Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Afloat by Erin Healy

Who will you trust when dark waters rise?

Eagle’s Talon is an architectural marvel—shining residential units afloat in a protected cove of the gorgeous Rondeau River. The project is nearly complete, partially occupied, and ready to make investors rich when a sinkhole gives way. Then torrential rains and a flood leave a ragged collection of builders, investors, and residents stranded in one floating building, cut off from the rest of the world.

They’re bitterly divided over what to do next.

Architect Vance Nolan insists they should sit tight and wait for rescue. Developer Tony Dean wants to strike out into the darkness. And single mom Danielle Clement, desperate to protect her young son, Simeon, struggles to hold their motley band together.

Power failure, a pall of unnatural daytime darkness, explosions in the distance, then a murder ratchet tensions to a boiling point. But Danielle’s young son, Simeon, has spotted something strange underwater—beautiful, shifting lights in the dark water below.

In this watery world where everyone's secrets will eventually come to light, salvation may mean more than just getting out alive.

Afloat by Erin Healy was an exciting and thought provoking novel that I enjoyed immensely. The plot line was interesting and moved at a fast but smooth pace. The story was intriguing and filled with mystery, romance, danger, and the battle between evil and good. The storyline was filled with unexpected twists and turns that left me with no idea what was going to happen next. The story was told from several different characters' view points, which allowed the reader to have an idea of what different characters were thinking and how they viewed certain events. The plot also included flashbacks to a defining moment in Vance's life and allowed the reader to see how God redeemed even the darkest events when Vance turned to the Lord. As a distinct contrast to this redemption, one of the other characters allowed one mistake to draw him into darkness, despair and finally murder, instead of turning to God for forgiveness and mercy.

The characters of Afloat were realistic and well developed. I enjoyed seeing the characters, especially Danielle and Vance, grow and learn from their mistakes and surroundings as they were trapped and as tensions grew stronger. Vance was a very complex character who not only grew throughout the course of the novel but the reader also was allowed to see his growth as he relived his past mistakes and tragedies. The final culmination of these past events was very heartwarming to see. I also enjoyed the spiritual elements of the novel and experiencing the hidden spiritual battle that was also occurring.

Overall, I really enjoyed Erin Healy's Afloat, and I would highly recommend any of her novels to a reader looking for a powerful, interesting, and spiritually focused novel.

I received this novel for free from Thomas Nelson Books and Booksneeze.com in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Matter of Trust by Lis Wiehl

When life is murder, who can you trust?

One minute Mia Quinn is in her basement, chatting on the phone with a colleague at the prosecutor’s office. The next minute there’s a gunshot over the line, and Mia listens in horror as her colleague and friend Colleen bleeds to death.

Mia’s a natural for heading up the murder investigation, but these days she has all she can do to hold her life together. As a new widow with a pile of debts, a troubled teenaged son, and a four-year-old who wakes up screaming at night, she needs more time with her family, not less—and working Colleen’s case will be especially demanding. But Colleen was her friend, and she needs to keep her job. So she reluctantly teams up with detective Charlie Carlson to investigate Colleen’s death. But the deeper they dig, the more complications unfold—even the unsettling possibility that someone may be coming after her.

A Matter of Trust was an excellent novel filled with mystery, suspense, hints of romance, and conflict. The storyline was very interesting and kept me glued to the pages. There was not a lot of Christian themes or mentions of God in this novel, but overall the plot line did have an inspirational feel. I thought that this novel did a wonderful job pointing out the danger of cyber-bullying and how it can cause children and teenagers to take their own lives. The mystery, suspense, and writing of this novel were superb, however, and I enjoyed the entire novel tremendously. I felt that Matter of Trust was more like Lis Wiehl's Triple Threat series and seemed more like her style of writing than her East Salem Series. The plot was told from the perspective of Mia Quinn with a few sections from the point of view of Charlie Carlson, the police detective working with Mia and a few parts told from the perspective of Gabe, her son.

The characters in Matter of Trust were realistic and did have some dimension. I was able to identify with the struggles of Mia, the main character, and I enjoyed seeing her learn more about being a single parent and grow into a better understanding of her role at her work. Charlie was a more enigmatic character and not very much was revealed about his characteristics. It would have been great if his character had been given a little more dimension so that the readers could watch him grow and change throughout the course of the novel. Gabe, Mia's son, while not a central character, was very realistic, and it was interesting to see him grow into his role as a man as he learned about respect, honor, and being responsible for one's actions.

Overall, I enjoyed Matter of Trust tremendously. I found the storyline to be excellent, the themes to be convicting and troubling, and the characters to be realistic and to have a decent amount of development.

