Monday, December 5, 2022

PRETTY LITTLE PIECES by Carmen Schober, Reviewed by Kim #ReleaseDay


Carmen Schober’s debut novel, After She Falls, was one of my top reads last year, so I have been really looking forward to reading Pretty Little Pieces. Then when I saw that our hero is an ex-sniper, my anticipation ramped up even more!

In fact, Cassidy ended up being my favorite character in this story. He was always kind, helpful and understanding. I liked him and Georgina together as a couple and I loved how he answered Georgina’s tough Biblical questions. His answers were straightforward and easy to follow for someone who, while she believed in God, wasn’t following Him. There were some great secondary characters in this story too. I also thought Georgina’s character growth was well done. I would’ve liked more completion on some of their stories.

From the premise of the story, you might be thinking that this is a fun, light romance, but it is not. It has several heavier themes including alcoholism, miscarriage, light drug use, and loss of a spouse. That being said, I never felt like this story got too heavy or weighed down. I would’ve liked a bit more focus on Georgina’s show and her renovations though.
*I received a complementary copy of this book. All opinions are my own. The faith thread is medium. 4 stars. 
 

BackCover Blurb:
Ambitious influencer Georgina Havoc and her designer beau Lance Broussard have been dubbed the next Chip and Joanna Gaines, but their happily-ever-after falls apart when Lance blindsides her with a "pause." The show must go on, so Georgina takes on the task of renovating a forgotten cottage in the tiny, tight-knit town of Tarragon, Tennessee on her own.

Georgina has a plan to save her relationship--and her show--but a surprise drop-in from her troubled twin sister makes things extra messy. That, and the presence of rugged ex-sniper Cassidy Stokes, who throws a wrench in all her plans.

As she salvages her shattered life, will Georgina retreat to the familiar or embrace a new design? 

Bethany House Publishers, December 6, 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:

Sunday, December 4, 2022

DANGEROUS BEAUTY by Melissa Koslin, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"Do you think you can trust me?"

"Exceptional beauty brings a higher price."
. . . sadly, Meric Toledan wasn't referring to diamonds or luxury cars or original art, he was describing a terrified young woman whose freedom had been heinously snatched away from her and who would brutally pay for her insubordination (by daring to flee her captors) if he didn't do what he could do to save her. . . so he did what he could do to save her, he married her.

Who was this husband of hers, this man of considerable means and endless connections, who was also exceptionally kind; offering her his name and a place of refuge without hesitation or expectations. Liliana Vela knew there would be more chapters in her story, she was a valuable commodity and though Meric offered protection, they both knew that she would be hunted down. It was just a matter of time.

As their fragile relationship grows more personal, Liliana is determined to breach the walls that surround her husband's heart, for Meric's past has ironically been woven from her own; gently pleading with him to, "Think about letting go of everything that's hurt you for so long. Let yourself heal. You've tried so hard to give me the opportunity to heal; I want you to do the same thing." . . . she does the one thing that he asks of her . . . to trust him.

Although wrought with copious amounts of suspense, this is quite a love story; one that will be difficult to forget; heavily laden with taut, tense and tender moments. And although the circumstances are properly disgusting at times, Meric and Liliana's alliance is one of courage, strength, selflessness, and honor . . . daring every one of us to "Remember that someone loved you enough to come for you". 

*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to provide a positive review

SEE KIM'S REVIEW

BackCover Blurb:

Liliana Vela hates the term victim. She's not a victim, she's a fighter. Stubborn and strong with a quiet elegance, she's determined to take back her life after escaping the clutches of human traffickers in her poor Mexican village. But she can't stay safely over the border in America--unless the man who aided in her rescue is serious about his unconventional proposal to marry her.

Meric Toledan was just stopping at a service station for a bottle of water. Assessing the situation, he steps in to rescue Liliana from traffickers. If he can keep his secrets at bay, his wealth and position afford him many resources to help her. But the mysterious buyer who funded her capture will not sit idly by while his prize is stolen from him.

Melissa Koslin throws you right into the middle of the action in this high-stakes thriller that poses the question: What is the price of freedom?
Revell Publishing, September 2022
Available in digital ebook,  paperback, and hardcover at Amazon, Christianbook .com, or Baker Book House 

 

 

THE DEAD DON'T DANCE by Charles Martin, Reviewed by Kim

The Dead Don't Dance by Charles Martin is a heartbreakingly beautiful, character-driven story with many wonderful secondary characters. There's actually several that I would really like to know their full stories, especially Amos, Koy, and Amanda.

