Tag Archives: mystery

Cold Case Pursuit Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Cold Case Pursuit

Author: Dana Mentink

Genre: Romantic Suspense

A cold case solved by the K-9 unit…

but the past is not so easily escaped.

Decades after her parents’ murders, Penelope McGregor’s grateful the killer’s finally been identified—until he comes after her. Now Detective Tyler Walker and his K-9 partner, Dusty, must protect Penelope and catch the culprit…while making sure his little girl stays out of the crosshairs. But can the single father outplay a killer whose endgame will leave no one safe?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Dana Mentink is a two time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award and a Holt Medallion winner. She is a national bestselling author of over forty titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Poisoned Pen Press, and Harvest House. Besides writing, she busies herself puttering around her Northern California backyard. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, teen bear cubs affectionately nicknamed Yogi and Boo Boo, Junie, the nutty terrier, and a chubby box turtle. You can connect with Dana via her website at danamentink.com, on Facebook, YouTube (Author Dana Mentink) and Instagram (dana_mentink.)

More from Dana

I love book covers with adorable children on them, don’t you? There’s something so angelic about those wee folks on the covers. I have two bear cubs myself, young adults now, and I love them devotedly. Tell you what though. Sometimes, just occasionally mind you, they were a wee bit naughty. Don’t tell anyone, but one reason I enjoyed writing Cold Case Pursuit so much is that hero Tyler is the single dad of a little girl named Rain who is….er…a handful. Sure, she’s adorable, but she’s prone to disobedience and the occasional tendency to flush things down the toilet. So in addition to the edge of your seat pursuit of a murderous clown killer, there are the shenanigans of a precocious preschooler, a highly trained yet distractible police K-9, and a romance that doesn’t exactly run smoothly. Fun to write? You betcha! I hope you enjoy coming along with me on this True Blue adventure!

My Review

Review pending due to unexpected circumstances

My rating:

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, January 19

KarenSueHadley, January 19

Bigreadersite, January 19

Through the Fire Blogs, January 20

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, January 20

Remembrancy, January 21

Genesis 5020, January 21

By The Book, January 21

For the Love of Literature, January 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 22

CarpeDiem, January 22

Texas Book-aholic, January 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 23

Blogging With Carol, January 23

Inklings and notions, January 24

Fiction Book Lover, January 24 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Batya’s Bits, January 24

Betti Mace, January 25

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 25

Labor Not in Vain, January 25

Hebrews 12 Endurance, January 26

Sara Jane Jacobs, January 26

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, January 26

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 27

Lighthouse-Academy, January 27

Older & Smarter?, January 27

Artistic Nobody, January 28 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Splashes of Joy, January 28

Mary Hake, January 28

For Him and My Family, January 29

Simple Harvest Reads, January 29 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Pause for Tales, January 29

deb’s Book Review, January 30

Hallie Reads, January 30

To Everything There Is A Season, January 30

She Lives To Read, January 31

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 31

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 1

Daysong Reflections, February 1

Bizwings Blog, February 1

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away the grand prize of a Mentink giveaway bundle, including a $50 Amazon gift card and a tote bag!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/105ab/cold-case-pursuit-celebration-tour-giveaway

Justified Means Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Justified Means

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian Suspense

Release date: January 7, 2013

How could she not be terrified?

When Erika Polowski is abducted from her bed and held captive without explanation, she has one goal. Get away before they kill her.

Keith Auger’s job as an agent is to keep Erika safe—even if it means keeping her locked in an abandoned cabin in the middle of nowhere. At gunpoint.

What should be a routine “involuntary extraction” goes south when someone finds out where they’re hiding. Add to that a coworker with a chip on her shoulder and too many unexplained “accidents,” and it all adds up to one unlikely, terrifying explanation.

There’s a mole in The Agency.

He’s promised to protect her, but can Erika trust a man whose job it is to hold people against their wills? Does his deep faith make it any better or just a whole lot creepier.

And just who wants Erika dead anyway?

The Agency Files: They’ll do whatever it takes to keep their clients safe. Period.

Grab this first book in the series today.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

More from Chautona

Isn’t That Idea a Bit Crazy and Farfetched?

Black ops teams. They’re the stuff of TV shows and movies. I have no doubt such things exist—military groups that have to exist and work outside the normal scheme of things to give those who answer to the public plausible deniability or some such thing.

Then one of those “what if?” questions hit me. They’re an occupational hazard, those “what if?” questions. They appear out of nowhere and start crazy thoughts in your head. Ones like, “What if a private company existed to do things that couldn’t be tied to the government in any way—no money exchanged?”

What if sometimes a protection company had to work outside the law in order to do the job they needed to do? What if that meant they might just have to abduct someone to save his or her life?

Those of course led to the granddaddy of all questions. What if that someone didn’t appreciate being saved?

The Agency was born and with it their motto: Whatever it takes.

That’s what they’ll do to keep their clients safe. Only the wealthy can afford their services. Some of the poorest of the poor receive them. But it always boils down to one primary goal. Protect their clients at all costs.

