Sunday, January 25, 2015

Rescue Team by Candace Calvert

book cover
Rescue Team
by Candace Calvert


ISBN-13: 9781414361123
ebook: 365 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Released: April 19, 2013

Source: A free ebook offer.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Tired of running from her past, nurse Kate Callison intends to become Austin Grace Hospital's permanent ER director and make Texas her home. Despite staff friction, she's moving ahead. Then the death of an abandoned baby wraps the ER in crime tape.

For Wes Tanner, nothing beats finding someone who's lost; he's known that helpless terror firsthand. He's ready for anything--except Austin Grace's prickly and dismissive ER director. But he can see the need behind the behavior--something haunts her.

Kate discovers that she enjoys Wes' company, and she wonders if her heart might have finally found a home. Then an unsolved missing persons case--and a startling new one--become catalysts that threaten the loss of all she and Wes have found.


My Review:
Rescue Team is a Christian romantic suspense novel. While this book can be read as a stand-alone novel, Kate is a main character in the previous book in this series. You can understand what's going on without reading Trauma Plan, but there are some references to things that happened to Kate in that book.

All of the character were complex and acted in realistic ways. I had a hard time liking Kate at the beginning, so I also had a hard time understanding why Wes was interested in her. If he was trying to "rescue" her, I'd understand it, but that doesn't seem to be his motivation. But once Kate relaxed a bit around Wes, I could understand their attraction.

Kate abandoned her baby as a teenager, which she felt was unforgivable. The Christian element was her coming to understand that God could forgive her and use her to help others in a similar situation. Wes was abandoned in the woods by his mother when he was young, so he struggled with why his mother--or any mother--would ever abandon her child.

There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd 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, January 18, 2015

They Came to Baghdad by Agatha Christie

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They Came to Baghdad
by Agatha Christie


ISBN-13: 9780007154937
Paperback: 364 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins
Released: January 1951; 2003

Source: Borrowed from my local library.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Baghdad is holding a secret superpower summit, but the word is out, and an underground organization in the Middle East is plotting to sabotage the talks.

Into this explosive situation appears Victoria Jones, a young woman with a yearning for adventure who gets more than she bargains for when a wounded spy dies in her hotel room. Can Victoria make sense of his dying words: Lucifer…Basrah…Lefarge.…


My Review:
They Came to Baghdad is a historical thriller set in 1951 in England, Baghdad, and some surrounding areas. It was written as a contemporary novel, and the setting and political backdrop was only described briefly. The descriptions were more about the human interactions than describing the places for future readers.

The story is about an impulsive young woman whose main skills are thinking on her feet and lying convincingly. She finds a way to follow her "Romeo" to Baghdad only to land in the middle of a struggle between a group trying to destroy upcoming peace-promoting talks and government spies trying to stop them. Only it's not always clear who is on which side. It's a bit improbable in some ways, but it was fun watching clever Victoria just managing to get out of one scrape after another while figuring out what the dying spy meant.

There was a minor amount of bad language. There was no sex. Overall, I'd recommend this fun 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, January 11, 2015

For Whom the Bluebell Tolls by Beverly Allen

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For Whom the Bluebell Tolls
by Beverly Allen


ISBN-13: 9780425264980
Mass Market Paperback:
304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: January 6, 2015

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Florist Audrey Bloom, co-owner of the Rose in Bloom, creates fragrant bouquets for brides. Her dazzling creations are picked to be featured on a wedding reality show. The hot series is filming an episode about a bride who’s bonkers for bells, and Audrey’s bouquets of campanulas, calla lilies, and Bells-of-Ireland are perfect for the bridal theme.

But Audrey’s ex-boyfriend, Brad, is a crew member on the show and still likes her, which threatens her blossoming relationship with Nick the baker. To make matters worse, when one of the show’s hosts is found dead in the bell tower of a historic church, all the evidence points toward Brad.


My Review:
For Whom the Bluebell Tolls is a cozy mystery. It's the second book in a series. You don't need to read the previous novels to understand this one, and this story didn't spoil the whodunit of the previous books.

The mystery was a clue-based puzzle mystery. About halfway through, all the clues fell into place for me with a very satisfying snap, and I knew whodunit. I couldn't guess the full motive until much nearer to the end. I don't think most readers will realize whodunit until later, and the writing was good enough to keep me fully engaged in the story even knowing whodunit. I liked that Audrey realized she wasn't critical to the police investigation (though she sure helped!), that the police weren't fools, and that Audrey has learned from the past and is careful when investigating murderers.

There was no bad language. There were no sex scenes. Overall, I'd recommend this engaging 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, January 4, 2015

Quilted by Christmas by Jodie Bailey

As a member of Amazon Vine, I'm able to review books through them, but--as I understand the terms--I'm only allowed to post my review on Amazon. Because I liked this book, I'm posting a description of the book here with a direct link to my review on Amazon.

book cover
Quilted by Christmas
by Jodie Bailey


ISBN-13: 9781426773617
Trade Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Released: October 21, 2014

Source: Review copy from the publisher through Amazon Vine.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Taryn McKenna believes she’s easy to forget. Abandoned by her parents and left behind when her high school sweetheart joined the army, she vows to never love again. Her goal, as a young teacher in the hills of North Carolina, is to leave a legacy in the lives of the middle-schoolers she teaches.

