Sunday, 20 August 2017

Thin Ice by Irene Hannon

Series: Men of Valor #2
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Revell
Released: January 5, 2016
394 pages
About the Book:
 
After losing her parents in a car accident and her sister to a house fire, Christy Reed has been mired in grief. Life is finally starting to feel normal again when an envelope arrives in the mail--addressed in her sister's handwriting. And the note inside claims she is still alive.
 
FBI Special Agent Lance McGregor, a former Delta Force operator, is assigned to reopen the case, but he's coming up with more questions than answers. If Ginny Reed is still alive--who is the woman buried in her grave? Where is Ginny? And is Christy a pawn in a twisted cat-and-mouse game--or the target of a sinister plot? As he digs deeper, one thing becomes clear: whoever is behind the bizarre ruse has a deadly agenda.
 
 
My Rating & Thoughts:    🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟  (4 stars)
 
“There were two types of fear – the kind that immobilized and victimized and the kind that empowered and spurred into action.” 

Christy has been through quite a bit of trauma over the past few months and just when life is beginning to return to normal a villain starts playing with her. In desperation she turns to the FBI and is hooked up with Special Agent Lance McGregor. Because the villain has told her not to involve the cops they create a ruse to keep the real reason for their relationship a secret, but what was a facade at first leads to feelings evolving. I enjoyed following this relationship building. Christy has been amazingly strong during her trauma and she is able to show Lance that God has always been there for him through his painful experiences and is able to help lead him back to trusting God.

This book did take me a little while to get into as I just didn’t connect with caring about the case as fast as I did in the previous book. However about half way through I was into the story, caring about the characters and really felt for what Christy was going through. The villain needed to be brought to justice! I was bothered by the fact that most of the way through I knew who the villain was but I didn’t understand their motive. Even when it was revealed I struggled with believing that was what had motivated them. But I was connected with the characters so much by this time that I accepted it and needed to know that everything was going to turn out alright.

In addition to this case Lance is dealing with other cases and a personal situation that have him being pulled in so many directions, I felt for him and don’t know how he was even functioning at certain parts. I enjoyed the scenes that included Special Agent Mark assisting Lance and I really enjoyed catching up with Mac and Lisa from book one. Ms. Hannon weaved in a story with McGregor brother Finn that has left me wanting to know what happens with him that I must read book 3 now.  

“Even if it seems God is ignoring us, he’s listening. And when the time is right – his time, not ours – he offers us the guidance we need.” 

(I purchased my copy of this book; opinions expressed in this review
are my honest opinion and completely my own.)
 
My Rating & Thoughts:    🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟  (4 stars)

I enjoyed Thin Ice.  It was a storyline that held my attention and was suspenseful through to the end of the book.  While the true identity of the villain was not fully revealed earlier on, it did become obvious who the villain was.  The villain was very sinister... almost too creepy.  I really enjoyed the skating aspect of Christy’s character, and enjoyed the progress and she and Lance get to know each other.  Something that I always enjoy about Irene Hannon’s books is the look into the character’s personal lives and issues as they are developing a relationship.  This book did not disappoint there.  I enjoyed the look into Lance’s past and seeing him deal with things in his personal life as the romantic relationship is progressing.   Now I am looking forward to the next book in the series.
 
(I purchased my copy of this book; opinions expressed in this review
are my honest opinion and completely my own.)

Other Books in the Series:
1 Buried Secrets  3 Tangled Webs
Buried Secrets Review

Friday, 18 August 2017

First Line Friday - Week 15

 
Happy Friday!!!
 
I was in the mood for a historical story this week and Shanna Hatfield's series Hearts of the War was on my tbr list. With book two releasing earlier this month I decided it was time to break open book one. I have read and enjoyed quite a few books by Ms. Hatfield before so I was looking forward to this one. I am only a few chapters in right now but so far I am enjoying the characters and story. Review to come.
 
Today's book is: Garden of Her Heart by Shanna Hatfield
 
Garden of Her Heart
 
May 4, 1942
Near Portland, Oregon
"Hushed whispers started softly, intermittently, before rising in a steady crescendo that peaked at a deafening roar."

