Sunday, February 19, 2017

Murder on the Moor by Julianna Deering

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Murder on the Moor
by Julianna Deering


ISBN-13: 9780764218286
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Bethany House
Released: Jan. 31, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
At the urgent request of an old school friend, Drew and Madeline Farthering come to Bloodworth Park Lodge in the midst of the Yorkshire moors. There have been several worrisome incidents out on the moor and, worst of all, the vicar has been found dead on the steps of the church.

Drew's friend is obviously smitten with his bride of eight months, though it's hard to imagine what she sees in the awkward man. Drew can't help wondering if her affections lie more with the man's money and estate, while her romantic interests focus on their fiery Welsh gamekeeper. As the danger grows ever closer, Drew must look past his own prejudices, determine what is really going on, and find the killer before it's too late.


My Review:
Murder on the Moor is a historical mystery set in 1934 in England. It's the fifth book in a series. You don't need to read the previous novels to understand this one, and this novel didn't spoil the previous mysteries.

The characters had depth and reacted realistically to events. Since Drew was betrayed by a beautiful woman in the past, he struggled to be objective about some of the suspects and misinterpreted some of what was going on.

The mystery was a clue-based puzzle. Some of the clues seemed obvious to me, though they were overlooked by the characters for various reasons until nearly the end. So whodunit didn't come as a surprise though I also didn't guess every aspect correctly.

The characters were Christian, and Drew subtlety pointed a few nonbelievers toward God. There were no sex scenes. There was no 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.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Mission Impawsible by Krista Davis

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Mission Impawsible
by Krista Davis


ISBN-13: 9781101988565
Mass Market Paperback:
304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: Feb. 7, 2017

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
In the pet-friendly town of Wagtail, Virginia, Holly and her grandmother, Oma, are working their tails off to prepare the Sugar Maple Inn for an upcoming matchmaking event for pet owners. While Holly has no interest in pairing up, Oma plans on playing Cupid and finding someone to warm her reluctant granddaughter's heart.

Unfortunately, one man Holly does meet is cold, dead cold, and he has a personal letter from Oma in his pocket. As suspicion is cast over the inn's guests, Holly, with the help of her furry friends, Trixie the Jack Russell and Twinkletoes the cat, must fetch the real killer, or she may soon have a date in court.


My Review:
Mission Impawsible is a cozy mystery. It's the fourth book in a series. You don't need to read the previous books to understand this story, and this book didn't spoil the previous ones.

The pet antics were fun, as usual, and Holly is generally a mature and nice person. I'm not seeing her attraction to a guy who is afraid of killers as something that could last very long, though. The mystery was clue based and could be guessed from the clues. It took a bit to narrow down the suspects as the meaning of the clues wasn't always clear. I wasn't completely certain I was correct about whodunit until nearly the end. Nice!

There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting and 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, February 12, 2017

The 12.30 from Croydon by Freeman Wills Crofts

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The 12.30 from Croydon
by Freeman Wills Crofts


ISBN-13: 9781464206733
Paperback: 358 pages
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Released: Feb. 7, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Andrew Crowther, a wealthy retired manufacturer, is found dead in his seat on the 12.30 flight from Croydon to Paris. From there, we flash back to the killer's perspective. We live with the killer at every stage, from the first thoughts of murder to the strains and stresses of living with its execution.

Seen from the criminal's perspective, a mild-mannered Inspector by the name of French is simply another character who needs to be dealt with. This is an unconventional yet gripping story of intrigue, justification, and self-delusion. And will the killer get away with it?


My Review:
The 12.30 from Croydon is a suspense novel that was originally published in 1934 and is set in England. While Inspector French is on the case, we don't hear the case from his perspective until the very end. Most of the novel was from the murderer's point of view.

We know exactly how the murder was committed because we see it happen from the first thoughts to how he carefully planned and committed every step. Like the criminal, we don't know where any mistakes were made or what clues the Inspector has found. Will Inspector French settle on the right suspect?

I liked the other characters and hoped they didn't get accused. I didn't like or dislike the murderer. His reasons were understandable and not entirely selfish, but they didn't justify murder. Still, I found myself unaccountably sighing with relief along with him! The story certainly made me tense with suspense.

