Thursday, 19 October 2017

Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan

Series: Atlanta Justice # 1
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Publisher: Bethany House
Released: Sept. 5, 2017
320 pages
About the Book:
In the biggest case of her career, attorney Kate Sullivan is tapped as lead counsel to take on Mason Pharmaceutical because of a corporate cover-up related to its newest drug. After a whistleblower dies, Kate knows the stakes are much higher than her other lawsuits.

Former Army Ranger turned private investigator Landon James is still haunted by mistakes made while serving overseas. Trying to forget the past, he is hired by Kate to look into the whistleblower's allegation and soon suspects that the company may be engaging in a dangerous game for profit. He also soon finds himself falling for this passionate and earnest young lawyer.
Determined not to make the same mistakes, he's intent on keeping Kate safe, but as the case deepens, it appears someone is willing to risk everything--even murder--to keep the case from going to trial.

                                    Rachel Dylan's Website

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

“Even in the darkest times, He is there. Even when
we may not feel His presence or hear His voice.”

Two friends are on opposing sides of the case, can they still be friends once the case is decided?

Kate was a strong lead character, dedicated to her work and bringing justice for her clients no matter what happens. She won’t be scared off by the events happening to and around her. She hires PI Landon to look into something for her but his job ends up becoming more of a security detail for her after she is threatened multiple times.

Story does include a bunch of the legal footwork that is necessary to bring a case to trial. It is stressed to associates that even though this may be mundane work it is a very important part of the process. I liked that it showed this rather than glossing over it and making the process seem easy. There was quite a bit of legal jargon that did go over my head at times, but I understood the basics and knew which side I wanted to win. Getting there kept me on my toes never knowing what was going to happen next and just when I thought I knew who the mastermind was a twist was thrown in.

I always enjoy getting multiple perspectives throughout a book and this was no exception. Getting both sides of the case allowed me to feel more invested in the story and characters. I liked Ethan even when I didn’t agree with some decisions he was making. But Kate and Nicole were probably my favourites, they might be on different teams, but they had the same morals and guts to do what needed to be done.

Mixed throughout were moments between Kate & Landon discussing their faith and time spent with Kate’s best friends. I loved the interaction between Kate & Landon, and that she was able to help him as much as he helped her, the romantic moments between them also put a smile on my face. I felt these two balanced each other out nicely.

This is the first book in the series and there were quite a few characters that I would be interested in getting to know more in future books. I will be on the lookout for book two.

“God loves you, and He’s there for you even when you don’t think He is. You’ve shut Him out, but it only takes small steps to change and open back up to Him.”

(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.)

 Other Books in the Series:
2 Lone Witness 

Sunday, 15 October 2017

One More Song to Sing by Lindsay Harrel

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Ashberry Lane Pub
Released: December 1, 2016
310 pages
About the Book:
More than two decades ago, Olivia Lovett left her old life behind in the red dirt of Oklahoma and forged a career in Nashville as a country music star. Now her voice is failing, forcing her to find a new dream just as the secrets of her past come knocking at the door. Long-time friend Andrew Grant agrees to partner in a new business venture—but would he stick around if he knew her whole story?

After the tragic loss of her father, twenty-one-year-old Ellie Evans headed to Nashville seeking more than just fame. For two years, she’s waitressed, strummed, and sung her way to what may finally be her big break when Olivia offers to sign her to the budding record label. More than anything, Ellie just wants to be seen: by her future fans, by Nick Perry—a fellow musician with a killer smile and kind eyes—and above all else, by the mother who abandoned her. If the spotlight never shines on her, will Ellie ever feel whole?

                                                                Goodreads / Amazon

My Rating & Thoughts:    🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟  (4 stars)
“Maybe this was the beginning of something good – something life-changing.”

