Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Amendment Killer

Title:  The Amendment Killer

Author:  Ronald S. Barak

Pages:  570

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Gander Hope House

My rating 4 out of 5 stars.

When I took time to look around for a legal thriller to read, after I read the synopsis of this book, I was hooked.  There are many pluses to the way this author writes.  For example, he keeps the focus on the courtroom theatrics as well as the interpersonal relationships, both inside the court and in the various characters’ homes.  The thought that Supreme Court Justices can be blackmailed to vote a certain way for the betterment of one messed up individual was very unique.

The way the justices walked a fine line to save the diabetic daughter of a justice was very engaging.  There are family dynamics that bring tension to the story as well as some lawyers’ spouses’ employment might factor into the kidnapping and hopefully locating the young girl.  Another interesting feature to the novel was the reading of the internal struggles the protagonists had throughout the book.  Then, when you add a political thread in the plot, that really heightened the interest of this reader.

What was fascinating to me was how the antagonist used one cuss word to express his various feelings of anger and frustration and watching him change in the use of his verbiage by the end of the book.  No, this is not a Christian or a clean book; however, it is a well-crafted story.  I have written the author on his website to suggest changing the language in his upcoming books and I hope he will.  I am very thankful that he was able to share his craft without the use of a sexual material at all in the novel.  I believe this author can tell a riveting tale without the use of bad language.

In the spring of this year, another novel of his will be released titled, The Puppet Master.  I may read it, but it depends what is in my TBR pile and life.  Other authors who write legal novels that are clean can be found like Cara Putman and Rachel Dylan, both of whom are excellent story tellers.  For a non-Christian author and publisher, this wasn’t a book to ignore.  I just wanted to see what the new author offered and how he offered his tale for audiences.  I am an eclectic reader and did enjoy this novel plus being able to encourage the author to change just a minute detail to make it even more appealing to people for all walks of life.
Note: I did contact and interacted with the author via email, it helped me a lot to understand him and his novel.  So I encourage readers to interact with authors with encouragement and any concerns. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Out of the Ashes (The Heart of Alaska #2)

Title:  Out of the Ashes (The Heart of Alaska #2)

Author:  Tracie Peterson & Kimberley Woodhouse

Pages:  336

Year:  2018

Publisher:  Bethany

My rating 5 out of 5 stars.

The authors continue to tell us a story set in Alaska in a hotel that existed long ago, named the Curry.  At the end of the novel, there are websites listed for interested readers to visit if they so choose to see unique photos.  This second book is a sequel following book one titled, In the Shadow of Denali, which many of us have known as Mount McKinley in Alaska.

We continue to follow the adventures of characters we met in the first book and see how new characters come to the hotel with interesting backgrounds.  One of the visitors is a young man and his younger sister from France.  Jean-Michel was wounded not just in body but in soul.  How can he follow through with his father’s last wishes to turn to God when he doesn’t know how or take of a younger sister he loves yet hardly knows because of the 10-year difference in age?

Katherine is broken from an abusive marriage.  Her aging grandmother believes the best thing for her is going on an adventure to Alaska.  What Katherine doesn’t know is that her grandmother has secretly set up something in the hope of her granddaughter finding healing, joy and the Lord.  Collette is Jean-Michel’s younger sister and is maturing from teen to woman and is lost, having neither parent to guide her into adulthood.

Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse share about their own personal experiences while co-writing this book of times when they themselves have had God bring beauty from ashes.  I was touched by their transparency with readers as well as what happens in the work of fiction they share with us.  Read and enjoy the first two books before the third book in the series titled, Under the Midnight Sun, is released!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Black OPS American Jihad

Title:  Black OPS American Jihad

Author:  William W. Johnstone

Pages:  254

Year:  2006

Publisher:  Pinnacle

My rating 4 out of 5 stars.

I found out about this book via a Facebook post and having never read it, I decided I was going to dive right into the novel.  The novel is written solely by William W. Johnstone and it is a story about legacy, specifically Smoke Jensen’s legacy.  If you have not read about this character, he is a man who doesn’t seek trouble, but won’t back down from it either.  He fights for what is right and seeks out those who are doing wrong when they cross his path or hurt those he loves.  What makes this story fascinating is that Smoke is writing to a grandson not yet born, a couple of generations future of Smoke’s time.  Smoke wanted him named Arthur Kirby Jensen.

