Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan – Book Review

Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan

Published by Bethany House Publishers September 05, 2017

Genre: Mystery and Thrillers, Christian

Pages: 174

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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Publisher’s Description

In the biggest case of her career, attorney Kate Sullivan is tapped as lead counsel to take on Mason Pharmaceutical because of a corporate cover-up related to its newest drug. After a whistleblower dies, Kate knows the stakes are much higher than her other lawsuits.

Former Army Ranger turned private investigator Landon James is still haunted by mistakes made while serving overseas. Trying to forget the past, he is hired by Kate to look into the whistleblower’s allegation and soon suspects that the company may be engaging in a dangerous game for profit. He also soon finds himself falling for this passionate and earnest young lawyer.

Determined not to make the same mistakes, he’s intent on keeping Kate safe, but as the case deepens, it appears someone is willing to risk everything–even murder–to keep the case from going to trial.

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Story Notes

Rachel Dylan’s new mystery series will have readers holding their breath and biting their nails as they fly through the pages trying to find out what will be the conclusion to this thriller.

After receiving Rachel Dylan’s novella Incriminating Evidence for Christmas from a family member, I was hooked on her writing style. And when Deadly Proof was offered to me for review I was really excited to read it. Ms. Dylan has a way of writing that not only brings you alongside her characters, she makes you feel you ARE the character – this is your life. For this reason I’m attaching a warning to other readers: Do not start this book before bed or you will not end up sleeping until you finish! It was honestly that well written and developed. I don’t give 5 stars easily so when I find a book that meets my strict criteria I will most certainly tell others about it. Ms. Dylan begins her story with a Big Pharma case that is in the beginning stages of litigation and waiting for the assignment of plaintiff lawyers/lead counsel. Mason Pharmaceutical Corporation has been accused by a multitude of persons and estates as willfully producing a migraine headache relieving drug called Celix that causes brain tumors. Kate Sullivan is a partner at the Warren McGee law firm and is on the short list for the lead counsel position for the executive plaintiffs representing the victims of Celix and MPC. Although she is aware of the importance of this case for her career, she is more focused on getting justice for the victims and their families. But when an MPC informant is killed after sharing information with Kate about the case, Kate realizes there is more going on than just a cover up of harmful side effects. She hires PI Landon James to help her sort out all the possible data she’s been given and to provide security if needed. As Kate begins to delve deeper into the case, more and more suspicious documents are concealed and only by an order from the judge does Kate have a chance to uncover them all. Opposing counsel for MPC is Kate’s friend from law school Ethan Black, who works for the same firm Kate did before changing to plaintiff law. Ethan is confident that MPC did not release Celix knowing the harmful side effects and believes that he can win the litigation in favor of MPC. But as the case continues to unfold, Ethan will start questioning whether he’s been kept in the dark about the goings-on at MPC. Kate finds herself the target of several personal attacks and attempts to sabotage her case, leaving her with no other choice than to allow Landon to create a constant level of security. Knowing she is in the right and there is a major amount of cover up happening within MPC, Kate seeks to find a link between the main drug Celix and another MPC drug Acreda (a drug that treats brain tumors), set to be released soon. When she is anonymously sent copies of emails between MPCs head scientists showing a direct link between Celix and Acreda, she is determined to show in court that MPC knowingly released Celix with the brain tumor side effects so that they could then release Acreda to treat the tumors, making money both times. But someone at MPC is just as determined as Kate to keep that information under wraps, going so far as to intimidate, murder and kidnap. Its up to Kate and Landon to find out who is behind all this evil before someone else gets hurt. I can’t in good conscience reveal the outcome of the book as I want others to experience this wonderful story for themselves. I loved that Ms. Dylan uses real, everyday issues that people struggle with to make her characters relatable. Kate has issues with confidence and trust that she keeps hidden well behind her “court face” and will have to realize that she will need help in this fight for justice if she is to win. Landon has much in his past that has hardened his heart and devastated his faith; and it will be Kate’s careful, persistent pushing that will cause him to seek God and His will again. Together they will both learn that trusting God for the best outcome and safety is the only way to live. And they will also learn that love doesn’t wait for life to be neat and tidy, it comes in the tough times when you can see what really matters in life. I am most certainly going to purchase a hard copy of this book for my shelves and for my friends, it will a great gift for those I know that enjoy a good, solid case and characters. I’m also going to be looking for Ms. Dylan’s past writings to catch up on as well as looking forward to future installments of this series. Well done, Ms. Dylan! Keep up the excellent work.

I received this E-book free of charge from Bethany House Publishers via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either company for this review.

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Chasing Secrets by Lynette Eason – Book Review

Chasing Secrets by Lynette Eason

Published by Revell Publishing August 01, 2017

Genre: Mystery/Suspense, Christian

Pages: 336

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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Publisher’s Description

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.

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Story Notes

Lynette Eason brings her fourth installment of the Elite Guardians to her readers complete with an explosive (literally) past, and hail of bullets and love made strong through adversity.

