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A Harvest of Thorns ~ Review

A Harvest of Thorns
By Corban Addison

A tragic loss of life half-way around the world is about to alter their lives in ways they never imagined. But when a chance photo in the aftermath of a factory fire in Bangladesh implicates American Presto Omnishops Corporation corporate heads will role unless the damage can be contained and quickly.

Tasked with determining Presto's ties and potential liabilities to the foreign factory is Cameron Alexander. His search for the truth will lead him into the heart of the beast - third world subcontracted manufacturing. But can he cut through the layered web of lies and the fearful silences that control all? What Cameron discovers is worse than he could have ever imagined.

Change must come but timing is everything when it comes to the corporate world. With stockholders and consumers to keep happy the time for change may never come for Presto - until Joshua Griswold comes across information that leads him to Presto's dirty not so little secret. But can he wield his knowledge as a sword to protect the downtrodden worker?

Like his previous book Tears of Dark Water Corban Addison creates a story that forces the reader to confront hidden, ugly secrets that will break the heart of most. And the sad part is - this is not a product of his imagination but rather the by-product of an industry that has made the dollar its GOD. Standards, codes of conduct, safety measures are meant to be ignored if the bottom line is on the line and when multinational factors are involved these are easily overlooked. And yet if one truly cares this would be the most grievous sin imaginable.

This book is disturbing and haunting and one that will stay with you long after you put it down, I think the following quote from the book sums it up quite perfectly "Unfortunately, this is often the way the world works. This kind of truth is ugly and painful and inconvenient. It doesn't help people pay their bills, or care for their kids, or get a better job, or go on a nice vacation. But the truth is essential....  Across history, the powerful have enriched themselves by exploiting the poor. The only power greater than theirs is the law." (page 228).

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher Thomas Nelson with no expectation of a review positive or otherwise. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:

A beloved American corporation with an explosive secret.
A disgraced former journalist looking for redemption.
A corporate executive with nothing left to lose.

In Dhaka, Bangladesh, a garment factory burns to the ground, claiming the lives of hundreds of workers, mostly young women. Amid the rubble, a bystander captures a heart-stopping photograph—a teenage girl lying in the dirt, her body broken by a multi-story fall, and over her mouth a mask of fabric bearing the label of one of America’s largest retailers, Presto Omnishops Corporation.
Eight thousand miles away at Presto’s headquarters in Virginia, Cameron Alexander, the company’s long-time general counsel, watches the media coverage in horror, wondering if the damage can be contained. When the photo goes viral, fanning the flames of a decades old controversy about sweatshops, labor rights, and the ethics of globalization, he launches an investigation into the disaster that will reach further than he could ever imagine—and threaten everything he has left in the world.
A year later in Washington DC, Joshua Griswold, a disgraced former journalist from the Washington Post, receives an anonymous summons from a corporate whistleblower who offers him confidential information about Presto and the fire. For Griswold, the challenge of exposing Presto’s culpability is irresistible, as is the chance, however slight, at redemption. Deploying his old journalistic skills, he builds a historic case against Presto, setting the stage for a war in the courtroom and in the media that Griswold is determined to win—both to salvage his reputation and to provoke a revolution in Presto’s boardroom that could transform the fashion industry across the globe.
This exposé of the underbelly of the international fashion industry is disturbing, moving, and thoroughly engrossing.” —PHILLIP MARGOLIN, New York Times bestselling author of Violent Crimes.


Shine Like the Dawn ~ Review

Shine Like the Dawn
By Carrie Turansky

Maggie Lounsbury can't forget the betrayal she faced from her dearest friend when she most needed him. Four years have passed with no word from Nate Harcourt regarding the tragedy she faced and is still facing. With her young sister Violet, Maggie has taken up residence with her Grandmother Hayes helping in her millinery shop. But when a near tragic event again strikes her family Maggie's childhood friend Nate is determined to be her rescuer.

