Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Noah Drake and the Dragon Killer by Ben Russell

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Noah Drake and the Dragon Killer
by Ben Russell


ISBN-13: 9781540358080
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Createspace
Released: Nov. 10, 2016

Source: ebook review copy from the author.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Noah Drake loves dinosaurs and would like to dig up dinosaur bones someday. Then he discovered that real dinosaurs might still be around! While on vacation to Lake Champion with his family, he hears stories about Champ, a lake monster. He'd love to capture Champ, just like he captures dinos on a video game he enjoys. But he starts to rethink things when he meets two men who are set on killing Champ for fame and fortune. Noah Drake And The Dragon Killer is a middle grade to young adult story that teaches creation. You'll enjoy Noah Drake if you like Jonathan Park!


My Review:
Noah Drake and the Dragon Killer is a Christian middle grade adventure novel. The story follows a family during their eventful vacation to Lake Champion, where some of them see the local sea monster (Champ) and encounter some dragon hunters. Noah would love to capture Champ--like on a video game he plays--but the dragon hunters are out to kill Champ for fame and fortune. The "good guy" main characters were engaging while the "bad guy" characters were largely comical.

Several characters were Christians who believed that God created dinosaurs about 6,000 years ago and that we knew them by the name "dragons" until the 1800s. There was also a simplified explanation of why a character didn't believe in evolution. There was no sex, gore, or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this fun, engaging story.


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, July 23, 2017

The Best Dr. Thorndyke Detective Stories by R. Austin Freeman

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The Best Dr. Thorndyke Detective Stories
by R. Austin Freeman


ISBN-13: 9780486814810
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Dover Publications
Released: July 19, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description from GoodReads:
Known as the father of the scientific detective story, Freeman was a physician who tested his fictional ploys through microscopic and chemical analysis. His tales not only challenged the wits of his readers but also inspired many modern detection methods.

This collection presents eight of the most compelling Dr. Thorndyke stories. "The Case of Oscar Brodski," "A Case of Premeditation," and "The Echo of a Mutiny" offer outstanding examples of a form Freeman originated, the inverted mystery. In these tales, the crime and culprit are revealed at the outset; the fascination begins with the entrance of Dr. Thorndyke, who spins a convincing web of evidence from the subtlest clues.

"The Mandarin's Pearl," "The Blue Sequin," "The Moabite Cipher," and "The Aluminum Dagger" incorporate scientific detection, featuring details evaluated by the author's characteristic scientific analysis. As a special bonus, this volume includes "31 New Inn," the now hard-to-find tale in which Dr. Thorndyke makes his debut.


My Review:
The Best Dr. Thorndyke Detective Stories is a collection of 8 short stories with Dr. Thorndyke as the main character. These stories were originally published in 1909 to 1912, though one story is apparently set in 1900. They take place in England.

Dr. Thorndyke is a "medical jurispractitioner," so he handles "cold cases" (when lawyers consult him) as well as recently committed murders. He looks closely at the forensic evidence, carries a portable laboratory, and uses logic to solve his cases. He has a friend, Dr. Jervis, who helps him solve crimes. If this sounds like Sherlock Holmes, it is the same type of character. However, I like Thorndyke better. He's clever, but he doesn't show off like Sherlock does. (Sherlock has a habit of guessing based on high probabilities just so he'll look extremely smart.)

Thorndyke encourages Jervis to learn his methods, shares all of the clues that he finds, and encourages Jervis to puzzle out these clues for himself. This gives the reader a chance to puzzle out the answer as well. Not all of the stories are puzzle mysteries, though. The first three show us the crime from the criminal's perspective, then switches to showing Thorndyke spotting and analyzing the clues. These worked better than I expected and delved a bit into why the criminals acted as they did. I enjoyed and would recommend this book.

The stories contained in this book are:
The Case of Oscar Brodski
A Case of Premeditation
The Echo of the Mutiny
The Mandarin's Pearl
The Blue Sequin
The Moabite Cipher
The Aluminum Dagger
31 New Inn


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.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Beneath Copper Falls by Colleen Coble

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Beneath Copper Falls
by Colleen Coble


ISBN-13: 9780718090715
Trade Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Released: July 10, 2017

Source: ARC review copy from the publisher through Amazon Vine.