Lynette Eason’s ability to bring a story to life with thrilling danger scenes and smart dialogue that draws you into the story completely is what had made and kept me a fan of hers for over 10 years. It really takes a good writer to create fresh and relevant stories that also stand the test of time. I have found that her stories written in the early 2000s are still very good given she doesn’t spend so much time on the technology of the time (outside of helping the case along), but focuses instead on the crime committed and the individuals involved. This latest addition to the Elite Guardians is no exception to her excellent writing and I was so excited that it was offered to me to review. Haley Callaghan has been a good minor character in the past three books about the Guardians, giving snappy responses and tough grit when required. But I was glad to get to read her story – one that has only been hinted at in the first three books. Haley is content with her life, her work, her singleness, and her past but she’s been having dreams lately that seem more memory than sleep fiction. And she’s being followed by a man who takes off every time she tries to confront him. Who or what could possibly be interested in her enough to track her movements? And to top it off, a teen named Zeke in the neighborhood she’s working as a mentor tries to rob her for money for his brother’s medicine. Could her life be any more complicated? Actually, it can, as Ms. Eason introduces Haley to Ian Burke, the grandfather she didn’t know she had, and a whole family with more secrets than she could imagine. Haley will have to wade through all the information and history that comes screaming her way to discover if this family and her inheritance is worth all the danger that it’s bringing to her and her friends. Steven Rothwell (great name choice Ms. Eason) is a newly transferred detective for the Columbia, SC Police Department who is seeking answers to the homicide he and his partner Quinn Holcombe were assigned. Steven has returned to his hometown to help his mother care for his father who’s cancer is not getting better with treatment. But the past tragedy of his brother’s murder makes returning home a wash of unwanted memories for Steven and he’s glad to have work to focus on instead. His world will collide with Haley’s when he and Quinn answer a call for help for “shots fired” near their crime scene. Feeling instant attraction for the tough redhead, Steven makes it his own personal responsibility to find out why someone wants to follow and possibly kill her. Together they will have to sort out which danger comes from whomever in her past that wants her dead and what has been added due to her protection case for Zeke and his family. This is just the sort of complicated spider web I love reading and trying to solve before the end of the book. Ms. Eason gives the findings of the cases involved just as they are discovered by her characters, never giving away the culprit or motive until the last few pages, making my figuring out the truth early all but impossible. I love that her main characters faith in God is so completely woven throughout the story, making their journeys through the presented crises a journey to deepened faith as well. It becomes a challenge for the reader, too, to decide if they would have taken the same path or if there might have been a better one. I also really enjoy her careful use of police terms, ensuring that any and all used are correct and applicable to the situation. Its always a pleasure to read a story in which the author has obviously invested time in the research as well as in the story itself. There is usually a measure of romance added to Ms. Eason’s stories and this book is no exception. The growing attraction between Haley and Steven offers an opportunity for Ms. Eason to make the danger more real to her readers and to help them connect with her characters. If a book makes you frustrated, angry, sad or afraid to any great degree it is always a win for me. Ms. Eason describes the fear of her characters just as if it was her herself and evokes empathy for them when they are deciding whether to take a chance on real friendship or love. Ms. Eason has covered the four main partners of the Elite Guardians but I hope she also will tell Olivia’s brother Charlie’s (he’s funny in the other books) and Bree, Quinn’s former partner, story as I think they have a lot in their past that would make for a good  book. Plus there are some new recruits that were just added to the Guardians and I know Ms. Eason can create an amazing story for them. Here’s hoping the next one comes out soon…..I’ve definitely got feelers out for its appearance. I’m also planning to by hard copies of this series for myself and a couple others for Christmas as I think more people should experience these excellent reads.

I received this E-book free of charge from Revell Publishers via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either company for this review.

Whispers of the Wind by Francis Devine – Book Review

Whispers of the Wind by Francis Devine

Published by Barbour Publishing  July 01, 2017

Genre: Christian, Romance

Pages: 170

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

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Publisher’s Description

Enjoy two historical romances from author Frances Devine set in Georgia at the Cecilia Quincy School for the Deaf. Abigail James is unprepared for the challenges of her new teaching job or the resistance of the staff to new techniques. Will Dr. Trent Quincy, the school’s owner, accept her ideas or resist the pull of his heart? Also includes the bonus sequel, The Scent of Magnolia, about a teacher who is determined not to fall for the father of her favorite pupil.

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Story Notes

I wanted to like this book so much! The description given by the publisher was interesting and one that I’ve not often seen used which was a nice change for reading. But I had issue with the fleshing out of the story. Given that the story is relatively short so as to allow equal space for the second story in the book (another short story by Ms. Devine), I expected it to be a bit fragmented. I did not expect it to be so jumpy so as to make the book feel both rushed and boring all at the same time. There were passages in the book, like the measles epidemic and the tornado, that were filled with action and lots of good dialogue. But others were added that dragged on the story and make it seem to never end. I loved the ideas of a good and growing school for deaf children that Ms. Devine was endeavoring to share in her story but it seems that it was written quickly and then published without good review. I also enjoyed reading of Lily, the little blind girl with the sunshine attitude. But I just couldn’t get to like the rest of the book and the main characters. Both Abigail and Trent had a lot of potential and could have been really good characters to teach lessons through, but Ms. Devine seemed to shy away from them actually learning anything. The problems they encounter are so minor and have such easy conclusions there is little that allows the reader to connect with them. Abigail and Trent further seemed to be a bit lackluster in their faith, not really looking to God for decisions to be made or any type of spiritual growth. I much prefer characters in a story to be on a journey that will take the reader along and challenge them either in their faith or just life in general. I hope Ms. Devine will return to the drawing board before she turns in another book and will develop a book that will allow her to stretch her “writer’s wings” just a bit more that she has thus far attempted. I will not be recommending this book for others to read as I found it hard to finish myself and would not wish others to have the same trouble.

