Sunday, September 17, 2017

Justice Buried by Patricia Bradley

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Justice Buried
by Patricia Bradley


ISBN-13: 9780800727123
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Revell
Released: Sept. 5, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
In an effort to get her security consulting business off the ground, Kelsey Allen has been spending a lot of time up in the air, rappelling down buildings and climbing through windows to show business owners their vulnerabilities to thieves.

When she is hired to pose as a conservator at the Pink Palace Museum in order to test their security weaknesses after some artifacts go missing, she's ecstatic. But when her investigative focus turns from theft to murder, Kelsey knows she's out of her league--and possibly in the cross hairs. When blast-from-the-past Detective Brad Hollister is called in to investigate, Kelsey may find that he's the biggest security threat yet . . . to her heart.


My Review:
Justice Buried is a romantic suspense novel. It's the second book in a series, but it works as a stand-alone novel. There was plenty of excitement: breaking into buildings, being shot at, bombs, and more. The suspense came from physical danger to Kelsey, sometimes danger she chose but also that from the murderer.

However, I didn't really understand why Kelsey's employer wanted her to physically break into the buildings after she proved that she could. After proving that she knew what she was talking about, she could have just pointed out the security holes. I was also a little disappointed that the cold case seemed more of an excuse for Brad to talk to her and play bodyguard. Kelsey did more work on that case than he did.

Since the story involved a clue-based mystery, I also wondered why the detectives didn't follow up on obvious questions. For example, they notice that the killer seems able to track Kelsey's movements, but they don't do anything about it (like check for a tracking device). I also wondered why they didn't question some things a certain character said and did as that person was on their suspect list. Basically, the end surprised the characters but didn't surprise me. Still, I liked that Kelsey was very resourceful, and Brad had an interesting dilemma about his girlfriend.

There were no sex scenes or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable, exciting 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.

Friday, September 15, 2017

An Inconvenient Beauty by Kristi Ann Hunter

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An Inconvenient Beauty
by Kristi Ann Hunter


ISBN-13: 9780764218279
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Released: Sept. 5, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
Griffith, Duke of Riverton, likes order, logic, and control, and he naturally applies this rational approach to his search for a bride. He's certain Miss Frederica St. Claire is the perfect wife for him, but while Frederica is strangely elusive, he can't seem to stop running into her stunningly beautiful cousin, Miss Isabella Breckenridge.

Isabella should be enjoying her society debut, but with her family in difficult circumstances, her uncle will only help them if she'll use her beauty to assist him in his political aims. Already uncomfortable with this agreement, the more she comes to know Griffith, the more she wishes to be free of her unfortunate obligation.


My Review:
An Inconvenient Beauty is a Christian historical novel set in 1815 in England. It's the fourth book in the series, but it works as a stand-alone novel.

Griffith has spent a year carefully deciding what he wants in a wife. He's decided to chose to love his wife after marrying her rather than risk becoming a bumbling idiot by falling in love before the wedding. The story started with some backstory about his childhood that helps explain his actions. His intended target is in love with someone else, however, and she maneuvers him into spending time with her cousin instead.

Isabella is under orders from her uncle to use her beauty to snare men into wanting to please him to have a chance at her. In return, he has promised to help her poor family out. He's such an untrustworthy man, though, that I never understood why she'd take her chances with him after the first few weeks. As her cousin pointed out, Isabella could select an honorable man that she liked and be honest with him in hopes of an alliance that would help her family long-term. Her cousin rightly pointed out that her response to her suggestion made no sense. Anyway, Griffith has to work to win her by learning what things she likes and figuring out what's holding her back from accepting him. They made a good pair, and courting her helped Griffith to open up to others more.

The Christian theme was about trusting God to work things out rather than trying to control everything thing yourself. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable romance.


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, September 13, 2017

Crazy About Cats by Owen Davey

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Crazy About Cats
by Owen Davey


ISBN-13: 9781911171164
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Flying Eye Books
Released: Sept. 12, 2017

Source: Review copy from the publisher through Amazon Vine.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Did you know that the fishing cat has partially webbed paws for catching fish? Or that pumas can leap over 15 feet into trees? There are roughly 38 species of cats today, each one superbly adapted to their environment - whether that be in the rainforest or the desert!


My Review:
Crazy About Cats is a children's nonfiction about big cats. The illustrations were stylized (rather than highly realistic). However, they showed the unique characteristics of the different types of cats (lions, pumas, etc.) so it was still easy to identify the cats. The text talked about things like unique big cat features, their coat patterns, their hunting strategies (fish, hide and pounce, etc.), territory, and roaring. He also had featured cats where he gave more information about some cats that I've never even heard of before (margay, rusty-spotted cat) and some more common types (lion, tiger). Overall, I liked this book and would recommend it.


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.


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Death of a Busybody by George Bellairs

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Death of a Busybody
by George Bellairs


ISBN-13: 9781464207365
Paperback
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Released: Sept. 5, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description from NetGalley:
Miss Tither, the village busybody, is not the best-loved resident of Hilary Magna. She has made many enemies: bombarding the villagers with religious tracts, berating drunkards, and informing the spouses of cheating partners. Her murder, however, is still a huge shock to the Reverend Ethelred Claplady and his parish.

Inspector Littlejohn’s understanding of country ways makes him Scotland Yard’s first choice for the job. Basing himself at the village inn, Littlejohn works with the local police to investigate what lay behind the murder.

A second death does little to settle the collective nerves of the village, and as events escalate, a strange tale of hidden identities, repressed resentment, religious fervour and financial scams is uncovered. Life in the picturesque village of Hilary Magna proves to be very far from idyllic.


My Review:
Death of a Busybody is a mystery that was originally published in 1942 and is set in England. The characters were described with a humorous touch and village life was described in passing as the detective investigated, so the story had some interest beyond the investigation.

Inspector Littlejohn and the local constable followed up on obvious leads and questioned many people. Inspector Littlejohn slowly uncovered what happened until he was finally able to put it all together. There were clues, and the reader (having more clues) can guess whodunit before the Inspector. But the mystery was more complex than I expected.

There was no sex. There was a minor amount of bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable, 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.

Friday, September 8, 2017

A Tale of Two Kitties by Sofie Kelly

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A Tale of Two Kitties
by Sofie Kelly


ISBN-13: 9780399584572
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: Sept. 5, 2017

Source: ARC Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
With a well-placed paw on a keyboard or a pointed stare, librarian Kathleen Paulson's two cats, Hercules and Owen, have helped her to solve cases in the past—so she has learned to trust their instincts. She'll need their help when a twenty-year-old scandal leads to murder.

The arrival of the Janes brothers has the little town of Mayville Heights buzzing. Everyone of a certain age remembers when Victor had an affair with Leo’s wife, who then died in a car accident.

Now it seems the brothers are trying to reconcile, until Kathleen finds Leo dead. The police set their sights on Leo’s son and Kathleen’s good friend Simon, who doesn’t have much of an alibi. To prove her friend innocent, Kathleen will have to dig deep into the town's history—and into her sardine cracker supply, because Owen and Hercules don't work for free


My Review:
A Tale of Two Kitties is a cozy mystery. This is the ninth book in the series. You don't need to read the previous books to understand this one, and this book didn't spoil the mysteries in the previous books. There's also a short story, "A Cat Burgler," included at the back.

