Thursday, May 19, 2016

Dressed for Death by Julianna Deering (Review)




  • Series: A Drew Farthering Mystery
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (March 1, 2016)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764214110



  • Drew and Madeline Farthering celebrate their six-month anniversary by attending a fancy Regency era costume party. Drew is glad to see Talbot Cummins, an Oxford classmate, and his fiancée, Alice Henley, though many present seem worried about the couple. Everyone's concerns are realized when, at the concluding grand ball, Alice dies of an overdose of cocaine. Tal refuses to believe she took the stuff intentionally, and Drew is determined to find out if her death was an accident or murder.

    Drew is shocked and disillusioned when the police arrest Tal's father and reveal that the man has been smuggling drugs into the country for the past twenty years. Reeling from the death of his fiancée and the revelation about his father, Tal begs Drew to find out what's going on. Drew, now questioning his own ability to see people as they really are, does so reluctantly, not ready for the secrets he's about to uncover--or the danger he'll bring down on everyone he holds dear.


    My Review:

    This is book four in the Drew Farthering mystery series. They are cozy mysteries set in 1920s England. It was my least favorite book of the series. The murder aspect is more intense than previous books. It is more serious and gritty. They mystery part was good and the ending great. I did not see it coming. The characters and plot were well developed. Hopefully Drew and Madeline will have another book. I recommend starting with the first book in the series though. 




    JULIANNA DEERING (also writing as DeAnna Julie Dodson) has always been an avid reader and a lover of storytelling, whether on the page, the screen or the stage. This, along with her keen interest in history and her Christian faith, shows in her tales of love, forgiveness and triumph over adversity. A fifth-generation Texan, she makes her home north of Dallas with three spoiled cats and, when not writing, spends her free time quilting, cross stitching and watching NHL hockey. Her series of Drew Farthering mysteries set in 1930s England debuted with Rules of Murder (Bethany House, 2013) and is followed by Death by the Book and Murder at the Mikado (Bethany House, 2014). Dressed for Death, the fourth book in the series, is scheduled for release in March, 2016, followed by Murder on the Moor (Fall, 2016) and Death with Two Faces (Summer, 2017)

    Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    Traces of Guilt by Dee Henderson (Review)



  • Series: An Evie Blackwell Cold Case
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (May 3, 2016)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764218873

  • Evie Blackwell loves her life as an Illinois State Police Detective . . . mostly. She's very skilled at investigations and has steadily moved up through the ranks. She would like to find Mr. Right, but she has a hard time imagining how marriage could work, considering the demands of her job.

    Gabriel Thane is a lifetime resident of Carin County and now its sheriff, a job he loves. Gabe is committed to upholding the law and cares deeply for the residents he's sworn to protect. He too would like to find a lifetime companion, a marriage like his parents have.

    When Evie arrives in Carin, Illinois, it's to help launch a new task force dedicated to reexamining unsolved crimes across the state. Spearheading this trial run, Evie will work with the sheriff's department on a couple of its most troubling missing-persons cases. As she reexamines old evidence to pull out a few tenuous new leads, she unearths a surprising connection . . . possibly to a third cold case. Evie's determined to solve the cases before she leaves Carin County, and Sheriff Thane, along with his family, will be key to those answers.


    My Review:

    I love all of this author's books. Traces of Guilt is the beginning of a new series titled the Evie Blackwell Cold Case. This one is a little different than the rest of the author's books. There is only a little romance in it. There is not a lot of mystery or suspense either. The two big cases are cold cases that they are working on. There are several key characters in the book and at the beginning of the chapter she tells you whose point of view is that chapter. Evie Blackwell is an IL State Police Detective who is sent to solve two cold murder cases in Carin County. Ann Silver is a good friend of hers that we know from previous books and plays an active role in the book and lives of most of the main characters. Ann Silver as a character is a little unbelievable. She has history with most of the main characters. There are a  few minor plot lines going on in the background. The length of the book was okay. The ending left me looking forward to reading book two to learn more. If you are new to this author start with the O'Malley series. They are her best books. This book is a little unusual but okay.




    Dee Henderson is the author of numerous novels, including Taken, New York Times bestseller Full Disclosure, the acclaimed O'Malley series, and the Uncommon Heroes series. Her books have won or been nominated for several prestigious industry awards, such as the RITA Award, the Christy Award, and the ECPA Gold Medallion. Dee is a lifelong resident of Illinois. Learn more at www.deehenderson.com


    Monday, May 2, 2016

    The Red Door Inn by Liz Johnson (Review)




  • Series: Prince Edward Island Dreams (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (March 1, 2016)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800724023

  • Marie Carrington is running from a host of bad memories. Broke and desperate, she's hoping to find safety and sanctuary on Prince Edward Island, where she reluctantly agrees to help decorate a renovated bed-and-breakfast before it opens for prime tourist season.

    Seth Sloane didn't move three thousand miles to work on his uncle's B&B so he could babysit a woman with a taste for expensive antiques and a bewildering habit of jumping every time he brushes past her. He came to help restore the old Victorian--and to forget about the fiancée who broke his heart.