I received this E-book free of charge from Barbour Publishing via Net Galley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either company for this review.

Whispering Pines ~ The Langtry Sisters by Scarlett Dunn – Book Review

Whispering Pines ~ The Langtry Sisters by Scarlett Dunn

Published by Kensington Books/Zebra Publishers July 25, 2017

Genre: Romance, Christian

Pages: 398

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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Publisher’s Description

In Scarlett Dunn’s heartfelt inspirational series, three sisters return home to beautiful, enigmatic Whispering Pines, Colorado, and discover the men who’ll claim their love . . .

As a young girl, Rose Langtry feared her gruff, handsome rancher neighbor. Coming back to Colorado after five years, she’s outraged to find Morgan LeMasters ready to hang her brother for rustling and theft. But when the resulting skirmish leaves her injured, Morgan’s tender care turns her unease to unexpected closeness . . . and admiration.

Stopping Frankie Langtry and his gang has long been Morgan’s priority, yet he can’t resist Rose’s pleas for mercy. As brave and spirited as she is soft-hearted, Rose needs support to keep her family farm from going under, and a marriage of convenience will provide it. Morgan hardly dares admit, even to himself, his longing for a deeper, truer union. But her brother’s grudge is bringing danger back to Whispering Pines, and it’ll take forgiveness, courage—and a bond built on faith—to create a family and a future together . . .

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Story Notes

Scarlett Dunn’s first story in her new Langtry Sisters series is a great adventure in love and forgiveness.

Having read the description and an earlier novella by Miss Dunn, I was excited to read this adventure story. I loved the plot she presented and the theme of forgiveness that was woven throughout the entire book – both of which made me wish for such a growing romance in my life. Ms. Dunn begins her delightful story with a tragic necessity – the hanging of cattle rustlers – that is interrupted by the arrival of a stagecoach. Morgan LeMasters has been seeking these particular thieves for months especially since one of them is responsible for the near death of the Sioux healer, Joseph Longbow. He is not happy that they turn out to be Frankie Langtry, the grandson of his neighbor, and some drifters looking for easy money, but neither can he allow their crimes to go unpunished. However, before he can carry out the sentence on the deserving thieves, Frankie’s little sister Rose arrives on the scene on the stagecoach, fresh from school back East. Horrified that anyone could think her brother capable of such a crime, Rose demands that Morgan allow the accused men to stand trial before the circuit judge. Not wanting to make Rose watch her brother hang, Morgan agrees, albeit very reluctantly. As they make their way back to Whispering Pines, the axle on the stagecoach breaks and all the occupants are toss end over end until they stop at the bottom of the hill. Taking advantage of the chaos, Frankie grabs a gun and threatens to kill his unconscious sister unless Morgan lets him and his men go. Seeing no other choice, Morgan agrees, angry that Frankie would even consider harming Rose. After Frankie escapes, Morgan, his men, Rose and the rest of the passengers are stranded with only enough horses for two to ride. Sending two of the men to town for help and more horses, Morgan volunteers to wait with the others and help the injured bandage themselves with what’s on hand. Rose, it turns out has the worst injuries -all her ribs are broken – and needs the most care. She will have to decide if Morgan is the honorable man her grandmother always said he was or the cruel, hard man that Frankie told her he is. Now, with this start to a plot, how could anyone not turn out a good story? And to all this add the danger of Morgan going after Frankie’s gang, Rose’s other brother Stevie slacking in his work at the farm and getting into trouble, Frankie vowing to do all he can to take everything Morgan has before he kills him and Rose trying to be the negotiator for them all and Ms. Dunn has a great story with enough chilling adventure and romance for any avid reader. I loved how she showed that each person has to find the courage to fight for true justice in the face of desire for revenge; because we cannot call ourselves Christians if we seek vengeance that belongs to the Lord. Ms. Dunn also had each of her characters make an choice at some point in the story as to whether they would forgive those who had wronged them or go on wallowing in bitterness and hate. It made the story so much more than just another adventure/romance that anyone else could write. I further enjoyed her ability to let Rose grow up throughout the story. Rose came into the story totally naive to what her brothers were capable of and refused to listen to anyone speak against them. It was sad to read that she had to lose faith in them to see that God was the one she should have put her trust in; however it will be this journey of faith that Ms. Dunn will use to bring Rose to Morgan to find love. I loved everything about Morgan in this story – he was a man willing to trust God for his future, willing to protect Rose and others from Frankie, and willing to admit when he was wrong to seek vengeance for Frankie’s deeds. Ms. Dunn uses him to show Rose that love puts others needs and desires ahead of oneself and that trust should be given to those who have earned it. For Morgan, Rose becomes the love he never thought he would find – a love that will teach him that mercy, grace and forgiveness are the only way to be truly free of the bitterness he carries. I can hardly wait for the next book in this series and I’m hoping it will be as good or better than this first one. Ms. Dunn has definitely found a fan in me and I look forward to more from her in the near future. I will certainly recommend this book to others and will definitely be purchasing a few copies as Christmas presents.

