Saturday, June 24, 2017

My Review - Naomi's Hope

3 out of 5 stars

NAOMI’S HOPE by Jan Drexler was an enjoyable read. The pacing is slow, but the story is charming.
Naomi Schrock has come to terms with her future. Knowing she isn’t overly attractive, and that she’s a single mother to Davey, an orphaned boy, Naomi figures her chances at love and marriage are not to be. Even when Cap Stoltzfus shows up and befriends Davey, Naomi figures his interest is solely in Davey. Though they strike up a friendship, Naomi assumes that is the extent of Cap’s feelings for her.
Cap Stoltzfus is still mourning the death of his wife and child. Settling on property next to the Schrock family, Cap feels an instant attachment to Davey. The young boy is curious, bright, and makes Cap feel alive again. Cap also develops a friendship with Naomi, but they have different opinions when it comes to God and raising Davey, so Cap isn’t sure their relationship will grow deeper than friendship.
As Naomi and Cap navigate their feelings for each other, a stranger shows up in town, causing trouble for Cap and Naomi, and division in the community. Cap knows this man from his past, and expects he’s up to no good. But, never in his wildest dreams would he have guessed the lengths this man would go to, to seek his revenge.
NAOMI’S HOPE is much like other Amish-themed books. There is a situation that challenges the characters commitment to the church and the rules of Ordnung. At times, the story slowed, having more talking than action, and the day’s events became repetitive. I understand the Amish culture is simple, but portraying that simplicity slowed the story down. I did like the characters Ms. Drexler penned. Cap is charming, Naomi is feisty despite her Amish upbringing, and Davey is adorable. The secondary characters rounded out the story well. But, I must say, the actions of Shem Fischer seemed a bit extreme. Overall, NAOMI’S HOPE was still an entertaining story.
I received this book through Revell Reads Blog Tour, and was not required to give a positive review. The review given is my honest opinion of the book. 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

My Review - Weaver's Needle by Robin Caroll

4.5 out of 5 Stars
Landry Parker and Nickolai Baptiste have three things in common. They are both recovery specialists, they both have been hired to recover a stolen map that leads to a legendary gold mine in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona, and they both distrust each other. A lot.
Landry Parker is a better recovery specialist then she is a business woman. Needing the payoff from this case to get her business solvent again, she’s beyond frustrated when she finds out Nickolai has also been hired to find the map.
Nickolai Baptiste, a former police officer, debates the wisdom of taking a case that is still an active police investigation. But, needing the extra income to pay for his sister’s special therapy, he decides to take the case. Knowing Landry has no intentions of backing down, fortifies his determination as well.
As both Landry and Nickolai work their investigations, they each find clues the police and each other have overlooked. But, when someone threatens Landry, Nickolai’s defenses go on full alert. Deciding that working together would be safer, Landry and Nickolai team up. Navigating personal threats, Indian folklore, and a near tragedy, Landry and Nickolai’s feelings for each other turn personal. As their attraction for each other grows, they piece together their clues. But is it too late?
I really enjoyed WEAVER’S NEEDLE. This is the first book I’ve read from author Robin Carroll, and I will definitely be looking for more. Landry and Nickolai were great characters, made even more attractive by their love for their family. I liked them as individuals, but so much more as a couple. The story definitely had some unique twists due to the superstitions surrounding the map at its rumored fortune. The ending was definitely unexpected. It left me wondering what was truth and what was Landry’s imagination. Good characters. Good story. Good read.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

My Review - When Angels Cry by MaryLu Tyndall

5 out of 5 stars
WHEN ANGELS CRY is an amazing story. Fiction . . . yes, but profoundly prophetic.

Angelica (Angel) Smoke has been marked by God to be a messenger to the last person on earth she wants to interact with. Daniel Cain, a prominent preacher, just so happens to be her ex-boyfriend. They were an item when Daniel was a seminary student, and she was a cocktail waitress. Despite their difference, they fell in love and planned to marry. Unfortunately, an argument led to their break-up, and forced them to go their separate ways. Twelve years later, Angel is a single mother, still working as a cocktail waitress in order to make ends meet, and loves the Lord with all her heart. She hates her job, but has no choice. The world is an ugly place that has outlawed the Bible, evangelizing, and hunts down those who don’t obey the law. Angel continues to tell others about Jesus—even as she serves them liquor—because she is confident God will protect her as she tries to be a witness and messenger of His. With a message given to her by God, Angel goes to see Daniel. When she confronts him with God’s message, he doesn’t even recognize her, which is fine with Angel. She did what God asked, and now she can move on with her life. Or so she thinks.

