Sunday, June 13, 2021

Jewel of the Nile by Tessa Afshar

Book cover
Jewel of the Nile
by Tessa Afshar


ISBN-13: 9781496428752
Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House
Released: June 1st 2021

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Raised as an orphan by her aunt, Chariline has only been told a few pieces of her parents' tragic love story. Her beautiful dark skin is proof that her father was Cushite, but she knows nothing else. While visiting her grandfather before his retirement as the Roman official in the queen's court, Chariline overhears that her father is still alive, and discovering his identity becomes her obsession. Both her grandfather and the queen have reasons for keeping this secret, however, and forbid her quest. So when her only clues lead to Rome, Chariline sneaks on the ship of a merchant trusted by friends.

Theo is shocked to discover a stowaway on board his vessel. But drawn in by Chariline's story, he feels honor-bound to see her safely to shore, especially when it appears someone may be willing to kill for the truth she seeks.


My Review:
Jewel of the Nile is a Christian romance mainly set in Cush, Rome, and on a ship in 56 AD. This continues the story of one of the characters in "Thief of Corinth," but you don't have the read that book to understand this one. Through the events of the story, Chariline grew as a person and learned from her mistakes, learning to consult God's will in her decision-making rather than simply justifying what she wanted to do. Both she and Theo share similarities in their pasts as well as a feeling of responsibility for their mothers' deaths shortly after their birth and of abandonment by their parents. While trying to help each other see their value and the misplaced guilt, they find emotional healing. They supported and built each other up.

The characters acted realistically, were likable, and grew as people. Historical and cultural details were woven into the story. Though a minor note: a ship in full sail would leave behind in seconds anything that fell overboard. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I 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.


Friday, June 11, 2021

Power Play by Rachel Dylan

Book cover
Power Play
by Rachel Dylan


ISBN-13: 9780764234323
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Bethany House
Released: June 1st 2021

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
When State Department attorney Vivian Steele witnesses two ambassadors collapse as if poisoned at a diplomatic dinner in Washington, DC, she is recruited to be a member of a joint FBI task force assigned to investigate. She's partnered with Jacob Cruz, who doesn't trust attorneys and doesn't see how she could add anything to the investigation. As a special agent in the Diplomatic Security Service and former Navy SEAL, he was in charge of the event's security.

As Viv starts to work her diplomatic sources, her past as a State Department lawyer comes back to haunt her, and secrets held tightly by the government thrust her into a web of danger. Afraid, Viv turns to Jacob for protection and help.


My Review:
Power Play is a Christian romantic suspense. It's the third in a series, but it works as a stand alone. While the task force initially believed that the deaths of the two ambassadors were connected, soon the story split into two separate investigations. We followed events in both investigations, though the focus was more on Vivian. The FBI partners investigating the death of the American ambassador worked well together and had a mentor/mentee relationship. Vivian and Jacob investigated the death of the Egyptian ambassador because Viv had contacts with the Egyptian Embassy due to a past assignment. They soon discovered that she (and others) had become the target of terrorists due to that past assignment. While Jacob initially didn't trust Viv and resisted her slower, diplomatic approach, he soon came to admire her and found a way to pair their strengths and weaknesses to solve the case.

The main characters were likable, interesting people that reacted realistically to events. They supported and built each other up. The suspense came from the danger to Viv. I wondered why Jacob wasn't really suspicious of the Good Samaritan since he usually didn't trust people easily and the motives behind that attack weren't certain at that point. Anyway, Viv felt like her relationship with God was strengthened through the events she endured. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this exciting story.


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


Sunday, June 6, 2021

Bridge of Gold by Kimberley Woodhouse

Book cover
Bridge of Gold
by Kimberley Woodhouse


ISBN-13: 9781643529578
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books
Released: June 1st 2021

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Underwater archaeologist Kayla Richardson is called to the Golden Gate Bridge where repairs to one of the towers uncovers two human remains from the late 1800s and the 1930s. The head of the bridge restoration is Steven Michaels, who dives with Kayla, and a friendship develops between them. But as the investigation heats up and gold is found that dates back to the gold rush, more complications come into play that threaten them both. Could clues leading to a Gold Rush era mystery that was first discovered during the building of the bridge still ignite an obsession worth killing for?


My Review:
Bridge of Gold is a Christian romantic suspense set in San Francisco in both 1933 and modern day. The main story happened in modern day when Steven, doing underwater renovation work on the south tower of the Golden Gate Bridge, finds a Gold Rush-era ship with a gold nugget inside. Kayla is brought in as an underwater archaeologist, and she works with Steven's crew to bring up historical artifacts and look for more gold. But someone is trying to sabotage their efforts and get to the gold first. Two skeletons are found on the ship, and Kayla and Stephen search old records to discover who they are. In 1933, Luke is a diver doing the original construction work on the south tower. He accidentally finds the ship and the gold. He and a friend return to the ship several times in search of gold, but someone else feels that the gold is rightfully his and sabotages their efforts.

The suspense came from the dangers of diving in the turbulent waters near the ship, especially in the 1933 gear and with someone sabotaging equipment. The author did a good job of creating uncertainty about who those skeletons were and if Luke and his friends managed to survive. The historical details about the building of the bridge and underwater archaeological work were woven into the story and were very interesting. The main characters were engaging, complex, and reacted realistically to events. Kayla and Stephen shared similar interests and built each other up. Except for a brief time when someone tried to ruin Stephen's reputation and Kayla didn't know what to think. I liked how Steven trusted Kayla to drive him down a very twisty street shortly after they met and never doubted her.

Kayla struggled with not wanting close friendships after losing her parents and with letting go of her need to know who killed her mother in a car accident. (Both happened before the story began.) Her faith helped her to accept that she would probably never know all the answers. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I had recommend this interesting and 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, June 4, 2021

A Lady in Attendance by Rachel Fordham

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A Lady in Attendance
by Rachel Fordham


ISBN-13: 9780800739737
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Fleming H. Revell
Released: June 1st 2021

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Five years in a New York state reformatory have left a blemish on Hazel's real name. So when she takes a job as Doctor Gilbert Watts's lady in attendance in 1898, she does so under an alias. In the presence of her quiet and pious employer, Hazel finds more than an income. She finds a friend and a hope that if she can set her tarnished past in order, she might have a future after all.

As Gilbert becomes accustomed to the pleasant chatter of his new dental assistant, he can't help but sense something secretive about her. Perhaps there is more to this woman than meets the eye. Can the questions that loom between them ever be answered? Or will the deeds of days gone by forever rob the future of its possibilities?


My Review:
A Lady in Attendance is a Christian romance set in 1898 in New York. Hazel grew up a spoiled, flirtatious young woman who made enemies because of her behavior. But when accused of a theft she didn't commit and sent to a state reformatory, she decided to practice gratitude rather than choosing resentment and bitterness. When released, she's humble, thoughtful, and hard-working while retaining her teasing sense of humor. Though intending to keep things strictly professional, she and Gilbert quickly became close friends. However, her past prevented her from having the full future that she longed for. She needed help to clear her name so that the shame cast on her and family would be removed. The mystery didn't take long to solve but was harder to prove.

Hazel and Gilbert supported, trusted, and brought out the best in each other. I cared about what happened to them and their friends. The historical details were worked into the story without slowing the pacing and created some of the conflict that had to be resolved. Hazel discovered how God can bring about good despite bad choices in the past and the evil in this world. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd highly recommend this enjoyable romance.