Smoke leaves a journal for him that shares some of his trials in life, passing on the wisdom he learned to a great-great grandson he’ll never know.  I loved the idea of passing on the wisdom from Smoke’s life and writing it as if he were alive and speaking directly to his grandson.  I enjoyed the suspense of the novel as Arthur Kirby Jensen is serving in the army, facing a trial in his career and life that is high stakes.

The best piece of advice Smoke passes on is that the character of a man matters, especially under adversity.  Arthur, known as Art, in the book, sure encounters some of that when he faces a court martial with a stacked deck, but he has a calm steady demeanor.  The story really has some surprise twists and turns and makes for a book easy to get lost in.  While there are a few uses of foul language what I really saw no need for was a brief encounter Art had one night with a woman after saving her life.  Nothing graphic just a description of French passionate kissing that really could have been left out and it wouldn’t have hurt the story at all because it added nothing to the plot.

If his niece picks up this character and beings writing about him, I hope she will continue to write strong plots and subplots, action, adventure and the like without any distractions as mentioned above.  Readers, don’t let it keep you from the book.  It’s a quick distraction and now that you know about it you can skip over it and get wrapped up in the drama!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Try Fear (Ty Buchanan Legal Thriller #3)

Title:  Try Fear

Author:  James Scott Bell

Pages:  292

Year:  2009

Publisher:  Center Street

My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.

Ty Buchanan makes his return appearance in this third and final book of the series.  He takes the case representing a man charged with DUI.  The case looks unwinnable, but from out of nowhere Ty wins the case and gets his client freed.  Then, his client is found dead and the brother is arrested for the murder.  There is no way Ty can let this go.  He is going to find the killer no matter what or who he has to chase down.  He is also sticking his toe in the pond of faith…maybe.  His relationship with Sister Mary is going in a more than friendly direction on his part, but what about her?

During the course of his legwork, he encounters interesting and dangerous characters such as a street preacher, dirty politicians and the people who are out at night in Hollywood.  Ty still has his run-ins with Sister Hildegarde, who would rather see Ty live somewhere besides their quiet community.  Sister Mary begins receiving threatening emails and Ty is not going to allow her to be hurt.  He vows to discover who her cyber stalker is and bring him down.  Can Ty stop this stalker before Sister Mary gets hurt?  She has been helping him with his investigations.  Could she have developed her enemy this way?

I am sorry to see this series end.  Ty Buchanan is a well-liked character in my book.  He has a great sense of humor, is well-read and able to give one-line zingers with ease.  All three books were well-written and exciting.  The short chapters set a quick pace for readers and the snappy dialogue will keep them turning pages quickly to get the next dose of humor or suspense.  I read one right after another in the span of four days!  Ty’s sense of justice and being willing to defend those who had no one to defend them made him such a likable character to me.  These are the first books of this author that I have read, but they won’t be the last!  He writes with ease and his knowledge and experience as a lawyer shine through.  I plan on reading more of this author’s work in the future.  As for this series, it is going on my “keeper” shelf.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Try Darkness (Ty Buchanan Legal Thriller #2)

Title:  Try Darkness

Author:  James Scott Bell

Pages:  292

Year:  2008

Publisher:  Center Street

My rating is 5 stars out of 5.

Ty Buchanan is back in another legal thriller.  This time he represents a poor, single, woman with a young daughter who is facing eviction from a hotel that rents rooms weekly.  She has the money, but the hotel won’t take it because if she lives at the hotel for more than 30 days, it changes the legal status of the hotel.  So, the hotel only accepts money for three weeks, then evicts tenants, putting them out on the street usually.  Ty’s client refuses to be cowed and wants to fight against the hotel in court.  Ty quickly discovers that the firm representing the hotel is one he is very familiar with, his former employer.  The lead attorney for the firm is his former best friend.  Ty wastes no time in playing hardball against the big firm, telling them his client wants to remain in the hotel and if they don’t accept her money, they will be taken to court.  Ty is warned to let the matter drop, but his client remains firm in her stance.  That is until she is found dead.

Ty is still living at the St. Benedictine Monastery with Father Bob and Sister Mary Veritas.  They help him in his quest to find his client’s killer as well as take care of her young daughter.  Father Bob also likes to discuss theological matters with Ty, trying to get Ty to open his mind to God.  Kylie, his client’s daughter, develops an attachment to Ty and Sister Mary as she tries to remember some things about her mother that might help Ty’s investigation.  Ty isn’t afraid of the big-time law firm or their wealthy and powerful client.  He loves to poke the bear.  He seeks justice for his client as well as her daughter.

