Blog Tour: The Uvalde Raider



A Templar Family Novel


Publisher: Creative Texts Publishers
Publication Date: April 17, 2021
Pages: 229 Pages
Categories: Historical Fiction / Military / Texas
The time is the eve of the First Gulf War. The place an abandoned World War II emergency landing strip for heavy bombers, nestled amid the near countless miles upon miles of wide openness in West Texas. Here a climactic battle will be fought, while the rest of the world focuses on what would become known as Operation Desert Storm. But in some ways, the stakes here are even higher as men from other places and past conflicts gamble all that they are, and all they ever were, to prevent a catastrophic terrorist attack unthinkable before on an American city. One group seeks wholesale slaughter, the murder of helpless civilians on a massive scale. The other strives to stop this evil in any way possible, and by whatever means necessary. The key to either side’s success or failure? One old Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress, an enduring symbol from another war and ensuing catastrophe of a different era. This relic of a not so distant past is named ‘The Uvalde Raider,’ and this is its story…

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Ben H. English is an eighth-generation Texan who grew up in the Big Bend. At seventeen he joined the Marines, ultimately becoming a chief scout-sniper as well as an infantry platoon sergeant. Later he worked counterintelligence and traveled to over thirty countries on four continents.
At Angelo State University he graduated Magna Cum Laude along with other honors. Afterwards Ben had a career in the Texas Highway Patrol, holding several instructor billets involving firearms, driving, patrol procedures and defensive tactics.
After retirement he decided to try his hand at writing. His first effort, Yonderings, was accepted by a university press and garnered some awards. His second, Destiny’s Way, led to a long term, multi-book contract.  This was followed by Out There: Essays on the Lower Big Bend and now his second fictional work, The Uvalde Raider.
His intimate knowledge of what he writes about lends credence and authenticity to his work. Ben knows how it feels to get hit and hit back, or being thirsty, cold, wet, hungry, alone or exhausted beyond imagination. Finally, he knows of not only being the hunter, but also the hunted.
Ben and his wife have two sons who both graduated from Annapolis. He still likes nothing better than grabbing a pack and some canteens and heading out to where few others venture.
Just as he has done throughout most of his life…
Find out more about Ben English’s Adventures on Facebook,Amazon Author Page, or visit Ben on his Website


Rating :★★★★★
Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of a finished book from Lone Star Literary Life partner in exchange for my honest review. The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copy used in this review is a finished copy of the book. #partner #LSBBT

This action-packed military historical fiction focuses on one moment in history that shaped the overall way the world handled situations that followed. The author uses a narrator-style writing style to allow the reader to be taken on a journey through time and nostalgic moments. The main characters face hard times, challenges, and overcome some of their greatest obstacles all while seeking opportunities to see the truth in every situation. They encounter terrorists, government secrets, and learn to rely on each other in one of the most daring moments in their career. It seems the men have gotten themselves tied up in a sticky situation that they may or may not get out of. You’ll need to read the book to find out.

Overall, the book is filled with twists and turns and will have you sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for the next event to occur. The patrotism is evident as you continue to navigate your way through the detailed, engaging explanation of each scene. The author does a wonderful job with character development, terms used, and you can tell he did his research before completing this novel. If you’re a native Texan then this novel will make you proud to be a Texan.

I enjoyed the religious aspect of the novel and the moments of wholesomeness. I also enjoyed the moments of reflection. I love historical fiction novels. I studied history in college and have read quite a few books in this realm and this is one of my favorites. There is a moment after the rise of action moments where the book takes a slow pace, but overall I feel does not take away from the story and provides depth.

The question is, can you handle this type of novel and the surprising plot? I guess you will have to read it and find out. This is book one of this series and I am confident you will want more.

This book is suited for adults but can also be read by older teens interested in historical fiction.

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Blog Tour: The Chinese Murder of Edward Watts


Covey Jencks Mystery, #3
By Shelton L. Williams

Publish Date: December 8th, 2020
Pages: 233 pages
Categories: Mystery / Humor

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Covey and 
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Shelton L. Williams (Shelly) is founder and president of the Osgood Center for International Studies in Washington, DC. He holds a PhD from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and he taught for nearly 40 years at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. He has served in the US Government on four occasions, and he has written books and articles on nuclear proliferation. In 2004 he began a new career of writing books on crime and society. Those books areWashed in the Blood,Summer of 66, and now the three books in the Covey Jencks series. All firmly prove that he is still a Texan at heart. 

