Monday, February 27, 2017

Murder on the Moor (Drew Farthering Mystery #5)

Title:  Murder on the Moor (Drew Farthering Mystery #5)
Author:  Julianna Deering
Pages:  321
Year:  2017
Publisher:  Bethany House
My rating is 4 stars.
An old school chum of Drew’s, Beaky Bloodworth, arrives on Drew’s doorstep asking for his detective skills in his home village on the moors.  Drew hasn’t had a mystery for quite a while so he and Madeline are up for the case.  They travel to Beaky’s neck of the woods to try and discover who has been causing some odd happenings around the village and on the moors as well as who killed the old vicar.  Soon after their arrival, Beaky receives a letter from his wife’s old governess, who also lives in his village, stating she had something of importance to tell him.  Before he can talk with her she is found murdered.  Now Drew has two murders to solve, and then there is an attempt on Beaky’s life or is it an attempt on his wife’s life?
Drew also encounters mysterious footprints of a massive dog, who the villagers believe is some sort of ghost hound.  He also finds a couple of places that are being used as hideouts or rendezvous places.  Who is meeting whom?  There has been bad blood between Beaky’s family and their next door neighbors for years.  Beaky is trying to mend the rift, but could they be the culprits of these strange goings on?  Are the murders related to the odd incidents?  Drew is on the case with his erstwhile assistant, Nick Dennison.  Madeline also does her part in helping to find clues and solve the crime.
I love the interplay and chemistry between Drew and Madeline!  Their relationship is most satisfying to read about.  This mystery had a great twist at the end that I only had partially figured out.  To me, as an avid mystery reader, keeping me guessing is a great way to keep my interest in the story.  I also really liked Beaky’s character in this story and Drew’s advice/guidance regarding faith toward Delwyn, the gamekeeper.  He talked about God, but he didn’t beat Delwyn over the head with it.  My only negative about this story is that it moved too slow.  There seemed to be too much time spent walking on the moor.  I have read all the books in this series and am anxious already for the next offering from this author’s pen!

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Butcher of Bear Creek (Sidewinders #7)

Title: The Butcher of Bear Creek (Sidewinders #7)
Author:  William W. Johnstone with J. A. Johnstone
Pages:  329
Year:  2013
Publisher:  Pinnacle Books
My rating is 5 out of 5.
On New Year’s Eve, I was searching for a good western to get lost in.  While looking through my Johnstone collection, I choose a Sidewinders book.  I couldn’t put this action-packed, suspense-filled, western/mystery thriller down!  I got pulled into the story from the first page and was really surprised when later in the novel some aspects of the characters’ lives were revealed!
Bo Creel and Scratch Morton were returning to their old stomping grounds after being away for years to find themselves looked upon with dread and suspicion.  All either of them wanted to do was go visit their families on the farms, but the way they were received was anything but inviting.  Bo learns the reason for the looks and unwelcome actions of the townspeople that are due to the fact that Bo is suspected of two murders.
The longtime friends and partners can prove where they were though it would take time and the town is pumped for a hanging.  Bo is a believer in the law, but Scratch is afraid that the town will not wait till proof comes before they take matters into their own hands even though the sheriff swears to protect Bo.  I really found the story very captivating and entertaining.  There were hints of something else happening in the book, but exactly what it was the author cleverly veiled until the right moment!

Scenes were so well-described I could easily picture them in my mind and hear the action happening as if I was there observing.  There are eight novels in the series that can be read in order or as standalones:   Sidewinders, Massacre at Whiskey Flats, Cutthroat Canyon, Mankiller Colorado, Deadwood Gulch, Texas Bloodshed, The Butcher of Bear Creek and finally Bleeding Texas. Choose one or all of them and then settle down to good stories with lots of action, suspense and adventure!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Tidewater Summer

Title:  Tidewater Summer
Author:  Jo Huddleston
Pages:  232
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Winged Publications
My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.
Here is a nice novel with romance, a little bit of danger and lots of beauty in the way the main two characters love each other.  Rose is a teacher at the local junior high school and Frank owns his own business.  Rose had a rough experience with a fiancée and needs time to heal; she believes going to a secluded island will be just the answer.  Frank meets her when he is called to fix the water heater at the house she is staying in for the summer.
I don’t want to spoil the reading by sharing too much more of the novel.  What I can say is that the novel is clean, faith-filled, and shows how giving God our hearts brings healing.  I think Frank’s character by showing patience with Rose while she worked though her heart issue is a picture of loving someone more than oneself.  Rose’s experience with her previous fiancée is unfortunately part of our fallen fleshly nature, but by no means does it make it okay.  The author does a wonderful job of gently showing the ramifications of both harmful behavior of a man towards a woman contrasted with Frank’s loving behavior with Rose.
It only took me a short time to read through the book in one sitting.  If you’re looking for that type of story, here is a good one.  These are the kind of tales that can entertain, reflect God and be read within a short time frame so that they can be shared with others.  Read then share the book as you never know who might be touched in their heart by God via fiction.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Cactus Creek Challenge

Title:  The Cactus Creek Challenge
Author:  Erica Vetsch
Pages:  317
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Shiloh Run Press
My rating is 5 stars.
This story is set in 1888 in the small town of Cactus Creek, Texas.  The four main characters are Ben Wilder, the town’s sheriff; Jenny Hart, bakery owner and operator; Carl Gustafson, livery owner and operator and Cassie Bucknell, schoolteacher.  There are some other characters in the story that are used to flesh out the plot as well.  Ben has always thought of Cassie as a little sister, but she has been in love with him for years.  Will he ever see her as more than a little girl?  Jenny is a widow of an abusive husband and has come to town to escape the rest of his family.  Carl is a widower.  Both have declared they will never marry again.  Will Jenny let her fear rule her life forever?
Each year the town of Cactus Creek has held a challenge for the local men to participate in that would raise funds for a particular town projects.  The winner of the challenge is voted on and the proceeds go to the winner’s particular project.  This year, however, the contest has changed.  Women are allowed to enter for the first time.  Cassie has entered and convinced her friend Jenny to do the same.  The four names of the main characters are drawn from several entries.  After their names are announced, a new twist also is uncovered.  Each contestant has to switch places for one month with another.  So Cassie will now be acting sheriff and Ben will be teaching school.  Jenny will be running the livery while Carl takes care of the bakery.  Let the humor begin!
In addition to the everyday challenges that are encountered by each contestant, a large shipment of gold is due in town while Cassie is in charge.  Ben thinks that since everyone in town and the surrounding area knows Cassie is the sheriff, someone might think this was a good time to steal the gold.  Cassie is determined to finish out her month as sheriff and puts a plan together to protect the gold, but as we all know things don’t always go according to plan.

I loved this book from cover to cover!  There were some truly funny moments, especially involving the 9-year-old twin boys and their antics.  There were also some funny scenes involving each of the four main characters as they had to change places with another during the Challenge.  The sparks that flew between Cassie and Ben were palpable.  Jenny and Carl’s romance was not quite as volatile, but still emerged sweetly and quickly.  This was my first time reading this author and it certainly won’t be the last!  Please pick up a copy of this historical western romance with humor and some suspense; you won’t be disappointed!