Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Payback in Panama by Noel Hynd

After two attempts on her life, Alex is faced with the ultimate decision . . . kill or be killed.

U.S. Treasury Agent Alexandra LaDuca is at a crossroads. Her job is beating her up, emotionally and psychologically. And the moral battle between her faith and her responsibilities is taking its toll on her effectiveness. For the first time, she wonders how long she can last.

Forcing an end to her long-running and treacherous duel with the heads of the Dosi Cartel, Alex knows this is her last do-or-die operation. It’s time call in all the favors owed to her.

Her fight takes her into the criminal underground of America’s east coast, south into the violent underworld of Central America, across Honduras and El Salvador, and finally to Panama for a shattering confrontation.

Alex’s career, her life, and her future with the man she loves---a future she never expected after the violent death of her fiancĂ© two years earlier---are all at stake. After a final payback in Panama, nothing will be the same . . . if she even survives.

Payback in Panama was an interesting novel that was full of suspenseful elements. The plot line was well written and had a good mix of romance, suspense, humor, and danger within it. I liked the inclusion of background information concerning cartels, politics, and other issues existing in the criminal underground. The themes introduced in this novel were well developed and clear and included the importance of choosing what matters most in life and trusting in God even during tough times.

The characters in this novel were realistic and fairly well developed. I liked Alex as a character, but I wish that her interactions with other characters had contained more emotion and development. She did experience growth during the novel, especially through her personal struggles and the other situations that she experienced. The other more minor characters added some depth to the story and contributed to the situations and choices that Alex experienced throughout the novel. However, their interactions still came off slightly dry and could have been more realistic.

Overall, I enjoyed Payback in Panama,  and I look forward to reading more novels by Noel Hynd.
I received this novel for free from Thomas Nelson Publishers through Booksneeze.com in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Unspoken by Dee Henderson

Read an excerpt here!
Charlotte Graham is at the center of the most famous kidnapping in Chicago history.

The task force of FBI and local cops found her two abductors, killed them, rescued her, but it took four very long years. The fact she was found less than three miles from her home, had been there the entire time, haunts them. She's changed her identity, found a profession she loves, and rebuilt her life.

She's never said a word--to the cops, to her doctors, to family--about those four years.
A family legacy has brought her back to Chicago where a reporter is writing a book about the kidnapping. The cops who worked the case are cooperating with him. Her options are limited: Hope the reporter doesn't find the full truth, or break her silence about what happened. And her silence is what has protected her family for years.

Bryce Bishop doesn't know her past, he only knows she has coins to sell from her grandfather's estate--and that the FBI director for the Chicago office made the introduction. The more he gets to know Charlotte, the more interested he becomes, an interest encouraged by those closest to her. But nothing else is working in his favor--she's decided she is single for life, she struggles with her faith, and she's willing to forego a huge inheritance to keep her privacy. She's not giving him much of an opening to work with.

Charlotte wants to trust him. She needs to tell him what happened. Because a crime cops thought was solved, has only opened another chapter...

Unspoken by Dee Henderson is contemplative novel that mixes the suspense and heartbreak of a kidnapping with the healing that only comes with time, friends, and the love of God. The novel is very long, and the plot sometimes does drag, but I liked the slow pace of the novel. It allowed me to soak in what was happening in the novel and really connect with the characters. The story line was interesting as it took two separate old investigations and then shocked the reader at the end with the truth about them. The themes of this novel were well developed and included topics such as forgiveness after terrible hurt, being patient, the true importance (or lack of) of money, trusting others and God even after pain, and learning to share one's burdens with friends and with God. The story was told from the perspective of Bryce for the most part with some sections told from Charlotte's point of view and some from Paul and Ann Falcon's (from Full Disclosure) perspectives as well.

The characters of this novel were extremely well developed and realistic. The slow pace of the novel allowed a deep connection between the characters and the readers to occur. Bryce is a strong Christian, a good and ethical business, and a very patient and loving man. Charlotte is a very wounded woman who has never truly shared or worked past the horrendous things that happened to her as a young teen. The relationship that begins between Charlotte and Bryce is slow, believable, and extremely interesting. The conversations they have about money, God, faith, and other topics are very relatable and convicting. The end of the novel shows a lot of growth in both Charlotte and Bryce's lives as their new lives are disturbed by developments that they thought were well over. However, it is these final moments that truly get through to Charlotte and lead to her ultimate growth as a person.

Overall, I highly enjoyed Unspoken by Dee Henderson, and I would highly recommend it and the previous novel, Full Disclosure to any reader looking for a thriller that goes beyond the suspense to the emotion and pain beneath horrific events.

I received this novel for free from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.

A Talent for Trouble by Jen Turano

Read an excerpt here.

For years, Miss Felicia Murdock's every thought and action have been in pursuit of becoming a minister's wife. When the minister she'd set her sights on has other ideas, she decides something in her life needs to change--and soon--before she wastes any more time pretending to be someone she's not. If that means spreading her wings and embracing a more lively way of life, who's to say nay?

Grayson Sumner, Lord Sefton, has had more than enough of spreading his wings and only hopes to settle into the life of a respectable New York gentleman. Prompted by some friends to lift the spirits of the disappointed-in-love Miss Murdock, he is surprised to encounter an adventurous young lady with an unfortunate knack for stumbling into troublesome situations.

Just as Grayson decides he's had quite enough of her antics, his past comes back to haunt him and his presence in Felicia's life endangers her. As they work together to extricate themselves from this latest complication, will Grayson and Felicia decide they want to spend the rest of their lives keeping one another out of trouble?

A Talent For Trouble by Jen Turano was a spunky and fun novel that I enjoyed immensely. This novel is a sequel to both A Change in Fortune and A Peculiar Circumstance and adds additional depth to characters seen in both previous novels. The plot line is fun, with humorous situations and witty dialogue. It also has some suspense, and, of course, lots of day dreams and romance. The suspense felt contrived at times and was not particularly thrilling or believable, but I enjoyed the rest of the storyline immensely. The story was told from the alternating perspectives of Felicia and Grayson, which allowed the reader to have an idea of what both were feeling.

The characters and their relationships with one another were by far the best part of A Talent For Trouble. Grayson is the brother of Eliza (the main character of A Change in Fortune), and it is neat to see him grow as a character and learn more about his past. He was very mysterious in the first book and experiencing his struggles with faith in God and trusting others was convicting and believable. Felicia had appeared previously in the first and second novels and the reader learned more about her in each novel. However, in this novel her full, vibrant personality was finally revealed, and it was very pleasing to see. She is very mischievous, fun loving, and a truly kind person, and her interactions with her family and friends were very amusing. She also experienced growth as she tried to understand what God's plan for her life was and as she tried to help Grayson re-evaluate his supposed lack of belief. Felicia and Grayson were hilarious together, and it was great to watch Grayson try to understand her complete change of personality as she revealed who she really was. The other minor characters were all familiar from the previous novels, especially Agatha, whom I really hope gets her own novel soon.

Overall, I really enjoyed A Talent for Trouble, and I would highly recommend this novel and all of Jen Turano's novels to anyone looking for a fun and enjoyable read.