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Review & Giveaway: The Catch by Lisa Harris

THE CATCH

U.S. Marshals Series #3
by
LISA HARRIS
Fiction / Christian / Mystery / Suspense / Romance
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: April 5, 2022
Number of Pages: 352 pages 
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Everything hidden is eventually found
After a harrowing attempt on a judge’s life at the courthouse, Deputy US Marshals Madison James and Jonas Quinn are tasked with finding a missing woman and an endangered child in connection to the murder of the judge’s wife. What seems like a fairly straightforward case becomes hopelessly tangled when the marshals discover that the woman they are searching for is not who they think she is.
Madison and Jonas are forced into a race to find the woman and the child before the people who want her dead discover her location. And in a final showdown that could cost her everything, Madison will come face-to-face with the person who murdered her husband.
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Review

The Catch by Lisa Harris is the first book that I have read by the author and Book 3 in the U.S. Marshals Series. I am always a little nervous jumping into the middle of a series like that, but Harris quickly soothed away those feelings with her excellent exposition. The first chapter opens up with the perfect combination of dread and anticipation. With just a few pages, I was hooked.

Harris effortlessly transitions the reader from a tense opening chapter to a lighter (though also somewhat tense) scene where we meet our heroine, Madison, as she teaches her sister how to rock climb. I like the use of the activity as a metaphor for trust and though maybe a bit on the nose, a metaphor for falling in love as well. The scene is very cinematic as the character comes down from the high of physical exertion and the events leading up to this point are crashing down around her.

By using a third person point of view, Harris is able to give us insight into the feelings and thought processes of each character that we follow. With the exception of the opening chapter, the reader is normally following Madison or Jonas as they attempt to unwind this intricate case. What starts out as a deceptively simple case of jealousy and murder, each chapter reveals a new clue or character that makes the story twist and turn in very unexpected ways.

Classified as a Christian mystery suspense romance, The Catch is certainly all of these things and more. I know that some readers are put off by overly religious books, but this one is not in your face spouting Bible verses. I think that if you enjoy romance in your mystery books, this one has a lovely touch of hope for new beginnings to balance the high stakes adrenalin rush of action and deceit.

Lisa Harris is a USA Today bestselling author, a Christy Award winner, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel from Romantic Times for her novels Blood Covenant and Vendetta. The author of more than forty books, including The Escape, The Chase, The Traitor’s Pawn, Vanishing Point, A Secret to Die For, and Deadly Intentions, as well as The Nikki Boyd Files and the Southern Crimes series, Harris and her family have spent over 17 years living as missionaries in southern Africa and currently are living there.
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Author Video & Giveaway: Since You’ve Been Gone by Tari Faris


SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GONE
Restoring Heritage Series, #3
by
Tari Faris
Genre: Fiction / Christian / Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: September 7, 2021
Number of Pages: 336 pages
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With her vision and his know-how, this thing just might work . . .

Leah Williams is back in the quaint town of Heritage, Michigan, and ready to try again to make her business a success. But blank slates are hard to come by, and a piece of her past is waiting for her there. Heir to the Heritage Fruits company, Jonathan Kensington is the guy who not only made Leah’s past difficult, but he also seems determined to complicate her present as well.

In order to avoid forcing a buyout of Leah’s building, Jon will have to strike a compromise. Can the two of them work together? Or will their troubled past set the tone for their future?

Author Video

Inspiration for Since You’ve Been Gone

The question author Tari Faris says she gets asked most often is: what is the inspiration for each book? Her response? “Although there are many pieces to that, here is a peek at the inspiration of Leah’s story in Since You Been Gone.

Tari Faris is the author of You Belong with Me and Until I Met You. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers and My Book Therapy, she is the projects manager for My Book Therapy, writes for learnhowtowriteanovel.com, and is a 2017 Genesis Award winner. She has an MDiv from Asbury Theological Seminary and lives in the Phoenix, Arizona, area with her husband and their three children. Although she lives in the Southwest now, she lived in a small town in Michigan for 25 years.
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Review & Giveaway: The Nature of Small Birds by Susie Finkbeiner

THE NATURE OF SMALL BIRDS
BY SUSIE FINKBEINER

Publisher: Revell
Pub Date: July 6, 2021
Pages: 368 pages
Categories: Fiction / Christian / General

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In 1975, three thousand children were airlifted out of Saigon to be adopted into Western homes. When Mindy, one of those children, announces her plans to return to Vietnam to find her birth mother, her loving adopted family is suddenly thrown back to the events surrounding her unconventional arrival in their lives.

