Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Black Cat Sees His Shadow by Kay Finch

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The Black Cat Sees His Shadow
by Kay Finch


ISBN-13: 9780425275269
Mass Market Paperback:
304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: June 6, 2017

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Mystery novelist Sabrina Tate and her cat, Hitchcock, set out to catch a conniving killer. The town of Lavender, Texas is buzzing with tourists, and local businesses are pulling out all the stops for the annual Pumpkin Days Festival. On the eve of opening day, Sabrina comes face-to-face with her doppelganger, Tia Hartwell, an artist at the festival. The similarities between the two women are striking, including their matching black cats.

Sabrina learns that her new twin Tia has an enemy: bad-tempered jewelry vendor Calvin Fisher. When Fisher is found slumped over dead in his pickup, Tia tops the suspect list. With the help of her feline sidekick, Sabrina must clear her new look-alike friend before she finds herself in a deadly case of double jeopardy.


My Review:
The Black Cat Sees His Shadow is a cozy mystery. This is the third book in the series. You don't need to read the previous books to understand this one, and this book didn't spoil the mysteries in the previous books.

The heroine asked questions and observed what was going on around her. Her cat frequently ran off, leading her to clues. She wasn't stupid, but there were occasions when she didn't think out her actions and so put herself (and others) in potential danger.

It's a clue-based puzzle mystery, yet the heroine didn't seem very interested in who had means and opportunity. I guess she was leaving that for the police while she discovered who had a motive. I was able to spot whodunit before the heroine figured it out.

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, June 23, 2017

Freedom's Price by Christine Johnson

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Freedom's Price
by Christine Johnson


ISBN-13: 9780425251355
Trade Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Revel
Released: June 6, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Amazon:
When Englishwoman Catherine Haynes loses both her parents and her home in 1856, she decides to cross the Atlantic to find her American mother's family in Louisiana. She enlists the help of Tom Worthington, a dashing Key West man who makes his living salvaging wrecked ships, but whose real goal in life is to bring to justice the man who stole his father's ship and caused his untimely death.

When Catherine finally arrives at her family's plantation, she finds it in disarray and her family absent landowners. Longing to restore the plantation to the way it was when her mother lived there, Catherine tries to take control of plantation. She soon discovers that more is going on than meets the eye. When an incredible secret comes to light, both she and Tom will face a choice.


My Review:
Freedom's Price is a romance set in 1856 in Key West and New Orleans. I was profoundly unhappy with the ending of this book. Catherine seemed sorry that her pride, selfishness, and greed got her into trouble rather than sorry for her behavior. Even at the very end, Catherine wasn't satisfied with using only what actually belonged to her and Tom to free the slaves. She didn't hesitate to cheat someone (who never did her any harm) out of what was rightfully his because she didn't like that he had slaves.

Tom was interesting and had his own arc about learning not to take vengeance into his own hands. Catherine seemed decent at first since she cares about slaves and tenants, but it's always on her own terms (which sometimes left them worse off). People kept telling her that her intended actions would put her (and others) in danger, but she always felt that she knew better.

Catherine selfishly thinks she should have everything she wants, so she acted like she had the right to run her cousin's plantation even though she had no idea if she had a right to any part of it. Even though she didn't do a good job running her father's estates and knows nothing about sugar plantations, she's sure she can do better than anyone else. I didn't like Catherine.

This is the third book in a series. Characters from the previous books appear in this story, but you can understand this story without having read the previous books. There was no sex scenes or bad language.


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.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Romancing Daphne by Sarah M. Eden

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Romancing Daphne
by Sarah M. Eden


ISBN-13: 9781524402969
Paperback: 328 pages
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.
Released: June 21, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
As her first London Season looms before her, the thought of the impending social whirl fills Daphne Lancaster's timid heart with dread. She hasn't her sisters beauty nor their talent for conversing easily. Even her family's enviable connections may not be enough to prevent disaster.

But Daphne's misery turns to surprised delight when the first event of her Season brings an unexpected visitor to her door—James Tilburn, whose tender kindness stole her heart in her youth. When the handsome young gentleman expresses his desire to court her, Daphne is elated. Their feelings for each other quickly grow, and it appears that, much to Daphne's disbelief, her happily ever after is within reach.

Yet nothing is as it seems. The couple finds themselves caught in a tangled web of greed and deceit, leaving James and Daphne to determine whether they are willing to risk everything for true love.


My Review:
Romancing Daphne is a Regency romance set in 1812 in London. It's the third book in the series, but you don't need to read the previous books to understand this one. This is a touching novel with a heroine with a soul-deep hurt.

When her mother died and her father withdrew from life, Daphne and her siblings had to fend for themselves. Quiet Daphne was often overlooked, and her father refused her the affection she craved. Daphne is now a young woman full of intelligence, caring, and wit, but she doesn't believe anyone will want her. Especially since she's overheard many a person call her plain.

James has a controlling, manipulative father. Under threat, James agrees to befriend Daphne during her Season and perhaps court her. He comes to appreciate how easy it is to talk with her and how she genuinely cares for people. Of course, Daphne soon overhears "proof" that James is only showing her attention because he was forced to. She withdraws from the pain, determined to never let anyone hurt her like this again. Can James prove that his love is genuine (and survive the avenging guardian and brother)?

There is some humor in how Daphne's guardian, the Dangerous Duke, scares people. I like that the novel acknowledges how our upbringing can shape how we view ourselves and others. Daphne and James were better people for knowing each other, and they help each other release their burdens. The historical details about the politics, social manners, and such were woven into the story, though accuracy was often suspended when it came to the Dangerous Duke's behavior. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd highly 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.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Captain's Daughter by Jennifer Delamere

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The Captain's Daughter
by Jennifer Delamere


ISBN-13: 9780764219207
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Bethany House
Released: June 6, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
When a series of circumstances beyond her control leave Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater that is presenting the most popular show in London: H.M.S. Pinafore by Gilbert and Sullivan. A naturally talented singer, she soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage.

A hand injury during a skirmish in India has forced Nate Moran out of the army until he recovers. Filling his time at a stable of horses for hire in London, he has also spent the past two months working nights as a stagehand, filling in for his injured brother. Although he's glad he can help his family through a tough time, he is counting the days until he can rejoin his regiment. London holds bitter memories for him that he is anxious to escape. But then he meets the beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate can't wait to leave behind.


My Review:
The Captain's Daughter is a Christian romance set in 1879 in London. The story took place at the London theater playing the Gilbert and Sullivan show, "H.M.S. Pinafore." The author worked in historical details about Gilbert and Sullivan and about what working at this theater was like. Rosalyn also grew up in the orphanage run by George Muller, so references were made to how that orphanage was run.

The main characters were likable. Nate learned to forgive and let go of the past so he could move on. Rosalyn was sweet and resourceful but came across as extremely naive and trusting. Her former employer's husband made sexual advances toward her, and subsequent events should have made it abundantly clear to her that men were sexually interested in her. Yet when she's warned away from a charming man, she thinks, "surely he doesn't think of me that way" rather than being wary or asking for more information as I would have expected. She received excellent advice about several things from people she trusted yet usually didn't follow it. This was partly so we could clearly see how God was protecting and providing for her despite her choices.

