Sunday, July 31, 2022

THE HOUSE ON DAGGER POINT, Beach House Mystery #3, by Christy Barritt, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"She'd known the weather would be bad, but she'd felt compelled to come. To get away. To hide."

Nothing had gone right. Olivia Beaumont's plan to visit her father's clandestine property on Dagger Point was riddled with surprises . . .  and not the happy birthday kind. A bad storm. A damaged bridge, which meant Olivia couldn't leave Kiawah Island even if she wanted to. And she might have wanted to after finding a dead body in the outdoor shower, a stranger arriving with a rental agreement in hand, a realtor who couldn't answer any questions effectively. . . intimidating text messages that kept on landing in her inbox.

Something strange was going on . . . the real question . . . was Anderson Scott someone she could trust? Olivia desperately needed someone to trust . . . and it seemed that the handsome firefighter was more than willing to stand by her side.

"I don't see any weaknesses . . . I see wood that's been burned by a fire. Sometimes, when wood has been burned, it causes its fibers to draw closer together. It ultimately makes it stronger . . . The fires can be like the trials in our lives. What was meant to tear us apart can actually strengthen us."

A really good story . . . the twists and turns were cleverly disguised and the characters' journey to wholeness was a team effort . . . one that they planned to continue--when there was no danger to contend with on Dagger Point.
*I purchased a copy a copy and was under no obligation to provide a positive review.


Back Cover Blurb:

Each house has a history. Each person has a secret. Each turn of events leads to danger.

Some legacies are better left unclaimed . . .

Olivia Beaumont’s father left behind a legacy of destruction, and it’s up to her to restore her family’s reputation. She heads to Kiawah Island, South Carolina, to unravel the mysteries of her father’s secret life. But when she arrives, she discovers the house he left behind—The House on Dagger Point—holds secrets of its own.

After a tragedy upends firefighter Anderson Scott’s life, he escapes to Kiawah Island to do some soul searching. But he finds something unexpected on his island getaway. Not only is the house he rented already occupied by its new owner, but danger lurks around every corner.

Anderson isn’t the only unwelcome guest Olivia encounters. Threatening text messages, dead bodies, and ruthless criminals threaten to put an end to all she hopes to accomplish. When Olivia and Anderson find themselves in a fight for survival, they must work together to solve the mysteries living inside the walls of The House on Dagger Point—or risk becoming the next victims.

River Heights Publishing, June 2022

Saturday, July 30, 2022

WHERE THE ROAD BENDS by Rachel Fordham, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"This land, her father had said before he died, was their legacy. It was the backdrop of their story - their wrestle and toil - and their love."

And Norah King would do anything to keep it. Even marry a virtual stranger who clearly wanted the property first and a young bride second. Then one day, along came Quincy. . .  actually, Quincy didn't "come along", his body was dumped . . . along her creek bank, ready and waiting for the vultures that were circling overhead alerting Norah to his presence . . . his very large presence.

Nursing Quincy back to health is only the beginning of their story. The rest takes many twists, turns and "bends in the road" before Norah comes to the hard-earned conclusion that her father's real legacy had been "the happiness in our home, and the way we stuck together and kept going even when life was hard. Family was our legacy . . . "

A really sweet story, full of multiple heartaches and an abundance of blessings.

"I told you once I dreamed of dancing. I still dream of that, but now I'd like that dance to be with you."
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.3.5stars

SEE REVIEWS BY WINNIE AND PAULA

BackCover Blurb:
As Norah King surveys her family land in Iowa in 1880, she is acutely aware that it is all she has left, and she will do everything in her power to save it--even if that means marrying a man she hardly knows. Days before her wedding, Norah discovers an injured man on her property. Her sense of duty compels her to take him in and nurse him back to health. Little does she realize just how much this act of kindness will complicate her life and threaten the future she's planned.

Norah's care does more than aid Quincy Barnes's recovery--it awakens his heart to possibilities. Penniless and homeless, he knows the most honorable thing he can do is head on down the road and leave Norah to marry her intended. But walking away from the first person to believe in him proves much harder than he imagined.

Rachel Fordham invites you to experience the strength and beauty of love forged in the crucible of hardship in this heartwarming story.

 
Revell Publishing, June 7, 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:
Buy WHERE THE ROAD BENDS at Amazon, Christianbook .com, or Baker Book House

 

Thursday, July 28, 2022

TO LOVE A VIKING by Heather Day Gilbert and Jen Cudmore, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

TAVLAND VIKINGS Series #1

"I'd rather sleep beside your sword."

Romantic words? Coming from anyone else, they might not be, but coming from the mouth of a seasoned warrior . . . a woman who rarely dared to rely upon the strength of a man, a woman who had been terribly used and abused during her years as a slave, a woman who was fiercely loyal, thus was pushing as hard as she could to protect the life of another woman whom she considered a friend. Her name? Inara. The recipient of those words? Hakon. Her goal? To save Ellisif.

Ellisif's life had not gone as planned; torn away from a man she dearly loved through a broken marriage contract, Ellisif had born Edgard two daughters and was now carrying the life of another child . . . oh, how she hoped it was a son! Her husband's continual cruelty and unabashed adultery was nearly more than Ellisif could withstand . . . her little girls and loyal house servants bringing her what comfort was possible. What might her life have been . . . with Dagar? She dared not ask.

A story of two women who are surviving totally different circumstances, brought together by an expression of love and concern that is foreign to both of them. A story of two men who long to love them, but must wait for an honorable opportunity, one that only God can orchestrate. A well-written story about a time and place that has more to offer than most readers realize.
* 3.5 stars. I purchased a copy and was under no obligation to provide a positive review

BackCover Blurb:
Get swept up in an enthralling new romance series featuring women who rule the hearts of Viking men.

ELLISIF
Forced into a financially advantageous marriage that spirals into a nightmare, Ellisif cannot help but imagine what might have been and ache for what was lost. The only lights in her life are her daughters and the friendships she's forged with the household servants.

