Thursday, July 23, 2015

Drawing Fire by Janice Cantore (Review)

  • Series: Cold Case Justice (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (May 21, 2015) 
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414396682

  • With a possible serial killer stalking elderly women in Long Beach, California, homicide detective Abby Hart’s best lead is Luke Murphy, an irritating private investigator who saw a suspect flee the scene of the latest homicide. But as she works with the handsome PI to unravel the serial killer case, she must also confront the spark between them. When Abby discovers that the most recent victim is related to the governor, she’s anxious to talk to him about a cold case that’s personal to her, one Luke is interested in as well.

    As she learns more about the restaurant fire that took her parents’ lives years ago, Abby discovers why Luke is so invested in finding the ones responsible. With everyone else telling her to walk away from this case, Abby and Luke search for evidence buried beneath years of deceit . . . and soon realize that someone will do anything to make sure this case remains cold.

    My Review:

    This was a great Christian suspense/mystery book with a little romance. It is the start of a new series called Cold Case Justice. I have read and enjoyed the authors other series too. In this book the main characters are Abby Hart and Luke Murphy. Abby is a police officer and Luke a private investigator. They had good chemistry and became friends even though their professions are sometimes at odds. You can also tell the author was a police officer for a long time. The details in the book ring authentic. The plot and characters were interesting and well developed. The conclusion was good but definitely leaves you wanting to read the next book immediately. Recommended.

    A retired Long Beach California police officer of 22 years (16 in uniform and 6 as a non-career officer), Janice Cantore worked a variety of assignments, patrol, administration, juvenile investigations and training. During the course of her career in uniform Janice found that faith was indispensable to every aspect of the job and published articles on faith at work, one for a quarterly newspaper called "Cop and Christ", and another for the monthly magazine "Today's Christian Woman".

    With retirement Janice began to write longer pieces and several novels were born. Janice is excited and honored to now be a part of the Tyndale Publishing House family. Accused, the first installment in her new suspense offering, The Pacific Coast Justice Series, was released February 1, 2012 and kicked off a brand new chapter in her writing career. In addition to suspense and action, her books feature strong female leads. Janice writes suspense novels designed to keep you engrossed and leave you inspired.

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

    Tuesday, July 21, 2015

    Austen in August 2015 Sign Up Post

    The Goal: To read as many of Jane Austen’s works (finished or unfinished) as you want or are able to, during the month of August.  Biographies, audiobooks, spin-offs, and re-reads also count.  I will post throughout the month on different subjects, as well as with my own reviews of the Austen books I finish.  We will be offering giveaways, guest posts, and other shenanigans, all of which are meant to inspire a great, interactive event.

    If you are going to participate, you can read any of Jane Austen’s novels, a biography about her, or any contemporary re-imaginings (such as Austenland or The Jane Austen Book Club, for example).

    Sign up at:

    To Share/Discuss on Twitter and Facebook, Use Hashatag #AustenInAugustRBR (I added the RBR to distinguish our event from a couple of others with the same name which coincidentally popped-up in our first year.

    My List:

    1. Re read Pride and Prejudice

    2. Watch the long British version of the Pride and Prejudice movie

    Tuesday, July 7, 2015

    Desperate Measures by Sandra Orchard (Review)

  • Series: Port Aster Secrets (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (June 2, 2015)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800722241

  • Kate won't be safe until all of Port Aster's secrets are revealed

    Researcher Kate Adams has finally pinpointed the supposed "miracle plant" that tore apart her family years ago. She's certain that discovering its secrets is her only hope of solving the mystery surrounding her father's disappearance. She's willing to risk anything to find the truth, including her relationship with Detective Tom Parker. But with so many people in pursuit of the plant, going it alone might be a fatal mistake.

    Award-winning author Sandra Orchard pulls out all the stops in this breakneck and breathtaking conclusion to the Port Aster Secrets series.

    My Review:

    I enjoyed reading the conclusion to the Port Aster Secrets series. I do recommend the series be read in order to make the most sense. This is a Christian romance mystery book with a little suspense.
    Kate Adams is the main character for all the books. Tom is her on/off again boyfriend and a member of local law enforcement. The series centers around a mysterious plant that supposedly has miraculous properties. A  pharmaceutical company would kill to get their hands on it. Somehow Kate's father was involved with them and the plant and has been missing for most of her life. The author did a good job unraveling the rest of the mystery in this book. I had all my questions answered and the conclusion was satisfying.