There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable novel, especially to Gilbert and Sullivan fans.


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, June 16, 2017

With You Always by Jody Hedlund

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With You Always
by Jody Hedlund


ISBN-13: 9780764218040
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Released: June 6, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
When a financial crisis in 1850s New York leaves three orphaned sisters nearly destitute, the oldest, Elise Neumann, knows she must take action. She's had experience as a seamstress, and the New York Children's Aid Society has established a special service: placing out seamstresses and trade girls. Even though Elise doesn't want to leave her sisters for a job in Illinois, she realizes this may be their last chance.

The son of one of New York City's wealthiest entrepreneurs, Thornton Quincy faces a dilemma. His father is dying, and in order to decide which of his sons will inherit everything, he is requiring them to do two things in six months: build a sustainable town along the Illinois Central Railroad, and get married. Thornton is tired of standing in his twin brother's shadow and is determined to win his father's challenge. He doesn't plan on meeting a feisty young woman on his way west, though.


My Review:
With You Always is a Christian romance set in 1857 in NYC and then in Illinois. You've got pride, prejudice, an "I never knew myself" type moment, and a romantic couple who are better people for having known each other. Just saying, P&P fans might like this novel.

Elise's family was wronged by a rich man, and now she and her sisters are poor and orphaned. After a financial crisis hits NYC, Elise can no longer find work there and must risk the unknowns of taking the Orphan Train to new employment in Illinois.

Thornton just wants his father to be proud of him, but all his father's pride seems aimed at Thornton's twin brother. Their father pits the brothers against each other to build a town in Illinois and fall in love in the next six months. Elise challenges Thornton to care about people and listen to their needs, not just see them as assets. But will acting ethically mean losing the challenge?

I enjoyed the banter between Elise and Thornton. They were both kind and honorable at heart even if their actions weren't always perfect. They faced hard decisions and grew as people throughout the story. The historical details were woven into the story and gave a good sense of what life was like at that time.

The Christian element was Elise learning to draw closer to God during hard times. 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.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar

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Bread of Angels
by Tessa Afshar


ISBN-13: 9781496406477
Paperback: 375 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Released: June 6, 2017

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description from Goodreads:
Purple. The foundation of an influential trade in a Roman world dominated by men. One woman rises up to take the reins of success in an incredible journey of courage, grit, and friendship. And along the way, she changes the world.

But before she was Lydia, the seller of purple, she was simply a merchant's daughter who loved three things: her father, her ancestral home, and making dye. Then unbearable betrayal robs her of nearly everything.

With only her father's secret formulas left, Lydia flees to Philippi and struggles to establish her business on her own. Determination and serendipitous acquaintances--along with her father's precious dye--help her become one of the city's preeminent merchants. But fear lingers in every shadow, until Lydia meets the apostle Paul and hears his message of hope, becoming his first European convert. Still, Lydia can't outrun her secrets forever, and when past and present collide, she must either stand firm and trust in her fledgling faith or succumb to the fear that has ruled her life.


My Review:
Bread of Angels is a Biblical novel about Lydia's life up to and shortly after she meets Paul in Acts. The main theme of the story was fear. Lydia constantly worried about what could go wrong, partly due to something that happened to her mother when Lydia was very young.

I could see what was coming regarding what happened to make Lydia move to Philippi. Some of Lydia's actions didn't make sense to me as it seemed so obvious to me what was going on from the start, but her actions may have been simply because she was young and a bit naive.

Lydia befriends a Hebrew woman who teaches her about God, which is why she was with the women meeting at the river. The author wove the events that happened to Paul into Lydia's story in a way that forces her to face her fears and learn to trust God in times of trouble. The characters reacted to events in realistic ways, and I cared about what happened to them.

Historical and cultural details were woven into the story and helped drive the narrative. These details seemed fairly accurate, though it's my understanding that the patron-client relationship was more binding than the author implied that it was. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I highly recommend this enjoyable and insightful 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 11, 2017

Hidden Legacy by Lynn Huggins Blackburn

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Hidden Legacy
by Lynn Huggins Blackburn


ISBN-13: 9780373457137
Mass Market Paperback:
224 pages
Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense
Released: June 6, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description from Goodreads:
Arriving home with the baby she's adopting, Caroline Harrison finds her house vandalized…and an intruder intent on shooting her. She's saved when police sirens approach, but all signs point to the little boy as the true target—and the assailant won't give up.

Now she has to rely on Detective Jason Drake, the man who once broke her heart, to figure out why someone's after her soon-to-be adoptive son. Reunited after thirteen years apart, Jason can't help but hope their love might be rekindled, but Caroline and her son's safety come first. Because if he wants a chance at a future—and a family—with them, they have to outrun a hit man.


My Review:
Hidden Legacy is a Christian romantic suspense novel. This is the second book in the series, though it works as a stand alone. However, this book did "spoil" what went on in the first novel.

The suspense was created by someone trying to kill Caroline and her son. I loved the scene where Jason's mother tells them to get inside (rather than get romantically distracted in the open) since someone's trying to kill them--but what does she know, she's just a housewife! lol. Go, girl!

I liked all of the main characters. The hero and heroine both had some issues to face before they could get together. Jason previously left Caroline behind because he didn't want to be near his birth father. Caroline was dealing with why God allowed bad things to happen.

The Christian theme was naturally woven into the story and was about forgiveness and trusting God. 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.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Road to Paradise by Karen Barnett

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The Road to Paradise
by Karen Barnett


ISBN-13: 9780735289543
Trade Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Waterbrook Press
Released: June 6, 2017

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

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
In 1927, Margie Lane, an avid naturalist, convinces her Senator father to procure her a position at the fledgling Mount Rainier National Park. Ranger Ford Brannon doesn't relish the job of watching over an idealistic and privileged young woman with no practical survival skills. They fight their growing attraction since Ford rejected God after he lost his father in a climbing accident but Margie's main goal is to bring people to Christ through her nature talks.

Then Margie's controlling former boyfriend threatens to develop the Paradise Inn and the park into a tourist playground as a way to manipulate Margie into returning to him. As he pushes through his plans, Margie and Ford try to find a way to preserve the wilderness of the park.


My Review:
The Road to Paradise is a Christian romance set in 1927 in Washington. Margie flees to Mount Rainier National Park as a way to avoid her manipulative and controlling former boyfriend. It's also a dream of hers to work as a ranger, though she works as a naturalist who gives talks and tours to visitors. Her former boyfriend pushes through plans to develop the park into a ski resort, golf course, and such while promising that he'll drop the plans if Margie will agree to marry him.