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, May 30, 2021

A Dangerous Goodbye by Fliss Chester

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A Dangerous Goodbye
by Fliss Chester


Paperback: 278 pages
Publisher: Bookouture
Released: August 20th 2020


Source: Rented through Kindle Unlimited.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
1944. While war rages in Europe, Fenella Churche is doing her bit in the green fields of England. But when she finds a letter addressed to her from her fiancé Arthur, she knows he may not be coming back from the war in France. Fen also realises that her darling Arthur is giving her all the clues she needs to find out what happened to him.

1945. With the war behind them and nothing left for her in England, Fen travels to the deceptively pretty French village where she thinks Arthur might be, but there’s no sign of him. She’s close to giving up when she finds his silver cigarette case and another letter full of clues. But when the local priest is killed, it’s clear someone wants to keep wartime secrets buried. If Arthur, a brilliant spy, was outwitted and betrayed, can Fen stay alive long enough to find out what happened to the man she loves?


My Review:
A Dangerous Goodbye is a mystery set in 1945 in France. This was a clue-based puzzle mystery. Fen asked good questions, was observant, and was able to link the clues together to solve the mysteries. Whodunit was guessable based on the clues. I was pretty sure of whodunit from shortly after the murder (probably because I read more murder mysteries than Fen apparently has). The main characters were interesting, engaging, and had realistic reactions to events. Historical details like turns of phrase or details about the French resistance were woven into the story and brought it alive in my imagination without slowing the pacing.

There was no sex. There were only a few uses of 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.


Friday, May 28, 2021

The Blacksmith's Bravery by Susan Page Davis

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The Blacksmith's Bravery
by Susan Page Davis


ISBN-13: 9781602607965
ebook: 320 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books
Released: November 1st 2010

Source: ebook rented from Kindle Unlimited.

Book Description, Modified from Amazon:
By age twelve, Vashti Edwards was orphaned and working her way west by way of saloons. In the mountain town of Fergus, Idaho, she has found faith and new hope in her friends from The Ladies Shooting Club and an employer who turned her saloon into a restaurant. But money is tight, and Vashti tries to get the job she’s dreamed of--as a stagecoach driver. Griffin Bane, local blacksmith and stagecoach manager, wrestles with his attraction to her--wanting to protect her while also wanting her to have her dreams. When a gang of outlaws target the stagecoach line, will The Ladies' Shooting Club come to their friends’ aid again, saving Vashti and Griffin to build a future together?


My Review:
The Blacksmith's Bravery is a Christian romance (with some suspense) set in 1887 in Idaho. This is the third book in a series. You can understand what's going on without reading the previous books. The main events in the previous books were not spoiled in this one.

The author wove interesting historical details about stagecoach lines into the story. The suspense came from the real threat of stagecoach robbers, making Griffin worry about Vashti's safety while at the same time admiring her enough that he wants to allow her to drive the stagecoaches if it can be done somewhat safely. Griffin also had to figure out how to raise a teenaged nephew who was giving trouble back at home. The main characters were capable, likable characters that supported each other.

Having read the series, I thought it was interesting that one character at the beginning wanted to influence the whole town. However, quiet and humble Hiram is really the man who changed the town through his influence. He supported his sister becoming a crack shot and teaching the other woman to shoot well. He didn't feel the need to put himself forward to shine in the shooting contest, allowing the women to gain some respect for their shooting. Following his example, at the end, even those who were good shots were more concerned about getting the job done than getting the glory. It was interesting how the whole town subtly but noticably changed throughout the series.

There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I 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.


Sunday, May 23, 2021

Rising Danger by Jerusha Agen

Book cover
Rising Danger
by Jerusha Agen


ISBN-13: 9781335401878
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Love Inspired
Released: May 25th 2021

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Someone’s planting explosives on dams in the Twin Cities, and Bristol Bachmann and her bomb-sniffing dog must move quickly to find them before everything ends up underwater. That means relying on the dams’ supervisor—an ex-boyfriend Bristol never thought she’d see again. Hopefully Remington Jones has grown up from the rakish charmer she knew in her academy days. Because lives now depend on them.

It’s an environmental terrorist who wants the dams gone, and his bid to set the waters free has lethal consequences. When he sees Bristol and her K-9 working to stop him, he sets his sights on them. Can they protect the cities from devastating destruction before the clock runs out?


My Review:
Rising Danger is a Christian romantic suspense novel. Bristol and her bomb-sniffing dog were cool and confident in the face of danger, and they repeatedly faced danger in order to keep a large city safe. Bristol lost family members during flooding, and she doesn't trust God to care enough to keep anyone safe. It's up to her. She's determined to control everything she can to provide safety. This need to make people fit into her definition of safe dooms many of her relationships, like with Remington in the past. She won't forgive him for not living up to her standards but can't resist getting lost in his melty chocolate brown eyes. As he later realized, she was more in love with the idea of what he could be than with who he actually was.

Remington was irresponsible in the past, but he found forgiveness in Christ and changed. He's determined to prove this to Bristol. Unfortunately, he doesn't like his job, doesn't bring out the best in Bristol, and goes about proving how responsible he is by being irresponsible. (Which he realized by the end, where real change and healing happened.) As head of security for a bunch of dams, it's his job to increase the security after the bomb threats by convincing the owners to spend the money necessary to prevent bombs from being placed. Instead, Bristol's boss ended up doing his job because he wasn't. He escorted Bristol around to search for bombs (which someone else could have done) and tried to figure out who the bomber was because it would make him a hero if he did so before the FBI team.

The suspense was high due to the continual danger. Unfortunately, the author apparently didn't realize how damaging even a small breach in the dam could be due to the highly erosive power of fast-flowing water. The assumption was that the bomb would have to destroy a substantial amount of the dam when that's not actually the case. I liked the characters individually and how they developed by the end, but it was exasperating to see them initially attracted to each other for all the wrong reasons (like his need for approval). By the end, they both came to a better understanding of God's forgiveness and goodness. Through that healing, they became a better match for each other. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable suspense.


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 21, 2021

Denied by Mary Keliikoa

Book cover
Denied
by Mary Keliikoa


ISBN-13: 9781603817837
Paperback: 226 pages
Publisher: Camel Press
Released: May 11, 2021


Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
PI Kelly Pruett has a lot on her plate – working with clients at the detective agency and caring for her deaf daughter. If motherhood taught her anything, it’s that the best things in life are never easy, so, despite recent injuries, PI Kelly Pruett is eager to get back to work.

When a mommy-to-be hires Kelly to locate her estranged dad, Kelly is thankful for the straightforward missing-persons case. But as she rummages through the trash in search of clues, she uncovers gambling debts to gangsters… and a blood-soaked severed finger. With her investigation suddenly heating up, Kelly’s hunt takes a deadly turn when her quarry is found driven off a cliff to his doom. She’ll need more than her cop boyfriend’s help to expose the truth when the murderer sends her a cease-and-desist notice with an explosive ending.


My Review:
Denied is a suspense/mystery. This is the second book in the series. You don't need to read the previous books to understand this one, and this one didn't spoil the mystery of the previous book. However, the book description led me to have some wrong expectations about the book. Kelly's deaf daughter was a minor character who was mainly cared for by her ex, who seemed like a fairly nice guy. The puppy was just a pet, usually asleep on the passenger seat of the car. Until, suddenly, he was out sniffing out clues. It wasn't clear if the dog had some training or if this was simply an innate instinct for his breed, but it was rather unexpected at that point.

