Friday, May 25, 2018

A Date with Murder by Donald Bain & Jon Land

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A Date with Murder
by Donald Bain
& Jon Land


ISBN-13: 9780451489272
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: May 1, 2018

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, my take:
Jessica Fletcher's friend Barbara "Babs" Wirth and her husband, Hal Wirth, host a Labor Day party at their home in Cabot Cove, Maine. Hal is found dead at the party. Officially, he died from a massive heart attack, but something doesn't seem quite right to Jessica Fletcher. Especially when his ex-business partner is also found dead in Cabot Cove. Jessica finds an unpublished memoir that Hal was working on and is shocked to discover that he'd tried dating on the sly with an online dating service. After one date, though, he changes his mind...but it was too late as that date eventually led to deadly consequences.

My Review:
A Date with Murder is a more of a thriller than a cozy mystery. Someone tried to kill Jessica Fletcher multiple times as she investigated. She had no proof beyond a gut feeling, so she asked a young man to hack into websites to get information and did things like set herself up as bait to try to solve whodunit.

Ironically, I guessed whodunit even before the body was found and that did turn out to be the person behind the whole, complex crime. While the crime and characters were interesting enough to hold my interest, I rolled my eyes at the end when Jessica, knowing the cops were there to arrest someone and thinking she spotted that person, left safety to follow that person. After solving hundreds of murders, you'd think she'd know better.

This is the forty-seventh book in the series. You don't have to read the previous novels to understand this one, and this one doesn't spoil the whodunit of previous novels. There was no sex. There was a minor amount of bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting mystery.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Lone Witness by Rachel Dylan

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Lone Witness
by Rachel Dylan


ISBN-13: 9780764219818
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Bethany House
Released: May 1, 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description from NetGalley:
Prosecutor Sophie Dawson's first job in the White Collar division of the Fulton County D.A.'s office is to build a case against a local bank employee who may be cheating clients. But when circumstances beyond her control leave her as the only witness to a double homicide involving a vengeful gang, her world is turned upside down.

Former Atlanta police officer turned private security guard Cooper Knight is hired to ensure that Sophie is kept safe. But as threats escalate, they don't know who they can trust.

Sophie is determined not to back down, but her bank case gets more complicated by the day, and the gang will stop at nothing to keep her from testifying. Sophie wants to take a stand for what's right--but can Cooper, who is determined not to be distracted by their growing attraction, keep her safe so that she can finish her pursuit for justice?


My Review:
Lone Witness is a Christian legal suspense novel. There were two high-stakes cases going on at the same time. Sophie was a witness to a double homicide. She had to learn to be a good witness, able to withstand an aggressive defense attorney despite her struggle with panic attacks happening when she's stressed. Since her testimony was the main evidence against the murderer, the boy's gang leader brother was willing to kill Sophie to stop the case.

At the same time, Sophie was working on a case of a bank employee who cheated clients, but her boss was pressuring her to offer a plea deal. Then she found evidence of a major crime going on that involved more people. The criminal was willing to kill to prevent Sophie from exposing the deeper crime. The suspense was high as multiple people attempted to physically hurt or kill Sophie.

Cooper was an honorable man who tried to think of others before his own desires. Since his father abused his mother, he's afraid he may do the same. He came to realize that, as a follower of Christ and with God's help, he's not destined to follow in his father's patterns of addiction and abuse. The romance was based on both physical attraction and admiration of the other's character. There was no sex. There were four uses of cr*p, but no other bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this novel.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Murder on Union Square by Victoria Thompson

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Murder on Union Square
by Victoria Thompson


ISBN-13: 9780399586606
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: May 1, 2018

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Frank and Sarah Malloy are enjoying married life and looking to make their family official by adopting Catherine, the child Sarah rescued and has been raising as her daughter. The newlyweds soon discover, Parnell Vaughn, an actor and Catherine's legal father, must agree to relinquish his parental rights. Vaughn's girlfriend insists that Frank pay them money to sign the legal papers. Even though exchanging money for a child is illegal, Frank agrees and returns with the papers and the money only to find Vaughn beaten to death. Vaughn's girlfriend points to Frank as the culprit.