While Ford and Margie both love the park and are attracted to each other, Margie avoids Ford since he's rejected God. I liked that Christian characters realized that only God (not dating Margie) could heal Ford's grief over losing his father in a climbing accident. Margie initially had this "the mountain/nature is sacred" attitude that surprised me, but this changed into helping people see God's hand in nature through her nature talks.

We get a "tour" of the park through Ford's and Margie's work there and get a sense of what the parks were like in their early years. There was no sex. The minor amount of bad language was expressed in the "he cursed" style. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting and sometimes suspenseful 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.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Miraculous Mysteries: Locked Room Mysteries

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Miraculous Mysteries
edited by Martin Edwards


ISBN-13: 9781464207440
Paperback: 358 pages
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Released: June 6, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description from NetGalley:
Impossible crime stories have been relished by puzzle-lovers ever since the invention of detective fiction. Fiendishly intricate cases were particularly well suited to the cerebral type of detective story that became so popular during the ‘golden age of murder’ between the two world wars. But the tradition goes back to the days of Edgar Allan Poe and Wilkie Collins, and impossible crime stories have been written by such luminaries as Arthur Conan Doyle, G.K. Chesterton, Dorothy L. Sayers and Margery Allingham.

This anthology celebrates their work, alongside long-hidden gems by less familiar writers. Together these stories demonstrate the range and high accomplishment of the classic British impossible crime story over more than half a century.


My Review:
Miraculous Mysteries is a short story collection of 16 locked room or impossible-seeming mysteries, though some were not as baffling as that sounds. These are clue-based puzzle mysteries. Many could be solved from the provided clues, but some withheld clues until the big reveal. There are only so many ways to do a locked room mystery, so I could guess at least the general method of murder in most of the stories. There was no sex. There was occasional use of bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable collection.

The included stories:

The Lost Special by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Thing Invisible by William Hope Hodgson
The Case of the Tragedies in the Greek Room by Sax Rohmer
The Aluminium Dagger by R. Austin Freeman
The Miracle of the Moon Crescent by G.K. Chestertom
The Invisible Weapon by Nicholas Olde
The Diary of Death by Marten Cumberland
The Broadcast Murder by Grenville Robbins
The Music-Room by Sapper
Death at 8.30 by Christopher St. John Sprigg
Too Clever by Half by G.D.H. and Margaret Cole
Locked In by E. Charles Vivian
The Haunted Policeman by Dorothy L. Sayers
The Sands of Thyme by Michael Innes
Beware of the Trains by Edmund Crispin
The Villa Marie Celeste by Margery Allingham


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 4, 2017

Weaver's Needle by Robin Caroll

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Weaver's Needle
by Robin Caroll


ISBN-13: 9781634099943
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Shiloh Run Press
Released: June 1, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
Former Army MP Landry Parker fell into the recovery specialist role quite by accident—to help her ailing father. Now that she’s on her own, she is determined to prove herself and honor her family legacy.

After being shot in the line of duty, former police officer Nickolai Baptiste became a recovery specialist, and he’s good at his job.

A potential client pits Landry and Nickolai against one another to find the Dutchman’s Lost Gold Mine map that was stolen from her murdered husband, and the potential payday is too enticing to pass up. The trail takes them from New Orleans to Weaver’s Needle in Arizona where legend claims the mine is hidden.

Landry and Nickolai are no strangers to adventure, but the unlikely partners quickly discover there’s someone after the treasure and there are those who want to ensure the lost mine in Arizona’s Superstition Mountain stays lost forever.


My Review:
Weaver's Needle is a Christian romantic suspense novel. Both Nick and Landry are recovery specialists who could use a chunk of cash. They both accept a challenge by a rich, newly-widowed woman to recover a treasure map that went missing when her husband was murdered.

The two initially worked on their own, but they soon realized the only way to survive and succeed was to work together. And they made a great team. They even had different approaches so they weren't just repeating the same efforts or ideas. The suspense came from the frequent physical danger from the murderer (who wanted them gone), scorpions, and "ghost warrior" Native Americans who guarded the mine.

There were detailed scenes of some shamans making petitions to their Great Spirit and a vision quest, and some locals believed the Native Americans guarding the mine were spirits/ghosts. In contrast, Landry prayed a few, brief prayers, and Nick let go of his anger toward God. It seemed like more time was spent on the shaman's religion than on God.

There was no bad language or sex. Overall, I'd recommend this exciting adventure.


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, June 2, 2017

On Copper Street by Chris Nickson

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On Copper Street
by Chris Nickson


ISBN-13: 9780727886965
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Severn House
Released: June 1, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Leeds, England. March, 1895. The day after his release from prison, petty criminal Henry White is found stabbed to death at his terraced home on Copper Street. Pursuing inquiries in a neighborhood where people are suspicious of strangers and hostile to the police, DI Tom Harper and his team find the investigation hard going. If anyone knows anything about Henry White s murder or the robbery that landed him in gaol in the first place they are unable or unwilling to say.

At the same time, acid is thrown over a young boy in a local bakery in a seemingly unprovoked attack. Praying for a breakthrough, Harper knows that he must uncover the motive in each case if he is to have any chance of catching the culprits.


My Review:
On Copper Street is a mystery set in 1895 in England. It's the fifth 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 mysteries.

The main character was a police detective who's offered a chance at promotion (involving mainly office work) while he's in the middle of several stubborn cases. It's a grim, gloomy story. Several of his friends died from natural causes, the death-by-murder body count was high, and several innocent people were disfigured, disabled, or died in an accident.

The detectives carefully followed up each lead, but the clues were so vague that they didn't clearly point to anyone. In the end, it was a lucky accident that raised Harper's suspicions. Though this wasn't a puzzle-mystery, whodunit was the only person that I (mildly) suspected. The historical details were a backdrop to the story and involved things like his wife's political activities.

There was no sex. There was a fair amount of bad language (including British bad language). Overall, I'd recommend this 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.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Dead and Berried by Peg Cochran

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Dead and Berried
by Peg Cochran


ISBN-13: 9780425274552
Mass Market Paperback:
304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: May 2, 2017

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
It's June in Cranberry Cove and Monica Albertson's plan to sell cranberry relish to chain stores is taking off. The cranberry bogs are in bloom, and local beekeeper Rick Taylor and his assistant Lori Wenk are bringing in bees to pollinate the blossoms. When a fatal prick fells Lori, the buzz is that Rick is to blame.

In trying to clear her friend's name, Monica discovers that more than a few people in Cranberry Cove have felt the power of Lori's venom, and it looks as if this time she may have agitated the hive a bit too much. With the fate of the farm on the line, Monica must get to the bottom of the crime before another victim gets stung.


My Review:
Dead and Berried is a cozy mystery. This is the third book in the series. You don't need to read the previous books to understand this one, and this one didn't spoil the whodunit of the previous mysteries.

This was a clue-based mystery, and there were enough clues to guess whodunit. The clues were easy for me to spot, so I knew whodunit very early on and further clues only confirmed it. The heroine isn't stupid, but she's a little slow in connecting subtle clues together. I liked that the police also figured out whodunit. The heroine provided them with any solid evidence she discovered, so she was helpful to them. She's also generally a nice person and so didn't go around ruining people's reputations in the course of her investigations (which I appreciate).