Book Description from Amazon:
As a 911 dispatcher, Dana Newell takes pride in being calm in tough circumstances. In addition to her emotionally-charged career, she’s faced enough emergencies in her own life. She recently escaped her abusive fiancĂ© to move to tranquil Rock Harbor where she hopes life will be more peaceful.

But the idyllic town hides more danger and secrets than it first appeared. Dana is continually drawn to her new friend Boone, who has scars inside and out. Then she answers a call at her job only to hear a friend’s desperate screams on the other end. Soon the pain in her past collides with the mysteries of her new home—and threatens to keep her from the future she’s always wanted.


My Review:
Beneath Copper Falls is a Christian suspense novel. It's the 6th novel in a series, but it's about Dana and Boone and so works as a stand-alone novel. The suspense is created by physical danger to a number of women. Dana's abusive ex-boyfriend followed her and is causing havoc. But then another woman dies, and it seems connected to an old murder investigation. Are the two cases connected? About halfway through, I realized from subtle clues where the book was heading, and then more obvious clues also pointed in that direction. This made the story even more suspenseful.

When I was just a teenager, I briefly knew a manipulative man online who used some of the exact same words as this fictional serial killer. "I though you were different from everyone else." Makes me wonder... Anyway, poor Dana has been traumatized throughout her life and now has an abusive, stalker boyfriend after her. Both she and Boone have to heal from past hurts. They make a great couple because they really do understand how the other is feeling, and they help each other stretch beyond hurt-imposed limits.

The Christian element involved Dana finding the courage to pray with people on the job and Boone forgiving people who hurt him. She also made a point about looking at a person's character (and developing your own) rather than focusing on outer good looks. There was no sex. The bad language was referred to with "he cussed" type phrases rather than with actual bad words. Overall, I'd recommend this exciting 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.


Monday, July 17, 2017

The Devil in Beauty by Heidi Ashworth

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The Devil in Beauty
by Heidi Ashworth


ISBN-13: 9780996104463
Paperback: 294 pages
Publisher: Dunhaven Place Publishing
Released: June 21, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
Julian "Trev" Silvester, the Marquis of Trevelin, once had everything a gentleman could want--fortune, good looks, and enough charm to seduce the beautiful young ladies of the ton. But his involvement in a duel with a jealous duke leaves him disfigured, and Trev is ostracized by those who once celebrated him. Though his life is irrevocably changed, Trev is still loyal to his friends. When Willy Gilbert is accused of murder and Lady Vawdrey's diamond necklace is stolen, he jumps at the chance to help them.

Trev finds an unlikely ally, a man also interested in Miss Desdemona Woodmansey--a woman who isn't put off by Trev's scar or the scandal of the duel. Trev has already lived through the disgrace of a scandal, but can he survive a murderer who will do anything to protect a sinister secret?


My Review:
The Devil in Beauty is a mystery set in 1811 in London. Lord Trevelin is disfigured and in social disgrace. When a friend is taken to Newgate Prison more because he's disabled than because he's likely to have murdered his brother, Trev investigates to find the true murderer. A man visiting from Barcelona helps him despite their rivalry over Miss Woodmansey, a short woman who likes them both and thinks it'd be exciting to help solve a mystery. Her role was more to cause tension than to help, though.

The mystery was complex enough that confession was required to confirm exactly what happened, though you could guess at parts. Trev had a temper and cruel tongue at times, but the main characters were generally interesting and engaging. The story was not a happy one. Quite a few people died from various causes, including suicide. Nice historical details about Newgate, social manners, and such were woven into the story.

There was no bad language or sex. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting novel, though it was different from what I expected from the book description.


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.


The Cover Story by Deb Richardson-Moore

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The Cover Story
by Deb Richardson-Moore


ISBN-13: 9781782642404
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Lion Fiction
Released: June 27, 2017

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description from Goodreads:
A fatal crash involving two college students heading home for the holidays seems like an unfortunate accident. But when the surviving girl wakens, she tells a curious story of the vehicle that forced them off the road--an old-fashioned, 1950s-style hearse.

Reporter Branigan Powers delves into the mystery that takes her to the college campus, and leads her into dangerous fraternity and sorority pledge parties.

Reunited with the homeless Malachi Martin, who is so adept at seeing what isn't there rather than what is, Branigan must uncover what is really going on at the college before other students are put in danger.

This second installment in the author's first cozy mystery series delves into the world of newspapers and life on the streets--both of which the author knows well.


