The Reckoning by MaryLu Tyndall ~ A Review

The Reckoning

When Morgan Shaw crept into the hold of an old pirate ship replica at San Diego’s Annual Tall Ship Festival, her only intention was to avoid the guy who had just dumped her and who was now boarding the ship with two women on his arm. What she didn’t expect was to wake up aboard a real pirate ship three-hundred years in the past. But of course, it wasn’t real. Her wealthy father had obviously staged it all in an effort to get her mind off her upcoming chemo. Or had he?

Pirate Rowan Dutton seeks enough treasure to repay a debt to his sister and reinstate the Dutton name among British Jamaican Society. He is but one major haul away from accomplishing his goal when a strange woman appears on his ship and causes him to lose his prey. Despite his anger, he is enthralled with the little minx, her strange clothing, odd speech, and her insistence that they are all actors playing a charade paid for by her father.

Yet when the brazen little lady divulges Rowan’s secret to a longtime nemesis, events are triggered that could cost them both their lives and change the course of history forever.

I went into this book expecting a full and adventurous read. What I got was so much more.

Morgan has a problem. Cancer. As everything seems to fall down around her and she isn’t sure she could feel more alone, everything fades away and she finds herself in an even more unpredictable situation. Anxiety soars as the world grows more unknown. She faces down an unruly pirate captain and his crew, while trying to hold herself and her world together. When she’s not sure she could possibly face another moment, when a simple breath is beyond her, she has a decision to make. Face the rest of the unknowns alone… or put her life in the hands of the One she doesn’t think cares.

Rowan is a mighty Captain and one tough pirate. Known for his cunning and ruthlessness, he meets his match in Morgan. He can’t figure her out and she seems to not care for his charm, which usually sends the ladies swooning. Morgan is not swooning. In fact, she seems to be immune to him… but is he immune to her?

As a person who fights anxiety, this heroine spoke to me. MaryLu draws the emotions of anxiety out and I could nearly feel Morgan’s panic. I also love how MaryLu dealt with anxiety and the other trials that Morgan had to face. Numerous times I wiped tears from my eyes as truths were spoken that even spoke into my life.

Not only is this a wonderful read if you struggle with anxiety, it’s a fantastic adventure for anyone. MaryLu knows how to write a fantastic pirate story. She knows her ships, pirates and adventures and knows how to grab a reader and yank them into the story. It was really hard to put this book down and yet, when it ended, I was sad to read the final page.

This will definitely be a book I will re-read many times. I loved it!

*I received this book from MaryLu Tyndall in exchange for my honest review. I didn’t have to love it, but I sure did!*

You can find MaryLu on her website, facebook, twitter, and goodreads.

M.L. Tyndall (MaryLu) grew up on the shores of Southern Florida dreaming of romance and adventure upon the sea. She now lives with her husband, six children, and four cats in Northern California where she writes inspirational adventure romance novels. MaryLu’s novels have been praised for their fast-paced action, strong inspirational messages, and incredibly vivid settings. Her first novel, The Redemption was nominated for the prestigious Christy Award for Best Christian Fiction.

 

~Sarah

FALCON by Ronie Kendig ~ A Review

FALCON Blog tour 1

Special Forces operator Salvatore “Falcon” Russo vowed to never again speak to or trust Lieutenant Cassandra Walker after a tragedy four years ago. But as Raptor closes in on the cyber terrorists responsible for killing two of their own, Sal must put his life—and the lives of his teammates—in her hands. Despite his anger, Cassie is ill-prepared for his resistance and the fallout when she must protect the one asset who can end the attacks. As allies become enemies and hostiles become unlikely partners, Raptor fights for its very existence.

FALCON cover 1

I have long been a fan of Ronie Kendig and her amazing writing style. I knew that FALCON would be no exception. What I didn’t expect was the mind-blowing twists and turns in FALCON. Following RAPTOR 6 and HAWK, FALCON is the fast paced conclusion to this amazing trilogy!