Though her father supports Mindy’s desire to meet her family of origin, he struggles privately with an unsettling fear that he’ll lose the daughter he’s poured his heart into. Mindy’s mother undergoes the emotional rollercoaster inherent in the adoption of a child from a war-torn country, discovering the joy hidden amid the difficulties. And Mindy’s sister helps her sort through relics that whisper of the effect the trauma of war has had on their family–but also speak of the beauty of overcoming.

Told through three strong voices in three compelling timelines, The Nature of Small Birds is a hopeful story that explores the meaning of family far beyond genetic code.

“Susie Finkbeiner has such an inviting and distinctive voice as a writer that you’ll gladly follow it–and follow her–to any setting.”–Valerie Fraser Luesse, Christy Award-winning author of Under the Bayou Moon

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Review

The Nature of Small Birds by Susie Finkbeiner is a beautifully written novel that spans nearly four decades and is told from the perspective of a father, mother, and their first born daughter. At first glance, this book is about the impact of adopting a Vietnamese orphan at a time when our nation was divided over its involvement in the Vietnam War. A timely narrative given our current state of affairs, definitely. But if the title of the book is a clue to the deeper meaning behind this story, I would say that this is more about how people in general are essentially the same; specifically, small children (the metaphorical small birds) and their inevitable departure from the nest.

The perspective and the timeline shifts every chapter. In 2013, we get Bruce’s point of view as a man providing emotional support to his family, particularly the women, as they struggle with their various stages of life. In 1975, we see things from Linda’s perspective as a woman who set aside dreams of being a musician to live a simple life – or so she thought. In 1988, we get Sonny’s delightfully angsty point of view as a teenage girl with a complicated but loving relationship with her adopted sister Mindy. 

Finkbeiner does an excellent job of differentiating between the characters and maintaining credible voices while driving the story forward. I really admire her choice to stick to one character’s viewpoint for each time period because it allows us to see how every character – not just the narrator at that particular point in time – develops as they interact with each other and face difficult times, both as individuals and together as a family.

As the story of Mindy’s adoption and integration into the family and their small community unfolds, there are so many wonderfully vivid moments that we are privy to that range from comical to frustrating, but with a constant undertone of sentimentality. My only real complaint about this story is the omission of certain details that I am sure other readers would want to know. I will not elaborate further on this because I do not want to spoil any of the plot. But I think it speaks volumes to the talent of an author when the only critique is that she should have given us more to read.

So who is this story for? I think that anyone who enjoys reading will love this book. But I think that this novel will especially speak to those who love books like Amy Tan’s Joy Luck Club and Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook. I know I know, those books are completely different from each other, but I think that once you read The Nature of Small Birds, you will catch my drift.

Susie Finkbeiner is the CBA bestselling author of All Manner of Things, which was selected as a 2020 Michigan Notable Book, and Stories That Bind Us,as well as A Cup of Dust, A Trail of Crumbs, and A Song of Home. She serves on the Fiction Readers Summit planning committee, volunteers her time at Ada Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and speaks at retreats and women’s events across the country. Susie and her husband have three children and live in West Michigan.

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Review & Giveaway: The Love Note by Joanna Davidson Politano

THE LOVE NOTE
by
Joanna Davidson Politano
Genre: Christian / Historical Fiction / Romance
Publisher: Revell
Publication Date: October 20, 2020
Number of Pages: 400
 
 Scroll down for the giveaway!
 
 

Focused on a career in medicine and not on romance, Willa Duvall is thrown slightly off course during the summer of 1859 when she discovers a never-opened love letter in a crack of her old writing desk. Compelled to find the passionate soul who penned it and the person who never received it, she takes a job as a nurse at the seaside estate of Crestwicke Manor.

