal . . . and love blooms.

Tracy Campbell never wanted to leave Hope Harbor, Oregon, or the idyllic three-generation cranberry farm where she grew up. But life–and love–altered her plans. Now she’s home again–with a floundering farm to run . . . a tragic secret . . . and a wounded heart. Romance is not on her agenda. Nor is it on Michael Hunter’s. The visitor from Chicago has daunting secrets and devastating regrets of his own. But when Tracy recruits him to help with a project that is close to her heart, winds of change begin to sweep through Hope Harbor, bringing healing, hope, and love to countless lives–including their own.

My Thoughts on the Book:

Some of my favorite contemporary romances aren’t just romances. Irene Hannon’s Hope Harbor is not only a sweet romance between a widow and a widower who never expected to find love again. It’s also a story of overcoming regrets, reconciling with estranged family, and recognizing divine providence in the little things that can make a big difference in our lives. Colorful secondary characters and engaging subplots interweave with the main plotline to add layers and texture to this beautifully told story.

The characters’ interactions and the story itself have a very small-town feel appropriate for its setting. I thoroughly enjoyed descriptions of life on a cranberry farm complete with honeybees and hard labor, as well as visits to the beach, Charley’s taco stand, and church functions.

Food plays something of a central role in the story. There were cookies shared between unlikely friends, cinnamon buns offered in apology, lots of trips for everyone’s favorite fish tacos, and a family recipe for cranberry nut cake that plays a yummy role in the story’s conclusion. After all this talk of food, I want to try some of it. Anyone have any favorite recipes for fish tacos or cranberry nut cake to share?

The main characters Tracy and Michael each harbor regrets related to the death of a spouse. Neither expects to find romance again. The way they work through their regrets and arrive at a place where they’re ready to consider another relationship forms the backbone of the story. And the chemistry between them is evident, even if their romantic moments tend to get interrupted by a comically persistent seagull named Floyd.

Meanwhile, there’s also the story of a charitable organization in need of revamping, a reclusive landlady who regrets becoming estranged from her son, and a teen girl and her family trying to come to terms with an unplanned pregnancy. The secondary characters and plot threads impact each other and the main characters’ story in meaningful ways, contributing to the interconnected small-town feel of the story overall.

Fans of Irene Hannon’s will enjoy her believable portrayal of characters’ emotions as well as the growth of both primary and secondary characters throughout the story, but should be aware that this one doesn’t proceed at quite the thrilling pace of her romantic suspense novels. I highly recommend it, in particular to fans of small-town contemporary romance.

Specific to the Audio Edition:

Therese Plummer’s voice and narration style are well suited to this small-town romance. Her narration proceeds at a natural pace, blending into the background to give the story center stage. Character voices are well-done, reflecting the emotions of characters within each scene, and giving voice to multiple male and female voices, including that of a teen girl, which I thought was particularly notable for its feeling of authenticity.

Thank you to Recorded Books for providing a complimentary copy of this audiobook for review purposes.

Quick Links: About the Book (Goodreads) | Audio Sample (Audible) | Audio Sample (christianaudio)| Author’s Site | Narrator’s Site

Book Review: Trial Run by Thomas Locke

Title: Trial Run
Author: Thomas Locke
Publisher: Revell
Published: August 2015
Series: Fault Lines
Genre: Technological Thriller

About the Book (Publisher’s Description)

Dr. Gabriella Speciale has assembled an international team of elite scientists with one goal in mind–to create and control out-of-body experiences that transcend the limits of time and space. Reese Clawson’s mind-bending experiments aim to explode the boundaries of human consciousness–and annihilate the opposition in the process.

When a terrifying discovery and a string of failed tests threaten to dismantle both programs, the key to survival may reside in the mind of a gifted grad student whose unsettling dreams have thrust him into the center of a dangerous battle for control.

As the threads of perception and reality become tangled and time itself twists in unexpected directions, one warning remains clear: what you don’t know can kill you.

My Thoughts

I am impressed by this first book in Thomas Locke’s new Fault Lines series. It is written in the style of many New York Times bestsellers with short action-packed chapters and the kind of direct prose that cuts straight to the point. As a technological thriller it also falls within a genre that’s popular in mainstream fiction, but sorely underrepresented in Christian fiction.

I actually found the opening a bit confusing as I felt I was whisked from one scene and cast of characters to another seemingly unrelated situation, and another, before becoming fully oriented in the first. About the time I was starting to wonder if I should have been taking notes to keep it all straight, the pieces started to come together and note taking proved unnecessary. Meanwhile, something about the storytelling drew me in, and kept me wanting to read on and know more. And over the course of the story, the seemingly unrelated threads came together to form a fascinating overall picture.

Shane and Trent were my favorite characters in the book. I found them likeable and relatable, at least in part because they had no more idea what was going on initially than I did. 😉 They also had sympathetic backstories, worked well together, and I wanted to see them succeed.

I found the glimpses into the ideas behind quantum computing and other research fascinating and well-handled. There was enough detail to intrigue, but not so much as to bog down the story. Also not enough to fully explain, but that’d be a lot to ask of a fictional story in which understanding quantum computing isn’t really necessary for following the plotline.

This is a book from a Christian publisher, and while a clean read, I didn’t see much in the story to make it specifically Christian, aside from a few references to guilt and forgiveness. Along those lines though, I do wonder if the maelstrom/vortex that plays a prominent role in the story could have symbolic meaning to be explored in future titles within the series? I’ll be curious to read on and find out.

An abrupt ending left me wanting a little more resolution or maybe just some more time devoted to exploring the characters’ reactions to what they’ve been through in such an intense climactic scene. But I guess that’ll have to wait for the next book in the series, due out next year. There are plenty of unanswered questions to leave readers waiting on the edge of our seats.

I have no doubt there are many readers out there who would devour this book and look forward to more in the series. In particular, fans of Michael Crichton’s and Tom Clancy’s novels should give this book a try.

Thank you to the publisher for providing an advance reader copy of this novel via NetGalley for review purposes.

See also: My review of Emissary, book one in the Legends of the Realm series, also by Thomas Locke. Plus there’s a cool Trial Run book trailer you may want to check out.