I like the heroine because she's nice (as the other characters point out). She's not judgmental, and she cares about people. The cats are intelligent and have cat abilities (disappearing and getting out of places) taken to a magical degree. Their actions drew attention to clues, but mostly they provided humor with their antics.

It's a clue-based puzzle mystery. The heroine is intelligent, knowledgeable, and knows how to ask questions without being pushy or accusing. Whodunit seemed the most likely suspect to me, but I wasn't certain until nearly the end.

There was no sex. There was occasional use of bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this fun 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.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Bygone Christmas Brides by Jill Stengl, Tamela Hancock Murray, Gina Welborn

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Bygone Christmas Brides
by Ginny Aiken, Carla Gade, Pamela Griffin, Tamela Hancock Murray, Jill Stengl, Gina Welborn


ISBN-13: 97816832228975
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Barbour Publishing, Inc.
Released: Sept. 1, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
Light a candle in the window and sit down to a slice of fruitcake as you delight in six 19th Century romances that welcome love at Christmastide. Many traditions held dear today have their roots in the British Isles and have been practiced for over a hundred years.

In these six delightful historical stories, romance is nurtured amidst baking Scottish shortbread and English mince pies, burning the yule log, and hanging kissing boughs. But each couple is also plagued by worries of the day. As Christmastide draws to a close, will faith and love endure for future celebrations?


My Review:
Bygone Christmas Brides is a collection of six Christian romance short stories set in the 1800s in America, England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. Of course, all where Christmas-themed. There was no sex or bad language.

"A Right, Proper Christmas" by Jill Stengl. Set in 1860's in England. I was mainly interested in this story since it's by Jill Stengl. A low-born ex-soldier feels God's call to preach to those of his class, but no one will teach him theology or even give him a job. He's starving and homeless when a reverend gives him shelter from a storm. He's treated like family. The beautiful daughter has her sights on marrying a well-born local, but she's attracted to our hero's kindness and gentleness. It's a sweet, enjoyable story.

"Lost and Found" by Ginny Aiken. Set in 1870 in Wales. The heroine loves a good, honest man...who works in a coal mine. She's afraid that he'll die in an accident like a relative of hers did. Her fear demands that she stay single rather than marry him and trust God for his safety.

"'Tis the Season" by Carla Gade. Set in 1820 in New Jersey. A carpenter comes to the area to discover what happened to a woman he once cared about. The heroine kisses the hero the first time they meet (for a silly reason and despite her intentions to remain single). The romance was super-fast. And no one would keep horses that panicked every time someone whistles.

"I Saw Three Ships" by Pamela Griffin. Set in mid 1800s in Scotland. The low-born heroine has a sharp tongue, which she uses against the wealthy hero for leaving years ago without saying goodbye to her. They were close friends as children and now have to mend past grievances.

"Colleen of Erin" by Tamela Hancock Murray. Set in 1800s in Ireland. The hero has worked hard to build up his store. The heroine has always had wealth, but she also has a generous heart. She's attracted to the hero, but she won't have him until he learns generosity. I liked the characters, and an angel-type character helps the hero to forgive his lazy father (who abandoned him).

"Mercy Mild" by Gina Welborn. Set in 1868 in New Jersey. The hero, who loves children, is bringing some war-orphans to his home town to be united with their new parents. He also loves the heroine, who was abused by her parents. She refuses to have children for fear that she'll abuse her own children. She, of course, ends up having to temporarily care for a child--who is messy whereas she loves cleanliness and order.


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, September 1, 2017

12 Days at Bleakly Manor by Michelle Griep

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12 Days at Bleakly Manor
by Michelle Griep


ISBN-13: 9781683222583
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Barbour Publishing, Inc.
Released: Sept. 1, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
England, 1851: When Clara Chapman receives an intriguing invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home, she is hesitant--but if she remains the duration of the twelve-day celebration, she is promised a sum of five hundred pounds. Money that she desperately needs. She's shocked when she encounters one of the other guests—her former fiancĂ©, Benjamin Lane.

Imprisoned unjustly, Ben wants revenge on whoever stole his freedom and future. When he’s given the chance to gain his freedom, he jumps at it—and is faced with Clara, who thinks he's guilty of humiliating her and stealing her family's fortune. Brought together under mysterious circumstances, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters.


My Review:
12 Days at Bleakly Manor is a romance set in England in late Dec. 1851. Seven strangers are invited to a manor to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas, lured by the promise that they will gain something they desire if they stay all 12 days. The host is missing, but he informs them that only one person will win their prize. Not surprisingly, accidents begin to happen.

Despite the accidents, the story seemed more humorous than suspenseful. The characters were quirky and outrageous. It's implied that at least some of the characters were based off of characters in "Bleak House," but that happens to be one of Dickens' novels that I haven't read. Since I read Charles Dickens for the historical details, I was disappointed that this novel made little effort to be historically accurate in terms of manners and such.

It wasn't difficult to figure out where the overall arc of the story was going--who the "bad persons" were, who would win, etc.-so it was a light, entertaining read. There wasn't much character development, but Ben was faced with a hard choice at the end and Clara had to decide if she'd trust Ben and God again. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable 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.


Sunday, August 27, 2017

Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale

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Palace of Stone
by Shannon Hale


ISBN-13: 9781599908731
Hardcover: 323 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Released: August 21, 2012

Source: Bought through Half.com..

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Miri and her princess academy friends have been brought to Asland to help the future princess Britta prepare for her wedding. There, Miri also has a chance to attend school at the Queen's Castle. As Miri befriends students who seem sophisticated and exciting, she also learns that they have some frightening plans. Torn between loyalty to the princess and her new friends' ideas, between an old love and a new crush, and between her small mountain home and the bustling city, Miri looks to find her own way in this new place.


My Review:
Palace of Stone is a young adult fantasy novel. It's the second book in a trilogy. You can understand this story without reading the previous novel. However, this story does spoil the ending of the previous novel. That story is also a good read, so I'd recommend starting with "Princess Academy" and then read this one.

The characters were engaging, varied, and acted realistically. I like how the author presents her characters with situations with no easy answers. Miri is determined enough that she doesn't settle for the either-or choice that others insist that she make. Both are good things, and choosing one would mean losing the other. There's always another path, even if it's risky, and Miri has the courage to look for those answers and learn from past mistakes.

There was no sex or bad language. I'd highly recommend this enjoyable 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.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Crisis Shot by Janice Cantore

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Crisis Shot
by Janice Cantore


ISBN-13: 9781496423702
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Released: September 5, 2017

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Tess O'Rourke dreams of becoming the first female chief of police in Long Beach, California. As commander of the East Division, she is well on her way, until the night she responds to an officer-needs-assistance call and fatally shoots a teenager. Despite being cleared of wrongdoing by a grand jury, Tess is so hounded by the public that she takes a job in Oregon to escape the bad press.

Winning over the residents of Rogue's Hollow might be more difficult than adjusting to her new role as police chief in the small, backwater town. Especially when her closest friend, the pastor's wife, goes missing and the woman's cousin is found shot. Tess finds an ally in sheriff's deputy Steve Logan as they track down Rogue's Hollow's first murderer.