Again, Ty’s wit and sense of humor are quickly evident, which I found refreshing.  His developing relationship with Sister Mary and Father Bob was also interesting.  His basketball skills are sure put to the test by Sister Mary as she schools him in the art of b-ball.  I also loved his interactions with Sister Hildegarde.  Boy, did he love to push her buttons!  He is a protector of those who can’t protect themselves.  When the pressure is on, he acts with courage and grit and stubborn refusal to give in or give up.  For those who like suspenseful legal thrillers, this book is sure to please!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Try Dying (Ty Buchanan Legal Thriller #1) Author: James Scott Bell

Title:  Try Dying

Author:  James Scott Bell

Pages:  280

Year:  2007

Publisher:  Center Street

My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.

Ty Buchanan is a young lawyer at a well-known, prestigious law firm.  He is the golden boy and has reached his peak performance years, seeking to eventually be a partner in the firm.  One of the partners has taken him under his wing, and it appears Ty can do no wrong.  He is the lead on a high-profile case, which he is confident he can win and that will garner him more prestige.  He is engaged to the love of his life and has bought a house for them to live in after the wedding.  Ty is riding the high wave, but with one phone call he is drowning.

At first his fiancée’s death is ruled an accident, but someone approaches Ty at her funeral and tells him it was no accident.  This person tells Ty that he saw a man kill her.  Ty begins asking questions, but the police don’t take him seriously as there is no proof of murder.  Ty won’t give up and keeps digging.  He is set up to take the fall for a murder, is arrest and put in jail.  He makes bail and goes right back to prodding and digging and making a nuisance of himself, but what he uncovers will cause him to risk everything to bring down a criminal.  He also meets a priest and a nun, who offer him aid and friendship when he desperately needs both.

With razor sharp wit, funny comebacks and some truly hilarious scenes (I’m thinking of the dancing on the tabletop), I fell in love with the character of Ty Buchanan!  Not a romantic love, of course, but a want to meet this guy and talk to him.  Ty’s reactions to some situation are off-the-cuff while others are well-planned.  He has anger and rage over the senseless death of his fiancée.  He seeks justice for her and will stop at nothing in his search for resolution.  His emotions are raw and real, which made him so much more interesting and easy to care about.  I can’t wait to read the second book titled, Try Darkness.  I am looking forward to Ty’s evolution from a corporate, grooming for partnership lawyer to a solo attorney who defends those with very little, if any, hope.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Troubled Waters (Montana Rescue Series #4)

Title:  Troubled Waters (Montana Rescue Series #4)

Author:  Susan May Warren

Pages:  352

Year:  2018

Publisher:  Revell

My rating 5 out of 5 stars.

Readers will enjoy meeting several characters in the series and following many threads of the stories in each of the books.  We begin the series with Montana Rescue followed by Rescue Me, and A Matter of Trust.  Coming in May of 2018 is the fifth and perhaps final book, Coming Storm.  Each of the novels concentrates on a couple of the characters we’ve been following.  I never get tired of reading Susan’s books because they are exceptional adventure and faith-filled tales.

In Troubled Waters, the focus is on a couple of the main characters, Ian Shaw and Sierra Rose while occasionally sharing about Jess and Pete’s relationship, if they even have one.  There is danger on the high seas when Ian takes his yacht out with some friends and runs into dangerous waters.  What happens afterwards is adventure and suspense that keeps you turning pages and at times be on the edge of your seat!  What Susan May Warren readers like me never know for sure is where she will take the action or climax in the book next and that is fun!

These unique stories are filled with descriptions of beautiful scenery and some dangerous moments for the rescue team known as PEAK.  I enjoy the steady pace of the plot and the heightened moments of danger where the team is either rescuing others or trying to extract themselves from places where death could be moments away!

I hope you will all get caught up in the series before the fifth novel is released.  These are books you will want to read again and again or share with other members of your family.  Don’t be surprised if your friends want to read them as well!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Sudden Recall

Title:  Sudden Recall

Author:  Lisa Phillips

Pages:  284 (large print edition)

Year:  2016

Publisher:  Love Inspired Suspense

My rating is 4 out of 5 stars.

