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Eyes of Light (Bending Willow Trilogy #1)
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Eyes of Light (Bending Willow Trilogy #1)

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  39 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Austan Sandoval has mastered the art of disguise and deception. After swindling millions from a Central American drug cartel, he discovers the location of the daughter of an Israeli Mossad assassin and determines to recruit her to his team. James Hinton serves the Lord as a missionary in Guatemala and sacrifices all to bring truth to those he meets. Suvi Goldstein seems li ...more
Kindle Edition, 2nd Edition, 298 pages
Published May 2012 by C.Stastny
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Taylor Dean
Jun 26, 2013 Taylor Dean rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. Two things stand out to me: One, I really wasn't exactly sure who Suvi was going to end up with, and that kept me turning the pages. Two, this book contains a beautiful message. The ending scene brought tears to my eyes. The message is simply this: no matter what you've experienced due to your circumstances in life or whatever you've done in your life, you are still precious in the eyes of God. The author brings this message to the reader rather eloquently. I finished ...more
Oct 08, 2012 Patricia rated it it was amazing
My rating: 4.5.

I finished this book last week but I have been sweating about writing a review on goodreads because the author is my cousin. I want to be objective in my review or my review is meaningless for goodreads although a fawning review might gain me points with my cousin!! So here goes.

For about the first third of the book, I was really tense. If I didn't like the book, what would I say on goodreads? I sometimes had trouble immersing myself in the story because I was worried about that s
Vanessa-Jane Chapman
Apr 26, 2013 Vanessa-Jane Chapman rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. The stark contrast between good and evil was marked, and Suvi's struggle to find her way between those two worlds kept me guessing all the way through. We can tell she's good underneath, but we've seen some of her terrible choices and witnessed her terrible experiences and so we can't be sure what's going to happen to her next, or what choices she will make. I read this book on an e-reader on my phone which meant it was always with me, and whenever I had a spare few m ...more
Jun 06, 2012 Summer rated it it was amazing
For someone who typically doesn't enjoy LDS fiction because of its tendency to be cheesy, this book was a enjoyable surprise for me. There was the LDS spin, but it was that and more. There was a love story that wasn't so typical, but real all the same. There was action and humor and a past to these characters' lives. More real than a lot of the LDS fiction I've read in the past. And less naive.

The author's character development is far beyond what you'd expect from a first-time novelist. The char
Nov 10, 2014 Kim rated it really liked it
This book was unlike anything else I have ever read. It is definitely a romance - which I don't usually read and the beginning of the book was a little mushy for me - I'm sure it wouldn't be for someone who reads more in that genre. However, it is also LDS Fiction and adventure fiction. There's a little bit of something for everyone. By the end of the book, I really cared about the characters and am excited to read the next books in the series. This was a real pageturner and kept me wanting to k ...more
Kate Johnston
May 16, 2012 Kate Johnston rated it it was amazing
"Eyes of Light" features Suvi Goldstein, a young girl who sacrifices her self-worth after she makes a terrible mistake at the expense of a loved one. She is forced to face her past when she meets James Hinton, a missionary. James sees Suvi’s goodness beneath her destructive behavior and decides he must help her overcome her demons. A story of love, violence, and faith, "Eyes of Light" offers readers a view into the missionary lifestyle as well as teaches the power of forgiveness.
Gina Barlean
Jun 30, 2012 Gina Barlean rated it it was amazing
This tale is filled with suspense. The story's main characters are well developed. The plot and subplots are nicely interwoven. I really like the way the story ends...just the way I'd hoped it would. This is a well written book and I would highly suggest buying it. It held my attention, especially toward the end. I loved the overall message and the way it was presented. It's always a pleasure to read a new author. Eyes Of Light will not disappoint.
Sep 11, 2012 L. rated it really liked it
This book does not fit within my typical genre. I stole it from my wife at a time when the house was running low on books, initially thinking I would just pass the time with the first few chapters. Although I do not care much for romances, I ended up reading the entire book (and enjoying quite a few aspects) just because I had to find out what would happen with the characters. Some of the characters made some poor decisions; some did not behave rationally. But the book is about university aged y ...more
May 01, 2013 S rated it really liked it
I would have never guessed this was the author's first novel! A few grammatical errors stood out (mostly chopping the -ly off of adverbs) and made me stop reading for a minute, but I loved the flow of the story, the early introduction to Elder Hinton (so that his introduction into Suvi's life wasn't filled too much with "flashbacking"), and the integrity to Boise landmarks and her characters.

