Monday, November 7, 2022

Body of Evidence, Triple Threat Series #3 by Irene Hannon

 

Book description:


The dead don't give up their secrets easily

Forensic pathologist Grace Reilly has seen her share of unusual deaths in rural Missouri. But when she begins to notice a curious pattern in autopsies of older residents whose demises appear to be natural, she takes her concerns to Sheriff Nate Cox.

Nate is skeptical about the link Grace is seeing between the deaths, as well as her suspicions of foul play. But her persistence is compelling. And once they join forces to investigate, danger follows close behind. Because exposing the truth could destroy several lives--including Grace's.

Queen of inspirational romantic suspense Irene Hannon closes out her bestselling Triple Threat series with this gripping tale of secrets revealed and romance sparked.

My review:
    Irene Hannon has long been one of my top favorite Christian suspense authors, and is an author who keeps putting out fresh new suspense that seems to be even better than the previous books.

   This has been a really great series, and Body of Evidence, the last book in the trilogy, may be the best of the three. Forensic pathology is a fascinating subject, and Hannon did a great job of portraying it in the character of Grace Reilly. The descriptions of the autopsies were not gory, but gave enough information to be interesting.

 The plot was interesting and well done: murders that were done so well that they appeared to be natural deaths, suspected at first only by Grace, and then by Nate.

  Grace and Nate were great and likable characters, and both determined to find out what the truth was, no matter how many obstacles were in their way, including convincing the coroner that the deaths were not natural and they needed more tests done on the bodies.

 This is romantic suspense, and the romance part was more of a slow burn. Slight spoiler: not a lot happens in that department til closer the end of the book.

 The suspense part of the book was also kind of a slow burn. There are no chases or shootings, but it is still a big page turner and there are attacks on Grace that are more low key.

  In books like these where the killer is unknown, I always try to figure out who it is, and sometimes I am successful. I was not in this book. I figured it out right before Nate did, and it was not a big leap at that point, but it was a big surprise....I did not see that one coming at all.

 The book had a great satisfying conclusion that brought all three sisters together, and not only tied up the murder investigation quite well, but also the romance angle.

  Body of Evidence shows that even after all the books and series this author has written, she still has it.

I was provided a copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions in this review are my own.


About the author:

Irene Hannon is the bestselling and award-winning author of more than 60 contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels. In addition to her many other honors, she is a three-time winner of the prestigious RITA Award from Romance Writers of America. She is also a member of RWA's elite Hall of Fame and has received a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews for her entire body of work. Learn more at www.irenehannon.com.

 Body of Evidence is available from Revell Publishing, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to Revell for the review copy.

And check out the rest of The Triple Threat Series:

                                                                         Book #1



                                                                        Book #2
                          


Friday, October 28, 2022

Honor's Refuge, Love and Honor Series #3 by Hallee Bridgeman


Book description: 

You can't give up on love

When she was just five years old, Melissa Braxton watched her father take her mother's life and suffered the pain of separation from her sister, Lola. Melissa grew up with a strong desire to help those stuck in abusive relationships. It's why she became a therapist and opened a domestic abuse shelter.

After losing a leg to a gunshot wound in the line of duty, Phil Osbourne has felt like a man without a purpose--until he hears Melissa's story and decides to use his Special Forces contacts to track down her missing sister, the wife of a Colombian cartel teniente. He knows what he discovers will break Melissa's heart. What he doesn't realize is that helping the women reunite will bring the cartel down on them like the category 5 hurricane striking Miami.

Bruised yet not quite broken, Melissa and Phil battle the storm and the cartel, calling on strength they didn't know they had to escape death, save the innocent, and--just maybe--find healing in each other's arms.

My review: 
     
I have been eagerly anticipating this book since I read the second a month ago. It is awesome that all three books came out a month apart. Most series has books come out at least 6 months apart.

 It was well worth the wait. This has been an awesome series, and introduced me to a great author whose other books I have been reading. (I highly recommend the Song of Suspense Series)

  Honor's Refuge is not as military in nature as the first two. Two of Phil's former Special Forces buddies make an appearance for part of the book, and he makes use of his Special Forces training in the book, but it all takes place in Miami. The other two books involved all of his former team, and took the reader to other countries.

 Not to say this book was not as good. It was definitely as good. I really enjoy books that have a character that has some handicap or past to overcome. Though the characters are fictional, it is not fictional that no matter what our past or handicap is, we can persevere and God can help us in whatever it is.

  Phil lost his leg on a mission in the first book. He also had a previous medical drug addiction made easier by his being in the medical field.  Though he has a great attitude about the loss of his leg, he is letting those two things keep him from a couple things he wants in life: to be an ER doctor instead of an EMT, and to admit his love for Melissa and have a relationship with her.

  The book didn't just have romance, but also a lot of suspense and bad guys. There was one part of the book that I was saying in my mind to the author "How could you?!"...but even with that very sad part of the book, it was truly a masterpiece of Christian fiction. The author is new to Revell Publishing with this series, but it is such a great series that her place as one of their authors should be firmly cemented in place.

  A big part of the book is Melissa's work with abused women and men. Again, though the book was fiction, I was saddened by the thought of how prevalent that is, and am thankful there are people out there in real life helping those in that kind of situation.

 Faith played a large part in the book. Things happened that made Phil crave the drugs he used to be addicted to, and his praying and Melissa's praying with him happened a few times. I appreciate authors who do not shy away from that.

 I really enjoyed this series, and loved the characters. Phil may be my favorite, with all he had to overcome, but the author did a great job on the characters she created and the interplay between them.

 The book did have a happy ending, worthy of not just the book, but the whole trilogy. It has left me wanting to read more by this fairly new-to-me-author, and I am looking forward to what she writes next.

I was provided a copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions in this review are my own.

About the author:


Hallee Bridgeman is the USA Today bestselling author of several action-packed romantic suspense books and series. An Army brat turned Floridian, Hallee and her husband finally settled in central Kentucky, where they have raised their three children. When she's not writing, Hallee pursues her passion for cooking, coffee, campy action movies, and regular date nights with her husband. An accomplished speaker and active member of several writing organizations, Hallee can be found online at www.halleebridgeman.com.

 Honor's Refuge will be released in four days, November 1 from Revell Publishing, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to Revell for the review copy.

Check out the first two books in the series. And they definitely need to be read in order.


                                                            Book #1, September 2022


                                                             Book #2, October 2022


Friday, October 14, 2022

Dangerous Beauty by Melissa Koslin


Book description: 

What is the price of freedom?

Liliana Vela hates the term victim. She's not a victim, she's a fighter. Stubborn and strong with a quiet elegance, she's determined to take back her life after escaping the clutches of human traffickers. But she can't stay safely in America--unless the man who aided in her rescue is serious about his unconventional proposal to marry her.

Meric Toledan was just stopping at a service station for a bottle of water. Instead, he becomes the key to Liliana's rescue. If he can keep his secrets hidden, his wealth and position afford him many resources to help her. But the mysterious buyer who funded her capture will not sit idly by while his prize is stolen from him.

My review:
    Confession: I will admit that after the book came, the cover and description didn't grab me, and I had set it aside and almost forgot about it. I got an email this week that it had to be reviewed by today, and put it off til today......and man was I surprised. This is the second solo endeavor by this author, and man did she hit it out of the park. Once I started it, I did not want to put it down. (And other than bathroom breaks and a supper break, I did not).

  This is a novel about sexual trafficking, and a very good one. The author created two terrific main characters in Liliana and Meric. Liliana made a great victim....the kind who did not let it define her or make her live in fear. She did not feel in debt to Meric for rescuing her in the way he did, yet she was thankful and determined to help him. Meric....he was a multi-faceted complicated character. Determined to keep his hands and emotions to himself when it came to his new wife, he lived in fear he would turn into his father all the while secretly fighting the very people his father was like. He lived behind a cold and uncaring façade that only Liliana could see through. At times I wanted to smack him, but realized the way he acted was because of the way he was raised and played into making sure his wife felt safe. From even him. (I will admit to muttering a couple times "just kiss her and admit you love her, you idiot). :)

  Another author described this novel as a "fresh twist on a marriage of convenience", and that is a very great description. The romance part of the book was on a back burner. A back burner turned down very low, while other parts of the book took precedence. 

  This was not what I would call a fast paced suspenseful novel, as things moved fairly slow, but it was still suspenseful and things did happen.

  The author did a great job of shining a spot light on the horrors of sex trafficking, and did it in a way to showcase the awesomeness of people being set free from that life.

  Slight spoiler: the romance was finally pulled from the back slow burning burner to the front full flame one. :)

  This was a great read, and I am glad I took the time to read and review it. I definitely recommend it.

I was provided a copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions in this review are my own.


About the author:
Melissa Koslin is a fourth-degree black belt in and certified instructor of Songahm
Taekwondo. In her day job as a commercial property manager, she secretly notes personal quirks and funny situations, ready to tweak them into colorful additions for her books. The author of Never Miss, Melissa lives in Jacksonville, Florida, with her husband, Corey. Find more information on her books at www.MelissaKoslin.com.

