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Deep Extraction by Diann Mills | juliekmccomas.com
Book Reviews

Deep Extraction by Diann Mills – Book Review

Book Description:

A pacemaker should have saved oil and gas magnate Nathan Moore’s life. Instead, it provided his killer with a seemingly perfect means of execution.

A bombing at one of Nathan’s oil rigs days earlier indicates his death could be part of a bigger conspiracy, a web Special Agent Tori Templeton must untangle. But her first order of business is separating the personal from the professional—the victim’s wife, her best friend, is one of the FBI’s prime suspects.

Clearing Sally’s name may be the biggest challenge of her career, but Tori finds an unexpected ally in the newest member of the task force, recently reinstated Deputy US Marshal Cole Jeffers. As Tori and Cole dig deeper into Nathan’s personal and business affairs, they uncover more than they bargained for. And the closer they get to finding the real killer—and to each other—the more intent someone is on silencing them for good.

Review:

Let me tell you why I wanted to read this book before I tell you what I thought about it.  If you know me at all then you are aware of my sudden cardiac death the week before my 28th birthday.  If you don’t know me then you might want to read a little to catch up.  When I saw that the victim was killed by a someone hacking into his pacemaker and jacking with it.  It immediately peaked my curiosity since I have a defibrillator.  Actually, what the what is what went through my mind.

A Pacemaker Hacker? Is there really such a thing!?

Now, let’s get to my thoughts on this title.

Deep Extraction is the second book in the FBI Task Force series, and here again I have read the series out of order.  I do not know what has gotten into me.  But, I am glad to tel you that the first book in this series is Deadly Encounter and both can stand alone just fine.  You do not have to read these in the correct order.  Just be a rebel, like me. 🙂

I’m a sucker for police-type dramas, books and television, and the more action, details, suspense and twists, the better.  I am also a Christian, so the mention of prayer and God did not affect me at all.  The Christian aspect is minimal.  It is not distracting, in your face or pushy, at all.  It is approached very realistically.  Having a defibrillator (mine has a pacemaker function) and having gone through cancer, I felt I could really relate to this one.

After mentioning all of the above, I am happy to say that this book is all that I have already talked about.  Lots of action! Explosions, gun fights, heroes and heroines.  There are some feelings in this one as well.  It is a very well rounded book!  There are a few things that are a bit predictable; one being the little romance that blossoms.  I like my police-type dramas to be a little more realistic, and most of it is realistic, but in the real world, friends of a murder victim would not be able to be involved in the investigation. But, it was refreshing to read about friends taking a stand for the victims (their friends).  I think they did what many of us would try to do, and that is do whatever they had to do to find the killer.

Diann Mills is one author that I plan to read every book she comes out with.  I like her writing style that much!

Thank you to NetGalley and Tyndale House Publishers for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Deep Extraction
FBI Task Force
Diann Mills
Suspense, Christian Fiction, Fiction
Tyndale House Publishers
April 4, 2017
396

Book Reviews

If I Run by Terri Blackstock – Book Review

If I Run Book Cover If I Run
Terri Blackstock
Christian Mystery & Suspense
Zondervan
February 16, 2016
ebook
319
BookLook Bloggers/Harper Collins Publishing

Book Description:

Casey knows the truth. But it won’t set her free.

Casey Cox’s DNA is all over the crime scene. There’s no use talking to police; they’ve failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she’s arrested . . . or worse. The truth doesn’t matter anymore.

But what is the truth? That’s the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren’t adding up.

Casey Cox doesn’t fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan’s skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn’t guilty, why did she run?

Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than he has, but as Dylan’s damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices: the girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer . . . or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet.

My Review:

First of all, I need to tell you a couple of things. 1) I am already a fan of Terri Blackstock's work, so I was looking forward to reading this one. 2) This is the first book in the If I Run Series. I was not aware of this when I agreed to read this one. Now I feel like I can tell you exactly what I think about this book.

Let's talk about the main character, Casey Cox.  She is one smart cookie. I think she watches too much Criminal Minds or CSI reruns. For being innocent, she sure knows how to run from the law.