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Buried Secrets by Irene Hannon

Series: Men of Valor # 1
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Revell
Released: March 31, 2015
386 pages
About the Book:

After seven years as a Chicago homicide detective, Lisa Grant has hit a wall. Ready for a kinder, gentler life, she takes a job as a small-town police chief. But the discovery of a human skeleton by a construction crew at the edge of town taxes the resources of her department. A call for assistance brings detective Mac McGregor, an ex-Navy SEAL, to her doorstep. As they work to solve the mystery behind the unmarked grave, danger begins to shadow them. Someone doesn't want this dead person telling any tales--and will stop at nothing to make certain a life-shattering secret stays buried.
 
Master storyteller Irene Hannon is back with an exciting new series featuring former special forces operatives now in the thick of the action in civilian life. Hannon is at the top of her game in this can't-put-it-down thriller that will have readers up until the wee hours devouring every page.



My Rating & Thoughts:    🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟  (5 stars)

“Mental preparedness was as important as physical readiness for any challenge.”  

Unlike most suspense novels we meet the villain early on in this story. We may know who this person is but the police don’t and even when they do suspect the correct person trying to prove it may be difficult. The two main characters are Mac McGregor, a St. Louis County Police Detective and Lisa Grant, Police Chief of the town of Carson. These two meet on the job, when some bones are uncovered and the attraction between them is obvious, however they choose not to act on it until their mutual case is closed and they are no longer working together. This gives them a second motivation to solve it quickly in addition to the first motivation - bringing the guilty to justice and providing answers for the victim’s family? Mac and Lisa worked well together and I really enjoyed the moments of flirting between them. They are both strong characters and if anyone is going to solve this case and bring the guilty to justice it will be these two with their determination. The villain is intense and will stop at nothing. Ms. Hannon had me hooked right from the prologue I was drawn in and couldn’t wait to see what happened next. I loved that the villain’s POV was spread throughout; this added some creepiness to the story and allowed the reader to get inside their head. This villain definitely was one scary character.

We briefly meet Mac’s brothers, Lance and Finn, who are entertaining (especially when picking on Mac) and I wanted to get to know them more. Thankfully these two will return in their own books as this series continues. I can’t wait to start the next book.

“As for being along, maybe he wouldn’t be taking in his fireworks solo next Fourth of July. In fact, if a certain dark-haired, hazel-eyed police chief was in the picture, they might be sharing a whole different kind of fireworks.” 

(I purchased my copy of this book; opinions expressed in this review
are my honest opinion and completely my own.)

Other Books in the Series:

2 Thin Ice  3 Tangled Webs

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

A Family for the Farmer by Liz Isaacson

Series: Brush Creek Brides # 4
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: AEJ Creative Works
Released: August 15, 2017
125 pages
About the Book:

Blake Gibbons knows farming like the back of his hand. He knows when to plant, what to do if an early frost comes, and how to deal with pests. He also knows how to fix old buildings into something new, and he does several odd jobs around the town of Brush Creek. When his construction work takes him to the bakery, he meets Erin Shields, the niece of the bakery owner. She's beautiful, she's hard-working, and she has three children under the age of eight.
 
Erin has recently moved to Brush Creek to help her aunt and uncle with the pie-making side of the bakery. It's been a good, if difficult, change for her and her kids. Divorced a year ago, Erin's been living with her parents until she moves to Brush Creek, and she's determined to find a way to support herself and her kids. The bakery is the ticket and she works hard to figure out how much flour to put in pie crust to make it oh-so-flaky.
 
But now Blake's caught her eye, and as they start a relationship, Erin's worries increase. How will her children handle Blake in their lives? Is she ready for another husband? Where will they all live? In the end, both Blake and Erin will have to search their souls -- and rely on God -- to find their path through farming and pie filling to a happily-ever-after.


My Rating & Thoughts:    🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟  (4 stars)

This was a fun quick read. I enjoyed these two characters and I smiled most of the way through. There were definitely some swoon worthy moments throughout. Blake is attracted to Erin from the moment he meets her, but when he finds out she is a single mother to three children he is overwhelmed. What does a single cowboy know about children? However with her kids spending 6 weeks at their father’s and Blake working at the Erin’s workplace these two can’t help but be around each other and get to really know one another. The relationship that builds is tested when the kids return home. When Erin confronted Blake about his feelings and stated that her happiness mattered too I was so proud of her. This was an enjoyable read that revolves around overcoming the past to move forward and accepting that God's plan for your life may look different than you think.