My Review:
Crisis Shot is a Christian suspense novel. The two main characters were Tess, the new chief of police in the small town, and the pastor of the town. Logan, a sheriff's deputy, has caught Tess's romantic interest. However, in this book, he's basically a nice guy who backs her up but has very little "screen time."

Due to a controversial but justified shooting incident, Tess has to win over the people in this new, small town while solving a series of time-urgent crimes. She has to deal with a murder, a missing person, a runaway teen, a kidnapping, etc. The pastor and Logan support her, which helps get the cooperation of the locals.

Tess has worked Homicide in the past, so she followed up the available clues and tried to piece the puzzle together. Are some of the incidences connected and what's behind it all? The characters acted realistically, and I liked Tess's level head and competence.

Tess wondered why God saves some people but not others, and the pastor demonstrated his trust in God through his actions. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this engaging, suspenseful story.


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, August 20, 2017

A Tangled Yarn by Betty Hechtman

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A Tangled Yarn
by Betty Hechtman


ISBN-13: 9780425282687
Mass Market Paperback:
304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: Aug. 1, 2017

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Casey Feldstein has her hands full with preparations at the Vista Del Mar hotel on the scenic Monterey Peninsula as another yarn retreat begins. The retreaters will be thrown for a loop this time, learning the trendy art of arm knitting and finger crocheting. But not everyone is enthusiastic about trying something new, and Casey is forced to come up with an alternative project.

Things go from worst to worsted when a travel writer from a neighboring retreat group is found dead in his room among a sea of feathers. When one of the owners of Vista Del Mar pleads for help, Casey gets hooked into the case and must unravel a delicate skein of secrets to catch a killer.


My Review:
A Tangled Yarn is a cozy mystery. It's the fifth book in a series, but you can understand this book without reading the previous ones. This book didn't spoil the previous mysteries.

The main characters were interesting and nice people. Casey asked questions and listened to people talk, but the clues didn't connect together to point to a whodunit but rather hinted at what had happened and why. Casey did figure out whodunit right before whodunit confronts her, and whodunit actually had a good reason for confronting her (rather than just fleeing).

There were no sex scenes. There was a very minor amount of bad language. Overall, it was an 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.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Steal Away Home by Matt Carter, Aaron Ivey

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Steal Away Home
by Matt Carter,
Aaron Ivey


ISBN-13: 9781433690655
Paperback: 152 pages
Publisher: B&H Books
Released: Aug. 1, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
Thomas Johnson and Charles Spurgeon lived worlds apart. Johnson, an American slave, born into captivity and longing for freedom--- Spurgeon, an Englishman born into relative ease and comfort, but, longing too for a freedom of his own. Their respective journeys led to an unlikely meeting and an even more unlikely friendship, forged by fate and mutual love for the mission of Christ. Steal Away Home is a story set in the 1800s about an African-American missionary and one of the greatest preachers to ever live.


My Review:
Steal Away Home is a Christian historical novel set in 1841 to 1892 in England and America. It's a novel, not a biography or history book. According to the authors, they often used quotations from Spurgeon's or Johnson's own writing and most of the persons, places, and dates were based on real events.

I think I'd have preferred a nonfiction account so I'd know what Spurgeon actually thought versus what parts were the authors' take on the situation. This story just left me with questions. For example, Spurgeon's grandfather was portrayed as good preacher whom Spurgeon frequently heard preach. Yet their young Spurgeon thought of God as angry, condemning, and disgusted with him until a guest preach explained how much Jesus loved him. They have Spurgeon preaching that you find peace or find love in Jesus, yet we're repeatedly told that throughout his life he felt lost, more dead than alive, was crippled with depression and sorrow, and wished he was dead. I can understand why he struggled with depression, but it just came across like he preached a hope that he didn't feel in his own life. (Thomas helped him with this near the end of Spurgeon's life.)

Anyway, the story followed Charles Spurgeon and Thomas Johnson from their youth until Spurgeon's death, showing the defining incidents in their lives. The story took a few chapters before it started moving smoothly forward (as the beginning was description-heavy and jumped around in time). At that point, it was interesting and moved along pretty quickly, but it was still narration-heavy. This book made me want to read a real biography of these two men.


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.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Soldier Who Killed a King by David Kitz

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The Soldier Who Killed a King
by David Kitz


ISBN-13: 9780825444852
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Released: July 25, 2017

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Watch the triumphal entry of the donkey-riding king through the eyes of Marcus Longinus, a centurion charged with keeping the streets from erupting into open rebellion. If you've heard the story of Passion Week so often it's become stale, now is the time to rediscover the terrible events leading from Jesus's humble ride into the city to his crucifixion.


My Review:
The Soldier Who Killed a King is biblical fiction set during Jesus' triumphal entry to resurrection. Our point of view character is Marcus Longinus, a centurion in charge of a gate near the Temple but who ended up present at every significant event. He struggled with profound guilt over his part in Jesus' scourging and crucifixion.

The characters used modern phrases like "wow" and "yeah," and the main characters had modern sensibilities about the value of human life. The Romans clearly saw who Jesus was while the Jews didn't. All of the religious leaders were called Pharisees, and every report we got about them painted them all as horrible, cruel hypocrites. The chain of command seemed meaningless as Pilate's soldiers were ordered about by anyone of superior rank. A visiting ruler (Herod) threatened to kill Pilate's centurion if the centurion didn't follow his orders, and the priests held four of Pilate's soldiers captive for a while without Pilate taking any action.

While the author generally stayed true to the gospel accounts of Jesus' Passion Week, he did change some things. He didn't have Jesus preaching every day in the temple. He had Herod order one of his soldiers to put the crown of thorns on Jesus when it was Pilate's soldiers who later did this. Herod and Pilate became friends before Jesus' trial. So Herod was sleeping at Pilate's place (unclean!) when Jesus was brought to trial, and Herod ended up judging Jesus in a bedroom while practically naked (not to mention demon-possessed). Jesus even paid a bodily visit to a boy during the period when he's dead and in the tomb.

The author provided great detail about the soldier's armor, the scourging, and the crucifixion. The scourging and crucifixion were described in such gory, drawn-out detail that I ended up skipping over it. There was a minor amount of British bad language. There were no graphic sex scenes. Overall, it was a decent story, but I'd expected a higher level of accuracy based on the subtitle.


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, August 11, 2017

Hunting Hour by Margaret Mizushima

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Hunting Hour
by Margaret Mizushima


ISBN-13: 9781683312772
Hardback: 320 pages
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Released: Aug. 8, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Deputy Mattie Cobb is working through issues from her past and has withdrawn from Cole Walker and his family to focus on herself, when she and her K-9 partner Robo get called to track a missing junior high student. They find the girl on Smoker's Hill behind the high school, dead. But that's only the start of trouble in Timber Creek, because soon another girl goes missing--and this time it's Sophie Walker.


My Review:
Hunting Hour is a K9-detective mystery. It's the third in a series. You can follow this book without reading the previous ones, and this book didn't spoil the previous mysteries.

Robo is a talented, well-trained working dog, and it's fun to see him "on the job" with Mattie. The main characters were likable and had depth and complexity. Events have had a realistic impact on them, and they dealt with personal struggles at the same time they're dealing with crime. Events hit a little close to home for Mattie, and she struggled to stay objective during the investigation.

