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hlwegley

H L Wegley

A collection of the books I have read and written.

Vanquished

Vanquished - Katie  Clark A unique spin on the themes of dystopian literature
Welcome to the Dystopian States of America, circa 2250. Natural disasters and a war have wiped out a large part of the population and much of the technology. In a 3-caste society where God has been outlawed, high-school-age Hana must cope with a mother who has cancer, a government whose supposedly "well-intentioned" policies are so repressive that she cannot search for the truth about the deepest issues of life. She has been squeezed into the middle class, the class most naïve about the real nature of the government. Hana sees friends struggling with issues like drugs, abortion, and obeying curfews and other highly restrictive laws imposed on the people. In that respect, the issues mirror much of present day society.
The suspense grows steadily as Hana seeks the truth about life, God, and the Greater Class, the ruling class that supposedly has the wisdom to run the government while looking out for the interests of everyone. To avoid spoilers, I won't give any more specifics from the story.
This is my first YA read in quite some time, and my first dystopian novel, ever.
This story will appeal to young adults who enjoy the dystopian themes of a heroine/hero who fights against a society gone dreadfully wrong and who grows in the process. Vanquished, at times, includes Christian teachings about God and man's relationship to him. The story is written in 1st person, from the heroine's point-of-view -- not my personal preference, but the author did a good job, and 1st person does give the reader a deep understanding of the heroine. When the story ends, it's not a cliffhanger, but it's obvious to the reader that there's more to it. I'm guessing that you'll need to read the entire series to reach what feels like an end to the story.
For people who like dystopian, YA novels with Christian elements in the story, I would give this 5 stars.

Lost in Rooville

Lost in Rooville - Ray Blackston I thought Flabbergasted was funny, but Lost in Rooville was a riot! Ray Blackston had me laughing even while his main characters were dying in the Outback. I've read this story and listened to it on audio. If you get the chance, listen to the audio version. You'll be glad you spent a few extra dollars.

Flabbergasted

Flabbergasted - Ray Blackston Ray Blackston's Flabbergasted is a delightfully funny read. It's full of quirky characters yet, underneath all the hilarity, there's something solid, a redemption story anyone can enjoy ... and laugh their way through.

Moon over Maalaea Bay

Moon over Maalaea Bay - H.L. Wegley Editorial Review by Readers’ Favorite

Lee Brandt sees his dreams crashing and turning into a nightmare on his wedding night in Maui in Moon over Maalaea Bay by H.L. Wegley. Jennifer Akihara is kidnapped on her wedding night in Maui by an international trafficking group and they have plans to take revenge on her by selling her into slavery. Jennifer had earlier stopped their trafficking plans which makes them want to ruin her by using her for other purposes. Lee, along with his foster daughter Katie and Jennifer's father, begins the search for Jennifer with the help of the Maui police and the federal government. The twist happens when Katie is also taken by the traffickers. Will Lee succeed in saving both Jennifer and Katie? Will Jennifer be able to survive if she is sold?

This is a compelling story of mystery and suspense and relationships that will keep readers riveted. Shifting the focus from the sweet romance of Lee and Jennifer and then switching over to the nightmare of Jennifer being kidnapped has been done effortlessly by the author without it sounding forced. The action and drama in the theme with its innumerable twists and turns help in keeping up the pace of the story. All the characters are well defined and Maui as the backdrop of the story gives it an exotic vibe. The interrogation scenes in the story add the much needed punch to the plot and the romance and suspense make it a bittersweet read. I found the story compelling. There are a lot of things happening simultaneously which the author has woven together well.

Trinity: Military War Dog

Trinity: Military War Dog - Ronie Kendig A super story if you like gritty military stories but prefer the clean variety.

There’s a lot packed into this high-action thriller, including some romance, and it comes at you rapid fire. I recommend that you read the glossary and keep it handy until you’re familiar with the acronyms. The story is much more enjoyable if you don't have to stop to figure out which acronym refers to what. Also, read the prologue and remember what you read. The plot twists and turns will make more sense if you do this. If you’re looking for a lazy, put-your-brain-in-idle, read, this book is not for you.