Even if the client doesn’t want protection.

Is the idea a bit crazy and far-fetched? Yeah… probably. But I wouldn’t be surprised to discover there are similar agencies out there, and if there are, I hope they save lives with the sort of compassion my guys have.

My Review

You’re here. You’re here for your own good. I’m here to protect you. That’s all you need to know.

Suspense has always been one of the genres that I most enjoy reading, fueled by the first Nancy Drew mystery I picked up in elementary school. After years as an avid reader, it is very difficult for me to find a mystery or thriller that is genuinely different and that I don’t figure out within the first few chapters at most. Not that this inhibits me from reading them, but it does detract a bit from the entertainment factor. However, once in a while I hit literary gold and find a book that offers a new perspective and an intriguing challenge. As such, Justified Means by Chautona Havig is one of the most unusual suspense novels that I’ve ever read—and I love it!

From the eye-opening first chapter, this book is one that keeps readers guessing and also intrigued by the novelty of the plot. I can easily envision it as a movie, and it would qualify as action and adventure, drama, mystery, and a whisper of romance in addition to suspense. The story itself is divided into two clear sections in my mind, and this marks the book’s halfway point. Had I not known better, I would have assumed that the narrative was drawing to a close, and I did want it to be over so that a happily-ever-after could happen, but the second half brought more twists. I will say, however, that this story does end, which is always an important factor for me, regardless of genre. In fact, the denouement occurs fairly quickly, but not to such an extent that it seems trivialized.

Havig touches on several current trending topics throughout the pages of Justified Means, some in an unconventional way. The plot itself is a kidnapping story, but one that is quickly turned on its head. The idea of a vigilante protection agency is not new, but this approach demonstrates one way in which such an organization might exist and operate. The fact that this is a Christian fiction book makes it all the better because it raises the bar for success higher, and Havig executes this element of the novel thoughtfully and gently, with an empathetic eye toward those who have not been raised in the faith or who are coming to it later in life. Keith is a good role model, but thankfully not to the extent of being impossibly perfect and flawless. I love the author’s description of him: “Rejection of Jesus wounded him, but derision of his faith hardly registered. Christianity wasn’t about him.” As with any good novel, he learns about himself throughout the course of the story, just as Erika’s attitude shifts. She even reminds him, in a dire moment and with a quotation that provides an accurate summation of the Christian faith, that “You have someone, Keith. You’ve got your god. You have to believe he’s watching out for you, or why would you even believe in him? If you need someone to back you up, look there.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

For the Love of Literature, January 5

Inklings and notions, January 5

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, January 6

Texas Book-aholic, January 7

Artistic Nobody, January 7 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Amanda Tero, Blog, January 8

deb’s Book Review, January 9

For Him and My Family, January 9

Through the Fire Blogs, January 10

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 11

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, January 11

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 12

Lots of Helpers, January 13

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 14

Spoken from the Heart, January 15

Blogging With Carol, January 15

Pause for Tales, January 16

Adventures Of a Travelers Wife, January 17

A Novel Pursuit, January 17

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, January 18 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, January 18

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10708/justified-means-celebration-tour-giveaway

Mayday: A Book Review of Lisa Harris’s “The Escape”

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Lisa Harris is an author whose name I’m familiar with, but whose work I had not yet read until now. This seemed like an opportune time, with the release of her new US Marshals series, and as far as I’m concerned, there is never a bad time to read a romantic suspense novel. Although it took me a week to read because of the holidays, The Escape is a very fast-paced novel, with no breaks in the action from start to finish. Several times I thought that the plot was about to be resolved, only to have another twist thrown in, and while this technique might become wearying in certain cases, Harris capably pulls it off without resorting to implausible scenarios. This story definitely engenders respect for the US Marshals Service and the extent of the work that they perform!

As one would expect, this story revolves around two US Marshals, Jonas Quinn and Madison James, and their pursuit of a fugitive who goes on the lam after their prisoner-transport plane crashes in the Salmon-Challis National Forest. Damon Barrick, a felon convicted of murder, wastes no time in making his getaway and initiating a treacherous cat-and-mouse game across the West, somehow managing to stay one step ahead of the law. Although this story is fictional, it does make me wonder how often circumstances like these do play out behind the scenes, while we as ordinary citizens remain unaware or only see the end result, such as the trial or conviction. Jonas’s thoughts early on in the narrative indicate this: “Truth was, there was never anything routine when dealing with felons. He of all people knew that.” Consequently, as with other law enforcement and also military careers, trauma is part and parcel of the job. Jonas and Madison have different trauma backgrounds, and I think that this is part of what makes them a good team. The question is whether their shared experience during this case will be beneficial or detrimental to them as partners moving forward, which is something that readers must wait to find out because The Escape ends with a lead-in to the second book in the series.