Everyone at Crestwicke has feelingsmostly negative onesabout the man who wrote the letter, but he seems to have disappeared. With plenty of enticing clues but few answers, Willa’s search becomes even more complicated when she misplaces the letter and it passes from person to person in the house, each finding a thrilling or disheartening message in its words.

Laced with mysteries large and small, this romantic Victorian-era tale of love lost, love deferred, and love found is sure to delight.

 
 
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Review

The Love Note by Joanna Davidson Politano is the second book that I have read from this authoress. Much like Lady Jayne Disappears, this book has a lovely cover with an even lovelier story inside. From these two books alone, I gather that Politano loves 19th century literature and she is fully immersed in the period and culture when she writes.

Politano’s wonderful turn of phrase and complex characters place her on the same shelf as beloved authors such as Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters. No one is exactly as they seem, and the sequence of events, I believe, will both please and bewilder readers. Personally, I like a good balance of strong, independent women who allow themselves to be vulnerable at times, allowing men the chance to feel like knights in shining armor at pivotal moments.

While classified as a Christian novel, I felt like this book did not preach at you. Sure, there’s a Bible quote or two, but I almost attribute that more to the time period than the author pushing a religious agenda. So if you’re on the fence about this book because of the label, I hope that I have convinced you to pick it up anyway.

I don’t know about you, but the first comparison that came to mind when I read the blurb was the movie Letters to Juliet. If you’ve seen that movie and enjoyed it, I think you will love this book even more so. Why? Because Willa Duvall is a more interesting character and just has this strength about her that you can’t help but admire. Because Politano has woven two different stories together that deftly wrap themselves around you, making it difficult to put the book down. Because the level of secrecy and the stakes are so high in this book, it is a thrill and a relief to reach the summit and just take it all in.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the journey to self-discovery and the winding, confusing path to true love. I look forward to reading more by this author.

 
Joanna Davidson Politano is the award-winning author of Lady Jayne Disappears and A Rumored Fortune. She loves tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives and is eager to hear anyone’s story.
She lives with her husband and their two kids in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan. You can find her at www.jdpstories.com.
 
 
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Review & Giveaway: A Firm Place to Stand by Lori Altebaumer

A FIRM PLACE TO STAND
by
LORI ALTEBAUMER
Genre: Christian / Romantic Suspense
Independently published
Date of Publication: January 25, 2020
Number of Pages: 321

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She’s either being stalked or losing her mind.

A job at a camp in the rustic and often rugged landscape of West Texas offers Maribel Montgomery a chance to escape both, especially if she makes sure no one knows she’s there. But when the body of a woman washes up in the river on her first morning, her hopes of a safe place to start over are swept away.

The suspicion that she’s being watched follows her to her new home, and Maribel is forced to take a stand or keep running. Does she have the courage to face the danger stirring at the Pool of Siloam Camp? If she doesn’t, another girl might die. If she tries and fails, it could be her.

Circumstances force her into the acquaintance of Conner Pierce—a man with secrets of his own. Can Maribel risk working with him in order to save the next victim and find a missing girl? Or is he the killer?

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Review

A Firm Place to Stand by Lori Altebaumer makes you ask questions immediately from page one. And I could sense a sly grin as Altebaumer pulls you into the story, only causing the questions to multiply. Sort of like how dodgy people will answer your questions with more questions. Which would all be rather intriguing in any suspense book, but for some reason this surprised me even more coming from a book classified as a Christian, romantic suspense novel. My usual experience with the genre is that the protagonist struggles with their personal relationship with God and/or the act of forgiving a person who has hurt them terribly, all while wearing their heart on their sleeve.

Maribel Montgomery certainly has that struggle with the Almighty, but she does not face the obstacle of forgiving another person nor does she wear her heart on her sleeve. It’s refreshing to see a Christian author write about a character that is not already almost squeaky clean, nor are all the people around them unrealistically wholesome either. The characters, both the good and the bad ones, are people you have encountered in the real world. And she has developed each one so well that if you pulled a quote at random, chances are you could guess which character said it. That being said, it isn’t too difficult to figure out who is out to get Maribel.