This was a story filled with heartache, loss, regret, forgiveness and learning to overcome the past. Ellie is in Nashville for two reasons, to search for her mom and to pursue her music. These characters captured my heart and had me rooting for things to turn out for them. I connected with Ellie from the beginning and felt for her as the search for her mom seemed to only be leading to dead ends. Will she find answers or peace? Where will Ellie’s music take her? The moments between Ellie and Nick were sweet and put a smile on my face. The secondary characters, Ellie’s roommate Lena and Olivia’s friend Rachel, showed what true friendship looks like, they supported but also challenged their friends. I enjoyed the relationship between Ellie and her grandmother, the insights she provided got you thinking. Olivia frustrated me through most of the story, I did understand why she did what she did so many years ago, but I got more and more frustrated with her when she kept making choices that annoyed me. I know she thought she was doing what was right, but secrets and lies have a way of being found out eventually as she learns. It is better to be honest in the beginning. Through these characters Ms. Harrel does a wonderful job of showing us that with God’s help anything that seems impossible is possible. The description of the setting was so beautifully done that I was able to imagine myself right in the heart of Nashville alongside Ellie. I enjoyed the story and these characters and would pick up future books by her.

“Keep being you ... it’ll be enough.”

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

Friday, 13 October 2017

Finding Love at Steeple Ridge by Liz Isaacson

Series: Steeple Ridge # 1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: AEJ Creative Works
Released: October 13, 2017
206 pages
About the Book:
Ben Buttars is the youngest of the four Buttars brothers who come to Steeple Ridge Farm, and he finally feels like he’s landed somewhere he can make a life for himself. At only twenty-five, and having been cared for by his older brother when their parents died a decade ago, Ben’s never dated, never had a serious relationship, never really worried about anything.

Reagan Cantwell is a decade older than Ben and the recreational direction for the town of Island Park, five miles from the farm where Ben works. When she visits him to discuss a partnership between the farm and the recreational department, she likes a lot more than just his horse. But she’s practically married to her job, works with two dozen other men, and doesn’t know how to carve out room in her life for Ben.

Though Ben is young, he knows what he wants—and that’s Rae. Can she figure out how to put what matters most in her life—family and faith—above her job before she loses Ben?

My Rating & Thoughts:    🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟  (5 stars)
This is a wonderful start to a new series, centered on four brothers living at Steeple Ridge Ranch. This book focuses on youngest brother, Ben. He is only 25 but after losing both his parents at 15 he did not have the typical teen years and has never dated. He meets Rae and is instantly attracted to her but she is older than him and more experienced with relationships. He has no idea how to even talk to a woman he is attracted to never mind how to ask one out. I was drawn to Ben from the beginning, he may be inexperienced but he knows what he wants and was so cute when asking for advice about dating. I couldn’t help but think of Gideon from the movie Seven Brides for Seven Brothers when Ben was unsure how to act with Rae. Rae’s life is her job but then she meets Ben and longs for more. Can she make room in her life for him? Is he ready for a relationship with Rae? The age difference between Rae and Ben bothered me at first, but they were so great together that I didn’t even give it a second thought after a bit. I really enjoyed following these two through the downs and ups of their relationship. I look forward to reading the next books in this series and getting to know the other brothers more.
“She’d almost given up control to the Lord. As she released the last bit of hold she had, a sense of freedom penetrated her thoughts so strongly.”

(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:
2 Learning Faith at Steeple Ridge 3 Kissing Santa at Steeple Ridge 4 Coming Home to Steeple Ridge

First Line Friday - Week 23

Happy Friday!!!

Welcome to First Line Friday's hosted by Hoarding Books. This week I am featuring a book I randomly pulled from my ever growing TBR (to be read) pile. Hopefully someday soon this will get closer to the top of my list.

Today's book is: Flee the Night by Susan May Warren

Flee the Night

First line is:
"The past couldn't have picked a worse time to find her."

Now it's your turn!
Let me know your first line in the comments and then head over
to Hoarding Books to see who else is participating!

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Dangerous Illusions by Irene Hannon

Series: Code of Honor # 1
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Revell
Released: October 3, 2017
352 pages
About the Book:

Trish Bailey is on overload trying to deal with a demanding job, an ailing mother, and a healing heart. When a series of unsettling memory lapses leads to a tragic death--and puts Trish under police scrutiny--her world is once again thrown into turmoil.

Detective Colin Flynn isn't certain what to think of the facts he uncovers during his investigation. Did Trish simply make a terrible mistake or is there more to the case than meets the eye? As he searches for answers, disturbing information begins to emerge--and if the forces at work are as evil as he suspects, the situation isn't just dangerous . . . it's deadly.

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

“That’s sort of how God operates. This is a flawed world, no questions about it – but he saved it anyway . . . and he’s never given up on us.”