Ordinarily, I am not a fan of open-ended conclusions, but I am willing to accept it with The Escape because the main plot is resolved (as far as I know!) and due to references within the narrative, this lingering part of the storyline will be ongoing and will eventually also be resolved. This does mean, however, that this series is clearly intended to be read chronologically and not as standalones. With a constant surge of adrenaline fueling the storyline, this is a very cinematic book, and honestly my only complaint is that I personally felt that the plot resolution scene itself was rather brief and anticlimactic. I do, however, wholeheartedly recommend The Escape to readers who enjoy thriller-dominant romantic suspense that will keep you engrossed from the first page to the last and have you clamoring for the sequel.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Buy your copy HERE

The Gold Digger Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: The Gold Digger

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian/Historical/Suspense

Release Date: December, 2020

Men Are Disappearing in LaPorte, Indiana

Book 9 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

Fiction Based on Strange, But True, History

In 1907, shy but loyal Ingrid Storset travels from Norway to support her grieving sister, Belle Gunness, who owns a farm in LaPorte, Indiana. Well-to-do widow Belle, who has lost two husbands and several children, provides Ingrid with enough money to start a small business. But Ingrid is confused by the string of men Belle claims to be interviewing for her next husband. When Nils Lindherud comes to town looking for his missing brother, who said he was going to marry Belle, Ingrid has a sinking feeling her sister is up to no good.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Liz Tolsma is a popular speaker and an editor and the owner of the Write Direction Editing. An almost-native Wisconsinite, she resides in a quiet corner of the state with her husband and is the mother of three. Her son proudly serves as a U.S. Marine. They adopted all of their children internationally, and one has special needs. When she gets a few spare minutes, she enjoys reading, relaxing on the front porch, walking, working in her large perennial garden, and camping with her family.

More from Liz

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This story was so much fun to write, and the research was so interesting. It has to rank up there with one of my favorite books to write. That’s what makes my job the best around.

There are a great number of characters in The Gold Digger who are historical. Many of the places I mention are also historical. I had the pleasure of spending a day in LaPorte, Indiana, to research the book and take some pictures they had in the museum there. Research is one of my favorite aspects to writing. I could have spent much, much longer losing myself in the museum and in the archives. Good thing my cousin, who I was staying with, called me to let me know that it was getting dark and she had dinner ready, otherwise who knows how long I would have been there. Probably until they kicked me out!

One thing that the people of LaPorte would want you to know is that they really are nice people and that their town is a nice town. Lots of good people have been born there or have lived there over the years, including Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, William Mayo, who founded Mayo Clinic, and William Scholl, who found Dr. Scholl’s. They kept emphasizing to me while I was there what a great place LaPorte is. Judging by their friendliness and helpfulness, I would have to agree.

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To help you better visualize the characters and setting, here are some photographs of the real people and places that appear in The Gold Digger.

Enjoy the book!

Liz

My Review

They were taking a risk. They both wanted answers, but different ones. No matter what happened, one of them would be disappointed. More than that. Likely devastated.

An interest in forensics has led me to a variety of TV programs and books over the years, because while the crimes themselves were heinous and reprehensible, solving them intrigued me. Considering the lack of both sophisticated equipment and knowledge about DNA until recent years, it seems quite impressive that earlier investigators were able to solve as many cases as they did. The drawback of reading material of this nature is its darkness, which can be nightmare-inducing at times, and this is why I love Barbour’s True Colors (Historical Stories of American Crime) series so much. Able to be read in any order and written by a variety of authors, each story focuses on a major criminal event that occurred in America sometime between the late eighteenth through the early twentieth century. Best of all, these books are not only clean, leaving out the graphic details, but also inspirational, with a faith message in each.

Each True Colors book proves to be fascinating, and The Gold Digger by Liz Tolsma is no exception. Even though I was already familiar with the story of Belle Gunness, I was a bit hazy on some aspects of the case, so I still very much enjoyed reading this story. With a story such as this, it is easy to recognize the draw of sinful activities that may and perhaps even do start as one-time events that escalate. The enemy knows that it is more difficult to grow and to mature in our faith walk when we’re isolated, and most of the attacks that happen in this story are perpetrated at night when the victim is alone. Nevertheless, this is when prayers need to become all the louder and more confident, knowing that the God who promises never to leave or forsake us is the same God who created us and who has numbered every hair on our heads.

Echoing the sentiment of Jesus’ parable of the rich fool as found in Luke 12, The Gold Digger exposes the raw and evil root of greed and how it negatively affects relationships. To people living in the early twentieth century, without the means of immediate communication with others regarding business and especially personal matters, family was essential. So, it seems, was keeping secrets. Ingrid Storset, Belle Gunness’ fictional sister, ruminates on the thought that “When you didn’t have family, you didn’t have anything.” As an immigrant to America, her only relative and friend is her sister, Belle; Ingrid has great difficulty in speaking with others and lives under Belle’s shadow. When the threats begin, however, Ingrid starts to wonder whom she should trust, especially as “a stranger in a strange land.” This is the current status of all of us who belong to the Lord as we await His return.