Kelly was a very human heroine, wanting to live up to a high ideal but feeling like she was failing. She's very determined and cares about others. She's quite competent in the sense that she asked good questions, was observant, followed up on clues, and even survived quite a few dangerous situations. But she also made some wrong assumptions and mistakes. She broke some laws and once suffered consequences for those actions. I initially understood her motivation for continuing to search for the truth despite the danger (threats, exploding cars, knives, etc.) to herself. I was baffled, though, by why she couldn't let go when a trustworthy detective said they would seriously investigate everything she had found, so she could now focus on staying safe (and being the good mom that she aspires to be).

There was a fair amount of bad language. There were no sex scenes. Overall, I'd recommend this exciting 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.


Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Eye for an Eye by Stephanie Black

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Eye for an Eye
by Stephanie Black


ISBN-13: 9781524418182
Paperback: 80 pages
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Released: May 17th 2021

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
After a family tragedy nearly destroyed Mallory Ingram, she's fighting to get her life on track. When her sister and brother-in-law open their home to her, Mallory is certain that moving across the country will allow her to focus on a hopeful future. That future looks even more promising when her enrollment at a local university connects her with the charming Darien Thomas.

However, when illegal drugs turn up at her sister's house, the first person accused is Mallory, and suddenly, she doesn't know who to trust. Mounting evidence of Mallory's guilt is straining the tenuous bond she has just begun to develop with her sister after years of living separately. Desperate to prove her innocence and keep the harmful patterns of the past from hijacking her future, Mallory reaches for Darien's help to discover the truth.


My Review:
Eye for an Eye is a short romantic suspense story. Because it's short, everything happened very fast and with little pause to rest. This created a strong suspense. Someone set Mallory up to look like an illegal drug addict. Even her family suspected her and urged her to get help or they'd go to the police. Darien supported her efforts to discover the truth of what's going on. He listened to both sides, not just accepting her word because he's got a crush on her. The romance happened pretty quickly, but he's supportive and helpful (and it's not like they're getting married at the end). There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I recommend this short story to fans of romantic suspense.


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, May 16, 2021

The Adventure of the Deceased Scholar by Liese Sherwood-Fabre

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The Adventure of the Deceased Scholar
by Liese Sherwood-Fabre


ISBN-13: 9780593197882
Paperback: 314 pages
Publisher: Little Elm Press
Released: May 15th 2021

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description from Goodreads:
The Holmes family plans to celebrate the Easter holidays in London until a tragedy during the 1868 Oxford-Cambridge Boat race puts Mycroft Holmes’ reputation on the line.

When Mycroft Holmes identifies a drowning victim, he is drawn into a situation that could destroy not only Lord Surminster's name, but his own reputation as well. If ruled a suicide, the lord’s assets will be returned to the Crown, leaving his mother and siblings destitute. Should that happen, the victim’s sister has threatened to drag Mycroft’s good name through the mire. Will Sherlock be able determine what happened before more than one family is destroyed?


My Review:
The Adventure of the Deceased Scholar is a mystery set in 1868 in England. It's the third book in a series, but it works as a standalone novel as well. The main character is a teenaged Sherlock Holmes, and the story shows how he learned to be a detective (mainly from his logical, medically-trained mother). I felt like the author did a good job of capturing the personalities of Sherlock and Mycroft as they developed toward the adult characters.

The author has deeply researched this time period. Historical details were woven into the story, bringing the setting and manners alive in my imagination without slowing the pacing. The characters were logical, asked good questions, and followed up on clues. I actually liked that Sherlock got a little sidetracked about the motive behind the events. While whodunit didn't come as a surprise and was guessable from the clues, the big reveal happened when the bad guys captured the Holmes brothers. This case was certainly a learning experience for them. I liked that the official detective on the case was also clever. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable 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.


Friday, May 14, 2021

Aftermath by Terri Blackstock

Book cover
Aftermath
by Terri Blackstock


ISBN-13: 9780310345978
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Released: May 11th 2021

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Criminal attorney Jamie Powell will accept the consequences for defending her lifelong friend, Dustin, when he’s accused of setting the bombs that killed dozens at a local political rally. But she hasn’t seen him since he aged out of foster care, and he’s always lived on the edge. As Jamie investigates his case and the people in his life, she realizes the facts coming to light could be devastating. Someone is setting him up...but proving it might hurt Dustin more than the accusation itself.


My Review:
Aftermath is a Christian romantic suspense. Dustin had a troubled childhood after his parents died, but he thrived in the Army and later created his own successful security firm. Only, someone has set him up as a clear suspect in a political rally bombing. He needs the help of an old friend who always believed in him and who's now a lawyer. Jamie fights to uncover the real culprit behind the bombing while protecting her client.

The suspense was created by the physical danger and emotional upheaval created by the bombing situation. The characters were interesting and reacted realistically to events. Jamie and Dustin worked together to prove his innocence and solve whodunit. They grew closer as they built upon their past friendship and acknowledged how much they cared for each other. While whodunit seemed like an obvious suspect to me and Jamie also suggested that person, it was understandable that Dustin needed further proof. I was frustrated, though, that Dustin didn't even try to not implicate himself when he found and was searching through evidence of the crime (and leaving his fingerprints all over it).

Some of the characters struggled to understand why God allowed some to live and others to die. 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.


Sunday, May 9, 2021

In a Far-Off Land by Stephanie Landsem

Book cover
In a Far-Off Land
by Stephanie Landsem


ISBN-13: 9781496450425
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House
Released: May 4th 2021

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
As the Great Depression hits the Midwest, Minerva Sinclaire runs away to Hollywood, determined to make it big and save the family farm. But beauty and moxie don't pay the bills in Tinseltown, and she's caught in a downward spiral of poverty, desperation, and compromise. Finally, she's about to sign with a major studio and make up for it all. Instead, she wakes up next to a dead film star and is on the run for a murder she didn't commit.

Only two unwilling men--Oscar, a Mexican gardener in danger of deportation, and Max, a too-handsome agent battling his own demons--can help Mina escape corrupt police on the take and the studio big shots trying to frame her. But even her quick thinking and grit can't protect her from herself. Alone, penniless, and carrying a shameful secret, Mina faces the consequences of the heartbreaking choices that brought her to ruin . . . and just might bring her back to where she belongs.


My Review:
In a Far-Off Land is a historical romance set in 1931 in America. It's loosely based on the lost/prodigal son parable in the Bible. It's not a mystery/suspense novel. While the story started with Mina waking up next to a murdered man, the story became a series of flashbacks. Much of the story was people thinking about or discussing or the characters telling the reader about the events that led up to that day. Very little action happened in the "current day" for about 75% of the book. Then a couple of characters discovered critical clues, quickly solved whodunit, and figured out what to do about it. The remaining story was about healing broken relationships.

While I enjoy historical fiction, I'm not really interested in detailed descriptions of every single piece of clothing that the characters wore beyond the initial setup of their style. Same for the detailed descriptions of the restaurants, houses, etc. So the pacing felt a little slow to me. I liked that the author included the relationship tensions created by the prejudice against Mexicans and the bastard status of Max. Anyway, the story was a depressing litany of how these realistic and complex characters made bad decision after bad decision, leading to sad and tragic outcomes. Mina was a thief, prostitute, liar, and selfish, but she came across as a sympathetic character even though I didn't relate to her situation or choices.