You can pretty easily point out who is behind all the terrible happenings, but Altebaumer holds the answers as to why very close to her chest. Much like it takes a long time to draw out why Maribel has a shadow hanging over her, Altebaumer doesn’t reveal the motive until the very end of the book. And when I say the very end, I don’t mean the last few chapters or so. I mean you have like 5 or 6 pages remaining in your right hand, and you’re hoping that the last 3 pages aren’t book club discussion questions and an advertisement for the next book. To say that I was hooked and eager to reach the conclusion would be an understatement. I can’t remember the last time that I read a book so quickly and with such intense concentration.

Coming down from the high of finishing the book, I took the time to reflect on what I had just read. Forgiveness was a big theme in it, much like most Christian novels, but this was definitely one of those books that didn’t bash you over the head with scripture. The characters were realistic people with real world issues, no gloss or fluff to hide or soften the imperfections. The only thing that bugged me was that Maribel’s backstory felt like I missed out on reading a previous book. While Altebaumer does a wonderful job of exposition, the backstory was a little too interesting for there to not have been a book about Maribel’s previous life. If the author doesn’t have another book in the works already, I hope she considers the idea of writing a prequel to this one.

So who is this book for? Anyone who loves a good suspense novel, I’d say. Remember the name Lori Altebaumer. I have a feeling that she has so many books already mapped out in her head and I am eager to read the next one.

A life-long Texan, Lori lives in a small community not far from the rugged West Texas landscape she loves to write about. The mother of now-grown twins, she has learned that the secret to survival is a well-developed sense of humor and an active prayer life. After years spent working in the insurance business, Lori now uses her time to educate, inspire, encourage, and entertain through the written word.
 




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Review & Giveaway: Fatal Strike by DiAnn Mills

FATAL STRIKE

by
DiANN MILLS

Genre: Romantic Suspense / Clean Romance / Christian
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Date of Publication: September 3, 2019
Number of Pages: 400
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There’s a killer on the loose in Galveston, targeting law enforcement officials and using a fatal injection of snake venom to take them down. Authorities have reasons to believe the Veneno gang is behind the hits, and FBI Agents Leah Riesel and Jon Colbert team up to track down those responsible. Their best lead is an eyewitness who identifies a young man dumping the third body on a church doorstep. But their suspect has gone into hiding, and those closest to him are reluctant to reveal anything that might help investigators find him.
 
As Leah and Jon check connections among the victims and dig deeper into motives, they discover appearances may be deceiving. Someone is desperate to keep their secrets hidden, and Leah and Jon must face their greatest fears in order to stop the next fatal strike.

 

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review

It is one type of author that can write characters that are believable and worth caring about, and it is another type of author that can do that and make the setting a living, breathing character in the story as well. As I read this book, I had no doubt in my mind that Mills was very much acquainted with Galveston and the surrounding areas of Houston. She describes the locations in a way that engages all of the senses – from the sounds of waves crashing near the coast to the sticky heat that Houstonians know all too well. (Also, all the restaurants that are mentioned!) And it is while Leah and Jon navigate the different geographies of our great state that you get to know them; first, at the surface level and, later, their deepest regrets and fears.

At the surface, the new partners are pretty similar: good-looking FBI snipers with tough reputations who are hesitant to work together because of personal baggage and the stories that they have heard about each other. Deep down, they both harbor guilt for past decisions that are quite different. However, the two are able to relate to each other and help the other heal in ways that no one else had ever been able to. Sounds like a lot to process, right? Well that’s just the side story to a very complex mystery of why three highly respected people in the Galveston community are murdered in the span of three days.

I was amazed to realize that about halfway through the novel, I still had no idea who the bad guy was and what the motives for the murders were. Conservatively, I had a hunch (that proved correct) about 75% of the way in. As someone who prides herself in predicting plot twists and whodunit, this book had me stumped. And it’s not because the author wrote an ending from way out of left field or anything. Mills does an amazing job of reeling you in, tugging at your heartstrings for a character, and then with either Leah or Jon’s internal dialogue or a quick aside to each other, you question everything you have come to believe thus far.