Tolsma employs chilling, clever foreshadowing throughout the narrative. It often has a double meaning, and for those who do not know the story beforehand, it is definitely worth a re-read so as to pick up on all of the delightful literary clues scattered throughout the work, pointing toward what will happen.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Connie’s History Classroom, December 17

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, December 17

Genesis 5020, December 17

Pause for Tales, December 17

Artistic Nobody, December 18 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Sodbuster Living, December 18

21st Century Keeper at Home, December 18

Older & Smarter?, December 19

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 19

Blossoms and Blessings, December 19

The Write Escape, December 19

For the Love of Literature, December 20

deb’s Book Review, December 20

Blogging With Carol, December 20

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 21

lakesidelivingsite, December 21

Betti Mace, December 21

Inklings and notions, December 21

Ashley’s Bookshelf, December 22

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, December 22

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 22

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 23

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, December 23

CarpeDiem, December 23

Hallie Reads, December 23

Remembrancy, December 24

Christian Bookaholic, December 24

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 24

Writing from the Heart Land, December 25

Splashes of Joy, December 25

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 25

Through the Fire Blogs, December 26

Rebecca Tews, December 26

For Him and My Family, December 26

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 27

Bigreadersite, December 27

Southern Gal Loves to Read, December 27

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 27

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 28

Mary Hake, December 28

Texas Book-aholic, December 29

Godly Book Reviews, December 29

Daysong Reflections, December 29

Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads, December 30

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, December 30

Daysong Reflections, December 30

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and copy of The Gold Digger!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/104fc/the-gold-digger-celebration-tour-giveaway

Rocky Mountain Revenge Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Rocky Mountain Revenge

Author: Rhonda Starnes

Genre: Inspirational Romantic Suspense

Release Date: July, 2020

To survive her deadly homecoming, she’ll need to trust a man from her past…

Temporarily home to help at her family’s vet clinic, Grace Porter has no intentions of staying—but someone’s determined she won’t live long enough to leave. With both Grace and her sister in the crosshairs, her ex-boyfriend, Police Chief Evan Bradshaw, must protect them. But can the single dad lawman uncover the truth about why a killer’s out for vengeance before time runs out?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Rhonda Starnes is a middle school language arts teacher who has dreamed of being a published author since she was in seventh grade. She lives in North Alabama with her husband, who she lovingly refers to as Mountain Man. They enjoy traveling and spending time with their children and grandchildren. Rhonda writes romantic suspense with rugged heroes and feisty heroines.

More from Rhonda

Probably the number one question any author receives is “How did you come up with the idea for the story?”

When the Love Inspired editors announced, in February 2019, they were hosting The Great Love Inspired Author Search, I knew I had to enter. After all I’d spent the last six years targeting the Harlequin Love Inspired lines. This would be my fourth time entering one of their pitch contests, my third pitching to Love Inspired Suspense. The only problem was I didn’t have anything new to enter. They’d already seen all of my manuscripts.

I follow the Love Inspired editors on social media, so I had read several posts on themes and settings they’d like to see. One editor had even mentioned Colorado as a setting she’d like to see in a book. This started my wheels turning because my husband and I lived in Colorado for a few months when we were first married. We loved our time there and have often talked about going back one day. I started researching parts of the state that we didn’t get to visit when we lived there, and then I created the fictional small town of Blackberry Falls.

I’d had an idea in the back of my head for while about a story that involved a heroine who wasn’t in law enforcement but who witnessed a crime while on video chat. That’s how I came up with Grace Porter, a veterinarian who had run away from her small-town roots. And what’s a homecoming story without a reunion romance? Enter, Police Chief Evan Bradshaw, the man Grace had left behind. Once I had the opening scene, main character, and setting in place, everything else just kind of evolved from there.

My Review

Considering that I read this at Christmastime, the first thing that comes to mind is the song “My Favorite Things.” Rural small-town life, dogs, horses, suspense: yes, “these are a few of my favorite things”! I love that this book combines all of these elements to tell a story about how the past shapes the present and how, through God’s love and His purpose for our lives, He can redeem our past and bring to fruition the promise to “work all things together for the good of those who love Him.” In a world that so often seems incomprehensible, what a blessed assurance to realize this fact!

Rhonda Starnes makes her debut as a novelist with Rocky Mountain Revenge, which is part of the Love Inspired Suspense series. The first chapter is one of the most spine-chilling that I have read in this series, yet without resorting to the macabre, which is one of the many reasons that I enjoy and respect inspirational fiction of this caliber. Because this particular story also involves animals, especially dogs and horses, I also greatly appreciate that no animals meet their demise during the present, unfolding action of the narrative, although for those who may be sensitive, there is an allusion to the prior death of an animal. However, Starnes does a fantastic job of conveying necessary plot points while refraining from any graphic detail. For those like me who can’t stand for harm to come to an animal, this is essential.