Salvatore “Falcon” Russo is a tough guy. Special Ops kind of tough. Raptor is an exclusive and secretive team. Only for the best in the world. Rator is sent reeling and fighting on their own turf after an attack leaves them on the defensive. Sal does not like being on the defensive, almost as much as he hates having Cassandra Walker anywhere near. Sal is determined to end the attacks and send Cassandra packing, but the cyber terrorists aren’t going down without a fight. Sal is also hiding a secret. One that is affecting him and the team more than he realizes. Sal is one of Ronie’s best, very-human, heroes. (Canyon still holds my reader heart!)

Cassandra Walker is strong. Even though she doesn’t see it. She struggles with Sal’s animosity but still has a mission to complete. She doesn’t realize how invested she is going to get as the mission begins to go sideways and she is thrown into a decision that she never expected she’d have to make. Cassandra is also harboring her own secrets.

Together, Sal and Cassandra are oil and water. Explosive conversations are had and both are fighting each other as they fight a common enemy. Will the secrets tear them further apart, or break down fortified walls?

Threatening to tear the team apart, and seeking destruction, are both inside and outside forces.

Ronie outdid herself on this book. All of her books are page-turners but this one had me flying through at break neck speed in order to find out if any of the characters would make it through the book alive. The twists in this book were more shocking than The Sixth Sense movie. So many times I found myself picking my jaw off the floor. Countless times I exclaimed ‘WHAT?!’ Enough times that my husband inquired if I should maybe take a break from the book. To which I replied with a sort of distant look and then moved on to the next sentence. He just laughed at me. This book was so unpredictable. Never did I expect I would be reading a Ronie Kendig book and find myself in tears. This was the book that did it.

If you are a fan of Ronie, then you NEED to read this book. If you haven’t ever read a Ronie Kendig book… let me tell you that you’re missing out. Ronie writes a kick-butt, military action book. Her characters are so real that they become friends. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

Once you Go RFF

MAKE SURE TO STAY TUNED! On May 27th I will have an interview with Ronie Kendig and a GIVEAWAY!

*Thanks to the author for a copy to review!*

Ronie Kendig

Find Ronie on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and her website!

Find FALCON here: Amazon, Chapters, Barnes & Noble, and Christian Book.

See my other reviews on Raptor’s team: RAPTOR 6 and HAWK

Prelude for a Lord by Camille Elliot ~ A Review

Prelude for a Lord

An awkward young woman. A haunted young man. A forbidden instrument. Can the love of music bring them together . . . or will it tear them apart?
Bath, England—1810
At twenty-eight, Alethea Sutherton is past her prime for courtship; but social mores have never been her forté. She might be a lady, but she is first and foremost a musician.
In Regency England, however, the violin is considered an inappropriate instrument for a lady. Ostracized by society for her passion, Alethea practices in secret and waits for her chance to flee to the Continent, where she can play without scandal.
But when a thief’s interest in her violin endangers her and her family, Alethea is determined to discover the enigmatic origins of her instrument . . . with the help of the dark, brooding Lord Dommick.
Scarred by war, Dommick finds solace only in playing his violin. He is persuaded to help Alethea, and discovers an entirely new yearning in his soul.
Alethea finds her reluctant heart drawn to Dommick in the sweetest of duets . . . just as the thief’s desperation builds to a tragic crescendo . . .

When I heard that Camile Elliot was putting out a Regency Romance, I was thrilled! I’ve read several awesome books by her in the past and I knew that I was in for a treat! I’m a newbie to Regency Romance books, but I love Camille’s (aka Camy Tang) ‘Sushi’ series and her ‘Protection for Hire’ series. Camille knows how to write a wonderful, captivating story. She also excels at creating strong yet vulnerable female lead characters, and she achieved both in this fantastic book!

Alethea is a strong woman. She’s had to be. Betrayed by those she loves time and again, she’s come to expect bitter disappointment. Her one solace is her music, even though it only serves to drive people away.

Dommick is not stranger to disappointment, yet he is determined to make life perfect for his family. He accepts that he will never have the life he longs for, but he won’t allow anything to damage the future happiness of his sister. The only thing that he has been able to keep for himself is his music.

