Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Stalking Season (Smoky Mountain Secrets)

Title:  Stalking Season (Smoky Mountain Secrets)
Author:  Sandra Robbins
Pages:  224
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Love Inspired Suspense
My rating is 5 stars.
In A Killer’s Sights is also part of the Smoky Mountain series for those who like to know if there are other novels in a series like I do.  As I read Stalking Season, it quickly became apparent the affects the stalker was having on the main character, Cheyenne Cassidy.  Cheyenne is a trick rider on horses and recently lost her parents in a car accident, or was it really an accident?  Cheyenne is now employed by Bill Johnson’s Smoky Mountain Wild West Christmas Show along with her trained horse named Patches.
However, before the first show, the stalker makes his presence known while Cheyenne is in a store scaring the daylights out of her.  When she runs out of the store, she is hit by a police car.  From this point forward, the police and Cheyenne are trying to figure out who is stalking her.  The only clue they have is that he calls himself Jesse.  The way Cheyenne met him adds tension to the novel as well as drawing readers into attempting to figure out who the man is and his real name!
I would recommend reading the first book in the series as a couple of characters from In a Killer’s Sight also appear in Stalking Season.  These are great stories filled with tension, suspense, and a little bit of romance to top it all off!  Kudos to the author for writing such fascinating novels!











Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Christmas Target

Title:  The Christmas Target
Author:  Shirley McCoy
Pages:  217
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Love Inspired
My rating is 4 stars.
Stella Silverstone is a young widow who has moved in with her grandmother to take care of her after the death of her grandfather.  Her grandmother suffers from Alzheimer’s and is becoming more and more forgetful.  Stella has been assigned duties from her hostage rescue unit that she can perform from home temporarily.  However, one night she wakes up to find her grandmother has left the house in December without a coat.  While looking for her grandmother, Stella is attacked and left unconscious in the woods.  She survives the attack, but is the assailant really after her or did he harm her grandmother too?
Chance Miller, who is in charge of the hostage rescue team as well as Stella’s ex-boyfriend, arrives at Stella’s home only to find the back door open on a snowy night.  He rescues Stella and her grandmother, but he soon discovers they are targets.  The attacks occur again and again, but the attacker eludes capture.  What is he after?  Who is he after and why?  Stella and Chance still have feelings for one another, but in the past Stella was too afraid to risk her heart and losing Chance so she walked away from their relationship.  Chance won’t force a relationship, but as he spends more time with Stella trying to discover the identity of her assailant he realizes he wants more than a co-worker relationship.

These books are sure a great way to spend a couple of hours of an afternoon!  The action starts quick, the plot takes off and there is no drag time in the story.  They are easy to read and to get involved in.  In this story, Chance is such a steadfast presence in Stella’s life.  Even though he gives her space, he isn’t going to leave her life completely.  He knows they are perfect for each other; all he has to do is wait for her to realize it.  The internal struggle Stella has had for many years leads her to a life of loneliness, pushing away anyone who tries to get close to her for fear of losing them.  She and Chance have God in their lives, but can she trust Him to bring good out of her situation?

Monday, November 28, 2016

Christmas Undercover (Echo Mountain)

Title:  Christmas Undercover (Echo Mountain)
Author:  Hope White
Pages:  224
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Love Inspired Suspense
My rating is 5 stars.
Will Rankin is a volunteer with the local search and rescue team.  He is out hiking one morning, trying to have quiet time with the Lord when he discovers an unconscious woman.  Upon rousing her, she socks him in the nose, giving him two black eyes and a bloody nose!  He realizes at once that she is scared and doesn’t trust him.  She keeps him at a distance even as he tries his best to help her with her injuries.  Soon he hears her story and understands why she fears for her life.  He makes a connection with her and wonders if she feels the same.  It happened so quickly he can’t understand his strong feelings for her.
Sara Vaughn is an undercover FBI agent.  She is working on a case that her boss told her to forget about, giving her a leave of absence.  Since she is on her own time, she decides to continue investigating the case on her own because she just knows she is right; all she needs is proof.  She gets her proof, but it might cost her big time.  In fact, it might cost this agent her very life!  She wants to trust Will as he makes her feel safe and protected, but is he one of the bad guys out to get her?  He is unbelievably good natured toward her when she is anything but nice.  She will have to make a choice to trust him or not.  Will she do so before the men responsible for her fall find them?
I really enjoyed the dynamics between these two characters.  Will has such a loving, generous and compassionate nature and is willing to show it.  Sara is tenacious, but vulnerable.  In the face of Will’s faith, Sara must confront her fears from the past.  He lives his faith daily and she sees this is what makes him the man he is.  This book is a great way to spend an afternoon inside in the comfort of the cool air-conditioning!

Disclosure of Material Connection:  The above is my opinion only.  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.”