To a certain extent, the books in this and similar series are formulaic, giving readers a mostly apparent idea of which characters will become a couple, how the major parts of the plot will likely play out, and at least part of the motive. This is where the author’s writing skill takes effect, and for an initiate especially, Starnes develops her story enough to add in twists that propel the plot forward. More than once, I admit that I thought the mystery was about to be solved and wondered what the rest of the book would be about! Despite guessing some of the plotline, I did not figure out all of the connections, nor did I ever become at all disinterested while reading. The faith aspect is more about showing than telling, as one of the characters slowly comes back to the Lord after a tragedy, and the theme of redemption and of the Lord making all things new finds fulfillment in more ways than one. There is a saying that “You can’t go home again.” However, that does not hold true when it comes to our place of belonging in the arms of the Savior, Who always stands ready to welcome us home to Him, and that is one homecoming that we don’t want to miss!

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 9

Through the Fire Blogs, December 10

Genesis 5020, December 10

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 11

Simple Harvest Reads, December 11 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

For the Love of Literature, December 12

Lighthouse Academy, December 13

Connie’s History Classroom, December 13

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 14

Reviewingbooksplusmore, December 14

Inklings and notions, December 15

Betti Mace, December 15

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 16

deb’s Book Review, December 16

Texas Book-aholic, December 17

lakesidelivingsite, December 17

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 18

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, December 18

For Him and My Family, December 19

Pause for Tales , December 19

Artistic Nobody, December 20 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

SusanLovesBooks, December 20

Splashes of Joy, December 21

Ashley’s Bookshelf, December 21

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 22

Daysong Reflections, December 22

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Rhonda is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of Rocky Mountain Revenge!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/104a4/rocky-mountain-revenge-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Thrill of Facing the Impossible: A Book Review of Davis Bunn’s “Burden of Proof”

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Perhaps not overtly so, but Burden of Proof by Davis Bunn is an apropos book for 2020, right down to the title. This year I have read several works within the speculative fiction genre, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed them because I am much more of a historical fiction devotee. In a sense, however, Davis Bunn’s novel also falls within the dual-timeline category, and it is a legal thriller too. Such a formidable combination of genres promises a high yield and begs the question of whether or not they all blend well and complement each other.

Speaking generally, Burden of Proof falls in the middle of the spectrum as far as my personal ratings are concerned. There are parts of the story that I enjoyed, but also loose ends and some questions that I would have liked to have seen answered. I also have concerns about the implication that Adrian’s life is worth more than Ethan’s, taken from the opening chapters of the story; a life-limiting disease resulting in a poor prognosis, combined with the fact that the individual has no living relatives, leads to a decision that could change the future and the past. I will refrain from elaborating so as to avoid spoilers, but this realization of human worth greatly discomfited me. Along with this, there is no mention of Christianity in the book; given that it is marketed as Christian, I believe that it should be held to that standard, and while the story is clean, the focus is given to weaving the present with the outspoken past rather than in spiritual growth.

Time travel forms the crucial event in this story. Despite being so over-done as a theme, Bunn gives it a unique twist here, fictionally broadening its potential use. This brings in the Butterfly Effect, as found in any time travel scenario, as well as the Grandfather Paradox and, as one of the characters explains, the theory of quantum entanglement. Due in part to all of the unknowns, the bonds of family and friends become especially important. As what was thought to be an isolated incident grows into a full-blown conspiracy theory, Ethan and his brother Adrian fund themselves caught up in “the thrill of facing the impossible” for what may be the last time.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 3 stars ♥♥♥

Buy your copy HERE

Snuffed Out Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Snuffed Out

Author: Barbara Cornthwaite

Genre: Christian cozy mystery

Release Date: July 24, 2020

Picnics can be murder… scenes.

What was supposed to be a romantic picnic at “their spot” turns criminal when Katrina and Todd stumble—almost literally—over a body.

What’s the college chef doing under a bush up in the mountains? Other than being dead, that is.

Who killed him? Why?

All clues point to people who Katrina is certain didn’t do it. Especially the one who ends up dead himself.

Uh, oh.

Thanks to a slow-burning romantic relationship that can’t seem to get past chapter one, and a determination to save her friend from false arrest, Katrina joins Todd again as they riddle out bizarre clues, weed through unlikely suspects, and learn to communicate on a more personal level.

What do you get when you combine literary humor, sweet romance, and a practical helping of faith? A cozy mystery that’ll keep you guessing. Barbara Cornthwaite’s second Wilkester Mystery has everything you want for a cozy read.

Snag Snuffed Out today.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Barbara Cornthwaite lives in the middle of Ireland with her husband and children. She taught college English before “retiring” to do something she loves far more; her days are now filled with homeschooling her six children, trying to keep the house tidy (a losing battle), and trying to stay warm in the damp Irish climate (also a losing battle). She is surrounded by medieval castles, picturesque flocks of sheep, and ancient stone monuments. These things are unappreciated by her children, who are more impressed by traffic jams, skyscrapers, and hot weather.