Now, Dylan Roberts is such a good guy who is trying to do the right thing. In my opinion, it looks like they could eventually work on her case together and fall in love in the process. But that is just me hoping for a happy ending in the series, because they never even meet in this book.

If the details of this story were yarn, they would be woven into a beautiful piece of art. Needless to say, it is well-written.  It is written in first-person from the viewpoint of Casey and Dylan. It is a bit unpredictable, and perfectly paced. Blackstock is able to write about faith without being preachy or over the top. This one will be on my Best Reads of 2016 list. 

I do have to tell you that I seriously gasped and almost threw my kindle across the room. Almost. When I agreed to read this book, I had no idea that it was the first in a series. I'll just say this, cliff. hanger. Cliffhanger! I wasn't thrilled, but I will be sending Terri a message to find out when the next in the series will be out.

Thank you to Booklook Bloggers who furnished me with a digital copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

Book Reviews

The Prodigal: A Ragamuffin Story by Brennan Manning – Review

The Prodigal: A Ragamuffin Story Book Cover The Prodigal: A Ragamuffin Story
Brennan Manning
Fiction: Religious & Inspirational
Zondervan
October 28, 2013
Paperback
288

Book Description:

From the inspirational author of The Ragamuffin Gospel comes a powerful contemporary retelling of the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Jack Chisholm is 'the people's pastor.' He leads a devoted and growing megachurch, has several best-selling books, and a memorable slogan, 'We have got to do better.' Jack knows how to preach, and he understands how to chastise people into performing. What he doesn't know is anything about grace. This year, when it comes time for the Christmas sermon, the congregation at Grace Cathedral will look to the pulpit, and Jack will not be there. Of course, they will have seen plenty of him already---on the news.

After an evening of debauchery that leads to an affair with his beautiful assistant, Jack Chisholm finds himself deserted with chilling swiftness. The church elders remove him from his own pulpit. His publisher withholds the royalties from his books. Worst of all, his wife disappears with their eight-year-old daughter.

But just as Jack is hitting bottom, hopeless and penniless, drinking his way to oblivion, who should appear but his long-estranged father, imploring his prodigal son: 'Come home.'

A true companion piece to The Ragamuffin Gospel, The Prodigal illustrates the power of grace through the story of a broken man who finally saw Jesus not because he preached his greatest sermon or wrote his most powerful book, but because he failed miserably. Jack Chisholm lost everything---his church, his family, his respect, and his old way of believing---but he found grace. It's the same grace that Brennan Manning devoted his life to sharing: profound in nature and coming from a God who loves us just as we are, and not as we should be.

'A wonderfully written story that is as entertaining as it is thought provoking.' ---Publishers Weekly, starred review '. . . the consummate final tale. What they have created is the Ragamuffin at his best, full of hope, full of love, and finally, full of belief in the goodness of God.' ---Phyllis Tickle, founding editor, Religion Department, Publishers Weekly

'Brennan Manning's last work continues the powerful message of grace and forgiveness that has transformed so many lives. The Prodigal will transform you too.' ---Mark Batterson, New York Times best-selling author of The Circle Maker

Review:

First of all, I have to tell you that this is one of those books that you just don't want to end. Instead of reading a whole chapter at a time, you read a couple of pages to make it last a little bit longer. The characters come to life, and before you know it you feel like you really know them.

Jack Chisholm, 'the people's pastor,'  has problems. I know that we all have problems, but don't we sometimes put "the pastor" on a pedestal?  We tend to look to them when we have problems, but have you ever stopped to think that he may have problems too? This book reminded me that they are just people too.

Jack's slogan was "We have got to do better." This is so true. We do need to do better. When Jack was faced with the consequences of his actions, he nearly gave up. His father finds him, and brings him home. It just happened to be on Christmas, and probably the best gift he had ever received...a second chance.

Throughout the story, we follow Jack down the streets of his hometown. We are able to close our eyes and see the streets, the people, the bar where he thought he could get away, and the day Jack started doing for others with many of the townspeople joining in. We are reminded that no one is perfect, that communities are supposed to come together, and most importantly, about grace.

