Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Of Stillness and Storm, by Michele Phoenix

Of Stillness and Storm was an interesting book.  And I say that as the most sincerest compliment.  I tire very quickly of books that unfold too predictably, and Of Stillness and Storm was anything but predictable.

It tells the story of a missionary family - led by father Sam's vision - and the toll it takes on everyone involved, most notably the thirteen year old son, Ryan.  Lauren is the long-suffering and weary mom who tries to hold everything down in a foreign country, with a sullen and angry son, while her husband leaves them for two weeks at a time.  When she gets the chance to reconnect with an old friend on Facebook, their shared messages become her lifeline during a period of time that is becoming more and more intolerable.

When the situation with Ryan reaches a harrowing head, Lauren and Sam must make some seemingly impossible decisions;  decisions that they'd really been avoiding making all along.

Of Stillness and Storm is not a pretty book.  It doesn't necessarily make one feel good when reading it.  But it is gripping and raw and real, all of my favorite characteristics in a good book.  Phoenix is outstanding at writing believable dialogue, and the Facebook messages between the two friends were particularly compelling.  The characters are well-developed and relatable, and while it is fiction, it speaks to a very real issue for some very real families.

I received this book for free from Litfuse Publicity Group, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Candidate, by Lis Wiehl

Mike Ortiz is a charming and charismatic war hero who is favored to win the White House. He, along with his beautiful and seemingly perfect wife, Celeste, is busy campaigning in the final days leading up to the election.

Erica Sparks is a brilliant and accomplished journalist who is covering their story.  As she watches the couple, all smiles and decorum while they are in the public eye, something about them starts to bother her.  Are they really what they seem?  Why does something about Mr Ortiz's behavior seem so "off"?  What really happened in the Al-Qaeda prison where Mike Ortiz was held for nine months?

Erica sets out to discover the truth, even as her relationship with her preteen daughter suffers, her previously faithful boyfriend is cheating on her overseas, and the body count starts to rise around her.  She knows that what she is about to uncover is even more sinister and dangerous than she feared, but she won't stop until she has answers.

Lis Wiehl - herself an impressive Harvard Law School graduate, former federal prosecutor, and current legal analyst and commentator for Fox News - writes a great, page-turning book here.  While I've read books by Wiehl, I hadn't read the first book in this particular series, and I'm afraid I was missing out!  Well-written, likeable (or thoroughly unlikeable!) characters, believable dialogue, and heavy suspense.  Two enthusiastic thumbs up. 

*I received this book for free from the BookLook Bloggers program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*