There were no sex scenes or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting novel.

Side note: I'm getting a little tired of cozies (by other authors) where the police are incompetent so the slow heroine can be the one to solve the case. My favorite cozy mysteries are those where the heroine is very clever and/or provides clues to the police that they can't get on their own. I don't enjoy cozies where the heroines essentially compete with the police. Why not just make the heroine a police detective if she's basically doing the same things the police are (or ought to be) doing? The point of the amateur detective is that they can learn details that people won't tell the police (for one reason or another) or spot things the police don't even know to look for. And, yes, I've been reading some cozies lately that I didn't like and so didn't review but which inspired this rant.


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, May 26, 2017

Murder in the Bowery by Victoria Thompson

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Murder in the Bowery
by Victoria Thompson


ISBN-13: 9781101987117
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: May 2, 2017

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description from Goodreads:
Frank Malloy's latest client is the well-dressed Will Bert. He's searching for his brother, a newsboy named Freddie, so he can share his new financial good fortune. Frank makes quick work of the case and locates Freddie, but a happy reunion between brothers is not in the cards.

When Will's name is mentioned, Freddie runs off only to be found dead a short time later. Suspicious, Frank tracks down Will who spins a tale of lust and deceit involving a young society woman, Estelle Longacre, also recently deceased. Frank can't be sure if Estelle's risky behavior and the company she kept was to blame, or if her own ruthless family had a hand in her death.

Frank will need Sarah Brandt's help to unearth the dark secrets of the wealthy Longacres and to discover if there is a connection between Estelle and Freddie s death. Together they must navigate a perilous underground web of treachery to find the truth."


My Review:
Murder in the Bowery is a historical mystery set in New York City in July of 1899 during the newsboy's strike. This is the twentieth book in the series. You don't need to read the previous books to understand this one, and this one didn't spoil the whodunit of the previous mysteries.

This was a clue-based puzzle mystery. Frank, Gino, and Sarah asked good questions and followed up clues until they all fit together. The mystery involved a lot of twists. I'd say, "I think such-and-such is going on" and, yes, they'd discover that was true. But then new information came up, and I'd think "Maybe so-and-so is actually a better choice for whodunit." So I had an idea of where it was going, but I didn't guess whodunit until every clue was finally exposed.

Interesting historical details about the newsboy's strike and Bowery Street were woven into the story. The main characters were nice people and had realistic reactions to events. Even though I understood their reasoning for not pressing for justice through the normal channels, I was a little bothered that Sarah and Frank not just allowed (knowing what would happen) but essentially asked for what happened to whodunit.

There were no sex scenes or bad language. 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 21, 2017

A Purely Private Matter by Darcie Wilde

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A Purely Private Matter
by Darcie Wilde


ISBN-13: 9780425282380
Trade Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: May 2, 2017

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Rosalind Thorne has slowly but assuredly gained a reputation as “a useful woman”—by helping respectable women out of some less-than-respectable predicaments.

Her latest endeavor involves Margaretta Seymore, who is with child. Her husband is receiving poisoned pen letters that imply that her condition is the result of an affair with the notorious actor Fletcher Cavendish. Margaretta asks Rosalind to find out who is behind the scurrilous letters. But before she can make any progress, Cavendish is found dead, stabbed through the heart.

Suddenly, Rosalind is plunged into the middle of one of the most sensational murder trials London has ever seen, and her client’s husband is the prime suspect. With the help of the charming Bow Street runner Adam Harkness, she must drop the curtain on this fatal drama before any more lives are ruined.


My Review:
A Purely Private Matter is a mystery set in 1817 in London, England. This is the second book in the series. You don't need to read the previous book to understand this one, and this one didn't spoil the previous mystery.

This was a clue-based puzzle mystery. Rosalind and Harkness carefully asked questions and collected information in their different ways. Rosalind was clever, but the mystery was complex and twisty. I was pretty certain of whodunit shortly after we met the character and only became more convinced as the case progressed. It turns out I wasn't quite correct, though whodunit is technically guessable and actually had a better motive than my guess.

The characters were interesting and complex. Though the romantic triangle was still there (the duke or the Bow Street runner?), the focus was on the mystery and on finding Rosalind's sister. I started rooting for the Duke, though, partly because people wouldn't be able to threaten to ruin Rosalind's reputation (and thus manipulate her) so easily. The historical details were woven into the story as part of the case, and the author clearly put research time into getting those details correct.

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.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Best Max Carrados Detective Stories by Ernest Bramah

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The Best Max Carrados Detective Stories
by Ernest Bramah


ISBN-13: 9780486814803
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Dover Publications
Released: May 17, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
Sightless detective Max Carrados solved his first cases in Edwardian London, in the early days of the 20th century when the city was the beating heart of the vast British Empire. This collection contains the very best tales of the blind sleuth, 10 adventures that range from his first challenge, "The Coin of Dionysus," to mysteries set during the World War I era and the early 1920s.

Like Sherlock Holmes, Max Carrados debuted in The Strand magazine, and his stories rivaled those of the Baker Street detective in popularity. This collection offers an excellent introduction to the suave private investigator whose deductive skills are surpassed only by his perceptive powers, which enable him to hear a heartbeat from across the room.

Carrados' creator, Ernest Bramah, was one of the few authors in the early days of detective fiction who could combine physical and intellectual thrills with imagination and stylistic brilliance. Brimming with charm and humor, these vintage stories are utterly unique in the field of detective literature.


My Review:
The Best Max Carrados Detective Stories is a collection of 10 short mystery stories set in the early 20th century. These are clever, clue-based mysteries. The solutions aren't usually clear until Max explains it, though all the clues were available.

What makes Max Carrados unique is that he's blind, though he turns this into a strength rather than a weakness. He looks beyond the obvious and can perceive things that sighted people don't. He's also very well informed and so might consider a possibility that others wouldn't even know to consider. I enjoyed all of the stories, and I'd highly recommend this collection.

The included stories:
The Coin of Dionysius
The Knight's Cross Signal Problem
The Mystery of the Vanished Petition Crown
The Holloway Flat Tragedy
The Disappearance of Marie Severe
The Mystery of the Poisoned Dish of Mushrooms
The Ghost at Massingham Mansions
The Tragedy at Brookbend Cottage
The Last Exploit of Harry the Actor
The Ingenious Mr. Spinola


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 14, 2017

Murder Between the Lines by Radha Vatsal

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Murder Between the Lines
by Radha Vatsal


ISBN-13: 9781492638926
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Released: May 2, 2017

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Kitty is tasked with writing a story about Westfield Hall, a prestigious girls' boarding school. Tragedy strikes when a student named Elspeth is found frozen to death in Central Park. The doctors proclaim that the girl's sleepwalking was the cause, but Kitty isn't so sure. Determined to uncover the truth, Kitty investigates a more chilling scenario—a murder that may involve Elspeth's scientist father and a new invention by Thomas Edison.