The crime was a clue-based, puzzle mystery. I guessed whodunit based on those clues, yet it wasn't obvious. There was also the suspense of finding the kidnapped girl before something bad happened to her, as bad things have happened to reoccurring characters in these books.

There were no sex scenes. The was occasional use of bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting and exciting 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.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Wedded for the Baby by Dorothy Clark

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Wedded for the Baby
by Dorothy Clark


ISBN-13: 9780373425341
Mass Market Paperback:
288 pages
Publisher: Love Inspired Historicals
Released: Aug. 8, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description from NetGalley:
For widower and ex-doctor Trace Warren, a fresh start in Whisper Creek comes with a catch: to save his home and apothecary shop, Trace must remarry. While making Katherine Fleming his wife is simple enough, he refuses to fall in love again. But keeping his distance from the kind, beautiful woman and the infant she brings with her is dangerously difficult…

Katherine promised to protect the baby left in her care, and a marriage of convenience to Trace is the only way to do that. But all too soon, Trace possesses Katherine's heart, even as he still carefully guards his own. With hopes of turning their arrangement into a true love match, can Katherine convince Trace to forgive himself for his past mistakes and embrace his new family?


My Review:
Wedded for the Baby is a Christian romance set in 1868 in the Wyoming Territory. This is the second book in the series. You don't need to read the first book to understand this one. However, the couple in the first book were also major characters in this one, so you may wish to read the books in order.

Katherine helps a fatality ill woman while on a train trip to visit her sister and ends up responsible for an orphaned, unwanted baby. Trace is named the guardian of the child, but he needs to marry or he'll lose his livelihood--the only way to support the child. Katherine agrees to an "in name only" marriage and to care for the child until Trace can find an alternative. Trace treats her with kindness but tries to minimize his time with her as he still mourns his dead wife and child.

Katherine has no idea how to care for a baby, though, so Trace has to show her. They keep getting thrown together and discover they share interests and admire each other. The main characters were nice people, and I understood the reasons behind their actions. They both heal from past hurts. The historical details about everyday things, what was happening in the territory, and even some of the medical debates of the time were woven into the story. I suspect the author got her hands on a catalog of baby furniture from that time, as Trace ordered a lot for his house.

There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this sweet romance.


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, August 4, 2017

Chasing Secrets by Lynette Eason

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Chasing Secrets
by Lynette Eason


ISBN-13: 9780800723910
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Revell
Released: Aug. 1, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description from NetGalley:
Elite Guardians bodyguard Haley Callaghan may be in South Carolina, but when a photo leads investigators in West Ireland to open a twenty-five-year-old cold case, her life is suddenly in danger. Haley knows how to take care of herself; after all, she's made a career out of taking care of others. But after an uncomfortably close call, Detective Steven Rothwell takes it upon himself to stay with her--and the young client she has taken under her wing. A protector at heart, he's not about to let Haley fight this battle alone.

In a sweeping plot that takes them into long-buried memories--and the depths of the heart--Haley and Steven will have to solve the mystery of Haley's past while dodging bullets, bombs, and bad guys who just won't quit.


My Review:
Chasing Secrets is a Christian romantic suspense novel. This is the fourth book in a series. You don't need to read the previous books to understand this one, and this story didn't spoil the previous novels. It didn't pay to stand too close to Haley as her enemies didn't care who got hurt in their attempts to kill her. The suspense was created by the repeated attempts to kill Haley, the uncertainty about who's trying to kill her, and some medical emergencies.

I liked the main characters as they where kind, thoughtful people who cared for others in addition to being good at their jobs. I enjoyed how Steven supported Haley and showed his friendship and caring (and all before they kissed! So many authors have people kissing before they even know each other). I found the ending a bit...extravagant and containing some unnecessary complications, but I suppose "bigger is better" in suspense. And it was exciting.

The Christian theme was about forgiving those who have hurt or wronged you. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this exciting story.


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, August 2, 2017

As A Shield by Danny and Wanda Pelfrey

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As A Shield
by Danny Pelfrey,
Wanda Pelfrey


ISBN-13: 9781633570917
Paperback: 216 pages
Publisher: CrossLink Publishing
Released: March 24, 2017

Source: A free review copy from the publisher through BookCrash.

Book Description from BookCrash:
Davis Morgan, having left the ministry after the death of his wife, Julie, returns to his hometown where he operates a used and rare bookstore while being appointed chaplain of the small police department. He and Charley, a young policeman, after discovering the body of a tattooed man find themselves in a serious battle to bring to justice two strange villains who are threatening the safety of Davis’s daughter and future son-in-law. While all this is going on, Davis is struggling with trying to interpret his relationship with a young history teacher who happens to be his daughter’s roommate.


My Review:
As A Shield is a Christian suspense novel. It's the second novel in a series. While you can read this as a stand-alone, I'd recommend reading them in order. Some things seemed long (a wedding) or fast (a relationship) since I hadn't "seen" the whole story of their relationship.

Unfortunately, everyone in this story had silted, unnatural dialogue, and some of the details about what roads people took would only interest someone who lives in Adairsville. However, the characters were interesting, and we got to know a little about the main characters.

The bad guys repeatedly tried to harm people that Davis cares about. However, the Christian theme was that God acts as a shield to protect his children, so the criminals came across as bumbling fools. We knew who the goons were, but there were only clues about who hired them. Davis and Charley uncovered what's going on by asking questions and following up on clues. While you can guess who from the clues, most of the clues given by Davis at the end weren't shown to the reader when they happened. When Davis and the Bay Guy fight at the end, the author withheld the name until the fight was done. I'd concluded it was someone he didn't know, but he did. Kinda frustrating when you can't trust your POV characters.

The main characters often thought upon their favorite verses (which are written out for the reader), and we also literally get a short sermon. 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.


Monday, July 31, 2017

The Captivating Lady Charlotte by Carolyn Miller

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The Captivating Lady Charlotte
by Carolyn Miller


ISBN-13: 9780825444517
Paperback: 310 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Released: June 27, 2017

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Lady Charlotte Featherington is destined for great things on the marriage market. After all, as the beautiful daughter of a marquess, she should have her pick of the eligible nobility when she debuts. She, however, has love at the top of her list of marriageable attributes. And her romantic heart falls hard for one particularly dashing, attentive suitor. Sadly for Charlotte, her noble father intends her betrothed to be someone far more dull.

William Hartwell may be a duke, but he knows he was Charlotte's father's pick, not the young lady's own choice. While she has captured his heart, he has no idea how to win hers in return--and the betrayal and scandal his first wife put him through makes it difficult for him to believe that love can ever be trusted.

Can a widowed duke and a romantically inclined lady negotiate a future and discover love beyond duty? Will they be able to find healing and hope from the legacy of grace? Poignant and charming, this is another beautifully written, clean and wholesome Regency romance from Carolyn Miller.


My Review:
The Captivating Lady Charlotte is a Christian romance set in 1814 in England. It's the second book in the series, but you can understand this book without reading the previous one.

When Marianne Dashwood is flattered by the attentions of Mr. Willoughby...oh, wait, different book. Charlotte, a romantic, is drawn to several charming, handsome young men (who are in need of her fortune). Her family wants her to marry a Duke, but he's older than Charlotte and so serious and boring. And those shocking rumors about his wife who recently died!