If Christian books aren’t your thing, don’t worry. I feel like this book has spiritual elements in it that help the story along but aren’t the focal point. If you liked the rush and mystery of The Da Vinci Code, then I think you would enjoy this book as well. I also enjoyed reading a “clean” book that still transported me through the shocking underbelly of Galveston. Many authors write about gory crimes, usually committed against women, with a heavy hand that seems almost gratuitous. Other authors take another route and write steamy scenes under the facade of romance that make me equally uncomfortable as well. I really appreciate Mills’ ability to write about difficult or deep situations and emotions without cheapening any of them.

If you’re a crime show fan like me, I think you will love Fatal Strike. Every DiAnn Mills book that I have read has made me hold my breath in anticipation and doubt my predictions.

 

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She weaves memorable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. DiAnn believes every breath of life is someone’s story, so why not capture those moments and create a thrilling adventure?
Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol Award contests.
DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is the director of the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, Mountainside Marketing Retreat, and the Mountainside Novelist Retreat with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.
DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas. She’s very active online and loves to connect with readers.
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Review & Giveaway: A Tender Hope by Amanda Cabot

A TENDER HOPE
The Cimarron Creek Trilogy, Book 3
by
Amanda Cabot
Genre: Historical Romance / Inspirational
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: March 5, 2019
Number of Pages: 352

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As far as Thea Michener is concerned, it’s time for a change. With her husband murdered and her much-anticipated baby stillborn, there is nothing left for her in Ladreville. Having accepted a position as Cimarron Creek’s midwife, she has no intention of remarrying and trying for another child. So when a handsome Texas Ranger appears on her doorstep with an abandoned baby, Thea isn’t sure her heart Can take it.


Ranger Jackson Guthrie isn’t concerned only with the baby’s welfare. He’s been looking for Thea, convinced that her late husband was part of the gang that killed his brother. But it soon becomes clear that the situation is far more complicated than he anticipated–and he’ll need Thea’s help if he’s ever to find the justice he seeks.
Amanda Cabot invites readers back to Cimarron Creek for a tender story of loss, betrayal, and love in the majestic Texas Hill Country.



PRAISE FOR A TENDER HOPE:

“Such beautiful words flow from Amanda Cabot’s pen–words that lead characters from tattered situations to fresh beginnings and culminate in tender story endings that make a reader sigh in satisfaction. I’ve never been disappointed by a Cabot tale.” — Kim Vogel Sawyer, bestselling author of Bringing Maggie Home
 
 
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review

I begged to have the opportunity to review A Tender Hope because I loved the first two of the Cimarron Creek Trilogy. I couldn’t imagine falling in literary love again after meeting the dreamy sheriff in A Stolen Heart, but the kind doctor in A Borrowed Dream made me sigh as well. And how could anyone figure out who to settle down with when there are so many lovely ladies residing in or moving to the small town? Well, hold on to your horses because we have not just one, but TWO, lovely ladies coming to Cimarron.

In true Cabot fashion, our authoress does not so much as hint if Thea or Aimee is more attractive, so you can count on love connection miscommunication. There is also the series’ common theme of the main romantic pairing disliking or mistrusting each other for reasons not yet known. And if I’m not mistaken, the reasons are usually unfounded. While that might sound dangerously formulaic, Cabot breathes so much life into her characters that it is impossible to feel anything outside of intrigued or delighted when reading her books.

Each book has a mystery or problem to be solved and this one was the most difficult for me to solve correctly. Every reveal made me pause and wonder how I hadn’t even thought of it as a possibility.

If you have had the pleasure of reading the first two books, you will rejoice at being reunited with Lydia and Travis. While their supporting roles are often served offstage (or maybe off-page?), they are much more present than Catherine and Austin, who are in Paris for most of the book. Ah, speaking of Paris, the city was mentioned in a previous book. And now that I think of it, many threads from the previous books were woven into this final book and firmly knotted at the end.

I’m sad to see this series come to an end. There are so many interesting minor characters, the children especially, that I would have loved to see fully fleshed out. If this is the only Cimarron book you have read, I wholeheartedly recommend that you go back and read the first two.