I don't read the book blurbs for the books I read, so I had no inkling of what was coming in this one. My heart ached for so many of these characters and what they went through. I loved how everyone helped each other in various ways and the character growth for Dylan was so satisfying to read. My favorite scene, no spoilers, but it was towards the end and it took place in a ditch, literally gave me goose bumps.

Charles Martin is so talented and his stories just completely draw you in to the point you don't want to leave. While I felt like there were some slower parts, I felt very invested in these characters and I needed to know what happened to them.
*I bought this book. All opinions are my own. The faith thread is medium. 4 stars.

BackCover Blurb:
The Dead Don't Dance is a bittersweet yet triumphant love story—a tale of one man's journey through the darkness of despair and into the light of hope.

In a sleepy rural town in South Carolina, Dylan and Maggie Styles are a young couple in love, preparing eagerly for the birth of their first son. But events take a tragic turn in the delivery room, and their child is delivered stillborn. When Maggie hemorrhages and slips into a coma, Dylan slips into what can only be described as a walking coma, holding vigil at his beloved wife’s bedside.

Usually tough and self-reliant, an outdoorsman and a farmer, Dylan finds that everything he has known is suddenly thrown into doubt. Refusing to give up on Maggie’s recovery, a devastated Dylan takes a job as an English professor in order to pay for Maggie’s medical bills. Dylan connects with his students despite himself and offers hope to others amid his own disappointment and grief. As Dylan waits for some change in Maggie's condition, he reflects on his life and hers.

Through friends and grace-filled moments of insight, Dylan slowly begins to heal, but it will take a second tragedy—and an anxious period of wrestling with God—to truly awaken him from his stupor and open him up to a new life.New York Times bestselling author Charles Martin’s debut novel
Full-length emotive Southern fiction
Book 1 of the Awakening Series

Thomas Nelson Publishing, 2006
Available in digital ebook, paperback, library binding, an d audiobook:

 

Saturday, December 3, 2022

AUTHENTICALLY, IZZY by Pepper Basham, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"I want you to trust me enough to be authentically you."

Book-loving, line-quoting, hat-wearing, parade-leading librarian Isabelle Louisa Edgewood has possibly just met her "match" . . . ummm . . . on an online dating sight no less . . . her profile set up by her very-pregnant, slightly interfering, (change that to always interfering) matchmaker cousin Penelope, who seems to take delight in conjuring up potential boyfriends for Izzy. Wait a minute, could this man actually be Penelope in disguise . . . you never know . . . virtual relationships are tricky like that . . . because Brodie (who lives across an ocean, for goodness sake) seems too good to be true.

Thankfully Izzy's other two cousins combine their voices into some common sense; of course Brodie is a real person, Penelope hasn't even read enough books to come up with the clever bookish references that flow so naturally into Brodie's correspondence. And after video chatting with the man, Izzy is trying very hard not to be "smitten". . . because the reality is, behind the screen Izzy is terrified; is Izzy Edgewood enough? (and she is REALLY afraid of flying, but of course, he hasn't asked her to fly yet, and why is she even thinking about leaving her home, that she loves, and never wants to leave)

The sheer volume of witty, clever conversations in this epistolary novel is utterly charming! Izzy's transformation from trying to be who others want her to be . . . into becoming a young woman who has been fearfully and wonderfully made into exactly who God desires her to be . . . well, it is an epic odyssey that not even Homer himself could have written! And to think that her heart might perfectly entwined with another . . . "isn't there some Bible verse about God doing exceedingly and abundantly above what we even think?"

If I had known that happily-ever-afters could be this well written, I would have been reading considerably more of them.

*I purchased a copy and was under no obligation to provide a positive review.  4.5 stars

SEE WINNIE'S REVIEW

SEE PAULA'S REVIEW

BackCover Blurb:

Dear Reader, My name is Isabelle Louisa Edgewood—Izzy, for short. I live by blue-tinted mountains, where I find contentment in fresh air and books. Oh, and coffee and tea, of course. And occasionally in being accosted by the love of my family. (You’ll understand my verb choice in the phrase later.) I dream of opening my own bookstore, but my life, particularly my romantic history, has not been the stuff of fairy tales. Which is probably why my pregnant, misled, matchmaking cousin—who, really, is more like my sister—signed me up for an online dating community.

The trouble is . . . it worked. I’ve met my book-quoting Mr. Right, and our correspondence has been almost too good to be true. But Brodie lives across an ocean. And just the other day, a perfectly nice author and professor named Eli came into the library where I work and asked me out for a coffee. I feel a rom-com movie with a foreboding disaster nipping at my heels.