Sienna Cartwright is a CIA agent who has taken something that doesn’t belong to her and some very powerful and dangerous people want it back.  The only problem is, Sienna doesn’t know what they want any more as she is suffering from amnesia.  She woke up in a hospital a year ago and since then has been recuperating and trying to regain her memory in a small town in Oregon.  She is living with her aunt and taking care of animals.  She is beyond frustrated that she can’t remember anything before waking up in the hospital.  She doesn’t know who to trust.  All she does know is that she has a strong faith in God.  Then, she has a flat tire on her way home and a handsome man stops to help her.  During their introductions, some men in a strange car pull up and try to kidnap her.  The action takes off from their and is nonstop with car chases, gun fights and more.

Jackson Parker is a former SEAL, now a U.S. Federal Marshall operating in Oregon.  He has run into Sienna a couple of times over the past year, but she acted like she didn’t know him.  She seemed almost afraid of him, as if they hadn’t spent hours planning and carrying out a mission while he was still a SEAL just a little over a year ago.  Apparently, the budding romance he thought was happening really wasn’t and she had chosen her work over him.  Pretending to not have any idea of who he was hurt, but he still wants to help her.  When he sees her by the side of the road, he decides to pull over and help her fix her flat tire.

This is another good story from the Love Inspired Suspense line of books.  These books are great for short trips, beach outings or rainy afternoons.  They can be read in a short amount of time and provide suspense, romance and faith in each story.  I like how the author had Sienna’s faith part of her life, but she wasn’t preachy about it.  She lived her faith, but didn’t live to draw attention to it.  The way she prayed, giving control to God and then receiving peace afterward was a great example to see.  If you have a couple of free hours, this is a great way to spend your time!

Friday, February 16, 2018

The 13: Stand

Title:  The 13:  Stand

Author:  Robbie Cheuvront and Erik Reed with Shawn Allen

Pages:  319

Year:  2013

Publisher:  Barbour Publishing

My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.

With this second book, the first one being The 13:  Fall, the action picks up where book one left off.  At the end of book one, Agent Jon Keene has been captured by the Chinese, the Chinese have taken over the western half of the United States, the President of the United States has been shot and is in a coma, and the Prophet is proclaiming God’s judgment on the USA.  What more could go wrong?  Well…you’ll just have to pick up this second book to tune it to the action that follows all the prior happenings I mentioned above in the first book with even more occurring now.

CIA Agent Megan Taylor has realized her growing feelings for Jon, but she has no idea if he is even alive.  She prays for him every day while she continues to try to find out his fate.  Boz Hamilton receives a call from the Prophet regarding Jon and the head of the CIA sends Boz to investigate.  The Prophet also tells the director of the CIA that he has more to worry about than the Chinese and what they are going to do.  Something even closer to home is brewing that will spell disaster for what remains of the USA if it isn’t stopped.  With the help of an operative from Great Britain, Megan leaves for North Carolina where a faint rumor has popped up about a plot against the current government.  Oh, and did I mention there is the best assassin in the world has been spotted?  Can the USA ever recover from the fall it has taken?

With action, suspense, tension and grit, this story kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish.  I was turning the pages so quickly, I lost count of the time and everything else!  I just had to see how this story ended.  The characters were likable and believable.  I got involved in the story and the events that happened.  There is even a romance in the story!  Readers should read book one first and get set for both books to give hours of enjoyment.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Lost Castle

Title:  The Lost Castle

Author:  Kristy Cambron

Pages:  371

Year:  2018

Publisher:  Thomas Nelson

My rating is 5 out of 5.

Ellie Carver is running out of time.  Her grandmother has dementia and her health is declining quickly.  She seems to be waiting for something though.  Ellie finds an old photograph from WWII tucked in a favorite book of her grandmother’s.  The photo leads Ellie to take a trip to France to research the photo to find out her grandmother’s history and bring closure to her.  Once in France, Ellie discovers an entirely different way of life.  There are ruins of a castle near to the manor house where Ellie is staying that seem to draw her.  Quinn, the grandson of the house’s owner, is her tour guide, but refuses to take her to the castle ruins.  Why?

Lady Vi is fluent in several languages and she joins a British underground spy organization during WWII.  She is sent undercover to Germany to work as a secretary, translating documents.  She is entrusted by a fellow agent with critical information that needs to be gotten to Great Britain that might turn the tide of the war.  On her journey, she encounters members of the French Resistance who reside near a castle.

Readers also will discover the history of the castle during the French Revolution, which presents another story of a woman searching for her place in life.  Aveline is the 19-year-old daughter of a French Baron, who has an arranged marriage to the oldest son of a duke.  Tragedy strikes in the form of a peasant mob uprising on the evening of her engagement ball with devastating results.  Aveline now wonders what her life will be like, but is also determined to survive and thrive.

