Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Forged In Peril, Forge Brothers Security Series #1 by Kendra Warden

Book description:


 She can’t keep running…

Ambitious paralegal Bristol Chaplin knows that achieving her dream of becoming a lawyer won’t be easy, but there’s a price that even she isn’t willing to pay. When a dark secret threatens to destroy her career, she’s forced to seek help from the man she thought she’d left behind forever.

Private security operative Cameron Forge is content to spend his life serving God and protecting the innocent. But as the woman who broke his heart brings danger straight to his doorstep, he realizes that keeping her safe might be his toughest mission yet.

With hidden threats lurking behind every shadow, they have no choice but to uncover the truth about who is hunting Bristol before it’s too late. Even if it means putting their lives–and hearts–on the line.

Serve. Protect. Redeem.

Each book in the Forge Brothers Security Christian romantic suspense series can be read as a standalone.

My review:
 
Kendra Warden is not just a new author to me, she is a new author in Christian suspense. She has written fantasy under her real name.  I did read the free prequel to this series (available on her website) before reading this book. I highly recommend reading it first. 

  This is an awesome read. I love suspense novels that are about security/bodyguards, and this series is right up my alley.

 The main characters are Cameron and Bristol, and they are great and likable characters, but the author has come up with a great roster of characters for this series, especially the Forge brothers. And cousin. Reilly Forge, from the prequel, is referred to as a brother, but he is actually a cousin.

 This book did have it all: suspense, bad guys, a lot of drama, great characters, great setting, and a terrific plot. This really isn't a spoiler, but possibly borders on being one: To understand the reason behind the attacks, one should read the prequel. I read it, and I was still surprised at the who and why. 😏

 There is of course romance. It was done well, and was not a "hero meets heroine, falls in love while fleeing bad guys, and live happily ever after." Those kind are fine, but in this one, the couple had dated years ago and broke up. (Well she did the breaking).

The story comes to a very tense, suspenseful, and dramatic point near the end of the book, and the author pulled out all stops to bring the story to a very satisfying and awesome ending. 

I am looking forward to more from this series and author, and highly recommend this book. (And the prequel).

Special thanks to the author for an advance e-book copy of this book. I was under no obligation to provide a review and the thoughts contained herein are my own.



About the author:
Kendra Warden, pen name for Stefanie Lozinski,  lives in Ontario, Canada, with her husband, three young children, two cats, and a whole lot of books. She's passionate about (very) early mornings, long walks, and buffalo sauce. She loves to write exciting suspense stories that encourage readers to trust in the protection and love of Jesus.

Check out her website at KendraWarden.com . If you sign up for her newsletter there, you can download a free copy of the Forge Brothers Security Prequel, Forged In Darkness. 






Saturday, February 3, 2024

Deceitful Above All Things, Hank Lin Mysteries #1 by Charles Hack


Book description:

 Grisly murder comes to the shores of Lake Tahoe.

The victim’s identity sends the local sheriff’s department into a tailspin.

An overly curious resident discovers a dangerous cover-up and races to find the murderer before they kill again.

Deceitful Above All Things is the first book in a new series of murder mysteries set at majestic Lake Tahoe.

Former Army Criminal Investigator Hank Lin returns to his childhood home at Lake Tahoe after suffering a battlefield injury. With the addition of Hank’s father’s death, he’s left nursing his pain and disappointment. Depressed and lonely, Hank is forced to start over with only his grief and inner demons as companions.

After rekindling an old friendship with Deputy Sierra McLean, Hank is infused with fresh energy. Simultaneously intrigued by the case and the irresistible Sierra, Hank pursues both with a curiosity that calms the inner turmoil. His independent side investigation frustrates Sierra and earns him the attention of the unidentified killer.

The hidden evil is as cold and deep as Lake Tahoe itself. A trail of greed and revenge exposes several suspects, but when Hank discovers the killer’s true identity, the hunt turns personal and Hank risks it all to stop them.

My review:
  This is a new author to me. I had never even heard of him before I ran across this book, but it sounded good. So here I am leaving a review for it. :)

  First let me say how refreshing it is to read a book by a male author that features a male character. I have read a few lately, but it is far more common to have a female be the main character.

 And Hank is a great character. No, he is an awesome character. Chinese - well, half Chinese - that is not too common either. He isn't perfect, but is extremely likable. He is also not a Christian, but has his sister and his best friend who is a pastor working to change that.

 He is accompanied by a great cast of characters, including the possible future sheriff, Sienna, and her fellow deputy, Truckee. (Yeah, that is really his name 😀). And of course Bo, the dog he inherited off his dad.