But I’ve played it safe for a long time. Maybe it’s time for me to be as brave as my favorite literary heroines. Maybe it’s time to take the adventures from the page to real life. Wish me luck.

Authentically,

Izzy

  • Witty, hilarious, and heartwarming contemporary romance about book lovers
  • A sweet, kisses-only romance
  • An epistolary novel written mostly in emails and texts
  • Stand-alone novel
Thomas Nelson Publishing, November 15, 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, library binding, and audiobook:

 


THE DEFENDER by Patricia Bradley, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise #releaseDay

The Philanthropists Short-Read Series Book 5

“The woman had no fear and she wanted to save her sister.”

Photographer Shelby Adams knows her sister was captured in a trafficking scheme. But does she trust billionaire Adrian Marshall or take matters into her own hands! Now she is also kidnapped and the danger ramps up.

Non-stop action in this thrilling short story that packs a punch. Even though short, this is a well plotted and exciting read. I want to see more of Shelby and Adrian. I would definitely read any companion books.
*I received a complimentary copy of this ebook from the author. I was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*5 stars and a faint faith thread 

BackCover Blurb:

Professional photographer Shelby Adams is on a mission to rescue her sister and fourteen other girls from a human trafficking ring. When she's caught trying to sneak into Jason Bassitt's compound where the girls are being kept, she barely escapes with her life. Defender Adrian Marshall is the head of a tactical rescue operation, and he has to stop Shelby before she interferes with his assignment to extract the girls from the compound. If he fails, the girls will be auctioned off to the highest bidder. He offers Shelby a job, but she turns him down because she doesn't trust him.
 

That changes when Bassitt's men capture her, and he comes to her rescue.
 

Join Adrian and Shelby in THE DEFENDER as they work against time to save fifteen girls from being sold into human trafficking 

Digital ebook available December 3, 2022 at Amazon

Friday, December 2, 2022

WHERE THE BLUE SKY BEGINS by Katie Powner, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas


Set in small-town Montana and populated with colorful, realistically-flawed, and engaging characters, Where the Blue Sky Begins is both thoughtful and thought-provoking.

 

Main characters Eric Larson, a driven businessman, and Eunice Parker, a quirky middle-aged woman with terminal cancer, are brought together by accident. As an unlikely friendship develops, they learn what is important in life. Themes of forgiveness, service to others, and living life to the fullest add depth and meaning to the story. Many heart-touching moments along with humorous ones balance each other to make this a memorable read. Katie Powner has a unique author’s voice, and this novel is sure to resonate with those who enjoy contemporary inspirational fiction.  

*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishing. All opinions are my own.4.5 stars

SEE REVIEWS BY PAULA AND REBECCA

BackCover Blurb:
Sometimes the hardest road of all is the road home.

When confident and handsome Eric Larson is sent to a rural Montana town to work in the local branch of his uncle's financial company, he's determined to exceed everyone's expectations, earn a promotion, and be back in Seattle by the end of summer. Yet nothing could prepare him for the lessons this small town has in store.

At forty-six years old, eccentric and outspoken Eunice Parker has come to accept her terminal illness and has given herself one final goal: seek forgiveness from everyone on her bucket list before her time runs out. But it will take more courage than she can muster on her own.

After an accident pushes Eric and Eunice together, the unlikely pair is forced to spend more time with each other than either would like, which challenges their deepest prejudices and beliefs. As summer draws to a close, neither Eric nor Eunice is where they thought they would be, but they both wrestle with the same important question: What matters most when the end is near? 

Bethany House Publishing, October, 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and hardcover:

 

 

 

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

LIKE THE WIND by Robin Lee Hatcher, Reviewed by Kim #ReleaseDay

Like the Wind by Robin Lee Hatcher is a dual timeline story. The historical part is told completely through diary entries, which I really liked. I always know I’m going to enjoy Ms. Hatcher’s stories. She can be counted on to have a wonderful faith thread that’s runs throughout the story and her characters are always likable and easy to root for.

I felt for Olivia and all she had been through because of her ex-husband. The relationship between Olivia and her daughter Emma grew naturally and seemed very realistic. I felt Tyler was the perfect match for Olivia. Normally, a main character keeping a secret would bother me, but in this case I saw why he had to and I was glad it didn’t become a huge issue in the story.

