Without Warning, by Joel C. Rosenberg

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

As he prepares to deliver the State of the Union address, the president of the United States is convinced the Islamic State is on the run, about to be crushed by American forces once and for all. But New York Times foreign correspondent J. B. Collins tells the president he’s dead wrong. With the Middle East on fire, the Israeli prime minister dead, and Amman in ruins, Collins fears a catastrophic attack inside the American homeland is imminent. He argues that only an all-out manhunt to capture or kill Abu Kahlif—the leader of ISIS—can stop the attack and save American lives. But will the president listen and take decisive action before it’s too late?

First Thoughts:

I’ve enjoyed every previous novel I’ve read by Rosenberg. Although I mostly review historical fiction now, requesting to review Without Warning was a no-brainer for me!

My Take:

ISIS is constantly in our headlines. Barely a day goes by when we don’t hear of more attacks by them (including one on the day I’m writing this review) or of more sympathizers and supporters being taken into custody. They have one aim: to create an Islamic State of their specifications. Whoever doesn’t agree with their ideal is their enemy. The J.B. Collins series, of which this is the final book, focuses on the hunt for their leader.

Joel C. Rosenberg has created a very real “what if.” Many of Collins’ opinions on ISIS and political correctness are possibly Rosenberg’s own, and they’re ones I’ve heard many times. Haven’t we heard former leaders state that Islamic State is on the run? Didn’t we hear our previous government refuse to use the term “Islamic terrorism” because of the slight possibility of causing offense? The president in Rosenberg’s narrative could very well be our country’s previous president.

I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that the U.S. Capitol building is attacked early on in the book. (It’s mentioned on the hardcover’s flyleaf.) It isn’t the first time an author has taken out the Capitol in a terrorist attack either: Tom Clancy did it back in the mid-1990s and the Kiefer Sutherland vehicle Designated Survivor uses a similar plot device. Once the attack starts, the novel flies at a frenetic pace. The hits keep coming, some out of left field, and some of them are personal. The intensity level lowers for a time midway through, but the plot never stops moving. The ending is a stunner, but don’t cheat yourself by reading it out of order.

I stayed up late to finish Without Warning, and I don’t regret it! It’s a definite five star read. I do suggest, however, that you read the J.B. Collins books in the order in which they’re published. This isn’t a book you can read out of context. The First Hostage starts at the moment The Third Target ends, and Without Warning starts two months after the final events of The First Hostage. Each book builds upon the other not just in terms of the plot but also in character development. The J.B. of Without Warning is not the man we first meet in The Third Target. But if you love political thrillers, then I can definitely recommend this series.

Thank you to the Tyndale Blog Network for my complimentary copy of Without Warning, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

Have you read Without Warning? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers

Publication Date: 14 March 2017

Page Count: 480

Read more on:   Joel C. Rosenberg’s Website   Tyndale’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million   Christianbook.com

Where Two Hearts Meet, by Liz Johnson

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

In her kitchen at Rose’s Red Door Inn, executive chef Caden Holt is calm, collected, and competent. But when her boss asks her to show off their beautiful island to impress a visiting travel writer and save the inn, Caden is forced to face a world much bigger than her kitchen–and a man who makes her wish she was beautiful.

Journalist Adam Jacobs is on a forced sabbatical on Prince Edward Island. He’s also on assignment to uncover a story. Instead he’s falling in love with the island’s red shores and Caden’s sweets.

When Caden discovers Adam isn’t who she thought he was, she realizes that the article he’s writing could do more than ruin the inn’s chances for survival–it might also break her heart.

First Thoughts:

I chose to read this because it’s the second book in the Prince Edward Island Dreams series. I’ve already read book one.

My Take:

Where Two Hearts Meet is the story of a self-doubting woman who never believes she’s good enough and a man overwhelmed by guilt after witnessing death at close hand. Readers first met Caden in the first book of the Prince Edward Island Dreams series, when she uncertainly asked the main character to be a taste tester for her. The two women became friends and Caden now works behind the scenes to ensure her friend’s business serves up food to remember. But all could be for naught if the money runs out, and only a glowing review from an anonymous travel writer. She and her boss both believe Adam is that writer, but Adam is a journalist with PTSD after being imbedded with the military in Afghanistan.