Teaser for Snuffed Out

Todd closed the folder with the Franklin case paperwork in it and laid it on top of the stack of folders waiting to be filed. He almost reached for the Delaney case notes again but resisted the impulse. There was no new information in there, and he’d gone over everything a dozen times in the last few days. He had promised Katrina he wouldn’t give up, but without any new leads to pursue, there wasn’t much he could do.

He shook his head, impatient with himself. He’d been doing so well at putting her out of his mind—hadn’t thought of her all day until this moment. Now he’d probably be struggling for the rest of the day.

John Ortega poked his head into Todd’s office.

“Hey, we just got a call from the librarian at Wilkester College about the theft of a manuscript. The chief said either one of us could go, but I thought you might like to take it.”

“Why?”

“Oh, come on,” said John. “You think I’m blind and deaf?”

“It’s no use. Nothing’s going to happen between Dr. Peters and me.”

John leaned up against the door frame and grinned at him. “’Dr. Peters,’ huh? She was ‘Katrina’ for weeks.”

“Well, that was before. Now that I know a relationship isn’t possible, I need to keep my distance.”

“She turned you down?”

“I didn’t ask, but trust me, I know what I’m talking about.”

“Hmm,” John said. “You don’t usually give up on things so easily. Well, do you mind handling this anyway? I’ve got that other robbery case to deal with, and I’m supposed to be interviewing that guy from Tacoma in a couple hours.” Todd hesitated and John added, “She’s an adjunct professor, right? She’s probably not even on campus now, and she certainly won’t be in the library.”

“Oh, okay.” Todd sighed. He pushed back his chair and stood up.

“’Attaboy. Thanks for taking the call.” John turned to go and then looked back. “It will get easier, you know.”

“I know.” As long as I don’t see her again.

My Review

The Wilkester Mysteries is a series that I hope will continue and result in many volumes. As far as cozy mysteries go, I am rather picky and often find them too fluffy or dull, which is why I lean more toward the suspense genre. However, Barbara Cornthwaite has managed to create a cozy series that has light danger and thrills without inducing nightmares or putting readers to sleep. There is a near-perfect blend of mystery, romance, literature, and faith that both entertains and educates, along with some wry humor for good measure.

For those who have bemoaned the seeming dearth of witty literary fiction focused on historical literature (or at least the knowledge thereof), this series needs to go to the top of your to-read list! Snuffed Out is book two, and in my opinion it is necessary to read book one, Brought to Book, first (read my review HERE). The characters remain consistent and although the crimes differ, the storyline itself continues, and in this case there is not enough backstory in the sequel to sufficiently understand who each person is and what is happening. Katrina narrates both stories in the first person, drawing readers directly into the mysteries and her personal life. My favorite character in the first book, I have to admit that I found Katrina annoying at times in this one, particularly when she begins comparing herself to Todd’s ex-wife. This does demonstrate her humanity, though, and her selflessness is evidenced by how she always takes care of those in need. She still quotes famous classic literature, with a fondness for the work of Jane Austen, applying it to life in unique ways.

Spiritual truths gently permeate the narrative, explaining the Gospel to characters—and readers—in brilliantly simple terms. Todd’s analysis of sin particularly stood out to me and is more relevant than ever during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic: “Sin is dark. All sin is dark. Not just the violent and heart-breaking crimes. That stuff is what evil looks like with the mask off. Sins that don’t seem so bad—losing your temper, telling a white lie, gossiping—is the same dark evil, just with a mask on. But all of it is bad enough to separate us from God. All of it is why Jesus had to die on the cross.” Often enough, we are faced with overwhelming situations that make us feel as if we, like Katrina, are “a turtle walking through tar”, but thankfully, if we walk with the Lord, He gives us the strength and the courage to continue on as Paul exhorts us in Philippians 3:13. In Snuffed Out, fostering is again a significant theme, which is so important in and of itself as well as for the lessons it can teach. Consoling a new foster mom, Katrina tells her: “But just because something turns out to be difficult—or more difficult—than you thought it would be doesn’t mean you don’t deserve help or sympathy.” The same applies to our trials, too, and we have a Savior ready and waiting for us to call on Him!

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 28

Texas Book-aholic, November 29

Nancy E Wood, November 29

The Avid Reader, November 30

Genesis 5020, November 30

For the Love of Literature, November 30

Sodbusterliving, December 1

Artistic Nobody, December 1 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 2

deb’s Book Review, December 2

Remembrancy, December 3

Ashley’s Bookshelf, December 3

Splashes of Joy, December 3

Inklings and notions, December 4

21st Century Keeper at Home, December 4

For Him and My Family, December 5

Blogging With Carol, December 5

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 6

Emily Yager, December 6

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, December 7

Lis Loves Reading, December 7

Labor Not in Vain, December 7

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 8

Mary Hake, December 8

She Lives to Read, December 9

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 9

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 10

Godly Book Reviews, December 10

SusanLovesBooks, December 10

Daysong Reflections, December 11

Bizwings Blog, December 11

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Barbara is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/103f2/snuffed-out-celebration-tour-giveaway

How Do I Love Thee: A Book Review of Joanna Davidson Politano’s “The Love Note”

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I’ll be honest. I almost didn’t request this title. The vintage cover drew me in, though, and a fleeting glimpse at the synopsis made it sound promising, so even though I’m not much of a romance reader, I decided to give it a chance. Oh my word. I am fairly certain that this is going to be my favorite new release of 2020, and most likely the best fictional romance (historical or otherwise) that I’ve read to date. Very rarely, if ever, do I use the word “swoon-worthy,” but I have to say, this book fits that description perfectly, while also being tempestuous and haunting.