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Rating :★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of a finished book  from Lone Star Literary Life partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copy used in this review is an advanced reader copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review.  #partner #LSBBT

Based in Odessa, TX,  Covey and JayJay are back again for another politically thrilling adventure where the two find themselves in yet another sticky situation. The book begins with Covey explaining a deal he refused then receiving an ominous note taped to his car asking if he was looking for Edward Watts. The book begins to then take you on a twist and turn journey to uncover the real reason behind the death of Edward Watts. The goal was to figure out what involvement did the Chinese visit have in his death and what type of retribution his death paid. As the novel continues to unfold new developments start to arise from the real reason behind the connect between Edward Watts and the Chinese government. Could his death be a bad deal gone wrong or could the Chinese have uncovered his true intentions before having him murdered? Or is this all a cover up for a bigger story?

The author starts the novel by diving right in with Covey as the narrator, the storying being told from his perspective with interjections from JayJay throughout. Covey begins by revealing moments prior to the note he found on his car about Edward Watts. The author uses this style of writing to provide the reader with a more in-depth understanding and full backstory. This allowed me to actually have a base to stand on; when the plot occurred I wasn’t at all confused. Covey’s memory takes him back to a boardroom in China with a woman from his past now under a new identity. The story is filled with “ghosts” from the past coming back to “haunt” Covey and JayJay. This comical pair are a match made in partner heaven as they navigate an investigation with multiple loopholes. I did not expect this many twists and turns when I began diving into this novel and I was thoroughly surprised as the story continued to develop. The author does a great job keeping the reader both laughing and on the edge of their seat. I enjoyed the development of the main characters and the overall storyline. 

I highly encourage this fast read novel for any adult interested in a cross country, Texas-sized, comical mystery that will keep you both entertained and on the edge of your seat awaiting the next move. You do not need to read book one and two of this series prior to reading book three. You can dive right into this book and feel connected to the author and the storyline. However, after reading this book, I am sure you will want to rush to buy books one and two of this series.

First, signed copies of all three Covey books. 
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Blog Tour : A Firm Place to Stand

Genre: Christian / Romantic Suspense
Independently published
Date of Publication: January 25, 2020
Number of Pages: 321

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Rating :★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of a finished pdf copy from Lone Star Literary Life partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copies used in this review are finalized copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review.  #partner #LSBBT

Has there ever been a moment in your life where you’ve felt like you can’t catch a break? Have you ever felt as though you were a burden to everyone you encounter? The main character Maribel has nothing but shortcomings her entire life but a job opportunity at Summer Camp in the middle has become available. She hasn’t had the best of luck with jobs or relationships but this may be her chance for a fresh start. That is until her car malfunctions and catches ablaze as she nears her new town. Within the first twenty-four hours of her arrival to her new town she finds a corpse in the river on her morning job, her car catches fire, and she has unexpectedly become involved in the secrets of her new town. Will she be able to uncover the secrets behind the dead body and the potential missing person? Can she keep her current role? How long can she keep her past hidden and stay hidden?

This book starts at a steady pace with the introduction of the main character and the author does a great job of capturing your attention in the beginning. We watch as Maribel’s character develops more as the storyline begins to unfold. The book begins with us seeing a glimpse into the past of Maribel and the preconceived notions she has about the people in her new town. She must learn to keep her guard up but also work to remove the walls she placed around herself to allow people a chance to get to know her. I enjoyed the development of each character and the realistic emotions tied to each character. Of course, as the story moved on I felt remorse for Maribel as she struggled to forgive herself for her past and move forward with the opportunity she was given. The author does a wonderful job of being descriptive when it came to explaining each character’s emotions, actions, and interactions. The writing style was intriguing where the author took the approach to alter between perspectives. There was no one true narrator in my opinion. The story was being told by each character and enjoyed getting the chance to be inside the mind of each character which aided in understanding the character development fully. I spent a great deal of time being both shocked and on the brink of tears while reading this book as it hit close to home to watch the main character try so hard. You can watch as the town’s secrets begin to unfold and Maribel sees who she can trust. With the journalist’s background in tow, she can observe her surroundings and get to the bottom of the town’s biggest secrets while simultaneously not realizing how sinister the villain in this novel is. I was thoroughly surprised and gasped out loud as finally came to the end of this book. All I can say is well done what a remarkable tale.