There was no sex. There was a minor amount of bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting, suspenseful "reverse 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, February 10, 2017

No Man's Land by Simon Tolkien

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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien


ISBN-13: 9780385541978
Hardcover: 592 pages
Publisher: Nan A. Talese
Released: Jan. 24, 2017

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Inspired by the real-life experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I, Simon Tolkien delivers a perfectly rendered novel rife with class tension, period detail, and stirring action, ranging from the sharply divided society of northern England to the trenches of the Somme.

Adam Raine's impoverished childhood in turn-of-the-century London comes to a sudden and tragic end when his mother is killed in a workers' protest march. His father, Daniel, is barely able to cope with the loss. But a job offer in the coal mining town of Scarsdale presents one last chance, so father and son head north. The relocation is hard on Adam: the local boys prove difficult to befriend, and he never quite fits in. Meanwhile tensions between the miners and their employer, Sir John Scarsdale, escalate, and finally explode with terrible consequences.

In the aftermath, Adam's fate shifts once again, and he finds himself drawn into the opulent Scarsdale family home where he makes an enemy of Sir John's son, Brice, who subjects Adam to a succession of petty cruelties for daring to step above his station. However, Adam finds consolation in the company of Miriam, the local parson's beautiful daughter with whom he falls in love. When they become engaged and Adam wins a scholarship to Oxford, he starts to feel that his life is finally coming together--until the outbreak of war threatens to tear everything apart.


My Review:
No Man's Land is historical fiction set in 1909 to 1919 in England and France. Though the novel is lengthy, the author wasn't wordy. He brought the time period alive with vivid descriptions, and these details didn't slow the story but served to move the story forward. Every scene served to develop the characters into complex, realistic people with a wide range of personalities.

I didn't intend to read this book because the WWI scenes take up nearly half of the book and I knew those scenes would be hard to read. But I give every book a chance, and I was so drawn into the story that I ended up reading the whole thing. Many bad things happen, but I didn't feel forced to "live" the emotions with the characters even though I sympathized with the pain and struggles that they went through.

Trench warfare wasn't pretty, and the horrors of it are described. Yet there was just enough distance that I didn't feel like I was living it with the characters; it just inspired great sympathy for those who lived through it. There were no sex scenes. There was some bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this well-written historical 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, February 5, 2017

Still Life by Dani Pettrey

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Still Life
by Dani Pettrey


ISBN-13: 9780764212956
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Bethany House
Released: Jan. 31, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description from NetGalley:
Blacklisted in the photography business over a controversial shot, Avery Tate answered an ad for a crime scene photographer. She expected to be laughed at, but crime scene analyst Parker Mitchell hired her outright--and changed her life. But six months ago, when her feelings for Parker became too strong, she left his employ to sort out her heart.

Now, for the first time, Avery is facing the world that rejected her to attend the gallery opening of a photography exhibit and support her best friend, who modeled for the show. But the only image of her friend is a chilling photo of her posing as if dead--and the photographer insists he didn't take the shot. Worse, her friend can't be found. She immediately calls Parker for help. As Avery, Parker, and his friends in law enforcement dig into the mystery, they find themselves face-to-face with a relentless and deadly threat.


My Review:
Still Life is a Christian romantic suspense novel. It's the second book in a series. It can be read as a stand-alone novel, but there are two ongoing cases that continue to be investigated throughout the series and much of the background for these cases was in the first novel. This book had two cases, and one was related to an ongoing case.

The characters were complex and dealt with realistic struggles. Avery struggled with her unsavory past, especially as she was the one who got her best friend started in a life of crime. Parker struggled with the idea that loving another woman would dishonor the memory of his first love (who was murdered years ago).

The suspense came from not knowing if Avery's friend was still alive, then from danger to Avery. One of their suspects was a sick-minded fellow who photographed women in a way that made them look as if they're dead. Though not gory, I'll have a hard time getting his creepy work out of my mind.

