Fields of Fire

Author: Ryan Steck

Publisher: Tyndale

Release Date: August 2, 2022

Rating: 5 out of 5.

If you are a fan of military type thrillers, Fields of Fire will blow you away with the action, suspense and over the top drama in this fantastic debut by Ryan Steck!

Marine Raider Matthew Redd is heading to be deployed on a top-secret mission when he stops to help a stranded motorist on the side of the road only to wake up hours later missing the mission that his team is all been killed on. Now he is having to take a deal to leave the Corps to avoid being arrested for treason. It is the only life he has known and loved and now he must return to his home town in Montana when he receives a message from his adoptive father saying he might be in trouble. When he gets home, he is too late, his dad is dead and he is left with more questions than answers. The more he digs into it all, the harder it is to know who to trust and what has really been going on while he was away serving his country.

When I started reading Fields of Fire, I didn’t realize this was the first novel by Ryan Steck. For a debut novel, Steck did an outstanding job of creating characters and putting them in situations that kept me on the edge of my seat. Matthew Redd is a great main character with a lot of heart, hurt and determination to try and do what is right no matter what it costs him. For the longest time while reading this, I wasn’t sure where the story would end up, and by the time it all came together, I was able to connect the dots back to the beginning and it all fit together nicely. Each character had a purpose and was set in place at just the right time to move the story along at the right speed. As the story progressed, so did the tension; by about the halfway point I found myself unable to put the book down until I found out what was going to happen. This is set as the first in a series and I can’t wait to see what comes next for these characters. I recommend this book to anyone that loves a great suspense thriller with fun characters and the start of a new series.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Dark Angel

Author: Brian Andrews & Jeffrey Wilson

Series: Shepherds Series #2

Publisher: Tyndale

Release Date: April 5, 2022

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The second book in the Shepherds Series is even darker, more sinister and thrilling than the first! Readers will be entranced with this fantastic supernatural thriller!

After his first mission with the Shepherds, Jeddiah Johnson returns to Nashville for extensive training with the group. At the training, he meets a whole new group training to be Shepherds working in a state-of-the-art facility. Many have been training for a while and when Jed comes in as the new team leader while technically being a rookie, several feathers are ruffled. Jed tries to fix the team dynamic, but when he starts having visions of an attack overseas, the team are sent over to stop the threat before they finish their training. Jed and the team go up against their biggest threat yet, Nicholas Woland, once a Shepherd himself who now works against them spreading chaos and knowing how the Shepherds work makes it easier for him to defeat them. Jed and the Shepherds race against Woland and his sinister plot to stop hundreds from being taken out and evil to win. With their team still in training, they will have to work together and trust one another more than ever in order to win this battle against good and evil.

The first book in the Shepherds series laid the groundwork for the supernatural battle within the pages. Dark Angel picks up where the first left off and takes it even deeper into the world of evil we live in and how many of us walk around oblivious to the sinister and dark attacks we are under daily with angels around to help keep us safe. I loved the character of Jed and how he knew he needed help to fulfill the missions he was sent on. Even though he is a highly trained Navy SEAL, he knows that the skills needed to succeed are more than he alone possesses. There is a lot to unpack within the pages of this novel, but for me, it was well written with a fast plot, characters I wanted to see succeed and a lot of moments that left me with some good questions to ponder about life, spiritual matters and so much more. This is a book that will leave readers thinking about more than just the work of fiction. That said, it is a work of fiction and needs to be read as such, it isn’t a bible study or writing in that way. I recommend this book to those that love supernatural thrillers that are going to get your heart rate up and be hard to put down.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Dark Intercept

Authors: Brian Andrews & Jeffrey Wilson

Series: Shepherds Series #1

Publisher: Tyndale House

Release Date: September 7, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

An absolute hit and fantastic start to a new series by a powerhouse team of Brian Andrews and Jeffrey Wilson! You do not want to miss this one!

Navy SEAL Jedidiah Johnson wants to retire and leave the hectic and dangerous life of the SEALS behind him. On the night of his retirement, he gets a call from a childhood friend who desperately needs his help. Even though they have been estranged for years, Jed goes back to Nashville to help David and his wife Rachel, Jed’s first love. David and Rachel’s daughter has been kidnapped and the police have no leads. The history between Jed, David, and Rachel almost keeps him from coming to help, but the thought of an innocent little girl being hurt because of something he can’t get past is not something he wants on his conscious. As soon as he arrives, he finds himself in danger and mysterious forces work against his presence there to help. Soon he finds himself in a hard place, a place he never wanted to be again, a place with the voices back in his head. All things he believed he left behind when he joined the Navy come back to the surface. To save the missing girl, he must go to a place of faith he abandoned long ago to win a fight against good and evil.