The author takes an interesting approach to the Christian based thriller. As the story continues to unfold you feel involved in the development of each character and invested in the outcome of the story. However, I did feel it was a little dry in some areas and wanted a bit more action. I felt there were high points in the story and a few low points in the story where I felt could have been developed a bit more. However, overall this was a well written Christian thriller. You can tell the author worked hard to have the biblical aspects of the story to fit well within the chapter. I enjoyed the fact that the author inserted a practical biblical tip of forgiveness and the importance of forgiveness. It is inspirational to see that focus inside this specific text that contains aspects of betrayal, loss, grief, and victimization. The author showcases the challenges of forgiveness from both parties. She sheds light on the perspective of forgiveness from the accuser and the person who has experienced the loss. the Bible discusses the importance of forgiveness throughout and the importance of relying on God to provide peace in the middle of a storm or turmoil. Special thanks to the author for doing a phenomenal job at incorporating the biblical aspect and the ability to have it flow so well.


I highly recommend this book for any who is interested in reading a thrilling christian mystery novel. This book is appropriate for young adults and higher as there isn’t any foul or rude content.

Click the link above to purchase this item or scroll towards the bottom of this review try your luck at the giveaway. Either way, get your hands on a copy of this book!


A life-long Texan, Lori lives in a small community not far from the rugged West Texas landscape she loves to write about. The mother of now-grown twins, she has learned that the secret to survival is a well-developed sense of humor and an active prayer life. After years spent working in the insurance business, Lori now uses her time to educate, inspire, encourage, and entertain through the written word.


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Suee and the Shadow by Ginger Ly

AF7DF41A-0E42-48CD-910F-3525D62A0D5FGenre: Paranormal/ Fantasy Graphic Novel

Shelf Location: Middle Grade/ Juvenile Fiction

Rating: ★★★★

I checked out a copy of this book from my local library. The opinions in this review are solely my own and do not reflect the views of the publisher or author.


Final Thoughts

The graphic novel starts from the narrator perspective, then transitions to the viewpoint of Suee, the main character. Suee is a mature twelve-year-old girl who was transferred to Outskirts Elementary after her father’s job transfer. She is a very individualistic girl who prefers to be a loner at her new school until she passes by a room and hears a voice. Suee tells herself that she doesn’t need friends, then a voice from the school’s exhibit room says that it will be her friend. Suee follows the voice into the room then wakes up sometime later in the nurse’s office with no memory of how she got there. And to make matters worse, her shadow appears to be alive.

Everything was fine until she went into the exhibit room, and her shadow came alive. Now everyone in her school is starting to look like a zombie and are being called Zeroes. The strangest thing is that the students called Zeros are missing their shadows. Suee must work together with another student to figure out what is happening to their classmates shadow and what her shadow is hiding.

This graphic novel is easy to read and age appropriate. I would recommend this graphic novel to students in upper elementary school or advanced readers. This book was a fast read, and the younger audiences would much enjoy the sarcasm the main character eludes and the hint of a mystery. The characters were developed in a way to provide a little bit of a backstory of each, but the story could have been developed a bit more to offer a bit more details. I do commend the author for the history provided at the beginning, the backstory of the main character, and the cliff hanger at the end. I felt the plot could have been developed more to provide a little more character development and a chance for the main character to make more friends. However, I hope that this was only the first book and that there would be more in the series.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely! 

You can purchase copies of this book from: Amazon | Barnes and Noble |Abrams Books

Happy Reading! Comment below any book recommendations or your thoughts on this book! You can reach by clicking the Contact link at the top of the page or email me at

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware


Genre: Suspense Mystery Thriller

Shelf Location: Adult Fiction

Rating: ★★★★

I purchased a copy of this book over a year ago and it has been sitting on my shelf since then. I was browsing my collection looking for something to read on my flight to New Jersey. The opinions in this review are solely my own and do not reflect the views of the publisher or author.

