Tag Archives: political thriller

Book Review: The Paris Betrayal

23 Nov

I love a good spy novel! I read them exclusively when I was in high school. So when I found a Christian fiction author who writes so well in the genre, I was sold. The Paris Betrayal by James R. Hannibal is on its face a political thriller with the balance of world power at stake. The twist is that it is inspired by the book of Job. That takes it to a whole new level. I used it in my Faith And Fiction Bible Study — we loved the inventiveness of this retelling. Recommended.

After a rough mission in Rome involving the discovery of a devastating bioweapon, Company spy Ben Calix returns to Paris to find his perfectly ordered world has collapsed. A sniper attack. An ambush. A call for help that brings French SWAT forces down on his head. Ben is out. This is a severance–reserved for incompetents and traitors.

Searching for answers and anticipating a coming attack, Ben and a woman swept up in his misfortunes must travel across Europe to find the sniper who tried to kill him, the medic who saved his life, the schoolmaster who trained him, and an upstart hacker from his former team. More than that, Ben must come to grips with his own insignificance as the Company’s plan to stop Leviathan from unleashing the bioweapon at any cost moves forward without him–and he struggles against the infection that is swiftly claiming territory within his own body.

Former stealth pilot James R. Hannibal is no stranger to secrets and adventure. He has been shot at, locked up with surface to air missiles, and chased down a winding German road by an armed terrorist. He is a two-time Silver Falchion award-winner for his Section 13 mysteries, a Thriller Award nominee for his Nick Baron covert ops series, and a Selah Award finalist for his Clandestine Service series. James is a rare multi-sense synesthete, meaning all of his senses intersect. He sees and feels sounds and smells and hears flashes of light. If he tells you the chocolate cake you offered smells blue and sticky, take it as a compliment.

My Impressions:

Ben Calix is at the top of the game as a spy with the Company, a US spy agency that is super secret. Until he’s not. After a botched mission, Ben is cut off and has no idea why. With super-villains tracking him, his own teammates abandoning him, and the Director who he reveres keeping silent, Calix makes it his new mission to save the world and prove his innocence. The Paris Betrayal is pure adrenaline-laced action that will appeal to those who love a good spy novel. This reader soon became deeply engaged with Ben’s plight, hoping against hope that his spy-craft would keep him alive as he sought to redeem himself. Action-packed, on the surface this novel is a rousing good read. But if you look a little deeper you will see parallels to the Book of Job. I actually discovered the connection after about 30 pages — I snuck a peek at the back of the book. The Author’s Note details the inspiration for the the character and the story line. I found it very inventive, as well as a great what-if of Job’s life in the modern-day world. I also included it as a the book club portion of my Faith and Fiction Bible study. My group had fun discussing the book in light of what we had studied the previous weeks. The book has few references to faith, but its Christian worldview shines through. I very much enjoyed the wild ride I took with Calix. I would love another book starring Ben, Clara, and the intrepid Otto (the cutest dog in fiction this year 🙂 .


Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Revell and LibraryThing for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

First Line Friday — American Omens

1 Mar

Happy Friday! Today I am featuring American Omens by Travis Thrasher, a political thriller set in the not too distant future. Could this be what America looks like in a few years? I don’t know, but the book looks like a winner! I am also giving away a copy of this book. Click HERE for more info.

Please leave a comment with the first line from the book closest to you, then head over to Hoarding Books for more fabulous first lines!



In this taut thriller that depicts a future where belief is dangerous, faith is deemed hatred, and a group of powerful elite keeps watch, the Reckoner has come to wake up America.

The year is 2038 and Cheyenne Burne is a brilliant young programmer working for Acatour, the world’s top technology firm. Her father converts to Christianity, and he suddenly disappears without a trace. When a stranger hands Cheyenne a coded message that sends her on a collision course with a clandestine group of believers, she must put her life in the hands of those following a man known only as the Reckoner. He claims he wants to bring back true faith in Christ to America and also reveal the forces behind the disappearances of the many renowned people who publicly declared their Christian faith.

