If you like fast paced, edge of your seat action, you’ll love this book. If you like romance, you’ll love this book. If you’re a fan of suspense and intrigue, you’ll love … well, can you see where I’m going with this?
Digitalis by Ronie Kendig is book #2 in the Discarded Heroes series. The series centers around Nightshade (which also happens to be the name of the first book). Nightshade is an elite black ops team of highly trained soldiers who secretly “intervene in hot spots no nation or government would touch.”
Digitalis focuses on Colton Neeley, a member of that team. Known as Cowboy to his Nightshade buddies, he is also known to them as the one who’s never missed. His position on the Nightshade team? Sniper.
Learning to lean on God as he struggles with deep private hurts and other personal issues, Colton prays that things will soon start to look up for him. Then he meets Piper Blum at a local mall. The beautiful young woman with the caramel eyes he can’t seem to forget. But something’s not quite right with Piper. Colton’s instincts tell him that she’s holding something back. And she is.
And it’s a doozie.
Mrs. Kendig then takes you on a whirlwind international tour of mystery, suspense and intrigue as Colton and the Nightshade team try to stop the carnage that results from Piper’s secrets and try to save her life and the survival of a nation in the process.
Highly recommended. If you’re not a fan of Ronie Kendig already, you will be by the end of this book.
As a teacher for a creative writing class for Christian teens, I was aware that books covering this latest phenomenon existed, even in our local Christian bookstores. However, I still had a hard time reconciling that with my heart and spirit.
That being said, when I received “Tandem” by Christian fiction author Tracey Bateman for review and realized it was indeed about vampires, I knew it wouldn’t be fair to the author or the book to put it away without at least giving it a shot, so I did.
One of my fears about the latest surge in the vampire craze (Christian or otherwise) aside from the obvious and spiritual aspect of it, is the way that vampires are glorified. Their lifestyle of bloodlust and violence have become seductive and sensual in nature and deemed as appropriate paranormal romances for teens, so much so that their behavior has been embraced by many a young adult.
And that was my concern about the book “Tandem”. But I have to admit, that as far as this book goes, it was unwarranted.
“Tandem” is essentially the story of three women. Amede Dastillon, her half-sister Eden and Missouri auction house owner, Lauryn McBride.
While researching and cataloguing items from an old Victorian home that she needs to auction off, Lauryn McBride comes across some letters, centuries old, written by an Amede Dastillon. Knowing the letters are personal in nature and would be treasured by her descendants, she is able to track down the Dastillon estate in Louisiana and sends them there. She has no way of knowing that the Amede who wrote those letters over a hundred years ago, is still alive. Amede is a vampire. And once she realizes that those letters were found at a home in Missouri, she heads their straightaway to find her long lost sister Eden.
And that’s when the trouble begins.
Abbey Hills, MO is now overwhelmed with ritualistic animal slayings and murders of their beloved citizens. Interestingly enough, they didn’t start until Amede came to town. But is she really the one responsible for them? And now the story gets really interesting. However, I can’t say more without having to list this review as a spoiler.
But the book does deal with vampires. And with that you usually get a plethora of blood trails, grisly murders and cultic activity. In “Tandem” however, although there were animal slayings and murders, they were not written out in graphic detail. As far as my own personal comfort level goes, I could have done without some of it (keep in mind that I’m of the squeamish sort anyway) especially in regards to the animal slayings, but all in all it did not sink to the level that I had presumed it would.
And there were Christian messages sprinkled throughout, but again they were subtle. Though I do believe her last sentence in the book explains the message she was intending.
Due to the multiple point of views in which the story was told it was a bit hard for me to follow, especially in the beginning. Though the further I read, the easier it became. I also was disappointed with the ending. It wrapped up really fast and seemed rushed.
However, what I loved about this book is the level of suspense it had. It kept me turning the page and just when I thought I knew what was going on and who was doing what it changed. These twists and turns were done very well by Ms. Bateman.
But most importantly, there were no gory graphic scenes or glorifying of vampires. What it did try to show was that our God is big enough to extend grace, mercy and salvation to the vilest amongst us, which in this case would include vampires (that is, of course, if they really existed).
I enjoyed reading “Tandem” by Tracey Bateman. It kept me interested enough to where I was able to finish it in less than a week. I kept going back to it because the storyline was compelling and intriguing. Will I read other vampire novels? No, probably not. The genre itself asks the readers to suspend a lot reality and that’s probably why sci-fi and fantasy novels are hard for me to get into. But would I read other books by Tracey Bateman?
Yes. I would.
“I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review”
“Almost Heaven” is the story of Billy Allman. The story follows Billy from a young boy who witnesses the destruction of his small town in the hills of West Virginia by devastating flood waters, to a semi-reclusive adult who tries to maintain his struggling small town radio station while dealing with unpredictable and at times the seemingly insurmountable obstacles laid in his path by sinister and impish demonic forces (unseen by Billy, but who were under the watchful eye of Billy’s guardian angel, Malachi). The demons were relentless in trying to tear apart Billy’s faith … and they tried to do this by destroying everyone and everything that Billy loved. And they succeeded. In tormenting the lives of those Billy cared about, but not at destroying his faith.
Billy’s relationship with God is about as real as it gets. And Chris Fabry in “Almost Heaven” is able to masterfully weave together the story of this man’s life. Sometimes in heart-wrenching detail. The story of a man who truly tried to “honor God, with every decision he made.”
The first couple of chapters of the book were hard for me to read. The emotion Mr. Fabry is able to reveal through his writing is truly remarkable. Keep your Kleenex handy. Trying to read through some of the chapters may have you in tears because it is so easy to relate to what the main characters and especially Billy are going through.
That being said, I was able to read this book in less than a week. It was impossible to put down. You’re drawn in at the very first page and compelled to continue reading, anxious to find out what happens next.
“Almost Heaven” is a very inspirational and thought provoking novel. When you turn the last page, you don’t feel like you just read a book, but that instead you were given the privilege of witnessing and sharing in the life journey of Billy Allman. And you’re sad that it ended.