I received this E-book free of charge from Kensington Books/Zebra Publishers via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either of these companies for this review.

A Matter of Trust by Susan May Warren – Book Review

A Matter of Trust by Susan May Warren

Published by Revell Publishing  July 04, 2017

Genre: Christian, Drama, Romance

Pages: 200

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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Publisher’s Description

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 find his footing–or forget the woman he loved, who betrayed him.

Senator and former attorney Ella Blair spends much of her time in the limelight as the second-youngest senator in the country. But she has a secret–one that cost Gage his career. More than anything, she wants to atone for her betrayal of him in the courtroom and find a way to help him put his career back on track.

When Ella’s brother goes missing on one of Glacier National Park’s most dangerous peaks, Gage and his team are called in for the rescue. But Gage isn’t so sure he wants to help the woman who destroyed his life. More, when she insists on joining the search, 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. But when Ella’s secret is revealed, can they learn to trust each other–even when disaster happens again?

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Story Notes

Susan May Warren’s third installment of her Montana Rescue will thrill and excite her readers from first to last page, making them wish for fresh Ski and Snowboard slopes to set off on their own adventure.

I had a bit of a hard time adjusting to the setting of this most enjoyable book only because I was read it while sitting on the porch of the beach house we rented for family vacation this year. It’s a bit hard to imagine the cold and chill that was such a part of the book when you’re drinking sweet tea and soaking up the warm sun rays but all of that faded quickly as I dove into this wonderful story of trust, love and dogmatic persistence. Ms. Warren has been carefully and thoroughly telling the life stories of the members of the PEAK Rescue team and this book brings readers right back into the thick of things. Choosing to focus this book around former Freeriding Snowboard Champion Gage Watson, Ms. Warren will show the hazards of both taking and not taking risks, both in life and love. Gage was the top freeriding snowboarder in the world three years ago, until his life was ripped apart by the tragic death of fellow snowboarder Dylan McMahon he was supposed to be guiding down the infamous Terminator Wall. Believing that Dylan’s death is his fault, Gage allowed himself to be prosecuted and was stripped of his reputation, fame and medals. Now he works as a member of PEAK Rescue hoping to keep others from following in his ill-fated footsteps. Ella Blair was there three years ago when Dylan died, having come to Outlaw Mountain to convince Gage to refuse Dylan’s request to take him down. Not understanding why Gage still went with Dylan when he promised her he wouldn’t, Ella blamed Gage for Dylan’s death and when given the chance, became the second chair lawyer in the lawsuit filed by Dylan’s parents. Not until the middle of the trial is does she learn that Dylan was high on Marijuana when he made the run with Gage, making the entire suit negligible. But her law firm forbade her by legal force to keep the discovery quiet or her career would be destroyed. Not sure of Gage’s love for her and afraid for what she would do without her career, Ella stays quiet. But she is heartsick over it all because she fell in love with Gage in those days before Dylan’s death. Gage and Ella go their own ways, neither intending to see the other again but God has other plans for them. Ella’s brother Ollie has idolized Gage for years and worked hard to prepare to snowboard the same path down Heaven’s Peak and Terminator Wall. When Ella follows Ollie to Outlaw Mountains, hoping to keep him from dying like Dylan, she quickly realizes the only way to save Ollie is to ask Gage for help. Gage is still smarting over Ella’s choosing the opposing side in his civil suit and is reluctant to risk taking her with him to stop her brother. But Ella refuses to be left behind and determines she will trust Gage to get all of them back down the mountains safely.  Gage and Ella will work together on trusting each other and God as they make their treacherous journey after Ollie and will even get the opportunity to find love together again – if only they can forgive each other for past mistakes. Ms. Warren created such an engaging story that I was quite a bit put out when it ended. I’ve really loved getting to know the members of this team and watching them grow together and separately in relationships with others and with God. I love that Ms. Warren makes her characters both raw and real, never glazing over the pain or struggles they each have. And she also includes the ongoing stories of other members of the team along with the character she is mostly focusing on. I loved learning more about Ty, Jess, Pete and Ben and seeing how their relationships with each other have evolved throughout the books. Ms. Warren gave me a closer look at Ty and how he is seeking the courage to get back into the air after a devastating crash broke his legs and stole his confidence. Meeting Ella’s friend Brette, a news reporter, means Ty must run interference for the rest of the team to keep her from exposing all their secrets to the rest of the world. But its Ty’s relationship with Jess that Brette is most interested in as she is feeling attracted to him herself. As they grow closer when Brette is hit with food poisoning, Ty will have to find the courage to tell her his story and not hide from love behind his “relationship” with Jess. And Brette will have to realize that not all men are only seeking a relationship that will benefit them alone. I will certainly be recommending this exciting and wonderful book to others and will purchase a hard copy for my shelves at home to reread soon. The next book in this series is coming out in January and I am really looking forward to reading her story of Ian Shaw, the creator of the PEAK Rescue team.

I received this E-book free of charge from Revell Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either company for this review.

Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer – Book Review

Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer

Published by Bethany House Publishers June 06, 2017

Genre: Christian, Drama

Pages: 210

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Publisher’s Description

Grace Mallory is tired of running, of hiding. But when an old friend sends an after-hours telegraph transmission warning Grace that the man who has hunted her for nearly a year has discovered her location, she fears she has no choice. She can’t let the villain she believes responsible for her father’s death release his wrath in Harper’s Station, the town that has sheltered her and blessed her with the dearest friends she’s ever known.

Amos Bledsoe prefers bicycles to horses and private conversations over the telegraph wire to social gatherings with young ladies who see him as nothing more than an oddity. His telegraph companion, the mysterious Miss G, listens eagerly to his ramblings every night and delights him with tales all her own. For months, their friendship–dare he believe, courtship?–has fed his hope that he has finally found the woman God intended for him. Yet when he takes the next step to meet her in person, he discovers her life is in peril, and Amos must decide if he can shed the cocoon of his quiet nature to become the hero Grace requires.

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Story Notes

Karen Witemeyer’s latest story in her Harper’s Station “series” brings a different look at strength and love – one that will show the value of brains over brawn and honest love over expectations.

This was one of those stories that I was loath to finish, it had so many good elements included in it that it was a real pleasure to read. Ms. Witemeyer begins her story with a heroine named Grace Mallory who has gone into hiding after seeing her father killed right in front of her. She carries with her the proof that Chaucer Haversham is not the true heir to a multi-million dollar fortune – proof that threatens not only her life but the lives of those in the town in which she is hiding. Grace has found momentary peace in the town of Harper’s Station, a mostly all women’s community for which she is the telegraph operator. She has formed an solid friendship with another operator she knows only as Mr. A and she hopes one day to meet in person the man who has been so kind and attentive. But when Grace receives an urgent message that Haversham has discovered her whereabouts, she will have to decide if she can stay in Harper’s Station or should go on the run again. Her new friends will not hear of her leaving and rally together to keep both her and the town safe. Amos Bledsoe, Denison, Texas’ telegraph operator, is the unmet Mr. A, who has enjoyed getting to know Miss G and believes he has fallen in love with her even without having seen her. Given his slight build and glasses, Amos finds it difficult to make favorable impressions on the young ladies of his town; making his relationship with Miss G all the more important to him. When their telegraph conversation is interrupted one evening by the news of danger for Grace, Amos quickly packs a bag and heads to Harper Station to make sure Grace is safe. What he meets is a town that is most ready and willing to defend one of their own, even at gunpoint. Amos gradually proves himself trustworthy to the town and sets out to help Grace see that she would be safe, and loved, with him. I loved the telegraph elements that Ms. Witemeyer included in her story as it gave the story a unique feel. So few jobs were open to women of good reputation outside large cities and I loved that Ms. Witemeyer gave Grace the independence she needed to have while also giving her a vulnerability to keep her from appearing bitter because of her circumstances. I was further glad to see that Ms. Witemeyer showed Grace’s reluctance to form a stronger relationship with Amos because he was not what she had always imagined in a mate. He was not the tall, dark and strong man she had always pictured but Ms. Witemeyer showed that those are not the most important features of a person. Grace learned that strength is different in each person and height gives no indication of a person’s heart. How our imaginations can deceive us into thinking that only one type of person is capable of care and strength! Amos was exactly what she needed and the one that God had brought into her life to make it better than she believed possible. Amos also learned that his lack of bulk or height was nothing to be ashamed of as he was precisely the person he needed to be to serve God and protect Grace. God gave him the abilities and intelligence he would use to help Grace outwit Haversham and his multiple accomplices and God will use Amos to be the protector and mate Grace desires. Ms. Witemeyer had a secondary story running alongside the main plot and I loved this one as much as the other. Helen Potter has lived for over a year at Harper’s Station and has found it the blessing she needed. A town with no men was the perfect solution to her quest to get away from men who would seek gain through her pain. Helen is very wary of any man and is still uncomfortable with the two that her friends have married recently ( their stories are told in previous books). She is seeking peace and a closer relationship with God and does not find it amusing in the least when her path crosses an injured man who turns out to be Pinkerton Agent on the trail of one of Haversham’s accomplices. But her compassionate nature will not allow her to leave Detective Lee Dunbar to die regardless of the fact that he is male. Managing to get him to her home and secreting her friend home to treat his wounds helps ease her fear slightly but Lee will have his hands full trying to prove himself trustworthy to Helen. They are both attracted to the other but Helen is not ready to let go of her well-deserved fear of men. Given the very harsh upbringing she had with her father, Helen has not allowed any man nearer her than a very casual acquaintance. Lee knows she likes him and finding himself falling in love with Helen surprisingly fast, he determines show her that REAL MEN care well for those in their charge – sacrificing anything to keep them safe. It will take a truly dangerous situation for Helen to see Lee as a honorable and loving man. Ms. Witemeyer showed the fear we all hold close after going through deep hurt in Helen and further showed that true freedom from that fear only comes when we give it to God to redeem the hurt for His glory. Additionally Ms. Witemeyer demonstrated the love of Jesus through Lee who was willing to sacrifice all for those he loves. I have quickly become a great fan of Ms. Witemeyer’s stories because she always has a lesson to teach through her writing. She does not shy away from telling the whole and real truth and pulls no punches when it comes to what the Bible says about trust, fear and love. I eagerly look forward to her next works and will certainly be recommending and buying this book for my friends and family. Thank you Ms. Witemeyer for sharing such good and challenging stories, they always make me think of what I would do in the same situation and seek truth from the Source of all Truth.