Though seven years have passed since Ellisif wed another man, Dagar still cannot forget the woman who captured his youthful heart. As the Viking warrior battles for his country’s future, he finds himself entangled in a personal war for Ellisif's freedom that could cost his family their reputation and standing with the king. If he risks all, can he save the woman whose face still haunts his dreams? And if given another chance, will she choose him?

INARA
Escaped slave Inara is determined to start a new life. Under the guidance of warrior and shipbuilder Håkon, her sword skill grows, as does her confidence that the Viking men will accept her as a warrior in her own right.

When she is selected to lead a perilous rescue mission to protect Ellisif, Inara finds herself blindsided by feelings for Håkon...and by threats to her freedom far closer than she feared. As dreams and desires collide, she wrestles against the lies holding her captive. Can she conquer her doubts before all that she's hoped for slips from her hands?

Written by award-winning historical author Heather Day Gilbert and fresh voice Jen Cudmore, two love stories entwine in this sweeping Viking-era romance, the first novel in the
Tavland Vikings series.

WoodHaven Press, June, 2022
Available in digital ebook and paperback:

 

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

SABOTAGED MISSION by Tina Radcliffe, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas #ReleaseDay


Tina Radcliffe is a pro at writing contemporary romance, and although this is her first stab at writing romantic suspense, I’d say she’s already a pro at that, too. Her characters are always realistic, relatable, and engaging. CIA operative MacKenzie Sharp and Gabe Denton, a CIA officer she’d previously had a relationship with, pool their forces to find out who is trying to frame “Mac” and kill her. Winston the bulldog is a delightful addition to the roster of characters. His personality fits perfectly into the story.

Filled with Radcliffe’s signature wit and humor, attention to detail, and inspirational elements, Sabotaged Mission is sure to please those who enjoy romantic suspense.

“So I like to follow protocol. Some people find that quality admirable.”

“Maybe you need to read my lips . . . I’m not leaving you.”

With plenty of nonstop action, intrigue, suspense, lots of twists and turns, and a dash of romance, I found myself quickly turning the pages and trying to guess who the bad guys were. I would recommend this to readers who like clean, faith-based stories. I’m eager to see what this author comes up with next.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own. 4.5 stars

BackCover Blurb:
Framed and on the run…

With nowhere left to hide

When a failed mission leaves CIA operative MacKenzie “Mac” Sharp injured and her partner presumed dead, going off-grid is the only way to survive. But her old flame, CIA officer Gabe Denton, has tracked her down and led a well-connected enemy right to her door. Now with someone trying to frame and kill her, working with Gabe is the only way to clear her name…and stay alive.


From Love Inspired Suspense: Courage. Danger. Faith.
July 26, 2022
Available in digital ebook and paperback
Buy SABOTAGED MISSION at Amazon or Christianbook .com

FACING THE ENEMY by Paige Edwards, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney


"To face a man with unlimited resources, all she had was two knives, her Glock 17, a partial magazine of ammo, and her bow and arrows."

Following an horrific accident, M16 operative Elise Taylor returns home for additional rehabilitation, meaning Lady Elise Henderson is being temporarily reinserted back into her former life as the titled daughter of the Marquess of Roxbury. Shattered bones take time to heal. After receiving the disappointing, but not surprising directive from her superiors, Elise happens to cross paths with her former partner, Henry Benson, who has been granted a short break between assignments. Due to a sudden downturn in his father's health, Henry is tasked with finding a childminder for his mischievous young son. For Elise, being around Henry is always bittersweet; he is the one man who once stirred her heart towards "happily ever after". But Sammy? Perhaps the young chap has met his match!

One doesn't serve their country as an elite undercover agent without making enemies, so naturally when Elise's past and Henry's present collide, they are called upon to exert every bit of courage and training they possess to . . . "face the enemy". Then, and only then, will they be free to circle back around to the ending of their own story? It's worth every word.


What an interesting book! Very romantic, very suspenseful . . . charging ahead with a great beginning, coming to a screeching halt with a great ending, sporting lots of time in between to make it all happen. . . especially when there's a little boy who believes that God answers his every prayer, even while he is turning an entire castle upside down in the process.
* 3.5 stars. I purchased a copy and was under no obligation to provide a positive review.

SEE WINNIE'S REVIEW

BackCover Blurb:
Lady Elise Henderson lives two separate lives. At home in Scotland, she’s the titled daughter of the Marquess of Roxbury, an heiress in her own right. In London, however, she’s Elise Taylor, a top MI6 operative for the “home office.” But when a devastating accident threatens to end her career, Elise is left with far too much time for self-reflection and the regret of a decision made long ago that features one man: fellow MI6 agent Harry Benson.

Harry Benson, the son of servants, has loved Elise for the better part of a decade. But life took them on separate journeys until their worlds converged once more. An immediate assignment to the Scottish Borders leaves Harry little time to make provisions for his small, rambunctious son, Sammy. Harry knows only one person he can rely on for the boy’s care—Elise. When Elise brings Sammy to her ancestral estate, she never imagines that a nemesis from her past looms in the shadows, hungry for revenge. Stalked at every turn, Elise and Harry discover that fighting their feelings for one another is futile, but can they survive long enough to get another shot at true love?

Covenant Communications, April 4, 2022
Available in digital ebook or paperback. Buy FACING THE ENEMY at Amazon

THE SECRET BETWEEN THEM by Susanne Dietze, Reviewed by Paula and Winnie #ReleaseDay

PAULA'S REVIEW:
“But love grows- it doesn’t divide.”

It is great to be back in this quaint little town and see all my favorite characters. Now Harper has joined the group when she finds out she has inherited something from her grandfather. She meets lawyer, Joel, but does not quite mesh with him at first. All she really wants to do is find out who her birth father is.

The characters are so real that you want to be their friends and live in this picturesque town. There is a cute little girl, daughter of Joel, a meddlesome grandmother type or two and a big beautiful peacock who gets rather possessive.