Rather than recap the story, something you can get from other reviews, or from the blurb, let me just say that you’ll get a feel for the semi-organized chaos we call war, and you’ll get it highly Afghan flavored. Intensity is everywhere -- in the action, the characters’ emotions, and in the high-stakes plot. On top of all that, Ronie captured the incredible bonding between the hero, Heath, and his dog, Trinity.

This is one of the most enjoyable reads I have experienced in a few years. I read too late into the night and lost some of my days to this story. I’ve heard the series gets even better. Right now, I’m not sure how, but I plan to find out.

Footsteps

Footsteps - DiAnn Mills Very well-written, suspenseful story that women, especially, will enjoy. The story tugs at your heart strings and keeps the reader guessing at how the many problems will be resolved, or if they will. Though I generally prefer more action, I enjoyed Footsteps.

The Fifth Man

The Fifth Man  - John B. Olson, Randy Ingermanson Lots of twists, turns, and suspense in the plot of this continuation of the Mars mission story which began in Oxygen. The ending was funny & clever, but a bit abrupt. This was a fun read that you're sure to enjoy if you liked Oxygen, however, I liked Oxygen a little better so I gave The Fifth Man 4 stars.

Oxygen

Oxygen - John B. Olson, Randy Ingermanson No spoilers here. Oxygen is a story about the first manned flight to Mars. It starts a bit slow but, after introducing all of the main characters, the suspense builds to thriller levels by the climax. This is good, old-fashioned science fiction -- stuff that could happen in the near future -- not fantasy. There is some very light romance, but the astronauts' mission is what's central to this story.

Deadly Safari (Love Inspired Suspense)

Deadly Safari (Love Inspired Suspense) - Lisa Harris What I enjoyed most about this book is the African setting. Otherwise, it's a journeyman's effort by Lisa Harris, with well developed characters, especially the hero, Alex,a Texas Ranger and the heroine, Meghan, a wildlife filmmaker. The romantic part is written well and is believable, but the setting, the African savanna, with its animals, the native African people, and culture, steals the show for me.

Dark Biology

Dark Biology - Bonnie Doran Bonnie Doran skillfully weaves a bevy of characters into her multifaceted SciFi story told from multiple points of view. I called it SciFi, but there’s more science than fiction here, and a story like this could unfold in the next year or two. It doesn't require an apocalyptic event or a distant, dystopian future.

Do you like outbreak thrillers about deadly viruses? How about realistic, suspenseful, well-researched space stories? Do stories of real people with relational issues appeal to you, issues such as marital problems, sibling rivalry, and romantic rivalry? Perhaps you’re into stories told from a Christian worldview, where flawed characters seek spiritual guidance? Bonnie Doran blends all these ingredients together into a tasty smoothie that you're sure to enjoy. But this reviewer is only giving you the ingredients and a brief description of the flavor. No spoilers! So you’ll have to suck through your own straw to drink in this thrilling ride that navigates a maze of disasters on earth and in space while the suspense builds. I slurped all 333 pages down in two sittings (Amazon’s print-copy page count of 286 is quite a bit short).

Be a little patient as it takes a few chapters to set up the story, but the wait is worth the next 200 pages of non-stop action and suspense. One last thing — Bonnie takes the time to tie up all loose ends. If you don't like dangling threads, there are none. This lengthens the denouement a bit, but with several POV characters it is a completely justifiable ending to this suspenseful, entertaining read.

There. All done and no spoilers … I think.

Heart of the Country

Heart of the Country - Rene Gutteridge,  John Ward Heart of the Country - novel by Rene Gutteridge (John Ward contributor)

When handed a movie script and asked to turn it into a novel, what do you do? The plot is fixed, so your only choice is to flesh out the characters, make them real. That's exactly what Rene Gutteridge did, superbly. Heart of the Country is told in 1st person from each of 5 main point-of-view (POV) characters, an excellent choice for this character-driven story.
Something writers aspire to do is to give their readers a powerful emotional experience. This retelling of the prodigal story -- well, let me just say this -- my wife and I listened to the audio version of Heart of the Country while traveling in our car, and when prodigal Luke failed in his response to his wife, Faith, (AKA acted like a jerk), my wife got so mad that the rest of our 8-hour trip was miserable. That's a powerful emotional response! Only the POV of witty, gritty Olivia seemed to sooth her anger until we passed the dark moment in the story and saw light ahead.
This character-based story unravels slowly, much like a Charles Martin novel, and the use of 1st person allows you to get very close to the characters. Despite the fact that I like action, adventure, and suspense, Rene Gutteridge's writing gets 5 stars from me. I haven't seen the movie yet, but there's no way a 90-minute flick can capture as much as this well-written novel.
If you listen to the audio version, as I did, the narration is very, very good.

Heaven's Prey (Redemption's Edge, #1)

Heaven's Prey (Redemption's Edge, #1) - Janet Sketchley A gripping suspense story that peers into the heart of God

Beware! There are possible spoilers in this review.
Janet Sketchley has written a well-researched and well-written suspense novel, emphatically Christian in content and message. The message is that God’s desire for justice is balanced by His grace and mercy such that no person is beyond redemption. Sometimes God’s people reject this aspect of His heart. Forgetting how much He has forgiven them, they often judge others as being beyond redemption, but not Ruth, the heroine of the story. If anyone thinks the story of Harry Silver goes beyond the bounds of believability, I must say that I know of a case where someone even more depraved than Harry was redeemed. Is God’s justice satisfied in such cases? Yes, more than satisfied … at the cross.

Narrow Escape

Narrow Escape - Camy Tang Camy Tang has created a story with plenty of mystery, intrigue, and suspense. The main characters, Arissa and Nathan, are well developed, believable, and flawed, but likable. There’s plenty of action and never a dull moment in the story. If you like well-crafted romantic suspense, then you will enjoy Narrow Escape, the best yet from Camy Tang.

Friend Me

Friend Me - John Faubion Artificial intelligence, virtual friends, virtual relationships that morph into reality -- after reading the blurb, I couldn't resist Friend Me. It's a great plot with well developed characters. Rachel and Scott are people of faith, so the reader should expect them to behave as such.
Human beings may never be able to create artificial intelligence as advanced as that portrayed in the book, but that potential stretch of reality is what made this story creepy and intriguing. I won't put in any spoilers, so I'll just say that my only criticism is the ending. It should have taken a little longer to resolve such gnarled and twisted issues. The ending was a bit too neat and tidy. But, will I read more of John Faubion? You bet!

Dangerous Passage

Dangerous Passage - Lisa Harris This is the best I've read so far from Lisa Harris. If you like the romantic suspense writing of Dee Henderson and Irene Hannon, you will like Dangerous Passage.

The characters were well-developed and believable and the story deals with a problem that has become epidemic in our society and pandemic in our world. To avoid a spoiler, I won't mention it specifically, but that element of the plot kept me interested. Personally, I like my stories a little faster paced and with more action. However, the action and pace did pick up about half way through the book and it kept me turning the pages from that point on. Since I can't give it 4.5 stars, I'll give it 5.

Deliver Me from Evil

Deliver Me from Evil - Kathi Macias Kathi Macias doesn't sugarcoat a difficult subject. Deliver Me from Evil is a well-researched story about child sex trafficking in the U. S. and abroad. Though this is a Christian novel, it is somewhat graphic in its portrayal of the pandemic of human trafficking that has become so profitable even arms sellers, drug cartels, and other organized criminal organizations are incorporating sex trafficking into their operations. I would recommend this story to late teens and older readers, but to early teens only with adult guidance.
Their are actually two parallel stories which obviously are meant to be tied together in a later book in the series. But to me, jumping between the two story threads was somewhat distracting. I wanted all of one or the other. For this reason I would give the story 4.5 stars if that were possible. But it isn't, so I'll give it 5 stars.