Category Archives: Contemporary

Book Review: A MARCH BRIDE by RACHEL HAUCK

Publisher: Zondervan

Published: February 25, 2014

Format: ebook (99 pages)      

AISN: B00SL10IHO        

Series: A Year of Weddings Novella 

Origin: Publisher through NetGalley (egalley)

***Though the publisher provides the free ebook, I offer the opinion.***

 

My Look:

Susanna Truitt has found her prince in Nathaniel II, but this fairytale is fraught with doubts and peril. 

This royal had found Susanna in her own locale, but the wedding brings her to a new country.  The pomp and circumstance that follows this engagement is heady, scary, and exciting, but as this prince is now to be king, a danger lurks inside this European country.

Brighton is a small country with some large politics, and without much notice, the Parliament makes a declaration.   

Susanna has already given up her Georgia roots and moved countries away from her family.  She’s been trained, molded, and tutored into a princess and then into a queen, but how can she give up her citizenship to her country to marry the man she loves?  Is this situation a mere culmination of all the doubts that she’s been seized by? On the other hand, is this something she needs to retreat from?

When family gets sick and friends cannot come to her, Susanna has to make a choice, but it’s not the one most people would think to make.  She’s willing to let go and let God even if it breaks her or Nathaniel’s heart to do it.

Once in Georgia, Susanna believes she’s done the right thing, but has she?

My Take:

In A MARCH BRIDE by Rachel Hauck, you’ll be swept off your feet!

Susanna Truitt is a heroine that could be one of your best friends who is into some situations that you are ill-equipped to give advice on. However, you’ll want to help in her anyway we can just like the hometown characters in this book. From a distant land, I fell in love with Georgia and its people, but in Georgia, I fell hard for King Nathaniel. 

King Nathaniel II is unpretentious and as confused and scared as his soon-to-be bride is.  The pressures are growing on him just as his country teeters away from being the safety net it had always been for him and his family. Nevertheless, the pressure that comes upon the love of his life are too much for him to speak about.  However, once she leaves the country he’s broken and is willing to do what he needs to bring her back to him.   

Rachel Hauck’s A MARCH BRIDE starts out at the top of a princess and her castle story but develops into a fight or flight kind of love story with some amazing twists you’d never expect.  This novella serves a dual purpose.  It is a novella in the Year of Wedding series, but it is also a standalone continuation of the novel ONCE UPON A PRINCE by Rachel Hauck! 

Book Review: SKETCHER IN THE RYE by Sharon Pape

Publisher: InterMix

Published: December 13, 2013

Format: ebook (260 pages)

ASIN: B00AVA4NH0  

Series: A Portrait of Crime Mystery

Origin: Publisher through NetGalley (egalley)

***Though the publisher provides the free book, I offer the opinion.***

 

My Look:

Hobo has disappeared on Harper Farms, and even though Hobo is a dog not a ghost, Rory McCain is worried.  The otherworldliness of her life is enough to make anyone crazy, but she’s gotten used to it, sort of.  But Hobo is somewhere loose on a working farm on a cold November day and could get hurt or worse. 

Soon, Rory’s delight in finding the dog was outmatched by the dog that was all over her despite his recent mud bath with the pigs.  After the embarrassing incident, she had the pleasure of bumping back into the man who had just hired her private detective agency for a case of industrial farm espionage.

Gil Harper was a man who held money as no object in solving this case and whose loyalty didn’t protect his family.  Rory was told to investigate everyone, including all of his family members, and Gil openly declared his belief that anyone of them could be the culprit.  She was already racing the clock when she had another race with Hobo.  This stinky mud covered creature didn’t weave back to the love of his life in the pigpen, but instead he dove into the corn maze. She had managed to keep up and maintain a slight hold upon his leash until she stumbled.  Now, her dog was lost again.  

She tried to follow the sounds of Hobo’s insistent barking which seemed to be deflected by their current environment.

Meanwhile, Hobo’s noise was akin to an alert that went viral for trouble.  Almost lost inside the maze,  she was finally able to track her dog, but trouble wasn’t all he found.

