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review 2020-04-01 21:50
I was looking for a few pithy words to explain...
The Parable of the Mustard Seed - Lisa Henry

what 'The Parable of the Mustard Seed' was and what I discovered was that like many things the meaning of this parable is open to the readers interpretation but loosely speaking...

So, the picture painted in the Parable of the Mustard Seed by Jesus is of the humble beginnings of the church experiencing an explosive rate of growth. It grows large and becomes a source of food, rest, and shelter, for both believers and false professing individuals that seek to consume or take advantage of its benefits while residing or mixing among what was produced by the seed.

Making my one and only real concern after reading this and then seeing the word...'cult', that maybe things would go sideways and become 'overly' preachy to reinforce the whole 'cult' issue thankfully, I realized fairly early in that I could kick this concern to the curb as it quickly became evident that it was a non-issue.


At which point I have to admit I still wasn't really sure what I was getting into, but Lisa Henry was the author and I was sure whatever I was getting into was going to be good, and it was good...so much more than good.


My struggle really hasn't been so much about what to say as how to say it, but the time for procrastination is over and now it's simply time to jump in...


While this is a story with love in it...it's also about man's inhumanity to man and all in the name of religion, it's about the strength of the human spirit and it's ability to overcome the darkest of times with out losing the ability to love and trust again.


"The Parable of the Mustard Seed" is the story of the events that brought Australian-Samoan police officer John Faimu and Caleb Fletcher into each others lives. What happened wasn't pretty and if you're like me you might want to have some tissues on hand.


In this story the author takes us back to the beginning...back to the day that John first saw Caleb, when he took place in the police raid that freed Caleb from the cult that nearly killed him and as the story progresses we are shown events of the past at the beginning of each chapter bringing us into the present and giving a solid understanding of not just the relationship between John and Caleb but of who they are as individuals and of who Caleb is and what has shaped him into the person that he has become. 


From the very beginning I liked John. His character was intrinsically good and although Caleb always feels like his priority at the heart of everything John does is his love, concern and respect not just for Caleb, but for everyone that he cares about. 


While my feelings about Caleb weren't as clear at the beginning what he had endured became clear fairly early in the story and my heart broke for him...no child should go through what Caleb did but it's through the retelling of Caleb's past that I came to embrace what a truly amazing person he became. What Caleb endured wasn't just physical abuse there was emotional and psychological torment as well and he was betrayed by his mother...there is no forgiveness for what she did to him. 


There were also a lot of wonderful characters in this story John's family from his mother right down to his sister's Mary and Jessie, his brother David, his partner on the police force Liz and Caleb's father Darren just to mention a few.


While 'The Parable of the Mustard Seed' isn't as dark as some of Ms Henry's other works such as 'While All the World Sleeps' it's also a far cry from the fun that is 'Adulting 101' but like both of these books, it is an excellent story worth reading. 


If you're looking for a story with a lot of hot, steamy sex. then you'll probably be disappointed, but if you also like stories where the relationship between the MCs has a slow burn with a very palpable sense of how much the MCs cherish each other contained within it's pages...then I truly believe you need to check this one out.




An ARC of 'The Parable of the Mustard Seed' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-03-28 00:00
The California Dashwoods
The California Dashwoods - Lisa Henry The California Dashwoods - Lisa Henry 4.5

Maybe love was choosing to believe that it would all work out in the end.


A modern take on Jane Austen's classic Sense and SensibilityI'm sure most people know the story but even if you don't you won't want to miss this little gem.

When Elliott Dashwood's father dies,leaving his family with barely enough to get by,they find themselves shunned by the remaining(wealthy) Dashwood family.

Elliott,Marianne,and Greta are the product of Henry's second marriage to their one time Au Pair,Abby.Henry and Abby were reckless,in love but didn't forsee the future and provide for their children...so it falls to Elliott to take care of them.