At the end, Mina received the profound mercy and grace of a father's unconditional love. This helped her to understand God's unconditional love when she felt like God had no time for the likes of her. There was no bad language. There were veiled references to sex (no detailed sex scenes). Overall, I'd recommend this story as long as you realize it's a slow, relational novel that shows God's love for the undeserving. It excelled at that.


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 7, 2021

Never Miss by Melissa Koslin

Book cover
Never Miss
by Melissa Koslin


ISBN-13: 9780800738396
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Revell
Released: May 4th 2021

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Former CIA sniper Kadance Tolle possesses a special set of skills and a rare pedigree. She comes from a family of assassins, and by saving Lyndon Vaile's life she risks being found by them. Despite the danger, Kadance feels compelled to help Lyndon discover who is after him--and his research that seems to prove that the Ebola virus was manmade and is about to be weaponized.

With shadowy figures pursuing them and a Mastermind watching their every move, Kadance and Lyndon must scramble to stop an impending bioattack at the State of the Union address. But their warnings fall on deaf ears, and it becomes increasingly clear that there's no one they can trust--except perhaps each other.


My Review:
Never Miss is a Christian romantic suspense novel. Kadance and Lyndon respected each other's unique skills and trusted one another's judgment, so they worked very well together as an awesome team. While Lyndon was a genius scientist, he also knew how to fight well enough to back Kadance up. Each let the one best suited lead when their skill was needed and supported their actions. Because of their unique backgrounds and abilities, they both understood what it's like to not quite fit in and felt comfortable opening up to each other. Still, they had to work through some misunderstandings as they learned more about each other.

The suspense remained high due to several attempts to kill them and the pressure to uncover who's going to release the super Ebola virus at the State of the Union speech. The main characters were likable, honorable people who reacted realistically to the situations. I cared about what happened to them. I loved that Kadance really was intelligent and skilled and didn't suddenly, at the end, throw away her gun or something just so that the hero had a chance to rescue her.

The Christian element was a few references to prayer and Kadance asking Lyndon how an intelligent scientist could believe in the existence of God. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I would recommend this enjoyable, 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.


Wednesday, May 5, 2021

The Moonlit Murders by Fliss Chester

Book cover
The Moonlit Murders
by Fliss Chester


ISBN-13: 9781838886479
ebook: 303 pages
Publisher: Bookouture
Released: April 21st 2021

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
1945. Fen Churche books passage on a steam ship from France to America, excited to dance the night away in the glamorous ballroom and play games on deck. Then a diamond tiara goes missing, and Fen promises to find it when her friend Genie is accused. During the search, they find the body of a German passenger hidden in a lifeboat. Then Fen finds Genie, a young actress bound for Broadway, strangled in her own cabin. With no police on board, Fen decides to do a little snooping of her own.

Fen feels sure these dreadful crimes are linked. Through her sleuthing she meets light-hearted lieutenants returning from the war, charming stewards, and snooty first-class passengers. Can Fen solve the case before they dock in New York and the killer escapes for good?


My Review:
The Moonlit Murders is a mystery set in 1945 in France and on the ocean. 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 puzzle mystery. Fen asked good questions, was observant, and was able to link the clues together to solve the mysteries. It seemed obvious from nearly the beginning who was the jewel thief, though I wasn't certain until the end about whether or not that person had a partner. Whodunit was guessable based on the clues. Each clue just made me more certain of who murdered the German. The clues weren't quite so clear cut about who murdered Genie. The main characters were interesting, engaging, and had realistic reactions to events. Historical details like turns of phrase or rationing were woven into the story and brought it alive in my imagination without slowing the pacing.

There was no sex. There were only a few uses of 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.


Sunday, May 2, 2021

The Nature of a Lady by Roseanna M. White

Book cover
The Nature of a Lady
by Roseanna M. White


ISBN-13: 9780764237188
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Released: May 4th 2021


Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description from Goodreads:
1906. Lady Elizabeth "Libby" Sinclair, with her love of microscopes and nature, isn't favored in society. She flees to the beautiful Isles of Scilly for the summer and stumbles into the dangerous secrets left behind by her holiday cottage's former occupant, also named Elizabeth, who mysteriously vanished.

Oliver Tremayne--gentleman and clergyman--is determined to discover what happened to his sister, and he's happy to accept the help of the girl now living in what should have been Beth's summer cottage . . . especially when he realizes it's the curious young lady he met briefly two years ago, who shares his love of botany and biology. But the hunt for his sister involves far more than nature walks, and he can't quite believe all the secrets Beth had been keeping from him.

As Libby and Oliver work together, they find ancient legends, pirate wrecks, betrayal, and the most mysterious phenomenon of all: love.


My Review:
The Nature of a Lady is a Christian romance set in 1906 in England. Oliver's sister has gone missing. People keep delivering messages and objects to Lady Elizabeth because she's living in the same vacation cottage and both women have a similar look. However, Oliver's sister promised an archaeological find to some men who now think that Lady Elizabeth is their contact and is withholding their prize. They've already killed one boy to get their treasure. Libby and Oliver must find Beth before more people get hurt.

Libby and Oliver shared an interest in science and studying nature. Oliver encouraged Libby to learn more, sharing his knowledge with her. He also respected her intelligence and her courage during their efforts to protect and find his sister. She encouraged him to live up to his faith and forgive a longtime rival. All of the characters were complex, realistic people, and I cared about what happened to the main characters.

Libby felt that science explained the world without a need for God. Oliver, a vicar, explained that learning more about God's creation didn't negate the need for God. He helped her to a sense of wonder at Christ's act offering salvation. Based on one sentence, it seemed like Libby still felt that the things she discovered using science should be used to reinterpret the Bible. I'd assert instead that the Bible helps us to properly interpret what we discover through science. After all, God knows how He created everything! There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable historical romance with a 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, April 30, 2021

Murder on Wall Street by Victoria Thompson

Book cover
Murder on Wall Street
by Victoria Thompson


ISBN-13: 9781984805775
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Berkley
Released: April 27th 2021


Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Reformed gangster Jack Robinson is working hard to bolster his image in Gilded Age New York City society as he prepares to become a new father. But when Hayden Norcross, the man who nearly ruined his wife, is shot in cold blood, Jack knows the police will soon come knocking on his door. Frank Malloy has to agree, but a man as unlikeable as Hayden had more than a few enemies. It’s soon clear that plenty of the upper echelon as well as the denizens of the most squalid areas of the city seem to have hated him.

Sarah and Frank have their work cut out for them. As the daughter of the elite Decker family, Sarah has access to the social circles Hayden frequented, and the more she learns about his horrific treatment of women, the more disturbed she becomes. And as Frank investigates, he finds that Hayden had a host of unsavory habits that may have hastened his demise. But who finally killed him?


My Review:
Murder on Wall Street is a historical mystery set in New York City in 1900. This is the 24th 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, Sarah, and her parents all helped with the investigation and used their unique skill sets. They asked good questions and investigated many leads, but there were many people who didn't like the murdered man so they had many suspects. Whodunit was a strong suspect for me from the beginning, but I understood why they weren't guessing that person. I wasn't sure if that person had help, though. What happened became clearer as they collected clues. I like that Sarah genuinely helps victims rather than pushing her way into investigating a crime simply for her amusement.