Vaughn seems at first to be an unlikely candidate for murder--particularly such a violent crime of passion--but Frank soon uncovers backstage intrigue as dramatic as any that appears on stage. Sarah and Frank must use all of their resources to investigate Vaughn's death as Frank's own life hangs in the balance.


My Review:
Murder on Union Square is a historical mystery set in New York City in 1899. This is the twenty-first book in the series. You don't need to read the previous books to understand this one, and this one didn't spoil the whodunit of the previous mysteries.

This was a clue-based puzzle mystery. Since Frank was arrested for the murder (and so I didn't expect people to talk with him) and he didn't get to study the physical clues at the scene, I honestly wondered how they'd solve this case. But he has a team working for him, and they managed to ask questions and gather clues. Frank, Gino, Sarah, and Maeve asked good questions. I did guess whodunit, how, and why before the team, but I wasn't completely certain until the confession.

Interesting historical details about theaters, actors, and the legalities of adopting a child were woven into the story. The main characters were nice people and had realistic reactions to events. There were no sex scenes or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting historical mystery.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Together Forever by Jody Hedlund

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Together Forever
by Jody Hedlund


ISBN-13: 9780764218057
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Bethany House
Released: May 1, 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Marianne Neumann became a placing agent with the Children's Aid Society with one goal: to find her lost sister. Her fellow agent, Andrew Brady, is a former schoolteacher with a way with children and a hidden past. As they team up placing orphans in homes in Illinois, they grow ever closer . . . until a shocking tragedy changes their lives forever.


My Review:
Together Forever is a Christian romance set in June 1858 in New York City and Illinois. While the storyline about the orphan trains and the work of the Children's Aid Society was interesting, the romance felt more like something written for Hollywood than Christians. A child in the story asked Drew on several occasions why he was "eating" Marianne. They repeatedly got too physically intense. In public. In front of children. And when they weren't even engaged.

Drew and Marianne spent a lot of time kissing and touching. Marianne had doubts about marrying Drew, but she was very supportive of Drew and was willing to do the things he wanted to do. By the end of the story, she had learned to forgive herself for past mistakes but was unwilling to hurt anyone and so allowed herself to be pressured into wrong behavior.

Drew behaved selfishly toward Marianne and cared only about what he wanted. He briefly wondered how he was going to support Marianne but cared more about bedding her. This issue was never really resolved. He lost all my respect when he asked Marianne to go on a midnight walk alone with him (view spoiler). And then he pushed her to do something that frightened her and was potentially dangerous.

He didn't support her concerns or consider her feelings as more important than his desires. Instead, he decided to do whatever he had to to get his way. But Drew and Marianne were presented as a perfect love-match instead of a lust-motivated romance with a self-centered, manipulative hero. Yes, he's good with the children and they work well together, but there is more to marriage than that and physical attraction. There was no sex or bad language.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

The Rose Legacy by Jessica Day George

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The Rose Legacy
by Jessica Day George


ISBN-13: 9781599906478
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
Released: May 1, 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description from Goodreads:
Orphaned Anthea Cross-Thornley has been shuttled between family members her whole life. When she receives a letter from a long-lost uncle, she dares to dream that she will finally find a home. Upon her arrival she is shocked to learn that her uncle secretly breeds horses--animals that have been forbidden in their kingdom for centuries. More alarming is Anthea's strange ability to sense the horses' thoughts and feelings, an ancient gift called The Way. Confused and terrified, Anthea is desperate to leave, but when dangers arise that put her family and her kingdom at risk, she has no choice but to embrace The Way and the exciting future adventures it will bring her


My Review:
The Rose Legacy is a tween fantasy novel. I loved novels involving horses when I was a kid, and I enjoyed this one even as an adult. The characters acted realistically and were interesting. The world-building, though not extensive, did give it a unique feel. Anthea grew up with cars and trains, but life on the family farm revolves around horses and using the gift that allows people to communicate with horses.