Daniel Cain is a very successive preacher of a mega-church in Florida. His good looks, charisma, and ‘positive’ message of love and acceptance has garnered him a flock of over twenty thousand. His career is on an upward trajectory, one that could lead to a job in the White House. At first, Daniel doesn’t recognize Angel when she tries to give him a prophetic message from God. But then, he sees her again, and becomes obsessed with her. Angel accuses Daniel of losing his first love—that the ‘positive’ message he’s preaching is NOT the Word of God—and he needs to open his eyes to how distorted the world has become. He’s reminded several times by Thomas—his friend from college who also knew Angel—that spending time with her is going to derail his career and ruin everything he’s worked for. But, Daniel is convinced, somehow, someway, they can still make it work.

As angels and demons spar in the spiritual realm, the time of decision is drawing to a close. Angel senses the urgency and continues to see Daniel, even though her life, and the life of her son are being threatened.

This outline just scratches the surface of WHEN ANGELS CRY. There is so much more to the story that will keep you turning page after page. One of the most fascinating sections of WHEN ANGELS CRY is the segments told from the perspective of the angels protecting Angel, Daniel, and those around them. These angels know what’s coming and wants their charges to turn before it’s too late. But they can only protect; they cannot interfere. WHEN ANGELS CRY also shines a light on the demons who are in this world, always close by, waiting for any opportunity to destroy whomever they can. Though WHEN ANGELS CRY is steep in spiritual warfare, and prophecy, the romantic facet is well represented by the chemistry between Angel and Daniel. They are meant to be together, but is it meant to be?

A fascinating, provocative, thought-provoking book. A real leap in genre for Ms. Tyndall, but she executes it flawlessly.

I received complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my
own I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

My Review - Rescue Me by Susan May Warren

5 out of 5 stars
RESCUE ME, book two in the Montana Rescue series, is the perfect follow-up to WILD MONTANA SKIES.
Willow has always loved Sam Brooks. But, now that he’s dating her sister, Willow knows she needs to let that dream go. Her sister, Sierra deserves to be happy. So, Willow takes a step back and focuses her energy on her dream job—youth leader at her church. Unfortunately, Willow’s free-spirited personality has gotten her into trouble on more than one occasion. When a youth group trip goes sideways, Sierra is looked at as the irresponsible adult who put kids in danger. Now, she must suck it up, and be willing to take a backseat to someone new leading the group.
Deputy Sam Brooks is a born leader who takes responsibility seriously, unlike his brother, Pete. Sam sees the same traits in Sierra Rose. Sierra is practical, conscientious and the polar opposite of her sister Willow—a free-spirited hippie. Now that Sierra is no longer in a relationship with Ian Shaw, Sam pursues her, knowing they’re the perfect fit for each other.
During an emotional low point, Sam accidentally mistakes Willow for Sierra and the connection they make is something he couldn’t have predicted. Both know the situation was a misunderstanding and are committed to putting it behind them. But, when Willow and Sam find themselves in a life-and-death situation, they have to contemplate if the spark between them is something they can ignore.
RESCUE ME is another amazing story from Susan May Warren. Her character development causes you to become attached to the people in her novels. Sam is a tortured soul you have compassion for, but also want to slap up the side of the head because of his unforgiving attitude towards his brother. Willow has a heart of gold, but somehow all anyone sees is her impulsiveness that gets her into trouble. Pete is trying to make amends for his past behavior but has a hard time when his brother is always throwing it in his face. And Sierra . . . you know she is still pining for Ian, and you want the idiot to realize what he threw away. All this makes for captivating reading. I was curious to see how Ms. Warren was going to handle the I think I’m in love with my girlfriend’s sister storyline. I mean, who wants to like the person who ruins a relationship or a man who’s that fickled? But, she did it flawlessly without turning either of the characters into a villain. With the scene set and more secondary characters to develop, the Montana Rescue series is a must-have for the person who loves romance/action/suspense.

