Thirst of Steel

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Military suspense. A genre that I never thought I’d get into, but I SO AM. I was super excited to be able to join Ronie’s QRF team for the release of Thirst of Steel. A little history: I received the second book in the Tox Files at CFRR and finally we started into the series in June knowing we wouldn’t have to wait long for the conclusion.

One thing is for certain: it was worth the wait.

About the Book

thirst of steelDismantled centuries ago, the sword of Goliath is still rumored to thirst for its enemies’ blood. Cole “Tox” Russell only wants to begin his life with Haven Cortes, but he must first complete a final mission: retrieve that sword and destroy the deadly Arrow & Flame Order. 

The AFO, however, is determined to claim the sword. Wielding their father’s life over Tzivia and Ram Khalon, they threaten to expose Ram’s long-held and dangerous secret while demanding Tzivia locate the sword. With the Wraith team slowly being torn apart, things only worsen when Mercy Maddox, a new operative, emerges with the stunning news that the sword is tied to both Ram’s secret and a string of unsolved serial murders. 

Tox, Ram, and the others are forced to set aside fear and anger to focus only on the enemy. No matter the cost, Wraith must stop or take the enemy down with them.

My Review

First off – highest praise – for the whole month before it arrived, hubs was asking me every couple days when it would get here. That tells you something; hubs never asks me when a book is going to get here. He usually smiles that “ok dear” smile when I geek about book mail. He hasn’t read it yet, but I’ll update this with his thoughts once he does!

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I love these characters. All of them. Getting to know them better over the course of the series and watch how they’ve grown and developed has been awesome. I’m not sure I’d call them friends because most of them terrify me, but they’re like a comfortable super intense skin. (Sidenote – LOL – I asked hubs his opinion here, and he responded, “They are friends! …they just happen to kill people.”)

I have been waiting for Ram’s story from the very beginning; rooting for his HEA. There are some twists and it didn’t end how I thought it would, but it ended well. You know that feeling when you finish a story and you just sit there with your mouth kind of open going “wow?” That’s this story. Be forewarned that this book is going to hit all your feels. Ronie is a talented storyteller who pulls you into the characters’ lives so well that you feel all of the events with them.

With every book in this series, I’ve been a little more in awe of how Ronie can take a Biblical story and weave it into a fictional account, threading the struggle of real faith in a hard world throughout. Her characters aren’t perfect Christians – they’re gritty and honest. I’m really hoping we can revisit some of the more minor characters in another series.

If you’ve never tried military suspense, I hope you will give Tox and the other members of Team Wraith a try!

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher, but this is my honest opinion.

About the Author

Ronie Kendig

Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author of over twenty titles. She grew up an Army brat, and now she and her Army-veteran husband live a short train ride from New York City with their children and retired military working dog. Ronie’s degree in psychology has helped her pen novels of intense, raw characters. Visit Ronie online at:
www.roniekendig.com
FB: RapidFireFiction
Twitter: @RonieKendig
Instagram: @kendigronie

Beneath The Surface – Just Read -Giveaway

Happy Tuesday, all! I’m excited to be posting again with JustRead Tours. Today’s post is a bit different in that rather than a book review, I get to post about a topic book-related and close to my heart: adoption.
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ABOUT THE BOOK

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Title: Beneath the Surface
Series: Dive Team Investigations, Book 1
Author: Lynn H. Blackburn
Publisher: Revell
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Genre: Romantic Suspense

After a harrowing experience with an obsessed patient, oncology nurse practitioner Leigh Weston needed a change. She thought she’d left her troubles behind when she moved home to Carrington, North Carolina, and took a job in the emergency department of the local hospital. But when someone tampers with her brakes, she fears the past has chased her into the present. She reaches out to her high school friend turned homicide investigator, Ryan Parker, for help.

Ryan finds satisfaction in his career, but his favorite way to use his skills is as a volunteer underwater investigator with the Carrington County Sheriff’s Office dive team. When the body of a wealthy businessman is discovered in Lake Porter, the investigation uncovers a possible serial killer–one with a terrifying connection to Leigh Weston and deadly implications for them all.

Dive into the depths of fear with an exciting new voice in romantic suspense. Award-winning author Lynn H. Blackburn grabs readers by the throat and doesn’t let go until the final heart-pounding page.


ADOPTION

What’s my story? I could write about it forever, so if you want more info, send me an  email! While I’m not adopted, I have been touched by adoption throughout my life; it has shaped and molded my worldview. I’ll tell you how in just a minute.