 The book starts out rather mundane (not boring), with a funeral. Then it doesn't take long for the discovery of the dead body. And things pick up. Hank investigates on his own - he had been some kind of investigator in the military before he got injured - and he ruffles some feathers and has some difficulties. 

 This is more of a decent paced mystery instead of a fast paced with chases, etc. That said, it is a great read that is extremely well written. The author did an excellent job of keeping the bad guys a surprise. I was sure early on who killed the guy, but that theory got shot down a couple chapters later. Literally. 😎

 I enjoyed the book. A lot. It is a book that I didn't want to put down, but had to because of work.

There is no romance in this novel, though there is a hint of interest between Hank and Sierra, so that may be something that develops later in the series.

 The author has created a great setting for his series, and created a perfect main character in the imperfect Hank Lin. I am definitely looking forward to reading more about this wanna be sleuth and his adventures. Hack has hit it out of the ballpark with his debut Christian fiction novel.

Special thanks to the author for an advance copy of this book. I was under no obligation to provide a review and the thoughts contained herein are my own.

About the author:


Charles Hack
is the author of the Space Warfare Group Sci-Fi/Space Opera books and the Hank Lin Mysteries. After writing for nearly twenty years, his first published novel is Into the Darkness. He studied electrical engineering in college and is still a licensed professional engineer with over twenty years of experience before retiring and entering full time Christian ministry. He currently serves as a pastor in his hometown and has a master’s degree in systematic theology. Writing is one of his passions along with reading, woodworking, and coffee. Charles is married with two children and three noisy dogs. They live on a small ranch, known as the Ranchini, in the Great Basin of Northern Nevada. 

Find out more about him on his website CharlesHack.com

And check out his science fiction series:





Friday, January 26, 2024

One Wrong Move, Jeopardy Falls Series #1 by Dani Pettrey

 


Book description:

Taunting riddles.

A deadly string of heists.

Two broken hearts trapped in a killer's game.

Christian O'Brady was pulled into a life of crime at a young age by his con artist parents. Now making amends for his corrupt past, he has become one of the country's foremost security experts. When a string of Southwestern art heists targets one of the galleries Christian secured, he is paired up with a gifted insurance investigator who has her own checkered past.

Andi Forester was a brilliant FBI forensic analyst until her career was destroyed. She now puts those skills to work investigating insurance fraud, and this latest high-stakes case will test her gift to the limit. Drawn deep into a dangerous game with an opponent bent on revenge, Christian and Andi are in a race against the clock to catch him, but the perpetrator's game is far from finished, and one wrong move could be the death of them both.

My description:
  I was looking forward to this new series by Pettrey. She is a terrific author, and I have enjoyed every one of her books. And this one definitely did not disappoint.

 I liked everything about One Wrong move: the plot, the setting - New Mexico is definitely different for her, the non-stop suspense, the mystery aspect. The book was very well written without "fillers". A lot happened in the book, and it all flowed together keeping me on the edge of my seat. I could not put the book down. I did end up reading past the time I needed to go to bed.

 What really stood out to me in this book was the characters.


There are the two main characters of course: Christian and Andi. They do play a more prominent role in the story, but there are also the others who are featured more than a lot of secondary characters in other books:
Deckerd, Christian's brother
Riley, their sister
|Harper, Andi's best friend
And Greyson, family friend, mentor to Christian, and a possible romantic interest for his sister.....

  This is a great cast of characters, and it was cool that not everything happened to Christian and Andi, but it involved all of them. I don't know for sure, but I am guessing the other books in this series will feature Christian's siblings. Her books usually have at least four books, and there is another sister who disappeared on them years ago.... 

  Pettrey played up the art heist angle well, and I was kept guessing to the motive and the "who" until that was revealed. 

  This is an author who does not shy away from the faith aspect, and it comes out strong in the story, and especially in how the siblings came out of the childhood they had. 

   Pettrey has an excellent start to this new series, and I can't wait to see what else she has in store for these characters I already love. And I am reminded again of why she is one of my top favorite authors. 

Special thanks to the author for an advance copy of this book. I was under no obligation to provide a review and the thoughts contained herein are my own.


About the author:
Dani Pettrey (
DaniPettrey.com) is the bestselling author of the Coastal Guardians, Chesapeake Valor, and Alaskan Courage series. A two-time Christy Award finalist, Dani has won the National Readers' Choice Award, Daphne du Maurier Award, HOLT Medallion, and Christian Retailing's Best Award for Suspense. She plots murder and mayhem from her home in the Washington, DC, metro area.

Read an excerpt here

One Wrong Move will be available from Bethany House Publishers on February 6, 2024.