Kristy Cambron deftly uses the technique of flashback to tell a poignant, romantic tale that spans times from the French Revolution, WWII to the present day.  With vivid descriptions, I felt I was right in the midst of WWII fighting with the French Resistance.  Each of the three plots are woven together seamlessly to form a complete tale that will enrapture readers.  I read the book in a day as I was so in tune with the story that all else fell to the wayside.  I also liked Kristy sharing her inspiration for the story and how she came to write it.  I eagerly look forward to her next book.  I urge readers to get a copy of the novel for themselves and get lost in a tale of romance with a touch of mystery.

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.”

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Haven of Swans (formerly titled Abominations)

Title:  Haven of Swans (formerly titled Abominations)

Author:  Colleen Coble

Pages:  336

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Thomas Nelson

My rating 5 out of 5 stars.

Wow!  From the very start of the book, this story stole my breath and at times sped up the beating of my heart.  The ending was so climatic I couldn’t read it fast enough!  The setting is the UP of Michigan.  There is a woman who cannot remember who she is, the name of the child in her arms, or that she has been badly hurt!  At first, she moves almost on auto pilot, but she cannot tell why or how she knows what she must do to keep “him” from finding her again.  After some more time, she remembers her name, and with more time her past. 

Her husband, Nick, is a captain for the Michigan State Police, and he and his wife are in the middle of a divorce.  When he goes to pick up his little girl, the scene he encounters scares him.  He cannot locate either his wife or 2-year-old daughter.  After a while, he begins to be taunted by a person who has had something to do with his wife and child’s disappearance or death.

Through a wonderfully written tale, readers become enraptured with the characters like Bree and Naomi along with their search and rescue dogs or the sister of Eve, who has amnesia, and the family she can’t remember even though she must be ready to go to court to fight for her daughter to remain with her.  There is so much going on in the book though it isn’t hard to follow at all; it is just the opposite.  It really drew me in and wouldn’t let me go!  I was up till 2:30 a.m. reading the book.  The ending so caught me by surprise I wondered why I didn’t see it coming!

Colleen’s books are wonderfully written. They include faith, romance, danger, mystery, adventure, and more!  I have yet to be bored by one of her books.  I look forward to when her next book is published and will grab it at the first opportunity to read and then share it with a friend.  Books allow us to enjoy a fictional place for a while as well as learn from the characters how faith can be tested and put into action.

So, pick up a copy and read till the very last page that will fill you with joy and hope!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Splintered Silence (A Bone Gap Travelers Mystery #1)

Title:  Splintered Silence (A Bone Gap Travelers Mystery #1)

Author:  Susan Furlong

Pages:  288

Year:  2017

Publisher:  Kensington

My rating 4 out of 5 stars.

There are times when I am on social media and I see a book in an ad or some people are posting about it because it is a new author.  When I saw this book cover, it intrigued me and the little synopsis I read online drew me to read the story.  One of the aspects of the book that is exceptional is the author’s ability to write a very engaging mystery with a surprise ending.

The second reason I liked the book was because it talked about a little-known group of people called Irish travelers.  Doing a google search will show you more information about these unique people who live in America.  Being of Irish descent myself, this was another thread that brought my interest in the story up another notch.  How the author depicts these fascinating people is done very well, showing the tension between the “clan” and those known outside their clan and referred to as “settlers”.

One of the main female characters is written with a hidden background and her service time in the Marines, various battles since returning to the U.S. and her 3-legged service dog.  My hat is off to those who serve, and though this is a fictional character, I believe the battles she faces reflect what our vets face in various degrees.

There is minimal use of foul language, but there is a part that kept me from giving this book a 5-star review.  It is the short scene on pages 179-184.  While it eventually reveals something horrible that happened in the character’s life, I believe the author could have highlighted the event without the sex scene.  While the author doesn’t describe in detail what is occurring, it ruined the book for me.  I had to put it down for a couple of days until I could finish the mystery without that scene being in the forefront of my mind.

My hope is this richly talented author will forego anything even remotely like this in her next book.  It’s a good mystery, rich in history, and very well written to reflect the reality of the society and broken world we live in.  Authors can write good, engaging and moving tales without the use of sex and I encourage this author to do just that in her next novel.

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Sea Before Us (Sunrise at Normandy)

Title:  The Sea Before Us (Sunrise at Normandy)

Author:  Sarah Sundin

Pages:  384

Year:  2018

Publisher:  Revell

My rating 5 out of 5 stars!