    Sandra Orchard is the award-winning author of several inspirational romantic suspense/mysteries, including Deadly Devotion, winner of the 2014 The Word Award for suspense, 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 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

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

    Saturday, June 20, 2015

    Fatal Trauma by Richard Mabry, M.D. (Review)

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press; 1 edition (May 19, 2015)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1630881160

  • It began with Dr. Mark Baker facing a gunman who had nothing to lose. It could end with him behind bars.

     In the Emergency Room, Dr. Mark Baker and Nurse Kelly Atkinson stand at the mercy of a gunman who declares, "If he dies, everyone here dies." At the end of the evening three men lie dead. One of them is a police officer Mark and a surgeon, Dr. Anna King, couldn't save. The other two are members of the feared Zeta drug cartel, and their threat of revenge puts the lives of Mark, Kelly, and others at risk.

     It isn't long before the shootings begin, and Mark finds himself under suspicion as a killer, yet still a potential victim. Because of Kelly's growing love for Mark, she is hurt when he turns to his high school sweetheart, now an attorney, for help.

     Who is the shooter? And can Mark find out before he becomes the next victim?

    My Review:

    I did not enjoy reading this book as much as previous books by this author. For some odd reason I did not connect with the characters. They felt flat and underdeveloped. The book plot itself was good. The premise was interesting. The faith element was there. The romance was just okay. I did not feel it. The suspense/mystery part was okay. It did not hold my attention all the way through like his books normally do. I did appreciate the twist at the end. The conclusion did tie the book up perfectly. I really do like this author's works. I suggest a new reader start with the Prescription for Trouble series. It is one of my favorites for the genre.

    I'm a retired physician, who got into non-medical writing after the death of my first wife with my book, THE TENDER SCAR: LIFE AFTER THE DEATH OF A SPOUSE. I'm gratified that it continues to help those who have lost a loved one.

    From that point, I moved into writing fiction. Thus far I've had seven novels of medical suspense published: CODE BLUE, MEDICAL ERROR, DIAGNOSIS DEATH, and LETHAL REMEDY were the first four. The second and third books listed were named finalists for the ACFW Carol Award and Romantic Times' Best Inspirational Novel respectively, and LETHAL REMEDY won the Selah Award.

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

    Friday, June 12, 2015

    The Proposal at Siesta Key by Shelley Shepard Gray (Review)

  • Series: The Pinecraft Brides (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Avon Inspire (May 12, 2015)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062337726

  • A young Amish woman, yearning for freedom, crosses paths with a handsome Mennonite celebrity in a deeply moving tale of friendship and self-discovery—the second installment in the unforgettable New York Times bestselling author’s new Amish Brides of Pinecraft series.

    Penny Troyer rarely disobeys her parents. In the years since her sister’s tragic death, they’ve wanted nothing more than to keep her safe…even if it means never leaving the house.
    But tonight, she’s bending the rules because Michael Knoxx, the most famous member of The Knoxx Family Singers, a traveling Mennonite Evangelical family —is scheduled to speak. Penny has heard of Michael—how he lost part of his leg in a terrible accident and uses the experience to inspire others—and knows she must meet him. So, for the first time ever, Penny stands up to her parents and goes out on her own.

    Though he speaks about living life to the fullest, Michael knows he needs to take his own advice. Life on the road is grueling and Michael wants to slow down, to rest…to perhaps meet someone who sees him as a man, not just a celebrity. So when a twist of fate allows him the chance to stay a little longer in Pinecraft, Michael knows God is showing him a new path, especially when he discovers how much he and Penny Troyer have in common.

    But new friendships can’t stop time. Soon, Michael's time in Pinecraft will be over and he'll be back on the road. Her time with Michael has brought her happiness, but will she be able to follow her heart? Or will she be faced with the one thing she’s sure she'll never have the courage to do?

    My Review:

    I enjoyed reading this Amish fiction book. This is the second book in the Amish Brides of  Pinecraft series but can stand alone. I loved the setting. Pinecraft is a special area in Sarasota, FL, where the Amish go to vacation. The beach nearby is Siesta Key. The main characters in this book are Penny Troyer and Michael Knoxx. She is Amish while he is Mennonite. They meet walking down the street and at his concert. He is part of the Knoxx family and they travel around giving speeches and concerts. He lost part of his leg in an accident and uses his story to inspire others. Penny is grown but stuck at home being treated like a child by her parents. After losing a sibling when she was younger her parents are overprotective and will not let her do anything.  Penny and Michael have a chance to get to know each other better when Michael has to have surgery and is stuck in Pinecraft for weeks. Penny gets hired at the local bed and breakfast and ends up helping take care of him. They develop a close friendship and talk about a lot of different things. I like how he tells her to make the most of each day. The characters and plot were unique and well developed. It held my attention from the beginning and I could not stop reading.  It was a somewhat light but good book. And I really want to go to Pinecraft now. :) Highly Recommend both books in the series. This is one of my favorite authors and I have read most of her books.

    Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.

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

    Tuesday, June 9, 2015

    Who's the New Kid by Heidi Bond and Jenna Glatzer (Review)

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (May 19, 2015)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1496402141

  • At nine years old, Breanna Bond weighed a whopping 186 pounds. Just walking up the stairs to her room was a challenge. Her legs chafed to the point of bleeding from rubbing against each other, and her school days were filled with taunts of “Hey, Fatty!” Breanna’s mom, Heidi, was devastated and wondered, How can I get my daughter healthy again?

    Who’s the New Kid? shows readers how Heidi helped her daughter lose weight without the aid of fad diets, medication, or surgery and how other parents can do the same with their kids.

    In just over a year, Heidi’s plan worked! Breanna dropped 40 percent of her body weight and was transformed from a morbidly obese child who spent her days in front of the TV eating chips and chocolate to a vibrant, healthy, energetic little girl.

    Filled with helpful diagnostic tools, easy-to-make recipes, eye-opening nutritional information, fun exercise ideas, and practical tips and advice, Who’s the New Kid? will not only show parents how to help their kids lose weight naturally but also introduce them to simple, yet effective lifestyle changes that will benefit the entire family.

    My Review:

    This was an interesting non fiction book about how one mother helped her young daughter beat obesity. The book was well written and flowed well. The subject matter made me hurt for Breanna. It is not easy being the so called fat kid. I have never dealt with it personally as a child but I gained a lot of weight in college. I changed my life by exercise and eating better. I was inspired that her Mom helped her and did not give up. I felt her frustration. I was a little upset it took so long for her to figure out where the problems were and what to do to fix it. I do not agree with the menu plan in the back though. I eat the Primal Life style. The story part I found okay but I would not use the meal plans even for children.

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

    Sunday, May 31, 2015

    As Love Blooms by Lorna Seilstad (Review)

    • Series: The Gregory Sisters (Book 3)
    • Paperback: 320 pages
    • Publisher: Revell (May 19, 2015)
    • ISBN-13: 978-0800721831

    Tessa Gregory is nothing if not tenacious. Denied a position as a horticulturalist at prestigious Como Park in Saint Paul, she is not above a little benevolent deception in order to get the park superintendent to change his mind and hire her. She plans to infiltrate the world of wealthy and influential people in hopes of drumming up financial support for a world-class conservatory. But before she can put those plans into action, she meets Reese King, a handsome gardener at Como Park--and a major distraction. Still, Reese might be the key to achieving her dream. But is his goal to help her . . . or to capture her heart?

    Against a lush backdrop of early twentieth century Saint Paul, Minnesota, Lorna Seilstad weaves a sweet and sassy story that is sure to please. Tessa's young romance opens like a rose, stealing readers' hearts and filling their senses with the intoxicating fragrance of dreams come true.

    My Review:

    This is the third book in the Gregory Sisters series. They are light  Christian historical romance books set in the early 1900s. If you have not read the first two books in the series you might not like all the details featuring the lives of the other two sisters in this book. Also, it helps understand the character of Tessa better to have the background knowledge. Tessa is the flighty one who is always trying something new. The one constant thing in her is her love of gardening. Although her younger years were not wealthy, she now lives with Samantha, her sister's husband's aunt. She is extremely wealthy, generous, loving, and a huge suffragist. There is a subplot involving her and an old friend who is a Senator.  Tessa meets Reese King at Como Park where he is a gardener. She desperately wants to work there too. He lets her help him with the work in exchange for her design. That part is not believable but if you suspend belief the book is enjoyable. The characters and plot were well developed and interesting. I really wanted to shake Tessa at times. Reese is a sweet young man but not perfect. They are friends most of the book with the romance developing more at the end. Overall a good read but not the best book in the series. Recommended to fans of the genre. 

    A history buff, antique collector, and former high school English teacher, fan favorite Lorna Seilstad is the author of When Love CallsWhile Love Stirs,and the Lake Manawa Summers series. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Lorna lives in Iowa with her husband. Learn more at

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