This was my first book by this writing pair and I am kicking myself for having gone this long without discovering their writing. This story sucked me in from the first page and held on to me tighter than any story has done in a long time. I have been on a streak of reading several mediocre books and have been aching for something that really touched me and kept the adrenaline pumping. This was that story! I am so glad I picked this one up and gave it a chance. Not only is Jed a great main character, but every other character in the book also plays their roll to perfection. I knew without a doubt before I was even halfway through that this was going to be a series I would want to stick with. There is so much more to unpack with these characters; I want to know more about the history with Jed, David, and Rachel. The little it was touched on was just not enough to satisfy my thirst for their history. Give me more of Ben and his team, how they came together, and their backstories. The possibilities feel endless; I just hope Andrews and Wilson feel the same and keep the stories coming for the Shepherds. I recommend this book to anyone that loves a good, fast-paced military thriller with a spiritual aspect that gets dark but keeps the light.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Storm Rising

Storm risingAuthor: Ronie Kendig

Series: Book of the Wars #1

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: July 2, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

After years of serving under the command of someone else, Leif Metcalfe now has his own team to command, bringing his very own adventure more complicated than any he has faced before.

Leif Metcalfe has a difficult past and knows that it will be hard to push past all that to command his very own team. The time has come for him to step up and take charge. He and his team are tasked with finding the notorious Book of the Wars. They are not the only ones looking for it though. Iskra “Viorica” Todorova, a notorious Bulgarian operative gets to the book first. Iskra is being used by the man that kidnapped her, raped her and trained her to be a skilled assassin.  If she can bring the book back to him, she might be able to secure her freedom. As both Leif and Iskra work to secure the book, strange storms blow up around the world that foreshadow the wars described in the book. To get away and secure her freedom, Iskra will have to do the one thing she thought possible, trust someone. Leif doesn’t know if he can trust Iskra but he also knows it might be his only way to secure the book and stop the destruction before it is too late.

If you are a fan of Kendig’s Tox files, you will not want to miss Storm Rising. Many of the same characters are back with Leif including Mercy Maddox (one of my personal favorites in this and I can’t wait to see more with her). I loved the pace of this stor; it was very detailed but not so much so that it took me out of the story. The Tox Files got so deep with the archeology aspects that it can be hard to keep up with everything happening sometimes, still a great story though. Here we get a much lighter story that reads very smooth and will easily keep readers engaged throughout. Ronie Kendig has always had a way of weaving a story that is so rich in history, suspense, and characters that are drawn together in a way that feels natural and real. With each new novel she just gets better and better. This is by far her best work, especially with character development and a natural flow with the relationships and how they fit together smoothly. When dealing with a team like this, there are a lot of characters and at times it can seem like a few too many but as the story plays out readers discover the need for each one. With the next book, I hope to see even more development for these smaller roles.  As I said earlier, my favorite character in this book was Mercy, she is feisty, real and exhibits such energy that I can’t wait to see her further develop. She has so much potential as a lead character and I would love to see that for her. I recommend Storm Rising to fans of Kendig’s earlier work, but if this is your first time picking up a book by Ronie Kendig you won’t be lost. Even with the tie in to the previous series, new readers will be able to pick up and follow along with the story without a problem. Another great addition to my library.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Crown of Souls

Crown of SoulsAuthor: Ronie Kendig

Series: Tox Files #2

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: September 5, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

In less than one ten-thousandth of a second, lives will be changed causing Tox and his crew to face their toughest mission yet and not all will survive.

Having earned some much-needed rest, Cole “Tox” Russell and his crew have hit the beach to relax. When a sniper hits Cole and the shooter is discovered to be one of their past team members, things quickly become more interesting. The shooter, Alec King is one of the only other people that could be considered as good as Tox. He is carrying a grudge from years ago when a mission they were both on didn’t end as he would have liked.  Ever since, he has been enacting his own form of justice. He wants Tox to join him to prove that they can be unstoppable and Alec is willing to stop at nothing to convince Tox to join him. Tox worries that maybe Alec is right and he is more like his old friend than he would like to admit.  Secrets long kept are unearthed along with a mysterious artifact that could lead to the destruction of humanity. Tox and his team must race against the clock and find a way to stop Alec before more death and destruction is unleashed.