“Without thinking, without second guessing, without a single word, Blake stepped forward, swept his arm around Erin’s waist, and pressed his lips to hers.”

(I received an ARC of this book from the author; opinions expressed
in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)
Other Books in the Series:
 
1 A Wedding for the Widower 2 A Companion for the Cowboy 3 A Bride for the Bronc Rider

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Clean Getaway by Christy Barritt

Series: Squeaky Clean Mysteries #13
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Publisher: River Heights
Released: July 21, 2017
282 pages
About the Book:
 
Gabby St. Claire Thomas has been given the opportunity of a lifetime: heading up a privately funded Cold Case Squad and handpicking the team members. Persnickety Evie Manson and nerdy Sherman Gilbert join forces with Gabby to bring justice and solace to families who still want answers.
 
On their first case, the Squad discovers that the murders of Ron and Margie Simmons are more than cold—they’re frozen solid. The couple’s anniversary celebration ended as a double homicide, and ten years later their daughter still longs for answers. But who would kill the loving couple? What kind of secrets hid beneath their cheery, All-American exteriors?
 
With every new lead, someone tries to sabotage their investigation . . . but the team might just end up being their own worst enemies. As a deadline presses in, can Gabby and her Squad bring the heat? Or will this cold-case killer make a clean getaway?
Goodreads / Amazon


My Rating & Thoughts:    🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟  (4 stars)
 
“Coffee always made everything better.”
 
“Sometimes you just don’t realize it until later
how all the pieces are coming together.”
 
Gabby is back; this time starting her new job working on cold cases. You wouldn’t think a cold case would be too dangerous, but it wouldn’t be Gabby’s life if there wasn’t someone making her life dangerous right? There was quite a bit of danger throughout the book, one part freaked me out so much I wanted to skip that section (warning – snakes involved), but I didn’t want to miss anything so I endured. Thankfully this didn’t last long. Gabby’s team includes to two book smart individuals, but they lack social skills and Gabby has to be on her toes to make sure that this doesn’t cause them more problems on top of the ones they are dealing with because of the case. The case itself kept me on my toes trying to figure out who was behind the events before it was revealed. I did suspect the right person, but I didn’t have the motive. I love the quirkiness and snappy attitude of Gabby, there were many moments where I laughing at some of the things she said. There is one moment involving coffee that made me laugh really hard, pretty sure I would have reacted like Gabby. I enjoyed how Ms. Barritt included the interactions between Gabby and Riley even though Gabby was out of town. I would have missed Riley otherwise; I love how he supports Gabby in everything and am pleased with how the story ended for them. I can’t wait to see what else Ms. Barritt comes up with for these characters.
 
“Doing the right thing didn’t always feel good,
but that didn’t mean we shouldn’t do it.”
 
(I received this book free from the Ms. Barritt; opinions expressed
in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)
 
Other Books in Series:
1 Hazardous Duty 2 Suspicious Minds 2_5 It Came Upon a Midnight Crime 3 Organized Grime
4 Dirty Deeds 5 The Scum of All Fears 6 To Love Honor and Perish 7 Mucky Streak
7_5 While You Were Sweeping 8 Foul Play 9 Broom and Gloom 10 Dust and Obey
11 Thrill Squeaker 11_5 Swept Away 12 Cunning Attractions

Friday, 11 August 2017

First Line Friday - Week 14


Happy Friday!!!

It's a week later and I just realized that last week's post had an extra word in it that completely changed what I meant to say oops … that's what I get for posting at the last minute and rushing.

I decided this week to start on working on some older books I have sitting around that have been on my TBR (to be read) list for a while. I love to read series in order, preferably one right after a another. I used to be avid about waiting for all the books to be released before I would even start book 1, but then I just couldn't wait any longer. Now I tend to re-read the earlier books when the next is released, meaning I will re-read book 1 and 2 if am ready to start book 3. This is not a hard and fast rule that I always follow but for those series that have continuing storylines/characters (and if I really enjoyed the first books) I will do this. Today's book is book 1 from one of those a series that I had put off reading until all 3 books were released, because I just knew that I was going to get sucked into the characters and want to keep going (and I was correct). I just finished this book last night (review coming soon) and have already started book two. Ms. Hannon knows how to draw readers in and keep their attention.

Today's book is: Buried Secrets by Irene Hannon
Buried Secrets
Prologue
"It was meant to be a joyride. No one was suppose to die."