Sunday, November 27, 2016

My Sister’s Prayer (Cousins of the Dove #2)

Title:  My Sister’s Prayer (Cousins of the Dove #2)
Author:  Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould
Pages:  366
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Harvest House Publishers
My rating is 5 stars.
Celeste Talbot is in love.  She leaves her family in England in stealth to meet her betrothed in the colony of Williamsburg in the year 1704.  He is a British soldier and has already left for the colonies, leaving Celeste to make her way on the next ship.  What Celeste doesn’t know is that her younger sister, Berta, is on the same ship!  After a rough sea voyage in which Berta almost dies, they arrive in the colonies.  However, in order to pay for their voyage, both women have had to sign indentured servant contracts.  The intent is for Celeste’s betrothed to buy her contract, destroy it and then marry.  When the women arrive in Williamsburg, they quickly discover Celeste’s fiancĂ© doesn’t have the money to buy their contracts, so they are forced to work as servants.  Celeste faces many more trials and comes to depend on Spenser Rawling, who is an apprentice to a local carpenter.
Maddee Talbot and her younger sister Nicole have grown apart in recent years.  Nicole has chosen a path of drugs.  Maddee is a perfectionist.  Nicole is in a serious car accident and comes to recuperate at Grandmother Talbot’s home.  Grandmother is very wealthy and she has certain ideas about how things should be.  She hires an attractive physical therapist, Greg, to work one-on-one with Nicole.  Nicole is going crazy at her grandmother’s and begs her sister to let her finish her recuperation at Maddee’s house.  Maddee agrees as she longs to be close to her sister once again.  They also have some old letters from their Talbot ancestors to read, as well as try to make headway on the almost twenty year mystery brought to light over the summer (and covered in book one in the series).  There are two strange men hanging around Maddee’s house.  Nicole comes to depend on Greg as he helps Nicole recover.

I thought the parallels between the two sets of sisters and their respective romances were creative.  I would recommend reading book one in the series, My Brother’s Crown, first as it lays the groundwork for the present day portions of each book.  I liked the use of flashback to the Talbots Huguenot heritage.  I also appreciated that both elder sisters in the past and the present relied on God and His will, even though they made mistakes and poor choices as we are all prone to do from time to time.  Seeing both of the younger sisters realize their poor choices and maturing was also encouraging to read about.  The third book in the series, My Daughter’s Legacy, will be set in the present with flashbacks to the Civil War time period and I can’t wait to read that one!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Her Holiday Protector

Title:  Her Holiday Protector (Men of Millbrook Lake)
Author:  Lenora Worth
Pages:  221
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Love Inspired Suspense
My rating is 3 stars.
Rikki Allen arrives at her home to find her best friend dead.  She runs screaming from her home directly into police detective Blain Kent.  Blain searches her home, but doesn’t find the murderer.  An investigation begins and both Blain and Rikki soon discover that each has been keeping a secret from the other.  Blain doesn’t want to be like his father, also a policeman, who kowtowed to the wealthy Alvanetti family.  Blain has it in for this family and won’t back down if he ever comes across them doing something illegal.  The Alvanetti family deals in imports and exports and has made a bundle of money.  Blain thinks most of it has been made illegally.
Rikki has a connection to the Alvanetti family and knows their reputation around town.  She left town years ago to escape being connected to them.  She has returned now to help her ailing mother.  Rikki soon finds out Blain’s attitude toward the Alvanettis and wonders if she will get an impartial investigation into her best friend’s death.  She also learns that her own life may now be in danger.  Blain wants her protected as he is drawn to her, even though he knows she is hiding something.  Blain just knows there is something more to this investigation than what appears on the surface and he is determined to find all the answers.
First off, I don’t consider three stars a critical review as some websites do.  I consider it average…not great, but not terrible.  I just couldn’t connect with the two main characters in this book for some reason.  This is just one of those books for me that was just okay.  There were some tense moments, but the focus of most of the story seemed to me to be more on the family dynamics/relationships.  I found the book somewhat interesting and don’t feel I wasted my time reading it at all.  I hope to read another story by this author to get more familiar with her writing style.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  The above represents my opinion only.  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.”

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Death of the Couch Potato’s Wife

Title:  Death of the Couch Potato’s Wife
Author:  Christy Barritt
Pages:  288
Year:  2012
Publisher:  Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
My rating is 5 stars.
Christy Barritt wove a murder mystery in a small town called Boring in Indiana with some pretty interesting if not funny characters.  The main characters are a married couple Kent and Laura Berry who moved to a small town in order to see Kent’s dream of owning a pharmacy become a reality.  Laura originally worked for a PR firm in Chicago, but left under less than stellar reasons.  Now Laura is going through culture shock!  Not only is she trying to get used to being a housewife, but she has to contend with the slower paced lifestyle.
One of the neighbors who quickly befriends her is a senior lady named Babe who doesn’t act or talk her age; she is really the comic relief in the novel.  Babe has some oddities or sayings that will just make you laugh as you read the book; I sure had some good laughs.  Babe is the lady who pushes Laura to do things she never imagined doing like becoming an amateur sleuth when they both discover a neighbor  in her house dead on her couch, hence the title of the book.
Laura most of the time along with Babe interacts with curious neighbors who are anything but “normal”.  Each time I would read how Laura would describe a neighbor or deduce what they might be doing then find out the truth was a lot of fun!  On top of this, Laura really is wondering about the state of her marriage, what her husband is up to and the neighborhood’s association president who tends to drive everybody crazy.
However, there is a killer on the loose and Laura is quickly running out of suspects!  Wait to read about what happens on the night of the Super Bowl!  Read and enjoy the novel as it sure was great to laugh and watch how quirky neighbors might just end up good friends!