Final Thoughts

This book told from the perspective of Lanora, the main character. Lanora is a writer who has decided a life of seclusion is better than facing the past she tried to keep hard hidden.  Somethings cannot stay hidden forever; she realizes this as she receives an invitation to old friends hen (bachelorette party). She hasn’t spoken to Clare in over ten years, and now she is getting invited to her hen. Against her better judgment, Nora goes to the hen. The story continues with twists and turns that left me on the edge of my seat. The plot started to unfold from the moment

However, I figured out the plot halfway through the book. I felt the book could have been developed more and wished the supporting characters played a more significant role in the overall plot. I also, felt the plot was a bit lackluster, but this is because I watched an extensive amount of Lifetime thriller movies as a tween. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the writing style and the backstory associated with the main character and Clare.

I would recommend this book if you are interested in a thrilling mystery that takes you for a loop throughout the story. The author uses a vast amount of details to help create a real thriller environment in the story.

You can purchase copies of this book:  Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Simon & Schuster

Happy Reading! Comment below any book recommendations or your thoughts on this book! You can reach by clicking the Contact link at the top of the page or email me at

Secret Trust by McCaid Paul

IMG_0649Genre: Middle Grade Thriller/Mystery
Pages: Print 342
Release Date: October 29, 2018
Author: McCaid Paul 
Rating: ★★★★.5

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copy used in this review is a finished print copy.

Goodreads Synopsis

Five months have passed since Mick lived within the deep woods of Summersville, where a monster controlled his every move. Now, with his only chance at a fresh start, Mick hopes to begin a new life free from his painful past.
Until a secret reveals itself, one that spans for generations. When someone from his past returns, Mick must confront hidden truths, all the while risking everything for those he loves.

BILLIE is still dealing with the aftermath of being kidnapped, and having her best friend taken away. Ever since the incident in Richard Welch’s home, her dad has been her only consolation.
When Billie makes a discovery that ties back to her mother, all she once knew is thrown into question. Could Billie’s discovery hold the answer to why her mother disappeared all those years ago?
With both mysteries weighing upon them, Mick and Billie try to uncover the truth. For everything they thought they knew was a lie.

Final Thoughts

This middle-grade fiction novel written by a youth author continues the story of Mick and Billie. The town of Summerville is hiding many secrets, but the ones that the town seem to forget are the ones that are buried deep into the town’s history. This book starts off with a continuation of the current whereabouts of Mick and Billie. It recaps the events from the first novel in the series as Mick continues to have flashbacks. Mick tries to adjust to his new life after learning his previous life was a lie. He remembers the only father and mother he ever knew. Mick knows his father isn’t his birth father, and he knows the truth about his parents, but he has no idea that things are going to get more complicated. McCaid Paul takes you on a journey in this who-done-it thriller as we try to uncover more secrets. Now that the secret about his family is out, Mick continues to search for more answers as he discovers who he is and what happened to his family. However, while Mick figures out his family life, Billie still has no clue what happened to her mother. She wants to be a supportive friend to Mick but still harbors the doubt that her mother just disappeared. Will Mick and Billie finally find peace and uncover the truth? Or will Mick get kidnapped again for his snooping? In a town as small as Summerville everyone is watching you and nothing is ever really a secret.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and loved the suspense. This book is perfect for any middle schooler who is interested in a continuation of the first book and interested in thrillers. Everyone is connected somehow, and each supporting character is developed uniquely. The author did a great job of letting you think one character was involved when it was another. I was utterly surprised by the ending. If you’re interested in a well-written thriller novel, be sure to check this one out. If you haven’t read the first book, it’s okay you can still read this one.

Thanks to the author for the free review copy! I can’t wait for the next installment in this series.

To purchase your copy of this novel on Amazon, click this link

Happy Reading and I hope you enjoyed my honest opinion of this novel!

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Bus 59 and a Half by Mel Ingrid

fMK4uviYToO8k+ioThLdEgGenre: Young Adult Psychological Thriller
Pages: Print 153
Release Date: June 7,  2018
Author: Mel Ingrid
Rating: ★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I purchased a copy of this book on my own from The opinions in this review are solely my own and do not reflect the views of the publisher or the author. 


In a tranquil town where no one pays attention, June of 2016 means three things to three people–the start of summer vacation, the conclusion of a divorce, and a plethora of cardboard boxes. But when a sculpture exhibit near the local high school opens, June 2016 isn’t just about three things. There’s a flyer inside the exhibit–a job opening hiding underneath an innocent façade, waiting to lure victims into an anomalous trap.