Anthea has been passed around from relative to relative because she's an orphan. She tries to be perfect so people will want her. She's finally shipped up north into the exile lands to an uncle who actually wants her. But all the prim and proper ways that Anthea has learned don't fit on the farm. Worse, the horses that she's been taught to dread and thought were completely extinct are raised here. And she can feel their emotions because she has a gift called the Way. Horrified, she writes about the horses to a well-connected aunt only to later regret it.

There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd highly recommend this enjoyable fantasy adventure.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Friday, May 11, 2018

Rodeo Standoff by Susan Sleeman

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Rodeo Standoff
by Susan Sleeman


ISBN-13: 9781335490360
Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense
Released: May 8, 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
The rodeo arena is always treacherous. Now it's deadly. It's no accident Deputy Tessa McKade is trapped with an angry bull ready to trample her to death. It's her rescuer, Detective Braden Hayes, who serves her bodyguard. As they seek to stop a would-be killer, Braden will have to use all his professional skills to guard Tessa's life.


My Review:
Rodeo Standoff is a Christian romantic suspense novel. The suspense came from physical danger to the heroine, as someone kept trying to kill her while she was performing at the rodeo. This was her last barrel racing contest, and the danger was distracting plus she had to do her crime scene investigator job as well. I appreciated that the heroine was willing to listen to sensible advice and that both the hero and heroine were willing to admit when they were wrong.

The hero's parents had serial dysfunctional marriages, so he's determined never to marry even though women are attracted to his fame as a bull riding champion. The heroine came from a loving family, but due to a cheating ex-boyfriend, she's not willing to trust her heart to a popular man. This mutual resistance to marriage stood between them despite their attraction to each other.

The Christian element was consulting God's leading in marriage. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable suspense novel.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Fitzwilliam Darcy: Earl of Matlock by Cressida Lane

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Fitzwilliam Darcy: Earl of Matlock
by Cressida Lane


ISBN-13: 1230002023489
kindle: 223 pages
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Released: Nov. 26, 2017

Source: ebook review copy through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
Mr. Darcy has only just arrived at Netherfield Park when Jane Bennet comes to dine with his hosts. When their guest and her pretty sister Elizabeth fall ill, his charitable nature is surely the only reason he feels compelled to entertain the invalids. But just as his new friends have recovered their health, Darcy unexpectedly inherits an Earldom. Elizabeth Bennet agrees to allow him to publicly court her so the hordes of match-making mamas will leave him alone. A clean, amusing, over-the-top Pride and Prejudice retelling that'll leave you smiling.


My Review:
Fitzwilliam Darcy: Earl of Matlock is a romance set (presumably) in 1813 England. The story started with Darcy arriving late to Netherfield Park, so he never insulted Lizzy's pride. Nor does he have any pride (nor any ego about how desirable he is, despite the fact that hordes of women are trying to marry him). Darcy and Lizzy get to know each other and get along wonderfully. Lizzy never cares for any other. In fact, if you removed the names and occasional quotes from "Pride and Prejudice," you'd never guess it was meant to be a "what if" retelling of that story. The characters were only very loosely based off of Jane Austen's characters. Even the quotes were often given to different characters or used in a different context.

So, as a clean Regency romance novel, how is it? Well, it's got no sex and only a few uses of bad language. There wasn't much historical detail nor did the author feel obligated to stay true to the manners of the times. When Lizzy traveled to London to casually visit a stranger, the author needed Lizzy to stop at that house before even changing her travel-stained clothing and without a servant, so that's what she did. If the author needed Darcy to jump to conclusions and Lizzy to inexplicably not correct him, then of course they did. But for all that, the characters were nice, so it was an enjoyable, fluffy romance were little stood in the way of everyone's happiness.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.