 

I received this E-book free of charge from Bethany House Publishers via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either company for this review.

Freedom’s Price by Christine Johnson – Book Review

Freedom’s Price by Christine Johnson

Published by Revell  June 06, 2017

Genre: Historical, Christian

Pages: 186

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Publisher’s Description

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. Torn between returning to Key West with Tom or beginning the hard work of restoring the plantation, Catherine soon finds herself snared in a plot to steal her inheritance. When an incredible secret comes to light, both she and Tom will face a choice. Can they relinquish the dreams that have been holding them captive in order to step forward in faith–even if it costs them everything?

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Christine Johnson’s latest historical novel brings the 1850s Florida/Lousiana area to life with dashing sea captains, stolen inheritance, and an unsolved suicide.

This book was interesting for me to read as I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with it. It would go along with good pacing and witty dialogue then there would be passages  that didn’t seem help the story along. The best parts of the book were towards the end when all the intrigue was sorted out but I also liked the beginning as it gave good insight into the main characters of Catherine and Tom. Catherine Haynes is attempting to travel to her deceased mother’s relatives in Louisiana after the death of her father. Her uncle has told her that the land her father owned is being possessed by the bank to pay massive loans taken out by her father right before he died. Homeless and knowing her mother was well loved by her family in the States, Catherine sets out to claim her portion of the inheritance her grandfather willed to her mother. Her journey couldn’t be any more difficult than any she could have imagined and she will have to decide if she will trust salvage captain Tom Worthington to help her complete her journey and make her rightful claim. Catherine has spent much of her life being rather timid and unassuming but if she intends to take possession of what is rightfully hers she must be prepared to fight. Tom Worthington has spent years hunting the man who destroyed his father’s name and company, driving his father to suicide. Working as a salvage boat Captain off the coast of Key West, Tom is searching the gulf areas for the man knows as Mornez who robbed him of his family. Upon discovering that Catherine will be booking passage alone from Key West to Luisiana,  Tom offers to go with her to ensure her safety. As they travel, they will each meet with much frustration in their quests. Catherine arrives at the Louisiana Plantation to find that her cousin is an absentee landowner who has left the Plantation in the hands of a frightening overseer called DeMorney. DeMorney is a sinister man who has many secrets and is not afraid to use violence to keep all on the Plantation under his thumb. Catherine will have to use every ounce of courage she possesses to discover all the secrets before its too late for everyone. Tom is positive that DeMorney is really Mornez, but he has no way to prove it. He will have find others who can vouch for his story or catch DeMorney in his illegal activities if he wants to save Catherine and find justice for his family. The question is whether he will embrace justice or vengence? I really enjoyed the mystery that Ms. Johnson added to her story – it really gave the story a good platform and allowed for a deeper relationship between Catherine and Tom to develop. Having so many threads begun throughout the beginning of the story was a little confusing but Ms. Johnson was careful to bring everything to a close and tie the ends up nicely. I could tell that this book was supposed to be part of a series but it wasn’t so much tied to the previous books as to make it hard to read or understand the characters. I was pleased to see the way in which Ms. Johnson wove the characters faith journeys in with the plot, making it very natural and necessary to the strength that each one was able to hold to during a difficult situation. Her descriptive but not overly detailed passages of the scenery and locations throughout the book were very good as well. As I have been to several of the places she described it was interesting to hear what they were like 160 years ago. As I said before, I did find that some passages of the book seemed a bit unnecessary to the plot but I believe they were included to tie up other loose ends that were not completed in the previous stories. Overall I would say that this was a really good story to read and I will be passing it on to others to enjoy. I will certainly be looking for more of Ms. Johnson’s work in the future.

I received this E-book free of charge from Revell Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either company for this review.

Under a Summer Sky By Melody Carlson – Book Review

Under a Summer Sky by Melody Carlson

Published by Revell Publishing June 06, 2017

Genre: Romance, Christian

Pages: 160

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Publisher’s Description

High school art teacher Nicole Anderson is looking forward to a relaxing summer in Savannah, house-sitting and managing an art gallery for a family friend. The house is luxurious in a way that only old money could make it, and the gallery promises interesting days in a gorgeous setting. Yet it isn’t long before her ideal summer turns into more than she bargained for: a snooty gallery employee who’s determined to force her out, a displaced adolescent roosting in the attic, and two of Nicole’s close childhood friends–who also happen to be brothers–vying for her attention.

With a backdrop of a beautiful historical city, incredible architecture, and even an alleged ghost or two, combined with the opportunity for romance . . . anything can happen!

Bestselling and award-winning author Melody Carlson invites readers to spend the summer surrounded by beauty and tantalizing possibilities for the future.

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Story Notes

Melody Carlson brings to her readers a fun and sweet romance that is as lovely as a summer sky in Savannah.