The heart of the story is Harper longing to belong. With side issues of a child custody case the story is never dull. The characters are Christian for the most part so they seek God in all they do and ask for forgiveness when needed. “Let it go. Such a hard thing to do since he felt more in control when he could grip his worries tightly, but it was necessary to empty his hands so God could use them as He wished.” Joel had a hard time trying not to be in control because he is a defender.

This was a great series and I hate to see it end.
* I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*
5 stars and a strong faith thread

WINNIE'S REVIEW:
It was such a treat to travel back to Widow’s Peak Creek in Susanne Dietze’s story, The Secret Between Them. This tale features lawyer and single dad, Joel Morgan, and Harper Price who is in her mother’s hometown to find answers to her father’s identity. With the delightful addition of Joel’s sweet daughter Maisie and a peculiar peacock named Beau, this is a charming and satisfying read. The characters are colorful, relatable, and engaging, and I loved the small town vibes and camaraderie. It was fun to see characters from previous books in the series appear in this one.

There is a strong inspirational element running through the story focusing on faith, forgiveness, and trusting God’s will. I recommend this book to those who enjoy uplifting books with a strong faith message.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.
4.5 stars

BackCover Blurb:
After a lifetime of questions,
She’s ready for some answers.

In her mother’s hometown, Harper Price is sure she’ll finally learn about the grandfather and father she never knew. But that means working with grumpy local lawyer Joel Morgan. The single dad is wary of Harper, even as her kindness to his daughter warms his heart. Winning his trust is Harper’s first challenge…but not her last as her quest reveals shocking truths.

From Love Inspired: Uplifting stories of faith, forgiveness and hope.

Widow's Peak Creek
Book 1: A Future for His Twins
Book 2: Seeking Sanctuary
Book 3: A Small-Town Christmas Challenge
Book 4: A Need to Protect
Book 5: The Secret Between Them

Harlequin Love Inspired, July 26, 2022
Available in digital ebook and paperback
Buy THE SECRET BETWEEN THEM at Amazon or Christianbook .com

 

Monday, July 25, 2022

TURN TO ME, A Misty River Romance, by Becky Wade, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney


" . . . she needed time to ask God what He would have her do regarding the 'Restoration of Luke'. Whenever new animals came into her universe, she assessed them and formulated a plan. She'd now confidently arrived at a five-step program that had worked well with wounded canines in the past."

"She staunchly refused to surrender Luke Dempsey to darkness."

Finley Sutherland was amazing when it came to restoring life back into the menagerie that came into her Furry Tails animal rescue center . . . but wounded men? Luke Dempsey had breezed into her life most reluctantly; after all, she was only a stop along his way to a brand new life in Montana, simply fulfilling a dying promise that he had made to her father. And what a promise it turned out to be . . . helping Finley solve a somewhat mysterious series of clues; a birthday treasure hunt, the last one she would ever take; and apparently for this one, she needed a bodyguard.

"Since meeting her, he'd been unable to get her out of his head. He'd existed alone in his apartment before starting work at Furry Tails. Now she existed in these rooms with him." Finley was all life and light and good and cheery; in contrast to Luke's pessimism, she was a sunbeam . . . a very irritating little sunbeam. She knew he avoided people, and pets for that matter, but that didn't stop the little energizer from pulling him into projects against his will . . . like Agatha!(the little sleep snatcher!) On that other hand, Luke couldn't resist Finley, and that was becoming a problem. He would move heaven and earth to keep Finley safe; he couldn't, wouldn't, fail.

This story's deep, magnetic pull of a broken, brooding hero towards his lady love is nothing short of amazing. On some level (very faint at first) Luke and Finley share common ground; guilt. Having both suffered extreme loss for which they feel responsible, their lives traversed totally different paths; Luke was determined to self-destruct while Finley tried her best to self-construct; both a form of the same emotional wall. Ultimately, it's their perspective of grace that is going to make all the difference . . . for both of them. (and don't forget about that treasure hunt!)

"His economy isn't about works. It's about grace . . . You're free . . . every chain is broken. . . " 

*I purchased a copy and was under no obligation to provide a positive review. 4.5 stars
 
Bethany House Publishing, May, 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:
Buy TURN TO ME at Amazon, Christianbook. com, or Baker Book House 

Friday, July 22, 2022

MIDNIGHT'S BUDDING MORROW, Regency Wallflowers #2, by Carolyn Miller, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney


" . . . on the shores of darkness there is light . . . There is a budding morrow in midnight . . . "- Thomas Keats

It is terribly difficult to anticipate the light of dawn when your life has been turned upside down and inside out to the point of utter despair. Such was Sarah's Drayton's existence. She had naively imagined that leaving a rather drab existence as a quasi-housekeeper for an ungrateful aunt and uncle would be an adventure. Instead she had been misled into signing a contract of marriage to the local rogue, James Langley, whose own woes had succumbed to the trickery of his father.

Scorned by members of the household staff and snubbed by the local peerage, Sarah tries to make the best of her situation by reaching out to the poor and needy in the local community. After all, her new husband had conveniently returned to the battlefront, spending only one drunken night in Sarah's presence following their nuptials. But it's when James returns home in an entirely different state of mind that the challenges truly begin.

"'Bless the Lord, O my soul, forget not all His benefits. Who forgiveth all thine iniquities . . . Who healeth all thy diseases, who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness' . . . How she longed to know she was loved. To know she was wanted. To know she belonged." And if she was? . . . maybe their story could be re-written.

Perhaps, like me, you will find these characters a bit off-putting in the early stages of this story, but as that changes (and it does!), dare to embrace the message of hope and forgiveness they proclaim, for we serve a God who is "mighty to save", Who flings our iniquities as "far as the east is from the west", and Who assures us that "His mercies are new every morning".
The angst that Sarah and James bear in the beginning of this engaging story is definitely worth the ending.
*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to provide a positive review. 3.5 stars
 
 SEE PAULA'S REVIEW!

BackCover Blurb:
Can real love grow between a wallflower and an unrepentant rogue?

Sarah Drayton is eager to spend time with her best friend at her crumbling Northumberland castle estate. Matrimony is the last thing on her mind and the last thing she expects to be faced with on a holiday. Yet she finds herself being inveigled into a marriage of convenience with her friend’s rakish brother.