William is attracted to Charlotte's youth, beauty, and liveliness, but it's clear that she doesn't love him. He doesn't trust that she won't have an affair on him like his late wife. Her family is pushing them together, and Charlotte is grudgingly willing to give him a chance, but near-fatal accidents keep occurring around the Duke and make the courtship dangerous. The characters were likable, and they were better people for having met each other.

The author clearly put a lot of research into the clothing and protocol for certain events. The author apparently thought that a major duty of doctors at this time was attending to child births. While wealthy women might be attended by a surgeon, it's extremely strange that no midwives are mentioned at all. Midwives were used for most births, partly because female modesty precluded a male being involved and partly because surgeons had a reputation for killing or maiming the mother, child, or both (according to "A History of Medicine" by Lois N. Magner, pages 273-274).

There's a touching scene were a woman teaches Charlotte (by example) about praising God even in the midst of sorrow. There was no bad language or sex. Overall, I'd highly recommend this enjoyable story.


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, July 28, 2017

Sowed to Death by Peg Cochran

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Sowed to Death
by Peg Cochran


ISBN-13: 9780425282038
Mass Market Paperback:
304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: July 4, 2017

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
The county fair is the highlight of the year for the small town of Lovett, Michigan especially for food-and-lifestyle blogger Shelby McDonald, who writes as the Farmer's Daughter. She's submitting jams and jellies she's created from the produce she grows at Love Blossom Farm in hopes of harvesting a blue ribbon.

But the townspeople get more than just the excitement of hayrides, tractor pulls, and cotton candy when Shelby's neighbor and volunteer fireman, Jake Taylor, extricates the body of Zeke Barnstable instead of a dummy during a demonstration of the Jaws of Life. The fact that Jake and Zeke were known to be at odds plants suspicion in the minds of the police. Shelby plows through the clues to weed out the true killer and save her friend.


My Review:
Sowed to Death is a cozy mystery. It's the second book in the series. You can understand this book without reading the previous one, and this novel didn't spoil the mystery in the previous book.

The mystery was a clue-based, puzzle mystery. The heroine asked questions, listened to gossip, and watched what was going on. She's generally a nice person, and no one was harmed by her methods of questioning. I strongly suspected whodunit by about halfway through and was certain by two-thirds of the way through. I found it a little curious that the heroine didn't pick up on it sooner. (The Murder She Wrote heroine sure would have.)

Minor annoyances: No one in their right mind would use a stallion when teaching a young child how to ride. Also, few farriers "make" horseshoes anymore (though they do use a hammer to shape the horseshoe and nail it on). These points weren't critical to the mystery.

There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting 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.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Noah Drake and the Dragon Killer by Ben Russell

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Noah Drake and the Dragon Killer
by Ben Russell


ISBN-13: 9781540358080
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Createspace
Released: Nov. 10, 2016

Source: ebook review copy from the author.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Noah Drake loves dinosaurs and would like to dig up dinosaur bones someday. Then he discovered that real dinosaurs might still be around! While on vacation to Lake Champion with his family, he hears stories about Champ, a lake monster. He'd love to capture Champ, just like he captures dinos on a video game he enjoys. But he starts to rethink things when he meets two men who are set on killing Champ for fame and fortune. Noah Drake And The Dragon Killer is a middle grade to young adult story that teaches creation. You'll enjoy Noah Drake if you like Jonathan Park!


My Review:
Noah Drake and the Dragon Killer is a Christian middle grade adventure novel. The story follows a family during their eventful vacation to Lake Champion, where some of them see the local sea monster (Champ) and encounter some dragon hunters. Noah would love to capture Champ--like on a video game he plays--but the dragon hunters are out to kill Champ for fame and fortune. The "good guy" main characters were engaging while the "bad guy" characters were largely comical.

Several characters were Christians who believed that God created dinosaurs about 6,000 years ago and that we knew them by the name "dragons" until the 1800s. There was also a simplified explanation of why a character didn't believe in evolution. There was no sex, gore, or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this fun, engaging story.


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.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Best Dr. Thorndyke Detective Stories by R. Austin Freeman

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The Best Dr. Thorndyke Detective Stories
by R. Austin Freeman


ISBN-13: 9780486814810
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Dover Publications
Released: July 19, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description from GoodReads:
Known as the father of the scientific detective story, Freeman was a physician who tested his fictional ploys through microscopic and chemical analysis. His tales not only challenged the wits of his readers but also inspired many modern detection methods.

This collection presents eight of the most compelling Dr. Thorndyke stories. "The Case of Oscar Brodski," "A Case of Premeditation," and "The Echo of a Mutiny" offer outstanding examples of a form Freeman originated, the inverted mystery. In these tales, the crime and culprit are revealed at the outset; the fascination begins with the entrance of Dr. Thorndyke, who spins a convincing web of evidence from the subtlest clues.

"The Mandarin's Pearl," "The Blue Sequin," "The Moabite Cipher," and "The Aluminum Dagger" incorporate scientific detection, featuring details evaluated by the author's characteristic scientific analysis. As a special bonus, this volume includes "31 New Inn," the now hard-to-find tale in which Dr. Thorndyke makes his debut.


My Review:
The Best Dr. Thorndyke Detective Stories is a collection of 8 short stories with Dr. Thorndyke as the main character. These stories were originally published in 1909 to 1912, though one story is apparently set in 1900. They take place in England.

Dr. Thorndyke is a "medical jurispractitioner," so he handles "cold cases" (when lawyers consult him) as well as recently committed murders. He looks closely at the forensic evidence, carries a portable laboratory, and uses logic to solve his cases. He has a friend, Dr. Jervis, who helps him solve crimes. If this sounds like Sherlock Holmes, it is the same type of character. However, I like Thorndyke better. He's clever, but he doesn't show off like Sherlock does. (Sherlock has a habit of guessing based on high probabilities just so he'll look extremely smart.)

Thorndyke encourages Jervis to learn his methods, shares all of the clues that he finds, and encourages Jervis to puzzle out these clues for himself. This gives the reader a chance to puzzle out the answer as well. Not all of the stories are puzzle mysteries, though. The first three show us the crime from the criminal's perspective, then switches to showing Thorndyke spotting and analyzing the clues. These worked better than I expected and delved a bit into why the criminals acted as they did. I enjoyed and would recommend this book.

The stories contained in this book are:
The Case of Oscar Brodski
A Case of Premeditation
The Echo of the Mutiny
The Mandarin's Pearl
The Blue Sequin
The Moabite Cipher
The Aluminum Dagger
31 New Inn


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, July 21, 2017

Beneath Copper Falls by Colleen Coble

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Beneath Copper Falls
by Colleen Coble


ISBN-13: 9780718090715
Trade Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Released: July 10, 2017

Source: ARC review copy from the publisher through Amazon Vine.

Book Description from Amazon:
As a 911 dispatcher, Dana Newell takes pride in being calm in tough circumstances. In addition to her emotionally-charged career, she’s faced enough emergencies in her own life. She recently escaped her abusive fiancĂ© to move to tranquil Rock Harbor where she hopes life will be more peaceful.

But the idyllic town hides more danger and secrets than it first appeared. Dana is continually drawn to her new friend Boone, who has scars inside and out. Then she answers a call at her job only to hear a friend’s desperate screams on the other end. Soon the pain in her past collides with the mysteries of her new home—and threatens to keep her from the future she’s always wanted.