Monday, March 20, 2017

My Review - Fatal Frost by Nancy Mehl

5 out of 5 stars
FATAL FROST by Nancy Mehl is chilling.

U.S. Marshal Mercy Brennan has been injured both physically and emotionally. She’s recovering from an on-the-job shooting and dealing with the reappearance of her absentee father. If that’s not enough, her boss teams her with ex-boyfriend Mark St. Laurent in a witness protection assignment.

When a freak ice storm strands Mercy, Mark, and childhood friend Tally Williams, in the middle of nowhere, short of their rendezvous point, and cut off from all communication, their carefully fabricated cover begins to unravel. Mercy is furious when she finds out Mark and Tally have been sent to protect HER. Somehow, her last interaction with her father has put her in the crosshairs of one of St. Louis’ most notorious gangs. Hold up in a farmhouse, feeling like sitting ducks, Mercy, Mark, and Tally must wait out the storm, praying their back-up shows up before the gang members find them. And, knowing there is a mole in the department, they’re not sure who they can trust.

This is my first Nancy Mehl novel, and you can be sure I will be back for more. Suspense, romance, great characters, and interesting plot twists all work together to create a great story. Knowing this is the first in a series, I can’t wait to read book two in the Defenders of Justice series.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

My Review - Moving Target by Lynette Eason

5 out of 5 stars
Lynette Eason has done it again! MOVING TARGET is not just fast-paced, it will leave you breathless.

Maddy McKay and Quinn Holcombe are at a crossroads in their relationship. She has stood by him through painstaking therapy, solidify a deep friendship between them. But, when Quinn continues to push people away—Maddy included—she decides to give him the space he needs.

Quinn Holcombe is a loner. His relationship with Maddy is complicated. His feelings for her run deeper than just friendship, but he doesn’t know how to express himself. When she walks out on him, he decides he needs to take the next step and tell her how he feels. But, before he can, Maddy and he are abducted and become the target of a psychotic predator who hunts his victims in a twisted game. While Maddy and Quinn try to stay one step ahead of the serial killer who’s stalking them, they open up about their feelings for each other.

MOVING TARGET is a thrilling rollercoaster ride! Lynette Eason is a master of suspense. Even if you figure out who’s behind the killings, you turn page after page, praying Maddy and Quinn stay one step ahead of the killer. With their relationship in the balance, you sympathize with both Quinn and Maddy. He’s s gun-shy, with a lot of unresolved baggage. She’s frustrated that the man she loves, could very well walk away from both her and God. I still have a hard time accepting the fact that the Elite Guardian Agency is made up of all woman. Very young woman. But other than that, the series is romance/suspense at its best!

Monday, January 30, 2017

My Review - Oh, The Weather Outside is Frightful by Susan May Warren

5 out of 5 stars
OH, THE WEATHER OUTSIDE IS FRIGHTFUL, finishes the Montana Fire series with, a snow storm, a baby, a wedding, and another relationship that must find its footing if it’s going to survive.

C.J. St. John is fighting back to recover from the injuries sustained in the plane accident that almost took his life. If not for Hannah Butcher, he’s convinced he wouldn’t have survived the crash. Not only did he survive, but C.J. knows in his heart of hearts, he fell in love with Hannah that night. But somehow, he can’t bring himself to admit his feelings to Hannah. Especially since his career is over.

Hannah Butcher was there for C.J when he needed her, keeping him from going into shock and surviving a harrowing plane crash. But, Hannah wouldn’t have made it through her rookie summer with the smoke jumpers if it wasn’t for C.J.’s encouragement. The night they spent on the mountain, Hannah saved their lives, but lost her heart—to C.J. When they get back to civilization, C.J. and Hannah fumble over their feelings for each other, allowing distance to grow between them.

Six months later, Hannah pursues C.J., forcing him to keep his end of their bargain—to dance with her at their team member’s wedding. Unfortunately, a blizzard and a car accident derail them from their plans and forces them once again to turn to each other and God if they are going to survive.

