Sunday, June 28, 2015

Capturing Jasmina by Kimberly Rae

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Capturing Jasmina
by Kimberly Rae


ISBN-13: 9781606828533
Paperback: 116 pages
Publisher: Journey Forth
Released: May 27, 2014

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.com.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Capturing Jasmina, fiction for young adult readers by Kimberly Rae, is the story of Jasmina, a young girl in India, and her brother, Samir. The children are sold by their father to a man promising them an education and good jobs.

But, as Jasmina and Samir soon discover, the man is providing an education, not in a school, but as a slave in his sweatshop garment factory. While Samir quickly submits to his new life of misery, Jasmina never stops planning an escape. She comes to realize that escape doesn’t always mean freedom.


My Review:
Capturing Jasmina is Christian, young adult fiction. This short book is the first in a series. Through Jasmina's story, we learn what life is like for a trafficked child and a street child and about Christian outreaches to these people. Based on my knowledge from non-fiction sources, I believe this story accurately portrays human trafficking and what life is like in India.

Perhaps due to its young adult target audience, not a lot of time or graphic description was spent on the horrors of child slavery--just enough detail to let you know what it's like and how it effects a person without personally pulling you into the horror of it.

However, people sometimes explained more than I think they would in real life. I doubt the factory owner would have explained to his new slaves that his "work until you pay back your debt" system was designed to keep them in perpetual debt. That system works through maintaining their hope that they can, someday, pay off the debt. But it would be difficult to explain some of what's going on in a natural way because most readers will be so unfamiliar with it.

I think this is a great way to introduce teens to other cultures and important issues. As an adult, I found the story interesting enough to want to know what happened to her brother, which is the topic of the second book in the series. Overall, I'd recommend this novella.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Submerged by Dani Pettrey

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Submerged
by Dani Pettrey


ISBN-13: 9781441271167
ebook: 320 pages
Publisher: Bethany House
Released: April 15, 2012

Source: ebook bought from Christianbook.com.

Book Description from Goodreads:
Bailey Craig vowed never to set foot in Yancey again. She has a past, and a reputation--and Yancey's a small town. She's returned to bury a loved one killed in the plane crash and is determined not to stay even an hour more than necessary. But then dark evidence emerges and Bailey's own expertise becomes invaluable for the case.

Cole McKenna can handle the deep-sea dives and helping the police recover evidence. He can even handle the fact that a murderer has settled in his town and doesn't appear to be moving on. But dealing with the reality of Bailey's reappearance is a tougher challenge. She broke his heart, but she is not the same girl who left Yancey. He let her down, but he's not the same guy she left behind. Can they move beyond the hurts of their pasts and find a future together?


My Review:
Submerged is a Christian romantic suspense novel. It's the first in a series, and it can be read as a stand-alone novel.

The Russian history aspect of the story was interesting (though it's a fictionalized, "what if" take on it). The mystery had clues that slowly uncovered a past event and helped with discovering whodunit. The suspense was created by the physical danger to a number of characters and from the emotional healing Bailey and Cole go through. The romance was about overcoming past hurts and actions, and it moved at a reasonable pace.

The Christian element was mainly a few prayers and Bailey learning to live like she's forgiven by God. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this suspenseful novel.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Summer of Promise by Amanda Cabot

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Summer of Promise
by Amanda Cabot


ISBN-13: 9781441235947
ebook: 416 pages
Publisher: Revell
Released: January 1, 2012

Source: ebook bought on Christianbook.com.

Book Description from Goodreads:
Though she had planned to spend the summer in Vermont, Abigail Harding cannot dismiss her concerns over her older sister. Charlotte's letters have been uncharacteristically melancholy, and her claims that nothing is wrong ring false, so Abigail heads west to Fort Laramie, Wyoming. When her stagecoach is attacked, Wyoming promises to be anything but boring. Luckily, the heroics of another passenger, Lieutenant Ethan Bowles, save the day.

Abigail plans to marry when she returns to Vermont, just as soon as she attends to her sister. As the summer passes, she finds herself drawn to this rugged land and to a certain soldier determined to persuade her to stay. When summer ends, will she go back East, or will she find her heart's true home?


My Review:
Summer of Promise is a Christian historical romance set in 1885 in Wyoming. It's the first in a series but can be read as a stand alone novel. The author vividly described the area and what fort life was like at this time without slowing the pacing. There's a mystery throughout about who is involved in the stage coach robberies. We're told enough to guess at the unknowns, but it's realistic that Ethan doesn't immediately suspect certain characters. We have more information than he does.

The characters were complex, likable, and acted realistically. Ethan and Abigail fell in love slowly as they spent time together and got to know each other. They want to help each other, and their friendship develops into something deeper. Charlotte's part of the story deals with a husband and wife who love each other yet still have hurt feelings as certain choices create tensions.

The Christian aspect is mostly in how the main characters treat those around them but also in where they look to understand what love truly is and to find forgiveness. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd highly recommend this enjoyable novel.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Fat Cat Spreads Out by Janet Cantrell

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Fat Cat Spreads Out
by Janet Cantrell


ISBN-13: 9780425267431
Mass Market Paperback:
304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: June 2, 2015

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description from Back Cover:
A booth at the Bunyan County Harvest Fair seems like the perfect opportunity for Charity “Chase” Oliver and Anna Larson to promote their Bar None bakery business. Unfortunately, plus-sized pussycat Quincy has plans for their delicious dessert bars other than selling them to customers. After tearing through their inventory, Quincy goes roaming the fairgrounds in search of more delights.