Some interesting historical details were woven into the story. The main characters were nice, engaging people and had realistic reactions to events. 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.


Sunday, April 25, 2021

The Jane Austen Investigates: The Abbey Mystery by Julia Golding

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The Jane Austen Investigates:
The Abbey Mystery
by Julia Golding


ISBN-13: 9781782643340
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Lion Fiction
Released: April 23rd 2021


Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
It’s 1789 and a young Jane Austen turns detective as she seeks to solve the mysterious happenings at Southmoor Abbey. When a carriage accident forces a change of plans, 13-year-old Jane is sent to be a companion to Lady Cromwell for a week as the household prepares to celebrate the eldest son’s coming-of-age party. While there, Jane vows to solve the mystery of the ghostly monk in the Abbey grounds – for she does not believe in such stories!

But this is not the only strange occurrence for the adventurous young Jane to investigate. There are shivery night-time investigations, an Indian girl with secret talents, a library fire, two prize horses in danger, and friends to save from false accusations. With notebook in hand and her faithful dog Grandison by her side, will Jane overcome the continuous obstacles and find out the truth?


My Review:
The Abbey Mystery is a delightful mystery set in 1789 in England with a 13-year-old Jane Austen as the amateur detective. I would've loved her as a kid, and I thoroughly enjoyed the story as an adult, too. The historical details about manners and customs were deftly woven into the story and did not slow down the pacing but did explain why certain things happened the way they did. Jane used modern wording and was a realistic 13-year-old girl, so younger readers will feel at home with her. She's spunky, determined, loyal, and has a sense of humor.

The mystery was clue-based, and whodunit was guessable from the clues. Jane had good ideas about where to look and what questions to ask. She made good friends that helped her to accomplish her goal of proving that a more powerful (than her) person was at fault rather than the young man who was blamed. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd highly recommend this enjoyable 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.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Winning the Gentleman by Kristi Ann Hunter

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Winning the Gentleman
by Kristi Ann Hunter


ISBN-13: 9780764235269
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Released: April 20th 2021

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Aaron Whitworth hasn't had control over most aspects of his life, but he's always taken pride in being an honorable businessman and better-than-average horseman. When both of those claims are threatened, he makes the desperate decision to hire the horse trainer of a traveling circus as a temporary jockey for his racehorses.

Sophia Fitzroy knows that most horsemen don't take her seriously because she's a woman, but she can't pass up the opportunity to get away from the tumultuous world of travel and performing. As she fights for the right to do the work she was hired for, she learns the fight for Aaron's guarded heart might be an even more worthwhile challenge.

As secrets come to light and past vulnerabilities are confronted, will Aaron and Sophia sacrifice their former dreams and forge a new one together--against all odds?


My Review:
Winning the Gentleman is a Christian historical romance set in 1817 in Newmarket, England. It's the second book in the series. You don't need to read the previous novels to understand this one, though characters from her previous novels do appear in this story.

The main characters were interesting, complex, and reacted realistically to events. Aaron felt like he couldn't marry due to his "illegitimate" (though grudgingly acknowledged by his father) status making his social position questionable. He wanted to be a man of his word, though, so backed Sophia even though she tricked him into a contract making her a jockey. She didn't really want to be a jockey, just make enough of a name for herself that women would want to hire her to teach them advanced riding (dressage). Both come to appreciate the other person's strengths and grow as people. Aaron's friends help him to realize that he's made his own place in society.

There was some praying, and Sophia learned to trust God more with her future plans. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable historical romance.


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 22, 2021

The Dagger Dance by Elizabeth Bailey

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The Dagger Dance
by Elizabeth Bailey


ISBN-13: 9781800552128
Paperback: 361 pages
Publisher: Sapere Books
Released: April 13, 2021

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
1793, England. After a not-so-relaxing holiday in Tunbridge Wells, Lady Ottilia and Lord Francis Fanshawe have returned to their home with a young orphaned girl, Pertesia ‘Pretty’ Brockhurst. After losing both her parents in tragic circumstances, Pretty had been abandoned by the rest of her family and the childless Fanshawes have delighted in having her around. But when her estranged grandfather turns up on their doorstep, Ottilia is worried she will lose the child.

Meanwhile, their footman Hemp Roy, has run into trouble. After becoming reacquainted with Dorote, a woman from his past life in Barbados, Hemp is desperate to help her when she is accused of murdering her master in Bristol. Who better to turn to than his trusted Lady Fan?


My Review:
The Dagger Dance is a mystery set in 1793 in England. This novel is the 7th in the series, but you don't need to read the previous novels to understand this one. This story didn't spoil the whodunit of the previous books, but it did spoil some of the events in the previous book.

This was a clue-based mystery. Lady Fan and her husband asked plenty of questions of potential witnesses and suspects to sort out what had happened. The actual murderer seemed extremely obvious to me, but it took all of the clues to figure out exactly what had happened and prove whodunit for various crimes. Historical details were woven into the story to create the feeling of a specific time and place.

The characters were interesting, but Lady Fan is getting increasingly arrogant and high-handed in her dealings with other people. She's right (even in a case where she's just being selfish). Everyone else is wrong and anything (threats, blackmail, etc.) is justifiable to force them to do what she wants. I didn't care for this behavior, but her husband just cheered her on. Despite her much lauded observational skills, she and her husband were completely blind to the fact that she was pregnant. They were constantly making jokes about her odd eating behavior and erratic emotions to the point it became unbelievable that they simply didn't make the connection.

There were just a few of uses of bad language. There were no sex scenes. 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.


Sunday, April 18, 2021

A Wicked Conceit by Anna Lee Huber

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A Wicked Conceit
by Anna Lee Huber


ISBN-13: 9780593198445
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Berkley
Released: April 6th 2021

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Edinburgh, Scotland. March 1832. Kiera and Gage have been eagerly awaiting their bundle of joy, but trouble has been brewing in the form of the roguish criminal, Bonnie Brock Kincaid. A new book and subsequent play features some of Kincaid's daringly heinous exploits as well as characters which are obvious representations of Kiera and Gage. The scoundrel's fury at the author seems genuine, as well as his determined quest to uncover the real identity of the author.

A rash of crimes break out across the city, seemingly inspired by the play and book. When the publisher is found brutally murdered—in an imitation of a gruesome scene—the finger not only points to Bonnie Brock as the possible culprit, but also the Gages, who have been outspoken in their condemnation of the scandalous implications against Kiera in the tale. Now, the Gages are on a hunt to unmask the killer. Between the infamy garnered by the play, the cholera outbreak still wreaking havoc throughout the city, and the impending birth of their child, they will need all the resources they can garner. But family quarrels and the revelation of a secret Kiera has been keeping from Sebastian threaten to undermine everything they have overcome.


My Review:
A Wicked Conceit is a mystery set in February 1832 in Scotland. It is the ninth book in a series. The author referred back to events in the previous books, including the solution to several mysteries. This book also heavily referred to events in previous books, so events in the current book will probably make more sense if you've read those books.

About 80% of the book was spent on relationship conflicts (with Kiera's sister, between Kiera and Gage, between Kiera's maid and Gage's valet, dealing with the scandal implied by a recently released book, etc.). While this continued to develop the characters, the mystery seemed more like the event driving the relationship conflicts than the focus of the story. I prefer a little more focus on the mystery.