Though this installment had a lot of back story, for those who might not have read the other books, I still thoroughly enjoyed it. BURIN’ FOR YOU was from the point of view of Gilly and Reuben. This novella allowed readers to experience the same plane crash from C.J. and Hannah’s POV, and then the fallout that followed. The characters in this series were so good, because they weren’t perfect. With every strength that defined them, there was an underlying weakness they were struggling with. Throughout the series, each character grew in the relationship with God and each other. A series that is now on my favorites list.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

My Review - Burnin' For You by Susan May Warren

5 out of 5 stars
BURNIN FOR YOU, the third installment in the Montana Fire Series sizzles.

Smoke jumper Reuben Marshall has his demons. Feeling he could have prevented the death of his crew boss, he struggles with grief. But he also struggles with his attraction for smoke jumper and pilot, Gilly Priest. He knows she’s not interested in a relationship with a teammate, but that doesn’t make her any less captivating.

Gilly Priest has worked hard to get where she’s at. Petite and tenacious, she’s a gutsy pilot who will do whatever it takes to get her smoke jumping team in and out of danger. Reuben Marshall has not escaped her notice, but having a relationship with a team member rarely works out.

When Gilly’s plane goes down with her team on board, only she and Reuben are capable of going for help. With their team running out of time, Gilly and Reuben must navigate not only the wilderness and a forest fire, but quite possibly the person who’s been sabotaging their team.

BURNIN FOR YOU was another amazing installment in this fast-paced, suspense-filled series. With each new installment, we learn more about other members of the smoke jumping team, while catching up with the main characters of the other books in the series. Reuben and Gilly work well as a team, but their chemistry goes beyond that of teammates. I love that each member we learn about has a superhero-type persona, but inside, they all struggle with their own insecurities and fears—fears they slowly realize they have to surrender to God. Great characters. Great stories. Great series.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

My Review - Playing with Fire by Susan May Warren

5 out of 5 stars

PLAYING WITH FIRE, book two in the Montana fire series was just as hot as WHERE THERE’S SMOKE.

When Liza Beaumont is in danger of a grizzly attack, she does the first thing that comes to mind. She calls Connor for help. Even though she and Connor parted ways a year ago because of commitment issues, Liza needs help-and there is no one in the world she trusts more than smoke jumper, Connor Young. Now that he’s back in her life, Liza’s feelings for Connor deepen. When they are forced to explore their feelings for each other while searching for two missing teenagers in the nearby mountains, Liza realizes she’s willing to take a chance on a relationship, even if Connor can’t make any promises.

Connor Young is shocked when Liza calls him for help. The thought of losing her to a grizzly attack churns in him the feelings he has for Liza-feelings that have never gone away. He let her walk away once because he was unable to make her any promises. Now that they’ve reconnected, Connor is ready to address his phobias and do whatever it takes to prove to Liza they belong together.

In the midst of figuring out their feelings for each other, Liza and Connor are dealing with more than just their relationship. They need to find two missing campers, Connor is being pursued by the authorities regarding arson fires being set by drones-Connor’s hobby, and Liza comes face-to-face with a tragedy from her past.

PLAYING WITH FIRE was just as incendiary as WHERE THERE’S SMOKE. This series is chock-full of: passion, action, suspense, and tension. Liza and Connor are meant to be together, but they each are struggling with emotional baggage from the past and allow miscommunication to sabotage their relationship. Now that they are thrown together in a life or death situation, they are forced to decide if they’re going to let their insecurities dictate their future. I love these characters-actually all the characters introduced in book one. They are wounded people with hero-sized hearts.  I’ve already started reading BURNIN’ FOR YOU, book three in the series, and was engulfed by drama in the very first paragraph.

Friday, January 20, 2017

My Review - Avenged by Janice Cantore

5 out of 5 stars
AVENGED, the third installment in the Pacific Coast Justice series, wraps up with a bang. Literally.

As Officer Carly Edwards gets prep to testify at the trial of a cop killer, three gang members are shot execution style. When a trunk load of weapons is confiscated from known gang members, Carly and her husband, Sgt. Nick Anderson—head of the Las Playas gang unit—fear a gang war is in the making. When it is discovered the weapons were stolen from a military base, along with explosives, the La Playas PD prepares for the worse.

