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The Next Target: A Novel by Nikki Arana
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The Next Target: A Novel

by Nikki Arana

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The tension begins on the first page as you learn that the main character, Austia Donatelli, works ministering to newly arrived Muslims in The United States. Austia runs a career center locates jobs for the newly arrived and teaches English classes to Muslim women at night, showing them Chrisitan love through her work. When one of the women asks questions about Jesus, she shares her faith with them. After an honor killing of a young woman that she helped escape the chains of Islam, Austia begins to be aware that she is being tracked and watched. Zaki a man who works for Hassian, a local radical leader shows up at odd times. Even scared, Austia continues her work, but trouble comes from unexpected places.

As radical Islamists continue their jihad on Americans and Jews, and they increase their demands here in America, the tension between the groups escalates. Due to the extreme terrorism, Muslims are seen less as individuals, and more as angry mobs. Aranna builds a great story around this tension, giving the reader insights into the lives of those caught up in radical power with strong characters who work against the evil onslaught. This is a great read, recommended for readers who like suspense and romance built around a topic that is in newspaper headlines daily.

Received Galley from NetGalley.com ( )
  Glenajo | Jun 26, 2012 |
To be completely honest, I didn’t like this book at first. It kind of felt like being pounded over the head with the Bible, with someone’s faith that was not my own. But that was in the beginning of the book, before the story really started to unravel. That was before I understood and connected with the characters. Now that I finished it, and reflecting on everything that happened, I can honestly say that I enjoyed the journey.
The suspense, once it kicked into gear, had me sitting on the edge of my seat. It had me talking to the characters, momentarily forgetting that they weren’t real. There were some heightened moments of panic when I knew that though Austia was trying to do what she felt led to do, she was also about to make a big mistake, she was going to trust the wrong person. Austia was a character with a lot of faith and courage. She became someone that I admired for her willingness to go and do exactly what she thought God was leading her to in a manner filled with love instead of hate.
Though I did come to really enjoy this story, I have to admit that I hated the romance part of it completely. Austia and Zaki’s romance happened way too fast for me and it came across as disingenuous. Zaki goes from this hardened undercover agent to this man so blinded by love that he can’t think straight character. The fact that she was okay with Dave and ignored all the warning bells that something wasn’t right, played into the storyline that fanatical Muslims would stop at nothing and they could pop up anywhere. This may be true, but the only two reasons that Austia trusted Dave were because her brother introduced them and his name was the same as her dead ex-husband. Neither reason was enough to trust so blindly. While I think Austia’s relationship with her brother was pretty accurate, I am curious to see his reaction when (if) he ever finds out everything that went wrong with his attempt to invite her neighbors over for dinner.
This story is heartbreaking, not just because innocent people died because of the religious fanaticism and intolerance. The most disturbing part of this story is the truth that honor killings still go on today and background believers suffer so much. .After giving up everything that have known and grown accustomed to (if not accepted at some point) they face constant suspicion and distrust.

Recommendation:
I would definitely recommend everyone to read this, regardless of religious preference, and ignore the romance aspect.

A copy of this book was given to me, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.
Always Shine,
Starr K ( )
  StarrK | Jun 25, 2012 |
Austia Donatelli has a mission in life. That mission is to keep her husband's ministry alive now that he is no longer alive even if it means taking a risk at losing her own life in the process. She works at a Career Center. Besides dealing with the usual demands of running her employment agency, she is now interviewing a number of Arabic-speaking men to act as interpreters for the job applicants. It would be challenging, as it always was.

She was a single Christian woman living in a Muslim neighborhood on the south side of Los Angeles, running a business that required her to deal almost exclusively with men whose culture frowned upon men and women mixing in public. A job that flew in the face of the Islamic traditions that taught men a woman's place was in the home tending to the family's needs. However when she learns that a close friend of hers and also a student was murdered, Austia realizes that the risks she has been taking may lead them to find her.

When a young man who reminds her of her late husband David, applies for the job as interpreter, it seems like he is too good to be true. All his references check out flawlessly and he seems to have an answer for every question she poses to him. It isn't until she offers him the job, that she realizes she may in fact have hired the enemy to work for her and the people she's been trying to help may in fact just lead these killers directly to them and become the next target!

In this chilling new Christian novel by Nikki Arana, The Next Target brings the readers face to face with just how difficult it is for Muslims to convert to Christianity and just what risks they are taking on their own lives and the lives of those that help them learn about Christ. That according to the Qur'an, it teaches that it's all right to lie if it furthers Islam and that you don't have to keep any agreements made with Infidels. It urges Muslims to do whatever possible to inflict terror and destroy the enemy for the cause of Allah and Islam. Extremists use this to justify any immoral act, from lying to the killing of innocents.

I found the most interesting part of this novel related to why Muslims don't speak out against the acts of radicals and extremists of Islam, if this type of behavior is so wrong. It's simply this, you aren't hearing from them because they are afraid too. Moderate Muslims everywhere are suffering the consequences of the actions of their radical brothers. What an eye-opener that one simple sentence made in my own heart.

In this fiction novel, the actions of one woman, Austia will be put to the ultimate test of her own personal faith in Christ when these men will stop at nothing to make sure she is silenced for leading their people astray in their opinion. Will she be able to stand firm in her faith or will she ultimately become their next target?

I received The Next Target by Nikki Arana compliments of David C. Cook Publishers for my honest review and have to say I really enjoyed this action packed novel. It literally has to wondering just what could possibly happen next and who the next victim will be. When Austia hires a man she had hoped she could trust, he turns out to be the enemy in disguise and no matter what she tries to do to get rid of him, he has an excuse for everything. I rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars and would really appeal to people who loved that action-packed suspense novel that keeps you on the edge of your seat til the end. ( )
  ReviewsFromTheHeart | May 23, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0781404312, Paperback)

It only took one bullet. Austia's friend and student fell dead. And with a glimpse of a newspaper headline, the young and recently widowed Austia knows more about what happened than the police. From that fatal night, Austia’s secret outreach to the U.S. Muslim community—in the guise of English language classes—becomes a target. Local Muslim extremists set their sights on ending her ministry and even her life. And the women she ministers to will be next.
A thick web of deceit closes in around Austia, and her circle of friends becomes smaller by the day, even as she finally opens herself to the idea of falling in love again. But who can she trust? Facing a spiritual battle that proves more treacherous than it at first seemed, Austia’s convictions are tested to their limits and her heart becomes primed for breaking. She must ask herself: how much she will risk to stay true to her herself, her faith, and to the lives of the women she serves?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:05 -0400)

"It only took one bullet. Austia's friend and student fell dead. And with a glimpse of a newspaper headline, the young and recently widowed Austia knows more about what happened than the police. From that fatal night, Austia's secret outreach to the U.S. Muslim community--in the guise of English language classes--becomes a target. Local Muslim extremists set their sights on ending her ministry and even her life. And the women she ministers to will be next. She must ask herself: how much she will risk to stay true to her herself, her faith, and to the lives of the women she serves? A thick web of deceit closes in around Austia, and her circle of friends becomes smaller by the day, even as she finally opens herself to the idea of falling in love again. But who can she trust?"-- Provided by publisher.… (more)

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