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.” 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Buy a mystery and help feed a community! By Amanda Flower




Buy a mystery and help feed a community!
By Amanda Flower

Six years, twenty published books. It’s a staggering statistic for any author, and it’s still hard to believe that it’s mine. I’m living my version of a fairy tale. I’ve been lucky. I’ve been blessed. I’ve worked incredibly hard. But I wouldn’t be where I am without the kindness of others. My agent, my family, my friends, my editors, and my readers have all been on this incredible journey with me, and in honor of all those people, in honor of you, I’m giving back to a local food pantry with the release of my twentieth novel, Prose and Cons. I hope you will join me!

Pre-order or purchase any edition of Prose and Cons, the second novel in the Magical Bookshop Mystery Series, between now and Tuesday, December 20, 2016, and I will donate $1 for every book sold to a local food pantry, The Landing, located in Akron, Ohio.

My brother and sister-in-law, Andrew and Nicole Flower, manage the Landing in the basement ofAkron Christian Reformed Church with a group of dedicated volunteers. The food pantry feeds over sixty families in its neighborhood on $200 a week.


The Learned Owl will donate $1 to the Landing food pantry for every copy of Prose and Consit sells before or at my book signing there on December 10th in addition to the $1 that I will donating to the Landing for every copy of Prose and Cons sold by any bookseller by December 20th.For those of you who cannot make the signing, the Learned Owl is also selling PERSONALIZED AND SIGNED copies on the novel. They can ship anywhere.

PROSE AND CONS
RELEASE DECEMBER 6, 2016

Buy a mystery and help feed a community! And as always thank you for reading! I hopeProse and Consbrings a smile to your face.

Enter to win one of four $25 gift cards to Barnes and Nobel or Amazon. Winner’s choice. Visit http://www.amandaflower.com/giveaways.html to enter!

*****
Amanda Flower, a national bestselling and Agatha Award winning mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. She also writes mysteries as USA Today bestselling author Isabella Alan. In addition to being an author, Amanda is librarian in Northeast Ohio.

Follow Amanda on Social Media at: Facebook Twitter Instagram

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Christmas Conspiracy (First Responders #6)

Title:  Christmas Conspiracy (First Responders #6)
Author:Susan Sleeman
Pages:219
Year:2016
Publisher: Love Inspired
My rating is4 stars.
Jake Marsh is a member of the First Responders Team, a law enforcement team specially equipped to deal with hostage situations, bombs/explosives and investigations.  They respond to a 911 call at a child day care center after the report of a masked man seen entering the facility.  They find the center’s director unconscious.  After recovering, the director, Rachael Long, can’t remember what her attacker looked like.  She remembers pulling off his mask, but that is all.
As the investigation gets underway, Rachael knows she is a suspect.  She doesn’t like it as she would never harm anyone let alone a child.  She soon realizes her attacker knows where she lives and doesn’t know she can’t remember what he looks like as he threatens her with increasing violent threats.  Jake takes her into protective custody for her own safety.  It becomes obvious that Rachael isn’t involved with her attacker, but the attacker seems to know a lot about Rachael.  Jake feels protective toward Rachael and wants her safe at all costs.  Rachael and Jake admit they have feelings for each other, but each has vowed to remain single for guilt-induced reasons, tying them to the past.

Here is another way to spend an exciting afternoon!  There is plenty of tension, suspense and drama packed into this little book.  Jake and Rachael have both fallen in the habit of giving their all for everyone else and denying themselves.  They have both dedicated their lives to helping people in dangerous or poor conditions.  Rachael’s faith has remained steadfast while Jake’s has not seen much use lately.  When the situation involves the heart, will they each trust God completely?  This is another easy gift for the Christmas season that will be sure to please.

COLTS vs Titans (CBS) @ 1 pm


                                    VS


Friday, November 18, 2016

Trust My Heart

Title:  Trust My Heart
Author:Carol J. Post
Pages:272
Year:2016
Publisher: Waterfall Press
My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.
Carol’s writing is one that draws the reader into a book heart, mind and soul.  The characters are crafted so well that they seem real instead of fictitious. The real issues in the story can be easily viewed in real peoples’ lives.  So, when I started the book, I didn’t stop until I completely finished it. I was so touched by the story.  Why?  The novel is telling a story of two characters that have experienced very deep heartaches and broken dreams in their lives.  Now, they meet when Grant comes to take care of his grandmother’s estate and Jami is a brand new reporter sent to interview the mysterious McAllister grandson.
What comes about is a story of friendship, broken hearts and dreams, misunderstandings, friendship and a desire by Grant to see real Christianity lived out by others.  Grant’s view of faith and religion comes from a deep hurt in his past.  Jami is one lady who shows him that real Christians are right in front of him.  Throughout the story there are many colorful and sometimes funny characters that make the book fun to read.
I have read other books by Carol J Post and it’s evident to me that she writes with her heart and faith.  The story bears out that hearts don’t heal overnight, that it takes time and the Lord to bring healing.  I loved how Jami’s character believed it was important to be who she was and true to her word even when faced with a situation or two where she could have compromised.  In the world of fiction, the author can craft a story that entertains, causes readers to feel as if they are right there and challenge readers too. The author accomplishes this feat very well.  I really hope many will read this novel, enjoy it and then share with others this good story!