Now, how was she going to explain another dead body in her presence?  Her friend, Leah, is still with the police and doesn’t treat her as a traitor for leaving the PD, but this isn’t how most of them feel.  Let’s just say professional courtesy isn’t usually extended to private detectives anyway, but a stranger in town would garner more than an ex police officer in this town. 

Maybe all wasn’t lost.  If this man on the ground had a pulse, all she’d have to do was call in an emergency.  Rory knelt and was able to quickly determine a coroner’s wagon would outweigh the chance an ambulance would suffice, and Rory and ghost partner Zeke had more than one case to solve.  However, her ghostly partner wasn’t the easiest to work with, on many occasions.

Picture an 18th century Western Federal Marshal working with a modern woman.  Got that picture?  Okay, now add to that having to make sure when this said partner disappears, he’s not up to something that the living can see.  Yeah, Rory’s only problem on this case wasn’t going to be the cold shoulder of the police department.

She couldn’t leave the dead man here, right?  No.  She did what any civic-minded citizen would do.  She called her best friend at the police department.  Suddenly, the disembodied voice of her partner accused her of creating more trouble, but when she turned, Zeke was here in person, wearing the duds from yesteryear looking like anyone else.  Yeah, this was going to mean trouble for sure.  

 

My Take:

Sharon Pape’s SKETCHER IN THE RYE a cozy mystery wrapped inside a ghost story that will keep you turning pages!

I enjoyed sleuthing with Rory McCain.  She is a former police sketch artist with a penchant for murder, crime, and ghosts, but she is able to draw the who, discover the why, and prove it all too.   Zeke is a Federal Marshal and a character all to himself.  However, his ghostly image becomes human through his story too.  He’s a man who has solved murders,  put away the criminals, and loved.  He is also a man who lost his love before he lost his life.  

These two detectives make an exceptional tag team in crime, but their backgrounds can add some problems in the mix.

SKETCHER IN THE RYE by Sharon Pape takes us inside her great family ties, some growing pains, and more than a few family dysfunctional situations to solve a crime, save a life, and discover who did it.  However, you’ll just find yourself wanting to read more of her titles in this series, SKETCH ME IF YOU CAN (Berkley 2010), TO SKETCH A THIEF (Berkley 2011), and SKETCH A FALLING STAR (Berkley 2012).

Book Review: IT HAPPENS EVERY SPRING by Catherine Palmer and Gary Chapman

Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Published: January 3, 2007

Format: Paperback (286 pages)      

ISBN: 9781414311654        

Series: The Four Seasons of a Marriage Series

Origin: Publisher through Tyndale Direct

***Though the publisher provides the free ebook, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

Steve and Brenda Hansen’s marriage has taken on a perpetual winter chill, with more than just an empty nest going on.  Steve assumes his wife’s moods are expected, but they have been extreme, in his view.  He’s changed jobs and is making great money in real estate and provides for her, his children, and his kids’ college education.  While he realizes, their babies have grown and left on their own life journeys, his wife does have an active hobby that should be able to sustain her through the transition, right? He’s even having the basement refinished to give her plenty of workspace and crafting nooks, but she’s just not happy.

Riding out the bad comes with the good in a marriage, but his wife has strayed from church and limits herself—why this is, he doesn’t know.  Meanwhile, a good reason exists for his drop in attendance, the weekends are prime time for clients, and he always has to show these properties.

Brenda Hansen is not just going through empty nest syndrome, although that is but just a part of her pain.  Her husband’s cold persona and his mistress are hurting her more.  Sure, infidelity can become a trap in a marriage, but the couple’s faith, love, and trust can be restored.  However, this can’t be overcome, when the spouse doesn’t believe he’s doing anything wrong.  And this adulteress is much more seductive than she can ever possibly be.  Steve’s love isn’t even human!

It’s become an addiction, Brenda believes, and it’s one that he puts before anyone. Owning a business can be enchanting and being successful can be exhilarating, but Steve loves his profit margin more than his marriage and more than his kids.

It’s all about to hit home in a perfect storm this spring, with new characters, new friends, and new interests.