Elliott Dashwood is sensible,always a quiet boy but happy to watch people.Not one to take risks,preferring to keep his feet firmly planted on the ground....definitely not prone to flights of fancy....until he meets Ned Ferrars who comes to visit after his father's death.The two young men share stolen kisses,a brief encounter with Elliott daring to dream of something more.

The story of Elliott and Ned is not the main focus here,as the title suggests it's about the Dashwoods with all their flaws,quirkiness,optimism,and overall love for each other.

You get wonderful characters in,

-Marianne....a bit of a free spirit,she believes in love and romance and throwing caution to the wind to get it.

-Greta,sarcastic,quirky,wonderfully different from the stereotypical 13 year old you would expect.

The relationship between Elliott and Ned couldn't even be classified as a slow burn,because they don't feature together on page much at all BUT, trust me it's quite special as you get inside Elliott's mind with all his feelings and thoughts.

If you've read Sense and Sensibility you'll know to expect twists and turns before the main characters get their HEA.....and this book was a delightful take on the original.

This was just a joy to read from start to finish and I would highly recommend it.

An Arc of The California Dashwoods was kindly provided to DirtyBooksObsession in exchange for an honest review.

My reviews are posted on DirtyBooksObsession

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review 2018-01-25 00:00
Two Man Station
Two Man Station - Lisa Henry Originally reviewed at Sinfully.

3.5 stars

This is a story about two men trying to find their way, both on their own and as partners. Jason doesn't know all the details of what brought Gio to Richmond, but he thinks he knows enough to not trust the man. Gio's arrival is shrouded in a bit of mystery, but we know his transfer wasn't voluntary and that something went very wrong at his prior job in the city.

Much of the story is focused on Gio finding his place and settling into the day-to-day life of a rural cop. Gio's new life is worlds away from his last one in every way possible, and I did enjoy his acclimating to a new way of policing. He's become a pariah amongst those he worked with and he's left his family behind and hasn't been honest with them about the reason. Jason also has adjustments to make. He's now got a new partner that he can't trust and who doesn't know how to be a small-town cop. Jason's previous partner had not only been a friend, but he and his wife had also offered him reliable backup child care when he had to go out on a call. Jason knows he needs to fix the situation, at 10 years old Taylor (who is an absolutely delightful character) isn't ready to be left home alone and Jason on thin ice with his co-worker who has been helping him out.

As the two feel out their new partnership, there is also a growing attraction between them. It's a slow build, but what is first a convenient hook-up becomes a regular arrangement, with an agreement that they will keep their professional and sex lives separate. Unfortunately, Gio isn't able to compartmentalize that way. He never has been. It's a big part of why he's doing this two-year stint in Richmond.

I'm a bit torn about this book. It was well-written, I liked the characters, and the remote setting, along with its unique challenges, came alive with Lisa Henry's descriptions, but I also felt like there were things that were set up and not fully realized. Even with the dual POV I didn't really feel I knew Gio and Jason as a couple and they didn't really seem to get to know each other that way either. I learned a lot about them as individuals and as partners on the job but other than convenience, I wasn’t sure what they had together. We get a glimpse of their feelings at the end and they do have sexual chemistry, but the romance didn't grab me. I also became frustrated with Jason and his approach to his childcare issue. The story really revs up with plenty of action in the final chapters, the type that forces the men to face their issues and get their acts together, but even then, I felt like they were completely starting over and I still wanted more of them working together and building a life as a couple.

To me, this was a satisfying start to a relationship. It ends HFN, but I'm not sure if the next book will continue their story or move on. While I was left wanting a little more, I'll be looking forward to more in this series and hoping that we revisit Gio and Jason (and Taylor) and see how their relationship is progressing.

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review 2018-01-15 00:00
The Preacher's Son
The Preacher's Son - Lisa Henry,J.A. Roc... The Preacher's Son - Lisa Henry,J.A. Rock The blurb does a good job of laying out what this story is and yes, religion plays a large part in the story. This book won’t be for everyone based upon that (and I should also warn that there are references to and on page scenes of suicide attempts) but those who enjoy getting into the heads of characters and being fully engaged in the struggle within them that will lead to the ultimate payoff will be pleased.

