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

Sunday, September 18, 2022

A Gem of Truth, Secrets of the Canyon #2 by Kimberly Woodhouse


Book description:

Escaping her shattered past is much more difficult than she imagined.

Julia Schultz has a reputation for being a storyteller, or as others see it, a liar. But with her dark and painful past, stories are all that have kept her company throughout her life. Longing for a fresh start and a second chance to earn real trust, Julia takes a job as a Harvey Girl at the El Tovar Hotel, where she's challenged to be her true self.

Learning the trade of a master jeweler is hard work, but Christopher Miller takes pride in running his family's small shop and earning the respect of the people around him. But when he discovers that he has six weeks to buy his building from his landlord before it is sold, he must find a way to save his grandfather's legacy.

United by the discovery of a legendary treasure, Chris and Julia find hope in each other. But when Julia's past catches up with her, doubt creeps into Chris's heart. Can he really trust her and her stories?

My review:

   To me, this author has become synonymous with quality Christian fiction, and I have enjoyed every book of hers that I have read. My favorite genre' is mystery/suspense, but she is one author who has pulled me into the historical fiction genre'. Many of her books do have some kind of mystery or suspense element to it, as this one did.

  A Gem of Truth, just like the book it follows - A Deep Divide - is set in the early 1900's at the El Tovar Hotel at the Grand Canyon. A hotel that I found out by Googling is still in business. (A fact I found cool).

  Though the setting was the same as the first book, the plot was different. This one involved a legend, a treasure, and bad guys who wanted that treasure.

 It also had two different main characters: Julia, a "Harvey Girl" waitress at the hotel.....and Christopher, a jeweler who lived in Williams, a town around 52 miles from the El Tovar Hotel. (Googled that also!)

  One of the main themes of the book was honesty. To cover up her past, Julia had a bad habit of spinning elaborate stories that supposedly happened to her, but did not. On the other hand, Christopher valued honesty. Woodhouse always has spiritual lessons scattered throughout her books, and this was the most predominant one in The Gem of Truth. Using the medium of fiction, and using the Bible in that fiction,  the author showed how important honesty is.

  I enjoyed visiting the historical hotel again through this book, and learning more about the hotel, Harvey girls, and learning about lapidary. (Had to Google the definition of that one.) There is much one can learn from fiction, and especially historical fiction. I have found this author to be one who obviously does a lot of research before she writes a historical novel/trilogy, and she is one who I have learned some things from. All by reading a novel.

  The book had a lot of mystery and suspense, and a few surprises....which I cannot give away, or they would not be surprises to readers.

  And Julia ends up in a bit of hot water where her past dishonesty causes her some problems, a lesson for all.

 Woodhouse has again penned a great historical novel that not only entertains, but inspires, teaches, and even convicts a bit.

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

About the author:

Kimberley Woodhouse (www.kimberleywoodhouse.com) is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than 25 fiction and nonfiction books. Kim and her incredible husband of 30-plus years live in the Poconos, where they play golf together, spend time with their kids and grandbaby, and research all the history around them.

 A Gem of Truth will be available September 20 from Bethany House Publishers, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

 Thanks to Bethany House for the review copy.

                                                                        Book #1

Book #3, releases January 2023

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Deception, Natchez Trace Park Rangers #4 by Patricia Bradley

Book description:

She refuses to let someone from her past define her future.

But does she really have a choice in the matter?

After being forced to kill an FBI agent gone rogue in self-defense, ISB ranger Madison Thorn is happy to be working in the fraud and cybercrimes division. At least numbers don't lie. So she's less than thrilled when she's drawn into a violent crime investigation in Natchez, Mississippi. She could also do without being forced to work with former-childhood-enemy-turned-infuriatingly-handsome park ranger Clayton Bradshaw.

When a woman who looks just like Madison is attacked on the same night Madison's grandfather is shot, it becomes clear that there is something much bigger going on . . . and that Madison herself is in danger. Madison and Clayton will have to work together--and suppress their growing feelings for one another--if they are to discover the truth before it's too late.

My review:

    This may be the best book in this four book series. I had requested it to review, and for some reason kept putting off reading it. Once I started reading it, I could not put it down and read it in one sitting, other than drink and restroom breaks.