While someone is finding Brenda funny and is adding a spring to her step, someone else needs her time and attention.  And as her lowliness begins to change, Brenda finds some friends in all the same places and begins to spend more time with someone for all the wrong reasons.  Even though this person helps her hurting end, she’s changing in ways she never dreamed of.

Is Brenda ready for this marriage to end?  Has she reached the point of no return?

Meanwhile, anyone can meet a ray of sunshine named Patsy Pringle inside her business called Just as I Am Salon.

She’s not the gossip queen in town, in fact, she’s a caring person who seems to pick up on the little things about people.  From her clients, she can figure out easily who is happy and who isn’t, but she does her best to get those down in a better place.  However, many things are just out of her control, and all Patsy can do is say a prayer.

Now, she’s had to stop some people from spilling news stories in her shop, but in some cases, it’s not being done mean-spirited nor is it something that many people don’t see.  It’s hard to miss the Hansen’s aren’t faring well, but to help someone is one thing, but getting into meddling is something else.

Patsy just doesn’t spot troubles from a mile away, she understands them, and she just can’t let someone go down a path that will end in disaster.

My Take:

IT HAPPENS EVERY SPRING by Catherine Palmer and Gary Chapman, starts with claps of thunder, troubles blooming in Tranquility Missouri, clashes of businesses, and some unwanted characters.  

Heroines are abound in Deep Water Cove too, but they are not always the law enforcement kind. 

While business is business in Tranquility, the townspeople of Deep Water are not just about the town but are all about the people.  Some things are happening to build the town and other’s things are threatening to break it a part.  The buildings will still be standing, but the family atmosphere could be giving way to the party culture. If this isn’t bad enough, I found myself loving Brenda Hansen and disliking Steven Hansen and wanting to be best friends with Patsy Pringle!

Inside IT HAPPENS EVERY SPRING by Catherine Palmer and Gary Chapman, you’ll learn about love, family, friends, and you will spot the seasons just as Patsy is able to.  Sometimes, wrongs can be so very right, but the right choices can make things all wrong for all the wrong reasons.  This town has much to deal within a short time, but the caring people pull you inside, make you want to be their neighbor, friend, and business associate.

You don’t miss the rest of this series–SUMMER BREEZE: 2 (Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. 2007), FALLING FOR YOU AGAIN: 3 (Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. 2007), and WINTER TURNS TO SPRING: 4 (Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. 2008)!

 

Book Review: RELATIVELY DEAD by Sheila Connolly

Publisher: Beyond the Page

Published: May 16, 2013

Format: ebook (211 pages)

ASIN: B00CUEGU4E  

Origin: Publisher through NetGalley (egalley)

***Though the publisher provides the free book, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

Abby (Abigail) Kimball is at a crossroads in life, since she’d given up a teaching job she loved in Philadelphia and moved with Brad to New England, but her relationship with Brad was in sad shape, now.  However, she’s also discovering how much a problem Brad can be.  He’s self-centered, egotistical, and shallow. 

Meanwhile, she’s also wondering what having been in love with that says about her.

Abby knows that Brad wants her to get out and get some new interests, so then she begrudgingly goes on Waltham’s historic house tour.  Who knew this particular house would change her life?

It hadn’t seemed an overtly posh house, but its positioning, had almost had it looking down on the town, said something about it.  She met the man who was giving her the tour, Edward “Ned” Newhall.  And although it was a historical place, the many additions and modernization had relegated the real history to only a certain part of this home.  

Now, it hadn’t been this super nice tour director, Ned, who provided her surge of fear. It had been those who she hadn’t actually met that took her on a scary ride into their haunted past.

Of course, her unexpected reaction to such sights put her on an embarrassing plane with the living tour guide.  Would he understand? 

 

My Take:

In RELATIVELY DEAD, Sheila Connolly presents a modernized ghost story that will keep you steeped in rich history.

My first impression of Abby was that she was someone set adrift by the notion of love, but that Abby didn’t know what to do once she hit a wall.  Going home never seemed to occur to her, but Brad’s personality had me screaming for Abby to get away from him.  I liked her and didn’t want to see her in such a bad relationship. 

Abby hints that her mother’s happiness with Brad is the reason that she doesn’t go home, at first, but her father seems to suspect the changing feelings. 