But what he finds is murder. One of the top contenders in a butter-sculpting contest has been killed, and Chase is churning on the inside when she sees Quincy’s handsome veterinarian, Dr. Mike Ramos, being led away by the police. With a little help from a kitty with butter on his whiskers, Chase needs to find the real killer and clear the doctor’s good name…


My Review:
Fat Cat Spreads Out is a cozy mystery. This book was the second in the series, but you don't need to read the previous novels to understand this one and this story didn't spoil the previous whodunits.

The cat is constantly escaping in search of food which keeps his owner running around looking for him. When there's a mystery, it's always helpful to have a good reason to be out talking with people. Mostly, though, the heroine is just a chatty, friendly person, and she picked up most of her clues that way. The heroine and her friends acted realistically and were nice people.

This was a clue-based puzzle mystery. There were enough clues that I could guess whodunit shortly before the final clues. The heroine asked good questions, was observant, and was generally good at realizing what those clues could mean. When one of her friends was in immediate danger, she was proactive in stopping a murderer, but she was as smart about it as possible under the circumstances.

There was one instance of bad language. There was no sex. Overall, I'd recommend this fun mystery.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Murder on Amsterdam Avenue by Victoria Thompson

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Murder on Amsterdam Avenue
by Victoria Thompson


ISBN-13: 9780425260470
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: May 5, 2015

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Midwife Sarah Brandt and ex-Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy investigate foul play in the secretive high-society world of nineteenth-century New York City…

In the midst of Sarah and Frank’s wedding preparations, Sarah accompanies her mother on a condolence call to the Upper West Side, where Charles Fairfax, the son of family friends, has died unexpectedly after suffering from a mysterious disease. It is a tragic and all too common story—or so it seems.

Charles’s father asks to speak with Sarah privately. He believes his son was poisoned and would like Sarah and Frank to look into the matter with the utmost discretion. Sarah and Frank soon learn that not everyone wants to know more about Charles’s death, particularly if he was murdered. As they unravel secrets that reach back to the War Between the States, they discover that others might also be in danger.


My Review:
Murder on Amsterdam Avenue is a historical mystery set in New York city in 1898. It's the seventeenth book in the series, but you don't need to read the previous novels to understand this one and this story didn't spoil the previous whodunits.

There was a nice level of historical detail regarding the city and social structure. The characters were varied and had realistic reactions to events. Frank and Sarah asked questions and followed up clues in a logic way until they all fit together. There were enough clues that I could guess about and narrow down whodunit. I figured out what the secret from the Civil War was long before Sarah and Frank completely understood it, but they made a reasonable assumption about it before the full truth was uncovered.

There was no bad language or sex scenes. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting historical mystery.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

A Finely Knit Murder by Sally Goldenbaum

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A Finely Knit Murder
by Sally Goldenbaum


ISBN-13: 9780451471604
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Obsidian
Released: May 5, 2015

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Seaside Knitter Birdie Favazza is thrilled that her granddaughter Gabby will be visiting for the fall and attending the Sea Harbor Community Day School. Gabby loves the school, with its newly-adopted progressive curriculum, and she loves that the Seaside Knitters are teaching knitting as part of the enrichment program.

But not everyone is happy with the direction the school is taking. Outspoken board member Blythe Westerland has sparked tempers with her determination to bring down the current administration. Then, on the evening of an elegant school event, Blythe’s body is found near the school boathouse.

With a killer on the loose, Birdie is determined to keep Gabby safe. Working together, the Seaside Knitters carefully unravel the layers of Blythe’s complicated life, bringing faculty members and town residents under scrutiny.


My Review:
A Finely Knit Murder is a cozy mystery. This is the ninth book in the series, but you don't need to read the previous novels to understand this one, and this story didn't spoil the previous mysteries.

The main characters are very nice, caring people, and they reacted realistically to the murder. The heroines asked reasonable questions and were good listeners. I had two strong suspects based on things the heroines observed and learned. The more they learned, the clearer it was whodunit. I correctly guessed whodunit and why a bit before the heroines finally picked up on what had happened. It was an enjoyable, slowly unraveled mystery.

There was no sex. There was a minor amount of bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this warm, cozy mystery.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Murder in Murray Hill by Victoria Thompson

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Murder in Murray Hill
by Victoria Thompson


ISBN-13: 9780425260463
Mass Market Paperback:
304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: May 5, 2015

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
The residents of nineteenth-century New York City turn to midwife Sarah Brandt and Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy to protect them from the worst crimes. Now, the two must track down a criminal preying on innocent women…

Frank Malloy has never known any life other than that of a cop, but his newfound inheritance threatens his position on the force. While trying to keep both his relationship with Sarah and his fortune under wraps, he’s assigned to a new case—finding a missing young woman who had been responding to “lonely hearts” ads in the paper before she disappeared. Malloy fears the worst, knowing that the grifters who place such ads often do much more than simply abscond with their victims.


My Review:
Murder in Murray Hill is a historical mystery set in New York city in the late 1890's. It's the sixteenth book in the series, but this story didn't spoil the previous mysteries. However, the author assumed that the reader had some previous knowledge of the characters and their relationships to each other. The story might be confusing at first if you haven't read any of the previous novels.

There was a nice level of historical detail regarding the city, police, and social structure. The characters were varied and had realistic reactions to events. Frank and Sarah basically gathered clues and followed them up in a logic way until they all fit together to solve the puzzle. The women's kidnapping was a good issue to have in a novel, but it didn't make for light reading as it's still an issue today.

There was a minor amount of bad language. There were no sex scenes, but there were frequent references to rape in a "he raped me" way or in vague terms. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting historical mystery.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.