Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Hearts of Steel (The Blackstone Legacy #3)


Title:  Hearts of Steel (The Blackstone Legacy #3)

Author:  Elizabeth Camden

Pages:  336

Year:  2023

Publisher:  Bethany House Publishers

My rating is 4 out of 5 stars.

Liam Blackstone is a young man who was kidnapped as a young boy. Liam’s true identity was eventually discovered, and he has been reunited with what is left of his family, his father and mother having preceded him in death. His biological family are the wealthy Blackstones, and they control U.S. Steel. Liam has been given a seat on the board to represent the “working man” as that is what his life experience has been. He longs to be the man he thinks his father wanted him to be, to be a better man. He meets Maggie Molinaro and urges her to fight against the wealthy man trying to cheat her out of what is owed to her. He joins Maggie in an effort to protect her in an escalating battle with a wealthy businessman, who is out to cheat and deceive as many people as possible to make money for himself.

Maggie Molinaro is a young woman who knows what it is like to be poor, without a roof over her head and wondering where her next meal will come from. She lives with her aunt and uncle and quit school at the age of fifteen to help them run their ice cream business. She knows how to do every job in the business from manning a pushcart around town, to making ice cream, to repairing machinery. She saves every penny she can as she vows never to be poor again. When a wealthy man tries to get away without paying a bill for her ice cream, she confronts him in person to get her money. Little does she realize she has painted a target on her back and this man will stop at nothing to see her business fail. Her new friend Liam shows her his tough side, but also his compassion and generosity for his fellow man.

I would have liked to see more of a faith journey in the story. God is mentioned a little or not at all in the first half of the book. There is also a strange, almost religious, practice with Uncle Dino and a twig from an olive tree. However, I did enjoy learning about the beginnings of the ice cream industry. I advise reading the author’s note at the end of the book as it separates fact from fiction. This author does a wonderful job of taking historical fact and weaving it into an enjoyable fictional tale. 

Note:  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.

Monday, February 6, 2023

Dark of Night (Annie Pederson #2)


Title:  Dark of Night (Annie Pederson #2)

Author:  Colleen Coble

Pages:  352

Year:  2023

Publisher:  Thomas Nelson

My rating:  5 out of 5

Annie Pederson is the lead female character whose romantic interest introduces Dr. Jon Dunstan. In the first novel of the series, we get the backdrop of Annie’s story where we learn of her past trauma, and the ongoing search to find her missing sister.

Now, readers get another look at Sarah, Annie’s lost sister, where it seems like Sarah is about to make some bad decisions. Those choices and other life events have rocked Annie’s world. Plus, Annie and other law enforcement officers are trying to locate a missing woman. More intrigue is added to the book as hikers go missing, while searching the forest for clues only more questions arise.

The story switches from the viewpoint of the work and personal life of Annie and her daughter Kylie and the story of Michelle Fraser who is being held against her will in a cabin. The person who brings her food keeps their identity hidden. I kept trying to figure out who may be responsible for the missing Fraser woman and others, but the ending provides a cliffhanger to the third book coming out this summer!

I highly recommend the series for the high suspense and an intriguing story that has multiple layers and great moments of tension. Audiences can read the second book without reading, Edge of Dusk, which starts the series. I think it is better to read the books in order to enjoy the high-octane mystery that still hasn’t been fully resolved. The author did a wonderful job of having subplots in her books with the series having an overarching plot line that carries into the next book.

Break of Day is the final book of the series set to be released on July 4th. Is it really going to be the conclusion to the Annie Pederson series? We’ll have to wait and see. Until then, enjoy Edge of Dust and Dark of Night.

Note:  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Creed of the Mountain Man (Mountain Man #23)


Title:  Creed of the Mountain Man (Mountain Man #23)

Author:  William W. Johnstone

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Pinnacle Books

My rating:  5 out of 5 stars

Whether you have read many, few, or none of the Johnstone books, this is one character that really is exciting to read! I am reading the Mountain Man series in order though when I was first introduced to Johnstone’s work I didn’t know, so I was reading the newest release first. However, I have found that no matter how you read them, the stories are so well written that you can jump in anywhere in the series and not feel like you lost out on something.

In the Creed of the Mountain Man, the author did a good job of including flashbacks to help readers understand the backdrop of Smoke Jensen. Smoke is on his way to the high mountains to bring back some Appaloosa horses to strengthen his current remuda. What Smoke doesn’t know is that there is a war going on where a few wealthy men are attempting to take over an area of land and ranches. They hired a bunch of gunslingers for the job, and the fighting is on!

Smoke befriends a rancher who takes care of him when Smoke is injured in one of the fights. In the book, we see Smoke has his memory wiped and must begin the journey of find out his identity. One of the strengths of the story is meeting the men who knew Smoke, his background and help him remember his past as well as the present. The other part I enjoyed was how the author uses dreams to help Smoke ‘Kirby” Jensen remember how his reputation was born.

There are other novels in the Johnstone genre where Smoke Jensen is either a part of the story or the story is built around him. If you’re looking for entertaining, gripping, romantic adventures, look no further! Readers can go to the author’s website to obtain a booklist and choose where to begin hours of fun. The next book in the series is Guns of the Mountain Man, so look for a review soon!

Until then, visit Johnstone country at https://williamjohnstonebooks.com

Note:  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.