My Review:
The Cover Story is amateur detective mystery. This is the second book in a series. You don't need to read the previous book to understand this one, and the previous mystery was not spoiled in this book.

Branigan, a reporter, has an excuse to ask questions because she's writing an article on the "accident." Malachi, a homeless man, helps because he cares about Charlie (who was in the crash). Sometimes he used illegal means to do so, like breaking into a room to search it. They passed their information on to the police.

A lot of information was dug up, but it wasn't clear how it all fit or if it was even tied together. There's uncertainty as to whether Charlie's life might be in danger, which added some suspense to the story. I could figure out parts of the mystery shortly before the main characters, but mostly this was a "along for the ride" mystery rather than a guessing game. With such interesting main characters, it was an enjoyable ride.

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


Friday, July 14, 2017

A Matter of Trust by Susan May Warren

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A Matter of Trust
by Susan May Warren


ISBN-13: 9780800727451
Trade Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Revell
Released: July 4, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Champion backcountry snowboarder Gage Watson has left the limelight behind after the death of one of his fans. After being sued for negligence and stripped of his sponsorships, he's remade his life as a ski patrol in Montana's rugged mountains, as well as serving on the PEAK Rescue team. But he can't seem to forget the past or the woman he loved, who betrayed him.

Former attorney Ella Blair is the second-youngest senator in the country. She regrets her part in destroying Gage's career as she knows that Gage is a good guy and an awesome snowboarder. When Ella's brother goes missing on one of Glacier National Park's most dangerous peaks, Ella pleads with Gage to help her to rescue him. He'll have to keep her safe while finding her reckless brother, a recipe for disaster when a snowstorm hits the mountain.

But old sparks relight as they search for the missing snowboarder--and suddenly, they are faced with emotions neither can deny. Can they learn to trust each other--even when disaster happens again?


My Review:
A Matter of Trust is a Christian romance full of excitement and adventure. It's the third book in a series, but you can understand this book without reading the previous ones. However, certain events from the previous books will be spoiled since there are ongoing story lines in the series (mainly, the missing niece theme).

This story contained exciting snow rescues and snowboarding down dangerous slopes. I liked Gage, who was just trying to do the right thing and ended up paying a hard price. He's a more mature person for what he endured, but he hasn't forgiven himself for not being able to stop a tragic accident that wasn't really his fault. Ella was one of the lawyers who destroyed his career, which hurt since they'd been romantically involved before the accident. So these complex, likable characters have to deal with the past while trying to save Ella's brother, who is doing a dangerous snowboarding route right as a snowstorm hits.

The Christian theme was Gage and Ella realizing that God loves and cares for us even when we make bad decisions or mistakes. Just like the SAR team helps people who don't deserve it, God's help doesn't depend upon us deserving it (thank God!). There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd highly recommend this exciting 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, July 9, 2017

Protective Measures by Maggie K. Black

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Protective Measures
by Maggie K. Black


ISBN-13: 9780373457199
Mass Market Paperback:
224 pages
Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense
Released: July 4, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
After an attack at a military charity gala, navy commander Leo Darius learns someone is after him and his two daughters. He needs backup to complete his secret mission, so he hires Ash Security to protect him and his daughters. Though security expert Zoe Dean agrees to handle the threats and near-fatal assaults, she doesn't want to get attached to the handsome commander and his lovely daughters. But with the would-be kidnappers closing in, saving Leo and the little girls, while protecting her heart, may be one mission Zoe can't master.


My Review:
Protective Measures is a Christian romantic suspense novel. It's the third in a series, but you can understand this book without reading the previous ones.

Zoe was at the charity gala because Ash Private Security tracked a group of thieves there. The thieves' next target appears to be Leo and his daughters. Leo was there because he's the contact for a secret deal to buy important military intel from an anonymous source. He hires Ash Private Security to watch his back and protect his daughters while he waits for the source to contact him. Of course, Zoe was highly involved in this protection, and they save each other's lives several times. Zoe and Leo respect each other, and they fight together as partners. They also heal from past hurts as events force them to confront things in their pasts.

The suspense came from the bad guys attacking them, from not knowing who the intel contact was, and from a mean person from Zoe's past showing up to cause trouble for her. The Christian element involved forgiving people (including Zoe forgiving herself). There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this exciting and interesting 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.