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, November 17, 2016

Newton & Polly, A Novel of Amazing Grace

Title:  Newton & Polly, A Novel of Amazing Grace
Author:  Jody Hedlund
Pages:  392
Year:  2016
Publisher:  WaterBrook Press
My rating is 5 stars.
This is the fictional account of the early life of John Newton, the author of the hymn Amazing Grace.  The story mostly takes place in a small shipping town called Chatham, England in the 1740s.  John Newton is 17 years old and traveling back to accept a position his father has obtained for him to take a ship to a Jamaican plantation where he will work and oversee things for the plantation owner for the next five years.  On his way back, he decides to stop and visit his mother’s cousin whom he has recently received a letter from.  While there, he is introduced to his cousin’s daughter Polly Catlett and is immediately drawn to her.  She is a young teenager of 15, but seems to feel the same attraction.  He decides he doesn’t want the job his father has arranged for him because he doesn’t want to spend five years away from Polly.  He just knows she is the one for him.
As events unfold, John makes several poor choices that lead to his being forced to leave Chatham and the woman he loves.  She is devastated as well, but her father has told her that John doesn’t have the character of a husband that her father wants for Polly.  Polly agrees that John struggles with his faith and responsibility, but she still loves him.  As months pass, Polly tries her best to forget John and go on with her life.  Years pass when she receives an unexpected visitor…John’s father.  He has come to her parents’ home to tell them that John is alive and a changed man.  Can Polly give him another chance?  Is John really changed or is he just putting on an act to please their parents?  If he really has changed, how has this change manifested itself?

This is a fantastic story!  I couldn’t put it down.  This is one of my favorite genres as I learn about history as well as get to enjoy a good romance!  The author’s note following the story is very interesting and I liked reading about what was real in the story and what was fiction.  I never knew the story of young John Newton and how his life was changed and how he lived out the rest of his life after his change.  The scenes at sea put me right there on the ship with John.  His realization of how God had saved him over and over again in his life and God’s love for even a sinner like him brought tears to my eyes.  Don’t miss another wonderful story by Jody Hedlund!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

My Brother’s Keeper (Christians Who Risked All to Protect Jewish Targets of the Nazi Holocaust)

Title:  My Brother’s Keeper (Christians Who Risked All to Protect Jewish Targets of the Nazi Holocaust)
Author:Rod Gragg
Pages:352
Year: 2016
Publisher: Center Street
My rating is 5+ stars.
Many books have shared the courage and cost of the many people who risked all to help Jewish people live amidst an evil rapidly advancing across the land.  Corrie Ten Boom and her family are one of many who I have read about that includes her biography and testimony regarding her time in a concentration camp.  Here is a book with each chapter having 3-5 pages about various individuals who risked so much to save lives and never considered doing it for self-aggrandizement.
In each chapter, I read about an individual who stood up sometimes face-to-face with evil people in order to save children and others if possible.  The tighter the Nazi regime got and the harsher they became towards the Jewish people and anyone helping them, these individual people still continued to devise ways to save lives.
The book doesn’t include a lot of the horrible descriptions of what people endured or died from; it focuses more on the individual actions and ways God used them to save His people.  Maybe others can read through a book like this in one sitting.  For me, I could read a couple of chapters and then I needed to take a break.  Our generation and future generations need to read a book like this so that many can be inspired to look to others’ welfare instead of our own.
While we don’t have WWII going on or Nazi regimes, there are many things today in which we can pull together and help others.  Read this book and remember Hebrews 12:1 because the author describes “a great cloud of witnesses”.  I pray you give this book to many people of all ages so that we never forget these actions, to inspire others to walk in the path of being willing to look and reach a hand out to help whomever God puts in their path!

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.”

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Remnant

Title:  The Remnant
Author: Monte Wolverton
Pages:272
Year: 2016
Publisher: Plain Truth Ministries Worldwide
My rating is4 stars.
The Remnant is a work of fiction set in a time of world confusion after all religion is banned and people unwilling to follow the “Federation” rules are moved to areas known as safe zones.  Basically, all their needs are provided for, but it is still like a prison nonetheless.  Grant is a 3rd generation geologist who is seeking the fellowship of other Christians in the area outside the safe zones known as The Wilderness.  When he and his family escape along with a few friends their journey is just beginning.
I have to say at times as I read I wasn’t sure exactly what the point of the story was or where it was heading. Maybe that was the design of the author.  The novel is futuristic and dystopian in nature; yet, it has the flavor of a mystery seeking an answer to the question “what if?”  As the small group encounters various people groups with their beliefs and no one owning a Bible at this time, it is amazing to see what might happen to society in general.
The ending surprised me the most as it leaves room for a possible sequel.  The novel is different from anything I have read recently and that can be good.  I enjoy being an eclectic reader.  The Remnant is a good story with some good insights into Christianity, along with the way many people interact with people of other faiths.  At times it seemed like a character or two was cynical or was quickly captivated by what they experienced.  At the end of the book, the author invites readers to leave comments or ideas on a facebook page that might be used in future books.  Either way it was interesting to see how characters responded to a society without any organized religion or a single copy of God’s Word. For me, I am glad to have the freedom to read the Bible, study and worship alone or with others!

