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.