All, Reviews

Bending Willow Series: Review and Giveaway

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Happy Monday, Reader Friends!! What better way to start out the week then a blog tour? Today, I’m sharing my review of Charissa Stastny’s Bending Willow series. Plus, there’s a giveaway at the end! Let’s get started.
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A cast of three very different heroes come together in this suspenseful series—Austan Sandoval (a master of disguise and deception), James Hinton (a naïve missionary out to save the world), and Suvi Goldstein (a desperate girl running from her past)—showing how the transforming power of God holds out hope to all, from those who have lived a charmed life to the vilest of sinners.
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Series: Bending Willow Trilogy
GenreFiction, Romance, Christian, LDS, Suspense, Contemporary
Publisher: C. Stastny
Publication Date: May 9, 2012
Number of pages: ​298

​”After swindling millions from a Central American drug cartel,

Austan Sandoval stumbles upon the location of the daughter of an Israeli Mossad assassin and determines to recruit her to his team. Meanwhile, James Hinton serves as a missionary in Guatemala and sacrifices all to help others. When Suvi Goldstein tries to escape her past, she’s torn between violent men in one world and a kind, forgiving man in another as she battles darkness to discover the light within herself.”

Purchase: Amazon    Add to TBR pile:Goodreads     ​Book trailer:HERE

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Series: Bending Willow Trilogy
GenreFiction, Romance, Christian, LDS, Suspense, Contemporary
Publisher: C. Stastny
Publication Date: February 4, 2013
Number of pages: ​306

​”Suvi feels unworthy of her happily-ever-after especially

when her knight in shining armor becomes the target of evil men due to her past. James believes he has won the heart of the woman he loves, but when sinister secrets are exposed, his love may not survive. Austan stands guard against the Dragon’s wrath, but nurses hope that he can reveal his true identity. When a chance arises to team up with a pair of Israeli Mossad operatives, he may finally be in a position to do what he has ached to do for four long years—reunite with Suvi and rekindle their love.”

Purchase: Amazon     Add to TBR pile: Goodreads     Book trailer:HERE

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Series: Bending Willow Trilogy
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Christian, LDS, Suspense, Contemporary
Publisher: C. Stastny
Publication Date: January 26, 2015
Number of pages: ​304​
​”In the series finale, love, loss, and
forgiveness weave a tapestry that will touch hearts as James, Suvi, and Austan are tried by separation, death, grief and revenge as dark dragons from the past cause hell to erupt. As they struggle to survive, they will discover that when all seems lost, the only hope comes from unseen Hands of Mercy.”

Purchase: Amazon     Add to TBR pile: Goodreads     Book Trailer:HERE

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Charissa Stastny hails from Las Vegas, Nevada, but has never pulled the handle of a slot machine and can’t shuffle cards to save her life. After writing the creative tale of The Creature from McGool in 4th grade, she has envisioned herself an author, and continued in shame to pen some cheesy romance scenes as a teenager. Thankfully, she has matured somewhat and tries hard not to spread too much cheese around in her writing now. She graduated from Brigham Young University in Elementary Education and enjoys writing, reading, hiking and biking. She resides in Idaho’s Treasure Valley with her husband and children, where card shuffling isn’t required. Whew!

​Connect and follow Ms. Stastny at:Website, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Amazon Author Page


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Eyes of Light was a gripping read. It starts off with Suvi in high school and I thought it was going to stick to the YA genre. However, this book is way more in depth than I realized.

​Suvi has a past that breaks your heart. Instead of her life getting better, it gets worse. Dragged onto a path of darkness, she feels forsaken. Feels that God is not real. But then she meets James and her opinion slowly but surely begins to change.

​I desperately wanted Suvi to understand God’s grace. Not only that, but I loved watching James mature. He preached the gospel to others, but maintained a since of piety that irked me. No one is too far gone from God’s grace and it seemed he disagreed. Finally, he got it and that’s when the book won me over.

​In ​Secret Keepers, I was hoping that the same message of God’s grace would continue. However, the secrets from Suvi’s passed was the main focus. It was horrifying read at times as I empathized with her character. At times, I had to put the book down and pray for people who battle a similar past. The suspense was upped as the story continued.

In Hands of Mercy,​ I must admit I was frustrated with the story. How much could Suvi and James endure? Didn’t they deserve a happy ever after? Yet it was through James’ sacrifice that a chance to describe Christ’s sacrifice that made the book worthwhile. When the author comes to a scene that describes the purpose of the title, I was riveted. It brought me to tears and continued to echo in my heart after I finished.

​Now for some disclaimers. I’m afraid that some believers will take offense to this book. Curse words are used and there are many references to intimacy outside of marriage. At times, I wondered if I should finish because of the topics reached and the manner in which they are portrayed. I do think there are some great points to this book, I’m just not so sure a lot of Christians can handle the way it is written. If these things won’t bother you, then I encourage you to read it.

**I give Eyes of Light ​4 out of 5 stars, ​Secret Keepers 3 out of 5 stars, and Hands of Mercy ​3 out of 5 stars. (Rating system is based on Goodreads.)
***I received a free copy via SLB Tours in exchange for an honest review.

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3 thoughts on “Bending Willow Series: Review and Giveaway”

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