 

Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of the Cimarron Creek trilogy, as well as the Texas Crossroads series, the Texas Dreams series, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards and the Booksellers’ Best. She lives in Wyoming.
 

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Review & Giveaway: Wait for Me by Susan May Warren

WAIT FOR ME

Montana Rescue Series, Book 6

by

Susan May Warren

Genre: Contemporary Romance / Action / Christian

Publisher: Revell

Date of Publication: November 6, 2018

Number of Pages: 336

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Pete Brooks can’t believe he’s waited an entire year for Jess Tagg to return to Montana, only to have her break his heart by getting engaged to her ex-fiancé. Worse, a series of mistakes on the job have cost lives, and Pete isn’t sure he wants to continue to work in Search and Rescue. Maybe if he can just get over Jess, he can figure out how to move forward.

EMT Jess Tagg has returned to Montana to finally give her heart to Pete, but it seems he’s no longer interested. When a terrible fight between them sparks an impulsive decision, she finds herself crashed on the side of a highway along with Esme Shaw. And just when she thinks things couldn’t get any worse, she and Esme are taken captive and into the untamed Montana wilderness—with murderous intent.

Now Pete and the other PEAK Rescue Team members are in a race against time, the elements, and the actions of a vengeful man. Pete will have to use everything he’s learned to find Jess and Esme—and pray that his past mistakes don’t cost him the life of the woman he can’t stop loving.

Praise for the Montana Rescue Series

“Warren’s stalwart characters and engaging story lines make her Montana Rescue series a must-read.”Booklist

“Faith, action, romantic tension, humor, and emotional depth.” Publishers Weekly

“Warren excels at creating flawed characters the reader cares about, as well as building a suspenseful adventure.” Christian Library Journal

 

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review

I remembered bits and pieces from a previous Montana Rescue book that I had reviewed a while back, but it bugged me that I couldn’t remember most of the characters in this latest installment. After reading that old review, I realized that most of the characters in Wait for Me were actually peripheral characters in A Matter of Trust.

 

Warren creates these deep, complicated characters that you can’t help but become invested in. And I love that she explores the relationships and inner workings of each person over the course of this series. How many times have I read a book where I wished that the author would take the time to share more about a particular character or let me explore another locale that was lightly brushed upon briefly? Either Warren knew that her readers would want more, or she, too, wasn’t ready to let go of this world that she has created.

 

I didn’t properly articulate this in my review of Book 3, but I am still very impressed with Warren’s knowledge of wilderness survival, medical conditions, and EMT skills. Although if my memory serves me right, I think this book has more injuries in it. From the moment that the tense, emotional atmosphere is shattered by physical violence, the danger advances on our characters like an avalanche. Who really loves whom takes a backseat as lives are at stake.

 

But still I had trouble wrapping my brain around why Jess seemed to be stringing Pete along. Without having read the four other books in the series, I’m hazarding a guess that Warren enjoys writing complicated love shapes. I say shapes because this book and Book 3 both have love squares instead of triangles. Geometry aside, you can see why Jess has trouble choosing which man/life to commit herself to. Warren makes it hard for the reader to choose too. Why must all the men in this book be attractive and have such great attributes? Bad guys aside, of course.

 

Faith and God are handled well in this book. It is when a character has hit rock bottom and can’t give an ounce more that someone else will remind them that there is someone bigger than them that can lift them up and love them no matter what. It didn’t feel forced and I liked that even the person on the receiving end of this message was skeptical. I think that the genuine introduction and reaction of the subject will open up readers who feel skeptical about God as well.

 

I recommend this book to anyone who loves a good, intricate love story and/or suspenseful, survivalist read. Kind of opposite spectrums, huh? But this book really has it all. I look forward to reading more from this author.

Susan May Warren is the USA Today bestselling author of over fifty novels with more than 1 million books sold, including Wild Montana Skies, Rescue Me, A Matter of Trust, Troubled Waters, and Storm Front. Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol Awards, as well as the HOLT Medallion and numerous Readers’ Choice Awards, Susan has written contemporary and historical romances, romantic suspense, thrillers, romantic comedy, and novellas. She makes her home in Minnesota.