Saturday, January 13, 2024

Book spotlight: The Discovery by Dan Walsh

 


 Dan Walsh has been one of my favorite authors ever since I read the first book I reviewed of his - and I think the first book he had published - The Unfinished Gift, a Christmas novel.

  Dan wrote for Revell Publishing, part of Baker Publishing Group, before striking out on his own. I think I reviewed every book he wrote when with that publisher. Most of the books he has written independently are suspense, which is my favorite genre', but I think I like his books of this type the best. 

 And after all the books he has written, this one is still a favorite. Maybe my top favorite. (My review from April 2012 is here.)

 The plot: It is first written in first person, which I have never been a fan of, but it really works for this novel.

  The main character is a young wanna-be author, the grandson of a popular and best selling author. When the book starts, Michael's grandfather has recently died, leaving Michael with the manuscript for the last book he wrote. He leaves it up to Michael to publish it or not.

 The book is mostly what Michael is reading, but goes back to him occasionally. The publisher made it easy to tell when it is Michael and when it is what he is reading. The latter has a line around the whole page.

 It is hard to rave about the book without giving away spoilers...especially THE spoiler. The reason the book is titled what it is.

  Just take my word for it that it is an amazing read. I have read the "discovery" part and what follows countless times over the years. The author just posted a link to the audiobook, and I got the book out yet again, and read those parts again. And as always, my eyes watered. It is very emotional.

 The book has been given a different cover (below), but I like the original the best.



And here is the original blurb about the book:

An Engrossing Story of Family Secrets and a Love for the Ages

When aspiring writer Michael Warner inherits his grandfather's venerable Charleston estate, he settles in to write his first novel. But within the confines of the stately home, he discovers an unpublished manuscript that his grandfather, a literary giant whose novels sold in the millions, had kept hidden from everyone--but which he clearly intended Michael to find. As he delves deep into the exciting tale about spies and sabotage, Michael discovers something that has the power to change not only his future but his past as well.

Laced with suspense and intrigue, The Discovery is a richly woven novel that explores the incredible sacrifices that must be made to forge the love of a lifetime. Author Dan Walsh delivers yet another unique and heartfelt story that will stick with you long after you've turned the last page.

A personal amusing note: My youngest sister used to shy away from suspense (she reads them now), and when I loaned her this book some years back, she asked "There aren't any dead bodies washing up on the shore are there?" (slight spoiler): Me, "uh, yeah...but not murdered ones." 😎

About the author:


Dan Walsh is the bestselling author of 28 novels (all available on Amazon), including The Unfinished Gift, Rescuing Finley, When Night Comes, and The Reunion (soon to be a feature film). Over 1.4 million copies of Dan's books are in print or downloaded. They've received over 53,000 Amazon Reviews (4.7 Star Avg). He's won both the Carol and Selah Awards multiple times, 4 of his novels have been finalists for RT Reviews Inspirational Novel of the Year.

Reviewers often remark about Dan's rich, character-driven storylines and page-turning suspense (even with his more inspirational books). He's been writing full-time since 2010. He and his wife Cindi have been married 47ears, have 2 grown children and 5 grandchildren. They live in the Daytona Beach area, where Dan grew up. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, read his blog, or preview all his books by visiting his website, easy to find on Google.


Friday, January 12, 2024

New and notable author/Series Spotlight: The O' Shanick Series by John Galt Robinson

 I did a blog post at the end of December listing as many male Christian authors that I could come up with. I have gotten a lot of great feedback from that post, and a lot more views than my posts normally get. (It is 7 away from 1000 at the moment).

 One author that I had never heard of before, but came across while doing the post sent me one of his books.

Another author that I had never heard of - not even for my list - contacted me and offered to send me signed copies of all four of his books. I happily said yes. (I am planning on doing a second list of authors I missed the first time, including John).

I have only read one of his books so far, but what a book. Guys who are looking for Christian fiction that is geared towards men and that they will like: these are right up your alley. (Thought women would enjoy his books also). A lot of special ops stuff.

A little about the books:
They are centered around a Navy Seal, Joe O'Shanick, and an ER doctor, Christy Tabrizi. (The author is an ER doctor).

The books are definitely Christian. No cursing or inappropriate content.

The book I read, Forces of Redemption, was extremely well written and obviously well-written.