When Carly has a run-in with an ex-con, she thinks nothing of it. Even though he took a swing at her, he’s a family member of Carly’s friend, and she lets him go as a favor. Unfortunately, from that point on Carly is embroiled in one bad situation after another. The ex-con files a complaint against Carly and a noted reporter accuses Carly of being a dirty cop and sets out to ruin her reputation. That’s when Carly realizes something isn’t adding up. In fact, she’s convinced it’s all a set-up. If she is discredited before she testifies in the upcoming trial, a cop killer could get off. Trying to figure out the missing pieces, both Carly and Nick put their lives on the line, praying they aren’t too late.

AVENGED was a multi-plot novel that kept me turning page after page.  There’s not too much I can say without being a spoiler. Gangbangers and drive-by shootings, activists and demonstrations, a slanderous reporter, and friends being bullied by their ex-con brother—so many things going on at the same time, and they all seem to be connected to Carly. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the stories unfold and the connections being made. This was a great crime drama, with a lot of players to keep straight, but as I stated in my previous reviews of ACCUSED and ABDUCTED, the romance is very understated. You sense the love Carly and Nick have for each other, but they share very few scenes. I’ve really enjoyed Janice Cantore’s novels and the precision in which she writes. I will continue to seek out her books in the future.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

My Reviews - Where There's Smoke by Susan May Warren

5 out of 5 stars

WHERE THERE’S SMOKE is the first book in the smokin’ hot Montana Fire series from Susan May Warren. And believe me, the forest is not the only thing on fire.

Kate Burns was born with the same instincts and dedication to smoke jumping as her father. She is a legend, known to put herself at risk with her whatever it takes mentality. That’s why she can’t let anyone know she’s afraid of fire. After a near-death experience, Kate is struggling with her fears but keeps them to herself. After all, she’s known as Blazin’ Kate Burns, and she refuses to do anything to taint her reputation. But, with the passing of her father, Kate is at odds with her feelings. Going home to clean out his belongings, she knowns she’ll have to come face-to-face with one more confusing, emotional obstacle in her life – Jed Ransom. They have history as explosive as any fire she’s ever fought. Working side-by-side with Jed to train the next team of smoke jumpers is going to force Kate to face her fears: physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

The normally calm and cool, Jed Ransom, has more on his plate than anticipated. As the protégé of Jock Burns-Kate’s father-it’s up to him to train the next set of smoke jumping rookies. When he finds out Kate has been assigned to help him, his feelings vacillate between love and anger. He loves her-always has-but refuses to encourage her in what Jed feels is a recklessness that will one day get Kate killed or those she’s training.

WHERE THERE’S SMOKE is filled with fast-pace action and sizzling chemistry between Kate and Jed. They both love each other, but allow their fears and flaws to drive a deeper wedge between them. Kate has always felt the need to prove she is one of the best in a male-dominated career, but Jed wants her to quit. He wants a future with Kate, but not if she is going to continue to put her life on the line.

WOW! What a captivating story!  Kate and Jed exude passion on the job and with each other. Their interactions are heat-infused and volatile, but only because they love each other so much. Spiritually, they both are struggling with the pain God has allowed to touch their lives. Head strong and determined, they need to decide if they can completely surrender their lives and their future to God. With a supporting cast of intriguing characters, the action never slows it only simmers. Definitely on my favorites list! I can’t wait to read PLAYING WITH FIRE, the next book in the series.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

My Review - Stone's Heart by Darby Karchut

4.5 out of 5 stars
STONE’S HEART is the first novel I have read from this author, and I thoroughly enjoyed the simplistic and sweet story.

Linney Van Horn is starting over. Leaving New Jersey with a broken heart and her Arabian horse in tow, she ends up in Venture, Colorado. Looking forward to her new teacher’s position at the local grade school, Linney rents a guest cottage on the property of a sweet older couple. What she quickly finds out is the other cottage is occupied by the local farrier and his seven-year-old son. Still hurting from her failed relationship with a man who had a young daughter, Linney is determined to keep her distance from Stonewall “Stone” Wheeler and his son.

Still dealing with the loss of his wife, Stone Wheeler has only two objectives in life, build his farrier business and take care of his growing son. Love is nowhere on the agenda. When Linney moves in next door, Stone sees her as a good friend and someone who enjoys spending time with his son.  That’s it. That’s all. At least, that’s what he tries to tell himself. Soon, Stone realizes Linney has revived in him the part of his heart that he thought was long dead.