But time and distance have shaped Maggie's view of Nate and he will have to work hard if he hopes to again call Maggie friend.  There is just one problem - Nate isn't quite sure what Maggie's resentment against him is. Add to that the pressure of assuming his father's leadership in family, estate and business holdings and Nate more than has his time filled with concerns beyond Maggie.

But when Maggie's concerns about her her family's lake "accident" lead her on a search for the truth she turns to her old friend for help. But why would anyone have had reason to wish her family harm? Or are her suspicions unfounded?

Meanwhile England is undergoing a transformation of its own. The common person is demanding rights and protections - one problem those who profit from their labors are not willing to lose their gains by letting the workers live a life where the daily effort of feeding, clothing, and caring for one's family be eased.  And unfortunately for Nate this is a problem that he has just inherited. His actions may determine the future of Heatherton and her people.

Set in the early 1900s this is a book that will appeal to those who love Edwardian English fiction. The world is on the cusp of change. We often look back and talk about simpler times which if one reads this book is quite obviously false. Life was as trying though their trials were not technologically derived.  This book has a thread of mystery that adds intrigue and a touch of romance.

Fans of Carrie Turansky's Highland Hall series will be thrilled with this newest book ~ it's a highly recommended read. This is a feel good book when you turn the last page you won't regret a moment spent reading it!

I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher Multnomah with no expectation of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:
Separated by an inconceivable tragedy, can faith and love reunite childhood friends and light the way to a bright future? 

In a quiet corner of northern Edwardian England, Margaret Lounsbury diligently works in her grandmother’s millinery shop, making hats and caring for her young sister. Several years earlier, a terrible event reshaped their family, shattering an idyllic life and their future prospects. Maggie is resilient and will do what she must to protect her sister Violet. Still, the loss of her parents weighs heavily on her heart because she wonders if what happened that day on the lake…might not have been an accident.

When wealthy inventor and industrialist William Harcourt dies, his son and Maggie’s estranged childhood friend, Nathaniel returns from his time in the Royal Navy and inherits his father’s vast estate, Morningside Manor. He also assumes partial control of his father’s engineering company and the duty of repaying an old debt to the Lounsbury family. But years of separation between Nate and Maggie have taken a toll and Maggie struggles to trust her old friend.

Can Maggie let go of the resentment that keeps her from forgiving Nate—and reconciling with God? Will the search for the truth about her parents’ death draw the two friends closer or leave them both with broken hearts?


Moving Target ~ Review

Moving Target
Elite Guardians #3
By Lynette Eason

Maddy McKay has a problem and it starts with a Q ~ Quinn Holcombe's grumpy in the mud attitude has reached its climax as far as Maddy is concerned. There's just one problem her heart doesn't necessarily agree with her head.

But is Quinn ready call it quits on whatever he and Maddy may have and his friends with the Elite Guardians? Before he can decide matters are taken out of his hands when both he and Maddy become a target of a suspected serial killer.

Suddenly survival becomes the top priority for both Quinn and Maddy as they try to survive long enough for their friends to discover something's wrong or they can find a way to escape. But their capture is determined to make them fight for their survival and he has the advantage.

This is a fast paced fight for survival as Maddy and Quinn work to piece together the clues that they have and find the connections that tie them to the previous victims of the hunt. This is a high stakes who-dun-it with lives on the line.  Poor Maddy and Quinn just can't get catch a break  ~ Maddy in Always Watching had her near death incident and Quinn had his in Without Warning.  (Hint, hint you may want to read the first 2 books before getting swept up in this the third book in the Elite Guardians series) But be warned this book will keep you turning the pages.

Will you solve the case before the killer is revealed? It isn't easy...

If you love a murder mystery you'll want to add this one to the top of your to read list.

I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher, Revell with no expectation of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:
When Maddy McKay and Quinn Holcombe don't show up for Quinn's surprise birthday party, his friends know that something is very wrong. Their search turns up little beyond evidence that Quinn and Maddy just decided to take off for a long overdue vacation. But it soon becomes apparent that they did not leave of their own accord.

