441 Friday!

Double Blind by Brandilyn Collins

Desperate people make desperate choices. Twenty-nine-year-old Lisa Newberry can barely make it through the day. Suddenly widowed and a survivor of a near-fatal attack, she is wracked with grief and despair. Then she hears of a medical trial for a tiny brain chip that emits electrical pulses to heal severe depression. At rope’s end, Lisa offers herself as a candidate. When she receives her letter of acceptance for the trial, Lisa is at first hopeful. But—brain surgery. Can she really go through with that? What if she receives only the placebo? What if something far worse goes wrong?
Top-notch writing and compelling characters, (as usual, she’s not the queen of inspy suspense for nothing!) but the coolest thing about Double Blind was the exploration of Neural Implant Technology. Amputees being able to move a robotic arm with their thoughts? Awesome! The government putting a chip in my brain? Zombies! Or the mark of the beast!  Not so awesome… But the book is absolutely AWESOME!

The Next Target by Nikki Arana

It only took one bullet. Austia’s friend and student fell dead. And with a glimpse of a newspaper headline, the young and recently widowed Austia knows more about what happened than the police. From that fatal night, Austia’s secret outreach to the U.S. Muslim community—in the guise of English language classes—becomes a target. Local Muslim extremists set their sights on ending her ministry and even her life. The women she ministers to will be next.

I was worried that a story about a ministry to Muslim women would be preachy or self-righteous, (especially given the current political climate) but Arana proved me wrong. Most of the Muslim characters in this story are multi-faceted and compassionate rather than extremists. Austia is a compelling character and I could identify with her internal struggle between anger and a desire to help.

Rebel by Linda Windsor

With Merlin dead, the succession undecided, and the Celtic church on the defensive from Rome, intrigue sweeps the court of the High King Arthur. But it’s battlefield news that consumes Queen Gwenhyfar’s young scribe, Kella O’Toole: her fiance is dead and her father gone missing. Determined to find him at all costs, Kella defies the queen’s orders and sets out for Pictish territory. Her foster brother Alyn, a disillusioned priest who questions his calling, agrees to help her. The journey itself is perilous. But it’s their secrets that land Kella and Alyn in a viper’s nest of treachery that threatens both their lives and the future of Albion. Can they summon the love and faith they need to find their way not only out of danger, but into happiness?
Rebel is book 3 in the Brides of Alba series and follows Healer and Thief. These books are great historical romance, with a little bit of Arthurian legend thrown in!

 *Ok I lied, this is only a 341 Friday… To make up for my deficiency, here are some upcoming books that I’m super-psyched about!

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