When they are forced together, Alethea’s stubborness and her lack of interest in societies demands, cause fireworks. Dommick has burnt her before and she doesn’t give trust easily. Dommick can’t afford to have anyone associated with him that might negatively affect his image. Image is everything in his circles and Alethea appears to not care that she is looked on as odd and contrary.

Brought together by the one passion they share, can they see past societies pressures – and the walls they’ve built – to bring harmony to each others worlds?

I really enjoyed this book. Not only were the main characters engaging, I found myself wishing to know more about the secondary characters as well. (I may, or may not have, heard that Camille is considering writing the story of one or more of them.) It was fast-paced and yet nothing was sacrificed in the storyline to keep the readers attention! This is a book that I will re-read many times!

4.5/5 stars!

I received this book from Zondervan in exchange for my honest review. I didn’t HAVE to like it, but I sure did!!

You can get this great book here:

AMAZON CHAPTERS CHRISTIAN BOOK B&N DEEPER SHOPPING

BOOKS A MILLION

Camille Elliot (aka Camy Tang) can be found here:

CAMILLE ELLIOT WEBSITE FACEBOOK TWITTER STORY SENSEI

Camy Tang

Camy writes Christian romantic suspense with Love Inspired Suspense as Camy Tang and Regency romance with Zondervan under her pen name, Camille Elliot. She grew up in Hawaii but now lives in northern California with her engineer husband and rambunctious dog. She graduated from Stanford University in psychology with a focus on biology, but for nine years she worked as a biologist researcher. Then God guided her path in a completely different direction and now she’s writing full time, using her original psychology degree as she creates the characters in her novels. In her free time, she’s a staff worker for her church youth group and leads one of her church’s Sunday worship teams. She also loves to knit, spin wool into yarn, and is training to (very slowly) run a marathon

Five Minute Friday: Writer

My life is so busy, as I’m sure a lot of you can identify with.  I have a ton of balls in the air with everyday life, plus I’m waiting to hear back on some more of my ‘Chaser Chats’ as well as I’m going to have a special feature for those of you who followed Noel’s story with me last year.  (<– you can click there to see Noel’s story!)  So my blog has been largely quiet. When I saw Lisa-Jo’s prompt this morning though, I knew I had to get back here!

GO

be a writer

I love this line (though slightly modified) from Sister Act 2.  It resonated with me and continues to.

Writer.

This word has meant many different things to me over the years.  Often times it was just as a source of stress relief.  I used to write my emotions.  If I was sad, then a sad scene would play out.  If I was excited, so were my characters.  Of course, this made for a pretty scattered story.

Lately though, the word has taken on a different meaning for me.  Writer is more than just someone who sits and writes words.  Writer, over the last year and a bit, means someone who breathes the story.  Someone who’s thoughts are often taken up with lines, plots, drama, adventure and excitement.  With those comes the agony.  Missing lines, plot holes, too little excitement.  When I am heavy into my book, I breathe it.  When kids, husband, meals, family weren’t at the forefront, my characters clamoured over each other for my focus.  Sometimes I would have to gag them so I could get anything else done!  I went to bed with my book on my mind (scenes playing through my dreams) and woke with a NEED to write.

I love watching other writers work on their art.  I see the ups and downs, the highs and lows.  The thrill of a 2,000 word day (or few hours).  The days they pull out their hair when a single word is a struggle.  Like any other craft, there’s a TON of work involved.  The lows are so tough.  When even in your head you can’t string a complete sentence together.  When you’re so desperate you resort to telling your characters that if they ‘don’t shape up and start talking‘ that you’ll kill them off.  Slowly and painfully.  (My dear characters may have heard this once.)  But… the highs!  Oh, the highs.  So magnificent and heady, so freeing and breathtaking.  Like you could fly away from your computer and soar on the joy, but the act of pulling yourself away from the computer is too painful to consider.  Bask in it.  Soak it in for when the next low hits.  It will come.  Thankfully, so do the highs and… have I mentioned how wonderful they are?