    The only thing Marie and Seth agree on is that getting the Red Door Inn ready to open in just three months will take everything they've got. Can these two wounded souls find hope, healing, and perhaps a bit of romance on this beautiful island?

    Step into the Red Door Inn, a lovely home away from home tucked along the north shore of fabled Prince Edward Island. It's a place where the wounded come to heal, the broken find forgiveness, and the lonely find a family. Won't you stay for the season?

    My Review:

    I am a huge Anne of Green Gables and Lucy Maud Montgomery fan. I was really excited to see a Christian fiction book set on Prince Edward Island. It was a good contemporary Christian romance book. The main characters were Marie and Seth. They each have plenty of issues they are dealing with and are wary of each other. I loved the author's descriptions of the setting. The romance part was clean and sweet. Even Seth's widowed uncle may have found a second chance at love. The conclusion was satisfying. This book one in the Prince Edward Island Dreams series and I look forward to reading book two.



    Liz Johnson fell in love with Prince Edward Island the first time she set foot on it. When she's not plotting her next trip to the island, she works as a full-time marketing manager. She is the author of nine novels, a New York Times bestselling novella, and a handful of short stories. She makes her home in Nashville, Tennessee.

    Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    Annabel Lee by Mike Nappa (Review)



  • Series: Coffey & Hill (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (March 1, 2016)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800726447


  • Fourteen miles east of Peachtree, Alabama, a secret is hidden. That secret's name is Annabel Lee Truckson, and even she doesn't know why her mysterious uncle has stowed her deep underground in a military-style bunker. He's left her with a few German words, a barely-controlled guard dog, and a single command: "Don't open that door for anybody, you got it? Not even me."

    Above ground, a former Army sniper called The Mute and an enigmatic "Dr. Smith" know about the girl. As the race begins to find her, the tension builds. Who wants to set her free? Why does the other want to keep her captive forever? Who will reach her first?

    Private investigators Trudi Coffey and Samuel Hill need to piece together the clues and stay alive long enough to retrieve the girl--before it's too late.

    With its stunning writing and relentless pace, Annabel Lee will captivate readers from the first page.

    My Review:

    This was a great mystery/suspense book. I enjoyed reading it even with the violence factor. I was able to skim over those parts. The premise is interesting and different. It is gritty and fast paced. It is not a cookie cutter book by any means. The characters and plot were well developed and well written. This is the first book in the Coffey and Hill series. Trudi Coffey and Samuel Hill are ex spouses and used to have a detective agency together. Trudi still works there while she has no idea where her ex husband is most of the time. It was not a nice divorce. Their relationship is in the background as a secondary plot line. The main plot line involves a little girl named Annabel Lee. She has an unusual life with the man she knows as Uncle Truck. One day he puts her in an underground bunker with a guard dog and tells her to not open the door unless it is him with the code words. After Truck and most of his men are murdered, the killers led by a mysterious Dr. Smith burn down the house. Luckily Truck planned for something like this. Sam worked undercover in the military with him and he entrusted a key to him in case this happened. The Mute is one of Truck's men that is left and he contacts Sam to get the key to free the girl. We wonder about the real identity of Dr. Smith for most of the book. I never imagined why the little girl would be so important. It will blow your mind. The ending fit the book. The only draw back was the Christian aspect was slim mainly in the form of Trudi's faith. I still can't wait to read the next book in the series. Recommended.





    Mike Nappa is an entertainment journalist at PopFam.com, as well as a bestselling and award-winning author with more than one million books sold worldwide.

    Learn more about Mike at: http://nappaland.com


    Review book provided by publishers in exchange for an honest review.

    A Dream of Miracles by Ruth Reid (Review)




  • Series: The Amish Wonders Series
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (April 12, 2016)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401688318


  • Amish widow Mattie vows never to love again . . . until a suspicious outsider with a shadowy past comes crashing into her fragile world.

    Mattie Diener can barely keep it together. A young Amish widow and mother of two young children, she faces the lingering heartbreak of lost love, her son’s mysterious illness, and a torrent of accusations that threaten to undo her.

    Bo Lambright is a fast-rising social services investigator whose high-society mother won’t rest until she finds his Mrs. Right. Despite Bo’s worldly success, the raw ache of a shadowy past and a series of unsettling dreams have left him reeling.

    When Mattie and Bo cross paths, all signs point to disaster. Yet as they face a crucible of trials and tragedies together, longings begin to stir that seem destined only to end in more heartbreak. Is a miracle possible—not only of healing but of forbidden love? What secrets lie in Bo’s dreams? And will Mattie find the courage to face her uncertain future . . . or will she simply run away?