If you are a fan of Indiana Jones, Tomb Raider, or even National Treasure, I would highly recommend Crown of Souls and The Tox Files. Ronie Kendig has become a master of Military Thrillers. This book goes back and forth between Tox and his mission, to the past and why the artifact they are hunting is so important. If you don’t follow both times lines closely, you might miss some important information for the story. The best thing about a Ronie Kendig novel is there is something there for everyone, Romance, Suspense, History, Mystery and so much more. There are intense moments at just the right time and then things mellow out to calm the reader before being thrust right into the next tough and tense situation. It was hard for me at times to follow the past and present parts, but they did enhance the story and made the mystery all the more intense. It is obvious throughout the entire book that Kendig is familiar with the military and isn’t just writing about something she has no clue about. The lingo, the way they team interacts with each other on missions and during down time makes each one believable as a valuable member of the team and an asset to the story. One of my favorite things about reading books by Kendig is I know I’m going to be entertained and enjoy the story along with the characters and how they connect with one another. I recommend Crown of Souls to all readers that enjoy a good thriller with a military background and strong ties to an ancient mystery that could devastate the lives of all it comes in contact with.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Close to Home

Close to HomeAuthor: Robert Dugoni

Series: Tracy Crosswhite #5

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: September 5, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Robert Dugoni delivers the next series installment getting Tracy involved with the Navy in a case that could sink more than one career, and life, if she’s not careful.

When Seattle homicide detective Tracy Crosswhite is called to the scene of a hit-and-run death, she doesn’t expect the case to lead her to the Navy. The suspect is a serviceman at the local base, which causes the local Judge Advocate General Corps to get involved.  The case is then transferred to the military court where the key piece of evidence goes missing.  Tracy has made a promise to the family of the victim that she will make sure justice is served for the death of their son, giving her no other option than to pursue the case. The further Tracy digs into the crimes, the more connections pop up to recent heroin overdoses.  With each new clue, Tracy, and those around her are put in danger and not everyone is guaranteed to make it out alive.

The Tracy Crosswhite series has become one of my absolute favorites. I love the way Dugoni has taken this character and made her someone the reader wants to cheer for and strive to be like in so many ways. Close to Home is the fifth in the series, but can easily be read as a stand-alone novel.  There are references to the first book in the series, but nothing about this book makes it necessary to have read the entire series.  For me, this was more of a mystery than a suspense thriller.  There was not the usual edge of my seat, can’t wait to see what is going to happen next moments.  That’s not a bad thing, it’s just different from the way Dugoni has written these books in the past.  I enjoyed the way he spent extra time building up a few of the secondary characters we have seen throughout the series.  I really enjoyed the different tone to the story with incorporating the military and JAG lawyers.  I am a big fan of military shows and novels and thought this fit in so well with the writing of the characters already established in the series. It will be interesting to see if any of the new characters introduced here make it to the next in the series.  I recommend this book to anyone looking for an excellent mystery that will leave you guessing and cheering with the way the story comes to an end.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Conspiracy of Silence

consiparcy-of-silenceAuthor: Ronie Kendig

Series: The Tox Files #1

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: December 6, 2016

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

After a failed mission, Cole “Tox” Russell has found himself an outcast, but now that the world needs him, he isn’t sure if he is the best man for the job.

It’s been four years since Cole “Tox” Russell was involved in a tragic mission that ended his career and that of his team. He was able to cut a deal and keep his team out of trouble, unfortunately it put him in the hot seat.  He has become an outcast, which is what he really wants, to be left alone.  It isn’t long after his exile that a centuries-old disease is unleashed in the world and he to be called back into action.  His estranged brother is now the President of the United States and enlists his help to keep not only his family but also the entire world safe.  He gets his team back and is working with FBI Agent Kasey Cortes to find the answers they all desperately need.  It is a race around the globe to fight the plague and an ancient secret society that is adamant to remain hidden.  With secrets uncovered and enemies at every corner, Tox and his team have to learn to work together once more in order to survive and break the conspiracy of silence.

Ronie Kendig has crafted another intriguing tale that will take readers on an adventure around the world and keep them on the edge of their seats until the very end. This is the first book in The Tox Files, if you don’t count the prequel, The Warrior’s Seal.  I highly recommend reading the prequel, which is a free ebook, before starting Conspiracy of Silence.  While the story is great and I found myself flipping pages as quickly as possible to find out what was going to happen. There were a few points throughout that got a bit wordy and could have been trimmed down slightly to make it flow a little better.  That being said, most of what is written is very relevant to the story and doesn’t need to be skipped over.  I have become a fan of Kendig and her military thrillers and have to say this should not be missed.  Tox thinks he is Toxic to those around him and doesn’t want to have any kind of a relationship with anyone for fear of causing them pain.  It is obvious there are feelings between Kasey and Tox and the way the relationship is played out was very well done in my opinion.  I liked how Kendig threw Kasey into the mix, she wasn’t field trained like the others but didn’t let that stop her from pulling her own weight and doing whatever she could to help the team.  The story was tied up nicely at the end but still left open for the next in the series to follow.  I for one can’t wait to see what comes next for Tox and the gang.  I recommend this to anyone that enjoys a good thriller.  There are a few moments of violence that wouldn’t be recommended for a younger audience but overall it is a good clean story that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.