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Tammy L Gray’s Until I Knew Myself

Until I Knew Myself (Bentwood Book 1) by [Gray, Tammy L.]

Tyler Mitchell grew up an orphan, taken in by his best friend’s family when he was only sixteen. Even though ten years have passed, and he’s been given everything he should ever want—a loving home, an adoring girlfriend, a successful career, and lifelong friendships—Tyler has always felt a foreigner in his own life.

When a surprising phone call reveals the death of his biological grandfather, Tyler’s seemingly perfect life starts to unravel. The people he loves most in world have kept from him the greatest secret of all—knowledge of his father’s family.

Now hunting for more information about his past, Tyler discovers nothing is quite as it seems. And the definition of family is far more complicated than choosing between blood and loyalty.


Tammy L. Gray is an auto-buy author for me.  My thoughts:

What worked

Contemporary. I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again, most Christian authors don’t write contemporary Christian books well. They invent problems. I never feel that way about Tammy’s books. Her characters feel like people of their times and their problems feel organic.

Tyler. I adored him. I found him to be so understandable. Every time he was on the page I wanted to know what happened next. Somethings he came across were a bit predictable, but how he dealt with them was unique. I really liked him.

Secondary cast. Tammy always manages to create a dynamic group of people. This groups is no different. They love each other. They fight with each other. They are different from each other. They balance out each other. I’m looking forward to their books.

Spiritually, the concept of why live like an orphan when we’re children of God? Although I will say that maybe only one character was actually a believer…

What didn’t work:

The romance. For some reason, the main couple in this book did not work for me. I found myself wanting Tyler to end up with someone else (though if I’m right, based off of where the novel is going, that relationship was a no go). Nevertheless, Tyler and his lady didn’t seem to make each other better. They seemed to make each other worse. I found myself tense every time he was with her and relaxed when she was gone.

Romantic scale: 6

I didn’t love this book, but it was still good and I’m looking forward to the rest of the series!

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Jennifer Haynie’s Loose Ends

Loose Ends (Unit 28) by [Haynie, Jennifer]


I have actually never read this author before and I felt like taking a chance! My thoughts:

What I liked

Unit 28. I rarely read books with a CIA bend because they have a tendency to overwhelm a reader with details. Usually there are lots of points of views and plots within plots. However, I found this narrative easy to follow. There are several points of views, but I actually found them helpful rather than distracting. The various plot points all felt connected and I didn’t find myself getting lost. I also found that I really like the idea of spies, international mysteries, and secrets within secrets.

Suspense. I would hesitate to call this book a mystery since you get the “bad guys” povs, but there is certainly suspense and a kind of will-they, won’t-they get everything done in time.

Diversity. I loved that this book had main characters who were diverse…and they weren’t just sidekicks but main characters.

Romance. In this book, the couple was already established. And yet, they still had to work out some kinks and learn to be a couple. I enjoyed watching them work together as a couple without a lot of drama.

Spiritually, the characters pray and seek God for guidance.

What I didn’t like

This is not the first book in the series, and I haven’t read the others. Therefore I was a little bit lost as to where this book was going, I wasn’t sure what Alex and Jabir actually did, and it felt like the book took a minute to get to the plot.

There was some secret telling that was almost unbelievable in the way that the person wanted to protect their secret.

Romantic scale: 7

Overall, I really enjoyed this book.

**I received a copy from the author. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**