Friday, June 26, 2015

A Worthy Pursuit was a Worthy Read!

A Worthy Pursuit
Karen Witemeyer




Book Summary: Historical Romance to Fall in Love With Stone Hammond is the best tracker in Texas. He never comes home empty-handed. So when a wealthy railroad investor hires him to find his abducted granddaughter, Stone eagerly accepts. Charlotte Atherton, former headmistress of Sullivan's Academy for Exceptional Youths, will do anything to keep her charges safe, especially the little girl entrusted to her care after her mother's death. Charlotte promised Lily's mother she'd keep the girl away from her unscrupulous grandfather, and nothing will stop Charlotte from fulfilling that pledge. Not even the handsome bounty hunter with surprisingly honest eyes who comes looking for them. When the teacher he's after produces documentation that shows she's the little girl's legal guardian, Stone must reevaluate everything he's been led to believe. Is Miss Atherton villain or victim? She acts more like a loving mother than an abductress, and the children in her care clearly adore her. Should Stone break his perfect record? Then a new danger threatens, and Charlotte is forced to trust the man sent to destroy her. Stone becomes determined to protect what he once sought to tear apart. Besides, he's ready to start a new pursuit: winning Charlotte's heart.

Review: I really liked the story overall. There were some slow parts where I wanted to stop reading, but didn't because I really wanted to know all the details. The characters were interesting and complex. I liked Stone the most because he was a good solid and loyal man despite the odds ahead of him. Charlotte was good and likable although did not see the things in front of her sometimes. She was honest and caring. I loved Dobson, the Ashes, Lily, Stephen & John, Marietta and Dan. They contributed to much to the story - humor, balance, security and loyalty. It really helps a story along when the secondary characters are so well written. The mystery was mostly how would things be resolved and the secret Lily had about her grandfather. The villains were shifty and shady - perfect for creating a fear that they will do anything it takes to win. This is the first book I have read by Karen and I am certain it will not be my last.

I would like to thank Net Galley and Bethany House Publishers for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Lethal Beauty is Stark Reality

Lethal Beauty (A Mia Quinn Mystery)
Lis Wiehl




Book Summary: It should have been an open and shut murder case, but Mia Quinn finds out nothing about it is simple. After a young Chinese prostitute is stabbed to death by her rich American client, the tabloids dub Dandan Yee “Lethal Beauty”—despite the fact that she was the one who ended up dead. Yet even with double standards and naked prejudice working against her, Seattle prosecutor Mia Quinn is determined to get justice for Dandan Yee. But when a key witness goes missing and an unsavory juror shuts down deliberations without explanation, Mia fears the trial—and the law—are being tampered with. A constellation of fresh killings has Mia and homicide detective Charlie Carlson searching for a common source and puts Mia’s family in the crosshairs of a Chinese crime cabal. Meanwhile, Dandan Yee’s mother has opted to take matters into her own hands . . . and the stakes get more lethal overnight. In the midst of all this, Mia has to contend with a fifteen-year-old son who is growing up too fast for his own good, and the idea that Charlie might want to be more than just friends. Can Mia and Charlie stop the murders and still keep her family safe? Or is the very act of seeking justice enough to cost her everything—and everyone—she loves?


Review: The book was very interesting. I really liked to see the main characters return. The storyline was sad. It was very well written and realistic. I did find it easy to read overall. The theme of human trafficking is tragic and difficult to identify in real life. The sideline story of Gabe and steroids was understandable at the end, but not as believable for me. It seemed to deviate from Gabe’s character. Overall the book was worth the read and had a quick wrap up. I really liked how the finally concluded. For me it was the perfect way to wrap it up because I like a big final scene, this topic is very real for people and I was glad to see the ending being quick and final. The bad men seemed to have eyes and ears everywhere, without anything stopping them from silencing those that threatened their interests. Sometimes, evil seems to have the upper hand and this alone is scary. I liked the unravelling of this evil, which became disorganized and desperate. The main character seems disconnected at times from God, and the faith side of the story was limited. I hoped to see a growth in Mia Quinn in her faith. The previous books seemed to be drawing her closer to God, but that seemed to be sidelined in this story. That was my only disappointment with the story.