When James Langley returns to his family's estate, he can't be bothered to pay attention to his responsibilities as the heir. War is raging and he wants only distraction, not serious tethers. But his roguish ways have backed him into a corner, and he has little choice but to obey his father's stunning decree: marry before returning to war, or else. Suddenly he finds himself wedded to a clever and capable woman he does not love.

Sarah craves love and a place to belong, neither of which James offered before returning to the battlefront. Now everyone around her thinks she married above her station, and they have no intention of rewarding her for such impertinence. It isn't until her husband returns from war seemingly changed that she begins to hope they may find real happiness. But can she trust that this rake has truly reformed?

When tragedy strikes, this pair must learn to trust God and his plans. Will they be destroyed . . . or will they discover that even in the darkest depths of night, the morning still holds hope?

Kregel Publications, May 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and audiobook:
Buy MIDNIGHT'S BUDDING MORROW at Amazon, Christianbook .com, or Baker Book House

Thursday, July 21, 2022

HEIRLOOMS by Sandra Byrd, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise

"Sometimes sentimentality is more important than practicality-at least to the heart."

This was an exquisite story of investing in what is important for future generations: friendships, faith, preservation and leaving a legacy for those who come after.

It was a nostalgic trip for me because I connected with the times and attitudes of the 50s, as well as having friends of many ethnic groups and a mother who not only grew up in China as a missionary kid, but went on to teach mentally handicapped kids.

A dual time story of friendship told in a beautiful way. Helen and Eunhee forged a friendship out of need. "A soft heart makes a soft nest, and love and honest talk make good friends."

And Grace and Cassidy carried on that legacy on the farm that Helen started. It kind of reminds me of Queen Esther. She was born for her time and for her challenges. So were our grandmothers. We are born for our time and for our challenges.

We can lean many lessons from this touching story. "Rich or poor, we each have the opportunity to invest whatever we have been given."
* I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale on behalf of the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*5+ stars and a strong faith thread 

SEE KIM'S REVIEW!

BackCover Blurb:
Answering a woman’s desperate call for help, young Navy widow Helen Devries opens her Whidbey Island home as a refuge to Choi Eunhee. As they bond over common losses and a delicate, potentially devastating secret, their friendship spans the remainder of their lives.

After losing her mother, Cassidy Quinn spent her childhood summers with her gran, Helen, at her farmhouse. Nourished by her grandmother’s love and encouragement, Cassidy discovers a passion that she hopes will bloom into a career. But after Helen passes, Cassidy learns that her home and garden have fallen into serious disrepair. Worse, a looming tax debt threatens her inheritance. Facing the loss of her legacy and in need of allies and ideas, Cassidy reaches out to Nick, her former love, despite the complicated emotions brought by having him back in her life.

Cassidy inherits not only the family home but a task, spoken with her grandmother’s final breaths: ask Grace Kim—Eunhee’s granddaughter—to help sort through the contents of the locked hope chest in the attic. As she and Grace dig into the past, they unearth their grandmothers’ long-held secret and more. Each startling revelation reshapes their understanding of their grandmothers and ultimately inspires the courage to take risks and make changes to own their lives.

Set in both modern-day and midcentury Whidbey Island, Washington, this dual-narrative story of four women—grandmothers and granddaughters—intertwines across generations to explore the secrets we keep, the love we pass down, and the heirlooms we inherit from a well-lived life.

 
Tyndale House Publishing, July 5, 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:
Buy HEIRLOOMS at Amazon, Christianbook .com, or Baker Book House 

 

 

SUNBURST by Susan May Warren, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney


"Well, hello, hello. Ranger Kingston, right here in the shadow of a kuka tree, deep in the heart of Nigeria. . .  It was just like God to send her the man she hoped to never see again."

"Noemi Sutton. The Master Chief's only daughter. A woman who nearly cost him everything."

Yep. They had a history. And it was beautiful and short and fall in love-at-first-sight and then gone . . . like GONE. Done. Over. A mistake, he had called it. Except that when Noemi's life is on on the line, having been captured by Nigerian terrorists, who comes to her rescue (not intentionally you understand, but definitely providentially); Ranger Kingston.

"You don't sort of get married, son." (Do Nigerian weddings even count?)
So much story here. SO MUCH STORY. . . told with an underlying passion and enough creative energy for two books, possibly even three, which for a seasoned author, was remarkably refreshing. True confession? I might have read the ending more than once.

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

SEE KIM'S REVIEW

  
BackCover Blurb:

When former Navy SEAL and lifelong bachelor Ranger Kingston is called upon to take part in a rescue mission to save his brother Colt from terrorists in Nigeria, he is shocked to find among the hostages a woman he could never forget.

Noemi Sutton was attempting to return a young girl to her family in Boko Haram territory when she and the girl found themselves taken hostage, along with several others. And while Ranger Kingston may be able to get the hostages away from their captors, he'll need Noemi's help if he ever hopes to get out of Nigeria alive.

Her solution? Pose as husband and wife. But when her uncle discovers the union, he insists on a traditional Nigerian wedding--which would bind Noemi to a man destined to break her heart. Worse, the trouble they're fleeing has found them--again. It's clear anyone around Noemi is bound to be caught in the cross fire. Including her potential new husband.

She'll need to figure out a way to leave the man she loves if she wants to save his life.

Revell Publishing, June 7, 2022
Buy SUNBURST in digital ebook, paperback, or audiobook at Amazon, Christianbook. com, or Baker Book House 

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

FREQUENCY, Fallout Series #3, by Lisa Harris, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"I'm going to get you home safe, I promise."

But could he? -- promise, that is-- "for they might end up going from one dangerous situation straight into another".

Nothing is easy in the small Texas town of Shadow Ridge. Persevering through day after day without electricity, not knowing how far-reaching the grid failure had reached, struggling to keep order out of chaos, and now . . .  arsenic-tainted water?