A few traffic jams and a pine thicket away from the suburbs is the worn down warehouse of two sculptors. They’re slaving over a collection with a deadline that puts their lifelines at risk, but that’s the least either of them is worried about. Art is a form of life that exceeds the limitations of reality, and it can be dangerous.

So what is one to do when the muses want their encore?

Author Bio:

Mel Ingrid is the teen author of a YA psychological thriller entitled BUS 59 AND A HALF and a short story, WHEN WOULD YOU LIKE TO GO, featured in the 2017 All In! Snack Fiction Anthology. She’s also a hardcore Sherlockian and a lover of movie posters, among several other things.

She was born in Long Island, New York, raised by loving Taiwanese parents and delicious food. When she was in the first grade, she and her family moved halfway across the world to Singapore, where she resided before her early adolescent years.

In her spare time, she enjoys playing her violin, playing online Scrabble, and doodling weird drawings. She also wants to mother a dog someday.

Her real name is Melissa Lee, and she uses Mel Ingrid as her pen name solely because she does not want to be confused with the CNN reporter.

She now writes and procrastinates in New Jersey.

*Taken from Goodreads author profile. Click this link to go to page.*

Final Thoughts:

Bus 59 and Half was a book that I stumbled on through another indie author on instagram. I was interested in reading more independent author novels and I found a few. This young adult psychological thriller takes you on a journey through the intertwining of a variety of characters. We watch each character play it’s own part in the story and mingle with other characters. The plot was definitely a twist no one will see coming but it was an interesting surprise. This novel is short but thrilling, so be prepared to finish it in one sitting.

The author did a great job starting the story off by introducing one of the characters Alexi. The author provided back story on Alexi and actually introduced members of her family. From there the story takes you on a journey that connects Alexi to another character and so on. Alexi is only the beginning of the start of the flowchart of character connections. We learn that she is offered a job as a model for a sculptor. We then are taken on a journey through the perspective of each person that will come in contact with the sculptor and the sculptor himself. We learn more about him and his past which becomes important as the story moves forward. However, I started to get lost closer to the end of the story. I could understand the structure behind the main plot but I was starting to get confused as people disappeared then reappeared in the story later. I was confused as to where they went and how they got there. I enjoyed the different dialogue perspectives portrayed and the chapter style of leading up to the main event in the story. It help understand how each supporting character intertwined with the main male character. I especially enjoyed the psychological aspect of the story but wanted to know more about the big ending and why the main character did what he did in the ending scene. The book was a bit short and I personally wanted more of an explanation of some of the events. However, the author did a great job of keeping me on my toes and guessing what the next action in the story was. I enjoyed the dialogue between the different characters but also hoped for a bit more romance and action. This book had a lot of potential and moments that made me gasp because of the absurdity. (I mean this in a grip your chair kind of moment.) The author nailed the suspense aspect of the book which made it more appealing to actually finish it. Mel did a great job on this book and I am excited to see more novels written by her in the future. See the link above to check out her book and learn more about her.

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ARC Review: Sneaking Out

img_2534Title: Sneaking Out 
Author: Chuck Vance
Genre: Young Adult Mystery
Pages: Print 384
Release Date: March 3,2018
Rating: ★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from @KidLitExchange #partner in exchange for my honest review. Thanks again to @KidLitExchange  #partner for access to review a free copy of this book! The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or KidLitExchange. The  copy used in this review is an uncorrected copy from Dunemere Books

Goodreads Synopsis:

Could you sleep next to a murderer?

Luke Chase—yes, that Luke Chase, a modern hero ripped from the headlines—didn’t mean to get caught up in Mrs. Heckler’s murder. He just wanted to hook up with the hot new British girl at St. Benedict’s, and if that meant sneaking out to the woods after hours, then so be it. But little did he know someone would end up dead right next to their rendezvous spot, and his best friend and roommate Oscar Weymouth would go down for it. With suspects aplenty and a past that’s anything but innocent, Luke Chase reluctantly calls on his famous survival skills to find the true killer.

Favorite Quotes:

“You refuse to acknowledge your  heroics. Now you can’t deny them. You can now know that you are truly special.” 