I loved the diary entries and the faith message that was within. My favorite quote from this story is the following:

“I am not alone. No matter how I feel, no matter what storms buffet me, I am not alone. Jesus is in the boat with me. He cares.”


Such a needed, peace inducing reminder! If you’re looking for a sweet romance with a strong faith thread, this is the story for you.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own. The faith thread is medium. 4 stars.

BackCover Blurb:
A life in pieces. A hundred-year-old journal. And a chance for love to be reborn.

Olivia Ward arrived in Bethlehem Springs alone—with no job, no home, and no money—after her manipulative ex-husband used his power and wealth to destroy everything. Six years later, the peaceful life she rebuilt is once again turned upside down when she learns that her fifteen-year-old daughter, Emma, will be coming to live with her. The reunion should be a dream come true, but years of deception have driven a wedge between them. And Emma seems more interested in an old diary she discovered than reconciliation with her mother.

Tyler Murphy knows what it’s like to lose everything. Propelled by his history in the foster-care system, he’s determined to root out dishonesty and protect the most vulnerable through his work as an investigator. When he’s hired to investigate Olivia Ward, though, he finds himself longing to believe she’s exactly who she appears to be, and he soon realizes that his desire to learn more about her has nothing to do with his job. But how can he pursue a relationship that began with a lie?

In this latest novel from award-winning author Robin Lee Hatcher, an antique diary, a family-fueled investigation, and unexpected feelings collide to create a promise that’s worth fighting for.

Thomas Nelson Publishing, November, 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, library binding, or audiobook:
 

 

Monday, November 28, 2022

THE BEST INTENTIONS by Sarah M. Eden, reviewed by Winnie Thomas #JustReadTours


The Best Intentions starts another series, The Huntresses, by talented author Sarah M. Eden. Although this book can be read alone, those who have read some of Eden’s other series will recognize many of the characters in this one. It was fun to see what these other characters have been doing. As the Huntresses, a group of friends gathered by Artemis Jonquil, get together for a house party they are joined by friends of her husband. Gillian Phelps, one of the Huntresses, and Scott Sarvol are endearing as the main characters, and I enjoyed their interactions.

With witty banter, engaging characters, and an intriguing plot, this tale kept me turning the pages. Themes of the importance of family and friends, daring to take chances, and doing the right thing even when it’s not easy give added depth to it. This is a clean and wholesome historical romance.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Covenant Communications through JustRead Tours. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.

BackCover Blurb:
In the eyes of London Society, Gillian Phelps is suitable enough. Though the ton whispers about her change of residence, any speculation remains just that: ballroom gossip. No one—not even the other Huntresses, the group of ladies she calls her dearest friends—knows that she is harboring a devastating family secret. Gillian has become adept at hiding the reality of her circumstances, but the close quarters of a house party will test her ability to conceal the crushing truth. And with so many people to deceive, the late arrival of another guest is a most unwelcome surprise.

Despite his standing as a gentleman of the ton, in truth, Scott Sarvol possesses little more than two debt-riddled estates. When an opportunity arises to survey one of his properties, he travels north, only to find himself an unwitting guest at Artemis Jonquil’s house party. He is warmly welcomed by all—except the aloof Miss Gillian Phelps. But when Scott proves himself unexpectedly helpful in a crisis, his acquaintance with Gillian shifts from wariness to something warmer.

As both her charade and her feelings for Scott deepen, Gillian realizes that the truth could spell not only a devastating fall from Society but also a shattered heart.
 
Covenant Communications, November, 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and audiobook:

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

CONCRETE EVIDENCE by DiAnn Mills, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"The gunfire. Seeing Granddad bent over the body with his gun in his hand. . . What had she seen and heard?"

Confused beyond measure, Avery Elliott is stunned to think that her beloved grandfather had anything to do with a dead body. The entire incident was very strange and more than a bit unsettling, for the famed senator's influence on her life over the years had been consistently honest and moral. Now Avery was worried that the discrepancy she'd recently uncovered in a billing statement for their family enterprise, Elliott Commercial Construction, was connected somehow; in the meantime her grandfather was volunteering very little information . . . before he went into hiding.

"But I want you to contact Houston FBI Special Agent Marc Wilkins and tell him everything you saw and heard. Do so in person. Leave nothing out."

Remarkably, or providentially, Marc Wilkins' father had been a friend of Senator Elliott. "Had" being the predominant term, for Marc's father had not only been absent for most of his life, but he had recently died under rather suspicious circumstances. When Avery shows up in Marc's office with her eyewitness report, she sets off a complicated series of criminal activities. It seems no one is safe . . . including those in the path of a potentially compromised dam . . . for a raging hurricane is in the forecast.