The historical details were mainly about the cholera outbreak and book publishing. Kiera was about to give birth at any time, but she continued to investigate and go to dances and other social functions (where people, mainly women, made public comments about the state of her pregnancy). Kiera and Gage investigated the identity of the informant, the author, and the murder (which weren't necessarily different people, but the people behind those roles needed to be identified). They asked good questions and followed up on clues. I guessed some of it before the reveal, but some parts weren't clear until the final clues were uncovered.

There were no sex scenes. There was occasional use of British bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this mystery 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.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Danger on the Loch by Paige Edwards

Book cover
Danger on the Loch
by Paige Edwards


ISBN-13: 9781524415204
Paperback: 296 pages
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Released: April 5th 2021

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description from Goodreads:
Raised by a cold and distant mother, photographer Paisley Clark has spent her life daydreaming about the father she doesn’t remember. Paisley’s dream turns to reality when a DNA test brings her in contact with the mysterious man. With her financial situation a disaster and her childhood friend James Pressley-Coombes working across the pond in Scotland, Paisley is emboldened to accept her father’s invitation to visit him.

She arrives in the Highlands only to discover that she isn’t Paisley Clark at all but a titled lady, the daughter of a Scottish duke. Despite the warm welcome and the comfort of James’s presence, dangerous undercurrents surround Castle Rannoch, her father’s estate. Overwhelmed, Paisley takes refuge in her camera and James’s steady presence to provide a sense of normalcy in her rags-to-riches transformation. But her once-easy relationship with James is changing, deepening beyond friendship in a surprising twist of events. Before they have time to examine their feelings, Paisley inadvertently captures a shocking image in one of her photographs—a picture worth killing for.


My Review:
Danger on the Loch is a romantic suspense novel. The main focus was on Paisley's reunion with her father and growing romantic attraction to James, but there was a suspense element as well. Paisley always liked James since he and his family were there for her as she grew up. However, James didn't realize that he was attracted to her until they were both in Scotland and she needed his support in dealing with her father and his family.

The main characters were likable and reacted realistically to events. The suspense came from relationship tensions and the viewpoint of someone being blackmailed into hurting Paisley's family. There was physical danger to Paisley and James after they accidentally witnessed someone--are they terrorists?--testing a deadly poison on animals. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable 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.


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Big Little Spies by Krista Davis

Book cover
Big Little Spies
by Krista Davis


ISBN-13: 9780451491701
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley
Released: April 6th 2021


Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
The ladies of the Wagtail Animal Guardians, WAG for short, are in town for a pet adoption charity ball, and Holly is making sure to roll out the red carpet for her special guests. She and her furry best friend Trixie are busy keeping the WAG ladies happy and preparing for the ball when they learn that a retired judge has lost his prized pup.

The venerable citizen has hired a pet detective who has some personal ties to Holly's new guests. His presence ruffles some feathers, and when the PI is found DOA not long before the ball, Holly wonders if one of the WAG ladies had a motive for murder. To make matters worse, some pet-loving guests of the ball nearly suffer the same deadly fate. Holly and Trixie will have to sniff out the clues and leash a callous killer before they strike again.


My Review:
Big Little Spies is a cozy mystery. It's the seven 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 mystery was clue-based. The critical clue needed to determine whodunit was not provided until the end, so it's not really a puzzle mystery. Holly asked questions and observed people. I usually have no problem keeping track of who is who, but there were so many suspects with similar relationships to the victim that it was difficult to remember who had what motives, what connections, what pet, etc. I felt like I should've created a chart, but I still enjoyed the mystery even with this mild confusion. The characters were interesting and engaging. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this fun mystery.


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


Monday, April 12, 2021

Giveaway ending soon!

Sunday, April 11, 2021

What the Devil Knows by C.S. Harris

Book cover
What the Devil Knows
by C.S. Harris


ISBN-13: 9780593102664
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Berkley
Released: April 6th 2021

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
It's October 1814. London suddenly finds itself in the grip of a series of heinous murders eerily similar to the Ratcliffe Highway murders of three years before.

In 1811, two entire families were viciously murdered in their homes. A suspect--a young seaman named John Williams--was arrested. But before he could be brought to trial, Williams hanged himself in his cell. The murders ceased, and London slowly began to breathe easier. But when the lead investigator, Sir Edwin Pym, is killed in the same brutal way three years later and others possibly connected to the original case meet violent ends, the city is paralyzed with terror once more.

Was the wrong man arrested for the murders? Bow Street magistrate Sir Henry Lovejoy turns to his friend Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, for assistance. Pym's colleagues are convinced his manner of death is a coincidence, but Sebastian has his doubts. The more he looks into the three-year-old murders, the more certain he becomes that the hapless John Williams was not the real killer. Which begs the question--who was and why are they dead set on killing again?


My Review:
What the Devil Knows is a mystery set in October 1814 in London. This book is the 16th in a series. You can understand it without having read the previous novels, and it didn't spoil the whodunits of the previous mysteries.

The historical information was woven into the story without slowing the pacing. It created a distinct feeling of that specific time and place and helped bring the story alive in my imagination. The characters were interesting, complex, and acted in realistic ways. Both Hero and Sebastian were involved in the investigation, though Sebastian was the main investigator. He tracked down leads and asked good questions. He pieced together the basic outline of what had happened in the past and what was occurring now. There were several suspects, and you can't fully narrow down whodunit until the final clues at the end.

Some prostitutes used crude words to briefly describe their job or their client's sexual anatomy. There were no graphic sex scenes. There was a fair amount of 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.


Friday, April 9, 2021

The Hiding Place by Paula Munier

Book cover
The Hiding Place
by Paula Munier


ISBN-13: 9781250153074
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Released: March 30th 2021


Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
When her late grandfather’s dying deputy calls Mercy to his side, she and Elvis inherit the cold case that haunted him—and may have killed him. But finding Beth Kilgore 20 years after she disappeared is more than a lost cause. It’s a Pandora’s box releasing a rain of evil on the very people Mercy and Elvis hold most dear.

The timing couldn’t be worse when the man who murdered her grandfather escapes from prison and a fellow Army vet turns up claiming that Elvis is his dog, not hers. With her grandmother Patience gone missing, and Elvis’s future uncertain, Mercy faces the prospect of losing her most treasured allies, the only ones she believes truly love and understand her.

She needs help, and that means forgiving Vermont Game Warden Troy Warner long enough to enlist his aid. With time running out for Patience, Mercy and Elvis must team up with Troy and his search-and-rescue dog Susie Bear to unravel the secrets of the past and save her grandmother—before it’s too late..


My Review:
The Hiding Place is a mystery/suspense novel. It's the third book in a series. You don't need to read the previous novels to understand this one, and this novel didn't spoil the whodunit of the previous novels.

The characters were engaging, complex, and acted in realistic ways. I cared about what happened to them. The mystery was complex since the cold case, the recent murder, and the attack on Mercy's grandmother may or may not be connected. Mercy and her talented ex-military dog, Elvis, tracked down clues, asked good questions, and pieced together a complex cold case. And chased bad guys. She worked with U.S. Game Warden Troy Warner and his search and rescue dog. The suspense remained high since an escaped criminal was after Mercy's grandmother and a fellow soldier was threatening to take Elvis from her.

There were a few uses of bad language. There was no sex. Overall, I'd recommend this novel to people who enjoy canine mysteries and suspense.


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.