Operating in the shadows and living off the grid, this mysterious prophet assembles a ragtag team –i ncluding a former bookseller whose store was shut down for selling prohibited books–to help him take the battle for transparency to the top. With a ruthless FBI agent closing in, can Cheyenne and the others expose the truth and lead a return to God in America before it’s too late?

Bestselling author Travis Thrasher has written more than fifty books and worked in the publishing industry for more than twenty years. He has penned fiction in a variety of genres, and his inspirational stories include collaborations with filmmakers, musicians, athletes, and pastors. Travis lives with his wife and three daughters in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  http://www.travisthrasher.com.


Audiobook Mini-Review: The Third Target

20 Feb

When New York Times foreign correspondent J. B. Collins hears rumors that an al-Qaeda splinter cell ― ISIS ― has captured a cache of chemical weapons inside Syria, he knows this is a story he must pursue at all costs. Does the commander of the jihadist faction really have weapons of mass destruction? If so, who is the intended target? The U.S.? Israel? Or someone else? With tensions already high, the impending visit of the American president to the region could prove to be the spark that sets off an explosion of horrendous proportions. Knowing that terrorist forces are already trying to bring down two Arab governments in the region ― Iraq and Syria ― can Collins uncover the truth before it’s too late? Or will the terrorists succeed in setting their sights on the third target and achieving genocide?

Joel C. Rosenberg (http://www.joelrosenberg.com) is a New York Times bestselling author of 13 novels and five nonfiction books, with nearly 5 million copies sold.

He has been interviewed on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including ABC’s Nightline, CNN, CNN Headline News, C-SPAN, Fox News, MSNBC, The History Channel, The Rush Limbaugh Show, The Sean Hannity Show, and The Glenn Beck Show. His articles and columns have been published by National Review,FoxNews.com, CNN.com, the Jerusalem Post, World magazine, and the Washington Times, among others. He has been profiled by the New York Times, the Washington Times, and the Jerusalem Post.

Joel has spoken to audiences and met with religious and government leaders all across the U.S. and Canada and around the world, including Israel, Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, the UAE, Turkey, Afghanistan, Russia, Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, India, South Korea, and the Philippines. He has also addressed audiences at the White House and the Pentagon, addressed members of Congress on Capitol Hill, members of the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa, and a conference held at the European Union Parliament in Brussels.

He is the founder and chairman of The Joshua Fund (http://www.joshuafund.com), a nonprofit educational and charitable organization he and his wife launched in 2006 to mobilize Christians to “bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus, according to Genesis 12:1-3.”
Joel’s books, most of which are published in numerous languages.

For more information on conferences Joel organizes, please visit http://www.epicenterconference.com. You can find his blog at https://flashtrafficblog.wordpress.com/. You can follow him on Twitter @joelcrosenberg.


My Impressions:

My husband and I often listen to audiobooks when on road trips. Trying to find something a little different from our typical Agatha Christie mystery that both of us would enjoy, I settled on The Third Target by Joel Rosenberg. The first book in the J. B. Collins series, this book promised a ripped-from-the-headlines plot with plenty of action. And that is exactly what we got — ISIS terrorists intent on establishing a caliphate by destroying their enemies. The pace of the book is fast and furious as international correspondent Collins seeks to break the big story of ISIS with WMD. Both real and fictional characters populate the pages, making this novel credible and realistic. The terrorists are ruthless and cruel, and their actions are chilling. Moderate Arab leaders, Israeli leaders, and the US President play important roles in the parallel story line of a peace accord between the Palestinians and Israel. The two big stories intersect in explosive ways.

While we really enjoyed this international political thriller, we did find the main character’s actions sometimes at odds with his intuitive and savvy persona. My husband may have muttered stupid move a few times. LOL! The narrator of the book was also a bit too intense in his reading of the book. We sometimes had to take a break from the edge-of-seat narration. But in spite of these small cons, we recommend The Third Target for fans of the thriller genre. My husband has moved on to the second book, The First Hostage, listening to it every chance he gets.


Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)



Congratulations to The 2018 Christy Award Finalists!

19 Sep

Congratulations to all the talented authors who are now 2018 Christy Award Finalists. If you are on the hunt for some great books, here is an excellent place to start.


Contemporary Romance

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner

Troubled Waters by Susan May Warren

True to You by Becky Wade


First Novel

Freedom’s Ring by Heidi Chiavaroli

The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse

Turtles in The Road by Kaley Rhea and Rhonda Rhea


General Fiction 

A Time to Stand by Robert Whitlow

Life After by Katie Ganshert

The Space Between Words by Michele Phoenix



Catching The Wind by Melanie Dobson

Isaiah’s Daughter by Mesu Andrews

Many Sparrows by Lori Benton


Historical Romance

A Dangerous Legacy by Elizabeth Camden

The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz

To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander



Coldwater by Goldwater by Samuel Parker

The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

Rule of Law by Randy Singer


Short Form

Guilt by Association by Heather Day Gilbert

Her Secret Daughter by Ruth Logan Herne

12 Days at Bleakly Manor by Michelle Griep



Awakened by Morgan Busse

The Day The Angels Fell by Shawn Smucker

The Man He Never Was by James Rubart


Young Adult 

The Delusion by Laura Gallier

Last Summer at Eden by Christina Hergenrader

Unraveling by Sara Ella

Book Review: The Land Lord

18 Apr

Land lords: China’s most threatening export yet. Incensed at the economic takeover, America’s ethnic populations are killing each other. Bombs are blowing up buildings, buses and businesses. The President knows someone in his White House is manipulating the hatred. But who? He recruits Secret Service agent Dain Ryder, who served under him in the Marines, and Lian Chen, the mysterious woman from the People’s Republic of China, to join a covert team in a race against his enemies to find the answers. The winner will determine the fate of the President, and the fate of his nation.


Cheryl Colwell drops characters you love into stunning locations, where dark contemporary and historical occurrences summon them to action. Each novel takes you on an adventurous quest popping with mystery, romance, and suspense. Inspired by museum finds and historical events she unearths in the cities and countries she visits, her stories keep you guessing what is fact and what is fiction. And who dunnit.

For the stories and photos behind the stories, or to read her Travel and Mystery blog, please visit http://www.cherylcolwell.com.


My Impressions:

Drawing from both fable and fact, Cheryl Colwell has created a political thriller that seems chillingly real. The America she envisions is a country divided along two lines — recent Chinese immigrants and their families and the rest of us. With a failing economy highlighted by foreclosures and bankruptcies, the nation faces a future of domination by China. Factions outside and within the government work clandestinely to affect a showdown that promises devastation for both the US and China.

The Land Lord is a a high-stakes, plot-driven novel.The action is fast-paced and the reader is kept off balance, never knowing just whom to trust. I found the many references to the Cultural Revolution in China interesting and informative, as were the legends of heroes and villains from Chinese history. The Land Lord offers the reader a number of starting points to explore — political and cultural. There are a couple of things I wished the author had expanded upon, namely the backstories of the characters and the economic/political climate of the US that led up to the crisis in the book. Although some things were mentioned, I felt that a bit more time spent setting the stage would have helped this reader have a point of reference for the story.

With a what-if premise that strikes close to home, The Land Lord is a suspense novel for those who like conspiracies and political intrigue.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to BookCrash for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine.)

2017 Christy Award Finalists

21 Sep

Congratulations to all the finalists of the 2017 Christy Awards. The winners will be announced November 8, 2017.