Instead of packing up, once it all falls down, Abby’s thoughts amazed me.  She went and got a job that did some of the same things from her Philadelphia position, but it was so different that it complemented her. Meanwhile, I was almost shouting at her to notice Ned! 

Ned was there, in the flesh, and seemed to care, but he’d pulled back and now I wondered could this not be?  

He did stay connected to her ghostly visits and helped Abby through the understanding of history and genealogy, but when she was finally done with Brad, Ned seemed to retreat. 

He cared for Abby, but some things held him back.  At least one of these things was something major that him and Abby had in common.

Nevertheless, you’ll discover Ned to be a hero, although not the Alpha kind of guy.  He’s kind patient, caring, and smart.  His history had deconstructed his engagement years before, and he’s not sure how to proceed with this amazing woman named Abigail.  

RELATIVELY DEAD by Sheila Connelly takes us on a journey between past and present in a fashion that I haven’t read before, but I did enjoy it!  While this book will leave you wondering if you’ll ever spend time with Abby and Ned again, I believe we readers will most certainly be pulled into a future story of these two because they make such a great pair. 

 

 

Book Review: DARK TIDE by Susan Sleeman

Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense  

Published: March 1, 2014

Format: Paperback (224 pages)      

ISBN: 9780373445882         

Series: The Justice Agency

Origin: Publisher through NetGalley (egalley)

***Though the publisher provides the free ebook, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

Gina’s brother mourned his wife’s death, worked for the Coast Guard, and raised his newborn daughter, Sophia.  Gina Evans takes care of Jon’s daughter and did what she could for her brother, until the unthinkable happened. Jon died.  She didn’t believe his crash was an accident, but the police wouldn’t even listen to her.    

Now, Gina is trying to raise Sophia. Being a single stand-in mother, she sees the world through different eyes.  These deaths brought her parents closer to her, as their relationship had been strained from her childhood, and it helps that she lives close to Jon’s Coast Guard teammate and best friend and his wife. 

However, once Gina was attacked, she fled to a friend’s home in Portland. 

She wasn’t gone long, but a struggle was evident. The door told that story.  All she could think of was finding Sophia.  Wrapping the child in a blanket, she headed outside to look for her friend, Lilly.  

Everything happened so fast.  She watched her friend die and the murderer was coming for them.

Meanwhile, Derrick Justice didn’t know this number, but working for the family private investigation agency, these calls can happen.  The whispered voice couldn’t be a dream.  It was real.  The woman who left him in college is calling for help.  He’d be the first to admit he wasn’t happy about this, but he wasn’t going to leave anyone in trouble, especially a child. 

He made it to her location to find Gina hiding with a seven-month old girl behind a Dumpster, but nobody else was around, until heavy footfalls sounded from behind.  

 

My Take:

Susan Sleeman’s DARK TIDE is an engaging read where the suspense doesn’t end but a romance does blossom!  

I took a liking to Gina Evans right from the start.  She’s strong, loving, and loyal.  At times,  you’ll wonder if her loyalty is misguided in some directions.  Her life has been filled with rejection, accidents, deaths, and family crisis, but her faith is strong.  No longer the heady school girl, she’s a woman who is trying to do right by this child who has now become hers.  Her attraction to Derrick is still alive, but he’s stayed a person who can’t commit.  Gina won’t let Sophia pay that kind of price.

However, Derrick Justice has moved on since his college days, but on a personal level his inability to commit still rules him. It’s not that he’s always thinking the next best thing is around the corner.  In fact, he knows the best person that ever happened to him is back in his life.  This hero is in need of faith, fixing, and a whole lot of loving care, but he’s too scared to reach for it.  What I liked about Derrick Justice is that the Alpha male he is on the outside, isn’t the person he is on the inside.  He wants more than the empty life he has, but he has fear issues that are too much for him alone. 

DARK TIDE by Susan Sleeman is a standalone title, but also it is the last in a series about a loving family, the Justice family.  These titles have suspense abound but romance will fill this family along the way.  I know the Justice Agency series is one you’ll want to uncover: DOUBLE EXPOSURE  (Love Inspired Suspense June 2012), DEAD WRONG (Love Inspired Suspense November 2012), NO WAY OUT (Love Inspired Suspense May 2013), and THREAD OF SUSPICION (Love Inspired Suspense October 2013!