It's a great Cinderella romance. I definitely recommend this book to anyone and am looking forward to the
May 04, 2015 Amanda rated it it was ok
I have mixed feelings about this book...there are some things in it that are hard to read. But they are things that probably do happen around the world. It's not a true story...and there were parts that sort of skipped around a little. I got lost a couple of times, flipped back to make sure I didn't miss something only to have it explained later. I put it down a couple of times because of the graphic detail in some of the attacks Suvi goes through...I probably wouldn't recommend it and most like ...more
Feb 07, 2013 Kristen rated it really liked it
Shelves: novel, religious, romance, 2013
I read this once before it was published. It was good then, but I enjoyed it even more now.

This is an LDS suspense/romance novel. My two favorite parts were thematic. One was the role of the Atonement. The second was the contrast between good and evil. This novel does not pull the punches where evil is concerned. It is fairly graphic and shows the devastation evil wreaks in lives and the world.

I liked it overall and now I'm off to read the next one.
May 15, 2012 Charissa rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: 2012, my-books
This review is biased. I'm the author of this book, so of course I love it! I've read it a bajillion and four times (at least) trying to get it just right; but I still like the story and love my characters even after reading it that many times (for what that's worth). You can check out a summary or sample part of the ebook at Amazon, Smashwords or my blog ( to see if you are really interested in this suspense/romance. I would recommend doing that on ANY book you buy.
Jul 14, 2015 Carrie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: indies, ya
"Eyes of Light" takes the reader from Mexican drug lords to Mormon missionaries in Guatemala, with a protagonist who's smart and resourceful yet unaware of her true potential or worthiness as a human being. Torn between violent men in one world and a kind, forgiving man in another, Suvi must find her way towards salvation, and thus escape her demons once and for all. A well-written read that not only entertains but educates as well.
George A
Oct 16, 2012 George A rated it it was amazing
Eyes of Light is a great story. I couldn’t put it down. I finished it in two days. The author was clever and kept me switching back and forth who the bad guy was. This book has suspense, mystery, romance, and inspiration. The story is a good example of how a person’s life can be turned upside down because of circumstances and bad choices, and then can be changed by finding proper values, having good friends, and making right choices. I’m excited to read the next book. –George A. Clarke
Toni Shiloh
Apr 24, 2016 Toni Shiloh rated it really liked it
This 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.
I desperately wanted Suvi to understand God's grace. I kept reading until the message that no one is too far gone from God's grace was realized.

*I received a free copy in exchange of an honest review.
**See full review at
Sep 28, 2012 Katherine rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-finish, tmi
I was given a copy by the author. I really wanted to like it, but was frankly shocked at the content. TMI. I had to stop reading. Yuck. I hate reading a book that makes me feel so dirty. As much as I wanted the characters to grow and change, I don't want the pictures this book paints in my head.
Sep 11, 2016 Peggy rated it it was amazing

Hard book to put down. This book will take you into another complete mind setting! Page turning seat gripping read! So much behind this cover that you don't expect! A book for the must read list!

*Received for an honest review*
This is just for the author...I think it's great that you are writing books Charissa! Very cool! Really liked how this story ended and am anxious to read the follow up.
I liked the strong characters and fast moving plot. I think this was a great book especially for a first time author.
Deana Kirkendall
Deana Kirkendall rated it it was amazing
Nov 30, 2016
Steven F Berns
Steven F Berns rated it it was amazing
Feb 19, 2016
Sandra rated it really liked it
Feb 08, 2013
Haley Covington
Haley Covington rated it it was amazing
May 14, 2014
brenda roberts
brenda roberts rated it did not like it
Mar 07, 2016
Leslie rated it liked it
Mar 31, 2015
Annie Page
Annie Page rated it really liked it
Nov 09, 2016
Lisa Stadler
Lisa Stadler rated it really liked it
Feb 13, 2016
Ellen Kyles
Feb 20, 2013 Ellen Kyles rated it it was amazing
Excellent book, multiple twists and turns, definitely a stay up late book.
Cindy rated it really liked it
Jan 31, 2014
Rebecca rated it it was amazing
May 22, 2012
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Charissa Stastny is an avid reader, happy writer, BYU graduate, and lover of irises, clouds, chocolate, sushi, and the outdoors. Though she was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, she has never pulled a handle of a slot machine and can’t shuffle cards to save her life. She does shuffle kids, laundry, and church responsibilities rather well though. She has lived in Nevada and Idaho, but currently ...more
More about Charissa Stastny...

Other Books in the Series

Bending Willow Trilogy (3 books)
  • Secret Keepers (Bending Willow Trilogy - 2)
  • Hands of Mercy (Bending Willow Trilogy, #3)

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