Writer.  I am one.  I love it!  (and sometimes hate it)  😉

STOP

Fridays.  Rock.  One of my favourite things about Fridays is the chance to write with many others on a single word prompt from the fabulous Lisa-Jo Baker.  We just write without worrying if it’s just right!  Unedited and unscripted.  Don’t panic!  It starts off tough not to edit, but it gets much easier!  Come join us!  Here are the rules:

5minutefriday

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

2. Link back to Lisa’s website (click the 5 minute Friday image above for the website).

3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule.

The heart of this community is amazing!  See more at: http://lisajobaker.com/

 

31 Days: Day 8 ~ The one on writers block

Writers block.  When I was writing my book, I was pretty sure that I was facing the worst case of writers block EVER.  I would write a sentence and then delete it.  As I mentioned in day 5, my characters were silent.  It wasn’t even like they just didn’t like the direction I was going, they were giving me the cold shoulder.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/drewcoffman/4815205740/

Welcome to day 8!  If you’re just joining me, please take a peek at days 1-7 HERE!  I’ve posted quite a few clips of my book as well as some other tips on writing.

Part way through my writing, the words vanished.  Like I was walking through a desert looking for words like one looks for water.  Several things were instrumental as I dealt with this desolate time.  

First of all, giving myself the permission to be frustrated and not feel like I just HAD to get something on paper on that story.  I found it extra frustrating to just write a scene in my book that I knew wasn’t good enough – wasn’t going to hack it.  Plus, my characters got grumpy when I did that.  The last thing I needed at this point was to irritate my characters.  Especially Blaze… he get’s vindictive.

So, if I needed to be creative but my characters weren’t cooperating, I would work on another story.  I always have a few in the works.  Mostly they will never see the light of day, but they give me somewhere to vent my words if I need to just write.

I was expressing my frustration to my writer aunt and she said something that helped profoundly (and so I made a photo with it).

Write or Edit

I realized that what she said was true.  I was trying to edit as I went.  I was confusing myself in my goal.  My goal, first of all, needed to be to get the story out.  Editing would come later.  I would second guess myself and staunch the flow of the words.  It was not helpful at all.

Kevin Kaiser wrote about writers block too and I still read it when I’m feeling stuck.

A lot of it is fear.  We fear that we will write the wrong thing, that the words won’t come out the way we want.  Write the words.  Write the scenes.  My friend Shan said that her favourite part about writing is the editing process.  (I think she may be crazy!)  She loves hacking at her stuff.  That’s the joy of editing.  Anything that you write can be changed, but for now… pure first draft.

Try it.  There’s something really freeing in pure first-drafting.  Don’t worry if it doesn’t flow as well as you want it to.  Don’t worry that the wording isn’t quite right.  Don’t worry about all the little, tiny details.  Just write what comes.  The machete can come out later and you can hack at the jungle of words then.

Above all, just don’t quit!  That story wants out and you want to write it.  Push through the tough times!  You can do it!

Have you ever faced ‘writers block’?  What did you find helpful?  Let’s help each other! 🙂

~Sarah

31 days redone small

31 Days: Day 7 ~ Villainous Intentions

31 days buttonWelcome back to my 31 Days of Sneak Peeks (and writing tips).  If you’re just joining me, you can find days 1-6 linked HERE!

Yesterday I shared a bit about my villain, Blaze!  As dark and insidious as my villain is, I love Blaze as a character.  He’s the worst kind.  Power-hungry and driven by forces inside that are dark as night.  I didn’t think I had it in me to write a character so dark.  He’s bordering on the psychotic and I’m not sure what that says about me.  😉  Kate and Chris were easy to write because they are much more who I am.  I’m not a dark person, so writing characters who are trying to do the right thing is easy.  Blaze was much more difficult, and interesting, to write.  I say interesting because I’m not used to thinking in such dark ways.  It was interesting to see a situation arise in the book and say ‘now how would Blaze handle that’?  Blaze is very charming, calculating and clever and it was a challenge to make sure he reacted just right to the situation.  I wasn’t sure that I was going to share this but I really wanted to so…

Blaze Collage 1

I’m going to post a bit more about Blaze and the dire situation he put Kate into.  This is shortly after the section I posted yesterday, yet much more has gone on that I will leave for you to find out when you read it.  (There’s that optimism again!)  I’ll also throw in a bit more about Chris because the pieces go well together.