The Love Note is the first of Joanna Politano’s novels that I’ve read, despite her previous works being on my to-read list, and I now find myself wondering why I waited so long! From the first chapter, I was engaged in the story, and unlike so many others, this is one that does not lag at any point. Politano seamlessly blends an assortment of genres that keeps readers on their toes: romance, mystery, history, spirituality. As the final third of the story unfolds, the twists are so beautifully executed for maximum impact, right through the final chapter. Willa Duvall herself proclaims early on: “I had been right all along—the letter I’d found in that desk was a piece of something much larger, a story more epic than mere romance.” Nothing is clear-cut until the ending, and I love that! What’s more, Politano meaningfully brings all of the storylines together into one glorious whole.

With echoes of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, The Love Note reads like a classic. Politano’s writing style reflects that of the nineteenth century but is free of antiquated words or phrases, thereby making this an easy-to-read book. That is not to say, however, that no hard issues arise within the story. On the contrary, for all of the romance, there is also a fair share of tragedy, as Willa notes immediately: “but I couldn’t shake the tenor of underlying romance lurking in the shadows of this house. It was there, pulsing and sweeping through like a ghost, even if everyone attempted to stifle and deny it.” Through characters such as Celeste, Willa, and Aunt Maisie (a personal favorite), the importance of using one’s voice for encouraging others and the significance of women’s rights is subtly explored. Pithy epigraphs called “A scientist’s observations on love” open each chapter, and a shifting narrative voice allows for the exploration of multiple points of view. The majority of the narrative is comprised of Willa’s story as told by the character herself in the first person, and occasionally another character with whom her story intersects provides a third-person account of something happening to them. Even as readers privileged with this omniscience, though, the surprises are astounding.

As with any Christian-based novel, the best attribute is transformation, and The Love Note achieves this remarkably well. Remarkably because the characters change their hearts and attitudes in spite of their fear and in spite of the leap of faith needed to do so. Willa realizes this in her own quest, remarking, “What makes the past so intriguing, anyway? Perhaps because understanding those stories that so enchant us, those ghostly echoes of long-ago mistakes and passions, means untangling the present and changing the future.” May we glean wisdom from the past as we all strive toward the bright future that awaits us as believers in Christ.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Buy your copy HERE

A Home Where the Buffalo Roam: A Book Review of Regina Scott’s “Nothing Short of Wondrous”

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She laid her head against his chest, as if listening to the sound of his heart. And his heart, the heart he’d buried eight years ago in Oregon, beat harder. For her.

Wyoming is one state that I’ve always wanted to visit. In my mind I always picture it as a place of forested wilderness because my grandpap worked in the Civilian Conservation Corps there in the 1930s. Reading about Yellowstone National Park and the incredible terrain of the surrounding area somewhat surprised me. It isn’t a place that I would feel comfortable living in, at least not as it is in the novel, but I do think that it would make for an unforgettable visit, and I certainly enjoyed the time I spent there with the characters in this story.

Aptly named Nothing Short of Wondrous, this second book in Regina Scott’s American Wonders Collection, which can be read as a standalone, plunges readers into life at Yellowstone about 14 years after it has been recognized as a national park. Featuring a young, widowed proprietor named Kate Tremaine, Scott brings to light the challenges of maintaining the integrity and purity of the land and wildlife, particularly the bison, a task given to the U.S. Cavalry. Determined to protect her home and her son through her livelihood, Kate agrees to serve as a guide to the soldiers, including Lieutenant William Prescott, whose past haunts him. As they work together through several harrowing situations, they both begin to heal from the guilt that has caused each to shutter their heart.

As much as I admire and love the main characters, the story would not be as fun or as complete without the secondary cast. There is seven-year-old Danny, of course, and the selectively mute but courageous Caleb. My personal favorites are Mrs. Pettijohn and Miss Pringle, spirited sisters who encourage and add light humor to just about every situation. There are a few characters whose motives I questioned, and I will leave it to fellow readers to tease out their own theories about these.