I would like to thank Net Galley and Thomas Nelson Fiction for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor the Riches of Storytelling

Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor: A Novel
Melanie Dobson




Book Summary: When Heather Toulson returns to her parents’ cottage in the English countryside, she uncovers long-hidden secrets about her family history and stumbles onto the truth about a sixty-year-old murder. Libby, a free spirit who can’t be tamed by her parents, finds solace with her neighbor Oliver, the son of Lord Croft of Ladenbrooke Manor. Libby finds herself pregnant and alone when her father kicks her out and Oliver mysteriously drowns in a nearby river. Though theories spread across the English countryside, no one is ever held responsible for Oliver’s death. Sixty years later, Heather Toulson, returning to her family’s cottage in the shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor, is filled with mixed emotions. She’s mourning her father’s passing but can’t let go of the anger and resentment over their strained relationship. Adding to her confusion, Heather has an uneasy reunion with her first love, all while sorting through her family’s belongings left behind in the cottage. What she uncovers will change everything she thought she knew about her family’s history. Award-winning author Melanie Dobson seamlessly weaves the past and present together, fluidly unraveling the decades-old mystery and reveals how the characters are connected in shocking ways. Set in a charming world of thatched cottages, lush gardens, and lovely summer evenings, this romantic and historical mystery brings to light the secrets and heartaches that have divided a family for generations.


Review: This is another home run for me. I was glued to the book and was not disappointed. The characters were solid and the story was well written. I did not want the experience to end. Going back and forth between the present and past drove the story and helped to understand and root for even the characters I might not agree with yet so believable it made me want to go find the Ladenbrooke Manor. From beginning to end time stood still and these people were so real that I forgot I was reading a fiction book. I wanted to know all the people and by the end no one can say that for a little while these characters were real. The mistakes that take on a fantastic beauty of forgiveness, love and tragedy. That these characters were so real and had a depth of character that I am richer just for having read this. Ms. Dobson took the failings of these people and wove beautiful story of redemption. The richness of this story and the previous book are a benefit to every reader who wants to experience life’s complexities even if it is only vicarious. The world is more vivid and people are a mystery worth interacting with just to uncover the longings of an individual and sharing these triumphs that sometimes seem so tragic at the start.

I would like to thank Net Galley and Howard Books for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Inn at Ocean's Edge was Realistic

The Inn at Ocean’s Edge
Colleen Coble




Book Summary: Claire’s visit to a luxury hotel in Maine awakens repressed memories, threatening all she holds dear. In 1989, Claire Dellamare disappeared from her own fourth birthday party at the Hotel Tourmaline on the island of Folly Shoals, Maine. She showed up a year later at the same hotel, with a note pinned to her dress but no explanation. Nobody knows where Claire spent that year—and until now, Claire didn’t even know she had ever been missing. But when Claire returns to the Hotel Tourmaline for a business meeting with her CEO father, disturbing memories begin to surface . . . despite her parents’ best efforts to keep them forgotten. Luke Rocco lost his mother under equally mysterious circumstances—at the same time Claire disappeared. After a chance encounter reveals the unlikely link between them, Claire and Luke set out together to uncover the truth about what happened that fateful year. With flashbacks swimming just beneath her consciousness and a murderer threatening her safety, Claire’s very life depends on unscrambling her past . . . even if her family refuses to acknowledge it. Someone—maybe everyone—is hiding something from Claire Dellamare, and it will cost her everything to drag the truth out into the light.

Review: This was such a unique storyline. I liked the characters and they were so multi facetted. It was hard to figure out what the truth was in light of all the years of lies. Claire’s Grandmother start to give clues that all things set before Claire and the reader that all was not as it was presented. That sets the book into high gear. It was a series of revelations and surprises with a climatic ending that was exciting. There were times that the murder was able to act without anyone knowing or seeing him. I found the book well written. The main and secondary characters were well written. The secondary characters were so realistic. Everyone kept the secret and several had light and dark sides to their character. That was the most realistic for me.

I would like to thank Net Galley and Thomas Nelson for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Twisted Innocence was Fantastic

Twisted Innocence
Terri Blackstock




Book Summary: When Holly's secrets backfire, is the mess too big to unravel? Holly Cramer has worked hard to keep the identity of her daughter's father a secret, shamed and embarrassed by the one-night stand. But when the police knock on her door searching for Creed Kershaw, she realizes his identity isn't as hidden as she thought. The fact that Creed is a person of interest in a recent drug-related murder only increases her humiliation. When Holly's and Creed's paths cross, Holly is unsure whether to be terrified of him or trust him. His tenderness with their daughter makes her want to believe his story that he had nothing to do with the murder. Then she discovers that Creed has a connection to Leonard Miller-who killed both her sister's fiancé and her brother-in-law, and kidnapped her nephews-and things only become more complicated. Will Creed lead them to the man who has plagued her family, or become another of his victims?