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Alaskan Rescue by Terri Reed

Book cover
Alaskan Rescue
by Terri Reed


ISBN-13: 9781335405128
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense
Released: April 13th 2021


Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description from Goodreads:
Sent to find a wedding party that disappeared during a hike, Alaskan state trooper Hunter McCord and his K-9 partner, Juneau, discover bridesmaid Ariel Potter hanging from a cliff. But this was no accident—she was pushed—and her hiking companions are missing. Now it’s up to Hunter and Juneau to find them…and make sure whoever wants Ariel dead doesn’t finish the job.


My Review:
Alaskan Rescue is a romantic suspense novel. It's a start of a new series that has an ongoing mystery to be solved as well as a mystery that was solved in this book. Since there were few suspects and the clues pointed strongly in one direction, the whodunit behind the later attacks on Ariel seemed pretty obvious to me (though not easily proven). I'd expected these attacks to mainly be a diversion from solving the initial attack, so I was surprised that no progress was made on that whodunit beyond the acceptance that the missing, accused person was guilty.

The suspense was created by repeated attacks on Ariel. The main characters were likable and reacted realistically to events. Both Ariel and Hunter had reasons to reject love and marriage, but these dissolved by the end of the story. Ariel was very independent but was willing to accept protection since it was needed. Hunter learned to trust and support her by the end. Hunter trusted God to keep him safe, and Ariel learned to trust God for his and her safety. Both briefly prayed for help throughout the story. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable romantic suspense.


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, April 4, 2021

The Women of Chateau Lafayette by Stephanie Dray

Book cover
The Women of Chateau Lafayette
by Stephanie Dray


ISBN-13: 9781984802125
Paperback: 576 pages
Publisher: Berkley
Released: March 30th 2021

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
An epic saga from New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Dray based on the true story of an extraordinary castle in the heart of France and the remarkable women bound by its legacy in three of humanity's darkest hours

1774. Gently-bred noblewoman Adrienne Lafayette becomes her husband's political partner in the fight for American independence. But when their idealism sparks revolution in France and the guillotine threatens everything she holds dear, Adrienne must choose between renouncing the complicated man she loves or risk her life for a legacy that will inspire generations to come.

1914. Glittering New York socialite Beatrice Astor Chanler is a force of nature, daunted by nothing--not her humble beginnings, her crumbling marriage, or the outbreak of war. But after witnessing the devastation in France and delivering war-relief over dangerous seas, Beatrice takes on the challenge of a lifetime: convincing America to fight for what's right.

1940. French school-teacher and aspiring artist Marthe Simone has an orphan's self-reliance and wants nothing to do with war. But as the realities of Nazi occupation transform her life in the isolated castle where she came of age, she makes a discovery that calls into question who she is, and more importantly, who she is willing to become.


My Review:
The Women of Chateau Lafayette is historical fiction set in France (and America) during three different time periods: The French Revolution, World War I, and World War II. I think I would've enjoyed reading a biography of Adrienne Lafayette more than this since much of her part was shared as a summary of her life with a few scenes thrown in. She's a very interesting and heroic woman. Beatrice Astor Chanler made a huge difference during WW I, and it felt like she was the main story, drawing inspiration from Lafayette and setting in motion events that motivated the third woman during WW II. But Marthe Simone wasn't very likable, though she became more so as she found a cause (saving Jewish children by creating fake IDs) during WW II.

Historical details about the wars were woven into the story and brought the time periods alive in my imagination. Although we learned about the women's work, most of the scenes seemed to focus on strained relationships and scandals. Lafayette took a mistress. Beatrice had an affair. Marthe desired to passionately kiss her female best friend while she was engaged to a soldier (and her friend was married to a soldier) in a POW camp.

Most of the sex scenes were only briefly referred to, but there were a couple of detailed descriptions of Marthe and her husband having sex. There was occasional use of American bad language along with some bad language in French. Overall, the writing was good, but I only really engaged with the struggles of one of the characters. It's a long book if you're not really interested in two-thirds of what was going on.


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, April 2, 2021

The Crown of Rosemund by Michele Ashman Bell

Book cover
The Crown of Rosemund
by Michele Ashman Bell


ISBN-13: 9781524414344
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Released: April 1st 2021

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Anduron, 1498. The king and queen are dead, murdered by one who will stop at nothing to rule. But the young princess—Rosemund—has survived, taken deep into the forest by her parents’ most trusted advisor. There, she finds refuge in a small cottage and a new life, one in which she must play a role that will ensure her survival. Soldiers are combing the countryside searching for the lost princess, and they will not rest until she is found—and eliminated.

Rosemund’s strength grows as she trains for battle and endures the hardships and dangers of peasant life. When chance brings Maxwell, a young man from the nearby village, into her life, Rose finds in him an ally and a friend. As her 18th birthday approaches, the time has come for Rose to reclaim her birthright.


My Review:
The Crown of Rosemund is a fantasy novel, probably aimed at teenagers based on Rose's age. I had a hard time liking Rose because she was timid and fearful, though she was generous and meant well. She kept telling people that she needed to claim the throne before the Regent killed everyone off through his policies, then the next chapter would happen (which was a jump of a month or three months later) and she'd done nothing. That happened again and again. She only tried for the throne when the option of staying as a peasant was taken away from her. But, hey! The people had nothing to lose anymore so were willing to fight the Regent, so it turned out to be perfect timing.

But she acted impulsively and made poorly thought out plans, so she lost supporters. She was more intent on declaring herself Queen than getting her small army into the castle when the enemy was vulnerable, so she only won because one of her smart supporters saw the flaw in her plan. About the smartest thing she did was fall in love with a well-educated merchant's son who had better training to be king than she ever received.

That's the other thing. The beginning involved a lot of telling rather than showing. We're told she's taught this, that, the other, so that she would know how to rule. She's always been the heir, though, so why wasn't she learning this her whole life? The only things she seemed to have actually learned was how to farm and to fight, and she tended to punch her allies for being more concerned about her safety than she was. She was constantly letting "her emotions get the better of her." This led to impulsive, foolish decisions that should have ended up with her dead but somehow always worked out well. So at least she's lucky. 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.


Wednesday, March 31, 2021

A Tapestry of Light by Kimberly Duffy

Book cover
A Tapestry of Light
by Kimberly Duffy


ISBN-13: 9780593197882
Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Bethany House
Released: March 16th 2021


Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Calcutta, 1886. Ottilie Russell is adrift between two cultures, British and Indian, belonging to both and neither. In order to support her little brother, Thaddeus, and her grandmother, she relies upon her skills in beetle-wing embroidery that have been passed down to her through generations of Indian women.

When a stranger appears with the news that Thaddeus is now Baron Sunderson and must travel to England to take his place as a nobleman, Ottilie is shattered by the secrets that come to light. Despite her growing friendship with Everett Scott, friend to Ottilie's English grandmother and aunt, she refuses to give up her brother. Then tragedy strikes, and she is forced to make a decision that will take Thaddeus far from death and herself far from home.

But betrayal and loss lurk in England, too, and soon Ottilie must fight to ensure Thaddeus doesn't forget his heritage, as well as find a way to stitch a place for herself in this foreign land.


My Review:
A Tapestry of Light is a romance set in 1886 in India and England. The first half of the book occurred in India showing what it was like for those of mixed British and Indian heritage. The second half showed the prejudice they faced in England. The historical details about daily life, beetle-wing embroidery, cultural differences, etc., were woven into the story and brought it vividly alive in my imagination.