In the book, both Leigh and her brother, Kirk, are adopted internationally from two different countries. This is a wonderful form of adoption. In my years of research and training I’ve read lots of stories about kids/families adopting this way and their joys and struggles, and while that isn’t the focus of  Beneath The Surface, I appreciate how Lynn touches on a few of these challenges and how Leigh’s parents handled them. I love that Leigh is secure in knowing she was loved and her parents were open with her about their struggles with infertility and their joy of being Leigh’s and Kirk’s parents.

One summer I nannied two 2 year old “twins.” It’s a God story about a mom who had dreamed of twins but struggled with infertility. They signed up for a baby girl from China (a long and arduous journey), and had just about given up hope when the husband’s co-worker knew someone in their town who needed to give up her son. They jumped on the chance to take the little boy. Well, a time after he was home, they got the call from China. And guess what…it turned out that their little girl was born ON THE SAME DAY as their little boy. God provided twins in a way they had never planned or expected. Isn’t that just like God?

I knew from an early age that our family was different. My twin brother and sister were adopted. Also, they are African-American while mom, dad, and I are Caucasian. I don’t recall when this first occurred to me as it’s always been my normal, but it became much more important as my siblings became teenagers. As I watched them struggle with figuring out who they were and what adoption meant to our family, I found that God was shaping me as well.

Of course, being older siblings, there were plenty of years that they tried to convince me I was adopted (and some days, I thought it might be true!). My mom talked openly with me about the loss of her children before us, a fact I appreciate to this day and realize it’s not talked about openly enough. But, that also means that I saw how it was possible to love a child not of your womb. My family has their issues, whose doesn’t, and adoptive families face particular challenges, but they’re mine and I love them. I LOVE THAT WE WERE A FAMILY THAT WAS CHOSEN. While each sibling has a different perspective and memories, I saw my parents love us the same, but also uniquely to fit who we were.

We were lucky to have baby photos of my siblings as they had been in foster care before adoption and I would often look through the albums wondering about this family who cared for my siblings before they came home. Wondered how they could’ve let them go, but thankful they did. That sparked in me a desire to one day be able to foster children.

Over time, a deep seeded truth became the fabric of who I am; God created me to love the fatherless. You know that verse (James 1:27) that’s used in reference to adoption so often? About God telling us to care for the orphaned? The Greek word for orphan here can also mean “bereaved of parents.” Wow. How many kids are bereaved of parents even though they might be alive? How many in foster care? How many fatherless? How many with one or two parent households where the kid exists, but isn’t really seen? All these kids are bereaved. All of them need to be adopted.

You see, adoption as a concept extends beyond just a legal guardianship. We can look for those on the periphery and LOVE them. Adopt them into our homes, our families, our churches. Pour onto them as God has poured onto us. This idea of kids being raised in a village, of living in community, wasn’t one I was exposed to as a concept until adulthood, but I found it was natural to me; I craved it. I knew that whatever came in life, I could parent, I could adopt others, I could choose family.

This became critical many years later as my world fell apart. I was momming it for two beautiful foster girls, but behind the scenes my marriage was falling apart. We ended up making the heart-ripping decision to focus on our marriage and stop fostering. IT BROKE ME. Who was I if I wasn’t a mother, if I never had children?

It’s a question we all ask: who am I?

In that deepest pit, God met me and reminded me that I was HIS. I was chosen. I was adopted into His family. My identity was first and foremost as His daughter, a princess of the King. Adoption became a whole new concept for me.

Today, my heart is still yearning to be a mom. Since the above, we’ve been down the road of one failed adoption. I don’t know if God means us to be parents in the traditional sense of the word, but until then I’m adopting all the needy kids I can into my momdom, loving on them, and clinging to God’s promises.

 


ABOUT LYNN

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Lynn H. Blackburn is the author of Hidden Legacy (Love Inspired, June 2017) and Covert Justice, winner of the 2016 Selah Award for Mystery and Suspense and the 2016 Carol Award for Short Novel. Blackburn believes in the power of stories, especially those that remind us that true love exists, a gift from the Truest Love. She’s passionate about CrossFit, coffee, and chocolate (don’t make her choose) and experimenting with recipes that feed both body and soul. She lives in Simpsonville, South Carolina, with her true love, Brian, and their three children.

CONNECT WITH AUTHOR: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

GIVEAWAY

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(3) Winners will win:

  • (1) Print copy of Beneath the Surface by Lynn H. Blackburn
  • Surprised Bookish Treat

(US/Canada Mailing Addresses Only)

ENTER HERE

(or click on the Giveaway Banner)

Be sure to stop on every stop on the Tour Schedule for more chances to win!