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.”

Monday, November 14, 2016

First Freedom (The Beginning & The End of Religious Liberty)

Title:  First Freedom (The Beginning & The End of Religious Liberty)
Author: Jason G. Duesing, Thomas White and Malcolm B. Yarnell III
Pages: 288
Year: 2016
Publisher: B & H Academic
My rating is 4 out of 5 stars.
When I started reading the book I wasn’t aware that it focused on religious liberty from a Baptist point of view.  I wasn’t raised Baptist however there is much I gleaned from the book, so matter your denominational background or practice here is a book which should be in a personal library in homes across America.  Now why would I suggest such an investment? There are several reasons for my suggestion.
One, here is a book which clearly and precisely lays out a historical legacy of beliefs for religious freedom here in the states and why.  Second, the essays also point out theological reasoning for sharing the gospel in a noncoercive manner.  Third, the authors of the essays lay out how contemporary issues are affecting religious freedom in this nation today.
I found myself challenged once again to be able to lay before others the reason for the hope which I have because of Christ.  I found statements made which caused me to pause and consider what the essays were putting forth regardless of whether I agreed with everything or not.  Once again it reminds us as Christians that it is our duty to share the gospel with others while reminding us that we all have free will.  God gave mankind free will and He has never revoked that decision, therefore we shouldn’t try to coerce others to believe too.  Share the gospel the hope that is within you and then if the person wishes not to listen then stop. When you come across another individual share again and if they desire to listen or discuss beliefs with you then loving show them why you believe what you believe.
In a world where access to information is instantaneous learning takes time, commitment and sacrifice.  Personally I love learning, reading and studying.  I do have a personal conviction to do so until my last breath.  As God leads me to share then that is what I do and I want to do it in a manner which invites discussion, and a yearning to know Jesus.  I don’t always share it correctly or with grace but I am grateful that the Lord is teaching me how to do so with each new day.

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.”

End of the Roadie (A Mystery for D.I. Costello #3)

Title:  End of the Roadie (A Mystery for D.I. Costello #3)
Author:  Elizabeth Flynn
Pages:  304
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Lion Fiction
My rating is 4 stars.
Detective Inspector Angela Costello has a new case to solve.  A roadie on tour with superstar singer Brendan Phelan has been shot and killed in a back alley outside the venue of the latest concert with Brendan standing near the body.  Angela and her team quickly discover that the victim, Oliver Joplin, was not the best roadie as far as his work ethic; yet, his name repeatedly appeared on the hire sheet for each concert tour.  Why?  She also learns that Oliver was not friends with any of his co-workers; he was a loner with the exception of intermittent conversations involving Brendan.
Angela repeatedly questions those present at the concert hall and discovers a ticket scalping scheme in addition to one of the suspects being blackmailed.  Was Oliver really the intended victim or is someone trying to kill Brendan?  If Oliver was the intended victim, who cared enough about him and what he was doing to kill him?  The clues will keep readers guessing right up until the very end!
If you like British mysteries, then you will want to read this one.  It starts off slow, but don’t give up.  I initially had a difficult time getting involved in the story, but I kept reading and I’m glad I did.  The story does pick up and I was able to really revel in the comradery among all the various constables and inspector investigating the crime.  They were like a family.  The patience involved in solving this crime was enormous, going back again and again to question suspects.  I haven’t read the first two books in the series, but I don’t think that affected my ability to enjoy the mystery too much.  The writing was crisp and made the story nearly effortless to read.

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.”

Sunday, November 13, 2016

A Fantasy sure to engage the youth!

Dark Harbor by Cristy Barrett

Title:  Dark Harbor
Author:  Christy Barritt
Pages:  218
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Love Inspired Suspense
My rating is 5 stars.
I love these quick stories of suspense and intrigue!  They don’t waste any time getting right to the action!  This story is set in a picturesque town on the eastern seaboard of Maryland.  Police Chief Zach Davis and reporter Madelyn Sawyer are to the two main characters.
Madelyn has been sent to Waterman’s Reach to investigate Zach Davis.  Her editor tells her that this will be the story that will “make” her journalistic career.  Madelyn has turned her back on God after the death of her parents in a car accident where a policeman was chasing a criminal and rammed into her parents’ car, killing her parents instantly.  Madelyn has since focused on her career and not much else.  If she can prove Zach is involved with a drug ring, then she will have the story of a life time.  As she gets to know Zach, she waffles back and forth between believing him guilty and then innocent.  Before her investigation even begins, she is threatened and told to leave town.  As the threats increase in severity, she wonders if Zach is behind them.
Zach Davis is conducting an investigation of his own, trying to trace the origin of a drug ring that cost him everything when he was a cop in Baltimore.  The only thing that got him through that terrible time was in faith in God.  He now has a reporter on his hands who is being threatened and assaulted at least once a day.  He admires Madelyn’s spunk and courage in not being bullied into leaving town, but the attacks on her are becoming more and more dangerous.  Is a story for her company worth the cost of her life?  How far will Madelyn go to get a story?
I was hooked on this story from page one on!  Just when I thought nothing more could happen to Madelyn, she is subjected to yet another attack.  I was flipping the pages as quickly as possible so I could discover what would happen between Zach and Madelyn as well as to find out about the drug ring.  The chapters are short to encourage a brisk pace to the story.  I liked seeing Zach’s faith in action.