Both Linney and Stone must overcome their fears, doubts, and wounded hearts if they are going to take the leap into a relationship.

I really enjoyed STONE’S HEART. It was a pretty simplistic story, but occasionally, you just want to read a book that warms you heart instead of one that challenges your thinking with plots, subplots, red herrings, and evil people. The characters were genuine and well fleshed out. And the setting, was great for this country girl at heart. My understanding is Darby Karchut usually writes in the paranormal genre. I’m not interested in that genre, but if she releases anymore contemporary romance books, I would most likely pick them up.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

My Review - Sanctuary Forever by Lisa Phillips

5 out of 5 stars
SANCTUARY FOREVER – I don’t want it to be over!! This was a great series with amazing characters; people you really become attached to—especially the Mason brothers.

It this final installment, Gemma—a woman born in the WITSEC town of Sanctuary—finds out one of the citizens was her father. Unfortunately, Hal Leonard is now dead but has left Gemma a secret to guard. Not knowing what to do with this information, Gemma tells her lifelong friend, Pastor Dan. When they discover a link between Hal’s secret and Dan’s late father, the town of Sanctuary begins to fall apart. Others know about the secret and will do anything to find it and silence anyone who gets in their way. With an all-out uprising on his hands, Sheriff John Mason calls in reinforcements. People are dying while others thought dead reappear. John prays back-up will come in time before a man bent on a massacre gets his way.

SANCTUARY FOREVER was jam packed with action and shocking twists. Gemma and Dan are trying so hard to protect each other, they deny the fact that they are actually in love. But, with Dan suffering from a form of PTSD, and Gemma’s questioning reputation, they’re ready to sacrifice everything for each other’s safety. SANCTUARY FOREVER also allows us to touch base in the lives of other Sanctuary residents we have come to love, along with the other Mason brothers. Unfortunately, there were still questions left unanswered. Who is Mei Ling? What does Ben Mason do for a living? And how are they connected? I hope Lisa Phillips is hard at work on another series that might answer these questions.

A unique setting, great plots, and amazing characters—the Sanctuary series is most definitely the newest addition to my favorites list.

Monday, January 02, 2017

My Review - Death in the Shadows by Paul McCusker

4 out of 5 stars
DEATH IN THE SHADOWS, A Father Gilbert Mystery, is methodical in its delivery and reads like a vintage whodunit mystery.

Father Gilbert is an extremely unique man. Before becoming an Anglican priest, he was a detective. No matter his change in vocation, murder seems to follow him wherever he goes. While attending a church conference, he sees the apparition of a young woman. Feeling the need to find out who she is and why she suffered such an untimely death, Father Gilbert works with a detective associate from his past. What ensues is a tangled web of illegal activity involving police, politicians, priests, and a sex trade industry that is consuming the small seaside village of Englesa.

This is the first Father Gilbert Mystery I have read. Though it had a very slow beginning, my interest was piqued as more details were revealed. Father Gilbert’s character was comforting and even-tempered. Though outraged by all he discovered, he remained cool and calculated in order to extract as much information from the people who had the answers but lived in fear. There were definite twists and turns as you found out how the lives of those in Englesea intersected. However, as others were murdered, you felt a sense of urgency for the police to solve the crimes before all who had evidence were killed.

DEATH IN THE SHADOWS was an interesting read. I wasn’t sure how I felt about Father Gilbert’s ability to see dead people, but it wasn’t the focus of the story so I didn’t let it bother me. Though the pacing was slower than I enjoy, I was still entertained by the story Paul McCusker penned.

Book provided for review purposes.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

My Review - Catching Heat by Janice Cantore

5 out of 5 stars

CATCHING HEAT, the third installment in the Cold Case Justice series, was jam packed with action and suspense. The romance was more so implied, but you felt the connection growing between the two main characters.