Perhaps a bit overwritten? Quite an intriguing story, but one that went around in so many circles that everyone and anyone was suspect; and then actually not a suspect, only to become a suspect again. Where was the "concrete evidence"? Of course everything fit together in the end, a very dramatic ending as a matter of fact; one that matched the intensity of the beginning, which had successfully drawn the reader into the story in the first place.
*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to provide a positive review. 3.5 stars

SEE PAULA'S REVIEW

BackCover Blurb:
On the family’s Brazos River Ranch in Texas, Avery Elliott helps run her grandfather’s commercial construction business. Raised by Senator Elliott, Avery has never doubted her grandfather is the man of integrity and faith she’s always believed him to be . . . until the day she finds him standing with a gun over the body of a dead man. To make matters worse, Avery’s just discovered a billing discrepancy for materials supposedly purchased for construction of the Lago de Cobre Dam.

Desperate for answers, Avery contacts FBI Special Agent Marc Wilkins for help. As Marc works to identify the dead man Avery saw, threats toward Avery create a fresh sense of urgency to pinpoint why someone wants to silence her. With a hurricane approaching the Texas coast and the structural integrity of the Lago de Cobre Dam called into question, time is running out to get to the bottom of a sinister plot that could be endangering the lives of not only Avery and her loved ones but the entire community.

Tyndale House Publishing, November, 2022
Available in digital ebook, hardcover, or audiobook:
Buy CONCRETE EVIDENCE at Amazon, Christianbook .com, or Baker Book House

Monday, November 21, 2022

MADE OF STEELE by Susan Sleeman, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas and Rebecca Maney


WINNIE'S REVIEW:
With plenty of action, suspense, inspiration, and satisfying romance, this addition to the Steele Guardians series by Susan Sleeman is sure to captivate those who enjoy contemporary romantic suspense. Sleeman is one of my must-read authors in this genre because she never fails to grab my attention from the first page, and I enjoy learning more about crime-solving techniques and new advances in that field while reading a fascinating tale. Her attention to detail and obvious careful research show in her stories.

This book stars Teagan Steele and Drew Collier as they work together to uncover a smuggling ring and bring them to justice. When the plot thickens and twists and turns occur, they end up with more troubles than they started with and their lives in peril. Teagan and Drew are wonderful, engaging characters, and I loved seeing them interact and their relationship grow.

*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

 

REBECCA'S REVIEW:
"Forget the immense attraction. Keep your mind in the game. Do your job and live to fight another day."

Talk about bad timing. When Teagan Steele answers the call to surveil some questionable activity at one of Steele Guardian's customer's warehouses, she had no idea that she would be manhandled, gagged, and zip-tied by a stranger who was almost . . . gentle in his approach? Who in the world?

" . . . He hated putting her through this . . . one of the greatest challenges of undercover work."


Undercover ICE Agent Drew Collier had to stay in character . . . this assignment was too important . . . especially when there was a suspected international smuggling ring working right under Teagan Steele's nose. But when his higher-ups decided to read her into the case, Drew had no idea how difficult it was going to be to remain professional, when his personal radar kept screaming "attraction, attraction, attraction" at an obnoxious pitch.

Taking the reader in one, possibly two directions at first, this story unexpectedly veers off into uncharted territory, even for the characters. Talk about plot twists! And faith struggles! Will truth and justice find a way to prevail?

"She loved that he was a fellow believer, even if he was struggling. She'd been a Christian her entire life and knew there were times she relied on her faith less. . . But God always came through. Always . . . Please, God. Do the same thing for Drew." 

*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to provide a positive review. 3.5 stars

BackCover Blurb:
She keeps her feelings to herself…
When Teagan Steele faces her hardest challenge since taking over her family’s security company, she has to dig deep to figure out how one of their clients smuggled antiquities into this country, and what they did with them. And she has to clear Steele Guardians of any charges of collusion and wrongdoing.

But a bold undercover agent changes everything.
When she comes face-to-face with undercover ICE agent, Drew Collier, who is deep in the smuggling ring, she has to work hard to keep her emotions in check and herself professional at all times. Despite her best efforts, Teagan and Drew grow closer, but a new threat soon puts their budding relationship to the test and their lives in grave danger.


Edge of Your Seat Books, November, 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and audiobook

Sunday, November 20, 2022

THE BLACKOUT BOOK CLUB by Amy Lynn Green, Reviewed by Trixi Oberembt and Paula Shreckhise

TRIXI'S REVIEW:

“I have found books make fine friends—but fellow readers even better.