Her One And Only by Becky Wade

The Red Door Inn by Liz Johnson

Rescue Me by Susan May Warren


Counted with The Stars by Connilyn Cossette

Like A River from Its Course by Kelli Stuart

Stars in The Grass by Ann Marie Stewart


Long Way Gone by Charles Martin

The Promise of Jesse Woods by Chris Fabry

The Undoing of Saint Silvanus by Beth Moore


Like A River from Its Course by Kelli Stuart

The Mark of The King by Jocelyn Green

Miriam by Mesu Andrews


A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander

From This Moment by Elizabeth Camden

The Lady And The Lionheart by Joanne Bischof


If I Run by Terri Blackstock

When Death Draws Near by Carrie Stuart Parks

Without Warning by Joel C. Rosenberg


Looking Into You by Chris Fabry

Mirror Image by Laura Scott

Restoring Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti


The Alliance by Jolina Petersheim

King’s Folly by Jill Williamson

The Long Journey to Jake Palmer by James Rubart


If You’re Gone by Brittany Goodwin

The Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson

Unblemished by Sara Ella




Top 10 Tuesday — Summer Reading!

23 May

Summer is upon us, although here in the sunny South, we have had temps in the 90s for a few weeks now! When the weather is hot do you prefer a sizzling romance, a suspense-filled mystery, a riveting historical, or thoughtful literary fiction? All of the above? Me too! I love to read across all genres, and summer is a great time to abandon yourself in a good book. The folks at The Broke And The Bookish are hosting Summer Reads this week in their Top 10 Tuesday. Find out what other bloggers are packing in their weekender and beach totes HERE.


This week’s list is a mixture of books I’ve read that would be good take-alongs on your summer adventures and books that I will be reading this summer. More than 10? Maybe! LOL! But it’s summer. Indulge!

Top 10 Books for Summer Reading


What I’ve Read

If I Run/If I’m Found by Terri Blackstock (suspense)

Long Way Gone by Charles Martin (literary fiction)

The Promise of Jesse Woods by Chris Fabry (literary fiction)

Vendetta/Missing/Pursued by Lisa Harris (suspense)

The Wood’s Edge by Lori Benton (historical)

What I’ll Be Reading

Chasing Secrets by Lynette Eason (romantic suspense)

Deep Extraction by DiAnn Mills (romantic suspense)

Driver Confessional by David L. Winters (political thriller)

The One True Love of Alice-Ann by Eva Marie Everson (historical romance)

Road to Paradise by Karen Barnett (historical fiction)

The Runaway by Claire Wong (mystery)

Sailing out of Darkness by Normandie Fischer (women’s fiction)

True to You by Becky Wade (contemporary romance)

With You Always by Jody Hedlund (historical romance)

What will you read this summer?

Book Review: The Senator’s Youngest Daughter

22 Mar

Senator A.C. McFerren has been missing for more than six months. The obvious prime suspect in his disappearance is the homegrown terrorist group known as the Army of Social Justice. Searching for her kidnapped father leads Brenna McFerren Jefferson to the terrorists’ elusive “Death of Government” headquarters, known as The Doghouse. But nosing around where the federal government won’t investigate puts a target on her family… and sets in motion a rebellion she isn’t prepared to lead. Dreams of liberty cause the Senator’s daughter to disguise herself for undercover recon, recruit a high-ranking defector, and partner with a subversive news agency that combats government propaganda. As Brenna’s strength and family ties are tested, she unites a political party that commands the power to transform the United States.



Kelley Rose Waller writes fiction to imagine new life experiences. Her debut novel, The Senator’s Youngest Daughter, was released October 1, 2016. This conservative political thriller pits a young woman and her family against a media tycoon backed by the president of a very different United States.

Kelley’s day job as a marketing strategist offers her the opportunity to write and plan for clients in diverse fields. Kelley and her husband are Pennsylvania foster parents. She lives and writes to uplift and glorify the name of Jesus Christ.

Kelley is a ridiculous fan of science fiction and board games. She has a B.A. in English and lives in Lancaster, PA, with her husband, three sons, and their dog.


