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.