Dark Halo by Shannon Dittemore

If you had the choice, would you give up being able to see the good in the world if it meant that you no longer had to see the bad?

Brielle has been gifted with celestial sight, the ability to see beyond the current circumstances in life and into the realm that includes both angels and demons and the fight for people’s souls. Through circumstances beyond her control, she comes to a crossroad and must make a decision. Both choices will affect her life with her boyfriend Jake, another gifted individual with the ability to heal, her father, struggling to come to grips with a secret that he has held onto for years, and the city of Stratus that is currently under attack.

Dark Halo by Shannon Dittenmore is more than just a book. To me, it was a challenge to realize that things are not always as they seem. In moments that we feel most alone, we aren’t. In times when it feels like life is a struggle, there really are two sides that battle it out. This book, much like one of my favorites, This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti gives the reader a glimpse into the celestial and the things that our human eyes and sometimes out human hearts cannot truly comprehend.

After agreeing to read Dark Halo and complete the review, I realized that this is book 3 in the Angel Eyes series. While the author says that it is possible to read this one without having read the others (it is) I would suggest going back and reading the first two, Angel Eyes and Broken Wings. Both were well worth the time and ensured that Dark Halo completed the circle.

Thomas Nelson Publishing provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Prison by Toni V. Lee

Sonja Grey is an undercover police officer that is determined to take down a local drug dealer, Johnny Stone, aka Rock with the help of a fellow officer, Max Trent. Trent attempts to disarm the usually tough Grey while they work together to take on a mission inside her local church. The cast of characters adds to the antics the couple goes through in their search for justice.

This was really not a favorite for me. The entire plot seemed a little too predictable and at times, the dialog tried way too hard to convey what was going on between characters. While I liked the connection between Grey and Trent, there were a few points that seemed to be confusing and a few areas that seemed to work out a little too well.

To me, some of the messages of the book tended to come across a bit preachy. Sidelined characters came through with messages that were straight from the pulpit instead of allowing the story and the concepts to speak for themselves. While I was entertained at times, there were moments when the “message” seemed to take away from the story and the book in general.

Recommending the novel to others is tough. There may be readers that like when the plot is predictable and in turn, everyone lives happily ever after without anything really hindering the characters in the end. If this is the case, this is the perfect book for those readers. On the other hand, for those interested in a more complex plot, this may not be the book of choice.

Thomas Nelson publishing provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Asylum: The Circeae Tales by Ashley Hodges Bazer

When Captain Chase Leighton finds out that his wife has gone missing, his experiences a variety of different emotions. As Asylum: The Circeae Tales continues, Leighton will find himself going to extraordinary lengths just to get her back. As the plot unfolds, Trista, Leighton’s wife is discovered, however she no longer goes by that name and no longer has the beliefs that her friends and family have held close for years. What happens when regaining someone is almost more difficult than losing him or her completely?

From the beginning, I was hooked. I’m not much of a sci-fi reader but I love sci-fi movies so I assumed that this book would be a great read for me. I was not disappointed. Bazer knits together a plot that is both heart wrenching and insightful. While there are obvious points when the message of the book is a little overwhelming, the majority of the story is filled with subtle references to a Higher Power and His control in the lives of the people. The sentences flowed smoothly and it was easy to get caught up in the story of Chase, Trista, the Legacy, and the Ghosts.

Aside from the entertainment value of the book, there is an inspiring message and one that we can never hear too often. There is always a plan. Even if we don’t see it, there is a reason for everything that happens.

Would I recommend the book to others? Absolutely. However, I would consider starting at the back of the book with the definitions for some of the more difficult people, places, and things in the book. For those that don’t want any of the mystery revealed too quickly, consider using the back of the book as a resource when a specific idea doesn’t make sense or isn’t clear. (I had trouble keeping track of all the different people, their names and their jobs on either side of the spectrum.)

Thomas Nelson Publishing provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Stress Test by Richard L. Mabry, M.D.

Dr. Matt Newman seems to have it all with a promising career change on the horizon, a relationship that seems to be really going somewhere and a life that many would be envious of. But one night, everything changes when he becomes the victim of an assault with the intent to leave him dead. Instead, he finds himself caught up in a mess that continues to put him at the center of suspicion as things continue to spiral out of control. Armed only with the truth and a feisty lawyer that has her own issues with doctors and relationships, Matt attempts to put everything back into place and regain control of his life.

From the very beginning, I felt like everything was happening so fast. I knew what was going on, but it was tough to try and understand why. Throughout the book, little pieces begin to come together that left me intrigued and a little caught off guard by the end of the book. This is in no way a bad thing. Instead, it was nice to constantly be working to understand where the story was heading and watch as Matt makes some real changes in his life.

I was concerned about the author being a doctor. To be honest, I was waiting for lots of medical jargon that was going to go way over my head. Instead of bringing out a lot of explanations of medical conditions, the author brings a unique perspective to what it is like to be a doctor, working day in and day out to help save lives. He touches on some of the different types of employment and how they impact a person, as well as his or her loved ones.

The message was clear: No matter what happens, God is in control, even when we can’t see behind the scenes. To me, this is the type of novel that would appeal to just about anyone. While it is important to pay attention to keep up with the story, it is not a difficult read. Both men and women will find the plot, as well as the twists and turns interesting.

Thomas Nelson publishing provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

Truth Stained Lies by Terri Blackstock

Nothing is quite as it seems in Terri Blackstock’s Truth Stained Lies. Cathy Cramer makes a living pointing out her opinion on high profile crimes, often revealing information that makes the defendant look all the more guilty. But when things take a turn and her brother ends up on the other side of the law, everything changes. Now, she is working quickly to find the truth while another life hangs in the balance.

While it took a while to get into the book and become interested in the characters, once I understood where things were going, I was hooked. Blackstock works hard to weave together several different situations to make for a web that readers will enjoy unraveling. I love the idea of sister working together despite their different lives and responsibilities to help their brother.

There are just enough characters to keep track of and of course, become attached to. Smaller situations are going on in addition to the criminal case that each person is involved in. I will be the first to say that I would love to continue the story of the sisters, Cathy, Juliet and Holly, as well as their private detective friend Michael.

The themes of the book include the struggle with trusting in God when the surrounding circumstances continue to decline, something that most people can relate to. This is not a story of a family with perfect faith. Instead, it is a story of trusting and believing despite all of the challenges.

This is a book for anyone looking for an easy read that is engaging with just the right level of complexity. Blackstock has written several other books and I plan to check out at least one or two and give you my take on those as well.

Thomas Nelson Publishing provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.