Being an avid bookworm, I was excited to dive into this story! Though WW2 novels aren't my favorite, I've heard such great things about the author Amy Lynn Green. I'm glad I took the chance on both the book and author.

Admittedly, it took me some time to get into because it started out a bit slow. I was afraid it would be another “did not finish” book on a long list of these lately. Not due to the writing (it's brilliant, by the way!), but so much was happening at the beginning that it was hard to keep up with. I finally found my groove around the 40% mark and the characters began to grow on me. I think the one that took the cake for me was Ginny. Oh my....she's rash, outspoken and brutally honest, but made me laugh so much. She's an awful lot like myself, my connection to her was uncanny! You wouldn't find a better friend or confidant like her, though. I just loved the complex layers to each character as they took shape on the pages. Every one of them was special in their own way and the bond they had in the end was tight.

These friendships were forged in the fire of war and connected in the love of literature. This is not only about a book club that grew, or merely an effort to save the library, but a story that I think can touch the heart of every reader! What an emotionally satisfying novel and a peek at history lived through the lives of its characters! If you are a fan of Amy Green—or even a new one like myself—and also enjoy the likes of Sarah Sundin or Kate Breslin, I would highly recommend The Blackout Book Club to you. I found it to be a brilliantly written, multi-layered novel to enjoy over and over again!
* I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishers and was not obligated to leave a review. All opinions expressed here are my own. *

PAULA'S REVIEW:

Step into the past and see what one plucky librarian tries in order to save a private library from extinction during 1942 on the home front. Could a bookclub revive the library and bring the citizens together?

“...books make fine friends - but fellow readers even better.”


Ms. Green has given us well rounded, relatable characters that have struggles just as we do, in a world we can only imagine. She gives interesting facts about towns on the east coast during war time that had the threat of German U boats off our mainland. But it is the varied personal problems of Avis, Russell, Louise, Ginny, Martina and Freddy that showed me that those struggles are universal and worthy of being seen in the light of faith and grace. Forgiveness and reconciliation were shown as were upholding the truth and revealing dangerous secrets.

A story about history, books and libraries? It is a YES from this book lover! A worthy addition to her other two books. Highly recommended.
* A complimentary copy of this book was provided by Bethany House through Interviews and Reviews. I was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*5 stars and an underpinning faith thread.

BackCover Blurb:
In 1942, an impulsive promise to her brother before he goes off to the European front puts Avis Montgomery in the unlikely position of head librarian in small-town Maine. Though she has never been much of a reader, when wartime needs threaten to close the library, she invents a book club to keep its doors open. The women she convinces to attend the first meeting couldn't be more different--a wealthy spinster determined to aid the war effort, an exhausted mother looking for a fresh start, and a determined young war worker.

At first, the struggles of the home front are all the club members have in common, but over time, the books they choose become more than an escape from the hardships of life and the fear of the U-boat battles that rage just past their shores. As the women face personal challenges and band together in the face of danger, they find they have more in common than they think. But when their growing friendships are tested by secrets of the past and present, they must decide whether depending on each other is worth the cost.

Bethany House Publishing, November, 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, library binding, and audiobook:

Saturday, November 19, 2022

THE MISTLETOE FAVOR by Jill Kemerer, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas

It was such a treat to return to Sunrise Bend, Wyoming for another story in Jill Kemerer’s Wyoming Ranchers series. Kemerer is a master at creating realistically-flawed, endearing, relatable characters and wrapping a delicious story around them that keeps the reader engaged. I enjoyed seeing the character growth in Mac Tolbert and Bridget Renna, the main characters in The Mistletoe Favor. Mac has inherited a fortune from his deceased father and has custody of his sister. Bridget is trying to make a success of her new coffee shop after moving to Sunrise Bend from New York City. When she agrees to hire Mac’s sister, Kaylee, she gets to know Mac better and see what he’s really like.

“It’s easy to look at someone like you and assume your life is perfect.”

Kemerer’s sweet and charming stories always warm the heart, and this one is perfect for a clean, festive Christmas read. 

*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own. 4.5 stars

BackCover Blurb:
It will take one special cowboy

To make this season bright.

After gaining guardianship of his half sister, wealthy rancher Mac Tolbert hopes a part-time job during the holidays will help the grieving teenager. New coffee shop owner Bridget Renna has been on her own since sixteen and is immediately drawn to the shy orphan—and her handsome brother. But as Bridget grows closer to the siblings, will her troubled past ruin their chance at a Christmas together?

