Book Review: “Distortion” by Terri Blackstock

DistortionTitle: Distortion

Author: Terri Blackstock

Genre: Christian/Mystery/Thriller

Book Description: 

A husband’s lies can have deadly consequences.

When Juliet Cole’s husband of fifteen years is gunned down in a dark parking lot before her eyes, she thinks it was a random shooting. Devastated and traumatized, she answers hours of questioning. When she’s finally allowed to return home to break the news to her boys, she hears a voicemail that takes the situation from a random shooting to a planned, deliberate attack. “Mrs. Cole, we know you have access to the supply and the money. If you don’t turn fifty million over to us and give us the codes, then you’ll be burying more family members.” Suddenly, Juliet realizes that she and her children are in danger.

She teams up with her sisters and PI Michael Hogan to dig into the sham Bob has been living for years. The more she learns, the worse the betrayal. A drug trafficking history, a fortune in cash, and a secret family all emerge to turn Juliet’s belief system on its head, and threaten the things she loves. Are she and her sisters skilled enough as sleuths to get to the truth?

 My Review:

I have mixed opinions about this book. Let me give you my overall feedback first, then we’ll delve into the rest. This is a well written, well thought out mystery novel. It’s full of twists and turns, and the end came as a complete shock to me. I didn’t see it coming, which I love. It’s rare for a book to have shock value for me, and this one delivered. The thing is, I kind of expected the quality of the writing to be great.  After all, it is written by a respected best-selling author. Terri Blackstock delivered, so no shade towards her.

My issue is purely personal. This is book two in the series, and I wasn’t aware of that when I agreed to review it. I take no pleasure in reviewing individual books in a series, when I haven’t read the preceding book. It’s just flat-out annoying. I will say that the author does a great job of balancing the fine art of giving enough information about what happened in the first book of the series so that new readers wouldn’t be lost, and moving the plot along quickly enough that series fans wouldn’t be bored. Not an easy thing to do. I read it as a stand alone, and still pretty much enjoyed it. But, I’m sure that had I read the first book, I would have enjoyed it even more.

In the end, I could recommend Distortion to a friend with the preface that they should start from the beginning of the series, as I’m sure God, and the author intended! A solid 4 out 5 stars from me.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review, which I freely give.

How do you feel about reading a series book as a stand alone? Does it grit in your craw too? (If you need an interpretation of that phrase, feel free to let me know below! 😉 )

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Book Review: “Running Lean”

Running Lean

Book Info: Running Lean is a young adult fiction novel written by Diana L. Sharples and published by Zondervan.

Book Description: 

Equilibrium. That’s what Stacey and Calvin found in each other. He is as solid as his beloved vintage motorcycle and helps quiet the constant clamor in Stacey’s mind. She is a passionate, creative spirit—and a lifeline after Calvin’s soldier brother dies.

But lately the balance is off. Calvin’s grief is taking new forms. Voices of self-loathing are dominating Stacey’s life. When struggles with body image threaten her health, Calvin can’t bear to lose another person that he loves. Taking action may destroy their relationship, but the alternative could be much more costly.

My Review:

In all fairness, I have to say that when I first received this book, I had no idea it was a young adult novel. But, I actually enjoyed reading it. It didn’t knock my socks off, but then I’m not the target audience here. YA fiction has changed a lot since I was a teen. It’s refreshing to see something from this genre that’s not all about vampires, wolves and whatnot. The setting is a rural town and the focus is on Stacey and Calvin: two teens dealing with intense situations. Calvin’s older brother was killed at war. Stacey struggles with an eating disorder and self-esteem. Overall, the book is well written. The language is not watered down, and the plot development is solid. There’s a lot of teen angst and mild drama, which I suppose is to be expected in YA. This would be a great book for parents to read along with their teens. It opens up the door to discussing eating disorders, relationship boundaries and body image without the pressure of “a talk”.  I recommend it to readers between that ages of 12-17.

I was provided a free copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review, which I freely give.

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