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.” 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Christmas Conspiracy (First Responders #6)

Title:  Christmas Conspiracy (First Responders #6)
Author:Susan Sleeman
Pages:219
Year:2016
Publisher: Love Inspired
My rating is4 stars.
Jake Marsh is a member of the First Responders Team, a law enforcement team specially equipped to deal with hostage situations, bombs/explosives and investigations.  They respond to a 911 call at a child day care center after the report of a masked man seen entering the facility.  They find the center’s director unconscious.  After recovering, the director, Rachael Long, can’t remember what her attacker looked like.  She remembers pulling off his mask, but that is all.
As the investigation gets underway, Rachael knows she is a suspect.  She doesn’t like it as she would never harm anyone let alone a child.  She soon realizes her attacker knows where she lives and doesn’t know she can’t remember what he looks like as he threatens her with increasing violent threats.  Jake takes her into protective custody for her own safety.  It becomes obvious that Rachael isn’t involved with her attacker, but the attacker seems to know a lot about Rachael.  Jake feels protective toward Rachael and wants her safe at all costs.  Rachael and Jake admit they have feelings for each other, but each has vowed to remain single for guilt-induced reasons, tying them to the past.

Here is another way to spend an exciting afternoon!  There is plenty of tension, suspense and drama packed into this little book.  Jake and Rachael have both fallen in the habit of giving their all for everyone else and denying themselves.  They have both dedicated their lives to helping people in dangerous or poor conditions.  Rachael’s faith has remained steadfast while Jake’s has not seen much use lately.  When the situation involves the heart, will they each trust God completely?  This is another easy gift for the Christmas season that will be sure to please.

Christmas in Hiding

Title:  Christmas in Hiding
Author:  Cate Nolan
Pages:  221
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Love Inspired Suspense
My rating is 4 stars.
Callie Martin has been placed in the Witness Protection Program after witnessing the murder of her ex-boyfriend during a drug deal gone bad when undercover police arrive at the scene.  She had no knowledge of her ex-boyfriend’s drug connections, but these drug dealers are after her anyway.  They will stop at nothing to take her out in order to stop the trial of the offenders who were caught during the raid.  Callie has been relocated to New York and has been there a few months when her cover is blown.  Her handler is injured so a new Federal Marshal is assigned to her, Jackson Walker.
Jackson Walker is familiar with Callie’s case and knows it is his job to protect her at all costs so she can testify.  What he doesn’t count on is being immediately attracted to Callie and having their whereabouts discovered time and again by the gang of thugs sent to silence Callie.  He has a hard time believing Callie knew nothing of her boyfriend’s drug dealing and is suspicious of Callie.  Over time, he watches her rely on God again and again.  He starts to think that maybe she really is innocent.  He also wonders how the gang is finding them.  Is there a mole in the marshals’ program?
I liked Callie’s optimism and reliance on God shown repeatedly in this story.  What a great life example for Jackson!  There was plenty of action, tension and excitement in the story.  I also like Jackson’s protectiveness and wanting to give Callie happiness during her favorite holiday.  This would be a great one to read on a long car drive or in a shady spot on a warm afternoon.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  The above represents my opinion only.  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, November 10, 2016

Classified Christmas Mission (Wrangler’s Corner #4)

Title:  Classified Christmas Mission (Wrangler’s Corner #4)
Author:Lynette Eason
Pages:221
Year:2016
Publisher: Love Inspired
My rating is4 stars.
Amber Starke is on the run for her very life.  She has been working undercover for the CIA as a nanny for her best friend, Nadia, who has been feeding her information on her criminal husband.  Her friend also has a 6-year-old autistic son, Sam, to whom Amber has been given full custody right should anything happen to Nadia.  Nadia is murdered, so Amber grabs Sam and goes on the run.  She must return home to gather her emergency funds and passports so they can disappear forever.  However, the evil men sent by Nadia’s husband track them down before they can get there and the struggle to stay alive begins in earnest.  Amber’s faith has been lax over the last few years and with the death of her best friend she is angry with God.  Can she turn to God and trust in His provision or will she try to do it all on her own?
Lance Goode is a deputy with Wrangler’s Corner law enforcement.  On this snowy night, he is on his way for fellowship with his good friends the Starke brothers.  He passes two cars driving much too fast for the weather conditions and could have sworn the driver of the first car was Amber Starke.  What is she doing here?  She hasn’t been home hardly at all over the past few years, so why is she here now?  Was that someone chasing her?  Lance turns around to see if it is in fact Amber and if she needs his help.  He soon discovers her and Sam, gets them to safety and learns of the danger they are experiencing.  His natural instinct is to protect, so he joins them in their battle, which includes shoot-outs, hiking to a cave in a snowstorm, kidnapping from a hospital and much more.  Lance trusts God has brought Amber and Sam into his life for a purpose.