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Review & Giveaway: In Too Deep by Lynn H. Blackburn

IN TOO DEEP
Dive Team Investigations
Book Two
by
Lynn H. Blackburn
Genre: Suspense / Romance / Christian
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: November 6, 2018
Number of Pages: 352

Scroll down for the giveaway!
 

When the dive team is called in to recover a body from a submerged car, they aren’t prepared to find an encrypted laptop—or an unsettling connection between investigator Adam Campbell and the dead accountant. 

Adam turns to his friend Dr. Sabrina Fleming—a professor at the local university with unparalleled computer security and forensics skills—to recover the files from the laptop. But the deeper they dig, the deadlier the investigation becomes. When evidence uncovers a human trafficking ring and implicates members of Adam’s own family, he and Sabrina will have to risk everything to solve the case.
The truth could set hundreds free—but someone is willing to do whatever it takes to silence anyone who threatens to reveal their secrets. Award-winning author Lynn H. Blackburn invites readers back to Carrington, North Carolina, where everything is not as it seems, and sinister elements lurk behind the idyllic façade.

PRAISE FOR BENEATH THE SURFACE, BOOK ONE IN THE DIVE TEAM INVESTIGATIONS SERIES:

“Fans of Dani Pettrey’s “Alaskan Courage” thrillers will enjoy this nail-biter of a series opener, which will also be appreciated by romantic and psychological suspense fans.” Library Journal
 
“Just when you think you can relax, Blackburn brings you back to the edge of your seat in this riveting, high-tension suspense story.” 
Patricia Bradley, author of Justice Delayed 
“Blackburn’s Beneath the Surface is completely engaging from the very first page. Dive Team Investigations is bound to be a new favorite series for readers everywhere.” Christian Market
 
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review

For a book with a cover that shows an underwater scene and a punny title like “In Too Deep,” I predicted that at least 50% of the novel would take place in or around the water. It turns out, evidence and clues were disposed of in the water, and we end up only spending about 5-10% of the time in the deep dark. I was hoping to read more about the technical side of crime scene diving, but perhaps Blackburn does that more in Book 1 of the Dive Team Investigations. At any rate, I found this book to be suspenseful and well plotted. I had an inkling of whodunit, but I couldn’t figure out how they could possibly walk away with what they wanted.

Characters make or break a story for me, and it’s difficult to find fault with Adam and Sabrina. When I realized that I’m 10 years older than Sabrina, I started to question how much I have accomplished in my life. I loved how cerebral and logical she was – practically an AI in human skin. I was frustrated by how clueless she was about Adam’s affections, but then again remembered being that age and misreading guys all the time. The drama of their romance proved to be unfounded and was a little anticlimactic for me, but I found their interactions to be cute. I think my favorite relationships and interactions involved the friends and fellow police officers who kept watch over the two as the bad guy(s) kept coming after them.

The underlying, terrible criminal activity that is unearthed in this novel is completely relevant and morbidly fascinating. If you live in the Houston area as I do, you’ve heard your share of stories with similar situations. I hope that books like this one build awareness and encourage people to take notice and take action. Sorry for being so elusive, but I don’t want to ruin the story for you.

I feel bad for saying this, but the Christian bits in this novel took me out of the story a little. I really wish they didn’t, but they did for some reason. However, don’t feel like you need to avoid this book if you’re adverse to religious or Christian novels.

This book is first and foremost a mystery. Don’t miss out on a great story that sheds light on a very ugly and real problem that we have in our country. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good mystery and the satisfaction of justice served.