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

The Two of Us by Victoria Bylin

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Bethany House
Released: August 8, 2017
320 pages
About the Book:
After two broken engagements, nurse practitioner Mia Robinson is done with dating. From now on, she only trusts herself and God, and she's focused on her eighteen-year-old sister, Lucy, and caring for patients. Just as she applies to work for an international aid organization, a phone call from Lucy, who's pregnant and running off to marry her twenty-one-year-old boyfriend, throws a wrench into all of Mia's plans.
 
Jake Tanner may have recovered from the physical injuries he sustained on the job as a police officer, but his heart has yet to heal from losing his former partner in the tragedy. He's poured himself into starting a camp for the sons of fallen officers and mentoring Sam, the adult son of his deceased partner, who's asked him to be his best man at his wedding.
 
Mia is expecting a mess when she arrives to sort out the situation with Lucy, but she wasn't expecting Jake. And Jake, who can't help envying Sam and Lucy, doubts he'll ever experience their happiness for himself. But maybe Jake's courage and Mia's caring spirit are just what they need to bring them a lifetime of healing and a forever kind of love. . . .
                                                                   Goodreads / Amazon / Christianbook

My Rating & Thoughts:    🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟  (5 stars)

“We can adapt and move on, or live in the past.”
 
“Sometime love needed to be put into words. Other times words got in the way, and a touch or a hug, or just belonging, said more than enough.”
 
Mia and Jake meet randomly in a restaurant but what they don’t know is how life is going to bring them together. I really enjoyed following their story and getting to know them and the other characters. There was a lot addressed throughout the course of the book, finding oneself, learning to trust others and God, dealing with family health issues, and so much more. Both Jake & Mia have to decide if the dreams they are each pursuing is worth the cost or could God be leading them towards something better. I absolutely loved Jake, who can pass up a strong male who has overcome challenges and is willing to put his feelings aside for others. He was wonderful with Mia and I felt they fit well together, but will things work out for them to be together, or will their lives take them in separate directions?
 
Mia is used to being a responsible one, looking after her younger spontaneous sister and always has every step planned, but after two failed engagements she has a hard time trusting others and is determined to trust only God’s leading. She dedicates her life to her work and following God’s lead, but in the process she feels lead in two directions and struggles with the decision of what to do. Can she learn open her heart to others and follow God`s lead even if it might not be taking her in the direction she has planned?
 
Each character was dealing with their own struggles that tested their faith. The main focus might be on Mia and Jake but the side characters were also crucial to the story, without them the story would have lost some of the realness. Throughout the hard moments there were many wonderful moments that put a smile on my face while reading. There was so much love for others shown - romantic, family and friendship, that I finished the book feeling wonderful. I feel like I experienced all emotions possible; frustration, sadness, laughter, and happiness, over the course of this story. I absolutely loved this book; the characters were loveable and felt real, I couldn’t help but want them to find happiness. The epilogue at the end just made the story that much better for me. I highly recommend picking this book up.
 
“Love is a choice. It’s keeping promises when they’re tough to keep. It’s staying when you want to leave. And it’s seeing the other person through the same forgiving lens through which God sees us all.”
 
“Life will always have good times and hard ones. Birth and death. Laughter and tears. ... It’s not about avoiding the hard times. It’s about going through them with God’s grace and the help of other people.”
 
(I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House through NetGalley;
opinions expressed in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)
 

Monday, 7 August 2017

Under the Bridge by Liz Isaacson

Series: Gold Valley Romance #6
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: AEJ Creative Works
Released: August 7, 2017
209 pages
About the Book:

Ty Barker has been dancing through the last thirty years of his life—and he’s suddenly realized he’s alone. Most of his friends at Horseshoe Home have moved on, found love, gotten married, started families. To fill the void in his life, he gives horseback riding lessons on the weekends and serves on a community service committee that organizes town events in Gold Valley.
 
River Lee Whitely is back in Gold Valley with her two little girls after a divorce that’s left deep scars. She has a job at Silver Creek that requires her to be able to ride a horse, and she nearly tramples Ty at her first lesson.
 
That’s just fine by him, because River Lee is the girl Ty has never gotten over. They spent one summer together—and one unforgettable kiss—before River Lee left for college. Ty realizes River Lee needs time to settle into her new job, her new home, her new life as a single parent, but going slow has never been his style.
 