Dangerous Beauty is available from Revell Publishing, part of the Baker Publishing Group.
Thanks to Revell for the review copy.

Check out Melissa's previous novel from Revell: Never Miss



Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Word of Honor, Love and Honor #2 by Hallee Bridgeman


Book description:

 You can't outrun the past

FBI Special Agent Lynda Culter is investigating an ecoterrorist organization in the Alaskan wilderness when she and her partner are taken captive and he's murdered before her very eyes. The only person who can identify the key players, Lynda gets assigned to take part in a joint operation in Istanbul to take the organization down.

As a woman in a Muslim country, she'll find it much easier to move around undetected with a fake husband. Unfortunately for her, the one assigned to play the role is none other than Army weapons specialist Bill Sanders--the man who crushed her heart in college.

With a cargo bay's worth of hurt and baggage between them, these two consummate professionals must play their parts perfectly if they hope to stop those responsible for bombing oil pipelines, which has killed innocent civilians and threatened to destabilize the oil markets. Protecting Lynda becomes Bill's primary focus--but love long buried has a way of resurfacing at the most inopportune times.

My review:

   Usually when I say I have been eagerly waiting for a sequel, it has been 6 months or more. In this case, it has been only a month....but I have still eagerly been waiting. I don't know why these three books are coming out a month apart, but I love the fact that they are.

 This sequel did not disappoint. It had a lot of the same characters, at least regarding the Army team, but the plot and locations were totally different. This book was all over the place geographically: Alaska, Kentucky, Alabama, Kuwait, and Turkey.

  Bill - Sanders - was the hero of this story, back from the life threating injury in book #1, and the heroine was his college sweetheart he walked away from. The antagonism she had towards him for part of the book made everything all the more interesting.

 The plot was well thought out and riveting: attacks on oil pipelines globally. I will admit to being a bit anti-Muslim, but found that angle of the book interesting....the food, practices, dress, etc. In fact, I found myself Googling some foods to find out exactly what they were. Then I got to the end of the book, and the author has recipes for some of them. :)

 There is a lot of suspense, bad guys, drama....and yes, romance. But there is also themes of forgiveness, and trusting God. Lynda had to forgive Bill. He had to forgive himself, and come to an understanding that our past does not need to define us, and that we are all equal in God's eyes. This book is not just an awesome story of eco-terrorists and their plot to blow up oil pipelines and wreak other havoc, and the attempts of the good guys to stop them. It is also the story of two souls ripped apart by one man's shame and feelings of unworthiness for the girl he loves...of a decade old romance finally coming to fruition.

   This book was truly an amazing read. There was a lot I did not see coming, especially that one thing that has left me puzzled about a certain body...but I will not give away any spoilers.

   The story has also given me a bigger appreciation for our military personnel. Not just for the danger they face, but what they leave behind and the personal sacrifices they make of family and comfort.

  Word of Honor is only the 4th or so book I have read by this author, but I love her writing style, the characters she creates, and the message and themes of those books. I am definitely counting down the days until the third and final book in this series, which is coming out November 1 of this year.

I was provided a copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions in this review are my own.


About the author:


Hallee Bridgeman is the USA Today bestselling author of several action-packed romantic suspense books and series. An Army brat turned Floridian, Hallee and her husband finally settled in central Kentucky, where they have raised their three children. When she's not writing, Hallee pursues her passion for cooking, coffee, campy action movies, and regular date nights with her husband. An accomplished speaker and active member of several writing organizations, Hallee can be found online at www.halleebridgeman.com.

Word of Honor is available from Revell Publishing, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to Revell for the review copy.

                                                                          Book #1



Book #3, coming November 1, 2022



Thursday, September 29, 2022

Escape From Amsterdam, Heroines of WW II #7 by Lauralee Bliss


Book description: 

 A University Student Smuggles Children Out of Amsterdam

Full of intrigue, adventure, and romance, this series celebrates the unsung heroes—the heroines of WWII.

Helen Smit believed she was called by God to become a teacher. Little does she know that her care for kids will take a drastic turn for survival when the Germans occupy Amsterdam and Jewish children and parents begin to be deported. Now all she can think of is helping all the kids escape before it’s too late.

Erik Misman’s newfound love for Helen is tested when he joins a plot to help move Jewish children to a safe place in the countryside. If danger can foster a closer bond with Helen a/nd save the lives of the little ones, he will do it all. But a German patrol that stumbles upon the farm where they are hiding with three children and a soldier who takes an unexpected interest in Helen, could well destroy their plans for safety and love.

My review: 
   This book is set during the German occupation of the Netherlands during World War II. It is the first book I have read by this author, and she did a great job of holding my attention.

  The book was entertaining, engaging, and also sobering. Helen and Erik were likable characters, and though they were fictional, their actions and things that happened in the book are things that actually happened and that people did. Fiction is such a great medium for stories like this. There are those who claim the Holocaust never happened, but this book did such a great job of reminding the reader of the harsh reality that it did indeed exist, and though much evil was done, there were real life heroes like the fictional ones in this book that risked everything to save lives of the Jewish people.

  There is a lot of suspenseful moments in the book. One hopes and believes that everything is going to work out, but the author wove the story in such a way that it still had me on the edge of my seat hoping for the best.

  Romance does play a part in the book, but it is not the main focus of the book, and is done well. 

  Though this book is a reminder of some very dark days in our world's history, and of such evil that rules for too long, it was a great read and also a great reminder of the good people at that time who persevered in spite of the forces against them

I was provided a copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions in this review are my own.

About the author:


Lauralee Bliss is a published author of over thirty Christian romance novels and novellas in both historical and contemporary with nearly 600,000 sold. In 2018 she received a 25-book published award from ACFW. Her recent releases are Escape from Amsterdam and two books in the Angel Series - Christmas Angels of Virginia and Angel in the Crossroad.

Lauralee enjoys writing books reminiscent of a roller coaster ride for the reader. Her desire is for readers to come away with an entertaining story and a lesson that ministers to the heart. Her new imprint HeartSoul Press exemplifies this.

Lauralee is also an avid hiker, hiking the entire Appalachian Trail twice from Georgia to Maine and from Maine to Georgia, one of only 24 women to accomplish this feat. She has also completed other trails totaling over 10,000 miles including the Florida Trail of which her Florida Trail adventure "Gators, Guts and Glory" is part of the Hiking Adventure Series along with Mountains, Madness and Miracles - 4000 Miles Along the Appalachian Trail.

Check out her website: lauraleebliss.com

Escape From Amsterdam is available from Barbour Publishing.
Thanks to Barbour for the review copy.

Check out the other books in the Heroines of WW II Series:








Sunday, September 25, 2022

The Secrets of Emberwild by Stephenia H. McGee


Book description:

 A gifted trainer in a time women are not allowed to race, Nora Fenton prefers horses to men. They're easier to handle, they're more reliable, and they never tell her what to do. After her father's passing, Nora is determined to save her struggling horse farm, starting with entering her prize colt into the harness races at the 1905 Mississippi and West Alabama Fair. If she wins, she may have a chance at independence. But when a stranger arrives and starts asking disconcerting questions, she suspects he may have other motives than unseating her in the training job that is rightfully hers.

Silas Cavallero will do whatever it takes to solve the mystery of his father's death--even if it means training an unwieldy colt for Nora, who wants nothing more than to see him gone. But when mysterious accidents threaten their safety and circumstances shrouded in secrets begin unlocking clues to his past, Silas will have to decide if the truth is worth the risk of ruining everything for the feisty woman he's come to admire.

My review:

  This is the first book that I have reviewed by this author, though I have read a few of her other books since requesting this one for review. I have enjoyed each one, including this. I actually thought this book was a contemporary novel until I started reading it, but would have requested it anyway.

  I would not identify as a lover of horses, but like them well enough. The author wrote a great historical romance with some suspense built in all around horses and made it an interesting and exciting read. 

  There were characters to both like and dislike in the book, and fortunately the two main characters fell into the likeable camp. Silas was on a quest to solve the death of his father from 15 years before, something he felt was connected to Emberwild. Nora was a woman determined not to be bound to what was viewed as proper behavior for a young woman of her age. And there were forces set on stopping both of them from succeeding. 

 I enjoyed the book a lot. The slow moving romance between the drifter/hired hand and the lady of the "manor" was interesting enough, but there was also horse training, an overbearing uncle,  bad guys, mysterious accidents, and the 15 year old murder or mysterious death of Silas' father to solve.

 There were a few surprises along the way, but I had my suspicions about a couple of characters that were correct, and about something else I won't say as to avoid spoilers. The book wasn't what I would call predictable, but I am always happy when I can guess correctly on at least a couple of things.....and I did.