My Review:
Murder Between the Lines is a suspense set in Dec. 1915 to Jan. 1916 in New York City. This is the second book in the series. You don't need to read the previous book to understand this one, and this one didn't spoil the previous mystery.

Kitty asked questions about Elspeth's death against her father's wishes. He pointed out that it was either an accident (so why dredge things up) or something dangerous. Kitty pushed on, anyway, and more people died--accidents and suicide or a dangerous plot? By the end, she wondered if it wouldn't have been better if she had left things alone.

The author wanted Kitty to witness some significant events that happened during this period, so she used these events in the story. The author often quoted the real newspaper coverage of the event. This made sense when Kitty's only source of information was the newspaper, but it felt a little jarring when she's at the actual event or the article went on for a while (with details not necessary to the story).

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


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.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Love So True by Melissa Jagears

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A Love So True
by Melissa Jagears


ISBN-13: 9780764217524
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Bethany House
Released: May 2, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description from Goodreads:
Evelyn Wisely has a heart for the orphans of Teaville and works at a local mansion that rescues children out of the town's red-light district and gives them a place to live. But her desire to help isn't limited to orphans. The owner of the mansion, Nicholas Lowe, is willing to help her try to get the women working in prostitution out of the district as well--if she can gain the cooperation and support of local businessmen to go against the rest of the community.

David Kingsman has recently arrived in Teaville from Kansas City to help with one of his father's companies in town. While he plans on staying only long enough to prove his business merit to his father, he's shown interest in Evelyn's work and is intrigued enough by her to lend his support to her cause. They begin with the best of intentions, but soon the complications pile up and Evelyn and David's dreams look more unattainable every day. When the revelation of a long-held secret creates a seemingly insurmountable rift between them, can they trust God still has a good plan for them despite all that is stacked against them?


My Review:
A Love So True is a Christian romance set in 1908 in Kansas. It's the second book in a series, and you can understand this book without reading the previous one. This book spoiled some of what happened in the previous story, though not in a major way. While I enjoyed this story, I felt like the first book had a stronger story line.

Evelyn wanted to start a women's home in addition to running the orphanage, but she needed to get local support before Nicholas would finance it. I wondered how she thought she had the time to run the home since she was needed full time at the orphanage. Then again, this challenge seemed to exist more as a reason for Evelyn and David to spend time together than as the point of the story.

They were attracted to each other, but Evelyn pushed David away due to a shameful secret in her past. When writers spend most of the book only hinting at a character's motivating secret, it almost always turns out to be something that doesn't really stand in the way. And, yes, it's basically just her pride standing in the way of being free to love David. There were some issues that could have caused emotional conflict in their relationship (like where they would live, her ministries, etc.), yet these were resolved very easily.

The Christian element was Evelyn admitting her past rebellious act and accepting forgiveness and love. There were no sex scenes or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this 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.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cossette

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Wings of the Wind
by Connilyn Cossette


ISBN-13: 9780764218224
Trade Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Bethany House
Released: May 2, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description from Goodreads:
Alanah, a Canaanite, is no stranger to fighting and survival. When her family is killed in battle with the Hebrews, she disguises herself and sneaks onto the battlefield to avenge her family. The one thing she never counted on was surviving.

Tobiah, a Hebrew warrior, is shocked to find an unconscious, wounded woman among the Canaanite casualties. Compelled to bring her to a Hebrew healer back at their camp, he is soon confronted with a truth he can’t ignore: the only way to protect this enemy is to marry her.

Unused to being weak and vulnerable, Alanah submits to the marriage—for now. As she comes to know and respect Tobiah and his people, however, she begins to second-guess her plans of escape. But when her past has painfully unanticipated consequences, the tentative peace she’s found with Tobiah, the Hebrews, and Yahweh is shaken to the core. Can Alanah’s fierce heart and strength withstand the ensuing threats to her life and all she’s come to love?


My Review:
Wings of the Wind is biblical fiction (with a romance) set when the Israelites were at the end of their 40 years of wandering in the desert and ends after the attack on Jericho. This is the third book in the series, but it's basically a stand-alone novel. The author stayed true to the description of events given in the Bible. She wove interesting cultural details into the story, and we get a glimpse of what the land was like just before the Israelite incursion.

The characters acted realistically and were complex. Alanah is a Canaanite that has lost everything due to her family joining in a recent battle against the Israelites. She joins the next battle, only she's captured by Tobiah. He reluctantly marries Alanah following the Deut. 21:10-14 law to keep her safe while she heals. They come to respect and love each other, and they make a good pair (though obviously that took time and their relationship was rocky during the story).

Alanah saw the difference in how women and children were treated under God's law compared to the Canaanite culture. The Christian theme was how God was in control and working things out for good even when everything seemed to have gone wrong. There was no bad language or sex scenes. Overall, I'd highly 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.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Fatal Mistake by Susan Sleeman

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Fatal Mistake
by Susan Sleeman


ISBN-13: 9781455596461
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: FaithWords
Released: May 9, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGelley.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Tara Parrish is the only person ever to survive an attack by the Lone Wolf bomber. Scared and emotionally scarred by her near death, she goes into hiding with only one plan--to stay alive for another day. She knows he's coming after her, and if he finds her, he will finish what he started.

Agent Cal Riggins has had only one goal for the past six months--to save lives by ending the Lone Wolf's bombing spree. To succeed, he needs the help of Tara Parrish, the one person who can lead them to the bomber. Cal puts his all into finding Tara, but once he locates her, he realizes if he can find her, the Lone Wolf can, too. He must protect Tara at all costs, and they'll both need to resist the mutual attraction growing between them to focus on hunting down the bomber, because one wrong move could be fatal.


My Review:
Fatal Mistake is a Christian romantic suspense novel. The action started with the heroine stumbling across a serial bomber--someone she knows. She called the information in, but now the bomber is after her. Of course, the lead FBI agent falls in love with her while protecting her and hunting down the bad guys.

The suspense was high throughout the story as the bomber managed to repeatedly outmaneuver the FBI team. The romance was initially just physical attraction (and was recognized as such), but they drew closer as they worked together and got to know each other. I understood why they liked and respected each other (which is a good foundation for a relationship).

Both characters dealt with guilt. The hero felt guilt over his missions where people died, and he pushed hard for perfection and control. The heroine felt guilt over the people whom the bomber killed because they were associated with her. Both wondered why God allowed innocent people to die at the hand of evil people when He could stop it. Friends urged them to release their guilt and trust God more.

There was no sex. There was a minor amount of "he cursed" style references to bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this exciting suspense 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.