The new series by Sarah Sundin is a heart-touching tale of events leading up to D-Day through fictional characters.  There are three brothers from Texas who are torn apart by a disaster and choices made by the oldest son Wyatt and the other sons.  I began reading the book with such hunger, knowing the tale told is but a shadow of the reality that many endured both in America and England.

The story encapsulates the hard times of war, the love stories, battles and yes even death as those were parts of the reality young men dealt with who were barely out of their teens.  Wyatt is a Navy Lt. Commander in the U. S. Navy who, though trained as an accountant and was to pick up the leadership of his father’s business, is now planning methodically with others the Navy’s plans for D-Day.

Wyatt begins to develop feelings for a WREN Officer named Dorothy who has suffered so much personal loss in her family.  What Sarah Sundin wove into the book was interesting as it included a mystery aspect of Dorothy’s father’s business losing money.  Plus, Dorothy is flailing in her walk with the Lord until Wyatt challenges her to return to church as she has challenged him to contact his family after three years of silence.

Having read the other wartime stories Sarah has offered, this new series outshines other novels set in the WWII era.  I found it easy to become enraptured with the characters and the many subplots.  Wait till you see the twist in the main plot line in the book!  I don’t know when the next book is due out, but I sure cannot wait.  The series is once again a reminder of a brave generation who endured more than we can really grasp.  I thank all vets who serve today.

When you are done reading the book, please consider reading Sarah Sundin’s other wonderful novels that are bold and invigorating!

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, February 9, 2018

Oath of Honor (Blue Justice #1)

Title:  Oath of Honor (Blue Justice #1)

Author:  Lynette Eason

Pages:  362

Year:  2018

My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.

Isabelle St. John, or Izzy, is one of six children, most of whom are involved in law enforcement.  Her mother is the Chief of Police and her father is a lawyer.  She has been raised around the law and God her whole life.  Her neighbors are the Marshalls and they also have two sons on the police force.  She has grown up with the Marshall boys and the youngest is Kevin, her partner on the force and a rookie.  While on a stakeout, Kevin make an impulsive decision that costs him his life.  Izzy has lost her partner and best friend.  Ryan, Kevin’s older brother, now grieves a second brother’s death as his older brother died from an IED deployed by terrorists.

Izzy and Ryan work to find the identity of the shooter and discover there is much more going on than meets the eye.  Izzy’s name is on a list with other cops, and one of her brothers asks her if she is a “dirty cop”.  Who compiled this list?  Are the other cops “dirty”?  One brother won’t return her calls or texts, but has said he is working undercover.  However, her mother, the Chief of Police, has no knowledge of an undercover operation.  So, what’s up with him?  There is a political race for mayor happening at the same time as Izzy’s investigation.  Izzy’s friend is involved with the challenging competitor’s campaign, but something seems different about her.

Lynette Eason has written another stellar beginning story for her new series!  There is plenty of action and tense-filled moments for the reader who likes suspense.  There is also a mystery for the mystery lover, as well as a romance for the romantic.  Izzy has grit and perseverance to find her partner’s killer.  Ryan shares that same determination to find his brother’s killer.  Both characters have a strong faith in God that they must rely on as they cope with their grief.  Lynette has an ability to weave the faith of her characters into the story seamlessly, and shows them living their faith not just talking about it.  This is a tale that will have readers turning pages quickly to see what excitement awaits them!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Until We Find Home

Title:  Until We Find Home

Author:  Cathy Gohlke

Pages:  432

Year:  2018

Publisher:  Tyndale House Publishers

My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.

One of the reasons I so enjoy Cathy Gohlke’s novels is due to the time she takes in researching and crafting a riveting tale based on historical fact.  Even more so is her note to readers at the end of the story where she shares with such transparency what God has been teaching her through her writing of the book.  It should remind us that authors are people too who want to grow in their walk with the Lord and share Him with many via the medium of stories, which is so like Jesus!

Cathy pens a very heart-stirring story that depicts different characters from other nations, backgrounds, and experiences during WWII.  Claire is an American living in Paris and is helping to get as many Jewish children out of the city before Hitler’s army comes with their death warrants and hate filled regime.  Claire’s character has no idea how to care for the small group of children of various ages and beliefs.  She has but one hope, that an aunt will take the children in and care for them. 

Through experiences, choices, other players actions and choices, and a whole host of such heart-gripping moments, a reader will be reading and cheering this ragtag team on!  Will these strangers thrown together due to the war become friends let alone a type of family?  Will Claire hear God speaking to her and let God in to heal her broken heart?