Wanting concrete answers, Tess McQuaid returns to the home of an elderly resident with whom she had formed a friendship. After finding him deceased the prior day, she was curious to see if there was more to the story than what appeared on the surface. Instead of finding answers to her questions, Tess ends up running for her life and straight into the path of Van Horn Deputy Kellan Gray. Thank goodness! . . . or goodness gracious, what do they do now?!

Such interesting twists and turns! With an explanation of loss . . . "loss wasn't an equation to be solved. It was a crying out for answers and a physical heaviness against her chest that kept up her up at night when all she wanted to do was escape reality. Kellan understood that pain. God understood that pain".

Welcome back to Shadow Ridge!
*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to provide a positive review.
3.5 stars


BackCover Blurb:
SHE TRUSTED THE WRONG PERSON.

Four deaths, most likely tied to arsenic-tainted water, leave the town of Shadow Ridge frantic for answers before someone else dies. But that isn’t the only nightmare Tess McQuaid is facing. She has proof someone attempted to cover up a murder as another arsenic death.

HER LIFE DEPENDS ON FINDING OUT THE TRUTH.

Deputy Kellan Gray is heading to Shadow Ridge when he encounters Tess, running for her life. Pursued by a killer in the isolated west Texas desert, can he keep her safe while trying to stop the man determined to silence her?

Welcome to Shadow Ridge, where LONGMIRE meets JERICHO.

From USA Today Best-selling author Lisa Harris comes an epic new series where the survival of Shadow Ridge depends on learning how to fight crime all over again.

In today’s world, law enforcement agencies across the country rely on forensic tools, DNA testing, and crime labs. But what if that technology was suddenly no longer available? No one in the small, west Texas town of Shadow Ridge knows what took down the power grid, or when it’s going to be back up, but everyone knows exactly where they were the moment it went down. And now, with no electricity, no internet, and no modern technology, the men and women responsible for keeping the town safe are going to have to learn how to fight crime all over again.

May, 2022: available in digital ebook and paperback at Amazon

IN A FAR OFF LAND by Stephanie Landsem, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"I'd thought California was different, that the hard times didn't dare visit this far-off land of dreams. Boy, was I wrong about that."

"You'll find your way, my girl", my mama had said. Except, my way had not turned out so well.

Small town girl Minnie Zimmerman had run as "far-off" as she could from the small Midwest town of Odessa, South Dakota, taking her father's small savings, and her mother's wedding ring, right along with her. Making it all the way to Hollywood, Mina's pretty face and fashionable clothes don't earn her a place on the big screen . . . or any screen for that matter, so as a last resort, she makes a litany of poor choices, simply for sake of survival (or at least that is what she tells herself). Then. . . along comes Max, with his handsome face, suave persona, and deep connections; but even Max can't protect Mina from a murder charge.

Clothed in the glitz and glamour of the Hollywood lifestyle, this story deep dives into the more than likely possibility of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, while providing a desperate young woman with several unlikely allies who are challenged to demonstrate mercy and to fight relentlessly on her behalf. It's also a tale of two very broken souls, who in their attempt not to hurt each other, do exactly that.


Max and Mina, thank you for reminding us that loving deeply almost certainly includes unconditional forgiveness, for after all, didn't Jesus tell us a story about that?

"Sometimes, you don't get what you deserve. Sometimes you get so much more."
*I purchased a copy and was under no obligation to provide a positive review. 5 stars 

BackCover Blurb:
It’s 1931 in Hollywood, and Minerva Sinclaire is on the run for a murder she didn’t commit.

As the Great Depression hits the Midwest, Minerva Sinclaire runs away to Hollywood, determined to make it big and save the family farm. But beauty and moxie don’t pay the bills in Tinseltown, and she’s caught in a downward spiral of poverty, desperation, and compromise. Finally, she’s about to sign with a major studio and make up for it all. Instead, she wakes up next to a dead film star and is on the run for a murder she didn’t commit.

Only two unwilling men―Oscar, a Mexican gardener in danger of deportation, and Max, a too-handsome agent battling his own demons―can help Mina escape corrupt police on the take and the studio big shots trying to frame her. But even her quick thinking and grit can't protect her from herself. Alone, penniless, and carrying a shameful secret, Mina faces the consequences of the heartbreaking choices that brought her to ruin . . . and just might bring her back to where she belongs.

Tyndale House Publishing, May, 2021
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:
Buy IN A FAR OFF LAND at Amazon, Christianbook .com, or Baker Book House 

 

 

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

INVENTIONS OF THE HEART by Mary Connealy, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas


Filled with colorful and captivating characters, unusual and creative settings, and her hilarious sense of humor, Mary Connealy’s newest series stars three unusual sisters running for their lives. Laura, Michelle, and Jilly Stiles are highly intelligent and educated in engineering, mathematics, and scientific fields but must escape their evil stepfather’s plans to marry them off to his lecherous friends and gain control of the girls’ lumber empire.

With Laura married off in book one, this book opens with Michelle hiding out at Zane’s ranch and pestering him to let her manage the gold mine the girls found on his ranch.

“But honestly, I want to manage everything. The whole world would run better if they put me in charge.”

“Life on a ranch wasn’t as exciting as blowing up mountains.”

Zane is a fantastic hero, and I loved seeing his relationship with Michelle change and grow. I loved his sense of honor and his love of family. I chuckled and laughed out loud at some of his thoughts and ideas.

“Except for taking care of three babies, Michelle wasn’t doing anything.”
Mary Connealy’s sense of humor just tickles me, and I found myself loving this book just as much or more than the first one in the series. I can always count on her books for some good laughs.

“Don’t talk too much about being kind to the cows you’re planning to eat. It doesn’t exactly ring true.”

With plenty of action, adventure, suspense, humor, and sprinkles of romance and inspiration, this book is a fun addition to this creative series. I can’t wait for Jilly’s story coming up this fall.

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

4.5 stars

SEE PAULA'S REVIEW

BackCover Blurb:
Her heart seeks safety. But will trouble find her even here?