    My Review:

    This is book three in the Amish Wonders Series. It can stand alone. I have mixed feelings about it. I did not like Mattie's character but I loved Bo. The book held my attention from beginning to end even though I got frustrated with Mattie a lot. Even though she is Amish there is no way she could have been that ignorant of the English world and how it works. I wanted to shake her many times. She is a widow with two young children. Her son is sickly from birth and her daughter was a preemie. Her son gets sick enough that she takes him to the doctor. The regular doctor is out on vacation and the doctor filling in for him does not know the ways of the Amish. She suspects child abuse and after it takes Mattie three hours to get her son to the hospital, she reports it to CPS. Bo is an investigator for CPS and he draws the case. He thinks it is an open and shut. He knows the Amish ways and can tell Mattie is not an abuser. Unfortunately the case is reopened by his office and one of his coworkers who does not understand the Amish goes after Mattie ruthlessly. Bo has his own storyline. He is adopted and is having some weird dreams. His adopted mother is a big time retired judge and wants him to marry well. He also has a teenager that he has taken under his wing. It was interesting to see his plot concluded at the end of the book. I enjoyed reading his story the most. The overall ending was satisfying and fit the book.





    Ruth Reid is a CBA and ECPA bestselling author of the Heaven on Earth series. She’s a full-time pharmacist who lives in Florida with her husband and three children. When attending Ferris State University School of Pharmacy in Big Rapids, Michigan, she lived on the outskirts of an Amish community and had several occasions to visit the Amish farms. Her interest grew into love as she saw the beauty in living a simple life. Visit Ruth online at ruthreid.com Facebook: Author-Ruth-Reid Twitter: @authorruthreid

    Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    Saturday, April 30, 2016

    A Fool and His Monet by Sandra Orchard (Review)



  • Series: Serena Jones Mysteries (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (March 1, 2016)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800726713




  • Serena Jones has a passion for recovering lost and stolen art--one that's surpassed only by her zeal to uncover the truth about the art thief who murdered her grandfather. She's joined the FBI Art Crime Team with the secret hope that one of her cases will lead to his killer. Now, despite her mother's pleas to do something safer--like get married--Serena's learning how to go undercover to catch thieves and black market traders.

    When a local museum discovers an irreplaceable Monet missing, Jones leaps into action. The clues point in different directions, and her boss orders her to cease investigating her most promising suspect. But determined to solve the case and perhaps discover another clue in her grandfather's murder, she pushes ahead, regardless of the danger.

    With spunk, humor, and plenty of heart-stopping moments, Sandra Orchard gives readers an exciting string of cases to crack and a character they'll love to watch solve them.


    My Review:

    I enjoyed reading this Christian cozy mystery book. It is the first in the Serena Jones series. The plot and characters were interesting and unique. The book is well written with many funny moments. I loved the interaction between the characters. Serena decided to become an FBI agent after her grandfather's murder. Her mother is not too happy with the job choice and wants her to settle down and give her grandchildren. Her best friend is the head of a local museum and notifies her when a Monet goes missing. It is her to job to investigate it. There are also two cute love interests. The ending was good I can't wait to read the next book in the series.  


    Sandra Orchard is the award-winning author of several inspirational romantic suspense/mysteries, including Deadly Devotion and Blind Trust. Her Love Inspired Suspense titles have garnered two Canadian Christian Writing Awards and a Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award. Sandra has also received a HOLT Medallion, a Word Award, and a Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. In addition to her busy writing schedule, Sandra enjoys speaking at events and teaching writing workshops. She lives in Ontario, Canada. Learn more about Sandra's books and check out the special bonus features, such as deleted scenes and location pics, at http://sandraorchard.com

    Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.


    Monday, April 25, 2016

    Sit, Stay, Love by Dana Mentink (Review)



  • Series: Love Unleashed
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (April 1, 2016)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0736966078




  • Take one abrasive professional athlete, a quirky out-of-work schoolteacher, and an overweight geriatric dog, and you're ready for a lesson in love...Tippy style.

    Pro baseball pitcher Cal Crawford is not a dog guy. When he inherits his deceased mother's elderly dog, Tippy, he's quick to call on a pet-sitting service.

    Gina isn't thrilled to be a dog sitter when her aspirations lie in the classroom. Furthermore, she can't abide the unfriendly Cal, a man with all the charm of a wet towel. But with no other prospects and a deep love for all things canine, she takes the job caring for Tippy.

    As Gina travels through Cal's world with Tippy in tow, she begins to see Cal in a different light. Gina longs to show Cal the God-given blessings in his life that have nothing to do with baseball or fame.

    When her longing blooms into attraction, Gina does her best to suppress it. But Cal is falling in love with her too...

    Discover the charming story of Tippy, the dog who brought a family together.

    My Review:

    This was a cute, sweet, Christian romance book. It was a little over the top but perfect. I love baseball and this book features a professional baseball player. I am not a huge dog fan but Tippy is so endearing it made up for it. This book was a fun, mostly light, and humorous book. The characters and plot were well developed and I enjoyed reading it. I think it would make a great Hallmark movie and hope they do it. Recommended.





    Dana Mentink lives in California, where the weather is golden and the cheese is divine. Dana is an American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year finalist for romantic suspense and an award winner in the Pacific Northwest Writers Literary Contest. Her suspense novel, Betrayal in the Badlands, earned a Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third and fourth grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with her husband, two daughters, a dog with social anxiety problems, a chubby box turtle, and a feisty parakeet.

    Review copy provided by Litfuse in exchange for an honest review.