The characters were well-developed and complex, and I cared about what happened to them. Which is why this was a sad story: Ottilie faced one tragedy and hardship after another all the way up until the end. I didn't see how she could end up with a happy ending, yet one abruptly happened as everyone repented of the wrongs they'd done toward her. Some of it was believable, like a ten-year-old boy not staying quiet about his life in India. But the abrupt change of heart of the love interest and English family members just didn't seem believable to me. While the love interest was kind and thoughtful, I kept wondering why Ottilie kept giving her heart to him when he made it clear that he was determined to marry into high society. It's realistic, yes, but frustrating to see her open herself up to further hurt like that.

Ottilie wondered why God allowed his faithful followers to suffer so much and had a crisis of faith. She clung to God and grew into a kind woman of faith through the events. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this 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, March 28, 2021

My Dear Miss Dupré by Grace Hitchcock

Book cover
My Dear Miss Dupré
by Grace Hitchcock


ISBN-13: 9780764237973
Paperback: 364 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Released: March 2nd 2021


Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Willow Dupré never thought she would have to marry, but with her father's unexpected retirement from running the prosperous Dupré sugar refinery, plans changed. The shareholders are unwilling to allow a female to take over the company without a man at her side, so her parents devise a plan--find Willow a king in order for her to become queen of the empire.

Willow is presented with thirty potential suitors from the families of New York society's elite. She has six months to court the group and is expected to regularly eliminate men to narrow her beaus until she chooses one to marry, ending the competition with a wedding. Willow reluctantly agrees, knowing she must do what is best for the business. She doesn't expect to find love until she meets Cullen Dempsey, and she must discover for herself if his motives are pure.


My Review:
My Dear Miss Dupré is a romance set in 1882 in New York. Willow just kept making one bad decision after another, and so did her parents and her suitors. The historical details were unrealistic even if the Dupré family was meant to come across as arrogant and high-handed. They seemed determined to humiliate the suitors due to the way the whole contest was set up. They also seemed oblivious to the fact that this could create powerful enemies among those that were disrespected and dismissed.

Willow's willingness to be kissed (even in public!) by her different suitors threatened to ruin her reputation, yet she didn't stop the kisses. She was smart, but she was also thoughtless and lacked effective follow-through on good intentions. When several suitors pointed out that only the pushy suitors were getting any time with her, she agreed it wasn't fair but ended up dealing with it by cutting anyone who wasn't pushy from the competition. Once, Willow resolved to stop mooning over their good looks and charming manners and ask questions about their faith in God and ability to run a business, but then she never did. She never asked if the men would allow her to continue to run the business, support her endeavors, or even what they wanted out of the relationship.

Bafflingly, her father told her last three suitors to write down every detail about how the Dupré business was run as they're shown around the factory. He's oblivious to how this information could be used against them in the future. The parents also made no effort to further investigate her favorites or they would've noticed that Cullen had no social standing and had been seen in public dealing with the Dupre's business enemy. And I'm supposed to take this family seriously?

Willow and Cullen were the only characters that were developed to any degree, and that wasn't very much. Willow was a horrible judge of character. Cullen betrayed her, giving critical information to Willow's enemy, but Willow swooned at his green eyes and so defended him against anyone hinting that Cullen might not be trustworthy. I just didn't like these characters. The Christian element seemed to be forgiving those who have changed their ways (and proved it). 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.

Friday, March 26, 2021

The Indebted Earl by Erica Vetsch

Book cover
The Indebted Earl
by Erica Vetsch


ISBN-13: 9780593197882
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Released: March 23rd 2021


Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Captain Charles Malvern owes a great debt to the man who saved his life--especially since Major Richardson lost his own life in the process. The best way to honor that hero's dying wish is for Malvern to escort the man's grieving fiancee and mother safely to a new cottage home by the sea. But along the way, he learns of another obligation that has fallen on his shoulders: his uncle has died and the captain is now the Earl of Rothwell.


My Review:
The Indebted Earl is a romance set in 1814 in England. This is the 3rd book in the series. Though you can read it as a standalone novel, you'll probably understand this book better if you read the books in order. Charles loves being a captain of a Navy ship and doesn't know what to do with himself in peacetime. He agrees to take his dead friend's belongings back to the man's fiancée, Sophie, and make sure that she is taken care of. She doesn't want help since she's the one who always helps others. But she does want things that he can provide her, like a way to avoid her mother's matchmaking.

Sophie was kind and caring, but also rather naive and idealistic. Charles was very methodical and determined, though he used these traits in a good way. Charles and Sophie had misunderstandings and guilt to work through, but they supported each other. Still, the guilt felt forced. Rich was the one to make the mistake. Everyone but Charles quickly understood that he was not directly at fault but he seemed determined to argue for his unforgivable guilt.

Historical details were woven into the story, with some parts feeling highly researched. However, there were a lot of little things that didn't seem right for the time period. For example, everything started with an admittedly rude family not sending a letter to Sophie's house to announce their arrival and intentions upon arrival. That was such basic manners that it felt forced to create a crisis. And when Charles suddenly became the new Earl, everyone should have assumed that his duties were now that of an Earl. Since he had no close relatives or son to inherit if he died, why would he be given a ship when there were plenty of competent men that could do that job? But everyone just accepted that he'd quickly get a ship. He also didn't know what a solicitor and a barrister did, which would be like an American adult not knowing what a lawyer does. And so on.

There were no graphic sex scenes. There was no bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable novel to those who aren't picky about historical details being accurate.


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, March 21, 2021

Dreams Rekindled by Amanda Cabot

Book cover
Dreams Rekindled
by Amanda Cabot


ISBN-13: 9780800735364
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Revell
Released: March 2nd 2021


Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Though she hopes for a quiet, uncomplicated life for herself, Dorothy Clark wants nothing more than to stir others up. Specifically, she dreams of writing something that will challenge people as much as Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin seems to have. But in 1850s Mesquite Springs, there are few opportunities for writers--until newspaperman Brandon Holloway arrives, that is.

Brandon Holloway has seen the disastrous effects of challenging others and has no intention of repeating that mistake. He's committed to making a new--and completely uncontroversial--start in the Hill Country. As Dorothy's involvement in the fledgling newspaper grows from convenient to essential, the same change seems to be happening in Brandon's heart. But before romance can bloom, Dorothy and Brandon must work together to discover who's determined to divide the town and destroy Brandon's livelihood.


My Review:
Dreams Rekindled is a Christian romance set in 1856 in Texas. This book is the second in a series, but it can be read as a standalone and didn't spoil events from the first book. Someone's buying property around town and spreading discontent to force the preacher and the newspaperman to leave. Dorothy and Brandon tried to discover who's doing this and to unite the townspeople through the stories they printed in the newspaper. Even though it's painful to endure untrue rumors, Brandon's reluctant to take a stand in his newspaper due to painful events in his past when he took a stand.

Brandon and Dorothy built each other up and worked well as a team, even when their opinions differed. As their friendship grew, Dorothy appreciated how he respected her and supported her writing. But she's afraid to marry because of the deep mourning she witnessed her mother go through when her husband died. The characters acted realistically, had depth, and I cared about what happened to them. Suspense built as someone tried to destroy the reputations and livelihood of good people and escalated in violence as time passed. The Christian themes were about trusting God and forgiveness. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable 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.