   There is a lot that goes on in this book. It is not a slow moving mystery where the characters have a lot of downtime. The suspense and drama are pretty much non-stop, and had me wanting to read as fast as I could. The book seemed long (386 pages), and I felt I would never get to the end to find out the guilty party or parties....yet the ending seemed to come all too quickly.

  The author had a great handful of suspects, and I am proud to say I was right on a couple of things.....but will give no spoilers. Madison and Clayton made a great team, and Clayton was made all the more likable and relatable with the addictions he had to fight. Perfect characters are annoying and unrealistic.

   Deception is a romantic suspense novel, and there was not a ton of that in the book. It was more of a slow burn, and attraction was put out there a lot, though the characters did not act on it as much as is common in these kind of books.

  Even though I guessed correctly on a couple of things, the book was still full of surprises....such as Dani. Read the book to find out why...... 

  I was quite satisfied with the ending, and have that satisfied feeling after reading a great novel. It was time well spent.

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

About the author: 

Patricia Bradley is the author of Standoff, Obsession, and Crosshairs, as well as the Memphis Cold Case novels and Logan Point series. Bradley won an Inspirational Reader's Choice Award in Romantic Suspense, a Daphne du Maurier Award, and a Touched by Love Award; she was a Carol Award finalist; and three of her books were included in anthologies that debuted on the USA Today bestseller list. She is cofounder of Aiming for Healthy Families, Inc., and she is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Sisters in Crime. Bradley makes her home in Mississippi. Learn more at www.ptbradley.com.

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

Thanks to Revell for the review copy.

Check out the rest of the Natchez Trace Park Rangers Series:

                                                                              Book #1


                                                                         Book #2

Book #3

Thursday, August 18, 2022

The Bride of Blackfriars Lane, Blackfriars Lane #2 by Michelle Griep

Book description:

 The Continuing Adventure of Jackson and Kit!

Detective Jackson Forge can hardly wait to marry the street-sly swindler who’s turned his life upside down. Kit Turner is equally excited to wed the handsome detective, and what better way to show her love than providing him with a gift any man of the law would love? She determines to bring to justice the men who years ago maimed his brother—despite Jackson’s warning to leave the past in the past. As she digs into the mystery of what happened, she unwittingly tumbles into her own history and endangers her future happiness with Jackson.

My review:

    I reviewed a book by this author that was described as "Regency-Gothic", and no offense to the author...did not care for it much. I heard rave reviews for The Thief of Blackfriars Lane, and when I had a chance to review this, the sequel, I requested this one, bought and devoured the first one.

  The Bride of Blackfriars Lane showed up this morning in my mailbox, and I immediately started reading it. When it begins, Jackson and Kit are now engaged to be married in just a few short days, and if the readers expect everything to go without a hitch, they will be extremely disappointed.

  Sequels can be dangerous things. A reader may love a book, and the sequel is a letdown. In this case, book #1 was a total delight to read, and book #2 continues in that same vein, just as good or better than #1.

  The Bride of Blackfriars Lane is full of mischief, mystery, romance, and things happening to the hero and heroine that show how different they are, but how suited for each other they are. I read a lot of suspense novels, which is my favorite genre'. Solving crimes and mysteries in the late 1800's is a total different ballgame, and the author does a great job of describing what that might entail and involve. There is a murder to solve, and a thieving racket to stop and find the perpetrators, and that adds to the excitement of the book.

   Jackson again makes a great hero, doing his best to keep his bride to be out of trouble as she gets into trouble and pulls him along. I enjoyed the read, and it was truly a delight to read. I am a fast reader, and I found myself wishing I could read even faster to see what was going to befall the couple next, and if they would ever to to the point of tying the knot. The book ended in a great way with a few surprises and a few things I saw coming.

 I read a lot of books. This book makes #380 for the year. (My goal was 200). I can very easily say that this book and the one that came before it are among the best I have read this year. I am so glad I gave this author another chance. I highly recommend these books, and they defitely should be read in order. My hat is off to the author for again penning a book that deserves the description of "awesome", and deserves more than the allotted 5 stars.

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

About the author:

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She seeks to glorify God in all that she writes—except for that graffiti phase she went through as a teenager. She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. An Anglophile at heart, she runs away to England every chance she gets, under the guise of research. Really, though, she’s eating excessive amounts of scones while rambling around a castle. Michelle is a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and MCWG (Minnesota Christian Writers Guild).

Visit her website for more: MichelleGriep.com

The Bride of Blackfriars Lane will be available September 1 from Barbour Publishing. Thanks to Barbour for the review copy.