This novel is primarily a contemporary romance and there’s little in the way of suspense or drama. Caden’s biggest problem, besides the inn’s financial status, is the reappearance of a former classmate who’s now a big name chef in Toronto. Insecure Caden feels there is absolutely no way she can compete with the woman and it does seem the townsfolk reinforce that at times. One line in particular stood out to me: “They were quick to accept her gifts. And just as quick to forget who gave them.” And I suddenly thought, “We do that with God.” I also have to mention minor character, Levi, who plays a major part of Adam’s story. His history is a poignant one.

It does help to have read the first book in the series, The Red Door Inn. Not only does it give backstory to the inn’s development, it also aids the reader in understanding why it’s under threat. Another book is due to be published next summer, and an excerpt is included. I’ll hopefully read it soon after it’s released.

Thank you to Revell for my complimentary copy of Where Two Hearts Meet, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

Have you read Where Two Hearts Meet? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Publisher: Revell (a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Publication Date: 18 October 2016

Page Count: 384

Read more on:   Liz Johnson’s Website   Revell’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million   Christianbook.com

A Royal Christmas Wedding, by Rachel Hauck

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

It’s been five years since Avery Truitt and Prince Colin of Brighton Kingdom fell in love. But he broke her heart with no explanation.

Fast forward to present day, and Colin is Brighton’s most eligible bachelor now that cousin Stephen has married. When Avery’s father dies of a heart attack, she puts her life on hold and returns home to St. Simons Island, Georgia, to help Mama with the family restaurant. But Mama misses Avery’s sister Susanna, who lives four thousand miles away in Brighton Kingdom—and is expecting her first child! So Mama insists she and Avery spend the Christmas season in Brighton.

Colin and Avery are going to see each other a lot while she’s visiting. But she can’t forget the way he hurt her, and he didn’t expect his feelings to still be so strong.

Avery is torn between considering a future in Brighton and taking a coaching job in Georgia, and Colin is finally pushed to pursue what he really wants. Is it too late to convince Avery that she is his true love? And even if he does, will she make it to the chapel on Christmas Day to give him her heart?

First Thoughts:

Hooray for another Rachel Hauck release! Okay, it might only be a novella but it’s another Brighton Kingdom story so I’m happy.

My Take:

Rachel Hauck takes her readers back to Brighton Kingdom one more time for a bonus fairy tale in The Royal Wedding series. The American sister-in-law of King Nathaniel is coming to visit her sister for Christmas. She’s also hoping to avoid her ex, who happens to be the king’s cousin. Her plans lie back in the USA, and coaching volleyball at either high school or university level. Cathedral City at Christmas might be romantic, but Avery doesn’t plan on having any of it while she’s there.

The novella’s prologue contains a heartbreaking tragedy from 1834 when a member of the royal family died while taking part in a century-old tradition. I wanted to know more about it and how it impacted the people involved. But that isn’t the focus of the book and so I knew I probably wouldn’t get many answers. The first chapter, however, took me to one of my favorite places: the Georgia coast. The book counts down to Christmas and details events from balls to fundraisers, including appearances on the popular Madeline and Hyacinth show. The young royals remind me very much of Princes William and Harry and the Duchess of Cambridge.

A Royal Christmas Wedding is very much a fantasy romance. After all, with the exception of Kate Middleton, there aren’t many ordinary women who marry into royalty. There’s also an element of the supernatural: a chapel bell rings when its rope is tied securely to the wall and no one’s touching it. It does help to have read the novels in the series as there are mentions of events from them. This book brings us full circle in the series, focusing on the Truitt sisters and their dreamy royal loves just as Once Upon a Prince did. Finally, there’s a happy ever after epilogue. This is a true Christmas fairytale to warm the heart at any time of year.

Thank you to TNZFiction’s Fiction Guild for my complimentary copy of A Royal Christmas Wedding. No review was required.

Have you read A Royal Christmas Wedding? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Publisher: Zondervan (a division of HarperCollins Christian)

Publication Date: 18 October 2016

Page Count: 240

Read more on:   Rachel Hauck’s Website   TNZFiction’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million   Christianbook.com