Book Review: TREACHEROUS SLOPES by Terri Reed

Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense  

Published: February 4, 2014

Format: Paperback (224 pages)      

ISBN: 9780373445837         

Origin: Publisher through NetGalley (egalley)

***Though the publisher provides the free ebook, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

Julie Frost gains a chance for promotion, from production assistant to on camera personality, if her interview with her former high school crush goes well.  Dressed in stylish not sensible clothing, Julie was half-frozen talking with a television audience while waiting for the final event that would choose the Olympic team for the Freestyle Aerial Ski Jumping set.  However, the man who was about to take to the air was the local favorite and her school days distraction.  Although she was filled with excitement, she knew this man had never noticed her before and would be off to bigger and better things afterward.  It was key to keep herself guarded, professional, and detached during this promotional interview. 

She watched him take to the air, but something just seemed off.  Soon, his ski was gone, and he was going down.  It was hard to remember to be a reporter as she raced to see if he was alive.  How could his parents lose both children to ski accidents? 

Nick Walsh felt the adrenaline rush many times over, but he also knew someone wanted him dead.  With this hard landing, someone could get his or her wish. The air whooshed out of him, and his head felt almost disconnected, when a rush of people came to him. 

The vision in pink he knew from years gone by.  Why was Jules here?   

Of course, his manager was thrilled he wasn’t dead like Cody, but this close one only heaped more guilt on Nick over his brother’s death.  Had he not made that last jump trying to imitate him, his brother would still be here to go for the gold. Everybody had expected it would be brother verses brother going for the gold.  However, it would be brother going for his brother, now.  And it was somebody’s desire to stop him. 

He didn’t consider the woman in pink his enemy until he found out she was a reporter.  Those people are breeds that watch their ratings go up as their lens focused on bringing someone down.  Even the dead was not protected from their subterfuge.   The rumor mill churned with charges of made-up drug abuse to sully his brother’s reputation.  It didn’t matter how beautiful this woman was; she wasn’t going to use him or his brother to get ratings.  However, his sponsor put together this interview, and he would have to tread slowly. 

He hadn’t planned to tell her about the death threats or the actual attempts on his life, but he didn’t have to.  The person doing this has thrown her into the crosshairs with him.

My Take:

Terri Reed’s TREACHEROUS SLOPES starts off with the Olympic adrenaline rush, keys up the suspense, and creates romance in the process!   

This heroine is not only a reporter but does a great job at amateur sleuthing too.  I could see her staring in her own series with a town of tourists for victims discovered by the roving reporter.  She’s caring, considerate, and is just trying to make it on her own as a reporter with vision and scruples.  Julie Frost lost her mother and understands grief, but she seems to be getting along better with her stepfather who now wants a family more than a career.     

Inside Nick Walsh, you’ll find a hurting man who blames himself for his brother’s death and projects his guilt onto his mother and father.  He’s a believer who has lost his way but being back home has him face the truth about himself, his family, and his faith.  His reason for going for the gold isn’t what it once was, and he is realizing that where he is at isn’t where he should be.  However, he needs to finish this Olympic walk for Cody, and not even a murderer is going to change his path.  However, his walk easily intersects with what he wants his future to become.

TREACHEROUS SLOPES by Terri Reed is a suspense filled standalone title that will have you head to the summer Olympics reading more books by this author such as the COWBOY TARGET (Love Inspired Suspense 2013) and THE DOCTOR’S DEFENDER  (Love Inspired Suspense 2012) just to name a few!

 

Book Review: ALONG CAME TROUBLE by Erin Kern

Publisher: Forever (Grand Central Publishing imprint of Hachette Book Group)

Published: November 19, 2013

Format: ebook (432 pages) 

Series: Trouble

Origin: Publisher through NetGalley, (eGalley)

***Though the publisher provides the free ebook, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

Brody McDermott has a son, is divorced, and runs a family restaurant that is failing.  He is well aware that his father is near to kicking him to the curb.  What else can go wrong?

