The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck Review

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Amazingly funny. Those two words rang through my thoughts while reading the debut novel by Bethany Turner. Add a twisty-turny romance amongst the hilarity, and you have The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck.

Here’s the Blurb:

Becoming a Christian is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to Sarah Hollenbeck. Best because, well, that’s obvious. Worst because, up to this point, she’s made her very comfortable living as a well-known, bestselling author of steamy romance novels that would leave the members of her new church blushing. Now Sarah is trying to reconcile her past with the future she’s chosen. She’s still under contract with her publisher and on the hook with her enormous fan base for the kind of book she’s not sure she can write anymore. She’s beginning to think that the church might frown on her tithing on royalties from a “scandalous” book. And the fact that she’s falling in love with her pastor doesn’t make things any easier.

My thoughts:

Before I even opened the book, I was hooked on the premise about a steamy-romance writer who becomes a Christian and sequentially falls in love with a pastor. It screams conflict, and I had to know what happens! Well done, Ms. Turner, by intriguing me to stalk my mailwoman every day to see if she had my book mail.

This story had vivid, true-to-life characters that leapt off the page and into my heart. Sarah was so naïve about Christianity that it was both humorous and eye-opening. Being raised in church, I’ve always been aware and fluent in Christianese—the language and turns of phrase that Christians speak. Seeing Sarah’s viewpoint reminded me to be conscious and sensitive of others around me, especially new Christians. They’re like newborn babes, in a way, needing a more mature Christian to guide them. Which is why I LOVE Piper—Sarah’s best friend who always gives her sound advice. Then we have Ben Delaney, the pastor. And a GIANT thank you to Ms. Turner for going against the general prejudice aimed at men of God and writing Ben as someone who is nice-looking, relevant, and not dorky. It was refreshing.

The story was well-written with an ending that blew me away. And it was funny. Yes, I mentioned that at the beginning, but it needed repeated. Seriously. I was chuckling even at the chapter titles. (Blame It On The Rayne – still makes me giggle. You have to read to understand. 😉 So, I totally recommend this story! But, I must put a disclaimer that this is for more mature audiences since it covers topics that are geared for adults.

Are you hooked??? Then purchase your own copy here!

*I was provided a copy by the publisher. All opinions are my own.

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Blind Spot Review

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Having not read the previous stories in the series, I kinda came late to the party with this book. But! I had no trouble following along and was engaged from page one. This was my first experience with Dani Petry’s writing, and I was amazingly impressed with how she crafted this novel.

Here’s the blurb:

FBI agent Declan Grey is in the chase of his life–but isn’t sure exactly what he’s chasing after. Threatened by a terrorist that “the wrath is coming,” Grey fears something horrible is about to be unleashed on American soil. When his investigation leads him to a closed immigrant community, he turns to Tanner Shaw to help him. She’s sought justice for refugees and the hurting around the world, and if there’s anyone who can help him, it’s Tanner.

Tanner Shaw has joined the FBI as a crisis counselor . . . meaning she now has more opportunity to butt heads with Declan. But that tension also includes a spark she can’t deny, and she’s pretty sure Declan feels the same. But before anything can develop between them, they discover evidence of a terror cell–and soon are in a race against the clock to stop the coming “wrath” that could cost thousands their lives

My thoughts:

First off, I don’t usually read romantic suspense. I think I only read one before this. Seriously. Reason being is that I tend to get too enraptured in the story and don’t particularly like feeling anxious and edgy because of tense scenes. So previously I shied away from this genre. But, this story was truly enamoring. It had two plots running simultaneously, and I never got lost. Yes, some parts were intense but the author was kind enough to give me some breathing room with a touch of lightheartedness through the interactions of the characters.

There was no doubt of the chemistry between the main characters. I loved how protective Declan was over Tanner. (Even though she was perfectly capable of handling dangerous situations, it was a tender gesture.) The romance was believable and fast-paced like the entire story. That’s not a bad thing. With this story, it worked.

It was skillfully plotted and kept me guessing as to who the suspects were and when they’d strike. What I thought was ridiculously clever was the ending. No spoilers here, but man, the author left such a cliffhanger that I scoured Amazon to see when the next book is to be released.

*I received this book for the publisher. All opinions are my own.