With its World War 2 era setting in Mexico, “Twice Redeemed” is a more modern than usual tale that still has the feel of the old west. The heroine of this story is Mercedes, a saloon girl who is essentially a slave to the obviously evil owner of the establishment. Because she helped another of his “girls” escape (in Book 1 of the Jericho Resistance series), Mercedes is punished in various ways, including physical abuse. If only the American cowboy who offered to take her with him would come back Mercedes would not refuse his offer again. Fortunately for Mercedes, John Durbin did return to take her to the United States with him but doing so would be easier said than done.
Overall, I enjoyed “Twice Redeemed”. The characters were well developed and I could easily relate to their difficulties. I particularly liked reading about the old woman who helped Mercedes and John and would have liked to learn more about her. I was also intrigued by the group who called themselves the Jericho Resistance and felt like there is a story there that I would love to know more about. The plot contained enough action, danger, and suspense to keep me reading and included a few twists that surprised me which is always fun. The story was resolved well at the end although there were a few questions left in the air that I hope will be answered in Book 3.
Although the second book in a series, “Twice Redeemed” easily stood alone but it did leave me with enough curiosity about the first book that I will probably go back and read it also when I find the time.
A digital copy of this book was provided by Celebrate Lit in exchange for my honest review .
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Who will save her from herself?
After helping another girl escape, Mercedes Nobles suffers unspeakable abuse at Jericho. So when an American cowboy rides into town, she jumps at the opportunity to start a new life… even though she carries a secret that could destroy any chance of happiness for either of them.
John Durbin may have turned in his badge, but he still believes in living by a code of honor. That includes returning to a seedy Mexican saloon and rescuing a woman who helped his friends escape. However, the tables turn and he finds himself married in name only.
Struggling with cultural differences, they question if their marriage will survive. Will John sacrifice his faith to make his new bride happy? How will Mercedes redeem herself when John learns of the secret she’s hiding?
Mimi Milan spent two decades scribbling away in notebooks before realizing that her life’s calling was to write. So she returned from Mexico and attended the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, majoring in Creative Writing and minoring in Film. She currently resides in the suburbs of Charlotte, making time for God, family and imaginary friends.
Most movie companion books leave me a bit underwhelmed but when I saw that Unlimited was written by Davis Bunn I was intrigued. I have never been disappointed by any novel written by this author and I have the utmost respect for his talent. I am happy to report that Unlimited lived up to my high expectations.
What I found in Unlimited was a well blended story of suspense and political intrigue with a touch of science fiction, a subtle romance, some danger and adventure. The plot is well-paced and populated with remarkable characters who quickly made me care what happened to them. I enjoyed seeing the changes in Simon as he worked beside the others in the orphanage. Harold was an inspiration and Pedro, Sofia, and Juan were also wonderful examples. The theme of finding purpose in one’s life and depending on God’s help to achieve it came across strongly. I did suspect the primary villain before he was revealed but that did not detract in any way from my enjoyment.
After reading Unlimited, I find myself eager to view its companion movie. I hope it will come to my city.
I received a complimentary copy of Unlimited
from B&H Publishing Group in exchange for my honest review.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Simon Orwell is a brilliant student whose life has taken a series of wrong turns. At the point of giving up on his dreams, he gets a call from an old professor who has discovered a breakthrough in a device that would create unlimited energy. He needs Simon’s help.
Upon crossing the border, nothing goes as the young man planned. The professor has been killed and Simon is assaulted and nearly killed by members of a powerful drug cartel.
Now he must take refuge in the only place that will help him, a local orphanage. There, Simon meets Harold Finch, the orphanage proprietor who walked away from a lucrative career with NASA and consulting Fortune 500 companies to serve a higher cause.
With Harold’s help, Simon sets out on a quest to uncover who killed the professor and why. In due time, he will discover secrets to both the world-changing device and his own unlimited potential.
Read Chapters 1-3 of Unlimited for free HERE.
Watch the Unlimited Movie Trailer:
ISBN (Trade Paperback): 978-1-4336-7940-7
September 1, 2013 from B & H Publishing Group
About Davis Bunn:
Davis Bunn is a four-time Christy Award-winning, best-selling author now serving as writer-in-residence at Regent’s Park College, Oxford University in the United Kingdom. Defined by readers and reviewers as a “wise teacher,” “gentleman adventurer,” “consummate writer,” and “Renaissance man,” his work in business took him to over 40 countries around the world, and his books have sold more than seven million copies in sixteen languages.
Unlimited is Davis’s first screenplay to be released as a major motion picture. The book, Unlimited, is a novelization of the screenplay.
The inspiration behind the Unlimited film and novel is Harold Finch’s book, Success: Four Keys to Unlock Your Unlimited Potential. Download a free copy of Success HERE.
Q & A with Davis Bunn:
The storyline in Unlimited is inspired by true events. What actual events inspired the story?
Harold Finch was formerly the founder and CEO of the first management-leadership consulting groups in the US. In the mid-seventies he sold the company to H&R Block for over a hundred million dollars—back when a hundred million actually meant something. Answering God’s call, he has spent the past three decades traveling the world, teaching his concepts for free and helping underprivileged children learn that they do indeed have both a purpose in God’s eyes, and the potential to succeed. His experiences form the basis for this story.
What ignited your idea for the characters to create a device that would convert raw wasted energy into useable power?
I actually wrote the screenplay for the film before writing the novel. This happens occasionally—Godfather and Love Story were both conceived in this order. While working on the film script, the producer and Harold and I were discussing what might work as a basis for the story’s suspense element. We were looking for something that had the means of revealing this ‘unlimited’ potential in people. I don’t actually remember who first came up with the idea of wasted energy, but soon as it was said, we all jumped on it.
Simon Orwell, the protagonist in Unlimited, is a brilliant, cynical electrical engineering student who finds danger irresistible. Did you model his character traits after yourself or anyone you know?
Alas, we all know a Simon. These days, this type of person is all too common. An individual with huge potential, who allows himself or herself to become distracted by the multitude of temptations that basically define modern life. And yes, I do know several such people. Some turn this into hugely productive directions, thank goodness. Usually to do so requires divine help, a clarification of focus, and strength they must reach out and ask to receive.
Armando Vasquez and Harold Finch are important mentors in Simon’s life. Who has been a critical mentor in your life, Davis? How has that person encouraged you to push beyond the boundaries of what you thought possible?
There have been several such mentors, for which I remain extremely grateful. One such person is Carol Johnson, who recently retired as editor-in-chief at Bethany House Publishers. Carol has been instrumental in my becoming the best writer I could be, and continues to act as a sounding board for new ideas and characters. Another, I am happy to say, is Harold Finch. His lessons on combining God’s teachings with lifelong aims have been a genuinely rewarding experience with far-reaching results.
Many of the characters in the story are orphans. What parallels do you see between the orphans in the story and real-life spiritual orphans?
A beautiful question. While researching the core components of this story, orphanage leaders repeatedly stressed the need to teach orphans to believe in themselves and their natural abilities. Too often they see themselves as lost, without purpose, without a role to play, without chances, without love. What made this story work, I think, is how Simon Orwell shares these same feelings about himself. And how he comes to realize God is the only one to fill this need.
Many people believe they must wear a mask to hide the parts of themselves they are ashamed of. How is this story about removing that mask?
So much of life remains hidden away. The darker elements of a life without God only amplify this falseness. Simon has spent so much of his life, so much of his energy and time, in hiding. As the story unfolds, he discovers that an essential element of arriving at his full potential is being honest with himself. This is where the mask is most damaging, and also where it is often hardest to release. We seek to hide the truth, even when we know the act is a lie in itself. And the mirror we require to see the truth about ourselves is the one that God offers, in infinite patience, in gentle love.
The title, Unlimited, has multiple layers of meaning. What does that title mean to you?
Unlimited was the title brought to me by the film’s producers. When I first began working on this story, it was just that, a title. But as I grew to know Harold, and heard him teach, and read his lesson plan, and then actually applied what he has come to call his ‘Dynamic Life Retreat’ (see Harold full teachings on his website, HaroldFinch.com) I have come to agree with them in their choice. Bringing God into the equation of life’s direction, success, and reaching full potential does reveal the true meaning of Unlimited.
Dale Cramer spent his formative years traveling the world as an Army brat, then settled in Georgia at the age of fifteen when his father retired.
After high school he became an electrician, a job that took him to places as diverse as power plants, stadia, airports, high-rise office buildings and a hard-rock mining operation.
Twenty-five years of experiences in the trades provided him with the wealth of characters, stories and insights that populate his novels.
When he married his childhood friend, Pam, in 1975 he had no way of knowing they would not have children until fifteen years later.
In his early forties, when Dale left his job to become a stay-at-home dad, he suddenly found himself with time on his hands, so he pursued a lifelong dream and taught himself to write.
Using an online writer’s forum as a training ground, he wrote his first short stories in 1996. As his writing skills improved he turned to novels, publishing his first book, Sutter’s Cross, in 2003.
Since then, Dale has published four more novels and garnered a measure of critical acclaim with two Christy Awards, a listing among Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Books of 2004 and numerous other Best lists. Dale and his wife Pam live in Georgia with their two sons.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Bandit troubles intensify as Caleb Bender’s family tries to settle into their new life in 1920s Paradise Valley. When El Pantera kidnaps Rachel and leaves her brother, Aaron, for dead, Jake Weaver and the Mexican native Domingo pursue the bandit leader to his mountain stronghold in a hopeless rescue attempt. Jake and Domingo manage to escape with Rachel, with the bandits hot on their trail. In a desperate attempt to avoid recapture, Domingo puts himself squarely in harm’s way, giving Jake and Rachel time to get away. This is not the quiet life Caleb Bender envisioned when he led his family out of Ohio. What is a father to make of his daughter’s obvious affection for a man outside the fold? And how will a pacifist Amishman like Caleb respond to the events that threaten his family and their way of life?
You can learn more about Dale and his books on his website.
The Captive Heart is a fictional account of Amish history that is unknown by most people. When I think of the Amish, I think first of Pennsylvania, then Ohio and Indiana. I had no idea that a group of them had relocated across the Mexican border in the early 1900’s.
The Captive Heart is a gripping story that illustrates the hardships and dangers faced by the Amish families in their new home. Especially prominent were the difficult choices made by the nonviolent Amish when faced with the very real threat of the violent bandits who tormented them. Interwoven through the account of the families’ struggles to adapt to the harsh environment is a tale of forbidden love and redemption.
Based on true events, The Captive Heart is a different type of Amish story than the norm. I recommend that you check it out for yourself.
Kathi Macias is an award-winning author of more than twenty fiction and nonfiction books. She has also ghostwritten and collaborated on books for a number of well-known individuals. She is a staff member for The Christian Communicator Manuscript Critique Service and a member of The Christian Proofreaders and Editors Network, Christian Authors Network, American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Writers Fellowship International, Advanced Writers/Speakers Association, for who she serves as membership chair, and orange County Christian Writers Fellowship. She is the 2008 winner of AWSA’s Golden Scroll Award.
A Former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Macias is a credentialed minister and served as an associate pastor at a large church in Southern California, where she did biblical counseling, trained small group leaders, and oversaw support/recovery ministries. She is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences, and has appeared on several radio and TV programs.
ABOUT THE BOOKS:
…(set in South Africa in 1989, during the violence and turmoil just prior to Nelson Mandela’s release from prison and the overthrow of Apartheid.
Forbidden romance, an unlikely martyr and an even more unlikely hero. Orphaned four years earlier when their parents, active in the African National Congress ANC movement against apartheid were murdered, 16-year-old Chioma and her 15-year-old brother Masozi now live and work on an Afrikaner family’s farm. When Chioma and Andrew, the farm owners son, find themselves attracted to one another, tragedy revisits their lives. Chioma escapes to join an ANC rebel band in her effort to survive and gain revenge for her family and culture. When cultures clash in life-or-death struggles, Chioma must choose between violence and revenge or forgiveness and selfless love. Loosely based on historical events and set near Pretoria, South Africa, in the violent upheaval prior to ANC leader Nelson Mandela’s release from prison in 1990 and his ascendance to the presidency of South Africa, this story of forbidden romance produces an unlikely martyr who is replaced by one even more unlikely.
…(set in Tijuana, Mexico, and also in San Juan Chamula, Mexico, which is deep in the heart of Mayan country)
True love ignites their passionate pursuit of His call With violent crime on the rise and the political climate changing throughout certain parts of Mexico, the opportunity for open Christian witness, particularly in some areas of Chiapas State, is rapidly decreasing. Hector Rodriguez pastors a small church in the tourist-popular border town of Tijuana. He also routinely carries Bibles deeper into the hostile areas of Mexico, where he ministers despite increasing difficulty and persecution. Hectors mother accompanied him on one of those trips and felt God called her to stay in the little village of San Juan Chamula, where she uses the Scriptures to teach reading to the families who are open to it. In retaliation for Hectors bringing the Bibles into areas hostile to Christians and in an effort to dissuade him from continuing to expand his ministry there, Hectors mother is murdered. Hector must decide if he will continue his work despite his worries about protecting his wife and children.
I have only been able to get the first book No Greater Love read so far. I found it easy to read and full of insight into the turbulent era of South Africa known as Apartheid. As an American far removed from that part of the world, I never gave much thought to what was happening there. I knew only the basic facts and if I thought about it at all, I pretty much equated it with the racial tension in the South where I have spent my entire life. No Greater Love was both educational and suspenseful with a storyline that challenges your faith.
After reading the book, I did have a bit of a problem with the promotional description of “forbidden romance”. The relationship between the only two people this statement could even apply to never developed into a romance – there were only about two actual conversations between them. So if you are expecting a romance, you should probably skip this book. There is nothing in it that I would consider a romance and the subject matter is deep and intense. That said, No Greater Loveis an excellent book that does a good job of getting its message across.
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