 I will say that Silas became the hero of the story that was evident from page one, and Nora got what she wanted in the end after all, no matter how unlikely it looked for a while.

 This is the author's first book from a major publisher, and she has delivered them a great novel full of romance, suspense, drama......and of course: horses. 

I was provided a copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions in this review are my own.


About the author:


Stephenia H. McGee is the award-winning author of many stories of faith, hope, and healing set in the Deep South, including The Secrets of Emberwild. When she's not reading or sipping sweet tea on the front porch, she's a writer, dreamer, husband spoiler, and busy mom of two rambunctious boys. Learn more at www.stepheniamcgee.com.

   Secrets of Emberwild will be available October 4 from Revell Publishing, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

  Thanks to Revell for the review copy.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Honor Bound, Love and Honor #1 by Hallee Bridgeman


Book description:

 You can't override the heart

It may seem odd to seek peace by moving to a war-torn African country, but for medical missionary Dr. Cynthia Myers, it provided a way to escape a shallow life of unearned wealth, a philandering fiancé, and a father now square in the public eye as vice president of the United States. At least here she knows her work and life have meaning. But all that is thrown into chaos when she fails to save the life of a local warlord's mortally wounded son.

As part of the Army Special Forces A-Team on a mission to capture and subdue the warlord, Captain Rick Norton is compelled to use deadly force to save Cynthia's life. Enraged at the violence she witnessed and riddled with guilt that men died because of her, Cynthia doesn't want to like anything about Rick and his team--but an unexpected attraction is taking hold.

With two members of his team badly injured and rebels in hot pursuit, Rick will have to draw upon all his strength and cunning to get her out alive . . . because he's beginning to think that, despite their differences, they just may be able to make a life together.

My review:
  I ran across this author a few months ago and downloaded a few free e-books by her, but had not read them yet. Then this book came up for review, her first with a major Christian publisher. I was intrigued, and requested it. It is one of the best first reads by a new-to-me author I have read for a while.

  The two main characters are pure gold. They far from hit it off at first meeting, and are totally opposites. She is a pacifist against killing, and is a doctor who saves lives. He is a soldier who kills to save others. One funny scene: he is going in to see his injured men, and she made him leave his guns outside, and attempted to make him leave his gun also. He replies that he is a weapon, and that anything within his reach can be used as a weapon. "Comes down to it, I could strangle you with my boxers or smother you with my socks. You want me to leave them outside too?"

  I enjoy military fiction, and this author's first (I think) attempt at it was a home run out of the park. I loved the team of guys she created, and found myself chuckling at their nicknames: Swanson was "pot pie", Fisher was "Trout", Sanders was "drum stick". One thing I really like and enjoy in a book is the back and forth between characters, and Bridgeman did an excellent job on that....especially between the two main characters, Rick and Cynthia.

 The drama and suspense were also well done, along with the descriptive writing. I could easily see in my mind the places they were traveling to get out of the danger they found themselves in. I felt pulled into the book, and the action and danger seemed so realistic and well written, that it felt like a true glimpse into what our special forces soldiers face and go through.

  Through the arguing and discussion between Rick and Cynthia about her pacifism and the killing and violence he and his men regularly faced and did, the author addressed the issue of Christian men in the military having to kill. Though fictional, I enjoyed reading about Rick's Christian experience and walk as a special forces soldier, and how he unwound when on leave. And thanks to the author, I have been hungry for a good hamburger because of all  the talk of eating them in the book.

  I loved this book, and it is truly one of the best Christian military type books I have read. If this is an indication of the author's writing talent and abilities, I definitely need to read more of her work.

 The only complaint I have: I felt the ending was a bit rushed, and wished the author had made that part of the story a little more detailed.....maybe included an epilogue. 

 Something unusual about this trilogy: This first novel released this month. The second will release October 4, and the third will release November 1. I am looking forward to reading the other two, and thankfully will not have to wait long.

I was provided a copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions in this review are my own.



About the author:


Hallee Bridgeman is the USA Today bestselling author of several action-packed romantic suspense books and series. An Army brat turned Floridian, Hallee and her husband finally settled in central Kentucky, where they have raised their three children. When she's not writing, Hallee pursues her passion for cooking, coffee, campy action movies, and regular date nights with her husband. An accomplished speaker and active member of several writing organizations, Hallee can be found online at www.halleebridgeman.com.

 Check out her website for a few free e-books, the first ones in a few series.

  Honor Bound is available from Revell Publishing, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to Revell for the review copy.

                                                     Book #2 releasing October 4, 2022



                                                Book #3 releasing November 1, 2022