My Review:
Beneath Copper Falls is a Christian suspense novel. It's the 6th novel in a series, but it's about Dana and Boone and so works as a stand-alone novel. The suspense is created by physical danger to a number of women. Dana's abusive ex-boyfriend followed her and is causing havoc. But then another woman dies, and it seems connected to an old murder investigation. Are the two cases connected? About halfway through, I realized from subtle clues where the book was heading, and then more obvious clues also pointed in that direction. This made the story even more suspenseful.

When I was just a teenager, I briefly knew a manipulative man online who used some of the exact same words as this fictional serial killer. "I though you were different from everyone else." Makes me wonder... Anyway, poor Dana has been traumatized throughout her life and now has an abusive, stalker boyfriend after her. Both she and Boone have to heal from past hurts. They make a great couple because they really do understand how the other is feeling, and they help each other stretch beyond hurt-imposed limits.

The Christian element involved Dana finding the courage to pray with people on the job and Boone forgiving people who hurt him. She also made a point about looking at a person's character (and developing your own) rather than focusing on outer good looks. There was no sex. The bad language was referred to with "he cussed" type phrases rather than with actual bad words. Overall, I'd recommend this exciting 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.


Monday, July 17, 2017

The Devil in Beauty by Heidi Ashworth

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The Devil in Beauty
by Heidi Ashworth


ISBN-13: 9780996104463
Paperback: 294 pages
Publisher: Dunhaven Place Publishing
Released: June 21, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
Julian "Trev" Silvester, the Marquis of Trevelin, once had everything a gentleman could want--fortune, good looks, and enough charm to seduce the beautiful young ladies of the ton. But his involvement in a duel with a jealous duke leaves him disfigured, and Trev is ostracized by those who once celebrated him. Though his life is irrevocably changed, Trev is still loyal to his friends. When Willy Gilbert is accused of murder and Lady Vawdrey's diamond necklace is stolen, he jumps at the chance to help them.

Trev finds an unlikely ally, a man also interested in Miss Desdemona Woodmansey--a woman who isn't put off by Trev's scar or the scandal of the duel. Trev has already lived through the disgrace of a scandal, but can he survive a murderer who will do anything to protect a sinister secret?


My Review:
The Devil in Beauty is a mystery set in 1811 in London. Lord Trevelin is disfigured and in social disgrace. When a friend is taken to Newgate Prison more because he's disabled than because he's likely to have murdered his brother, Trev investigates to find the true murderer. A man visiting from Barcelona helps him despite their rivalry over Miss Woodmansey, a short woman who likes them both and thinks it'd be exciting to help solve a mystery. Her role was more to cause tension than to help, though.

The mystery was complex enough that confession was required to confirm exactly what happened, though you could guess at parts. Trev had a temper and cruel tongue at times, but the main characters were generally interesting and engaging. The story was not a happy one. Quite a few people died from various causes, including suicide. Nice historical details about Newgate, social manners, and such were woven into the story.

There was no bad language or sex. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting novel, though it was different from what I expected from the book description.


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.


The Cover Story by Deb Richardson-Moore

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The Cover Story
by Deb Richardson-Moore


ISBN-13: 9781782642404
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Lion Fiction
Released: June 27, 2017

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description from Goodreads:
A fatal crash involving two college students heading home for the holidays seems like an unfortunate accident. But when the surviving girl wakens, she tells a curious story of the vehicle that forced them off the road--an old-fashioned, 1950s-style hearse.

Reporter Branigan Powers delves into the mystery that takes her to the college campus, and leads her into dangerous fraternity and sorority pledge parties.

Reunited with the homeless Malachi Martin, who is so adept at seeing what isn't there rather than what is, Branigan must uncover what is really going on at the college before other students are put in danger.

This second installment in the author's first cozy mystery series delves into the world of newspapers and life on the streets--both of which the author knows well.


My Review:
The Cover Story is amateur detective mystery. This is the second book in a series. You don't need to read the previous book to understand this one, and the previous mystery was not spoiled in this book.

Branigan, a reporter, has an excuse to ask questions because she's writing an article on the "accident." Malachi, a homeless man, helps because he cares about Charlie (who was in the crash). Sometimes he used illegal means to do so, like breaking into a room to search it. They passed their information on to the police.

A lot of information was dug up, but it wasn't clear how it all fit or if it was even tied together. There's uncertainty as to whether Charlie's life might be in danger, which added some suspense to the story. I could figure out parts of the mystery shortly before the main characters, but mostly this was a "along for the ride" mystery rather than a guessing game. With such interesting main characters, it was an enjoyable ride.

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.


Friday, July 14, 2017

A Matter of Trust by Susan May Warren

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A Matter of Trust
by Susan May Warren


ISBN-13: 9780800727451
Trade Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Revell
Released: July 4, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Champion backcountry snowboarder Gage Watson has left the limelight behind after the death of one of his fans. After being sued for negligence and stripped of his sponsorships, he's remade his life as a ski patrol in Montana's rugged mountains, as well as serving on the PEAK Rescue team. But he can't seem to forget the past or the woman he loved, who betrayed him.

Former attorney Ella Blair is the second-youngest senator in the country. She regrets her part in destroying Gage's career as she knows that Gage is a good guy and an awesome snowboarder. When Ella's brother goes missing on one of Glacier National Park's most dangerous peaks, Ella pleads with Gage to help her to rescue him. He'll have to keep her safe while finding her reckless brother, a recipe for disaster when a snowstorm hits the mountain.

But old sparks relight as they search for the missing snowboarder--and suddenly, they are faced with emotions neither can deny. Can they learn to trust each other--even when disaster happens again?


My Review:
A Matter of Trust is a Christian romance full of excitement and adventure. It's the third book in a series, but you can understand this book without reading the previous ones. However, certain events from the previous books will be spoiled since there are ongoing story lines in the series (mainly, the missing niece theme).

This story contained exciting snow rescues and snowboarding down dangerous slopes. I liked Gage, who was just trying to do the right thing and ended up paying a hard price. He's a more mature person for what he endured, but he hasn't forgiven himself for not being able to stop a tragic accident that wasn't really his fault. Ella was one of the lawyers who destroyed his career, which hurt since they'd been romantically involved before the accident. So these complex, likable characters have to deal with the past while trying to save Ella's brother, who is doing a dangerous snowboarding route right as a snowstorm hits.

The Christian theme was Gage and Ella realizing that God loves and cares for us even when we make bad decisions or mistakes. Just like the SAR team helps people who don't deserve it, God's help doesn't depend upon us deserving it (thank God!). There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd highly recommend this exciting 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, July 9, 2017

Protective Measures by Maggie K. Black

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Protective Measures
by Maggie K. Black


ISBN-13: 9780373457199
Mass Market Paperback:
224 pages
Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense
Released: July 4, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
After an attack at a military charity gala, navy commander Leo Darius learns someone is after him and his two daughters. He needs backup to complete his secret mission, so he hires Ash Security to protect him and his daughters. Though security expert Zoe Dean agrees to handle the threats and near-fatal assaults, she doesn't want to get attached to the handsome commander and his lovely daughters. But with the would-be kidnappers closing in, saving Leo and the little girls, while protecting her heart, may be one mission Zoe can't master.


My Review:
Protective Measures is a Christian romantic suspense novel. It's the third in a series, but you can understand this book without reading the previous ones.

