Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Book Review: In Wilderness

In the winter of 1966, Katherine Reid receives a shattering diagnosis. Debilitated by a terminal and painful illness, Katherine moves to an isolated cabin deep in Georgia’s Appalachian Mountains. There, with little more than a sleeping bag, a tin plate, and a loaded gun, she plans to spend the few short months remaining to her in beautiful but desolate solitude. Her isolation brings her peace, until the day she realizes the woods are not as empty as she believed. A heartbeat in the darkness. Breathing in the night. Katherine is not alone. Someone else is near, observing her every move.

Twenty-year-old Vietnam veteran Danny lives in the once-grand mansion he has dubbed “Gatsby’s house.” Haunted by the scars of war and enclosed by walls of moldering books, he becomes fixated on Katherine. What starts as cautious observation grows to an obsession. When these two lost souls collide, the passion that ignites between them is all-consuming—and increasingly dangerous.

Suffused with a stunning sense of character and atmosphere, Diane Thomas’s intimate voice creates an unforgettable depiction of the transformative power of love, how we grieve and hope, and the perilous ways in which we heed and test our hearts.
My review:  Wow, this book will have you wanting to reach the end the moment you start it!
It's powerful, raw, strange, disturbing ~ like a car wreck ... you try NOT to look, but you catch yourself craning your neck to take a peek anyway!

I wasn't so sure about the story plot at the beginning - with Katherine seemingly unsure about how to handle her illness and modern medicine.  Her troubles lead her to living on her own in the middle of a vast wilderness and she soon realizes that she's not. 

The characters, Katherine and Danny, are a little bit odd, not going to lie.  But in their oddity, they bring something unique to the table - a sense of belonging with each other and knowing that no matter how lost you are in the world, whatever is troubling you, there is always something bigger than yours and together, a possibility of healing. 

Hang on to the edge of your seats -this book will take you for a ride!

Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to review this book!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Book Review: Deadly Echoes


Book Jacket:  After a youth filled with tragedy and upheaval, Sarah Miller's life is finally settled with all echoes of the past silent at last. She happily calls Sanctuary her home and spends her days teaching at the local school.

Sarah's joy at her recent reunion with her sister, Hannah, and meeting the niece she didn't know she had is too soon interrupted when Deputy Sheriff Paul Gleason informs Sarah her sister has been killed.

As she learns more about Hannah's death, the circumstances are eerily similar to their parents' murder. Sarah enlists Paul's help in digging deeper into the murders the police are dismissing as burglaries gone wrong. Paul's concern encourages Sarah's growing feelings for him, but as their investigation peels back the layers of lies almost twenty years old, they get close to uncovering the truth one person will do anything to hide--even if that means coming after the last remaining members of the Miller family.

My Review:    I normally read review books in the order received but as soon as Deadly Echoes by Nancy Mehl landed in my mailbox, I couldn't wait to jump in.  I read it cover to cover in a couple of hours.  This isn't my "first rodeo" with a Nancy Mehl book and one thing is certain ... she can weave a trail of intrigue!

Deadly Echoes reads like a cross between CSI and Little House on the Prairie.  Sisters, Sarah and Hannah, suffer an unimaginable loss and the story weaves from that loss to present day.  It's chalk full of old fashioned ways of life, old school virtues and values, where kindness and respect and being neighborly meets a murder mystery to be solved.  Sarah falls in love with the small town cop, who's feelings are reciprocated, but their romance is slow to take off while they are trying to peace together who is putting Sarah's life in danger.  She takes on her sister's wishes to raise her niece as her own after she is killed, and that puts an interesting spin on the relationship as well - both to Sarah herself as an "instant mom" and to the life she's hoping to build with Paul.   As I read this book, 2 Corinthians 4 kept echoing in my mind ~ "We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed but not driven to despair; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed."  To go through all that Sarah went through and still have a graceful heart and faith strong enough to move mountains is a wondrous thing.

I did lose interest towards the middle of this book - it started to get a little too long to get back on track.  It reminded me somewhat of 'filler words' when you need to get to a certain amount of pages and extend the story.  While an entertaining story to read, it became repetitious and of course, a highly predictable ending to the story.  But if you like books with an old fashioned country plains feel with a mixed intrique, you'd find this story worth your while.

3 out of 5 stars.

Disclosure:  I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Baker Publishing Group on behalf of Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review and the stated opinion I have expressed is my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255.