Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Silence in the Dark by Patricia Bradley (Review)

  • Series: Logan Point (Book 4)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (April 19, 2016)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800724184

  • Bailey Adams is running for her life . . . again.
    When Bailey Adams left Logan Point two years ago she thought she was getting away from her problems. Running into her ex-fiancé Danny Maxwell was not part of the plan--neither was being chased through the city by the local drug cartel, the Calatrava. Now despite her best efforts, Danny is her only chance of escaping the people chasing her and getting back to Logan Point safely. Can Bailey find the strength to face what's coming? And in the midst of the chaos, can she keep herself from falling in love with her rescuer all over again?

    With lean, fast-paced prose that will keep you turning the pages, Patricia Bradley pens a superb story of suspense and second chances.

    My Review:

    Silence in the Dark is book four in the Logan Point series. I recommend reading them in order since the characters and part of the mystery continue throughout the series. The main focus in this book is on Bailey and Danny. Bailey ran away to Mexico to do Mission work after breaking up with Danny the first time. Danny is in Mexico looking for a connection between the Calatrava and his father's company. The former CFO was selling stolen rifles to somebody down in Mexico. Danny is at the same café as Bailey at just the right time. The Calatrava want the little girl that she is taking to the states to visit her grandparents. So on the run they go and she ends up needing Danny to help her. Bailey is not sure who to trust but is pretty sure Danny is okay. The sparks still fly between the two of them. They end up back in Logan Point but the danger is not gone. This was a page turning book that held my attention from the beginning. The mystery/suspense part was well done. The characters and plot were well developed, unique, and interesting. I recommend the whole series.

    Patricia Bradley is the author of Shadows of the Past, A Promise to Protect, and Gone without a Trace. Bradley has been a finalist for the Genesis Award, winner of a Daphne du Maurier Award, and winner of a Touched by Love Award. Bradley is a published short story writer and cofounder of Aiming for Healthy Families, Inc. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America, and makes her home in Mississippi. Learn more at www.ptbradley.com

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

    Murder Comes by Mail by A. H. Gabhart (Review)

  • Series: The Hidden Springs Mysteries (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (May 17, 2016)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800727055

  • Deputy Sheriff Michael Keane doesn't particularly enjoy being touted as the hero of Hidden Springs after pulling a suicidal man back from the edge of the Eagle River bridge in front of dozens of witnesses--a few of whom caught the breathtaking moments with their cameras. But the media hype doesn't last long as a new story pushes its way into the public consciousness of Hidden Springs' concerned citizens.

    Photos of a dead girl arrive in the mail, and Michael becomes convinced she was murdered by the man he saved. With a killer one step ahead, things in Hidden Springs begin to unravel. Now Michael must protect the people he loves--because the killer could be targeting one of them next.

    My Review:

    Although this is book two in the Hidden Springs Mysteries, it can stand alone ok. I did not enjoy reading it as much as the first book. The subject matter was pretty heavy to be in a cozy mystery. There was not enough to lighten it up. I like the concept of the overall series. I wish the romance was more developed between Michael and Alexandra. He grew up with Alex in Hidden Springs but now she is a big city lawyer. He knows he does not want to live that lifestyle again. He likes living and working in a small town. They have chemistry though and I can't wait to see where the author takes it. The mystery part was easy to solve but the tension was still there as bodies begin to pile up. Michael is kept busy trying to protect the people he loves and the town. Overall a good story.

    Ann H. Gabhart caught the writing bug at the age of ten and has been writing ever since. An award winning author, she's published many books for both adults and young adults. Scent of Lilacs, her first inspirational novel, was chosen as a Top Ten Christian Fiction Book by Booklist magazine. Her Shaker novel, The Outsider, was a finalist for ECPA Christian Fiction Book of the Year and was a Top Pick by Romantic Times Book Review Magazine. Love Comes Home won the Selah Book of the Year award. Ann writes about Kentucky history and small town life and as A.H. Gabhart is the author of the Hidden Springs mysteries.

    Ann lives on a farm in Kentucky not far from where she was born. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren. Ann loves hiking on her farm with her grandkids and her dog, Oscar. See more about her books at www.annhgabhart.com or join the conversation on her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/anngabhart

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

    Every Bride Has Her Day by Janice Thompson (Review)

  • Series: Brides with Style (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (May 17, 2016)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800724016

  • Katie Fisher is ecstatic. Pro basketball star Brady James has proposed, and she can't wait to start planning their life together. She's confident she'll make it down the aisle this time--but it still may be easier said than done. A high-society Houston bride has Katie and the Cosmopolitan Bridal team scrambling to get the perfect dress done in time for her spectacular wedding. Meanwhile, Katie finds herself bombarded with everyone's competing visions regarding her own special day--and she's beginning to worry that her own ideas will get lost in the crossfire. Will she ever manage to settle all of the details for her perfect day? Or will bridal shop chaos and overzealous friends and family make a mess of everything?

    Fan favorite Janice Thompson gives readers what they've been clamoring for: another funny, romantic romp with a Texas twang.

    My Review:

    This was a fun Christian chick lit book. It is third in the Brides with Style series. The plot is continuous throughout the series with Katie and Brady being the main characters so I recommend reading them in order. You will enjoy this book more. Poor Katie just wants to marry her sweetheart, Brady. Unfortunately when you get married everyone has an opinion on what your wedding should be like. Her well meaning people include the people she works with at the Bridal shop, her church family, her family, and her future mother in law. The secondary characters are hilarious. The author really developed the personalities of them. The backbone of the story is Katie and Brady. They are both down to earth people even with Brady being a famous pro basketball player. Katie is a small town girl who moved to Dallas, the big city, to work.  There are many laugh out loud moments in the book. The spiritual element is there and developed even with the book being mostly light hearted. I enjoyed reading it. Recommended.

    Inspirational author Janice Thompson also writes under the name Janice Hanna. She got her start in the industry writing screenplays and musical comedies for the stage. Janice has published over 100 books for the Christian market, crossing genre lines to write cozy mysteries, historical, romances, nonfiction books, devotionals, children's books and more. In addition, she enjoys editing, ghost-writing, public speaking, and mentoring young writers. She was thrilled to be named the 2010 Barbour/Heartsong Author of the Year, with three books on the top ten list for that house. Janice is active in her local writing group, where she regularly teaches on the craft of writing. Her online course, "Becoming a Successful Freelance Writer" (www.freelancewritingcourses.com) has been helpful to many who want to earn a living with their writing. Janice is passionate about her faith and does all she can to share the joy of the Lord with others, which is why she particularly enjoys writing. She lives in Spring, Texas, where she leads a rich life with her family, a host of writing friends, and two mischievous dachshunds. She does her best to keep the Lord at the center of it all. You can find out more about Janice at www.janiceathompson.com. Sign up for her newsletter to be in the know about her books: http://janiceathompson.com/newsletter-sign-up/. When you do, you'll be directed to a link to a free cookbook: Nina's Cakes, Cookies and Candies (Janice's own recipes).

    Janice's Facebook page can be located here: https://www.facebook.com/JaniceHannaThompson. She would love to hear from you!

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

    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.

    Classics Club Spin 18

    My Classics Club Spin List for August This is a hodgepodge of books left on my list I made in 2017 for the Classics Club. Tomorrow the clu...