Zoe was at the charity gala because Ash Private Security tracked a group of thieves there. The thieves' next target appears to be Leo and his daughters. Leo was there because he's the contact for a secret deal to buy important military intel from an anonymous source. He hires Ash Private Security to watch his back and protect his daughters while he waits for the source to contact him. Of course, Zoe was highly involved in this protection, and they save each other's lives several times. Zoe and Leo respect each other, and they fight together as partners. They also heal from past hurts as events force them to confront things in their pasts.

The suspense came from the bad guys attacking them, from not knowing who the intel contact was, and from a mean person from Zoe's past showing up to cause trouble for her. The Christian element involved forgiving people (including Zoe forgiving herself). There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this exciting and interesting 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.


Friday, July 7, 2017

The Incredible Crime by Lois Austen-Leigh

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The Incredible Crime
by Lois Austen-Leigh


ISBN-13: 9781464207464
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Released: July 4, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
Prince’s College, Cambridge, is a peaceful and scholarly community, enlivened by Prudence Pinsent, the Master’s daughter. One fine morning she sets out for Suffolk to join her cousin Lord Wellende for a few days’ hunting. On the way Prudence encounters Captain Studde of the coastguard. Studde is on the trail of a drug smuggling ring that connects Wellende Hall with the cloistered world of Cambridge. He asks for Prudence's help in unraveling who is distributing the drugs, but will she help since her friends or family may be involved?


My Review:
The Incredible Crime is a romance which involves a mystery about who's smuggling drugs into the country. It was originally published in 1931 and is set in England. There were several different viewpoint characters, but young, independent Prudence seemed to be the main character.

An arrogant, rude man decides that he wants to court her, so he makes himself look more presentable and is mildly pleasant towards her. He's brilliant, so Prudence is told it's a great match and she should be flattered--and, amazingly, she is. At the end, he's still arrogant and has a temper, but that didn't seem to matter.

We also get descriptions of life at Cambridge and about fox hunts. And there is a mystery, it just didn't seem like the main point of the story. Near the beginning, a maid tells Prudence what has been going on, then Prudence happens to witness a few other clues. She comes to the obvious conclusion and decides not to help the police. Romance and fox hunts happen. Then there's a twist, which was also implied from the start. Still, the solution to the mystery will probably be a surprise.

There was no sex. There was a minor amount of bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this story because it was an interesting look at the time period, but don't expect a puzzle 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.


Sunday, July 2, 2017

My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island by Carrie Fancett Pagels

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My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island
by Carrie Fancett Pagels


ISBN-13: 9781683220886
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books
Released: July 1, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
Maude Welling expected to inherit her mother's inn, Winds of Mackinac, but her father refuses to let her run it now her fiance has come home married to another woman. He's even talking about selling the inn and moving to his farm. Maude decides to prove her ability to run the inn by secretly working as a maid at the Grand Hotel.

Undercover journalist Ben Steffans, posing as a wealthy industrialist staying at the Grand Hotel, pursues a story about the hurried marriage of a rival newspaper owner's daughter to a local man. His boss wants to humiliate his rival. Ben is attracted to Maude and keeps her secret about working as a maid, though he wonders why she's doing so. He soon realizes that pursuing his story may alienate the very woman he's beginning to love.


My Review:
My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island is a Christian romance set in 1895. It contained just enough historical detail to remind the reader of the time period, but the time period wasn't critical to the events in the story (except for Mark Twain's visit). It's a nice enough romance, but I felt like the author tried to make Maude's part of the story much more complicated than it was.

For example, Maude's mother promised that Maude would inherit the inn but Maude's father acts like it's his. Rather than finding out who owns the inn (by asking the lawyer, her uncle, or her father), Maude decides to prove to her father that she can run an inn. Not by helping out at the inn but by working as a maid cleaning rooms at the Grand Hotel. Not sure how that proved she can run a business, but she also kept this a secret from her father, so how could it prove anything to him? And her brief employment as a maid didn't turn out to be necessary to her romance, her ambitions, or even Ben's story.

The terms of the will were critical to the story, but we don't actually learn what the will said until nearly the end. Much of Maude's worries would have been cleared up if she'd only found out the terms earlier (though some things earlier in the story made no sense in light of those terms). The romantic conflict ended up being that Maude couldn't leave the island but Ben's life and ambitions were in Detroit. So who will give up their dreams, or will they part?

The characters went to church and heard a sermon relating to Ben's struggles. At the end, Ben realized that God had been working behind the scenes. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this book to "clean romance" fans.


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, June 30, 2017

Grace to the Finish by Julie Hyzy

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Grace to the Finish
by Julie Hyzy


ISBN-13: 9780425281635
Mass Market Paperback:
304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: June 27, 2017

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
Now that curator Grace Wheaton has officially been named heir to Bennett Marshfield's fortune, her usually busy schedule has become a juggling act. In addition to her duties at Marshfield Manor, she's bankrolling her roommates' refurbished wine shop, Amethyst Cellars. Grace is excited to check out the rustic space with Bruce and Scott. But that excitement turns to dismay when they stumble upon the body of the banker involved with the sale.

Grace wants to get to the bottom of this mystery quickly so that her friends' new venture isn't overshadowed by an unsolved murder, but she's got even more to balance when her troubled sister, Liza, is released from prison early. Liza's first stop is Marshfield Manor and her first priority is grabbing a bite of Bennett's fortune for herself. Grace has to keep her greedy sister at bay and catch a killer before her new life comes crashing down around her.


My Review:
Grace to the Finish is a cozy mystery. It's the eighth book in the series. This novel didn't spoil the mystery in the previous books. It will appeal most to people who have been following Grace's story and care about her personal life, as that made up much of the story. There were three "mysteries" going on.

The first involved a murdered woman. It was pretty straight forward and was solved by whodunit attacking Grace, even though she hadn't gotten very far with it. That's because her evil sister, Liza, is trying to sue Bennett to get a share of his fortune. An odd incident in their past may provide a good defense. Grace followed the clue but was reluctant to look too hard at it in case she didn't like what she found. The secret was so easy to figure out that only her reluctance (and Liza's antics) made this take up so many pages. Finally, Joe (the potential boyfriend) has a secret that he's been hiding but needs to tell Grace. They talked more about needing to talk than they did in dealing with the issue. Again, Grace was reluctant to investigate to determine the truth, so it's lucky that people who knew the whole story just keep telling her what she needed to know.

While Grace did find clues about the murdered woman and Liza, somehow the story felt more like it was about the drama than developing the mystery. I still like the characters, but you would hardly know that Grace ran a manor/museum in this one. But if this is the end of the series, then it did a good job wrapping things up. 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.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

For Love and Honor by Jody Hedlund

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For Love and Honor
by Jody Hedlund


ISBN-13: 9780310749301
Paperback: 239 pages
Publisher: Zondervan
Released: March 7, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher.

Book Description from Goodreads:
Lady Sabine is harboring a skin blemish, one, that if revealed, could cause her to be branded as a witch, put her life in danger, and damage her chances of making a good marriage. After all, what nobleman would want to marry a woman so flawed?

