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

Twilight at Blueberry Barrens, by Colleen Coble

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

Kate Mason has devoted herself to caring for her family’s blueberry barrens. But after her fields stop producing fruit, she’s forced to come up with alternative ways to make a living.

Renting out the small cottage on her property seems an obvious choice, but it won’t be enough. When entrepreneur Drake Newham shows up looking not only for a place to rent but also for a nanny for his two nieces, it’s almost too good to be true. And maybe it is—because Drake brings with him dangerous questions about who might be out to kill his family.

The more time Kate spends with Drake and the girls, the more difficult it becomes to hide her attraction to him. But a family crisis isn’t exactly the ideal time to pursue a romance.

Meanwhile, Kate learns that her uncle—in prison for murder—has escaped. Add to that a local stalker who won’t leave her alone, and Kate is looking over her shoulder at every turn. With threats swirling from multiple directions, she wonders if her blueberry fields will ever flourish again . . . or if this twilight is her last.

First Thoughts:

I have to admit that I didn’t know understand the title at first. It turns out barrens are a type of ecosystem.

My Take:

Life in Sunset Cove, Maine, used to be quiet. But lately, Kate’s had more than her share of drama. Her mother’s in prison for kidnapping and manslaughter, and she’s been left to look after the family business. The last thing she needs is for her and her sister to discover two dead bodies at the base of some local cliffs. Trying to get her life in order, she gets a job as a nanny but then learns her employer is investigating the deaths of his brother and sister-in-law. Could there be a connection to her grisly discovery?

Like other titles by Colleen Coble, the narrative is a mix of romance and drama and there’s a heavy emphasis on relationships and connections. I was hooked by the suspense element: I wasn’t sure if there was just one person targeting Kate and Drake or if there two unrelated situations. I identified a major player just over halfway through. Coble’s writing gave few clues, so I had to follow it through to see if I was right. I was wrong on other plot elements, however.

This is the third and final book in Coble’s Sunset Cove series and you definitely need to have read the previous two novels before reading. It’s a separate tale, but involves the same group of characters. There are references to events in those books, but little detail is given. I’d read each book when it was released, but even I had difficulty remembering everything that had happened in them. The final chapter of the book wraps up the series at an important event, with an indication that life is going to be changing for everyone.

Thank you to Thomas Nelson for my complimentary copy of Twilight at Blueberry Barrens.

Have you read Twilight at Blueberry Barrens? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Publisher: Thomas Nelson (a division of HarperCollins Christian)

Publication Date: 20 October 2016

Page Count: 352

Read more on:   Colleen Coble’s Website   TNZFiction’s Website

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

Tangled Webs, by Irene Hannon

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

Finn has packed away his combat instincts–but he may need them again when danger begins to stalk his quiet hideaway . . .

After a disastrous Middle East mission ends his six-year Army Ranger career, Finn McGregor needs some downtime. A peaceful month in the woods sounds like the perfect way to decompress. But peace isn’t on the agenda once he crosses paths with publishing executive Dana Lewis, a neighbor who is nursing wounds of her own. Someone seems bent on disrupting her stay in the lakeside cabin she inherited from her grandfather. As Finn and Dana work together to discover who is behind the disquieting pranks, the incidents begin to take on a menacing tone. And when it becomes apparent Dana’s foe may have deadly intent, Finn finds himself back in the thick of the action–ready or not.

First Thoughts:

I chose to read Tangled Webs because I’ve read the previous two books in the series.

My Take:

A faithful but desperate man is plagued by temptation, and is blackmailed by a criminal.  Two people trying to get over traumatic situations find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. These are the major players in the third book of Irene Hannon’s Men of Valor series.

I almost always find Irene Hannon’s books entertaining and easy to read. They’re a nice balance of romance and suspense with likable characters and happy endings. Tangled Webs looks at two issues relevant to today: the production and distribution of crystal meth, and also the mental health issues our military face upon their return from the front lines. (I hasten to add that our hero is NOT making the meth!).

One feature of Hannon’s novels is that the villain is revealed near the start of the book. I’m in two minds whether or not that’s a good thing. While the villain’s perspective is interesting, in this case I felt it lessened the suspense. I knew exactly who was responsible for the incidents on Dana’s property and why. It then just became a matter of time before Finn and Dana solved the mystery.

Thank you to Revell for my complimentary copy of Tangled Webs.

Have you read Tangled Webs? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Publisher: Revell (a division of Baker Publishing)

Publication Date: 04 October 2016

Page Count: 368

Read more on:   Irene Hannon’s Website   Revell’s Website

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