Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Review of Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh

Nutshell: Quinn Collins just bought her first business, a building she grew up in, but was never able to call it her own...until now. She's on a quest to be the best florist, win the biggest flower competition, while also showing her mother that she's got what it takes. The mother who abandoned her 20 years before and who is also the judge of the competition. She's got a new lease on life and she's going full speed ahead. Until a very angry, unhappy Olympic skier enters town, ends up in a fight and has to do community service....in her flower shop. With tempers high and sparks flying, Quinn finds herself on a new journey of patience and selflessness that she was not anticipating. But the biggest question is who is she trying to prove herself to? Her mother or herself?

What I thought: This was a quaint story that is the perfect read curled up next to the fire or soaking the rays on the beach. I thoroughly enjoy Courtney Walsh's books and this one was right up with her other ones (and that it's set in Michigan makes my heart all things happy). This book is down to earth with every day characters facing every day challenges. You find yourself walking with them, their thoughts and end up hoping everything works out while rooting for them as you read. Courtney does a great job weaving heartache and joy throughout the story line accompanied by humor and seriousness. A heart-warming story that makes you smile by the end and gives you a little lighter of a step as it makes your heart feel good.

Would I recommend it: If you enjoy warm-hearted, feel-good-to-your-toes reads that don't require a lot of figuring out and solving (like a mystery), then you will enjoy this book. This is a stand-alone novel with a story line that is sweet and feels more like home.

Tyndale House sent me this complimentary copy to review for them. Opinions expressed are my own.

Review of Blind Betrayal by Nancy Mehl

Nutshell: Marshal Casey Sloane has a new assignment. Escort a reporter from St. Louis to Washington D.C. to testify in a grand jury and a very high profile case. As Casey takes each job seriously, there does not seem to be any problems with this one and it should be an open and closed case within a couple days. Then all pandemonium breaks loose as Sloane is ready to head out with her witness. The Mashal's office is bombed and they think it is related to the witness Casey is transporting. With her partner and a D.C. Marshal, who she knew very well, they go on the run with their witness to get her to D.C. Through dangerous travels, twists and turns, will they be able to get their witness to her destination alive?

What I thought: This is book 3 in the Defenders of Justice series. It can be read as a stand-alone, but some characters from previous books are in this one as well. Knowing their back stories from other books could help, but overall, you would be able to read this book without reading the other two. Meh did a spectacular job with this fast paced, action packed story that keeps the reader flipping pages until they reach the end. So many levels and layers to the story to give the reader a bit more to chew on verses a typical mystery. Even up to the last pages, you are still surprised by what happens as you think it's over...but it's not.

Would I recommend it: Definitely! If you enjoy fast paced mystery and suspense, this book is for you. Highly addictive and hard to put down!

Bethany House Publishers sent me this complimentary copy to review for them. Opinions expressed are my own.

Review of Justice Betrayed by Patricia Bradley

Nutshell: Homicide Detective Rachel Sloan's mother had been killed when Rachel was a little girl. The death was said to have been from a burglary gone wrong, and the case was closed. A few days after her mother's death, a friend of her mother was murdered, an Elvis impersonator. Case unsolved. Years go by and another friend of her mother, Vic Vegas, yet another Elvis tributarian, shows up at Rachel's office saying he had evidence of her mother's death, her mom's friend's death and that both were murdered. The next day Vic is found killed. Someone is out to stop the truth from coming out. With no information other than a picture Vic gave to Rachel of himself, her mom, the murdered friend and one other person, Rachel is bound and determined to solve this case. Add in the craziness of being Elvis Week, it's time for Rachel to jump back in to the past with the help from Lieutenant Boone Callahan, and find out who is murdering Elvis impersonators and get to the bottom of solving these age old, personal cases before time runs out.

What I thought: This is the 2nd book in the Memphis Cold Case series, though it can be read as a stand alone book. Patricia did an excellent job keeping the story going and keeping the reader involved in the book right up until the end. A classic "who dunnit" suspense mystery with a bit of romance thrown in. I enjoyed the creativity of the Elvis focus as that added an extra layer of interest in the story. This book was well thought out, creative and well written. The characters in the first book were very minor in this book, so it can be read as its own novel.

Would I recommend it: Absolutely! If you enjoy a good mystery suspense, you will enjoy this book! Patricia is a seasoned author who does a phenomenal job creating and delivering story.