Maddy awakens in a cement room with no idea where she is. But it's not long before she realizes she's in the clutches of a madman exacting revenge by hunting. His prey of choice? Humans. Now Maddy and Quinn must run for their lives, hoping to find their killer before the next game begins. Because if they don't win this game, they die.

Fast, furious, and flirty, Lynette Eason's relentless suspense barely gives her readers time to catch their breath in this third thrilling installment of the Elite Guardians series.


Rescue Me ~ Review

Rescue Me
Montana Rescue #2
By Susan May Warren

Deputy Sam Brooks knows that Sierra Rose is the perfect one for him - smart, efficient - what more could anyone ask for? But for some reason something is missing in their relationship - if only he could figure out what it is...

Sierra's heart has been broken by Ian Shaw but whether or not he still has it is a question that remains to be seen. But Sierra's younger sister Willow sees Sam larger than life and if she ever needs to be saved Sam is the man she hopes will be there for her. But Willow is a flighty walking disaster to Sam's eyes nothing like Sierra. But Willow is always ready to offer a smile or a word of encouragement. And Willow has her heart sent on being named the new youth pastor, but her unconventional upbringing just might stand between her and her dream.

And then there is Pete, Sam's younger brother who can do no good in Sam's eyes. Pete has his eye on a position in PEAK Rescue but having to go through Sam may keep him from his goal. If only he could find a way to convince Sam that he is dependable...

When another youth group activity goes wrong Willow, Sam and a group of teens are stranded in a precarious situation and a storm front is about to make it much more dangerous. Everyone is going to have to pull together and do what they do best if everyone is going to make it. But nature never makes it easy...

Fans of Susan May Warren's previous works will enjoy this, the second book in the Montana Rescue series.  In this book some of the secondary characters from Wild Montana Skies get their starring role in the meat of the story. I'm interested in seeing how exactly Ian Shaw and the mystery surrounding his missing / run-away niece Esme plays out in future books. This is an easy read that is perfect for unwinding with after a trying (or not so trying) day at work. Get ready for some wilderness survival and some deep soul healing with this latest Montana rescue!

I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher Revell with no expectations of a positive review ~ all opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:
When Deputy Sam Brooks commits to something, nothing can sway him--not just on the job as liaison between the Mercy Falls sheriff's department and PEAK Rescue, but in his private life. He's the one who stuck around to take care of his mother after his father's accidental death. And he's the one--perhaps the only one--who believes Sierra Rose is the perfect girl for him. Safe, practical, and organized, she's nothing like her hippie, impulsive, bleeding heart sister, Willow.

Willow, however, has been in love with Sam Brooks for as long as she can remember. But she wants her sister to have a happy ending. Besides, Willow has other things to focus on--namely, nabbing the job as youth pastor for her small-town church. Best thing for her to do is to purge Sam from her heart.

Neither can predict the events that will bring them together in a fight for their lives in the forbidding wilderness of Glacier National Park. Stranded, injured, and with the winter weather closing in, Sam and Willow will have to work together to save a crew of terrified teenagers. As they fight to survive, they might just discover a new hope for love.


Still Life ~ Review

Still Life
Chesapeake Valor #2
By Dani Pettrey

Someone is out there.
   Watching her.

Avery Tate has left behind her work with Parker Mitchell - she can't compete with his memories of Jenna McCary. But when her best friend doesn't show at the art exhibit where she's a featured model, Avery knows something is wrong. But when the police refuse to take her concerns seriously based on Skylar's past Avery turns to the one person she knows will help her - Parker.

But the evidence that they uncover leads to more questions than answers.  And it appears that Skylar's past may have finally caught up to her - a past that Avery feels responsible for. Can they pull the clues together in time to save Skylar or is the exhibit photo a hint that they are too late?

As the team works the case, Special Agent Declan Grey has another case come up that could have far reaching implications. A person with known terrorist ties has managed to slip into the country and unless they act fast he could disappear leaving destruction in his wake. And when an unexpected link to the past is found connecting to this case the chances of mere coincidence slight. But what could the long unexplained disappearance of Luke have to do with smuggled refugees, a dead federal agent, and a terrorist?