My Impressions:

The Senator’s Youngest Daughter is Kelly Rose Waller’s debut novel featuring a futuristic United States that has abandoned its constitutional foundation to become a benevolent dictatorship. But as the old adage goes, absolute power will result in absolute corruption. This novel is a fast-paced, action-packed political thriller that hits a little too close to home in its portrayal of a nation given over to one man’s ideology.

Waller’s debut is first person, present tense which can be a bit jarring, but in this case kept this reader in the action and definitely guessing at what would come next. Main character Brenna is the narrator, and her strengths and weaknesses are focused as she joins in her family and friends’ struggle against an oppressive US government. The novel kept me engaged when the action was at its highest, but the story bogged down when the characters expounded on political ideas. That came off as a bit preachy. The Senator’s Youngest Daughter has a YA vibe, but many scenes were a little too adult for that designation. I think it falls more into the New Adult designation. It is a clean-read, but not a Christian book, although the author’s Christian worldview does impact the subject matter.

For fans of political thrillers and dystopian fiction, The Senator’s Youngest Daughter is worth a look.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE. (The Kindle version is $1.99)

(Thanks to the author for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)


Book Review: The Aleppo Code

23 Nov

UnknownWill the code reveal history’s most powerful weapon for destruction―or humanity’s only hope?

The living members of Tom Bohannon’s band of adventurers gather again in Jerusalem―physically battered, emotionally exhausted, spiritually challenged, and in various stages of shock―to examine a copy of the tenth-century Aleppo Code, the oldest complete text of Jewish scripture. What the clues inside reveal could lead to the reuniting of the Ark of the Covenant with its true source of power, a weapon that could lead to victory for this ragged bunch trying to save the world.

Hunted by the relentless assassins of the Prophet’s Guard and caught in the web of an international conspiracy plotting the conquest of Europe, Bohannon’s team searches the ruins of Ancient Babylon. Their search lands them amid the chaos that engulfs western Iraq, but they must press on to accomplish one of the most pivotal pieces of end-times prophecy. This intrepid group will uncover secrets that require them to risk everything for their faith, their country, and the peace of all mankind.

Unfolding against the backdrop of an Israeli/U.S. strike against Iran and the planned economic overthrow of the European Union by the sinister, secret head of the international Muslim Brotherhood, The Aleppo Code is a heart-pounding race. Brennan takes an epic story on a grand scale and tells it primarily through the eyes of one man who is desperately trying to save the world as he follows God’s purpose for his life.

71AJUS+xJsL._UX250_A Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist and an award-winning author, Terry Brennan‘s career is marked with triumph in both the profit and non-profit business sectors and now again in his growing following as an author of fast-paced action-adventure novels that mix today’s geo-political reality with fascinating twists of fiction.

Brennan’s first two novels – The Sacred Cipher and its sequel, The Brotherhood Conspiracy – have received high praise from readers and reviewers alike, and will soon be followed by the third and final book in the series, The Aleppo Code. The Sacred Cipher is the Silver Award winner for Fiction in the ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year contest for 2009. In April, 2013 Publisher’s Weekly called The Brotherhood Conspiracy “an international mystery thriller with a rapid-fire plot … a feast for the senses … intrigue that teeters on the edge of overdose.”

Prior to launching his career as an author, Brennan’s 22-year, award winning journalism career included:
* Seven years as a sportswriter and editor with The Philadelphia Bulletin, at the time the largest-circulation afternoon newspaper in the nation;
* Leading The Mercury of Pottstown (PA), as its editor, to a Pulitzer Prize in Editorial Writing;
* Serving as Executive Editor of a multi-national newspaper firm – Ingersoll Publications – with 400 newspapers in the USA, England and Ireland.

In 1996 Brennan transferred his successful management career to the non-profit sector and served for 12 years as Vice President of Operations for The Bowery Mission and three other ministries of the New York City-based parent organization, the Christian Herald Association, Inc.

Now Chief Administrative Officer for the non-profit agency Care for the Homeless in New York City, Brennan also won the Valley Forge Award for editorial writing from the Freedoms Foundation.