Book description:
During a hectic Emergency Department shift, Dr. Christine “Christy” Tabrizi rescues a young Honduran girl from the gang that has been prostituting her and discovers the horrors of human trafficking tracing all the way back to the cartels in Central America. Christy volunteers for a mission in Honduras, to help rescue as many young girls as possible from the Cartels that control them. Joe O’Shanick is part of a Navy SEAL platoon deployed in Central America and finds himself in the midst of hostile territory when the President of the United States, a man of Mexican-American heritage who sympathizes with the human condition in Central America, declares war on the Cartels. In the middle of a tense hostage scenario, Christy and Joe’s paths collide, and they must rely on each other and their respective skills to escape with their lives.

My review of Forces of Redemption:


"This is the first book I have read by this author, and I am impressed. It took me longer than normal to read it, but not because it was boring. Far from it. The author is an ER doctor, and he described a lot of medical procedures and ER procedures, and also did a lot of research into drug cartels, human trafficking, Navy SEALS, and more. I am typically a fast reader, but I had to slow down for this one and think about what I was reading more than the average book that I read.

And that isn't a bad thing.

I loved the two main characters, Joe and Christy. The two of them together were quite impressive, but they are both likable and impressive characters on their own also.

I appreciate how the author doesn't shy away from the faith angle. Joe is pretty much an agnostic, and Christy is the opposite. There was some great dialogue written between the two of them as they discussed and argued the existence of God.

The author wrote a great Christian fiction novel about Navy SEALS, drug cartels, human trafficking, etc. without using any profanity. Great job.

Looking forward to reading more about Joe and his doctor friend, Christy."

 I mentioned that I had to slow my reading down for this book and had to think more about what I was reading. The author's wife told me that it was the same for her, but the other books in the series will go much faster. (She seems very nice. Well, so does he 😎).

 There are four books so far, with a fifth releasing (this year maybe?), and at least a sixth in the works. 

                                                                 Book #2


Book #3


Book #4


About the author:

John Galt Robinson is a practicing Emergency Medicine physician. He weaves his experiences from the exciting, tragic and sometimes humorous world of emergency medicine into a much larger story with intriguing characters who tackle relevant social issues in a fast paced adventure. John grew up on Grand Island, NY just upriver from Niagara Falls. John earned his medical degree at East Tennessee State University after a previous career in Sports Medicine as a Certified Athletic Trainer. He lives in South Carolina with his wife and family where he is an active sailor and triathlete.

(At this point, John does not have a website, but here is a link to his Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21259475.John_Galt_Robinson)


Thursday, January 11, 2024

Cold Threat, Ryland and St. Clair #2 by Nancy Mehl


Book description:

 Twenty years ago, several people were murdered in Des Moines, and the only evidence left behind was a snowman ornament hanging on a tree on their front lawns. With a suspect behind bars, the killings have come to an end--or so everyone thought. But now crimes with a similar MO are happening in a small Iowa town, and a local detective believes the killer is back and ready to strike again.

With little time on the clock before they have another murder on their hands, private investigators River Ryland and Tony St. Clair must work alongside Tony's father to find evidence that will uncover an evil that has survived for far too long. As the danger mounts and the suspect closes in, it will take all they have to catch a killer--before he catches one of them.

USA Today bestselling author Nancy Mehl continues her explosive new FBI profiler series with an intense story of revenge and redemption.

My review:
   A series like this is kind of refreshing. I have nothing against the books where boy meets girl and they are married or engaged at the end of the book - I do enjoy them - but a series like this is also good. There is a hint of romance between the two main characters, but it is a very slow burn, and not discussed much. Also, there is so much more time for the author to develop the characters, and she does a great job of doing that with River and Tony.

I really like these characters. And even more than in the first book. This one takes them to Tony's home town, and has them staying with his family. Cold Threat was just as good as the first, if not better. It has a terrific plot, with the fires being set along with the murder of the people living there. 

I admit that I figured out a few things before the author revealed them, but it did not lessen my enjoyment of the book. I even figured out who the killer/arsonist was. Well, I suspected, and was correct. 

The addition of Tony's family was a plus for the story. I really liked his parents. His sister....not so much at first.

Mehl has written another great story in this series about our two likable private investigators, and brought that story to a great conclusion. I am looking forward to #3. 

Special thanks to the author for an advance copy of this book. I was under no obligation to provide a review and the thoughts contained herein are my own.

About the author:


Nancy Mehl
is the bestselling author of over 50 books. She’s won the Daphne Du Maurier Award, as well as an ACFW Mystery Book of the Year Award and a Carol award. She was also a finalist for the prestigious Christy award. Her short story, Chasing Shadows, was in the USA Today bestselling Summer of Suspense anthology. Learn more about her at www.nancymehl.com and on her blog, the Suspense Sisters: www.suspensesisters.blogspot.com.

