Saturday, July 30, 2016

My Review - Honor Redeemed

4 out of 5 stars
There were no surprises in HONORED REDEEMED, but I still enjoyed the journey.

Prosperity Jones’s journey is one of heartache and heartbreak. She has lost her father to the sea, her fiancé to a military post across the ocean, and her mother to consumption. With nothing left for her in Nantucket, Prosperity decides to make the arduous journey to Key West to be with her beloved David. With nothing but a few coins, a single bag, and the memories of their great love, Prosperity imagines the surprise she will see on David’s face when she arrives unexpectedly. Unfortunately, it is Prosperity who is surprised. Not only has David wed someone else, but his new wife is great with child. Thinking it a cruel joke, Prosperity can’t fathom how David—a man of great honor, discipline, and self-control—could’ve veered so far from the morals he wore like armor. When reality sets in, and with nowhere to go, Prosperity realizes she must now make a life for herself in Key West.

Taking a job at a local hospital, Prosperity attracts the interest of Doctor Goodenow. Though he is several years her senior, she is thankful for his friendship and the help he offers to get her established in the town she can’t afford to leave. After a while, Dr. Goodenow makes his intentions clear to Prosperity, and though he is kindhearted and an upstanding citizen in the small community, her heart belongs to David.

While Prosperity continues to pine for David, David struggles with his new reality and the unfitting behavior that has put him in his current predicament. He loves Prosperity with all his heart, but knows he needs to be a man of honor and principle to his new wife, and his child that she carries.

I liked HONORED REDEEMED. Though it was predictable, it still kept my interest. Prosperity was a pull-up-your-bootstraps kind of woman who only got stronger as the book went on. David was a tortured soul—who instead of believing his gut—put his pride on the shelf to show himself a man of honor. The only negative I have regarding HONOR REDEEMED was the character development of Aileen. I feel Ms. Johnson took the easy way out by not making her a little more likable. It was easy, as a reader, to discard Aileen because of her behavior. To have had more of an impact/struggle I believe Aileen’s back story should have been included so that the reader would’ve at least understood more about Aileen and the predicament she found herself in.

Overall, an enjoyable book I would recommend.

Book provided for review purposes.

Available July 2016 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

My Review - What Matters Most

5 out of 5 stars

Set in the political arena, WHAT MATTERS MOST, is a unique story with engaging characters.

Leta Breckenridge is at the end of her rope. With escalating bills at the facility that cares for her mother, Leta must find a job fast. Unfortunately, not having a degree is making it hard to find a job that can pay the bills. Then, to add insult to injury, she has a fender-bender in a parking lot with a handsome man and his expensive car. However, when he finds out Leta is without insurance, he lets her know he can cover the cost of his own repairs, and not to worry about.

Leta feels things are looking up when she lands a high-paying job at a public relations firm. Finally, she feels the noose of her financial burden lifting. When she has another chance encounter with the man from the fender-bender—who she now knows is Senator Nathan Emerson—she feels a spark. Even still, he is out of her league and already in a very publicized, long-term relationship. But somehow, none of that matters. There is chemistry between Leta and Nathan, something they both feel and want to explore.

Leta’s world is turned upside down when she finds out the public relations firm she works for, is really a political opposition organization, and they are gunning for Nathan Emerson as he makes his bid for governor. When Leta is tasked with finding “dirt” on Nathan, she is torn. Without her job at the firm, she won’t be able to subsidize her mother’s nursing care, but if she continues, she will have to put an end to her budding relationship with Nathan. Knowing she must make a decision, she is shocked when Nathan makes the decision for her. Leta knows Nathan has found out about her job and the implications of it, but won’t give her a chance to explain.

I really enjoyed WHAT MATTERS MOST. Though I am not a fan of politics, the setting didn’t detour me from wanting to see where Leta and Nathan’s story would end. Ms. Gilbert did a great job of making the attraction between her two main characters palatable to the reader. Nathan was suave and sophisticated, but also had the boy-next-door charm. I hurt realizing the struggle Leta was feeling, wanting to do the best for her mother, when financially it was almost impossible.

Wonderful characters. Unique storyline. Great book.

Book provided for review purposes.

Available July 2016 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

My Review - MISSING - by Lisa Harris

5 out of 5 stars
MISSING by Lisa Harris, is the perfect follow-up to VENDETTA. Once again, we follow Nikki Boyd, a member of the Missing Person’s Task Force as she tries to find Lucy Hudson, the wife of a man who was murdered. The unfortunate twist, the murdered man ends up on her friend Tyler Grant’s boat. Immediately, Nikki proves Tyler—a widower who was once married to Nikki’s best friend—is innocent. Now, she must use what little clues she has to find out why Mac Hudson was murdered, and where his missing wife, Lucy Hudson is hiding. As the body count climbs, Nikki finds herself in the middle of a counterfeit drug ring that will stop at nothing to keep people from exposing their operation. If that isn’t enough, Nikki finds herself struggling with her growing feelings for Tyler. Knowing what she feels for Tyler far surpasses friendship; she’s not sure what to do. Tyler needs time to heal from the loss of his wife, but Nikki wants to be there for him when he’s ready to move on. However, finding the men who killed Mac Hudson, and who are now after her and Tyler is her first priority.