What Jason did to Nate, how he used him, was horrible. Being in Jason’s head during the act, we know he is aware that what he is doing was wrong on so many levels and feels guilty while he’s doing it. Jason is just one of the people in the story who misguidedly believes they are doing something right. Something good that will help people. Meanwhile, 18 year old Nate, a virgin who is spending the weekend looking at a college, on his own for the first time, thinks he has found a friend, a lover and a person who understands. Even though the reader doesn’t hear about the fallout until years afterwards, it is no less gut-wrenching.

Picking up four years later, the story is focused on the characters trying to make things right as much as possible for themselves and those they have hurt. Nate has it especially hard, trying to reconcile his homosexuality, his faith and his place in his family. Working at his father’s conversion camp while knowing he is lying to the teenage children who heard his story and may believe it on some level. Struggling to change, but not sure which way is best and who he will hurt more with every decision.

Jason is struggling too. A pariah in the town he hated as a teenager and hates now that he is forced back he wants to make amends to Nate, but doesn’t expect Nate to forgive. The two start to see each other and a relationship develops. Jason wants Nate to help change him. Nate needs to learn to think and live for himself and not for his father or anyone else. Even since the incident, Nate has always felt something for Jason even though he question having feelings for his abuser.

All the relationships in this story are complex – Nate and his family especially. Nate’s mom understands him more than he knows, but their relationship has also been fractured, not as much by the scandal but by the differing beliefs they all hold. The family is functioning in dysfunction and once Nate starts accepting himself and seeing his father’s flaws, he begins to see his mother in a new light as well. Nate loves his father, but is afraid that his father’s love for him will only go so far when he learns the truth.

What works very well here is the characters have good intentions, but they have flaws and they sometimes do things that are wrong. They are living in the gray areas that all people do and struggling with how to deal with it. Questioning motives, feelings and long-held beliefs, questioning their worth to the people around them and society in general and trying to find the balance of what they owe themselves and what they owe others. Jason struggles with what he did to Nathan while still wanting to see Moving Forward burn to the ground. He struggles with whether he is deserving of Nate’s forgiveness even when all he wants is to love Nate and make him happy. Nate struggles with his hypocrisy, his lies and how he can help the kids at the camp when he is really struggling with what is going on there. His belief that what his father is doing can help the kids is repeatedly and tragically tested with the new group of campers that arrive at the same time Jason does.

Yes, there is a romance storyline but the meat of the story is more each character’s journey of self-discovery and forgiveness – of others and themselves - and of learning how to live their truth and reconciling that with their faith, family and long held beliefs.

I found myself interested and invested in all the characters. There were a few times where the characters’ thoughts felt a bit repetitive, but overall I could understand the struggle each was going through and empathize with them. I’ve always enjoyed the writing team of Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock and while this story was different than I’ve read from them in the past, I enjoyed the departure.
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quote 2017-08-30 22:01
«Hai sognato di addormentarti?» gli chiese Daniel.«Insieme a te.» Bel sorrise. «Ed era strano. Sai cosa ti dicevo?» «Cosa dicevi?»«Dicevo: “Non andare troppo lontano senza di me”.» Daniel gli strinse la mano. «E io obbedivo?» Bel alzò le spalle. «Non lo so. Poi mi sono svegliato.» «Be’,» rispose lui piano, appoggiandosi allo schienale. «Cercherò di non farlo, per tua informazione.» «Penso che ti seguirei ovunque.» «Non capisco perché.» «Sì che lo capisci.» «Perché ho bisogno di essere sorvegliato?» «Perché una volta venivi da Harnee e io sentivo che eri diverso.» «Ero addormentato.» Bel annuì e lo guardò. Sperava di riuscire a dire quello che aveva in mente senza sembrare un idiota. «Ma eri sempre tu.»
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