The slogan Jack used at the megachurch he started is right, we have got to do better. Read this book. Gain from the story, it is written in such a way that it is not preachy, and I hope that you get as much out of it as I have.

Book Reviews

Soul’s Gate by James L. Rubart – Review

Soulsgate
Book Description

“Every now and then we get a break from
reality. A glimpse into the other world that is more real than the
reality we live in 99 percent of our days. The Bible is about a world of
demons and angels and great evil and even greater glory.”

What
if you could travel inside another person’s soul? To battle for them.
To be part of Jesus healing their deepest wounds. To help set them free
to step boldly into their divinely designed future.

Thirty years ago that’s exactly what Reece Roth did. Until tragedy shattered his life and ripped away his future.

Now
God has drawn Reece out of the shadows to fulfill a prophecy spoken
over him three decades ago. A prophecy about four warriors with the
potential to change the world . . . if Reece will face his deepest
regret and teach them what he has learned.

They gather at a
secluded and mysterious ranch deep in the mountains of Colorado, where
they will learn to see the spiritual world around them with stunning
clarity—and how to step into the supernatural.

Their training is
only the beginning. The four have a destiny to pursue a freedom even
Reece doesn’t fully fathom. But they have an enemy hell-bent on
destroying them and he’ll stop at nothing to keep them from their quest
for true freedom and the coming battle of souls.

“Readers with
high blood pressure or heart conditions be warned: this is a seriously
heart-thumping and satisfying read that goes to the edge, jumps off, and
'builds wings on the way down.'” —Publishers Weekly

Review

First of all, I have to say that James L. Rubart is the king of "What-ifs!"

This work of fiction really makes a person think, just like his previous book – Rooms does. Mr. Rubart states at the end of the book that he doesn't believe it's possible to travel into the soul of another person and battle there, but that is what the book is about.

Each character has their own battles, and are able to help each other overcome those battles. We all have battles that we keep hidden deep in our soul, and those are the ones they are finding and attacking.

We can really use parts of this book in our lives today, if we can just recognize when the enemy is coming after us.  Quoting scripture in the face of evil tends to back that evil up, whether it is in a book or facing us on the street. 

I will also say, that even though I know this is fiction, it left me wishing I could help some of my friends and family battle their demons. And I want to thank Mr. Rubart for really getting my mind spinning. I could not put this book down, and now I am in the middle of the sequel.

Stay tuned for that review!

Book Reviews

Book of Days by James L. Rubart – Review

BookofDays
Book Description:

"… in Your book all my days were recorded, even those which were purposed before they had come into being." —Psalm 139:16

Young
Cameron Vaux’s mind is slipping. Memories of his wife, killed two years
earlier in a car accident, are vanishing just as his dad predicted they
would. Memories he knows he has to remember.

His father tells
Cameron that to save his mind he must find "the book with all days in
it" —the past and future record of every soul on earth.


When an
obscure clue leads Cameron to a small central Oregon town, he meets
enigmatic Taylor Stone, a possible guide to finding the book who seems
to carry secrets far deeper than anyone imagines. Local hotshot TV
personality Ann Bannister thinks the legend of the book is a farce, but
she has her reasons to join Cameron’s search anyway. Finally, there is
fanatical New Age guru Jason Judah, who will stop at nothing to find the
book of days before Cameron does.

Review:

I really, really wanted to like this book a lot more than I actually did, and I when I read the afterword I liked it a little more. It was nice to know that James L. Rubart felt led to write this book when his own father's memory was failing, and that Psalm 139:16 comforted him.

Before knowing about the personal connection to the story, I felt like it was another well-written book full of mystery, secrets, and suspense. It is classified as a Fiction/Christian/Suspense genre, and it is written in such a way that the Christian part of the book is not rammed down your throat. You certainly do not feel preached while reading this book.

I liked the book, just didn't love it as much as I have James L. Rubart's other books. I did like that at the end of the story it seemed to focus on the fact that God knows and cares about all the details of our lives. The rest of the ending just seemed a little too far out there for me.