Unfortunately, for Brody, more is going to happen.

His ex-wife’s mother is elderly and ill, and his ex and her husband may have to move three states away with Brody’s son.  Now, this man already carries the burden of the failed marriage, the enormous amount of time he was buried at work and didn’t spend with his son, Tyler, and now the possibility of really losing him.   His decision to move, if need be, to be with his son comes easy, but everything else gets harder, once he meets Elisa.

Elisa Cardoso is a photographer who is waiting for her big break.  A former teacher keeps in touch and promises to call, if he can ever use her for his work at National Geographic, but she needs income, now.  Living in Trouble Wyoming provides beautiful panoramic views but nothing much in the way of a career.  However, she does manage to make some money doing food photography.  It doesn’t take her long to figure out this dying eatery would and could change her life.  Brody seems to wake something inside of her.  Yeah, she did the hard breakup thing and swore she’d never give her heart.  However, her hormones are refusing to listen to the heartbreak song.  Will she be sorry?

My Take:

Erin Kern’s ALONG CAME TROUBLE  is a heart-wrenching romance where all the pieces refuse to fit into place.  Can they have it all or will having it all cause them pain?

It was different to meet Brody McDermott first and have his story told in detail, but then add Elisa to the mix and you’ll find yourself hoping these two have more than sparks.  However, getting to the ever after seems to not be happening.

At times, I found myself wanting Brody to get out of his own way, but during other times, I found myself wanting Elisa not to risk it in Trouble.  In so many ways, I figured heartbreak was sure to come.  Brody is a man who is sensitive but hides it, while Elisa wants to be strong but really doesn’t have the armor she tries to wear.  Be warned, these two definitely will get hurt.

However, sometimes what isn’t right isn’t always wrong.

I liked Brody, and I found his family endearing.  Elisa took awhile to really get to know, but I liked her early on.  She’s selfless, loving, and just not sure about her future.  Maybe we all can relate to not knowing where we are meant to be and when we are meant to be there.  Short on family, she easily makes friends, but when her heart is exposed, she’s scared of more scars.

ALONG CAME TROUBLE by Erin Kern is a romance that is different from most but is lovable just the same!

Book Review: THE WORLD BENEATH by Rebecca Cantrell

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services

Published: January 10, 2014

Format: ebook (315 pages)

Series: Joe Tesla 

Origin: Recommendation

***Though the author provides the free ebook, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

Most would agree that Joe Tesla is a successful millionaire.  After all, his company made today’s facial recognition abilities possible, but Joe’s success seems to have become stymied by fear. Those who know Joe know he doesn’t relent to people or governmental agencies, but those who know Joe, now, call him everything but brave.

Joe doesn’t even understand how this happened. 

One day he was normal and one morning he was too scared to go outside. The doctors call it one thing while his former colleagues call it something totally different. Unfortunately, he agrees with most of them, during most times. 

Agoraphobia is known to occur, but it didn’t occur to him until one day, after one night, a couple of drinks, and a government agency fight later.  He’s been trying to piece out this puzzle, but he’s also been learning to adjust to life inside and outside his old Victorian home.  Joe’s Victorian is a home inside one of the many connected underground tunnels of New York City.  It’s owned by a family friend of his and much to her brother’s dismay, Joe stays here.  There are many secrets held in these tunnels and with his penchant for a puzzle he puts things together to distract him from the knot in his mind barring him from the world outside.  He often studies and explores these amazing places.

At least, he did until he meets Subject 523, known also as Rebar.  

It was kind of normal to meet strange people underground, and Rebar seemed to be some form of military by stance and speech but one look at this man labeled him homeless.  However, he wasn’t just down here looking for a place to stay, this man was taking down a tunnel wall by sledgehammer, and the pieces he already removed seemed to expose yet another part of the tunnel.  This man was so intent on his task he didn’t mind Joe watching him.  Also, when the wall fell, he wasn’t at all surprised by his discovery.  On the other hand, Joe’s astonishment leads Rebar to realize Joe wasn’t in on it with him and up comes the hammer.  Joe takes off running. 