An on-going fan of Ms. Carlson’s I was most happy to see this story come across my reading dashboard. Her wit and sweetness are always wonderful to read and it comes through very well in her books. As it would happen, I was sent this book the day before my family left for a beach vacation and as this is a summertime book I was glad it would be my companion on that trip. Ms. Carlson did not disappoint – this story was really great and I enjoyed getting to know her characters. She begins her tale with a high school Art teacher named Nicole who loves her subject but not teaching it to high-schoolers who are not interested in Art History. Enter her mother, Caroline who has arranged an adventure for her – managing Caroline’s friend Vivian’s art gallery for the summer! Feeling a bit railroaded, Nicole reluctantly agrees (after speaking with Vivian) and makes plans to head to Savannah. Little does she know that this summer will be just the shake up she needs to build her confidence in herself and give her a chance at lasting love. I am always on the hunt for authors that present well developed characters and further, well developed stories. Ms. Carlson is one such author who seeks to totally immerse her readers in the sights, sounds, and smells of the setting so they actually feel they have been to the location of the story. I have put Savannah on my list of places to visit after reading this book and can’t wait to try out the culture and food of that quiet Southern town. How fun it was to walk alongside Nicole as she revisited her childhood vacation town and saw the wonderful changes that were happening. And to find herself the target of not one possible suitor but two! Add to this the “privilege” of helping a hurting teenager find her way through some tough times, the hard work of dealing with an insolent co-worker, the joy of getting to help design the layout of a lavish home and  joining in on several ghost tours in Old Town Savannah and Nicole is bound for a life changing summer. Ms. Carlson also includes spiritual growth for her characters – helping Nicole become confident in the gifts God has given her while still remaining kind to those who are hurtful; helping Ryan to become the contractor he’s sought to be for several years while dealing with his older brother who looks down on him; and helping Bernie (Ryan’s niece) feel loved and stop her parents fighting over with whom and where she belongs. And Ms. Carlson included one of my favorite romance plots – a childhood crush by one character that was annoying to the other character, that finds the good footing of a real love relationship. I love to see this plot played out – it makes for such fun and sarcastic comments that just make the story that much better. I am loathe to include more description of the content as I don’t want to spoil the story for others, but I will certainly be recommending this story to others so they can enjoy it too. I am looking forward to Ms. Carlson’s next book, hoping it will be just as wonderful to read.

I received this E-book free of charge from Revell Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive not fiscal compensation from either company for this review.

The Captain’s Daughter by Jennifer Delamere – Book Review

The Captain’s Daughter by Jennifer Delamere

Published by Bethany House Publishers June 06, 2017

Genre: Christian, Romance

Pages: 209

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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Publisher’s Description

When a series of circumstances beyond her control leave Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater that is presenting the most popular show in London. A talented musician and singer, she feels immediately at home and soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage.

A hand injury during a skirmish in India has forced Nate Moran out of the army until he recovers. Filling his time at a stable of horses for hire in London, he has also spent the past two months working nights as a stagehand, filling in for his injured brother. Although he’s glad he can help his family through a tough time, he is counting the days until he can rejoin his regiment. London holds bitter memories for him that he is anxious to escape. But then he meets the beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate can’t wait to leave behind.

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Story Notes

Jennifer Delamere’s story of finding home and family, not in a place, but with people is one for which her readers will be saying thanks.

This story was one of those that I read without feeling bored but nevertheless felt like the ending came at a good time. It was not particularly amazing in its plot but I felt the writing was fairly well done with a good vocabulary that lent the story some “yumph”, as William Powell used to say. I can’t say I will ever reread it but I did enjoy the time I spent on this story. Ms. Delamere begins her story with a good heroine named Rosalyn who has had not only her job, but her home stolen from her through a series of deceptive lies. In fear of her life, she sets out to make a new home near her sister Julia, only to discover the fiend who drove her from her home is following her to ensure she goes to prison. Not willing to bring her problems to Julia’s doorstep, Rosalyn heads to London to lose herself in the teaming masses of the sprawling city. But upon arriving there and finding herself robbed of her belongings, Rosalyn becomes desperate to find a respectable job so she can feed and clothe herself. Being offered work backstage at a London theatre is not exactly what she was looking for but Rosalyn cannot afford to be choosy. And as it turns out, God was looking out for her, putting her among people that not only respect her but are most willing to help her use her unbeknownst singing talents to gain better work and wages. Rosalyn also finds a new friend in Nate Moran, a man who will offer her safe escort to and from the theatre as well as a home with his family when Rosalyn is without a home. Nate likes Rosalyn very much and is a quite attracted to her but he is determined to return to his army regiment which is soon to leave for India. He carries a guilty secret that he has resolved to put behind him by sacrificing his life to life-long service of his country. But God has other plans for Nate, ones that also include Rosalyn, if he will simply allow God to redeem his past and give him a future of hope and love. Ms. Delamere’s story had much truth to share and I was glad to see that she confronted many “sins” within these pages. She took on the idea of repayment for past mistakes with a direct method, having several characters voice the truth of God’s forgiveness to Nate so he would find a way to lay aside his guilt and take on the life God had for him. Further she had Rosalyn work on her ability to forgive others who had hurt her in the past and reach out for new and better relationships – allowing her to find a new family with Nate and his relatives. Ms. Delamere examined and dissected other small truths in her story but they are too numerous to give them justice here. She kept her story positive and well-paced and this kept me reading to the end, as I would not have if this had not been the case. I will pass this story on to others, not just for the lessons to be learned but because this was a very nice story to read. I am hoping that Ms. Delamere will write a story about Julia as she was one of my favorite characters in this book. I have a feeling it will be of more interest to me than this one as Julia is a strong person who I’m sure will be quite a force to be reckoned with in the medical field.