Detective Abby Hart has been on a mission her entire life; find those responsible for the death of her parents and put them in jail. Her father’s killer has been found, and Abby knows the identity of her mother’s killer, now, all she has to do is prove it. The obstacles are great, since the killer is a public figure who has been able to cover her tracks for over twenty-seven years. But, Abby is convinced the key to everything lies in the suspects background. Abby is determined to find the missing piece of the puzzle. So, when her current case takes her to the suspects old stomping grounds, Abby decides to put in a little extra time and work both cases at the same time. With PI, Luke Murphy, as her new partner, she’s not only juggling both cases, but her growing feelings for him. She knows her attraction to him goes beyond professional, but Abby isn’t sure he’s available.

Luke Murphy wants to help Abby solve her parents murder. His uncle was also a victim, and Luke wants to see justice prevail. His concern is that Abby’s determination is turning into an obsession; an obsession that might get her killed. Being partnered with Abby on a newly formed task force is right where Luke wants to be. He’s ready to make his feelings for Abby known, but keeping her safe is another thing. He and Abby butt heads when he cautions her about her growing obsession. Abby rebuffs him, knowing she is on to something and needs to follow the new leads—with or without him.

With an ever-growing plate of cases, suspects, and leads, Abby, Luke, and their other partner Woody, are being pulled in all directions. Abby is looking for the thread that will tie everything together in the death of her parents. She and Luke are looking for the killer in the cold case of a teenager’s death. And, Abby, Luke, and Woody are being asked to locate a man suspected in the chilling deaths of his family. When all three cases come to a head, secrets are exposed, motives are revealed, and truths are discovered. Unfortunately, Abby and Woody might become collateral damage when a killer gets the drop on them.

I thoroughly enjoyed, CATCHING HEAT. I have yet to be disappointed by any of Janice Cantore’s books, but this one was loaded with so many things going on at the same time, I couldn’t put it down. As a retired police officer, Cantore’s stories are infused with realism, adding to the intensity in which the story is delivered. CATCHING HEAT had so many plots, and sub-plots, the reader really needed to remain on their toes to keep up with the information. So people might find that a bit overwhelming; I found it incredibly satisfying. The only negative—and I hate to call it that—is I wish the romance would have been a little more developed. We know how Abby and Luke are feeling, I just wish there would’ve been more outward expressions of their feelings. The entire Cold Case Justice series is a must read for suspense buffs. But—read them in order. It will help you keep information straight and grow with the characters.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

My Review - Coming Undone by Staci Stallings

5 out of 5 stars
COMING UNDONE by Staci Stallings, though it’s pacing was slow, it was by no means boring.

Ben Warren is the guy who doesn’t have to try too hard. Everything comes easy to him, and problems roll off his back. However, when faced with life-altering news, he realizes he isn’t invincible. In fact, he feels he’s out on a ledge trying to maintain his balance.

Kathryn Walker doesn’t get it. She’s attractive, intelligent, hard-working, and fun to be with. Then why is she still single? Not only is she single, but with no prospects on the horizon. Though others try to fix her up, nothing comes from their match-making. Even though she is looking for Mr. Right, she doesn’t realize he might have found her without her even knowing it.

Without giving much away, Ben and Kathryn stumble into a relationship. Ben is beside himself with grief and feeling insecure at every turn. Kathryn knows Ben is hurting, and offers compassion to help him navigate his future. The connection that grows between them is deep and authentic even though each of them is afraid to acknowledge what they each feel.

COMING UNDONE was slow and methodical. In this case, it was a good thing. There was a lot of emotion to absorb as the characters struggled with their feelings. The transformation in Ben was poetic. You felt him struggle with weakness, confusion, and doubt. Kathryn was genuine and honest. Her concern for Ben was so deep she chose to ignore her attraction to him because his soul was far more important. COMING UNDONE was not your usual romance novel. It was so much more.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

My Review - Critical Pursuit & Visible Threat by Janice Cantore

5 out of 5 stars
VISIBLE THREAT and CRITICAL PURSUIT are fast-paced novels that do a good job of balancing crime with camaraderie in the ranks of the Long Beach Police Department
VISIBLE THREAT-Officer Brinna Caruso is a K-9 handler known as the go-to cop when a child goes missing. Unfortunately, her gung-ho behavior has gotten her into hot water when she avoids direct orders because of the greater good. She doesn’t see herself as a rogue officer, she just has a hard time backing down when she knows a child is involved. Brinna’s behavior is a direct result of her own childhood. Abducted and molested at the age of six, Brinna champions children and does it with her canine companion, Hero. When she is knocked back to patrol duty due to disciplinary actions, Brinna is partnered with Jack O’Reilly, a former homicide detective who voluntarily stepped down from his duties due to the death of his wife. Not only is Brinna frustrated that she’s being disciplined due to actions that saved a little girl’s life, but she has strong concerns about Jack O’Reilly’s competency.

