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WhiskeyintheJar Romance

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Guest Reviewer at:  Reading Between the Wines book club

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"She thought it over, but couldn’t see any immediate loopholes other than the threat of her inner slut emerging, and she could darned well control that little bitch."— Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Star Witness by Lisa Phillips

Star Witness (Love Inspired Suspense) - Lisa Phillips

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review

Star Witness is an inspirational romantic suspense story, this means it has a religious tone and in this case Christian ideology influences.  As someone who doesn't typically read this subgenre, I found the beginning focused more on the suspense side and the ending dealt more with what the characters felt could be their salvation.  The Christian values were never overly off putting and if a reader enjoyed such aspects they would enjoy how it is weaved in.   
 
Mackenzie has lived the last several years of her life alone and isolated due to a Colombian drug lord.  A lifetime ago Mackenzie used to be known as Lani and she was a huge up and coming pop star with the world at her fingertips and a spoiled outlook on life.  This all changed when her manager failed to pay back the money he owed to Carosa, the drug lord, who's brother gunned him down in front of Lani.  Lani and her bodyguards were also shot but only Lani survived.  After testifying against the brother and sending him to jail, Lani becomes Mackenzie through the Witness Protection program.  Years have passed with Mackenzie still in hiding when her car tires get slashed and she senses someone following her.  Calling her witness protection officer, Eric, she only reaches his voicemail.  As she is walking home a car starts to follow, she takes off and the chase is on.  Mackenzie is about to enter a coffee shop when shots are fired but luckily she runs into Eric as he is coming out and he pulls her to the ground and gets her to safety.  The coincidence seems a little too fortuitous and it actually is, the Eric she ran into is in fact his twin brother Aaron.  When this all gets figured out it turns out Eric has been investigating a potential rat in his office who could be compromising witness identities so he asks his brother Aaron to watch over Mackenzie for him.  Luckily, Aaron is a Delta Force soldier so he is physically up to the task but after a botched last mission, mentally he is not quite stable yet.
 
The beginning started off intense as Mackenzie was running for her life and figuring out who she could and couldn't trust.  Aaron was a cool casual keep it together guy even when the bullets were flying but due to his day job this was understandable.  Mackenzie came off a bit needy and too demanding of Aaron at times.  At one point in the book they are surrounded by four gunmen and she is sad and disappointed when Aaron "just lets them take her".  Let's cut the guy a break, he is Delta Force not Superman.  There are other instances in the book too where her lack of trust, which is suppose to demonstrate that their relationship is building, instead came off as a lack of common sense.  Mackenzie starts off a sympathetic character but dips into annoying at times throughout the book. While Mackenzie had the tendency to become annoying she did have depth to her, Aaron was one dimensional for a chunk of the story.  The main thing on his mind was how he mismanaged his first time as team leader.  The point of this was to obviously add broodiness to him but his fixation was basically the same three thoughts over and over that lacked to give it substance.
 
Even though the main characters had their profoundness problems the overall story arc was suspenseful enough to keep me reading.  The main villain is not up front and center but the threat of him and how Mackenzie and Aaron have to stay on the move keep the excitement going.  Secondary characters such as Aaron's friends Doug and Sabine, who enter the scene to help add extra dynamics, work to keep things interesting.  As I said before the ending starts to get heavy handed with the religion but if you enjoy this aspect to your stories then Mackenzie and Aaron's eventual acceptance to their own personal enlightenment will add a pleasant quality to the story for you.  
 
The writing, pace, and overall story is solid and entertaining.  If looking for a quick read that integrates suspense and Christian themes, Star Witness would be a good purchase.