Review: I love Terri Blackstock books and this was no exception. It did take me a couple pages to get into it. But most of it was due to this was the last book of the series and I was going to miss reading about these wonderful characters. The emotion and regret that Holly and Creed had was very realistic and appropriately placed in the story. I liked the honesty that was written into this story. I loved how Creed came from a good home and that he still went his own way. All of the characters had a great and believable depth. That is one of the things that makes reading Terri Blackstock’s books so enjoyable there is no simple answer or resolution. For me this was another winner.

I would like to thank Net Galley and Zondervan Fiction for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Taken was less than Stellar

Taken
Dee Henderson




Book Summary: An investigator who knows tragic loss firsthand, and his new client, missing far too long… Abducted at the age of sixteen and coerced into assisting the Jacoby crime family, Shannon Bliss has finally found a way out. She desperately wants to resume some semblance of normal life, but she also knows she has some unfinished business to attend to. She might have enough evidence to put her captors behind bars for a very long time. When Shannon contacts private investigator Matthew Dane, a former cop, to help her navigate her reentry into society, he quickly discovers that gaining her freedom doesn't mean her troubles are over. If the Jacoby family learns she is still alive, they'll stop at nothing to silence her. If justice is to be done, and if Shannon's life is ever to get on track again, Matthew will need to discover exactly what happened to her--even if it means stirring up a hornet's nest of secrets.

Review: It was an easy read overall. The characters were likable and previous ones became more likable through this book. I found the romance lacking. There really was no chemistry between the two. I really liked Matthew and Shannon. They were strong capable and helpful people. The mystery was fun but over blown in my opinion. I enjoyed the secret hideaways the Jacoby family kept and the paranoia the family had was realistic. The trauma and events related to her kidnapping were realistic and yet the fear Shannon had were not equal to the description on the back of the book. I know that back of the books can be misleading sometimes but this one was lacking. The hornets nest of secrets and why she was taken was very vaguely answered and everything was wrapped up so neatly it felt false to me. This book is no way equal to the Mallory series that I loved. I found this book to be fair overall and am sad because Dee Henderson has such a talent for weaving a story. I keep hoping that some big twist or turn will reignite the spark for me.

I would like to thank Net Galley and Bethany House for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

After a Fashion is the Start of an Enjoyable Series!!

After a Fashion
Jen Turano




Book Summary: Miss Harriet Peabody dreams of the day she can open up a shop selling refashioned gowns to independent working women like herself. Unfortunately, when an errand for her millinery shop job goes sadly awry due to a difficult customer, she finds herself out of an income. Mr. Oliver Addleshaw is on the verge of his biggest business deal yet when he learns his potential partner prefers to deal with men who are settled down and wed. When Oliver witnesses his ex not-quite-fiance cause the hapless Harriet to lose her job, he tries to make it up to her by enlisting her help in making a good impression on his business partner. Harriet quickly finds her love of fashion can't make her fashionable. She'll never truly fit into Oliver's world, but just as she's ready to call off the fake relationship, fancy dinners, and elegant balls, a threat from her past forces both Oliver and Harriet to discover that love can come in the most surprising packages.

Review: I throughly enjoyed this book. I was hesitant to start this book because I truly loved Ms. Turano’s previous series and was worried that this one was so different that I was foolishly hesitant. I loved it!! Harriet was so fantastic. She went with her feelings especially when it was concerning other people! The best think to get bent out of shape at is for other people who either can’t or don’t know they need to defend themselves. Oliver was a man with weaknesses and someone willing to do the right thing many times. He was a realistic character one you love, get mad at and one you don’t know what to do with. The mystery was woven in with a subtle touch which made it more suspenseful. The suspense for how everything was going to work out was enjoyable. Aunt Jane was a dastardly character and with Silas goading her on seemed unstoppable. There was too much too enjoy and that is what will make this series a hit for me. I can’t wait for Millie’s story next! The biggest twist on this series is these women are average ordinary women or so it seems….
I would like to thank Net Galley and Bethany House for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.