A WYOMING RANCHERS NOVEL
From Love Inspired: Uplifting stories of faith, forgiveness and hope.

Wyoming Ranchers

Book 1: The Prodigal's Holiday Hope
Book 2: A Cowboy to Rely On
Book 3: The Mistletoe Favor


Harlequin Love Inspired, October, 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and mass market paperback
Buy THE MISTLETOE FAVOR at Amazon, or Christianbook .com

 

Friday, November 18, 2022

AUTHENTICALLY, IZZY by Pepper Basham, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas

Filled with her signature wit and humor, Pepper Basham’s newest book, Authentically, Izzy, is a delightful romantic comedy told mostly through emails and texts. Populated with realistic, endearing characters this story stars two bookish introverts who meet on an online dating site. With Isabelle Edgewood in the heart of small-town Appalachia and Brodie Sutherland living on an island across the Atlantic Ocean, it seems an insurmountable problem when they find they’d like to be more than friends. I enjoyed seeing how Basham brought out the different personalities of the main characters and their family members through their emails.

The characters are well-drawn and fun, the writing is engaging, and the humor tickled my funny bone. Sprinkled with lots of bookish quotes and references, book lovers will find much to enjoy. Themes of overcoming insecurity, taking chances, and love of family add depth to the tale. Basham shows once again that she can tackle many different genres with aplomb.

*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.

SEE PAULA'S REVIEW

BackCover Blurb:

Dear Reader, My name is Isabelle Louisa Edgewood—Izzy, for short. I live by blue-tinted mountains, where I find contentment in fresh air and books. Oh, and coffee and tea, of course. And occasionally in being accosted by the love of my family. (You’ll understand my verb choice in the phrase later.) I dream of opening my own bookstore, but my life, particularly my romantic history, has not been the stuff of fairy tales. Which is probably why my pregnant, misled, matchmaking cousin—who, really, is more like my sister—signed me up for an online dating community.

The trouble is . . . it worked. I’ve met my book-quoting Mr. Right, and our correspondence has been almost too good to be true. But Brodie lives across an ocean. And just the other day, a perfectly nice author and professor named Eli came into the library where I work and asked me out for a coffee. I feel a rom-com movie with a foreboding disaster nipping at my heels.

But I’ve played it safe for a long time. Maybe it’s time for me to be as brave as my favorite literary heroines. Maybe it’s time to take the adventures from the page to real life. Wish me luck.

Authentically,

Izzy

  • Witty, hilarious, and heartwarming contemporary romance about book lovers
  • A sweet, kisses-only romance
  • An epistolary novel written mostly in emails and texts
  • Stand-alone novel
Thomas Nelson Publishing, November 15, 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, library binding, and audiobook:



 

 

 

NIGHT WATCH (#5) and NIGHT PREY (#6) by Susan Sleeman, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

THE NIGHTHAWK SECURITY Series continues!
NIGHT WATCH
"Please don't let him find me. Please. Please. Please."
Jumping off a houseboat into cold, murky water wasn't what underwater crime scene investigator Kennedy Walker had in mind for evening entertainment, but when a burly intruder with a hand gun is involved, it was her one and only option. And then . . . an unexpected hero arrives on the scene . . . the one man she had been forced to walk away from. . . Erik Byrd.

"Erik was a glutton for punishment. Otherwise why would he be in his truck headed to Kennedy's floating home? So she could rip his heart out again?"

It was a good thing that Erik had followed his instincts, for it only took one look at Kennedy's open door and discarded personal items to put him on high alert. After pulling Kennedy from the water, the two try to determine what just happened and how to move forward safely; something about the recent death of Kennedy's mother isn't adding up, and now it's obvious that Kennedy needs protection until they can figure it all out. Erik just hopes and prays that offering the services of Nighthawk Security won't destroy all his hard work trying to forget the one woman who stole his heart and never returned it.

An ingenious story! The ebbs and flows are full of intriguing and unexpected details, as one might expect from a seasoned writer with an amazing stockpile of characters at her disposal. It's impossible not to cheer on the "baby brother" of the Byrd family, Erik deserves to find his happily-ever-after for the second time . . . if he can keep Kennedy safe in the process. . . and convince her to stay.
* I purchased this book and was under no obligation to provide a positive review. 3.5 stars


BackCover Blurb:
Everything points to suicide or accidental death…

Underwater crime scene investigator, Kennedy Walker is shocked when her mother dies and the police rule her death a suicide or an accidental overdose. Her scientist-mother was on the verge of a scientific breakthrough, and Kennedy knows her mother would never end her life, but the detective won’t listen. Kennedy moves back to her home town and commits to finding her mother's killer and finishing her work.