After her sister's marriage, Michelle Stiles is left hiding at Two Harts Ranch with the handsome but stubborn Zane Hart. She's managed to stay one step ahead of her stepfather and his devious plans, but if he finds her, she will no longer be safe.

Zane has problems of his own. Having discovered a gold mine on his property, he must figure out how to harvest it without kicking off a gold rush. Michelle, educated and trained to run her father's business, wants to manage all aspects of the mine, but Zane thinks for a person so smart she can have some misguided ideas. Running the mining operation will be a dangerous job, and he can't risk putting her in harm's way.

But danger finds Michelle anyway when she's suddenly attacked. If they go to the sheriff, they'll reveal her location, but if they do nothing . . . their troubles have only just begun.

Bethany House Publishing, July 5, 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:
Buy INVENTIONS OF THE HEART at Amazon, Christianbook .com, or Baker Book House 





HOPE BEYOND THE WAVES by Heidi Chiavaroli, Reviewed by Nicole Cook

 

Award winning author Heidi Chiavaroli takes readers on a powerful journey of forgiveness and hope during the darkest of times in her newest release, Hope Beyond the Waves. This time-slip novel follows the historical storyline of young Gertie and her older sister Atta on Penikese Island in 1916, and the 1993 storyline of teenager Emily who is sent away to stay with her grandmother in order to avoid a family scandal.

Heidi Chiavaroli is known for writing incredible time-slip novels that tackle difficult topics while, at the same time, drawing readers closer to their faith. This is the first time I have read a novel dealing with leprosy in the 20th century. The feelings of being an outcast and the social stigma these characters experienced in both storylines, although due to difference reasons, paired with hope and God's everlasting love for us was an incredibly powerful message for readers. With well-developed characters and a fascinating storyline, this novel is one that readers will not want to put down.

Hope Beyond the Waves is highly recommended for readers who enjoy women's fiction and dual timeline novels with light romance.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine.

 SEE PAULA'S REVIEW

BackCover Blurb:
From award-winning author Heidi Chiavaroli comes a sweeping dual timeline story that explores hope and enduring love in the midst of the impossible.
 
Massachusetts, 1993
After making a grievous mistake that will change her life forever, Emily Robertson is sent away to live with her grandmother on Cape Cod. When Emily finds a timeworn photograph buried in a drawer, she realizes her grandmother has concealed a secret even bigger than her own. Will convincing Gram to reveal their family history help Emily make the most important decision of her life or will it prove her parents right—that family scandal is better off buried and forgotten?
 
Massachusetts, 1916
Atta Schaeffer plans to marry the man of her dreams and whisk her little sister away from their abusive father. But when she is diagnosed with a dreaded malady, Atta is forced into a life of exile, leaving her sister in harm’s way.
On Penikese Island, Atta’s best hope lies with Harry Mayhew, a doctor who seeks a cure for his patients at any cost. But when experiments fail, Atta runs from Harry—and from God. Can she return to her sister before it’s too late? Or will her illness consume both her body and soul?
 
A testament to faith and love, Hope Beyond the Waves is the raw account of the journey of two generations of women running from desperate situations toward irresistible hope.
 
Hope Creek Publishers, June 28, 2022
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and hardcover:
 

EDGE OF DUSK by Colleen Coble, #Review and Partners in Crime Tour Hosted by Paula Shreckhise #Giveaway

Edge of Dusk

by Colleen Coble

July 11 - August 5, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Edge of Dusk by Colleen Coble

Even though secrets lie off the coast of Rock Harbor, the truth will set Annie Pederson free—if it doesn’t kill her first.

Nine-year-old Annie Pederson’s life changed the night her sister was kidnapped. The two had been outside playing on a dock, and Annie never forgave herself for her role in her sister’s disappearance. Twenty-four years later and now a law enforcement ranger, Annie is still searching for answers as she grieves a new loss: the death of her husband and parents in a boating accident.

But Annie and her eight-year-old daughter, Kylie, aren’t the only people in the town of Rock Harbor whose lives have been marred by tragedy. While managing the property around the Tremolo Resort and Marina she inherited, Annie discovers a dead body floating in the cold Superior surf and begins to work with the sheriff’s office to tie the death to a series of other mysterious reports in the area.

At the same time, her first love, Jon Dustan, returns after nine years away, reigniting the town’s memory of a cold case he’d been suspiciously linked to before he left to pursue his orthopedic residency. For the sake of her investigation and her heart, Annie tries to stay away. But avoiding Jon becomes impossible once Annie realizes she is being targeted by someone desperate to keep secrets from the past hidden.

In this new series, bestselling romantic-suspense author Colleen Coble returns to one of her most beloved towns, where familiar faces—and unsolved cases—await.
PAULA'S REVIEW:
Colleen Coble has been a long time favorite of mine. I am glad to see this new Annie Pederson book that takes me back to Rock Harbor in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I remember visiting there when I lived in Northern Wisconsin. The descriptions of the ruggedly beautiful places brought back memories.

The story was so intriguing and engaged me from page one. Annie, a widow with an eight year old daughter, was multi-layered with trauma in her past that comes to the forefront. A mystery to solve, Annie gets some unexpected surprises. Her once boyfriend, Jon, is back fixing up his old cabin and things get interesting, with multiple threads to follow. The way Ms. Coble portrayed eight year old Kylie was very realistic, depicting a hurting child who had lost her father and was not trusting of Jon. She did a good job of showing a caring mother who had her hands quite full and a concerned hero who only wanted the best for Annie.

It was good to see characters from the previous series, which is one of my all time favorites.

The pace was quick and kept me on my toes with the many suspects, danger lurking and even a storm on the lake. Very exciting.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through PICT tours. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.* 5 stars and a solid faith thread.

 
BACK COVER BLURB: Even though secrets lie off the coast of Rock Harbor, the truth will set Annie Pederson free—if it doesn’t kill her first. Return to the beloved town of Rock Harbor in the first installment of a new series by bestselling suspense author Colleen Coble.