I loved that this case required quite a bit of detective work rather than being all action. There is action that happens, but we really get to dig into the cases with the detectives. Even though as a reader I was introduced to the villain, knew their motive and got their point of view, I felt like I was right there with Colin trying to solve the cases and figure out how (if) they were connected.  

Trish has gone through so much in the last couple years; and is used to being the one to take of others and herself. Who does she turn to when she becomes the focus of a police investigation? I couldn’t imagine the guilt she would have been feeling when it appears that she messed up her mom’s meds. I really felt for her, but she was much stronger than she gave herself credit for. She was strong in her faith and never questioned God through it all. Colin comes from a difficult past but his experience has motivated his passion for the work he does. His persistence to get answers was admirable and I liked how he was blunt expressing his intentions to Trish. I absolutely loved that Mac from Buried Secrets was included as Colin’s partner. The ribbing he gave Colin about Trish and him trying to play matchmaker was hilarious.

As I got further into the story I had what I thought was a crazy theory about one character but the closer we got to solving the cases my theory turned out to be really what happened and not a theory at all. I was so excited and shouted “I knew it!” (my husband just looked at me and shook his head.) There was a moment where I was scared that help would not arrive in time, but the ending left me satisfied. Justice may not have been brought to all characters in the story, but was served for the main characters. Sometimes this is just the way it is in real life. I was pleased with the way Ms. Hannon weaved the story and characters together, it was filled with intrigue, suspense, romance and friendship. This was a wonderful start to a new series, I can’t wait to get to know Colin’s friends more and see what else Ms. Hannon has in store for readers.

“It felt like heaven to be held against his broad chest while his heart
hammered a staccato rhythm against her ear.”
(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.)

Saturday, 7 October 2017

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Revell
Released: October 3, 2017
304 pages
About the Book:
Becoming a Christian is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to Sarah Hollenbeck. Best because, well, that's obvious. Worst because, up to this point, she's made her very comfortable living as a well-known, bestselling author of steamy romance novels that would leave the members of her new church blushing. Now Sarah is trying to reconcile her past with the future she's chosen. She's still under contract with her publisher and on the hook with her enormous fan base for the kind of book she's not sure she can write anymore. She's beginning to think that the church might frown on her tithing on royalties from a "scandalous" book. And the fact that she's falling in love with her pastor doesn't make things any easier.
With a powerful voice, penetrating insight, and plenty of wit, Bethany Turner explodes onto the scene with a debut that isn't afraid to deal with the thorny realities of living the Christian life.
My Rating & Thoughts:    🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟  (4 stars) 

“God’s not going to help you escape bondage and wander through the desert,
only to abandon you as you search for the Promised Land.”
The first person point of view telling made me feel like I was sitting down having coffee with Sarah as she was personally telling me her story. I really enjoyed this perspective.
Sarah is in a transition period in her life trying to figure out to go from a steamy romance novelist to a new Christian and how to transition her writing with her new life. She then literally runs into Pastor Ben and feels an instant attraction to him. How does she deal with this attraction and what does she do about her past? Could a possible relationship ever work between them? And will he be able to accept her past?
I loved the characters. Sarah kept me so entertained. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at some things she said or thought. Ben was a true swoon worthy guy, wholesome, honest, cute, and a loving father. He may have been naive to some things around him, but he was a caring guy who tried to treat everyone with love. But Piper was my favourite. She was the best friend everyone wants/needs to have. She was the one that told Sarah directly how she felt about what Sarah was doing, no darting around the bush. But she was also the one that was there for Sarah. She kept Sarah grounded, she loved Sarah and stood by her and up for her. She was also very entertaining.
I did feel like there was quite a bit of discussion about getting to the intimate physical relationship between the two main characters. Yes they were waiting to get married before taking that step, but they couldn’t wait to get there and it was talked about quite a bit. A little too much for my liking, it was more edgy than most Christian fiction I have read. At times it felt like this was the main reason for the wedding rather than the fact that they really loved each other and couldn’t wait to start their life together. That being said the relationship was adorable and I loved that they were completely honest right from the beginning and made a point to follow the rules they had put in place for themselves. There were many moments that I was smiling as I read. I loved that the climax moment brought them closer and stronger as a couple rather than tearing them apart. The ending had my heart a fluttering.
“There are bigger things in our lives than trying to please everybody.”
(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.)