Within the pages of this novel lies a message that resounds clearly in these chaotic days: that God alone is in control. No matter how much we plan and prepare, the unexpected is an inevitability. That is why we need to mature in our faith, spend time with God in His Word, and truly come to know Him, because when we do, we can rest assured that He knows the end from the beginning and that nothing will ever happen outside of His will. As Kate remarks, “I’m learning that God wants to hear from us. He wants to hear from you too.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Buy your copy HERE

Mountain of Peril Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Mountain of Peril

Author: J. Carol Nemeth

Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense

Release Date: January 25, 2018

When Molly Walker graduated from college, she was thrilled to be hired on as a ranger at Deep Creek Campground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. She arrived ready to begin her career and to enjoy all the aspects of her new job, but the one thing she hadn’t counted on was the local poachers and their illegal shenanigans. Molly and fellow ranger Jake Stuart try to put a stop to the escalating poaching problem while protecting the animals. In the meantime, Molly finds the handsome ranger, who is also a local, is a great partner to have on her side. She also finds she’s losing her heart to him when she’d planned to stay focused on her career. Can she give her heart and have a career? She and Jake find themselves in a battle against a group of men with a hidden agenda far more sinister than poaching. Can they be stopped before Molly’s life is snuffed out?

Molly and Jake are in a battle against a group of men with a hidden agenda far more sinister than poaching. Can they be stopped before Molly’s life is snuffed out?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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A native North Carolinian, J. Carol Nemeth has always loved reading and enjoyed making up stories since junior high school, most based in the places she has lived or traveled to. She worked in the National Park Service as a Park Aid and served in the US Army where she was stationed in Italy, traveling to over thirteen countries while there. She met the love of her life, Mark Nemeth, also an Army veteran, while stationed in Italy. After they married, they lived in various locations, including North Yorkshire, England. They now live in West Virginia, where, in their spare time, Carol and Mark enjoy RVing, sightseeing and are active in their church. They have a son, Matt, who serves active duty Army, a daughter, Jennifer, her husband Flint, who serves active duty Air Force, and three grandchildren, Martin, Ava and Gage. Their four-footed kid, Holly, a black Lab, loves traveling in their RV, and when they pack up to go, she’s waiting inside for them to head out.

More from J. Carol

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I worked for the National Park Service at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park many moons ago before I met my husband. The setting for Mountain of Peril, Faith in the Parks Book 1 is in that park. I met a lot of interesting people and there was never dull moment. Something was always happening. I was either helping trap wild boar, riding horse back for back country patrol, or doing search and rescue for missing persons. I used several of my own experiences in the story, tweaking them a bit here or there to fit with the flow of the narrative. This book is near and dear to my heart just as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is. Working there was the best job I ever had, other than writing of course, and I loved it. I hope my love of the park flows through my characters and spills out for readers to experience and enjoy.

My Review

One of my favorite vacation memories from growing up is staying at Lake Lure, North Carolina and visiting Chimney Rock State Park. I think that it is the only state park I’ve been to, but I would love to see the others, and revisit Chimney Rock, too, for that matter! I love the outdoors and rural areas, and although many people dream about the beach, my heart will always belong to the mountains and woods. As soon as I saw the title of this series, I didn’t hesitate to sign up to review it. That it was categorized as suspense was an added bonus.

Mountain of Peril is the first book in J. Carol Nemeth’s Faith in the Parks series. Taking readers alongside new ranger Molly Walker as she begins working at Deep Creek Campground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina, Nemeth generates interest in America’s national parks system. I do feel that the beginning of the book is a bit slow after a startling, intriguing first chapter. The narrative settles into a quotidian rhythm, describing some of a park ranger’s duties, and I was surprised to learn their extent. Their job is anything but boring, for anyone who has an interest in trapping, law enforcement, search and rescue, horseback riding, public relations, and a plethora of other tasks. Add to that the challenges of inclement weather and sometimes working in solitude, and I felt an even deeper respect for these public servants.

Regarding the characters, I enjoyed them and their interactions, but I still don’t feel as though I connected with them very much. They seem almost superficial in some ways. As a romantic suspense novel, there is naturally a romantic love interest, and along with this a heroine who is determined to remain dedicated to her career. Nemeth demonstrates that God has a plan for our lives, and that He is working things out for our good and His glory, whether we can see it or not.

The editor in me did pick up on various errors within this book, most of which concern proper apostrophe usage. There are also a couple of discrepancies, including the number of children that Cal and Pam have, and a time disparity. None of this detracts from the reading experience, and I would recommend this book to those who enjoy stories about the great outdoors, sweet and clean romance, and/or romantic suspense.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 4 stars ♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 4

Bizwings Blog, November 4

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 5

For Him and My Family, November 6

Blogging With Carol, November 6

Texas Book-aholic, November 7

For the Love of Literature, November 8

Artistic Nobody, November 8 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

deb’s Book Review, November 9

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 10

Betti Mace, November 11

Labor Not in Vain, November 11

Inklings and notions, November 12

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 13

Mary Hake, November 13

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, November 14

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 15

Pause for Tales, November 15

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 17

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, J. Carol is giving away the grand prize a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10330/mountain-of-peril-celebration-tour-giveaway