Check out the other books in the series:

                                                                Book #1


Book #3, Coming July 16, 2024






Red Sky At Morning, Michael Neill Adventure #1 by Steve Wilson


Book description:

 When Marine Lieutenant Michael Neill is ordered to the former Soviet Union, his assignment is to verify nuclear disarmament. But before his mission begins, an American reconnaissance plane is attacked by a Russian fighter, and a Navy pilot is killed. After the incident, Neill’s mission changes.

Willis Avery, the President’s National Security Advisor, wants Lieutenant Neill to investigate Russian stealth technology, in addition to his original assignment. Photographic evidence—and the lack of radar images of the attacking aircraft—lead the American intelligence community to conclude that something new has been developed in the skies over Russia. Avery believes that Neill’s friendship with a high-ranking officer in the Ukrainian Air Force is the key to establishing Red Sky at Morning—the existence of new aviation technology that could upset the balance of power between East and West.

However, ultra-nationalist forces are at work. After arriving in Eastern Europe, Neill quickly uncovers a conspiracy of terrorism secretly instigated by the Kremlin. Government leaders in Moscow will stop at nothing to rebuild the Soviet Union as they try to force the breakaway republics back into the fold.

Neill discovers that the terrorism has extended to the weapons facility he is charged with inspecting. Communist agents have gone far beyond their original orders, and it’s a race against time as the Marine—with the help of a beautiful Ukrainian journalist—tries to stop them—and come up with a plan to bring down the corrupt government officials in Moscow.

My review:
 
After I did my blog post listing as many male Christian fiction authors that I could come up with, this author contacted me and offered to send me the first book in this series. I of course took him up on it. Though he said nothing about a review, I am doing one anyway of my own volition.

 I'll be honest: I had a hard time getting into the book at first. I read a few chapters, put it aside, and read a few other books before going back to it three days later. And I got into it more.

I really like the main character, who is the main character in the whole four-book series. He is a lieutenant in the Marines, and is a Christian, which comes out a lot throughout his adventures in the book. But I wouldn't call it preachy - not sure why that bothers Christian readers in a Christian book, but it does bother some.

The book does start out slow, but then a lot happens the further you get in the book. This book has a lot of political intrigue, and a lot of discussion about interactions between the Ukraine, Russia, and the USA.

All in all, I found it to be a fascinating look at what can happen - and probably does happen - behind the scenes that we may never know about. And I definitely liked the book well enough that I will be checking out the rest of the series.


About the author: 


Steve Wilson
is a prior service Marine, and recently retired from the Air Force Reserve as a senior NCO. He is a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2010, he was named the Air Force Reserve Air Transportation NCO of the Year, and has been awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal. His ties to the military have taken him all over the world, and he has visited the former Soviet Union on multiple occasions.

The Michael Neill Adventures have been nominated for thechristianmanifesto.com's Lime Award for Excellence in Fiction for three years running. They have also won the Shelf Unbound Notable Book Award in the Page Turner category, received the Five Star Award from readersfavorite.com, won Silver and Gold in Literary Classics' 2016 Book Awards, and have appeared on the Military Writers Society of America's recommended reading list. 

“I have always been a big reader. I think that’s what inspired me to try my hand at writing. Writing is cathartic to me. Returning from Afghanistan in 2011, I wanted to work on something fulfilling. A few years earlier, I had written a draft of my first novel, ‘Red Sky at Morning’. It was intended to be youth fiction, but no one would read it. Coming home, I dusted it off and re-purposed it with an eye toward the post-Cold War, post-9/11 world.

Finally, I got the attention of a publicist, who told me the book didn’t have a ‘teen voice’. I expanded the story, doubled its length, and revised it for an older audience. With a lot of diligence, I eventually found a publisher.

I try to keep the books character-driven. My goal is to tell a compelling story without throwing around a lot of acronyms or technical jargon. There’s some of that, but only to ground the action in a realistic frame of reference. The novels have been compared to the works of Tom Clancy or Vince Flynn. That’s very flattering, but you won’t find any profanity or compromising situations in my novels. The books are family-friendly with a faith based message of honor, courage, service and sacrifice. Written for adults but suitable for the mature teen.

The series explores the dynamics of faith in uniform, which are often absent from books of the same kind. They have a broad appeal; there’s action, military hardware, strong core values, and even a little romance. A lot of my best reviews have come from readers with no military background at all. Neill’s adventures will hold the interest of young and old, and will encourage readers to value patriotism and embrace honor and integrity.”

Check out his website.

Check out the rest of the Michael Neill Adventure Series:

                                                                  Book #2


Book #3


Book #4