Revell Books sent me this complimentary copy to review for them. Opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Review of The Theory of Happily Ever After by Kristin Billerbeck

What it's about: Dr. Maggie Maguire is all about happiness. That's her job. Researching and publishing the science behind happiness. But happiness is far from Maggie's life as her fiancé broke off the wedding and she finds herself enjoying happiness with a pint of ice cream and Hallmark movies. That is until her friends intervene and practically push her on to a singles cruise. Maggie has to learn what true happiness is the hard way - not in things, but in who she is made to be. Thanks to a perfect stranger who raises her defenses, she finds out what true happiness is...not in science, but in the heart.

What I thought: This was a great feel-good story about the journey of Maggie Maguire and her heart. There was a lot of soul searching, a lot of making mistakes and learning from them. Kristin did a great job in telling Maggie's story. The humor sprinkled throughout and the internal conversations the character had with herself made this book realty. How many times have I had conversations with myself? All the time. That's what I liked about this book. It seemed like the main character kept going back and forth in her thoughts, but that's how people are. Throw in a lot of laughter and learning from mistakes and that's this book.

Would you like it? If you enjoy a good laugh, a light read and a feel-good story-line, this book is for you. For a rainy day or a sunny day on the beach, pick up this book as it'll make your heart feel good (and give you reassurance that you're not the only one who has conversations with yourself). And if you base a book by the cover, this one is eye catching and I'd pick it up based not the cover.

Reveal Books sent me this complimentary copy to review for them. Opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Review of Where the Fire Falls by Karen Barnett

What it's about: Olivia Rutherford is keeping a big secret even to the point of changing her last name. Her life as a starving artist is starting to launch her to the next level. As her art starts to become more known, she lands a deal to paint for Scenic Magazine which takes her to the beautiful Yosemite National Park. As she slowly faces her secrets, her facade begins to break down, thanks to a backcountry guide, Clark Johnson who introduces her to the beauty of nature and the majesty of God. As Olivia's past collides with her present, she is faced with life changing decisions and learns how to trust God even in the most dangerous situations.

What I thought: This is Karen Barnett's second book in her Vintage National Parks set and is a read-alone book. I enjoyed the creativity of how she framed the time period and pulling historical landmarks, events and people in to her story. I have never been to Yosemite, but reading this book has  me putting it on my bucket list. The description of the wilderness, the falls and the grand-ness of it makes you want to jump in your car and drive there. Between the story of the characters and battling out their pasts set in the grandeur of nature made this a great book that you could picture in your mind.

Would you like it: If you enjoy outdoor themed romance stories, you will enjoy this one. I encourage you to read the first book in this set called The Road to Paradise as it is just as good. I hope you will enjoy the whimsicalness of the authors writing as much as I did.

Blogging for Books sent me this complimentary copy to review for them. All opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Review of The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers

What it's about: Grace Moore. A single mom, struggling to make ends meet for her and her son, has ghosts in her closet very few know about. Roman Velasco has it all. Money, women, power, anything he wants at his fingertips, except peace. Grace lands a job as Roman's personal assistant and she quickly sees right through his facade. Roman can't figure out this enigma named Grace. Working side by side, Grace and Roman's pasts begin to come to light, but at the expense of what and who's heart? In this soul-searching story, Grace and Roman come face to face with what it means to be forgiven by God's all-encompassing grace as he is forming us in to his masterpiece.

What I thought: A story worth reading again! Francine does not disappoint in this tale of God pursuing his creation. This story is not picture perfect. It gets messy at times, you can feel the darkness surrounding Roman. You can see the battles waging in both of the characters' hearts. You can see God chasing. Francine is a master story-teller. Wrapping the reader in to the story right from the start. Throwing in romance along the way, but ultimately sharing God's pursuit of people and shaping us to be his masterpiece.

Would you like it: A resounding yes. This is not a fast paced, mystery-suspense type of story. More like real life with real people who have real problems. And yet this story is very hard to put down. If you enjoy Francine Rivers' books, you will definitely enjoy this one!