I received this E-Book free of charge from Bethany House Publishers via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either company for this review.

Fatal Mistake by Susan Sleeman – Book Review

Fatal Mistake by Susan Sleeman

Published by Faithwords/Centerstreet   May 09, 2017

Genre: Mystery/Suspense, Christian

Pages: 305

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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Publisher’s Description

An FBI agent must protect the woman who can identify a terrorist bomber in bestselling author Susan Sleeman’s riveting romantic suspense novel.
Each day could be her last…but not if he can help it.
Tara Parrish is the only person ever to survive an attack by the Lone Wolf bomber. Scared and emotionally scarred by her near death, she goes into hiding with only one plan–to stay alive for another day. She knows he’s coming after her, and if he finds her, he will finish what he started.

Agent Cal Riggins has had only one goal for the past six months–to save lives by ending the Lone Wolf’s bombing spree. To succeed, he needs the help of Tara Parrish, the one person who can lead them to the bomber. Cal puts his all into finding Tara, but once he locates her, he realizes if he can find her, the Lone Wolf can, too. He must protect Tara at all costs, and they’ll both need to resist the mutual attraction growing between them to focus on hunting down the bomber, because one wrong move could be fatal.

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Story Notes

Susan Sleeman’s most recent suspense novel is one that will keep you up at night……because you must know when or if the killer will be caught.

I love to read books that are so realistic that you can almost taste the fear and danger that the characters are experiencing. Ms. Sleeman’s latest story most certainly answers that desire and delivers a chilling race against time to catch a killer who is determined to destroy not only those he believes are traitors to their faith but the one woman who “should have loved him”. Tara Parrish’s life literally explodes when she accidentally stumbles on the workshop of the Lone Wolf Bomber, never dreaming her childhood friend Oren could have become a murderer. Barely escaping with her life, she goes into hiding, praying she can stay one step ahead of the man who has vowed to kill her. Tara’s only problem is that Oren is not the only one looking for her. FBI Special Agent Cal Riggins saved Tara’s life and hopes that she will help him capture the Lone Wolf Bomber before he kills anyone else.But Tara doesn’t want to be found, by Oren or Cal, and  it will take another attempt on her life to help her realize that people are dying because of Oren’s fixation on Tara’s “betrayal” of him. Agent Cal Riggins is frustrated – not only has the Lone Wolf Bomber eluded him for months, but the one person who could help Cal track him down has been hiding from him (very well, mind you) as well. But Cal’s team isn’t touted as the best in the country for no reason. When he finds Tara, he won’t have found the scared, naive woman he rescued months before. Tara has become hardened, both physically and emotionally, and she is not going to come with Cal without a fight. But after Oren tries to kill not only her but Cal and his team, Tara decides she is tired of running and wants this fight finished – whatever that will take. I so enjoyed reading every page of this story! I had it with me on a day that I was running errands that gave me lots of waiting time and I got annoyed each time I had to put it down to go to the next place – it was that good. Ms. Sleeman presents a story that is very relevant to the time in which we live and yet she was able to make it timeless as well with the theme of unrequited love driving someone to cause destruction. The tension that she creates is so palpable I found myself holding my breath on several occasions as I waited to see if Oren would succeed in his terrible tasks. And her main characters were very well developed to give me a sense of walking beside them through the case and actually pondering questions or ideas of possible targets they should consider at times when I wasn’t able to read the book. I further liked the spiritual journey that both Tara and Cal make throughout the story. Given the horror Cal has seen on this case, he’s having a hard time reconciling how God can allow the numerous murders of innocent people. It will take Cal truly trusting in God to help him walk through this case without seeking vengeance rather than justice. Tara knows God cares about her, she’s just not sure she can trust Him, or anyone,to keep her safe from Oren. And her guilt over those who have died during Oren’s search for her make her even less willing to reach out for the help and comfort she isn’t sure she deserves.  One of the main reasons I like to read Ms. Sleeman’s books is her honesty when she describes attraction between two people. While she keeps the content clean, she shows the real emotions and feelings of the characters involved – making it very easy for her readers to connect with them. It is always good when an author shows that professional protectors or agents are human too, not just case focused machines that never feel anything. Not that Cal became consumed by the attraction he felt for Tara but Ms. Sleeman did show his journey to falling in love with Tara, rather than just being physically attracted to her. Tara as well was shown to journey from a place where she had hardened herself against relationships to finding that trusting and loving others is how God designed us to live. And to see that they were both willing to give their lives to save the other just made these characters some of my all-time favorites. The other characters that were featured in the book were also well done. I have a good idea that Ms. Sleeman will continue the story of this team and their cases, but will most likely have each be shown through the individual eyes of the team members. I love reading military or crime series such as this and am looking forward to what Ms. Sleeman will be offering next. I will most certainly be passing this story along to others and hope they will enjoy this fast-paced nail bitter as much as I did.

I received this E-book free of charge from Faithwords/CenterStreet Publishers via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either of these companies for this review.