Still Life could be even more suspenseful than the first book in the Chesapeake Valor series Cold Shot. The list of suspects is long and the reasons behind possible motivation plausible. Get ready for a case that might be impossible to prove unless the killer made a mistake.

If you've read the first book in the series you have to read this one and reading the books in order is a necessity. And this book will be one that will keep you reading - it is most definitely a "one more chapter and then I'll put it down book" and the put down comes when the last page is turned.

About 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.


The Seekers ~ Review

The Seekers
Amish Cooking Class #1
By Wanda E. Brunstetter

For eight years Heidi Troyer has been married yet she and Lyle have not been blessed with any children to her great disappointment. With hours of the day that need to be filled Heidi borrows an idea from her Aunt Emma, but instead of quilting classes Heidi decides to teach cooking classes.

But Heidi's classes are not quite what she expected - in addition to the cooking classes her students begin turning to her with problems and challenges that they are experiencing. But the experience was one that offered her a chance to share her faith and the love of God to those who sought out her class.

The differences in the five people who take her class are a contrast in both age and life experiences. There is an unwed-mom-to-be, a troubled Vietnam Veteran, a widowed single mom, a just engaged woman, and an Amish neighbor who lost his wife. Could a more unlikely grouping learn to cook and form friendships that last beyond the six week class? Come to Walnut Creek, Ohio and find out in this newest series from Wanda Brunstetter. And for those who like Emma and Lamar - they make an appearance in this book.

This first book while complete in that this cooking class is finished there is a promise of what is to come in future books. And the promise of what is to come is one I look forward to discovering.

An added bonus can be found in the back of the book in that the recipes that Heidi teaches her class are included. There are also discussion questions perfect for book clubs that may decide to make this their reading selection.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:
Unlikely Friendships are Formed
in an Amish Cooking Class...

Join a class of unlikely Ohioans who take cooking lessons at Lyle and Heidi Troyer’s Amish farm.

A woman engaged to marry, an expectant mother estranged from her family, a widowed mom seeking to simplify, a Vietnam vet who camps on the Troyer’s farm, and an Amish widower make up the mismatched lot of students. But Heidi’s cooking lessons soon turn to life lessons as they each share the challenges they are facing.

Is this what God had in mind when Heidi got the idea for cooking classes?

Stars in the Grass ~ Review

Stars in the Grass
By Ann Marie Stewart

Abby McAndrews's world is perfect until one day. What should have been a happy time of making memories that would bring a smile for years to come becomes an event that could break not only her but her family forever. The summer of 1970 turns Abby's nine year old world upside down and she realizes all too clearly the fragility of life.

This is a book that will touch the reader on an emotional level as Abby, her brother Matt, and her parents come to terms with the loss that they never expected and try to go from five to four. But the loss brings with it a lot of what-ifs. And a life of what-ifs brings feelings of guilt, anger, and fears.

Stars in the Grass is the year that follows. As everyone deals with the loss differently Abby and Matt at time feel as if they have been lost to the dead - that they no longer matter and no one would hear them even if they knew had to express what they are feeling.

This book will move you to tears, or at least make your eyes well as this family struggles. Though one could never say "I know what you are going through" one could at least be aware of the struggles and pain that one going through a similar situation might be experiencing. Highly recommend this book for those who want an emotional component to their reading. And it might be a good idea to have a few tissues nearby while reading.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:
The idyllic world of nine-year-old Abby McAndrews is transformed when a tragedy tears her family apart. Before the accident, her dad, Reverend John McAndrews, had all the answers, but now his questions and guilt threaten to destroy his family. Abby’s fifteen-year-old brother, Matt, begins an angry descent as he acts out in dangerous ways. Her mother tries to hold her grieving family together, but when Abby’s dad refuses to move on, the family is at a crossroads.

Set in a small Midwestern town in 1970, Abby’s heartbreaking remembrances are balanced by humor and nostalgia as her family struggles with—and ultimately celebrates—an authentic story of faith and life after loss.