There is never a dull moment in these suspenseful books!  This one starts from the very first paragraph with a tense car chase.  I like how the faith theme is presented in these books as a part of the character’s everyday life, not just a Sunday trait.  For those interested, the other three books in this series are titled, The Lawman Returns, Rodeo Rescuer and Protecting Her Daughter, respectively.  These books would make great stocking stuffers!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

School House Rock -The Preamble

Not A Word



Title:  Not a Word
Author:Stephanie Black
Pages:272
Year:2016
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.
My rating is4 stars.
Natalie Marsh is a psychologist.  Her father died several years ago after divorcing her mother.  Her mother died two years ago.  Natalie and her mother were estranged as her mother had mental problems and thought Natalie was trying to have her committed.  Her mother was wealthy and cut Natalie completely out of her will, leaving everything to Natalie’s sister, Andrea.  Natalie has coped with this rejection as well as she can, but it still hurts.  She and her best friend Camille have shared a close friendship since grade school.  Camille tells Natalie she thinks someone is stalking her, but Natalie convinces her that she is under a lot of stress and maybe these things that are happening are just coincidences.
Natalie has a new patient with lots of emotional issues and maybe some mental ones as well.  Lacey is under the thumb of her husband, but sees herself as too weak to do anything about it.  She is only seeing Natalie because her husband has forced her to due to lack of sleep, appetite and her artistic work is suffering.  She also has a big secret she is keeping from everyone, including Natalie.
Natalie also is concerned about a friend from her childhood who was like a second mother to her.  Felicia took Natalie under her wing as a young girl and took care of her when her own mother was having mental problems.  Felicia’s husband has died suddenly and she is grieving.  Felicia’s stepson, Gideon, contacts Natalie as he is worried about his stepmom.  Natalie also agrees that Felicia is acting like her normal self, but has no idea that Felicia believes her husband was murdered and that he didn’t die in an accidental fall.  Gideon and Natalie begin to talk about how to help Felicia.  As they take steps to get questions answered and the get closer to the truth, danger leaps to the forefront.
For the first 3-4 chapters I felt kind of lost as to the relationships between the various characters in the book.  I felt like I was reading a sequel as there wasn’t much background information provided.  However, I continued to read and I’m glad that I did as this turned out to be quite an entertaining story.  There is a twist at the end that I didn’t see coming, which made the book that much more enjoyable for me.  As I continued reading, I began to understand more about the characters’ personalities.  There was great tension, building to a peak at the end.  This is my first time reading this author, but it won’t be the last!  I would recommend this book to those mystery/suspense lovers, and I hope to read more from this author in the future.

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.”

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Out of the Frying Pan (A Cozy little romance…with murder on the side)

Title:  Out of the Frying Pan (A Cozy little romance…with murder on the side)
Author: Michelle Griep
Pages:276
Year:2016
Publisher: Bling!
My rating is 5+stars!
What a novel!  From the beginning, I was captivated by these two elderly ladies who lived in a senior community and loved nothing more than being in other people’s business.  The ladies are related by marriage; both of them are widowed.  They have vastly opposite personalities and drive each other crazy, but they love each other dearly!  Fern seems to be the serious one of the two and wakes up it seems each day on the wrong side of the bed so to speak.  Zula loves to cook, get fake flowers after they are discarded in a dumpster behind a florist shop and drives Fern crazy.  These two characters that are so hilarious throughout the book that many times I would just burst out laughing!
Amid the laughter is something sinister going on in the community and these two are bound and determined to figure it out.Plus, they are into each other’s dating interests and want to get their niece Kathryn married to the detective who is handling a murder case that came up in their senior community dining room kitchen. What Fern and Zula don’t know is that their niece is coming to take care of them after they tell her about the incident.  From the beginning of the book all the way till the end, is a very well-crafted mystery with some surprise turn of events that will take readers on an adventure they won’t soon forget.
I really enjoyed this book as it balanced the mystery aspect with a great dose of humor that presents a tale that is sure to entertain.  These two ladies in the story are really funny and almost lifelike.  There is also romance, action and adventure you won’t want to miss by not reading this novel! Please read and enjoy the book for yourself and then give a copy to those who love to laugh and enjoy a great story!

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.”