I was not given a complimentary copy of this book, and the above review is only my opinion.  I am moving on to James L. Rubart's book Soul's Gate, review soon to follow.

Book Reviews, Reviews

Rooms by James L. Rubart – Review

RoomsBook Description:

On a rainy spring day in
Seattle, young software tycoon Micah Taylor receives a cryptic,
twenty-five-year-old letter from a great uncle he never knew. It claims a
home awaits him on the Oregon coast that will turn his world inside
out. Suspecting a prank, Micah arrives at Cannon Beach to discover a
stunning brand new nine-thousand square foot house. And after meeting
Sarah Sabin at a nearby ice cream shop, he has two reasons to visit the
beach every weekend.

When bizarre things start happening in the rooms of
the home, Micah suspects they have some connection to his enigmatic new
friend, Rick, the town mechanic. But Rick will only say the house is
spiritual. This unnerves Micah because his faith slipped away like the
tide years ago, and he wants to keep it that way. But as he slowly
discovers, the home isn’t just spiritual, it’s a physical manifestation
of his soul, which God uses to heal Micah’s darkest wounds and lead him
into an astonishing new destiny.

Review:

When writing book reviews on any website, such as goodreads or amazon, you are given five stars to rate a book, and I need at least ten stars for this one!! The cover itself is worthy of a full five stars!!

I loved this book! Loved. It.

One problem with reviewing a book that I loved is that I want to just ramble on and on, and by the end of the review you would probably not even need to read the book. So I am trying to rein myself in on this one.

Micah, the main character, wasn't a religious person/believer and honestly, if you are not a believer than this book might not be for you. If you are on the edge, or a sure-enough believer, then you will love this book. You may just devour it like I did.

Chaos might not be a strong enough description of Micah's life after he received the twenty-five-year-old letter from his great-uncle. He planned on going to Cannon Beach to see the house that his great-uncle had built just for him, and then put it on the market. He wanted nothing to do with Cannon Beach;  there were nothing but bad memories there. He had the perfect life, until he realized it was changing.

There was certainly a Team Julie vs. Team Sarah vibe going on as I read through this book. I was on Team Sarah, I'm just sayin'.

James L. Rubart has written a great story of good versus evil, one that you just can't get out of your head. There are twists, turns, and lessons to be learned. 

I have become a James L. Rubart fan, and will warn you now, I will be reviewing the rest of his works.

I was given the opportunity to read this title for free via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

 

Book Reviews

The Heiress of Winterwood by Sarah E. Ladd – A Review

Winterwood
The Heiress of Winterwood by Sarah E. Ladd

Book Description:

Darbury, England, 1814

Amelia Barrett gave her word. Keeping it could cost her everything.

Amelia
Barrett, heiress to an estate nestled in the English moors, defies
family expectations and promises to raise her dying friend’s baby.
She’ll risk everything to keep her word—even to the point of proposing
to the child’s father—a sea captain she’s never met.

When the
child vanishes with little more than an ominous ransom note hinting at
her whereabouts, Amelia and Graham are driven to test the boundaries of
their love for this little one.

Amelia’s detailed plans would
normally see her through any trial, but now, desperate and shaken, she’s
forced to examine her soul and face her one weakness: pride.

Graham’s
strength and self-control have served him well and earned him much
respect, but chasing perfection has kept him a prisoner of his own
discipline. And away from the family he has sworn to love and protect.

Both must learn to have faith and relinquish control so they can embrace the future ahead of them.

Review:

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful book!

I have been on a historical fiction kick of late, and this might just be the best that I've read in a long time. I would recommend it to everyone!

Sarah E. Ladd was able to write a story with a goulash of genres. First off, it is a historical fiction with a little bit of romance, adventure, suspense, and faith mixed in. The characters were realistic, and most were very likable. Ladd was able to paint very vivid scenes with her words, which made me feel like I could've been there.

Beware, I am still trying to catch up on sleep after reading this book. Once you start, you will not want to put it down. In fact, this is the first in a series to be written by Ms. Ladd, and I cannot wait for the next book to come out.

I was given a copy from Thomas Nelson via booksneeze in exchange for my honest review.