“Ever since he had been in captivity he had learned to play game where he had tried to pick up on small clues from the small things people said about themselves. Sort of like honing his powers of inference, Sherlock Holmes style. He had started it because he never wanted to be surprised by people he thought he knew.”

Final Thoughts:

First off, Chuck Vance did a great job capturing my attention this entire novel. This young adult fiction book provides a thrilling mystery between these pages. The begins with a group of four students at a boarding school all deciding to sneak out one evening. They have no idea what awaits them in the woods on that starry night. Luke, Oscar, Kelsey, and Pippa all decide they want to take a break from the dorms and head into the woods for a midnight stroll. Luke is hoping to get closer to Pippa, the new student from England with a hard personality. The story begins to unravel when the students hear a noise out in the woods hoping they are alone they remain quiet while Oscar ventures out to investigate. Luke hears Mrs. Heckler arguing with a man in the woods but who is that man? Everyone assumes that Luke is paranoid because of the things that occurred in his past. The four start to head back towards their dorms hoping not to get caught and put the chilling night behind them. The following day the entire school gets word that Mrs. Heckler was found murdered in the woods the same night those four were out there. Luke, Oscar, Kelsey, and Pippa must decide to either share the information about that night and risk expulsion or try to solve the mystery on their own. Luke must decide who to trust as he watches his roommate and best friend get framed for murder. Everyone has something to hide including Oscar, Kelsey, and Pippa. As Luke starts investigating her begins to uncover many secrets about his friends, his teachers, and even the late Mrs. Heckler.  Can the Kidnapped Kid use his survival skills to locate the real murderer?

This book is well written, and the plot twist was fantastic. The entire novel I thought one character killed Mrs. Heckler, but in the end, it was someone else. I was extremely confident in my detective skills, and I was on the edge of my seat. I prevented myself from looks to the end of the book to ease the pressure of finding out who did it. In this “whodunit” novel it is hard not to love the writing style and the cliffhanger at the end. Sneaking Out is book one of the Chased Series, so I am curious to see what other things Chuck Vance has up his sleeves. I recommend this book to any young adult or adult looking for a great mystery novel. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Interested in me reviewing your book or have suggested reads? Email me at

A Cactus in the Valley by Olivia Bennett

img_2026Title: A Cactus in the Valley 
Author: Olivia J. Bennett 
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Realistic
Pages: Print 387
Rating: ★★★★★

Author Q& A Below: Check out her inspiration for this novel!

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was given a copy of this book from the author Olivia Bennett, in exchange for my honest review. The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author.

This contemporary novel follows the journey of the two main characters, Terra and Wyatt. This book is written well and focuses on the lives of both the main characters. Each is struggling with their demons and are forced to face them head on or not survive. The book This novel begins from the perspective of Terra waking up from a terrible plane crash. She comes to her senses realizing that something terrible has happened. We then are shifted to the point of view of Wyatt and his view of waking from the plane crash. In the beginning, both experience grief, strength, awareness, and physical pain all before we get to the first 50 pages. The author spent time explaining each character’s past, using foreshadowing as a method to do so. The reader gains an understanding of the moments leading up to the day of the crash and the moments both characters face to survive. They are both stranded in a desolate area hoping to survive long enough to make it to their families. Terra and Wyatt must decide what they are living for, they must not lose hope, and they must rely heavily on each other. We watch as these two spring into action, noting their survival instincts, rooting for them to survive, mourning their losses, and crying for their pain. A Cactus in the Valley is an incredibly captivating novel, and I recommend this to anyone. The author did a fantastic job capturing the attention of the reader throughout the entire story.

Favorite Quotes

“Take chances, Terra. Make mistakes, because nothing is so terribly messed up that it can’t be fixed.” -Abigail, Terra’s Grandmother

” But eventually, I would get doused with cold water, putting out the flames of rejection and betrayal, downing out the perpetual grief, and overflowing the void left by my parting grandmother. But, I guess that’s a story for another day.” – Terra

In these quotes, I feel Terra’s pain for the loss of the only person in her life that cared for her. There are many quotes like this throughout the novel showcasing the challenges Terra faced in her life before the crash.