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TOUR SCHEDULE

April 23
Create Explore Read – Author Interview
A Baker’s Perspective – A Day with Special Agent ___

April 24
Savings in Seconds – Quote Hightlight
Grace in Our Moments – Guest Post from Author

April 25
Christen Krumm – Guest Post from Author
Among the Reads – Beneath the Surface & the Power of Prayer

April 26
Blooming with Books – Character Profile
Fiction Aficionado – Did you know this about diving investigators?

April 27
Remembrancy – Photo Tour of Carrington
Stories by Gina – Quote Highlight

April 30
The Christian Fiction Girl – Quote Hightlight
Daysong Reflections – Underwater Investigations & Evidence

May 1
Worthy 2 Read – Quote Hightlight
Kat’s Corner Books – Beneath the Surface with International Adoption

May 2
All of a Kind Mom – A Character Like Me
Robin’s Nest – Quote Hightlight
Edits & Reviews by Leslie – Food Beneath the Surface

May 3
By the Book – Quote Hightlight
Cafinated Reads – Quote Highlight

May 4
Book by Book – Playlist
Pacific Northwest Bookworm – Cookies Beneath the Surface

 

Top 10 Summer Books

It’s technically fall, though the weather here disputes that fact. So, that means it’s time for the summer round up! This is for books read July-August-September. (There were so many in June, I just couldn’t include it, and I’m resisting a great book I just finished today, because it’s already October!) I surprised myself when I started narrowing down the options and saw how many contempories there are; I normally consume mostly historical fiction, but it appears to have been a summer of contemporaies!

Enjoy!

All This Timealways watchingAn Inconvienent BeautyBlind SpotJust Look Upaoy cover final(1)A Name UnknownMatter of TrustPeace in ValleyThen There Was you

Still Life and a Giveaway!

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This  past Sunday Dani Pettrey hosted a release party at a local Barnes and Noble. still-life-launch-3Not only did I get to go, but hubs came with since he’s gotten into the series. It was such fun! Dani gave away some fun goodies, gave us all some background on the book, series, and writing life, and answered questions.still-life-launch-2

Here were some fun facts she shared:

  • Dani’s husband has extensive gun knowledge, including the snipers, and took her to the gun range so she could experience shooting for herself.
  • She loves the research for a book.
  • Tends to re-write the whole middle of the book two weeks before deadline and has a very supportive family during this crazy time.

stilllifeAbout the book: Blacklisted in the photography business over a controversial shot, Avery Tate answered an ad for a crime scene photographer. She expected to be laughed at, but crime scene analyst Parker Mitchell hired her outright–and changed her life. But six months ago, when her feelings for Parker became too strong, she left his employ to sort out her heart.

Now, for the first time, Avery is facing the world that rejected her to attend the gallery opening of a photography exhibit and support her best friend, who modeled for the show. But the only image of her friend is a chilling photo of her posing as if dead–and the photographer insists he didn’t take the shot. Worse, her friend can’t be found. She immediately calls Parker for help. As Avery, Parker, and his friends in law enforcement dig into the mystery, they find themselves face-to-face with a relentless and deadly threat.

Review: I could not put this down and neither could the hubs. It was intense, although a couple of the locations were not nearly as creepy to me since I’ve been one of the lucky few inside for my paycheck job (which I also love). But, there were some scary moments. I think the concept of knowing a murder happened because of a photograph but not knowing where the crime scene or the victim are is so intriguing. And the continuing developing relationships of the other characters in the series makes me bite my nails waiting for the next one. It is so much fun for me as a local to read and recognize places in my hometown. Maybe we can convince a local tour company to do tours based on the series!

Hubs review: I never really thought I’d enjoy reading romance until my wife took an opportunity of jury duty to stir the pot (Kat here, he forgot a book to read, so I dropped off Blind Shot. He’s been hooked ever since). Still Life has enough mystery and suspense to keep me intrigued, and I enjoy the local references that shed a good light on Baltimore. (Like a true male, short and to the point. Maybe you too can convince the man in your life that he’ll love it.)

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I’m giving away a SIGNED copy of Still Life along with a few goodies from Dani Pettrey to one of my readers. Due to shipping costs and international regulations, this giveaway is open to US mailing addresses only. Giveaway is subject to Kat’s Corner Books’s giveaway policies which can be found on the Disclosure and Policies page.

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Giveaway open until 3/7/2017 at 12pam. Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway