Blood Ties – review

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Blood Ties by Tracy Krauss



My rating: 4 of 5 stars


In Blood Ties, Book 2 of Tracy Krauss’s Three Strand Cord series, we again get involved in the lives of Stella, Tempest, and Cherise.

College-educated Stella returns to her ranch home in Texas to find both ranch-hand brothers in love with her.

Dirk, Cherise’s brother, falls for Tempest but when she doesn’t reciprocate, this rich sometime-playboy decides to volunteer at a Mexican orphanage (maybe this new leaf will convince Tempest that he really has changed).

Cherise, meanwhile, gets involved in a relationship with one of Stella’s friends but, unable to face hurting him due to her track-record of short-term serial romances, decides to join Dirk at the orphanage. There, confronted by the superficiality of their lifestyles the siblings, Dirk and Cherise, are challenged to look for deeper meaning and purpose.

A mean-spirited computer hacker in Texas and suspected drug activity out of the orphanage add danger and suspense to this contemporary romance.

Though some of the shenanigans of Cherise and others would put this book (and the series) into the edgy category, the message of God’s love and ability to change hearts, desires, and actions comes across loud and clear. That dual focus makes the series relatable to contemporary young people, Christian and non-Christian.

I received a copy of Blood Ties as a gift from the author for the purpose of writing a review.




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Three Strand Cord (review)

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Three Strand Cord by Tracy Krauss

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The friendship bracelets that Stella, Cherise, and Tempest braid for each other in elementary school come to symbolize the ties that bind them long past their school days. However, when they meet again as young adults, their varied interests, experiences, social status, and temperaments have set them on vastly different paths. This makes for lots of conflict as their loyalties to each other compete with good sense, ethics, and even self-preservation.

Cherise, the rich bad girl of the trio, traps her girlfriends and others in a net of trouble when she decides to do whatever it takes to follow her latest boyfriend to Italy. Meanwhile Tempest, the professing Christian of the three, struggles with her part in Cherise’s deception, which involves living a lie of her own.

Krauss’s romantic suspense is well-written, has interesting characters, lots of action, many surprises, and Christian spiritual elements throughout.

I received a copy of Three Strand Cord from the author for the purpose of writing a review.




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Keeping Up With the Neighbours (review)

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Neighbours 2In Keeping Up with the Neighbours (Neighbours Series 2) author Tracy Krauss treats us to the adventures of colourful Newfoundland siblings who have left the Rock to find their fortunes in Alberta.

The characters (the Malloys—five young men and their sister) are earthy, relatable, often humorous, and interesting. We follow them as they find jobs in construction, the oil patch, the woods, the local bar, and a hair dressing salon, and socialize in the evenings with the locals at a neighbourhood watering hole.

These salty characters are not without their realistic problems and flaws, so be prepared for a little more edginess than you’d find in some Christian fiction. But Krauss incorporates faith as well in plot twists that feel plausible and inevitable.

Keeping up with the Neighbours (Neighbours 2) is a lot of fun as well as thought-provoking, dealing with subjects like loyalty, conflicts between immigrant parents and their adult children, alcoholism, religious faith and more. It’s a bit like reading a Calgary-based season of Cheers.

Take advantage of book launch goodies!

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Today  (October 16th) Tracy Krauss is launching her newest novel, Wind Over Marshdale. Buy it today and get all kinds of other great gifts – including books by award winning authors. Click on the link to find out where to buy how to collect those goodies: http://tinyurl.com/bmx6clh

I read Wind Over Marshdale this summer and quite enjoyed it. Here are my thoughts (previously published on Amazon.com).

****

Wind Over MarshdaleReview of Wind Over Marshdale by Tracy Krauss

Wonderful characters–some of them quirky–people this contemporary tale set in small-town Saskatchewan. Prickly problems abound in the lives of these recognizable folks.

Rachel has accepted a position as a kindergarten teacher in an elementary school to flee her toxic family and a hurtful betrayal.

Thomas Lone Wolf’s dream is to honour his Cree forefathers by building a native centre, but he struggles with synchronizing the native spirituality of his people with his Christian faith.

Pastor Todd is being pulled in opposite directions by the outspoken and prejudiced Marni Hyde and his new parishioner Thomas Lone Wolf. Meanwhile ghosts of the past and his disintegrating marriage have him seeking escape in a dangerous place.

Rancher Con McKinley is the idealistic, dedicated sponsor of Marshdale Community Church’s youth group but also very attracted to the new teacher–who happens to be a stranger to all the beliefs he holds dear.

All the while Mirna Hyde, Marni’s twin sister and the town psychic, plays her own little games of power and control.

Krauss manages to weave these characters and their issues into a captivating story. The prairie setting as well as the staff room and classroom scenes ring true. All in all it’s a great package that entertains as it encourages and inspires with a strong and skillfully delivered Christian message.