The characters prayed to God to help them with the case and to help let go of guilt over the past. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this 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.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Maybe It's You by Candace Calvert

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Maybe It's You
by Candace Calvert


ISBN-13: 9781414390369
Paperback: 425 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House
Released: Feb. 3, 2017

Source: Review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
ER nurse Sloane Ferrell escaped her risky past--new name, zip code, job, and a fresh start. She's finally safe, if she avoids a paper trail and doesn't let people get too close. Like the hospital's too-smooth marketing man with his relentless campaign to plaster one "lucky" employee's face on freeway billboards.

Micah Prescott's goal is to improve the Hope hospital image, but his role as a volunteer crisis responder is closer to his heart. The selfless work helps fill a void in his life left by family tragedy. So does a tentative new relationship with the compassionate, beautiful, and elusive Sloane Ferrell. Then a string of brutal crimes makes headlines, summons responders . . . and exposes disturbing details of Sloane's past. Can hope spring from crisis?


My Review:
Maybe It's You is a Christian romantic suspense novel. It's the third book in a series. It has different main characters than the previous books, but Sloane is a character in those books so this one is more enjoyable if you've at least read the previous novel.

Sloane is running from her past bad decisions and abuse. She's fighting alcoholism and hiding from organized crime bosses that are after her ex-boyfriend. Because of her past, she shows great compassion toward down-and-out people that others would dismiss as worthless, and this catches Micah's interest. He finds fulfillment in his crisis team work, but he holds a grudge toward all alcoholics after losing a close relative to drunk driving. Sloane not only has to deal with an ex-boyfriend determined to drag her back into her old life but wondering if Micah will reject her if he learns about her past.

The characters were likable, well-developed, and had interesting challenges to deal with. The suspense came from the ongoing danger for several characters. The characters dealt with accepting God's grace and forgiving others. There was no bad language. There was a scene where the intense kissing seemed headed for the bedroom, but there was no sex.


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 29, 2017

Shine Like the Dawn by Carrie Turansky

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Shine Like the Dawn
by Carrie Turansky


ISBN-13: 9781601429407
Trade Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Multnomah Books
Released: Feb. 21, 2017

Source: Review copy from the publisher through Blogging for Books.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
In a quiet corner of northern Edwardian England, Margaret Lounsbury diligently works in her grandmother's millinery shop, making hats and caring for her young sister. Several years earlier, a terrible event reshaped their family, shattering an idyllic life and their future prospects. Maggie is resilient and will do what she must to protect her sister Violet. Still, the loss of her parents weighs heavily on her heart because she wonders if what happened that day on the lake might not have been an accident.

When wealthy inventor and industrialist William Harcourt dies, his son and Maggie's estranged childhood friend, Nathaniel returns from his time in the Royal Navy and inherits his father's vast estate, Morningside Manor. He also assumes partial control of his father's engineering company and the duty of repaying an old debt to the Lounsbury family. But years of separation between Nate and Maggie have taken a toll and Maggie struggles to trust her old friend.

Can Maggie let go of the resentment that keeps her from forgiving Nate and reconciling with God? Will the search for the truth about her parents death draw the two friends closer or leave them both with broken hearts?


My Review:
Shine Like the Dawn is a Christian romance set in 1903 in England. The historical details weren't heavy and were woven into the story. If the hat-making aspect was a draw, be warned that only one scene involved hat-making. The main characters were well-developed, and I liked Nate, Violet, the grandmother. I was interested in the challenges that Nate faced in building a relationship with his half-sister, dealing with a pushy step-mother, and trying to stop a strike when he had only limited power and influence in the company.

But I don't see what two men found so attractive in Maggie that they wanted to marry her. Where Nate gave people the benefit of the doubt, Maggie condemned people as guilty until proven innocent. She briefly wondered if it's unfair of her to hold Nate responsible for his parent's hurtful actions yet she still did so. She won't even credit Nate's efforts to help her due to her grudge and because he can't stop bad things from happening to her.

As for the mystery, Maggie snooped around and found some clues. Though she lacked proof, she was ready to accuse and ruin someone's reputation even when Nate felt she shouldn't go to the police yet. Basically, he had to choose between supporting her even if he had doubts or losing her trust.

The Christian element was Maggie learning to trust God again and to realize where her attitude had led her. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting story even if I didn't understand why men were attracted to Maggie.


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.