Lynn H. Blackburn is the author of Hidden Legacy (Love Inspired, June 2017) and Covert Justice, winner of the 2016 Selah Award for Mystery and Suspense and the 2016 Carol Award for Short Novel. Blackburn believes in the power of stories, especially those that remind us that true love exists, a gift from the Truest Love. She’s passionate about CrossFit, coffee, and chocolate (don’t make her choose) and experimenting with recipes that feed both body and soul. She lives in Simpsonville, South Carolina, with her true love, Brian, and their three children.
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NOVEMBER 6-15, 2018

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Character Interview & Giveaway: A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano

A RUMORED FORTUNE
BY
JOANNA DAVIDSON POLITANO
  Genre: Historical Romance / Christian
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: July 31, 2018
Number of Pages: 416
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Welcome to Trevelyan Castle, home of the poorest heiress in Victorian England
Tressa Harlowe’s father kept his vast fortune hidden somewhere on his estate in the south of England and died suddenly, without telling anyone where he had concealed it. Now Tressa and her ailing mother are left with a mansion and an immense vineyard and no money to run it. 
It doesn’t take long for a bevy of opportunists to flock to the estate under the guise of offering condolences. Tressa knows what they’re really up to. She’ll have to work with the rough and rusticated vineyard manager to keep the laborers content without pay and discover the key to finding her father’s fortune—before someone else finds it first.

PRAISE FOR A RUMORED FORTUNE: 

“Everyone loves a treasure hunt—pair it with a heroine you can’t help but love, a hero you can’t help but swoon over, and a family mystery that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat, and you end up with A Rumored Fortune. This book is a treasure in itself and one you won’t be able to put down!”
— Roseanna M. White, bestselling author of the Ladies of the Manor series and Shadows Over England series
“Politano combines romance and mystery with great skill to create plot twists that will keep readers captivated until the very end.”— Publishers Weekly

“The author has done a great job, offering up a plot filled with wit, charm, action, and a lot of female strength.”— Suspense Magazine


CLICK TO PURCHASE

Character Interview
Interview with Margaret Waithe, the housekeeper of Trevelyan Castle, in A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano
Mrs. Waithe, you must know something about this mysterious fortune said to be hidden at Trevelyan. Can you tell us if the rumors are true?
If you’re looking to fortune hunt, there’s a line forming behind the house, starting with all the relatives who think they’re owed a piece of it. You’ll have to fight your way through them, and then face the master’s daughter besides. I’m not sure which’ll give you worse trouble, but you can have your go of it. I’ll warn you, though, the old master was an odd one, and you’re not likely to guess where he’s hidden the fortune unless you understand the man himself.
Who do you think will find the old man’s fortune?
If anyone was smart enough, it would be his Tressa. No one could truly know old Josiah Harlowe, but she came closer than most. She was the only one who tried. Everyone else is busy digging through the castle walls for hidden crevices and entries while Tressa is smart enough to dig through her father’s notes and learn about the man who hid it in the first place. None are smart enough, or more deserving, of the man’s inheritance than his daughter.
You mean to say he didn’t even tell his own family where he put his money? How did he expect them to survive his possible demise one day?

I’m sure the man didn’t plan on drowning out there in the channel. He’s lived here so long, we never expected it, either. And him, being in the prime of health like that. No one could have predicted such an early demise. He did plan on telling his family where he’d put it before he died—I heard him telling his Tressa that years ago when she was begging for the secret.
It seems there’s far more to the story here, isn’t there?
More to the man’s sudden death? More to how he came by his fortune? More to every single creature who parades themselves through these doors to “grieve?” Yes, to all of them. Every last one. With Josiah Harlowe, there is always more to the story, no matter what the story is.
What do you think of that new vineyard manager, Mr. Donegan Vance?
(pause) Can’t say just yet, sir. He’s an unusual one just like the master, full of secrets and contradictions. He certainly isn’t finding much favor with the ladies of Trevelyan, that’s for sure. Now the town-folk, that’s a different story. You know how some people are full of smooth talk and fancy promises, but their actions never live up? Well this man’s the opposite. He’s a bit jarring with his words, since he doesn’t bother to pretty them up or smooth them over with all the expected niceties, but no matter how gruff his words, his actions are astounding. That man makes kindness a lifestyle and no one is below his help or attention. I’ve never seen the like around here, and I’ve opened these doors to plenty of respectable gentleman. Somehow, he’s even more respectable than them, if you actually watch the man to see what he does. He’s had his eye on Miss Tressa, and I rather hope she opens her eyes to him. Perhaps I’ll help.

Joanna Davidson Politano is the award-winning author of Lady Jayne Disappears. She freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and shares stories that move her
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