Monday, November 7, 2016

The Prince Warriors and the Unseen Invasion II

Title: The Prince Warriors and the Unseen Invasion II
Author:Priscilla Shirer
Pages:288
Year:2016
Publisher:B & H Kids
My rating is 5 stars.
 The Unseen Invasion is the sequel to The Prince Warriors and it continues the adventures of a group of friends in their battle against the evil Poneros who seeks to take over Ahoratos and earth and enslave all of mankind. Poneros is angry with the Prince Warriors for defeating his forces in the first book and seeks revenge against them. In the story, the kids face new challenges and obstacles as they prepare for an invasion of earth by Poneros. Along the way they meet new characters and learn new lessons about standing firm, having faith, and the consequences of making the wrong decisions. Join Xavier, Evan, Brianna, Levi, Manuel and a whole new set of characters in this fantasy story of spiritual warfare.
I would recommend this book to others for the lessons it gives on faith, trust, and not letting ourselves be deceived as well as for its action and unforgettable characters with each bringing something special to the story. One of the things I like about the story is how the author puts in the part of the story about whatever happens in Ahoratos affects what happens on earth. How we live our lives spiritually affects our day-to-day lives just as the way we live and the choices we make can affect our spiritual lives.  Also, the point that we need to rely on God, realize that we are not alone and that there is a plan for each of us even if we don’t understand what it is.
Coming soon is Prince Warriors book 3: The Swords of Rhema and the 365 devotional book Unseen: The Prince Warriors 365 Devotional.  Have a good day and God bless!

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.”

Magnolia Moonlight (Secrets of the South Mysteries #3)

Title:  Magnolia Moonlight (Secrets of the South Mysteries #3)
Author:Mary Ellis
Pages:349
Year:2016
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
My rating is 4 stars.
Book three in the series takes place approximately two years after books two in the series, What Happened on Beale Street.  Isabelle and Nate are now married, but have been saving for a house so they haven’t taken a honeymoon yet.  Coworkers, friends and family pool their resources and send them on a honeymoon.  Nate leaves Price Investigations in the hands of his employee, Beth Kirby and new trainee Michael Preston.  While there, Isabelle thinks she sees her ex-husband walking out of a casino.  He had a gambling addiction in the past, which led to the downfall of their marriage.  He has remarried and joined Gamblers’ Anonymous, so why is he walking out of a casino?  Has he succumbed to his addiction again?  This leads Isabelle and Nate on a mystery as her ex is adamant that his new wife, whom he has left at home, Isabelle and Nate are in danger.
Beth Kirby is an ex-policewoman who left the force due to a romantic crush on her boss.  Some of the other uniforms in the precinct thought she got her promotion to detective due to this relationship.  She resigned and became a private investigator.  She now works for Nate Price.  She is given the task of training Michael, who is a whiz at computer stuff, but has no hands-on training at working an investigation.  A local pastor is found dead and the investigating police office, Beth’s former partner at the precinct, views the death as a suicide.  The victim’s wife refuses to believe that and comes to Beth, asking her to take on the investigation to prove the victim was murdered.  Beth does find some incongruities, but isn’t wild about having Michael tag along during her interviews.  The two soon develop a tentative rapport while they continue to follow some missing money that everyone thinks the victim stole and that he killed himself because he couldn’t live with what he had done.  Beth and Michael hope to find evidence and recover the money before it disappears forever.

I really liked that this book had two mysteries going on at the same time.  I also the interplay between Beth and Michael; I hope that a romance between those two is on the horizon.  I also like reading about the cuisine and geography of the southern U.S.  The message of faith is also evident in this story as well, which I greatly appreciate!  There is a fourth book planned for this series titled, Sunset in Old Savannah.  There is no release date yet, but I’ll be reading it once it is released.  I have enjoyed this series so far and have enjoyed getting to know the characters better with each installment.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Another Day Another Dali (Serena Jones Mystery #2)

Title:  Another Day Another Dali (Serena Jones Mystery #2)
Author:Sandra Orchard
Pages:336
Year:2016
Publisher: Revell
My rating is4 stars.
Serena Jones is working two cases of art theft in this mystery.  She goes undercover as a British hippy named Sara to try to discover the identity of an art forger.  She plays her mentor, Tanner’s, girlfriend while he investigates the Russian mafia.  She is also the maid of honor at her best friend Zoe’s wedding and is coerced into going bridesmaid dressing shopping.  Her Nana expects her to solve the mysterious disappearance of one of her friend’s paintings in record time.  So Serena has no pressure in life, right?  On top of that, she has two men in her life that she says are just friends, but every time she is with one or the other, she feels attracted to them.  She is confused about this and does her best to put that on the back burner.
As Serena’s search for clues and asking of questions continues, she faces danger around every corner as she is mugged, shot at, unknowingly activates a bomb, and discovers a dead body and much more.  She also discovers her Nana isn’t as anxious as Serena is to reopen her grandfather’s case, but she doesn’t know why.  Her grandmother has always been tight-lipped about that time.  Serena wonders why that is and plans to get to the bottom of things.
First of all, I love the title of the two books in the series so far…very clever!  The titles grabbed my attention and made me curious about the contents of the books.  Aunt Martha is a hoot.  I also find the romantic angle of the story entertaining.  I like the recurring mystery surrounding Serena’s grandfather’s murder.  Serena is slowly gathering pieces of the puzzle of the theft of one of his paintings as well as his murder.  I can’t wait to find out the culprit’s identity!  Another mystery is to be released in the summer of 2017 wherein I’m sure we will learn more about Serena’s romance and her ongoing fight to get justice for her grandfather.

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.”