Lots of twists and turns keep reader’s guessing who is guilty and who is a victim in this thriller. Having Tyler and his father-in-law in the middle of the investigation makes it even more intriguing. Nikki wants to express her feeling to Tyler, but is afraid it’s too soon after his wife—Nikki’s best friend’s death. Instead, she decides to keep it professional between her and Tyler, at least until everyone is safe and out of danger.

I really enjoy Lisa Harris’ writing. She skillfully keeps the crime story moving while interjecting personal moments between characters. I can’t wait to see how Nikki and Tyler’s relationship develops in PURSUED, the third installment in the Nikki Boyd Files

Book provided for review purposes.

Available July 2016 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

My Review - Traces of Guilt

5 out of 5 stars
With TRACES OF GUILT, Dee Henderson once again weaves together intriguing plots and engaging characters, and does it with such fluidity; I couldn’t help but be consumed by it.
Detective Evie Blackwell is good at what she does. Catching the attention of the right people, it’s no wonder she’s assigned to a new task force that will concentrate its efforts on cold cases. Wanting to get a head start, Evie travels to Carin, Illinois, where she teams up with Sheriff Gabriel Thane to solve two crimes that took place in his county; the disappearance of a family, and the disappearance of a six-year-old girl. Evie, with Gabriel’s help goes over old evidence and finds new leads. Evie instantly feels a connection with Gabriel—their partnership easy and comfortable, but doesn’t think a two-cop relationship is healthy; her schedule is complicated enough. Trying to work a relationship around her agenda and that of a small-town sheriff seems like a recipe for disaster. Deciding it is best to keep their relationship professional; Evie and Gabriel find evidence that hits close to home for the Thane’s family. Emotions run high and clues lead to dead ends, but Evie refuses to give up. She knows they are on the cusp of solving not only the cases they intended, but others that have been unearthed in the process.
At first, Gabriel Thane’s isn’t sure how he feels about Evie Blackwell coming into his town and opening old wounds. However, he realizes Evie brings a fresh perspective to the cases; something only an outsider can do. Intrigued by both her process and the women herself, Gabriel is committed to following the leads she finds, no matter how unorthodox, hoping to lay the unsolved cases to rest.
TRACES OF GUILT is multi-faceted, with both old and new characters. The chemistry between Evie and Gabriel is palatable, yet Henderson keeps the reader guessing to the extent of their connection. Ann Falcon, from FULL DISCLOSURE has a large presence in this novel, and name-drops others from previous books. With the introduction of the Thanes family, Henderson has a deep well of characters to draw from for future installments. Though the stories of Josh and Grace and Will and Karen are introduced, there is so much more to learn about these couples. I also hope Ann and Paul continue to be a presence in this series. I can’t put my finger on what it is about Dee Henderson’s style, that makes her books irresistible, but whatever it is, it was in full force in TRACES OF GUILT.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

My Review - Rising Darkness

4 out of 5 stars
RISING DARKNESS follows Sophie Wittenbauer into a world she thought she left behind as she strives to become the person she wants to be.
Sophie ran from her Mennonite hometown when she was just a teenager, but the painful memories still follow her around. Sophie has completely reinvented herself. She’s no longer the overweight, awkward girl from the conservative town of Kingdom. She’s now a journalist with the possibility of solving a cold case involving murder and six million dollars. With what she thinks is a plausible cover story, Sophie infiltrates the town of Sanctuary, Missouri. However, the persona she’s created has some holes in it, and from the get-go, she wonders if she can continue in Sanctuary without being found out. Sophie’s nerves are shaken even further when a man from her past introduces himself as the youth pastor at the local church, but Jonathan isn’t just any man; he’s the man Sophie fell in love with years ago and has never forgotten. Jonathan doesn’t recognize her at first—her transformation so complete—but he’s definitely drawn to Sophie. When he discovers who she is and why she’s in Sanctuary, Sophie is sure he’ll expose her, and she will once again lose the only man who has ever held her heart. However, Jonathan decides to help Sophie, especially when he realizes her life is in danger. Though Sophie’s intentions when going to Sanctuary was to come away with the news story of a lifetime, she realizes she’ll be lucky to come out with her heart and her life intact.
Though RISING DARKNESS was not of the Amish genre, per say, it dangled on the fringe. I am not a fan of the Amish setting, so I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it, but RISING DARKNESS was written with a more contemporary feel and a storyline that was rather intriguing. Sophie was a strong character; definitely an overcomer, while Jonathan was charismatic and a bit untraditional for a leader in a conservative church. To me, Sophie’s original reason for being in Sanctuary took a backseat to the romance developing between her and Jonathan. Nevertheless, I was fine with that . . . and the outcome.
A fresh twist and an enjoyable read.