Jack O’Reilly continues to struggle with the death of his wife. He knows he has to get on with his life, but he’s not sure he can handle homicide. He asks to be put back on patrol duty, but isn’t thrilled his partner is Brinna Caruso. She has a reputation for not following the rules, and since he wants a smooth re-entry back into police work, he’s concerned she will only cause trouble.

While Brinna and Jack navigate their partnership, they slowly come to realize they both want the same thing. Justice. When a case presents itself with the same MO of the man who abducted Brinna, she and Jack must work together as a team, and finally put the man behind bars who stole Brinna’s childhood.

CRITICAL PURSUIT -Brinna is in pursuit of a man she knows has abducted a young girl. Even though she’s been ordered not to pursue because of dangerous conditions, she puts her job on the line to save the girl. Once again, Brinna is in the hot seat. But more devastating than that is the fact that her K-9 duties might be coming to an end. With the possibility of funding being pulled, Brinna must deal with the prospect of having to go back to patrol. Last time she was partnered with Jack O’Reilly they actually ended up forging a deep friendship, but Jack has gone back to homicide, leaving her to wonder who she’ll be partnered with.

Jack is getting back in the swing of things in homicide. Though when his mind wanders, it no longer goes to the death of his wife. His friendship with Brinna is constantly on his mind, and he thinks he’s ready to move on but wonders if she is. When he and his partner investigate a possible human trafficking ring, Brinna and her mother get involved. Jack is thrilled to be working with Brinna again, but when Brinna’s mom is kidnapped, things escalated to critical proportions.

Both VISIBLE THREAT and CRITICAL PURSUIT are intelligently written by a former police officer. Not only are the crimes relevant but the insight to the camaraderie between officers is portrayed well, making the books not only interesting from the suspenseful side, but also from the personal side. I loved watching the slow progression of the relationship between Brinna and Jack. Usually, I don’t like when the hero and heroine are kept at arm’s length, but knowing Jack was recovering from the loss of his wife, made the timeline believable. I’m definitely a fan of Ms. Cantore’s work, and hope there are more installments in the Brinna Caruso series.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

My Review - Burning Proof by Janice Cantore

5 out of 5 stars 

BURNING PROOF is book two in the Cold Case Justice series and another winner from Janice Cantore. 

Detective Abby Hart is devastated when her latest case ends tragically. Taking a leave of absence, she spends time with her fiancée, doing what he loves, hoping his passion will become hers. Instead, Abby finds herself struggling with the relationship. With extra time on her hands and needing a distraction, she gets involved with a case Luke Murphy is working on. Abby knows she shouldn’t spend more time with Luke but wants to do something useful, especially if she can help the girl involved. 

Private Investigator, Luke Murphy is haunted by Asa Foster’s dying words. Asa is Abby’s previous partner and whispers to Luke, “There is proof.” Knowing Asa is talking about the Triple Seven fire that took Abby’s parents and Luke’s uncle, he’s afraid to share the information with Abby because she’s already dealing with so much. He keeps the evidence from her and does some investigating of his own. In the meantime, he and his partner Woody, also a friend of Abby’s, works on a ten-year-old child abduction case. Feeling Abby will be better able to help the girl involved, Luke asks for her help, even as he tries to ignore his attraction to her. As the case winds down, new evidence in the Triple Seven fire is uncovered. 

BURNING PROOF picks up where DRAWING FIRE leaves off. Even though Abby tries to put the Triple Seven fire and the death of her parents behind her, she can’t. It will always be in the back of her mind until she finds out the truth. She questions her feelings for both her fiancée and for Luke, while Luke tries to move on. Ms. Cantore does a superb job of building the suspense in this series. Even though the reader knows more than the characters, we still don’t know the conclusion. Hopefully, CATCHING HEAT, the third book in the series, will hold all the answers.