I received this novel for free from Thomas Nelson Publishers through Booksneeze.com in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Ollie Chandler Collection: Deadline, Deception, Dominion by Randy Alcorn

Deadline Involved in a tragic accident under suspicious circumstances, award-winning journalist Jake Woods teams with detective Ollie Chandler to uncover the truth. This alluring e-omnibus of the Randy Alcorn bestsellers finds Jake drawing upon all his resources in an ever-intensifying, dangerous murder investigation. Unaware of the imminent threat to his own life, Jake struggles for answers to the mystery at hand and is plunged into a deeper search for the meaning of his own existence. Deadline is a dramatic and vivid novel of substance, filled with hope and perspective for every reader who longs to feel purpose in life.

 The plot of Deadline was well written, and clearly portrayed Randy Alcorn's values, thoughts, and worldview. There was plenty of mystery, intrigue, and murder in the story. At times the story dragged along, especially when the story switches to heaven and the dialogue is slower and concentrates more on theology. However, the rest of the story is quite interesting and the last fourth of the novel flies by with action, intrigue, and near death experiences.

The main character, Jake Woods is quite the complex character. He is a liberal, outspoken journalist who is not afraid to speak ill of and misquote conservative positions and ideals. However, as Jake works to uncover the cause of a terrible accident with police detective Ollie Chandler, he begins to understand the problem with his viewpoint and its result on healthcare, organ transplants, abortions, sexual activity in teens, family interactions, and journalism. Jake realizes some of the truth at a very terrible cost to his own family and friends. The other minor characters, such as Finney and his family, were important in revealing the truth about morality and Christ to Jake as he struggled with the present state of American culture and journalism.

The themes of Deadline were clear and very accurate with regards to our current culture's ideals. The results of the lack of morality and the idea of "accept all worldviews except the Christian view" in our healthcare system and journalism were startling and quite scary. I could certainly see our culture sliding into the despicable practices that were mentioned in this novel. I loved the view of heaven that Alcorn portrayed, and his idea of hell was quite scary. The scenes in heaven were beautiful, and I enjoyed learning more about the relationship between one of the characters and his guardian angel. Overall I really enjoyed reading this novel.


When two senseless killings hit close to home, columnist Clarence Abernathy seeks revenge for the murders--and, ultimately, answers to his own struggles regarding race and faith. After being dragged into the world of inner-city gangs and racial conflict, Clarence is encouraged by fellow columnist Jake Woods to forge an unlikely partnership with the redneck homicide detective, Ollie Chandler. Soon the two find themselves facing dark forces, while unseen eyes watch from above. This novel spins off from Deadline and offers a fascinating glimpse inside heaven. Filled with insight--and with characters so real you'll never forget them--Dominion is a dramatic story of spiritual searching, racial reconciliation, and hope.

 Dominion was a very convicting and intriguing novel. The plot line was filled with mystery, suspense, and the tensions that still exist between those who are white and black. I found that the storyline moved a lot faster than Deadline, and I liked that while there still beautiful glimpses of heaven, these sections were far shorter and therefore easier to take in and enjoy.

The characters of Dominion were realistic and struggled with many issues that are seen in today's society. I liked that the characters from Deadline, such as Jake Wood, were still part of the story and that the reader was able to keep up with what was going on in their lives. Clarence Abernathy, was first introduced to the readers in Deadline, but he is the main character in Dominion, and it is convicting to see that a man who seemed so put together and devoted to God is actually struggling a lot with feelings of being racially discriminated against and with his faith. The other minor characters, such Ollie Chandler, added to the background of the story, the humor, and helped add to Clarence's character. The changes that occurred in his character during the story were very encouraging, and I was very convicted by many of the prejudices that I found from the story that I have too. Overall, I enjoyed the novel a lot, and I found it very interesting and convicting.


Homicide detective Ollie Chandler has seen it all. Done more than he cares to admit. But when he's called to investigate the murder of a Portland State University professor, he finds himself going places he's never gone before. Places he never wanted to go. Because all the evidence is pointing to one, horrific conclusion: The murderer is someone in his own department. That's not the worst of it, though. Ollie has nagging doubts...about himself. Where was he during the time of the murder? Joined by journalist Clarence Abernathy and their friend Jake Woods, Ollie pushes the investigation forward. Soon all three are drawn deep into corruption and political tensions that threaten to destroy them--and anyone who tries to help. But they're in too deep to quit. They've got no choice. They have to follow the evidence to the truth...No matter how ugly--or dangerous--it gets.

Deception was an exciting novel that really brought all of the characters from the previous two novels together in a fantastic conclusion. The storyline was filled with danger, mystery, suspense, and struggles with life and faith. The characters, Clarence, Jake, and Ollie, were all very realistic and grew even more in their friendships with each other and their relationship with God during this novel. Overall, I found this to be an excellent and very inspiring read. I would highly recommend the entire Ollie Chandler collection to readers who are looking for a storyline that is both deep and convicting as well as spell-binding and filled with suspense.

I received this eBook for free in exchange for an honest review from Waterbrook Multnomah Press.