But for River Lee, can Ty take the necessary steps to keep her in his life?

                                 Goodreads / Amazon

My Rating & Thoughts:    🌟 🌟 🌟  (3 stars)

Ty and River dated briefly years ago, but then River moved. Now she’s back in town and Ty is determined not to let her get away this time. I really liked Ty and River together and was cheering for their relationship to work out. However there were a couple things that really bothered me throughout. River was so protective of her children, but then she sends them off to their father’s for a long visit even though he has had no contact with them for over a year and not much before. It seemed hard to believe a mom like River would do this with such young children. The other thing that bothered me was that River and Ty didn’t really talk in depth about their feelings and hopes for the future, but instead it felt like one wanted to other to just accept their plans. This stubbornness ruined their relationship but the time apart allows them to reflect on their feelings and figure out what would be best for them. Can they rekindle their relationship and create a future together? I enjoyed the return to Horseshoe Home Ranch, catching up with characters from previous book but also getting to know Ty and following his journey.
 
(I received an ARC of this book from the author; opinions expressed in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)
 
 
Other Books in Series:
      

     

Friday, 4 August 2017

First Line Friday - Week 13


Happy Friday!!!

Hello August! It's been a long busy week here, I am so looking forward to the three day weekend! It will be a break out the books weekend :) Today's book is book 4 of Lynette Eason's Elite Guardians series, which just released a couple days ago. Ms. Eason has been one of my favourite authors for quite a while, there are only a few books of her's that I haven't read yet. I usually devour the new ones as soon as it is released and this book was no exception. I loved it and my review went live this morning, you can read it here.

Today's book is: Chasing Secrets by Lynette Eason

Prologue
County Mayo, Ireland, 1991
"Five-year-old Aileen Burke crouch in the small hidden room in the big castle she called home. Terror caused her little heart to beat in her chest like the wings of hummingbird."

Chasing Secrets by Lynette Eason

Series: Elite Guardians # 4
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Revell
Released: August 1, 2017
336 pages
About the Book:
 
Elite Guardians bodyguard Haley Callaghan may be in South Carolina, but when a photo leads investigators in West Ireland to open a twenty-five-year-old cold case, her life is suddenly in danger. Haley knows how to take care of herself; after all, she's made a career out of taking care of others. But after an uncomfortably close call, Detective Steven Rothwell takes it upon himself to stay with her--and the young client she has taken under her wing. A protector at heart, he's not about to let Haley fight this battle alone.
 
In a sweeping plot that takes them into long-buried memories--and the depths of the heart--Haley and Steven will have to solve the mystery of Haley's past while dodging bullets, bombs, and bad guys who just won't quit.





My Rating & Thoughts:    🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟  (5 stars)


“We are all human. We make mistakes, we have moments of bad judgment,
but it doesn’t mean we’re evil people. It just means we’re human.”
 
A mysterious past, a 25 year old cold case, a recent murder, a dangerous stalker, plus a few other elements create lots of action and suspense throughout. Mixed into the story is the message of offering forgiveness and what carrying bitterness can do to you.
 
Poor Haley! Almost every time she turns around someone is after her, but who and why? It wasn’t safe for anyone near her as her enemy didn’t care who got in the way. She spent a lot of time at the hospital, either for herself or visiting.
 
Stephen is Quinn’s new partner and Haley is a member of the Elite Guardians Team. The two meet through a case. Stephen feels drawn to Haley and even though he is dealing with personal stress along with work, he still makes the effort to be there supporting and protecting Haley even though he only just met her. Haley is determined to help and protect others, putting her personal needs aside. I enjoyed the moments between these two and appreciated that they built a friendship and really get to know each other before things became romantic. These two characters were strong and courageous, it was easy to connect with them and want the bad guys caught. The secondary characters were described so well that it was easy to picture them. I also really enjoyed spending time again with the other members of Haley’s team and having seeing them work together protecting each other. The story kept me guessing and I was surprised at the reveal. I absolutely loved the ending. This is book 4 in the series but it could easily be read as a standalone, however I would highly recommend reading all the books in the series.
 
“I just have to focus on the fact that God is perfect and sovereign in every way. And that in the end, he will serve justice to those who deserve it.
It’s my job just to believe that. And trust it.”
 
(I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell through NetGalley; opinions
expressed in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)

Other books in Series: