Strangers and Pilgrims by Kristina Hall

Strangers and Pilgrims (A Better Country Book 1) by [Kristina Hall]

As a Book reviewer, I received a free ebook copy of Strangers and Pilgrims by Kristina Hall. This is my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor any review.

Strangers and Pilgrims is set in the late 1860s West. Harry Reiner left home to fight in the Civil War. The war has been over for three years when Harry returns to his hometown. But Harry doesn’t receive the warm welcome he was expecting. Everything’s changed, and one evil man controls the town. When Harry’s life is threatened, a young woman, and the girl she took in, drag him into their home to nurse him back to health. Another man the town tends to look down on is also a frequent visitor to this home. These four characters bond and do their best to survive ten miles outside of town, but soon find that even there, the threats plague them.

Strangers and Pilgrims is a well written book. The reader is immediately drawn into the story and the characters’ lives and has no problem choosing sides between the majority of the town and the four characters at a ranch not far outside town. The story is filled with conflict and suspense that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. There is a lot of action, a touch of romance, and descriptions and dialogue that take the reader back to the 1860s west. There are a couple twists and surprises before the story comes to a resolution and end.

This is also a story of faith and includes some Scripture passages from the Bible and occasional one or two line prayers.

This is the first book in the A Better Country series by Kristina Hall.

If you enjoy suspenseful stories that keep you reading til late in the night or love old western stories, you’ll enjoy Strangers and Pilgrims, as I did.

I give Strangers and Pilgrims by Kristina Hall 5 stars, and look forward to reading the next book in the A Better Country series.

Midnight is My Time by Mike Dellosso

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know that I am a Mike Dellosso fan. I’ve written a review of his book, Centralia, and some of his books have been listed in my old Top Ten Tuesday posts. I have also done an author interview with him here on my blog.

So I was excited to be able to read his latest release, Midnight is My Time. I read it in two evenings because it grabbed my attention right at the start and held my attention until the very end. Midnight is My Time is filled with action and suspense, and yes, some violence. There is a mystery that also runs through the book in regards to the two main characters, Andy and Missy — are they freaks or something special?

Ten years after an Apocalyptic event, Andy and Missy meet and decide to travel together. They travel from the southeastern United States to the northeastern United States. But why are they being pursued and threatened? What is their purpose? Will they reach their destination in one piece?

Mike Dellosso’s descriptions paint a vivid picture of people and places. The action scenes are intense and keep the pace of the story moving, just as you catch your breath, another crisis wrenches your breath away again.

This book was an easy read, and as I mentioned above, it was a real page-turner that kept me on the edge of my seat. Mike Dellosso has produced another great read and I highly recommend it.

Blow Out the Candles and Say Goodbye by Linda S. Glaz

Blow Out the Candles and Say Goodbye by Linda Glaz is a fast-paced thriller that kept me turning pages as little girls invited to birthday party sleepovers would disappear. One young woman, Brandy, whose sister was one such girl ten years ago, refused to give up trying to find out what happened to her sister.

Brandy moves to a new location and starts a new job. Then a little girl’s birthday party sleepover sets Brandy’s heart pounding as memories flood her mind. Then Brandy is contacted by a woman who may have information about Brandy’s sister, but Brandy never gets to talk to that woman.

As tension mounts, many characters are introduced at a fairly quick pace making it a bit difficult to keep track of who’s who. However, the main characters are clear and following them to find Brandy’s sister is a must.

Linda Glaz knows how to spin a suspenseful yarn, and she even threw in a very unexpected twist that I never saw coming. I really enjoyed this story and highly recommend it to anyone who likes a good thriller and doesn’t mind losing some sleep to get to the end.

The Hungering Dark: Awakening by Stephen R. Clark

I received a free copy of The Hungering Dark: Awakening from BookLook Bloggers in order to write my honest review.

The darkness feels alive one evening as Rat is helping his sister finish up the dinner dishes. It’s creepy. The next day his father goes to do some work for an elderly couple living nearby. What happens there leads to the mystery of a puzzle box and the power inside it.

This story began with suspense and had me wondering and guessing at what was going on. Stephen R. Clark created some very interesting characters whose lives I quickly became interested in. The suspense and action held my interest and the mystery of the puzzle box and the power it contained was quite intriguing. The characters who came to town to help figure out the mystery or to try to get their hands on the box were an interesting bunch and it was sometimes hard to figure out which were the good guys and which could be the bad guys.

Sadly, in the final third of the book, the mystery sadly diminished as the author began to tell the reader everything instead of continuing to lay clues to the end. There was no more suspense or any piquing of my curiosity in the final third of the story. Even the action seemed slower and the danger was much less intense. The author no longer wrote any buildup to the big finale.

I enjoyed the book but was disappointed in the ending. I like a story like this to keep me guessing right to the end and that didn’t happen in The Hungering Dark: Awakening.

Out of the Pit (Short Story — Day 1)

Bright lightning lit a jagged streak in the sky and the thunder rumbled long and loud.  Lexie was grateful for Bo, her big, black Labrador Retriever sleeping at the foot of her bed.  Lexie knew she wouldn’t be able to sleep during the storm, so she climbed out of bed, put on her robe and slippers and went to the kitchen and made herself a cup of coffee.

Lexie sat at one end of the sofa and Bo climbed up and lay with his head in her lap.  Every time the lightning flashed and the thunder cracked Lexie trembled, and Bo pressed his nose into her hand in an attempt to calm her.  Lexie was terrified of thunderstorms.

After a couple of hours, the storm finally passed and Lexie returned to bed to try to get a few more hours of sleep.

Lexie awoke just as the sun was climbing over the horizon.  She took a shower and got dressed for work.  She went to the kitchen, scrambled an egg, made a slice of toast and a cup of coffee.  She just sat down to eat, and the telephone rang.

“Hello?”

“Good morning, Sis.  You okay?”

“Hi Brad.  Yes, I’m fine.”

“But the storm woke you and you didn’t go back to sleep until it was over, right?”

“Brad, it’s no big deal.  The storm wasn’t that bad, and it didn’t last that long.  Besides, Bo was right by my side the whole time.”

“Lexie, you can’t keep living like this, and you need a man, not just that pathetic dog.”

“Bo is not pathetic.  He’s smart and he provides me with comfort and companionship, and he would protect me if he needed to.”

“Right.  He’d knock the culprit down and lick’em to death.”

“Brad, unless you called to do more than make fun of my dog, I need to go.  My breakfast is getting cold and I have to leave for work in fifteen minutes.”

“Okay, okay.  Yeah, I did call for a reason.  Patty and I would like you to come over for dinner on Friday night.”

Lexie groaned and said, “Let me guess, you’ll also have a nice, respectable man present as well.”

“Lexie, I’m only looking out for your best interests.  You know I want you to be happy.”

“I know.  What time is dinner?”

“Six.  See you then.”

“Bye.”

Lexie warmed her eggs in the microwave, ate quickly and left for work.  She worked at Paulette’s Bakery and Pastry Shop.  She baked breads, rolls, cupcakes, and cookies, iced the cupcakes and some of the cookies, and helped customers at the counter, when needed.  It wasn’t her dream job, but she didn’t really know what her dream job was, and working at Paulette’s suited her.

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As Friday approached, the other girls that worked at Paulette’s were busy talking about dates they would have Friday night, and those that didn’t have dates planned to go to a local night club together.  They had given up asking Lexie to join them a long time ago because she had always refused.

“You got any plans for Friday night, Lexie?” Erica asked.

“Actually, I’m going to have dinner with my brother and his wife.”

“Not much chance of meeting a hot hunk of man there, huh?”

Lexie’s cheeks burned as she said, “No, not much chance.”  She was certain that whatever man Brad would invite would have no interest in someone like her.

“You do like men, don’t you, Lexie?” Erica persisted.

Lexie’s face burned hotter and she said, “Sure, I do.”

Erica and the other girls laughed and walked away.

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Friday after work, Lexie took Bo for a walk, took a shower, and decided on a pair of jeans and a sky blue sweater from her closet.  She was nervous as she drove to Brad and Patty’s.

Lexie rang the doorbell.  Brad opened the door and greeted her warmly with a hug and a kiss on the cheek.

“You look great, Lexie.  You know that sky blue sweater reflects your blue eyes, making them look bluer.  Don’t worry.  Everything will be fine.  He’s not here yet, and Patty’s in the kitchen.”

Lexie was happy to join Patty to escape Brad and his conniving.

“Lexie, it’s so good to see you.”  Patty hugged her in greeting.  “How are you?  I hope Brad’s not pushing you too hard.”

“Brad’s always pushing me too hard.  He won’t stop until he has me married off to someone.”

“He worries about you, Lexie.  We both do.”

“I know, but I just don’t think I’m marrying material.”

“Don’t say that, Lexie.  I know that the traditional counseling didn’t help you much, but I wish you’d come to church with Brad and I.  I wish you’d give Jesus a chance.”

“Patty, we’ve had this conversation before.  There is nothing and no one who can help me.”

“Lexie, that’s not true.  You have to see how different Brad is since Jesus found him.”

“Yeah, and I’d love to be able to have the happiness Brad has, but Brad wasn’t in a pit as deep as the one I was in for such a long time.”

Brad walked into the kitchen at that moment.  He took one look at the misery on his sister’s face and the tears in his wife’s eyes and said, “Things are a bit tense in here, huh?  I thought we’re supposed to be having a pleasant dinner.  David is here.  He’s waiting for us in the living room.”

“Well, why don’t you introduce Lexie while I get everything on the table in the dining room?”

“Lexie, shall we?”

Lexie followed Brad, but he knew she had her fortress built around her heart and David didn’t stand a chance.  He whispered a prayer as he led the way to the living room.