Desert Rains: a book review

desert rains


Enter the world of Balia, a place not so different from our own. Explore lush landscapes and rich cultures as Balia’s creator, TrueGod, moves through many times and places to find lost and broken people to call his own. In the ancient desert town of Alagor, nobody is more lost and broken than Banar, the lame beggar, unless it’s Anna, the royal slave, or Alandro, the wounded baker, or even Malia, the lonely noble daughter. When TrueGod unexpectedly weaves their lives together, he creates unlikely alliances that will not only save the city from the secret plans of a power-seeking magistrate, but may also heal their individual lives as they step out of their ordinary roles and do things none would have dared alone. If they fail, lives all across Alagor will be lost, including their own.

My Review:

Desert Rains blew me away.

This was actually the very first book I read by author Jill Penrod. At the time, I didn’t go in expecting much from a self published author (Though I have since found that most of my favorites live in the grand realm of self-publishing!).

I am so happy to say that this book surpassed even my highest expectations and I found myself completely enthralled with this story and its characters. Determined Banar who endured so much and is willing to fight for a better life for himself and his family. Sacrificial Alandro who finds himself a family in the most unexpected way. Hurting Ragen, patient Anna, and sassy Malia and Yarrow, the only couple who protect their secret love with the use of reverse psychology – by pretending to hate each other!

Once incident throws them all together, plots are hatched and tensions rise politically and in the city below as drought ravages the lands. Lines are drawn between the followers of TrueGod and the followers of a pagan belief and threaten to to tear the city inside out, with this unusual mix of people in the center of it all. But can a beggar, a baker, a coddled princess, a foreign prince, and a slave really make all that much of a difference?

I couldn’t put this book down. It’s a beautiful story about handing all your worries to God, giving him your absolute trust, and how God can use even the most unlikely of people to accomplish his greatest works. I highly recommend Penrod’s Balia books (except for Gypsy Heart, that one was a uncharacteristic bust) and eagerly await whatever comes next.

If you want to check out her books, she has one Balia novel, Nevernight Fortress, up for free on her website along with books related to a couple of her other series (See website link at bottom of article).

My Rating: Five Flames

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Heat Advisory: Sorry everyone. It has been a couple of years since I read this book. My memory of much of the details are not too clear anymore. So I won’t be doing a full heat advisory.

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Author Website
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Happy Reading y’all!


Long Time Gone: a book review

Description: connealy

The Boden clan thought their problems had ended with the death of a dangerous enemy, but have they truly uncovered the real plot to take their New Mexico ranch? Rancher Justin Boden is now in charge. He is normally an unshakable and rugged man, but with his brother, Cole, shot and in mortal danger, even a tough man faces doubts. And it doesn’t help that Angie DuPree, the assistant to the doctor trying to save Cole, is as distracting a woman as Justin ever laid eyes on.

With her and the doc’s timely skills, Cole looks to be on the mend, and Justin and the rest of the Bodens can turn their attention back to the dangers facing them. It’s clear now that everything that’s occurred is part of a much bigger plot that could date back to a decades-old secret. Can they uncover all the pieces before danger closes in on them, or is the threat to the ranch even bigger than any of the Bodens could imagine?

My Review: 

Things are really heating up at the Boden ranch. As Cole fights for his life, the rest of his family hunt desperately for answers. Though Dantalion is dead, the clues he leaves behind point to a much larger conspiracy that will put more than just the Bodens in danger.

The plot of Long Time Gone was fast paced and fun, with a helping of Connealy’s trademark whit, though it isn’t as pronounced as usual. There is plenty of intrigue and action that will keep you locked to the book, even when you should be doing other things.

The main weak point of this novel were the characters. Though they weren’t bad by any means, they just…lacked something.
As the main heroine, Angie was okay, but we didn’t really didn’t get enough of a strong backstory for me to fully connect with her. She fell a bit flat to me. She kept fighting her attraction to Justin in the first half of the story, saying she needed to stand on her own, but suddenly near the last third of the story she is just falling into his arms and agreeing to marry him. The change felt abrupt and unless I totally missed something – which is possible given how busy I was around the time I read it – her breakneck turnaround was never really explained much, no catalyst that I could find – except attraction.

Justin was a decent hero, but a bit forgettable. I read the book only last week and I’m already having trouble recalling any details about him.

Long Time Good was another solid read by Connealy and I am eager to read the final book, but I don’t think this is nearly her best work.

***I got this book free from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a good review. Heck, do you think I would have been so critical  if I was?***

My Rating:

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Heat Advisory:

Romance: some kissing and the mention of one character having several illegitamate children.
Language: clean
Drinking/Drugs: clean
Blood/violence: This is the wild west, there will be fights and shootouts. It’s practically a law in this genre. There is a bit of blood, as several gunshot wounds are tended throughout the story, and there are some deaths. But Connealy doesn’t go into gruesome detail.

Amazon Kindle Link
Amazon Paperback Link

Happy Reading y’all!