” Before long, I was sobbing at the kindness of the truth before me. And that night, I, Wyatt Hartman, came to know the truth.” -Wyatt after a night of partying

Final Thoughts

Overall, this is novel one of my favorite novels. I loved the writing style throughout the entire book and enjoyed the style diary chapters. I was captivated by the dates in each section and the point of view from both of the main characters. These two found each other in a time of grief and let their faith continue to inspire them to have hope. There is a hint of religious influence in this novel, but it is not overbearing. I could tell that the author has a bit of power on this part. The secret that Terra shared at the beginning of the novel was jarring, but it emphasized the hardships she faced and her inner battle. Wyatt is sometimes demanding and other moments loving. These two find solace in each other’s presence and there is a short period in the novel where a natural force separates them. During these moments, each character fights to face the past that continues to hold them captive.  The moments leading up to the crash explained in detail from the perspective of both characters, and we finally get the full details of the accident closer to the ending of the novel. I say that was strategically placed at the end because I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. These two characters are developed so well that you have no choice but to get tangled up in this story.

Question and Answer with the AUTHOR:

1.What was your inspiration for the novel?

I don’t think I had a direct inspiration for A Cactus In the Valley, but I was inspired by other survival stories, both real and fictional. I saw that there was potential for a good story in the heightened emotions and desperation that came with the territory. But overall, I wanted to create an allegory of my own experience becoming a young adult, finding oneself, and overcoming the past.

2.Is there any other novels in the works?

There is! I’m actually in the process of editing the companion novella to A Cactus In the Valley. It centers around Harper, Lilly, and Nick as they grapple with the loss of Terra and Wyatt. It kind of tells the story of what goes on behind the scenes. I’m planning on publishing it this summer!
3. I saw a bit of a religious aspect in this novel, is this stemmed from you have a religious background? 

I am a Christian, but I also know that life isn’t all sunshine and roses, so why should I write that way? This novel does stem from my religious background of being nondenominational/charismatic Christian.

Because of my circumstances, I find myself around people (and Christians) who don’t conform to the squeaky-clean Christian stereotype. I ultimately saw a need for gritty, real fiction for broken teens. I hope to bridge the gap and create a new genre of fiction that’s too secular to be Christian but too Christian to be secular.
Special thanks to the author for agreeing to answer my questions and for sending me a copy of this book!

Mystery Date by Amber Nadine

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**I was contacted by the author give an honest review of this book!** Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Mystery Date by Amber Nadine is a two hundred page suspenseful romance that falls under Young Adult Fiction. This book focuses on the main character Rayn. She is an up and coming twenty-two-year-old editor running a company on her own. Rayn is facing a bit of a slump after her boyfriend of two years dumped her. She forces herself to work long hours and makes no time for friends, except to hang out with her best friend, Ollie. Ollie recommended she sign up for an online dating website to meet new guys. Rayn still has not gotten over her breakup with Adam a year later. Rayn signs up and stumbles on Adam’s profile. She still can’t believe he broke up with her; they were so in love. She comes up with a plan to win back Adam by setting up her profile name as Taylor and messaging Adam on the site. She plans on revealing herself to him later, in hopes of them getting back together. She has no idea what kind of trouble she has gotten herself into. Mystery Date is a thrilling, suspenseful novel that touches on the dangers of online dating. Be weary of what others put online and do not be quick to trust online dating sites.

This book has a lot of a lot of twists and turns towards the ending. There was a lot of surprise at the end that I liked. I liked how the author explained at the end of the novel why she chose to keep certain aspects in the book. I especially loved the plot twist but would have liked for a little more at the ending. I wanted to know more about the story of William and Rayn. I wanted to know how William knew that Rayn was in danger. I also wanted to know why Ollie did not want Rayn messaging William online. I loved how the author provided a bit of family drama relating Rayn and a background of Ollie. I cannot believe Ollie turned out the way he did at the end. I especially loved finding out about Jessica, Ollie’s “girlfriend.” I was on the edge of my seat for this part, holding my breath, and waiting to see what would happen. Be mindful; this book has its fill with romance and moments where you are on the edge of your seat.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars based on personal preference and gaps in the story that I felt needed to replaced with more information. I like a little bit more information on characters and personally wanted to know about Williams connection to Ollie. The last two sentences were a great way to end the novel. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick, suspenseful romance that has a pretty exciting/thrilling plot twist.