Friday, May 5, 2017

Family Matters by Anthony Rolls

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Family Matters
by Anthony Rolls


ISBN-13: 9781464207426
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Released: May 2, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Robert Arthur Kewdingham is an eccentric failure of a man. In middle age he retreats into a private world, hunting for Roman artefacts and devoting himself to bizarre mystical beliefs. Robert's wife, Bertha, feels that there are few things more dreadful than a husband who will persist in making a fool of himself in public. Their marriage consists of horrible quarrels, futile arguments, incessant bickering. Scarcely any friends will visit the Kewdinghams in their peaceful hometown Shufflecester.

Everything is wrong - and with the entrance of John Harrigall, a bohemian bachelor from London who catches Bertha's eye, they take a turn for the worse. Soon deep passions and resentments shatter the calm facade of the Kewdinghams' lives. This richly characterised and elegantly written crime novel from 1933 is a true forgotten classic.


My Review:
Family Matters is crime fiction that was originally published in 1933 and is set in England. This is one of the oddest crime novels I've ever read. It's not a mystery as we're told exactly who is poisoning Robert, how they are doing it, and what the bizarre result is. And yet, at the end, it's hard to say exactly who and what finally killed him. Also, we're apparently supposed to be rooting for the poisoners, so don't expect a typical mystery novel's ending.

The story started by describing the location and the many characters. As this information came all at once and before the scenes started, I quickly got muddled about the details. But correctly remembering these details didn't really seem to matter. Once the action started, the author still spent more time telling the reader about the characters than using scenes to show their personalities. On the other hand, I'm not sure I could take much more of Robert than we got, so maybe it's just as well. Anyway, the writing style is more like someone is telling you about this bizarre occurrence than watching the events unfold.

There was no sex. There was some bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this to people who enjoy bizarre crime stories with quirky characters.


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, April 30, 2017

Mrs. Jeffries Rights a Wrong by Emily Brightwell

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Mrs. Jeffries Rights a Wrong
by Emily Brightwell


ISBN-13: 9780399584206
Trade Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: May 2, 2017

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Thomas Mundy checked into London's Wrexley Hotel but he never checked out. The maid found him on the floor of his room, bludgeoned to death by his own walking stick. Inspector Witherspoon is soon on the case and learns Mundy had a reputation for being polite and charming.

But Mrs. Jeffries and the household staff uncover that Mundy was less of an amiable businessman and more of a duplicitous con man with enemies on both side of the Atlantic. Now Witherspoon and his staff must determine who on their lengthy list of suspects put Mundy in the red.


My Review:
Mrs. Jeffries Rights a Wrong is a historical mystery set in England in the late 1800's. It's the thirty-fifth book in the series. You don't need to read the previous books to understand this one, and this book didn't spoil the whodunit of previous books.

It's a clue-based puzzle mystery. There were plenty of clues, and plenty of people who hated the man and could have done it. We even see the murder happen (though no name or gender clues were dropped), so the reader knows some things that the main characters don't. I was pretty certain of whodunit by a little after halfway through.

I liked that Inspector Witherspoon collected a fair number of clues rather than getting practically nowhere on his own. After 35 cases, I'd hope he was becoming fairly competent, too! It seems like everyone except Witherspoon knows that he has help, but I guess the author is kind of stuck with that premise.

The story had enough historical detail to provide a historical feel. There was no sex. There was a very minor amount of bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable 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, April 28, 2017

Town in a Maple Madness by B.B. Haywood

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Town in a Maple Madness
by B.B. Haywood


ISBN-13: 9780425278642
Mass Market Paperback:
304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: April 4, 2017

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads
Return to Cape Willington, Maine, where blueberry farmer Candy Holliday springs ahead into sleuthing... The imminent arrival of spring has the locals gearing up for their sweetest celebration ever the first annual Maple Madness Weekend. Along with maple sugar house tours, a community-wide marshmallow roast, and a weekend-long pancake breakfast, restaurants will be serving up special maple syrup dishes. But the weekend festivities are put in jeopardy when things start to get sticky...

One of Candy's friends is accused of stealing sap from a rival's sugar maple trees, and landscaper Mick Rilke is found dead, floating down the river wrapped up in a fisherman s net. As Candy taps into Mick s life, his unsavory side comes to light, as well as a possible connection to both crimes. Now it's up to Candy to follow the flow of suspects to a cold-blooded killer


My Review:
Town in a Maple Madness is a cozy mystery. It's the 8th in a series, but you don't need to read the previous books to understand this one, and this book didn't spoil the whodunit of the previous novels.

The mystery was clue-based, but the story was more about suspense and romance. After several characters gave Candy information and asked her to solve things, she headed off by herself to remote locations to check out crime scenes and repeatedly found herself in danger. Despite present and past experiences, she refused to bring along a companion (except for the dog, who was sometimes left locked in the jeep) and didn't think to bring a weapon for protection, so she had to use improvised weapons. She also delayed calling for help on her phone when letting people know what was going on would have been smart and helpful. I assume this was all done to increase the suspense, but it seemed an artificial way to do so.

That said, the heroine was likable. There were just enough clues and so few suspects that I was able to guess whodunit before the heroine, though I couldn't guess why. (Gotta love it when the suspect provides a strong clue, though Candy didn't notice it.) There was a very minor amount of bad language. There were no sex scenes. Overall, I'd recommend this book to fans of the series.


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, April 23, 2017

What the Dead Leave Behind by Rosemary Simpson

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What the Dead Leave Behind
by Rosemary Simpson


ISBN-13: 9781496709080
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Kensington Books
Released: April 25, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
As the Great Blizzard of 1888 cripples the vast machinery that is New York City, heiress Prudence MacKenzie sits anxiously within her palatial Fifth Avenue home waiting for her fiance's safe return. With daylight, more than two hundred people are found to have perished in the icy winds and treacherous snowdrifts. Prudence's fiance is found frozen, his head crushed by a heavy branch, and clutching the ace of spades.

Her fiance's school friend, Geoffrey Hunter, is an attorney and former Pinkerton agent. Both Prudence and Geoffrey suspect Charles's death was no accident, especially happening so soon after her father's sudden death. Prudence turns to Geoffrey to help her prove the murderer and protect her inheritance from a stepmother intent on controlling Prudence's share of the family fortune.


My Review:
What the Dead Leave Behind is a historical novel set in 1888 in New York City. It's not really mystery genre since it's pretty obvious who the bad guys are. Even the main characters felt certain they knew whodunit and were attempting to prove it. Also, the reader gets to see things (including the murders) that the hero and heroine never see and some of which they never discover.

Some suspense was created by the repeated attempts to harm or kill the heroine. However, the author included so much historical detail that the pacing was too slow to sustain a feeling of suspense. The slower pacing and attention to detail will appeal to fans of historical novels (though I noticed a couple details I suspect are inaccurate).

The characters were interesting, and the hero was gallant and generally clever. But the main characters were slow to make some obvious connections and ask some important questions of people who would have been happy to answer. The heroine assumed things rather than re-assessed what she knew based on new information.

She also kept telling herself that her step-mother underestimated her, but I felt like the heroine overestimated herself. She had potential, but she didn't act logically or even consistently. She panicked at one point and forgot something vital that had just happened. A few scenes later, she somehow located a weapon she didn't know existed and acted heroically. So...does she fall apart easily under stress or think clearly and act decisively when under threat? Sometimes she acts one way and sometimes the other.