There isn’t enough space to really tell all the wonderful parts of the novel, but I can tell you that it is so very much worth reading!  I loved how C. S. Lewis and other authors who lived at that time are part of this book as well as what they wrote for children of all ages to enjoy and let their imagination soar!

If Cathy Gohlke is a new author to you, then you are in for a treat!  I hope afterwards you will appreciate all that is packed into this tale and leaves you wanting to read her other books too!  Take time to sit and enjoy a tale worth sharing with family and friends when you have finally turned the last page.

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.”

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The View from Rainshadow Bay (A Lavender Tides Novel)

Title:  The View from Rainshadow Bay (A Lavender Tides Novel)

Author:  Colleen Coble

Pages:  336

Year:  2018

Publisher:  Thomas Nelson

My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.

If you have ever read any of Colleen’s novels, you know that she can write a story that grabs your heart, attention and interest from the first word.  If you have never read any of Colleen’s books, you are missing out on some very engaging and riveting books.  The difference I noticed with her new series was how quickly the action, danger, and intrigue begins.  Quite literally, it starts with the Prologue; there is no build up or lead up to the climax, it all starts right out of the gate with the first word!  It never lets up.   The tension and thrills are palpable throughout the whole novel.  It begins with someone chasing a character named Nora that sets the stage by giving a hint that something nefarious is going on.  Then, in chapter one, which picks up the story a year later, I was wondering how the events depicted in the Prologue would fit into the tale, but they do and rather nicely too!

All the while I was reading and trying to figure out the mystery that is still playing out, there is the romantic interest between Zach and Shauna.  They have a history that includes both joy and sorrow, but now includes someone who is determined to bring harm to Shauna and her little boy.  The are themes of forgiveness, faith, letting go of burdens, fresh starts and much more.

I believe if a person sits down to read the book, they will be hooked and unable to set it down for very long.  For me, I enjoyed this first book in her new series.  I think it is one of her best starts to a series with really interesting characters and setting.  Find a copy and be prepared to really get engrossed in the tale.  I am already looking forward to the next installment that comes out later in 2018!

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, February 6, 2018

Fugitive Trackdown

Fugitive Trackdown (Bounty Hunters #1)

Title: Fugitive Trackdown (Love Inspired Suspense)
Author: Sandra Robbins
Pages: 224
Year: Feb 2015
Publisher: Love Inspired
My rating 5 out of 5 stars!

Claire Walker begins tracking down a fugitive after her father’s passing and learning the amount of debt owed by the business by bail jumpers. Claire is very much living unprepared in her new though temporary life as her education as a librarian gives her little real life experience. Claire’s best friend, Jessica, is a former police officer with her family’s fugitive recovery company a wonderful fit, but Claire just can’t ask her friend to help for reasons readers will discover.
The tracking down of a fugitive leads to a lost romance memory when she is aided unwillingly by Adam, Jessica’s brother. Adam, a former soldier, has the training and knowledge he uses for the family business, but where has Adam’s faith gone since he last spoke to Claire? When Claire and Adam are facing a life threatening experience their hearts, hurts and spiritual lives come out in the open.
I enjoyed reading the tension in the story between Claire and Adam because each had a stubborn, individual streak that caused sparks to fly in their friendship. There is adventure, danger, along with a strong faith message which just filled my heart with joy as I completed the tale. Don’t miss this great novel when cuddled under a warm blanket!
My rating is 5 stars.

High Treason (FBI Task Force)

Title:  High Treason (FBI Task Force)

Author:  Diann Mills

Pages:  416

Year:  2018

Publisher:  Tyndale

My rating is 5+ out of 5 stars.

Diann Mills is a genius of an author whose novels are captivating and faith challenging in unique ways.  Each novel she writes is with a purpose of sharing a wonderful story with a message of faith in Christ.  Here is her recent offering that for this reader was her best yet!  At the end of the book, the author lets us know that she wanted to show readers we can model Jesus regardless of where we are or who we are with at any time.

You don’t have to read the other books in the series before picking up this book as each really is self-contained held together only by being part of the FBI Task Force series subtitle.  The two main characters are Kord, an FBI agent who is paired with Monica.  She works for the CIA in protecting a Saudi family visiting the U.S.  Besides interagency tensions, these two characters are also at odds as Monica is a believer in Christ and Kord is still searching.  Monica is more than capable of doing her job and has a unique set of abilities though she has a heart burden she carries daily.  Kord is a man not just searching for meaning in this life, but grieving the loss of friends.  He just shakes his head when Monica reveals her belief in Christ.