And she must prove them wrong.
Kennedy digs deeper, garnering the killer’s focus, and he puts her in his cross-hairs. She can’t give up on such an important project, so she swallows down her unease over the tumultuous breakup with Erik Byrd in college and hires Nighthawk Security, not only to protect her, but to help find her mother’s killer. It takes only one look for both of them to know their feelings for each other haven't gone away. With so many people counting on her to complete the project, giving in to old feelings is a distraction neither she or Erik can afford, and they both need to keep watch. Especially in the darkest hours of the night, when the killer comes out to play.

 

NIGHT PREY
"It's about your parents. Their car crash wasn't an accident."

Tragically, before she could get details, the man was dead, and Malone Rice was discovered holding the murder weapon and handcuffed as a suspect . . . by none other than Ian Blair, her high school crush . . . now a Portland police detective with a boat load of suspicion in his eyes.

In spite of Malone's explanation being slightly outlandish, Ian wanted to believe that the girl he once knew was incapable of killing a former classmate in cold blood at a class reunion. Shoving aside his personal feelings, Ian knew that working the facts was the fastest way to exonerate Malone from criminal charges, but apparently she had friends in high places, for no charges were ever made. Maybe they could work together then to unpack the details, or was Ian suffering from a case of wishful thinking?

Finally! Malone gets her own share of the spotlight, for she has been such a valuable supporting cast member through-out the Nighthawk Security series. Ian and Malone both carry doubts about their ability to form lasting relationships and rightfully so, who would have thought that it would take a life and death scenario to make them realize that as believers, their old life was past and the one they now lived could be brand new. The glory of faith!

An interesting story with a remarkable beginning and ending!
*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to provie a positive review. 3.5 stars
 


BackCover Blurb:
She lived for upholding the law…
Defense attorney, Malone Rice, doesn’t want to go to her fifteen year class reunion. Attending means running into her former high school flame, now Portland police detective, Ian Blair. But when the committee decides to honor her for her pro-bono work with homeless teens, she knows it would be churlish not to attend. She will have to go and make the best of it.

But now the law won’t save her.
As expected, Ian attends the reunion, but what Malone doesn’t expect—could never expect—is that Ian would find her standing over their classmate’s dead body. Or that she would still have feelings for the once bad-boy of their high school. Ian’s struggling too, between arresting Malone for murder and his age-old attraction to her. He walks a tightrope, until evidence surfaces that the real killer’s still out there, and Malone becomes his prey. Can Ian overcome his feelings to focus and uncover the truth before the killer strikes again and Malone ends up dead?

ALL OF THE NIGHTHAWK SECURITY SERIES and many more of Susan's books are available from Amazon in digital ebook, paperback, and audiobook. To buy any of these books or learn more... Visit SUSAN SLEEMAN'S AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE for more information!

 

 

Thursday, November 17, 2022

DEFENDING HONOR by Lynette Eason and Kelly Underwood, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney


"I've never met anyone like you. You showed up the minute I needed help and tackled me like you were ten times bigger than me . . . "

Laila Rabbonowitz might be petite in stature, but she sure packed a punch when called upon to protect the life of a client; her very handsome client, her very high-profile client, her very newlywed . . . husband??? A fake marriage was certainly one way to remain close to billionaire and former party boy Preston Whittaker, who obviously needed a bodyguard after the suspicious deaths of his father and brother . . . but what was the man thinking when he agreed to this plan? Laila didn't do "close" to anybody, notwithstanding the face that she and Preston were as different as night and day. Or were they? Neither found it easy to trust.

"Laila knew there was a reason she hated dressing up. She'd just never expected her cause of death would be her overpriced sandals."

Fast and furious. This story begins that way and continues at a frenzied pace, overshadowing the few awkward transitions in the beginning of the story; numerous characters had personal motives to thwart Preston's move into the executive head of Whittaker Enterprises, leaving the real instigator to slip through the seams unnoticed until the end . . . the very dramatic ending, when Laila decides that she "no longer had to do everything on her own, because whether she lived or died, she wasn't alone. It wasn't her battle anymore . . .Tap-tap-tap".

"Don't let her get away. Fight for love."

*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to provide a positive review. 3.5 stars
 
Sunrise Publishing, October, 2022

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