Blaze drew near and she saw the fire reflected in his eyes.  It was fitting, for inside burnt a fire more dangerous than any physical flame.  “They say that the most horrible death is to be burnt alive.  Do you fear it, Kate?  Can you feel the flames?”  His other arm snaked around her and locked her arms to her side.  Agony ricocheted through every cell as he pulled her against himself.  “Goodbye, Kate.”  Blaze leaned in and pressed his lips to hers.  She cried out in disgust. He pulled away abruptly, digging his fist into her wounded side.  She reeled with the explosive pain and she saw his fist coming towards her. 

 “Chris.”  She whispered.

 There was an explosion of fresh pain and then darkness.˜˜

*****************************************************************************

Chris cursed into to the sky as he raced along on horseback.  To his left there was a force of about two hundred men, riding hard.  On his right, the rest of the enemy army made its way towards the people he loved.  He had been right.  It had been a trap for her… and him.

 He had decided at the last minute to ride the ridge and though he was grateful he’d spotted them, he was crushed that he’d had to make a choice.  To get to Kate he would have to abandon his people, his family.  He had ridden fast, gone through two horses already, trading them when his were spent.  His whole ride was spent thinking about her, needing to have her safe with him.  Now, just when he was getting close, he had to abandon her.

The curse burst out of his mouth with explosive force.  “I’m sorry Kate.”  He knew she would understand, but he was burning with rage.  He spurred his horse on, pushing it beyond what he should.  He had family to warn.

After this the story picks up pace and I love putting them through twist after twist.  I’ll share more in the days to come but for now I’ll leave you hanging on and wondering what is going to happen.

After all, that’s what a good story-teller does right?  *evil laugh*

~Sarah

31 Days: Day 6 ~ The Bad Guy

31 days button

Welcome to Day 6!  Yep, I’ve almost made it a whole week.  Thank you to those of you who are on this ride with me and to those that are just joining me.  If you’ve missed day 1 to 5, you can find them HERE!

Today is going to be a bit shorter since this is my crazy day!  I’d like to take today and introduce you to my villain.

A villain is a tough character to write.  You need to determine what kind of bad guy you want.  Do you want your villain to be dark and misunderstood and therefore the reader is somewhat sympathetic?  Or would you prefer your villain to be evil and power hungry, someone that it truly vile?  One of my favourite villains from the movies is Loki from Thor and The Avengers.  He was fantastically written (and amazingly acted).

Loki

However, I didn’t want my villain to be like him.  Loki was so charming that I found myself secretly rooting for him.  (Don’t judge me!)  🙂 My villain had to be evil.  Dark, power hungry and truly scary.  I want him to be a villain that the reader really hates.  No sympathy for my bad guy.  He shows no mercy, no compassion and doesn’t care about anyone but himself.  A villain that seems soulless.  I hope that I achieved that.  This is just a clip and it doesn’t show the full extent of Blaze’s psychology, but I think it gives you a good idea of his character.

Blaze dug the knife dug into her side and twisted.  Excruciating pain shot through her and she screamed.  Unconsciousness rode on the pain and she blacked out.  The relief was short though, as the men holding her released her to fall to the floor and the jolt shifted the knife.  Desperate for relief she grabbed the knife, clenched her jaw and pulled it out.  A moan escaped and she felt tears flowing down her cheeks.  A boot kicked her hand and the knife was ripped out of her grasp, leaving her hand shaking and defenceless. 

 Blaze knelt beside her and wrapped his hand in her hair.  Pulling her head back he leaned in and brushed her cheek with his.  A chuckle resounded through the abbey.  “Do you have anything you want to say?  Do you want to beg yet?”  He whispered in her ear, satisfaction coating his words.  Salt in an already agonizing wound.

Kate’s situation is pretty bad.  Writing this section had my heart going.  Even I wasn’t sure how Kate was going to get out of it.  That’s the thing about my characters.  They dictated the flow of the book.  The situations and conversations.  It’s pretty crazy when the writer is just along for the ride.  Here’s a quote that I found totally appropriate for my writing.  Perhaps it is for yours as well?

writing schizophrenia

~Sarah