Sir Bennet is returning home to protect his family from an imminent attack by neighboring lords who seek repayment of debts. Without fortune or means to pay those debts, Sir Bennet realizes his only option is to make a marriage match with a wealthy noblewoman. As a man of honor, he loathes the idea of courting a woman for her money, but with time running out for his family’s safety, what other choice does he have?

As Lady Sabine and Sir Bennet are thrust together under dangerous circumstances, will they both be able to learn to trust each other enough to share their deepest secrets? Or will those secrets ultimately lead to their demise?


My Review:
For Love and Honor is a young adult romance set in a fantasy land at the time of knights in shining armor. While the main characters follow the Christian religion (and collect relics and religious art), the country is only vaguely based on the European Middle Ages. This is the third book in a series, but you don't need to read the previous ones to understand this one, and the previous novels were not spoiled.

Having read some of the author's highly historical adult novels, I was surprised by the lack of realism in this story. The heroic characters defy physics on a regular basis. I suppose the author thought that teens wouldn't know or care. The first half of the story involved bantering and falling in love. The second half involved secrets coming out and the knight repeatedly rescuing his girl from death.

Sabine and Bennet are manipulated into meeting under false pretenses and start to fall in love over their shared interests, but each has a secret. Lady Sabine has wealth but also a blemish that makes superstitious people assume she's a witch and want to kill her. Bennet's brother has put his family deeply in debt, so it's up to Bennet to marry for money so they can pay off their debts. If he doesn't raise the money in time, the neighbors will attack.

Sir Bennet has some pride issues and will only accept help on his own terms. Meanwhile, Sabine notices that everyone carries some sort of physical imperfection. When she realizes that someone (a human, not God) loves her unconditionally, she decides she should love herself, too. There was no bad language or sex, but there was a lot of kissing. Including one time when Sabine was still tied up (kiss her or free her? Hmmm).


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.


Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Black Cat Sees His Shadow by Kay Finch

book cover
The Black Cat Sees His Shadow
by Kay Finch


ISBN-13: 9780425275269
Mass Market Paperback:
304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: June 6, 2017

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Mystery novelist Sabrina Tate and her cat, Hitchcock, set out to catch a conniving killer. The town of Lavender, Texas is buzzing with tourists, and local businesses are pulling out all the stops for the annual Pumpkin Days Festival. On the eve of opening day, Sabrina comes face-to-face with her doppelganger, Tia Hartwell, an artist at the festival. The similarities between the two women are striking, including their matching black cats.

Sabrina learns that her new twin Tia has an enemy: bad-tempered jewelry vendor Calvin Fisher. When Fisher is found slumped over dead in his pickup, Tia tops the suspect list. With the help of her feline sidekick, Sabrina must clear her new look-alike friend before she finds herself in a deadly case of double jeopardy.


My Review:
The Black Cat Sees His Shadow is a cozy mystery. This is the third book in the series. You don't need to read the previous books to understand this one, and this book didn't spoil the mysteries in the previous books.

The heroine asked questions and observed what was going on around her. Her cat frequently ran off, leading her to clues. She wasn't stupid, but there were occasions when she didn't think out her actions and so put herself (and others) in potential danger.

It's a clue-based puzzle mystery, yet the heroine didn't seem very interested in who had means and opportunity. I guess she was leaving that for the police while she discovered who had a motive. I was able to spot whodunit before the heroine figured it out.

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.


Friday, June 23, 2017

Freedom's Price by Christine Johnson

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Freedom's Price
by Christine Johnson


ISBN-13: 9780425251355
Trade Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Revel
Released: June 6, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Amazon:
When Englishwoman Catherine Haynes loses both her parents and her home in 1856, she decides to cross the Atlantic to find her American mother's family in Louisiana. She enlists the help of Tom Worthington, a dashing Key West man who makes his living salvaging wrecked ships, but whose real goal in life is to bring to justice the man who stole his father's ship and caused his untimely death.

When Catherine finally arrives at her family's plantation, she finds it in disarray and her family absent landowners. Longing to restore the plantation to the way it was when her mother lived there, Catherine tries to take control of plantation. She soon discovers that more is going on than meets the eye. When an incredible secret comes to light, both she and Tom will face a choice.


My Review:
Freedom's Price is a romance set in 1856 in Key West and New Orleans. I was profoundly unhappy with the ending of this book. Catherine seemed sorry that her pride, selfishness, and greed got her into trouble rather than sorry for her behavior. Even at the very end, Catherine wasn't satisfied with using only what actually belonged to her and Tom to free the slaves. She didn't hesitate to cheat someone (who never did her any harm) out of what was rightfully his because she didn't like that he had slaves.

Tom was interesting and had his own arc about learning not to take vengeance into his own hands. Catherine seemed decent at first since she cares about slaves and tenants, but it's always on her own terms (which sometimes left them worse off). People kept telling her that her intended actions would put her (and others) in danger, but she always felt that she knew better.

Catherine selfishly thinks she should have everything she wants, so she acted like she had the right to run her cousin's plantation even though she had no idea if she had a right to any part of it. Even though she didn't do a good job running her father's estates and knows nothing about sugar plantations, she's sure she can do better than anyone else. I didn't like Catherine.

This is the third book in a series. Characters from the previous books appear in this story, but you can understand this story without having read the previous books. There was no sex scenes 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.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Romancing Daphne by Sarah M. Eden

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Romancing Daphne
by Sarah M. Eden


ISBN-13: 9781524402969
Paperback: 328 pages
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.
Released: June 21, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
As her first London Season looms before her, the thought of the impending social whirl fills Daphne Lancaster's timid heart with dread. She hasn't her sisters beauty nor their talent for conversing easily. Even her family's enviable connections may not be enough to prevent disaster.

But Daphne's misery turns to surprised delight when the first event of her Season brings an unexpected visitor to her door—James Tilburn, whose tender kindness stole her heart in her youth. When the handsome young gentleman expresses his desire to court her, Daphne is elated. Their feelings for each other quickly grow, and it appears that, much to Daphne's disbelief, her happily ever after is within reach.

Yet nothing is as it seems. The couple finds themselves caught in a tangled web of greed and deceit, leaving James and Daphne to determine whether they are willing to risk everything for true love.


My Review:
Romancing Daphne is a Regency romance set in 1812 in London. It's the third book in the series, but you don't need to read the previous books to understand this one. This is a touching novel with a heroine with a soul-deep hurt.

When her mother died and her father withdrew from life, Daphne and her siblings had to fend for themselves. Quiet Daphne was often overlooked, and her father refused her the affection she craved. Daphne is now a young woman full of intelligence, caring, and wit, but she doesn't believe anyone will want her. Especially since she's overheard many a person call her plain.

James has a controlling, manipulative father. Under threat, James agrees to befriend Daphne during her Season and perhaps court her. He comes to appreciate how easy it is to talk with her and how she genuinely cares for people. Of course, Daphne soon overhears "proof" that James is only showing her attention because he was forced to. She withdraws from the pain, determined to never let anyone hurt her like this again. Can James prove that his love is genuine (and survive the avenging guardian and brother)?

There is some humor in how Daphne's guardian, the Dangerous Duke, scares people. I like that the novel acknowledges how our upbringing can shape how we view ourselves and others. Daphne and James were better people for knowing each other, and they help each other release their burdens. The historical details about the politics, social manners, and such were woven into the story, though accuracy was often suspended when it came to the Dangerous Duke's behavior. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd highly 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.