Nine-year-old Annie Pederson’s life changed the night her sister was kidnapped. The two had been outside playing on a dock, and Annie never forgave herself for her role in her sister’s disappearance. Twenty-four years later and now a law enforcement ranger, Annie is still searching for answers as she grieves a new loss: the death of her husband and parents in a boating accident.

But Annie and her eight-year-old daughter, Kylie, aren’t the only people in the town of Rock Harbor whose lives have been marred by tragedy. While managing the property around the Tremolo Resort and Marina she inherited, Annie discovers a dead body floating in the cold Superior surf and begins to work with the sheriff’s office to tie the death to a series of other mysterious reports in the area.

At the same time, her first love, Jon Dustan, returns after nine years away, reigniting the town’s memory of a cold case he’d been suspiciously linked to before he left to pursue his orthopedic residency. For the sake of her investigation and her heart, Annie tries to stay away. But avoiding Jon becomes impossible once Annie realizes she is being targeted by someone desperate to keep secrets from the past hidden.

In this new series, bestselling romantic-suspense author Colleen Coble returns to one of her most beloved towns, where familiar faces—and unsolved cases—await.

 

Book Details:

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Published by: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: July 12th 2022
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 078525370X (ISBN13: 9780785253709)
Series: Annie Pederson #1
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christianbook.com | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

PROLOGUE

“WAS THAT THE WINDIGO?” NINE-YEAR-OLD ANNIE

Vitanen yanked her little sister’s hand to pull her to a stop in the deep shadows of the pines. Chills trickled down her spine, and she stared into the darkness. “Did you hear that?”

“It was just the loons,” Sarah said. “Daddy said there’s no such thing as the Windigo.”

Annie shuddered. “You’re only five—you don’t know that.” While at school she’d heard the story about the fifteen-foot- tall monster who ate humans. Annie peered into the shadows, searching for sunken red eyes in a stag skull staring back at her. The Windigo particularly liked little girls to fill its hungry belly. Sarah tugged her hand free. “Daddy said it was just an old Ojibwa legend. I want to see the loons.”

She took off down the needle-strewn path toward the water.

Annie’s heart seized in her throat. “Sarah, wait!”

Daddy had always told Annie she was responsible for her little sister, and she didn’t want to get in trouble when their parents found out they were out here in the dark. Sarah had begged to come out to see the loons, and Annie found it hard to say no to her. This was the first time they’d been to their little camp on Tremolo Island since the summer started, and it might be a long time before they had time to visit again. Daddy only brought them to get away when he had a lull at the marina. Annie loved it here, even if there wasn’t any power.

Her legs pumped and her breath whooshed in and out of her mouth. She emerged into the moonlight glimmering over Lake Superior. Her frantic gaze whipped around, first to make sure the Windigo hadn’t followed them, then to find her sister.

Sarah sat on the wooden dock with her legs dangling over the waves. Lightning flickered in the distance, and Annie smelled rain as it began to sprinkle. Clouds hung low over the water, and the darkness got thicker.

“We need to go back, Sarah.” While they could still find their way in the storm.

“I want to throw bread to the loons.” Sarah gave her a piece of the bread they’d gotten from the kitchen.

Annie jumped when the loon’s eerie yodel sounded. The oo-AH-ho sound was like no other waterfowl or bird. Normally she loved trying to determine whether the loon was yodeling, wailing, or calling, but right now she wanted to get her sister back into bed before they got in big trouble. They both knew better than to come down here by themselves. Mommy had warned them about the dangers more times than Annie could count.

She touched her sister’s shoulder. “Come on, Sarah.”

Sarah shrugged off her hand. “Just a minute. Look, the loon has a baby on its back.”

Annie had to see that. She threw in a couple of bread pieces and peered at the loons. “I’ve never seen that.”

“Me neither.”

The loons didn’t eat the bread, but she giggled when a big fish gulped down a piece right under their feet.

When she first heard the splashing, she thought it signaled more loons. But wait. Wasn’t that the sound of oars slapping the water? A figure in a dark hoodie sat in the canoe. Did the Windigo ride in a canoe?

The canoe bumped the dock, and a voice said, “Two to choose from. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

The voice was so cheerful, Annie wasn’t afraid. Before she could try to identify who it was, a hard hand grabbed her and dragged her into the canoe. “I think the younger one would be better.”

The sudden, sharp pain in Annie’s neck made her cry out, and she slapped her hand against her skin. Something wet and sticky clung to her fingers. In the next instant, she was in the icy water. The shock of the lake’s grip made her head go under.

She came up thrashing in panic and spitting water. Her legs wouldn’t kick very well, and she felt dizzy and disoriented. She tried to scream for Daddy, but her mouth wouldn’t work. Her neck hurt something awful, and she’d never felt so afraid.

She’d been right—it was the Windigo, and he meant to eat her sister.

“Sarah!” Annie’s voice sounded weak in her ears, and the storm was here with bigger waves churning around her. “Run!”

Her sister shrieked out her name, and Annie tried to move toward the sound, but a wave picked her up and tossed her against a piling supporting the dock. Her vision went dark, and she sank into the cold arms of the lake.

The next thing she knew, she was on her back, staring up into the rain pouring into her face. Her dad’s hand was on the awful pain in her neck, and her mother was screaming for Sarah.

She never saw her sister again.

ONE

TWENTY-FOUR YEARS LATER
LAW ENFORCEMENT RANGER ANNIE PEDERSON RUBBED

her eyes after staring at the computer screen for the past two hours. She’d closed the lid on an investigation into a hit-and-run in the Kitchigami Wilderness Preserve, and she’d spent the past few hours finishing paperwork. It had been a grueling case, and she was glad it was over.

“I’ll be right back,” she told her eight-year-old daughter, Kylie, sitting on the floor of her office playing Pokémon Go on her iPad.

Kylie’s blonde head, so like Annie’s own, bobbed, too intent to respond verbally.

Kade Matthews looked up when Annie entered his office. Over the past few years he’d moved up and become head ranger. Kade’s six-feet-tall stocky frame and solid muscles exuded competence, and his blue eyes conveyed caring. Annie thanked the Lord every day for such a good boss. He was understanding when she needed time off with Kylie, and he let her know he valued her work and expertise. “Ready for a few days off?”