#1 The Thief of Blackfriars Lane, is available from Barbour Publishing.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Crossfire, Extreme Measures #2 by Lynette Eason


Book description:

She's never lost a hostage. Surely she can manage to take care of her sister.

FBI special agent Julianna Jameson is a top-notch negotiator, but when her much younger sister, Dottie, needs a place to live while she finishes high school, Julianna's skills will be put to the test.

Former sniper Clay Fox left the army after a tragic incident that he can't get past. Until he can figure out what to do with the rest of his life, he's working as a resource officer at a school. Dottie's school.

When Julianna is called in to negotiate a courtroom hostage situation involving Clay's sister, he's impressed--and, if he's honest, a bit intimidated--by the calm, capable woman with the dark hair and blue eyes, and invites her to speak at the school.

But as the anniversary of a school shooting from Julianna's past approaches, it becomes clear that her perfect record is about to be tested and that Dottie is at risk. If Julianna and Clay can't figure out who's behind the attacks, more innocent people will die--and Dottie is next in line.

My review:

  It is about impossible for me to pick a favorite author, but Lynette Eason is one of my top favorites. She just keeps getting better with each book and series, and this book proves that to be true.

  Eason wastes no time launching into the action and suspense in this book, starting on the first page with a hostage situation at a courthouse. The idea of hostage negotiations fascinates me, and though this book is fiction, I found the process and the thought process of the fictional negotiator that is likely based on research the author did for her book.

 With the heroine of the story being a hostage negotiator, that played a big role in the book, and Eason did a great job portraying and describing the action and tension in each situation, and the job made Julianna an extremely interesting character.

 Clay was the main male character/hero of the story. I was not sure what a SRO (School Resource Officer) was, so I used Google to learn a little more. His entrance into the story was a little different than most main male characters, but he was a great and likable character.

  If there is a theme to this book, it would be forgiveness and trust. Both Clay and Julianna had to forgive themselves for what had happened in the past. They both also had to forgive others, and the plot had a lot to do with the need of forgiveness needed but not given.

 Romance was rather low key in the book. It was there, but took a backseat to everything else that was happening. And a lot happened. This was one of those non stop action and suspense novels that was indeed difficult to put down. And I had the day off, so there was no need to put it down.

  The book had a great suspenseful and climatic ending with a surprise I kind of saw coming, but didn't see what exactly would happen or what players would be involved.

 And the actual final ending was humorous and involved socks and a televised baseball game. (Read the book to find out.)

  Crossfire shows again why Lynette Eason is such a popular author as she again delivers pulse pounding suspense that is also Christian, clean, and top quality.

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

About the author:

Lynette Eason is the USA Today bestselling author of Life Flight and Crossfire, as well as the Danger

Never Sleeps, Blue Justice, Women of Justice, Deadly Reunions, Hidden Identity, and Elite Guardians series. She is the winner of three ACFW Carol Awards, the Selah Award, and the Inspirational Reader's Choice Award, among others. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and has a master's degree in education from Converse College. Eason lives in South Carolina with her husband and two children. Learn more at www.lynetteeason.com.

 Crossfire will be available August 2 from Revell Publishing, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

                                                                         Book #1

Book #3, coming January 2023

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

The Heart of the Mountains by Pepper Basham

Book description: 

Can True Love Weather a World of Differences?

To escape marriage, Cora Taylor runs away from her home in England to join her brother in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, but not even her time as a nurse in the Great War prepares her for the hard landscape and even harder lives of the mountain people. With the help of Jeb McAdams, a quiet woodcarver, who carries his own battle scars, she fashions a place for herself among these unique people. But the past refuses to let go, and with dangers from within and without, can hearts bruised by war find healing within the wilds of the mountains?

My review:

  This is the first book by this author that I started. I got it to review and after a few chapters realized it was the sequel to another book, one that I had gotten free on my Kindle. I read it first, then went back to this one.

  This was a very enjoyable book. It was different than what I usually read, with it being set in the mountains and the characters all being backwoods mountain people with different beliefs and superstitions. 

  Cora was a great heroine. She was determined to do the right thing and help the mountain folk no matter what happened to her, and she did a great job of fitting in despite her fancy upbringing.

 Jeb made a great hero. Still suffering from the war, he was determined not to be a drunk like his father, and also determined to protect this "flatlander" female no matter what happened to him.