The whole book can be read pretty quickly as the chapters are short and the action, tension and climax keep the story moving sometimes at a rapid pace!  Never once did I tire of reading the story; I just found I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough, lol!  Grab a copy today and then with a blanket, hot chocolate and thoughts of a sunny beach, enjoy!

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, February 5, 2018

Saving Faith (Paperback 2017)

Title:  Saving Faith (Paperback 2017)

Author:  David Baldacci

Pages:  528

Year:  1999

Publisher:  Grand Central

My rating 4 out of 5 stars.

Originally, this was published in 1999 and was one of the authors earlier works.  There is a very strong and multifaceted plot that embroils a young lobbyist named Faith.  Faith has been trained and works for one of the most prominent, well-known lobbyists in Washington, Danny Buchanan.  Faith loves working in Washington and doing the multitude of tasks her job requires no matter the long hours.  Danny however is getting to the point where he is thinking of retiring and is getting tired of the amount of energy his job requires.

However, Danny has become entangled with a man who is putting pressure on Danny.  Because of this, Faith notices how much her boss has changed.  In fact, he has asked her to leave the firm.  She is heartbroken because he is like a father to her.  Because of Faith’s past, all she has ever wanted was a home and stability.  Now, to help them both get freedom from the man behind Danny’s trouble, Faith has sought help from the FBI.  What happens next is what she never saw coming!

The author’s story is heart pounding and he keeps readers interested because there is more than one mystery going on at different points in the tale.  I like his books because of the depth of the characters, stories and constant riveting tension in the plot.  Unlike his later offerings with a few exceptions there are a couple scenes that weren’t enjoyable to read because of the content, though I was thankful that the author wasn’t as descriptive or revealing as other authors seem to be.  In the story, there are a few cuss words but knowing ahead of time it isn’t a Christian book, I don’t let that deter me.  I just gloss over the words.

So why read the book?  I read it because the synopsis really did grab my attention and I did enjoy more than 3/4ths of the book.  The other reason I read various books is sometimes to discover what other reviewers haven’t stated is in the novel as well as to see if the author’s tale has merit.  If you don’t like reading books with some of these various additions I stated earlier, then pass this one up.  If you do like these types of high stakes, thrilling books and would like to see more just without the negative stuff in it, write a short review on Amazon to let the author know of your interest and thoughts.  Many authors read reviews and take to heart what readers want or in this case would like to see left out of the future books.

I like being able to hopefully positively influence authors, reviewers and readers alike by writing my thoughts about a book.  Why not write your thoughts on a review and share them?

Friday, February 2, 2018

Beneath the Surface (Dive Team Investigations #1)

Title:  Beneath the Surface (Dive Team Investigations #1)

Author:  Lynn H. Blackburn

Pages:  352

Year:  2018

Publisher:  Revell

My rating 5 out of 5 stars.

Lynn H. Blackburn weaves a tale of romance and stress of finding a killer before he/she strikes again which causes Detective Ryan Parker and Leigh Weston paths to intersect time and again.  Ryan was Leigh’s brother Keith’s best friend growing up, and without Ryan’s knowledge Leigh was interested in the teenager.  Now Leigh has returned to the area to care for her mother and work at a local hospital, hoping to leave her past experiences behind, but has it followed her home?

Ryan is an experienced diver training at the lake where Leigh and other homeowners live.  At least it was training until they made a gruesome discovery.  The more time Ryan and Leigh are together the more their past friendship begins to grow into something deeper, but is now the time?  Leigh’s life seems to be constantly threatened whether she is working at the hospital or at home.  Ryan already has one mystery with a body and now his best friend’s sister’s life is being threatened and almost taken without many clues.  Where is the missing key to solving the cases?

The moment I read the synopsis of the book I wanted to read it and see if it was as exciting as I hoped it would be.  Let me tell you this is one story that captures the imagination and heart of the reader, pulling them in the story time after time!  Written with the plot constantly in motion and the characters of various experiences and personalities is well done.  I simply couldn’t figure out who was responsible for the bodies that kept turning up and if the possible romance between Leigh and Ryan was going to develop into something more.

I won’t spoil it for readers, but I will say this is one author whose future books I plan on reading as soon as I can get my hands on a copy!  While we await her next story in the series, enjoy the first book in her Dive Team Investigations as it is absolutely outstanding!

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.”