Tyndale sent me this complimentary copy to review for them. All opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Review of Beneath the Surface by Lynn H. Blackburn

What it's about: Leigh Weston is back home trying to start over after some horrific events that put her life in danger. What she doesn't know is that new events are starting to take place that are putting her life in danger, even while living in the safest place she knows. Family friend, and best friend to her brother, homicide investigator Ryan Parker, finds himself on Leigh's doorstep after he discovers a body in the lake behind her house. As Leigh's life becomes even more in danger, it is a race to the last minute of discovering who is after her, why and are the missing bodies that are turning up any link to Leigh's past.

What I thought: This is the first book in the Dive Team Investigators Series. What a great book by Blackburn. This is the first book I read by her and it was a good suspense thriller. A lot of romance was thrown in there, but the overall story line and plot was a great. The mystery kept twisting throughout and she did a great job keeping the reader wondering who was after the main character and why.

Would you like it: If you are an avid reader of suspense thrillers, you will like this one. Fast paced and intriguing, it will keep you flipping the pages up to the end to find out who the murderer is.

Revell Books sent me this complimentary copy to review. Opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Review of Long Black Veil by Jennifer Finney Boylan

What it's about: A group of mis-fit young adults find themselves in quite the situation when they enter an abandoned prison and the gates become chained shut. When one of their friends goes missing inside the prison no one has any idea what happened to her. Once free from the prison, all are questioned and are left speculating what happened to their friend. 30 years later, a gruesome discovery is revealed in the prison when someone comes across the remains of a skeleton and the past rushes up to meet the group of friends, who by then have all went on to live different lives. The past eventually brings them all together to face their own ghosts and to finally find out what happened to their long-ago friend.

What I thought: A very creative story that intertwines past with present. I liked how the author back tracked for each character to go more in depth in their life from the opening prison scene to 30 years later. With their being more emphasis on two to three characters instead of all seven, it made it that more intriguing. I could have done without the excessive language used throughout the book and some of the extra-curriculuar choices that were discussed. The main story though was interesting.

Would you like it? This all depends what type of book you are looking for. I usually review Christian fiction and I will tell you that this is not that genre. Many may be appalled and offended by reading this book. All depends if you have an open mind and get more to the depth of the book. You may want to read the back of the cover before reading the book so you are not surprised by it.

Blogging for Books sent me this complimentary copy to review. Opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Review of the Lacemaker by Laura Frantz

What it's about: Lady Elisabeth Lawson has it all for someone living in the Virginia Colony in 1775. Everything at her beck and call. Money. A rich lifestyle. No need for anything. Except love. Her betrothed is a match her father set up for her to bring even more money in to the family. Her heart accepts this as her lot in life. But when things turn for the worse and she finds herself on her own, an unexpected revolutionary, enters her life and her heart is not sure what to do. Follow Elisabeth as she journeys on her own road discovering who she truly is.

What I thought: A bit of a slower story, but told with rich vocabulary which tells of the time period this story was written in. Frantz describes the characters and the plot with elegance that you can feel yourself watching from the fringes at the ball or feel the wind from the river while walking through the garden. She weaves a tale that leaves you curious as to what is coming next. The characters are well developed and throughout the book you learn a bit more about the history and tales of the revolutionary time period.

Would you like it? This is a great book for any fictional historian!

Revell Book sent me this copy to review for them. Opinions expressed are my own.

Review of Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse

What it's about: Even though Isaac is one of Pete McLean's father's hired hands, he is Pete's best friend. And in the 1960's, having a friend who is of a different race is frowned upon. And a friend is who Pete needs, especially after his father unexpectedly dies in an farming equipment accident. But then Isaac suddenly disappears which leaves Pete emotionally wandering and wondering what happened. But because Isaac is African American, to those in authority, he didn't really matter. Pete's grandfather is on a mission to find answers for Pete. And Pete is on a mission to find Isaac. And through his mission, Pete meets a new friend, Dovey, who changes his views on friendship. Struggle along with Pete as he grows up and faces different challenges in his upbringing years and see if he ends up finding answers as to what happened to Isaac.

What I thought: This was a very interesting book. Seeing how the culture viewed people of color, people of different status' and people of different economic means was written well. I liked the slow, easy pace of the story line and the turns it takes, kind of like a meandering river with subtle bends along the way. This was the first time I have read a book by Luesse and enjoyed it. She weaves a story well and tells a tale with ease.

Would you like it: This was a book more about the heart rather than a suspense mystery. A journey over time rather than over a few days (like most suspense mysteries).

Revell Books sent me a complimentary copy to review. Opinions expressed are my own.