“Really? With all this work on your shoulders?”

He nodded. “I can handle it. I know this is a busy time for you.”

“I do have a lot of work to do out at the marina.”

Since her parents and husband died two years ago, she’d been tasked with running the Tremolo Marina and Cabin Resort. She managed with seasonal help and lots of her free time, but summer was always grueling. It was only June 3, and the season was off to a good start.

He cleared his throat, and his eyes softened. “I’m glad you stopped in. I didn’t want to send this report without talking to you first.”

“What report?” Her tongue felt thick in her mouth because she knew the likely topic.

“A child’s remains were found down around St. Ignace.”

It didn’t matter that it was so far. That route could have easily been chosen by the kidnapper. It was a common way to travel from lower Michigan to the U.P. “How old?”

“Five or six, according to the forensic anthropologist. I assume you want your DNA sent over for comparison?”

“Yes, of course.”

They’d been through this scenario two other times since she’d begun searching for answers, and each time she’d teetered between hope and despair. While she wanted closure on what had happened to her sister, she wasn’t sure she was ready to let go of hope. Though logically she knew her sister had to be dead. People didn’t take children except for nefarious purposes. Annie didn’t know how she’d react when word finally came that Sarah had been found.

Relief? Depression? Maybe a combination of the two. Maybe even a tailspin that would unhinge her. All these years later, and she still couldn’t think about that night without breaking into a cold sweat. Avoidance had been her modus operandi. Not many even knew about the incident. Kade did, of course. And Bree. Jon too. Probably some of the townspeople remembered and talked about it, too, but it had been long ago. Twenty-four years ago.

Nearly a quarter of a century and yet just yesterday. “How long before results are back on DNA?”

“Probably just a few days. With children they try to move quickly. I’ll get it sent over. You doing okay?”

She gave a vigorous nod. “Sure, I’m fine. I’ll file this report and get these pictures sent to you.”

“Bree told me to ask if you wanted a puppy, one of Samson’s.

There’s a male that looks just like him.”

She smiled just thinking of her daughter’s delight. “Kylie has been begging for a puppy since we lost Belle. How much are they going for?”

The little terrier had died in her sleep a month ago at age sixteen, and they both missed her. Samson was a world-renowned search-and-rescue dog, and his pups wouldn’t come cheap. She ran through how much she had in savings. Maybe not enough.

“We get two free pups, and Bree told me she would give you one.” “You don’t want to do that,” she protested. “You’d be giving up a lot of money.”

He shrugged. “We have everything we need. Head over there in the next few days, and you can take him home with you before our kids get too attached and bar the front door.”

She laughed. “Hunter says he’s marrying Kylie, so I think he will stick up for her.”

Kade and Bree’s little boy was four and adored Kylie. She was good with kids, and she loved spending time with the Matthews twins.

“You’re right about that. I’ll let Bree know you want him. He’s a cute little pup.”

“What are you doing with the other one?” “Lauri has claimed her.”

Kade’s younger sister was gaining a reputation for search-and- rescue herself, and she already had a dog. “What about Zorro?”

“He’s developed diabetes, and Lauri knows he needs to slow down some. She wants a new puppy to train so Zorro can help work with him.”

“She might want the one that looks like Samson.” “She wants a female this time.”

She glanced at her watch and rose. “I’ll get out of here. Thanks again for the puppy. Kylie will be ecstatic.”

She went back to her office. “Time for your doctor appointment, Bug.”

Kylie made a face. “I don’t want to go.”

At eight, Kylie knew her own mind better than Annie knew hers most days. She was the spitting image of Annie at the same age: corn silk–colored hair and big blue eyes set in a heart-shaped face. But Annie had never been that sure of herself. Her dad’s constant criticism had knocked that out of her.

She steered her daughter out the brick office building to the red Volkswagen crew-cab truck in the parking lot, then set out for town.

The old truck banged and jolted its way across the potholes left by this year’s massive snowfall until Annie reached the paved road into town. She couldn’t imagine living anywhere other than where the Snow King ruled nine months of the year. There was no other place on earth like Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. With the Keweenaw Peninsula to the north and Ottawa National Forest to the south, there could be no more beautiful spot in the world. Her devotion to this place had cost her dearly nine years ago, but every time she saw the cold, crystal-clear waters of the northernmost Great Lakes stretching to the horizon, she managed to convince herself it was worth it.

Part of the town’s special flavor came from the setting. Surrounded by forests on three sides, it had all the natural beauty anyone could want. Old-growth forests, sparkling lakes where fish thronged, and the brilliant blue of that Big Sea Water along the east side.

They drove through town, down Negaunee to Houghton Street to the businesses that comprised Rock Harbor’s downtown. The small, quaint village had been built in the 1850s when copper was king, and its Victorian-style buildings had been carefully preserved by the residents.

Dr. Ben Eckright’s office was a remodeled Victorian boardinghouse on the corner of Houghton and Pepin Streets. She parked in his side lot and let Kylie out of the back.

She glanced across the street to the law office, and her breath caught at the man getting out of the car. It couldn’t be. She stared at the sight of a familiar set of shoulders and closed her eyes a moment. Opening them didn’t reassure her. It really was him.

Jon Dunstan stood beside a shiny red Jaguar. Luckily, he hadn’t seen her yet, and she grabbed Kylie’s hand and ran with her for the side door, praying he wouldn’t look this way. She was still trembling when the door shut behind her.

/ / /

Excerpt from Edge of Dusk by Colleen Coble. Copyright 2022 by Colleen Coble. Reproduced with permission from Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble is a USA TODAY bestselling author best known for her coastal romantic suspense novels, including The Inn at Ocean's Edge, Twilight at Blueberry Barrens, and the Lavender Tides, Sunset Cove, Hope Beach, and Rock Harbor series.

Connect with Colleen online at:
colleencoble.com
Instagram - @ColleenCoble
Twitter - @ColleenCoble
Facebook - @ColleenCobleBooks

 

 

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