The author would shift point of view in the middle of a paragraph and sometimes jumped in time in a way that left me briefly confused. At the end, the bad guys weren't handed over to the courts (though they were stopped). There was a brief homosexual sex scene. There was some bad language.


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, April 21, 2017

Silence of the Jams by Gayle Leeson

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Silence of the Jams
by Gayle Leeson


ISBN-13: 9781101990803
Mass Market Paperback:
304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: April 4, 2017

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
In Winter Garden, Virginia, the Down South Cafe is open and flourishing, and Amy Flowers is busy making jam and pies. The only thorn in her side is Chamber of Commerce director George Lincoln, who is trying to buy the cafe so he can tear it down and build a B&B on the site. When George collapses while eating at the Down South, everybody assumes it's a heart attack until the autopsy declares it to be poisoning. Now it's up to Amy to prove her innocence.


My Review:
Silence of the Jams is a cozy mystery. This is the second book in the series. You don't need to read the previous book to understand this one, and this one didn't spoil the whodunit of the previous mystery.

The mystery was clue-based, but there weren't many suspects. I was pretty certain of whodunit from early on, though the author did make me wonder a couple times if maybe I was wrong. Amy asked some good questions, but much of her efforts (understandably) went in running her restaurant and some family drama involving an aunt.

Amy's a nice gal who doesn't want to hurt anyone's feelings. She's fairly intelligent. "Fairly" because she did confront one of her suspects when they were completely alone and accuse him of lying about something that would be a motive. It doesn't matter how that turned out; it was dangerous.

There was no bad language and no sex scenes. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable 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, April 16, 2017

Princess Sophie and the Six Swans by Kim Jacobs

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Princess Sophie and the Six Swans
by Kim Jacobs


ISBN-13: 9781937786670
Hardback: 40 pages
Publisher: Wisdom Tales
Released: April 1, 2017

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Princess Sophie, the spirited young heroine of this adapted tale from the Brothers Grimm, finds herself faced with an incredible challenge and some lessons to learn. She had forgotten her departed mother's warning to temper loyalty and strength with a compassionate heart. Antagonized by Sophie's resentful words, her powerful new stepmother turns Sophie's six brothers into swans and sets her the task of saving them.

Will Sophie succeed in helping her brothers? Can she spin six shirts made from the thorny thistle, while never speaking a word, even in her defense? And what will happen when King Yoren captures Sophie and takes her prisoner?

Featuring stunning artwork by renowned illustrator Kim Jacobs, her retelling of this classic Brothers Grimm fairytale also contains an author's note with fascinating details on family heraldry and mute swans.


My Review:
Princess Sophie and the Six Swans is a retelling of the Grimm fairy tale and is intended for ages 4 and up. The author added some details to the basic tale to help explain why certain things happen. The heroine's harsh words toward the stepmother prompted the stepmother's curse that Sophie must not speak until the thorny shirts are completed. So Sophie has to grow in character to be able to complete the difficult task.

Beautiful illustrations fill the pages. Details showing the setting and character's body language further develop the story and draw the reader in. I've enjoyed many of the Wisdom Tales Press books, but this engaging book is my favorite so far. I'd highly recommend it to fans of children's fairy tales.


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: View an excerpt on the publisher's website.

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Chapel Car Bride by Judith Miller

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The Chapel Car Bride
by Judith Miller


ISBN-13: 9780764219054
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Released: April 4, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
With her penchant for seeing the best in everyone, Hope Irvine sees a world full of good people in hard places. When her father accepts a position traveling in a chapel car as an on-the-rail missionary, she is determined to join him in his efforts and put her musical skills to good use by serving the mining families of West Virginia, saving their souls, and bettering their lives.

Luke Hughes shares Hope's love of music and her love of God, but as a poor miner he knows he can offer her no future. When she begins to travel with the mine owner's son to neighboring counties, Luke can hardly suppress his jealousy. It isn't until he begins to suspect these missions of mercy might be a cover for illegal purposes, though, that Luke feels he has the right to act to protect Hope.


My Review:
The Chapel Car Bride is a historical novel set in 1913 in West Virginia. At the beginning of the story, we get an overview of how chapel cars worked and what they looked like. The coal mine existed only to explain how the poor conditions and pay motivated some workers to do an illegal side business to feed their family. This illegal activity was the motivating focus of the story.

The main characters were nice people. Hope assumed the best about everyone and wanted to help people. Luke had the unfortunate tendency toward self-sabotage when it came to his dreams. He wanted to become a preacher and immediately fell in love with Hope. Hope returned his regard, but the son of the mine owner offered to help Hope reach out to the children in surrounding towns. Luke assumed that this made him a rival for Hope. When this man's true character was revealed and Hope and Luke declared their love, the author apparently felt it'd been to easy. A previously nice character suddenly turned nasty and got in the way. Yet the obstacle didn't really exist and the solution was so obvious that this just irritated me.

The Christian element was references to their holding services, praying, and care for the poor. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this book.


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, April 10, 2017

Pursued by Lisa Harris

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Pursued
by Lisa Harris


ISBN-13: 9780800724207
Trade Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Revell
Released: April 4, 2017

Source: Review copy from the publisher.


Book Description, Modified from GoodReads:
Nikki Boyd's flight into Nashville was routine--up until the crash landing at the airport. When the dust settles, Nikki discovers that the woman who had been seated next to her on the plane is missing--and no one will admit she was ever there.

Erika Hamilton had been flying to Nashville with an air marshal as a key witness in an upcoming grand jury trial. When she flees from the crash, is she running from trouble or straight into it? Before Nikki can even see her family, she and her team are pulled into a missing persons case where the motives are as unclear as the suspects.


My Review:
Pursued is a Christian suspense novel. It's the third in a series, but you don't need to read the previous books to understand this one. The story reads like an action movie. Nikki's flight crashes, which would be enough to put most people out of action (and unwilling to go up in the air again within 48 hours), but not Nikki! She shakes it off because she wants to be the one to find the missing woman whose life may be in danger.

Nikki just powers through pain and exhaustion despite the increasing body count and some rather traumatic experiences. Frankly, the fact that she seems superhuman--hardly touched by these experiences during the story--means that I had a hard time bonding with her. While the constant physical danger and time limits on finding the missing woman do make for a suspenseful story, I read suspense for the human element--how do they get through the trauma?--not for the big explosions.

Nikki felt she was always right. If a team member expressed a concern about her actions or plans, she dismissed those concerns and did things her way. Nikki also couldn't let unknowns go and didn't trust others (even her team) to find out those answers without her in the middle of things. While Nikki was otherwise a nice, caring person, I'd hate to be on her team.

The Christian truth thrown in at the end was her realization that God's in control and has all the answers about what has happened and will happen. But I'm really wondering if that'll change her behavior toward her team. There were also a few, brief prayers during the action. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this novel to fans of action movies.


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, April 9, 2017

Where the Dead Lie by C.S. Harris

book cover
Where the Dead Lie
by C.S. Harris


ISBN-13: 9780451471192
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Berkley
Released: April 4, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
London, 1813. Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, is no stranger to the dark side of the city, but he's never seen anything like this: the brutalized body of a fifteen-year-old boy dumped into a makeshift grave on the grounds of an abandoned factory.

One of London's many homeless children, Benji Thatcher was abducted and tortured before his murder—and his younger sister is still missing. Few in authority care about a street urchin's fate, but Sebastian refuses to let this killer go unpunished.

Uncovering a disturbing pattern of missing children, Sebastian is drawn into a shadowy, sadistic world. As he follows a grim trail that leads from the writings of the debauched Marquis de Sade to the city's most notorious brothels, he comes to a horrifying realization: someone from society's upper echelon is preying upon the city's most vulnerable. And though dark, powerful forces are moving against him, Sebastian will risk his reputation and his life to keep more innocents from harm.


My Review:
Where the Dead Lie is a historical mystery set in 1813 in London. This is the 12th book in a series. You don't need to read the previous novels to follow this one, and this book did not spoil any whodunits of the previous novels.

The author vividly described the setting and wove in historical details without slowing the fast pacing. The main characters were likable and cared about justice for the street children. Sebastian and Hero were observant and asked good questions, but the mystery was complex enough that it took some time to uncover who was involved. I'm a little surprised that Sebastian doesn't have more enemies, though, considering the secrets he tends to uncover along the way. It's a good thing he doesn't use those secrets against people.

Sex occurred and rape and torture was referred to, but there were no play-by-play sex or torture scenes. There was a fair amount bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this well-written 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, April 7, 2017

Behind the Scenes by Jen Turano

book cover
Behind the Scenes
by Jen Turano


ISBN-13: 9780764217944
Trade Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Released: April 4, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
Miss Permilia Griswold may have been given the opportunity of a debut into New York high society, but no one warned her she wasn't guaranteed to "take." After spending the last six years banished to the wallflower section of the ballroom, she's finally putting her status on the fringes of society to good use by penning anonymous society gossip columns under the pseudonym "Miss Quill."

Mr. Asher Rutherford has managed to maintain his status as a reputable gentleman of society despite opening his own department store. While pretending it's simply a lark to fill his time, he has quite legitimate reasons for needing to make his store the most successful in the country.

When Permilia overhears a threat against the estimable Mr. Rutherford, she's determined to find and warn the man. When Asher doesn't believe her, she decides to take matters into her own hands.


My Review:
Behind the Scenes is a Christian romance set in 1883 in New York City. Having read Turano's books before, I expected unconventional characters who don't care what society thinks and humor resulting from the silly situations they end up in. Unfortunately, the characters were borderline insane in this one, and their irrational behavior is intended to get the laughs.

I expected Permilia to be observant and clever. But, no. She danced a complete quadrille without noticing that everyone else was doing a set pattern and only she was making up steps. Her dancing usually results in injury to others, yet she agreed to dance with two men whom she likes. Really? The first 35% of the book was this lavish ball where Permilia blundered into trouble or panicked when men tried to talk with her.

Despite Asher inexplicably being attracted by Permilia's blundering (and perfume) at the ball, he refused to take her warning about an assassin seriously. The book description made it sound like Asher and Permilia would work together to figure out who's after them. Nope, they left figuring that out to other people. Permilia spent more time trying to figure out what God wanted her to do with her life. And more scenes were about various woman throwing things or trying to strangle each other than on murder attempts by an assassin.

There was no sex or bad language.


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.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Deep Extraction giveaway

I recently reviewed a Christian romantic suspense novel, Deep Extraction by DiAnn Mills. I just learned that the author is holding a giveaway at: http://www.diannmills.com/desk/deep-extraction-giveaway/.

And here's a link to the book trailer, if you're interested: Deep Extraction book trailer

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Scarweather by Anthony Rolls

book cover
Scarweather
by Anthony Rolls


ISBN-13: 9781464207402
Paperback: 279 pages
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Released: April 4, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
1913. John Farringdale, with his cousin Eric Foster, visits the famous archaeologist Tolgen Reisby. At Scarweather - Reisby's lonely house on the windswept northern coast of England - Eric is quickly attracted to Reisby's much younger wife, and matters soon take a dangerous turn. Fifteen years later, the final scene of the drama is enacted. This unorthodox novel from 1934 is by a gifted crime writer.


My Review:
Scarweather is a mystery novel that was originally published in 1934 and is set in England. The narrator, a "Watson" to his friend Ellingham, described significant events from 1913 to 1928 relating to his cousin's disappearance while visiting an archaeologist friend. Since Farringdale is looking back after the case is solved, he pointed out clues that weren't so clear at the time and described the leads they followed up.

Figuring out whodunit was just a matter of putting the clues together, and it's not intended to be difficult. The point was rather to follow Ellingham as he slowly but steadily worked to uncover the truth--even if it took 15 years! It's an interesting story even if not a typical mystery style.

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, March 31, 2017

Deep Extraction by DiAnn Mills

book cover
Deep Extraction
by DiAnn Mills


ISBN-13: 9781496410986
Trade Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Released: April 4, 2017

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description from Goodreads:
A pacemaker should have saved oil and gas magnate Nathan Moore's life. Instead, it provided his killer with a seemingly perfect means of execution. A bombing at one of Nathan's oil rigs days earlier indicates his death could be part of a bigger conspiracy, a web Special Agent Tori Templeton must untangle. But her first order of business is separating the personal from the professional--the victim's wife, her best friend, is one of the FBI's prime suspects.

Clearing Sally's name may be the biggest challenge of her career, but Tori finds an unexpected ally in the newest member of the task force, recently reinstated Deputy US Marshal Cole Jeffers. As Tori and Cole dig deeper into Nathan's personal and business affairs, they uncover more than they bargained for. And the closer they get to finding the real killer--and to each other--the more intent someone is on silencing them for good.


My Review:
Deep Extraction is a Christian romantic suspense novel. It's the second book in a series, but it's essentially a stand alone. The main characters were well-developed and acted realistically. One of the main characters was dealing with cancer, which triggered Tori's fear of getting cancer. Tori and Cole also had to deal with the emotional turmoil of having a good friend (Nathan) die and needing to uncover the secrets in his life.

Tori and Cole worked well together as a team, and I could see why they were attracted to each other. The suspense came from physical danger to several of the characters. The killer started a sequence of events where the danger wasn't gone after Nathan died, and it wasn't easy to uncover everything needed to understand exactly what had happened and whodunit.

Cole was a Christian and needed to forgive a man who shot him. Tori was considering God because her brother asked her to, but she struggled with a God that let bad things happen. There was no sex. There were occasional "he cursed" type references to bad language being used by some non-Christian characters. Overall, I'd recommend this exciting suspense 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.