 The two seemed too opposite for a relationship, especially to Jeb's thinking, but that made the book all the more interesting. I like the author's style of writing, and her ability to describe the people and setting of the Appalachians in the early 1900's. The book had its amusing moments, and a lot of inspirational ones as the author showed God can change anyone, even the people living in that time and location.

  I have heard a lot of good about this author, and I am impressed with the three books I have read by her. (I read a third after finishing this one). She has hooked me enough that I will definitely be reading more of her books in the future.

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

About the author:

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor with a southern Appalachian flair. Her books have garnered recognition in the Grace Awards, Inpsys, and the ACFW Carol Awards, with The Thorn Healer selected as a 2018 finalist in the RT awards. Both her contemporary and historical romance novels consistently receive high ratings from Romantic Times,

with Just the Way You Are as a Top Pick. Most recently she’s introduced readers to Bath, UK through her novellas, Second Impressions and Jane by the Book, and taken readers into the exciting world of WW2 espionage in her novella, Façade. The second novel in The Pleasant Gap series, When You Look at Me, arrives in October and her contribution to Barbour’s wonderful My Heart Belongs series hits the shelves in January 2019 with My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge. Her books are seasoned with her Appalachian heritage and love for family. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of five great kids, a speech-pathologist to about fifty more, and a lover of chocolate, jazz, hats, and Jesus.

 The Heart of the Mountains is available from Barbour Publishing.

Thanks to Barbour for the review copy.

You can get to know Pepper on her website, www.pepperdbasham.com, on Facebook, Instagram, or over at her group blog, The Writer's Alley.

                                                                          Book #1

Monday, July 18, 2022

A Home In Cranberry Cove, Cranberry Cove Series #4 by June Foster

Book description:

 Madison Mitchell will never trust a man again. The love of her life broke her heart and married a French chef. Now she throws herself into her work at The Inn at Cranberry Cove. When she accidentally tangles with the manager of a nearby fishing supply store, she suspects the handsome guy is hiding something.

Micah Collins flees Sacramento seeking solace in the seaside village in Washington state. But he discovers an enemy has followed him to Cranberry Cove. He must endure frightful threats at the same time keeping his previous life secret. When Madison finds herself in danger, Micah blames himself.

Madison and Micah are haunted by someone from Micah’s past, but is the culprit the real enemy or should they look elsewhere? Will they find a future together?

My review:

   I have read and reviewed all four books in this series, and have enjoyed all of them. This fourth one is my favorite of the four. All of this authors books feature likable characters, but I found Micah and Madison even more likable than the others in this series. Both of them had suffered loss in their own ways, and Micah had left behind a great career to work at a sporting goods store to get away from his life.

  This book also seemed more suspenseful to me than the first three. The bad guy options were more numerous, and I couldn't tell for sure who was guilty, or if more than one person was guilty. That was kept up in the air for the majority of the book, and my suspicions were mostly correct.

  The book is romantic suspense, so there is romance. In addition to the suspense aspect, the romantic aspect was also done very well and had me hoping for the best for Micah and Madison. He, trying to cope with the loss of his wife, and Madison coping with a lost love interest and a divorce on top of that.

 One thing this author does not shy away from is putting the salvation message in her books. I see people complain about too much of that in book reviews I see, but Christian fiction should have a strong Christian message in addition to being clean and curse free. And these books are all that.

 They say you cannot judge a book by its cover, but the books in this series have gorgeous eye-catching covers which are indictive of how good the books are.

 Foster has again written a great Christian suspense novel with strong and likable characters and a great Christian message.

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

About the author:

An award-winning author, June Foster is also a retired teacher with a BA in Education and a MA in

counseling. She is the mother of two and grandmother of ten. June began writing Christian romance in 2010. She penned her first novel on her Toshiba laptop as she and her husband traveled the US in their RV. Her adventures provide a rich source of information for her novels. She brags about visiting a location before it becomes the setting in her next book.

To date, June has written twenty-one contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels and novellas. She loves to compose stories about characters who overcome the circumstances in their lives by the power of God and His Word. June uses her training in counseling and her Christian beliefs in creating characters who find freedom to live godly lives. She's published with Winged Publications. Visit June at www.junefoster.com to see a complete list of her books.

Check out the other books in the series:

                                                                       Book #1

Book #2

Book #3