His two adult sons and their families live in Pennsylvania. Terry and his wife Andrea live in New York City area. Their daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter live in West Chester County and their son resides in Brooklyn.

My Impressions:

The third and final installment of Terry Brennan’s Jerusalem Prophecies series, The Aleppo Code, begins where the other books left off. (You can read my reviews of those books by clicking on the following titles: The Sacred Cipher and The Brotherhood Conspiracy.) The team, led by Tom Bohannon, has experienced devastation and grief in their efforts to discover the Tent of Meeting and the hidden Third Temple. But it seems something more is being asked of the group — a commitment to go where God leads looking towards Him for guidance in the face of doubts and confusion. And what God is leading them to may be a weapon for Israel’s enemies or a powerful tool in the hands of God.

Like the other books in the series, The Aleppo Code relies on Biblical history and legend, archeological finds and mysteries and modern day political conspiracy and intrigue. Brennan does an excellent job bringing all of these things together to create a fast-paced political thriller complete with terrorists, government agents and a few angels along the way. There is a vast cast of characters that I sometimes found daunting to keep straight. In the end, I just went along for the ride, enjoying the twists and turns, explosions and chases. The Aleppo Code has an Indiana Jones feel to it, but has a spiritual foundation not found in the Harrison Ford movies. Although the characters may feel out of control at many times, God’s hand is evident in bringing together His plans and purposes. In light of what is currently going on in the Middle East and Europe, the book is timely. There is much more going on behind the scenes than we could imagine.

For those who like complex political suspense with a well-researched historical foundation, The Aleppo Code is a good choice. But it is definitely not a standalone novel. You really do need to begin at the beginning.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to Kregel for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)


Book Review: Life of Secrets

9 Sep

cover-facebook1Alyssa Chambers is rich and privileged by birth, but a criminal by choice. She steals secrets from the powerful and influential, and sells them to whoever pays – and they pay very well. But when someone assassinates a Presidential candidate in an office Alyssa just robbed, she’s framed for the murder and her whole life goes up in smoke. Now she’s running for her life, hunted and alone. The last man she can trust is the one she can’t stop betraying. To survive, clear her name, and uncover the assassin, she must face the truth about her past, the truth about her family, and the truth about her Life of Secrets.


bowen_greenwood_2014-e1398136021277-283x300Bowen Greenwood has worked in politics and lived in Washington D.C., but his home and his heart will always be in Montana. He’s a former newspaper reporter, a backpacker and hiker, and of course a writer.

My interview with the author.



My Impressions:

Life of Secrets, a fast-paced political thriller, is Bowen Greenwood’s second installment in his Secrets series. A quick and edgy read, it can easily be read as a standalone. A good choice for those who love suspense novels, Life of Secrets explores the behind-the-scenes manipulation of politics.

Alyssa Chambers is the daughter of privilege, a sought after professor and a plumber. But she doesn’t fix leaks, she looks for dirt on candidates a la Watergate. Motivated by her desire to one-up her influential father and to fulfill her mother’s dying admonition to be strong, Alyssa keeps her real and shadow lives separate, until a job goes horribly wrong. On the run from the authorities and desperately looking to exonerate herself, Alyssa turns to long time friends and adversaries to find the truth.

Life of Secrets is definitely plot-driven. There are fight and chase scenes, overheard conversations, and political intrigue aplenty. But Greenwood does a good job of fleshing out his main character. Alyssa is complicated — rich, successful, intelligent. She doesn’t need to prove anything, but she continues to take risks to prove herself, even as she hides her accomplishments. She is finally confronted by her need for nothing and no one. Not an overtly Christian book, Greenwood does explore the concept of forgiveness — that we don’t deserve it, but certainly need it.

If you like your suspense fast and furious with political conspiracy thrown in, then check out Life of Secrets. A perfect read for the run-up to the mid-term elections!


Audience: Adults

(Thanks to the author for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below. It’s currently 99 cents on Kindle!