Then her boyfriend returns to the area and wants to apologize for his harsh, parting words to her from years ago. When Taryn’s grandmother Jemma has a heart attack, Taryn is corralled into helping Grandma work on a final project—an Irish chain quilt that is a wedding present for a relative. With her old boyfriend's help, the pieces of the quilt come together and she starts to love him all over again. But past bad decisions may stand in the way as she doubts even God can forgive the lies she's told.


My Review:
My review on Amazon.

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, December 28, 2014

Once Upon a Grind by Cleo Coyle

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Once Upon a Grind
by Cleo Coyle


ISBN-13: 9780425270851
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Berkley
Released: December 2, 2014

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Fairy tale fever has descended on New York City, and Clare Cosi gives her coffee truck a "Jack and the Beanstalk” makeover for a Central Park festival. Clare’s coffee hunter ex-husband contributes a bag of African beans with alleged magical properties.

Clare remains skeptical—until she receives a vision that helps her find a young model’s body in the park’s woods. The police dismiss "sleeping beauty” as the victim of a drug overdose. Then Clare uncovers evidence that points to a roster of suspects, from a wolf of Wall Street to a New York Giant and a wicked witch of the West Side.

Now Clare is really in the woods—with a dangerous predator on her heels and an investigation that leads from a secret Prince Charming club right back to her own NYPD detective boyfriend. If she doesn’t solve this mystery, those magic beans predict an unhappy ending.


My Review:
Once Upon a Grind is a cozy mystery/suspense novel. This novel is the fourteenth in the series. You don't need to read the previous novels to understand this one, and this story didn't spoil the whodunit of the previous books.

The mystery was a clue-based puzzle mystery. Clare has some muddled, dream-like visions (induced by special coffee beans) which contain subtle clues. However, the clues are mainly of the normal sort. I did identify the critical clue which would point to whodunit, but it wasn't until nearly the end that I realized who fulfilled that requirement and the other clues. It's probably possible to catch on earlier, but I think the author had good pacing with revealing the critical clues.

Clare's police friend uses her to help uncover some secrets as an undercover spy (of sorts), so she's placed in suspenseful, potentially dangerous situations. I liked that the heroine was clever and how her boyfriend and ex-husband appreciated her help and supported her.

There was some bad language. There were no graphic sex scenes. Overall, I'd highly recommend this interesting, suspenseful 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, December 21, 2014

Scandal at Six by Ann Purser

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Scandal at Six
by Ann Purser


ISBN-13: 9780425261774
Mass Market Paperback:
352 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: December 2, 2014

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Lois Meade has scrubbed her way through the homes in Long Farnden, and she’s not afraid of dusting cobwebs and killing a few bugs. But in her role as amateur sleuth, she’s learning to beware of snakes in the grass . . .

Spring has arrived in Long Farnden and with it, a mysterious infestation. Lois Meade’s daughter has found her village store overrun by insects and reptiles. As Lois looks into the invasion, her investigation leads her to Robert Pettison, a seemingly unhinged zookeeper, and his nephew. The two of them are knee-deep in illegal trade, and they don’t take kindly to Lois poking her nose into their business.

Lois enlists the help of her faithful cleaner Dot Nimmo and police inspector Hunter Cowgill to discover more about Pettison and a suspicious death at the zoo.


My Review:
Scandal at Six is a cozy mystery. This is the thirteenth book in the series. You don't need to read the previous novels to understand this one, and this book didn't spoil the whodunits of the previous novels.

The theme of illegal rare animal trade was an interesting idea, but there actually wasn't much mystery to this story. The "bad guys" are point-of-view characters, so we know from the start who is putting snakes and such in the shop. There are a few deaths where it's implied a certain POV character caused them, but this is never definitively addressed.

The only mysterious death happens at the very end. We have all the clues from previous events, and the solution is quickly uncovered. There were enough clues that I could immediately narrow down the suspects and only one seemed likely--and that was, indeed, whodunit.

There was some bad language. There was no sex. I'd recommend this novel to those interested in the theme and who don't care about the lack of 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, December 14, 2014

Death with All the Trimmings by Lucy Burdette

book cover
Death with All the Trimmings
by Lucy Burdette


ISBN-13: 9780451465900
Mass Market Paperback:
320 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: December 1, 2014

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
It may be Christmastime, but thoughts of peace on earth, good will toward men, don’t seem to extend to the restaurant biz. Hayley Snow, food critic for Key Zest magazine, has been assigned to interview Edel Waugh, chef/owner of Key West’s hottest new restaurant. But off the record, Edel reveals someone’s sabotaging her kitchen and asks Hayley to investigate.

Things heat up fast when the restaurant is set on fire—and a body is discovered in the charred wreckage. Amid holiday festivities like the lighted boat parade and visiting relatives who stir up mixed emotions, Hayley needs to smoke out an arsonist and a killer who may turn up the heat on her next…


My Review:
Death with All the Trimmings is a cozy mystery/suspense. It's the fifth book in the series. You don't need to read the previous novels to understand this one, and this book didn't spoil the whodunits of the previous novels.

The story was more of a suspense, with the heroine being shot and a friend getting tied up, than a mystery. There were some clues as to who was involved in the various incidents, but more attention was on the drama of everyone's lives. In the end, I thought they'd forgotten to find the actual murderer. The only mention of whodunit was from one Bad Person accusing another of the murder. We're given practically no clues about the actual murder, so I'd expected at least some police confirmation that they'd found proof against the accused and that it was, indeed, whodunit. Ah, well.

There was some bad language (or, as one of the characters would call it, "naughty language"). There was no sex. I'd recommend this novel to people who enjoy suspenseful, drama-filled books with a focus on awesome food.


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.