What Joe Tesla couldn’t know was that his nightmare of running doesn’t end, it just stops for a bit and reloads.  Like in some gamer’s paradise, at every turn, something else is to happen and others will join in the fun.  

The rest of this nightmare begins when Joe Tesla couldn’t just forget about what he saw in that exposed wall.  He went back to poke around, but discovered his former threat as demolished as those bricks, and a new threat sends Joe and his dog Edison running for their lives, with even more questions.

How many people know of this secret?  How many of them want Joe dead?

My Take:

THE WORLD BENEATH by Rebecca Cantrell is a heart-pounding thriller with an infective puzzle!

Rebecca Cantrell brings to life the amazing world beneath the sidewalks of New York. Her character, Joe Tesla, is a down-to-earth computer geek who struck it rich but maintains his giving heart; his kindness and affection for people shows through in all of what he does, while his resourcefulness will astound you.  Joe doesn’t need his wallet to solve a problem, his brain doesn’t work that way.  Give the guy a can of beer and some Wi-Fi, and he could literally change he way you see the world around you.  He uses his powers for good not evil, even though everything he does is not exactly lawful.

Joe Tesla lives the story of many, but his world holds more dangers than these panic attacks induce.  With him and Edison, you’ll be racing the clock to find answers that can save thousands of lives, but his adversaries come out of the walls within the ranks of government bureaucracy, having more pull than any imagination could muster.

Rebecca Cantrell’s THE WORLD BENEATH is a virtual page-turner!

Book Review: SAFE BY THE MARSHAL’S SIDE by Shirlee McCoy

Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense  

Published: January 7, 2014

Format: Paperback (224 pages)      

ISBN: 9780373445783         

Series: Witness Protection

Origin: Publisher through NetGalley (egalley)

***Though the publisher provides the free ebook, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

Annie Duncan isn’t used to this life, to this name, or to raising her child alone, without any help from family, friends, or a job.   In fact, Annie—who actually isn’t Annie Duncan—knows she’s doing the right thing, but she does not think things will all work out in the end. 

She’s not having a crisis of faith, but she’s having a crisis of the human kind. Can she let go? Can she trust those who have kept her safe, even when safe can’t be safe right now?  

Hunter is right.  There is a leak.  Could it one of these people?  Who is friend? Who is foe? These questions are hammering at Annie who misses life, her child’s independence, and going to Sunday Services. Even through all of this, however, there is one man she doesn’t doubt. 

Hunter has been her steadfast Marshal, friend, cheering crowd, and babysitter, but all of this is just his job. 

Meanwhile, the latest danger surrounding Annie and Sophia has Hunter Davis questioning those around him.  And his attachment to this witness is gnawing at who he is and what he does.  Maybe, Hunter had become jaded, since many in his protection, over the years, had been placed in their situation by their own actions and their own design. Annie was different. 

Angel Delacourte’s only mistake was mistaking the wrong man for a husband and father.  And maybe it still does bother Hunter that despite her husband’s lies and gambling debts that’s he’s dead, not suffering, but she’s living a nightmare.  He’s a by-the-book kind of Marshal who is faced with knowledge that doing exactly those things can cause this innocent woman and child harm.  There is no doubt that someone is a leak, he just doesn’t want it to be one of those within the team.  Hunter has to walk a fine line of trusting those around him with only so much.  He also seems to walk the fine line of being part of this woman’s life but keeping from becoming apart of it, as the rulebook dictates. This, by the book, Marshal is now having some problems with the book, the life, and the job.  However, his problems with these can prove deadly for those he cares about.

My Take:

SAFE BY THE MARSHAL’S SIDE by Shirlee McCoy takes the amazing lead in this continuity series that amps up suspense and lets the romance begin, but she leaves you knowing more can come! 

Annie Duncan is a heroine who is great at being strong, but sometimes her strength is the one weakness that can put her and her daughter in danger. All throughout the nightmare she is living, the love of her daughter is foremost in evidence, and she knows her husband’s love for his daughter is true, despite his lies.  However, she must grieve the loss of a husband she loved but didn’t really know, the life she had that wasn’t what it should have been, and her own loss of innocence and trust. 

However, Marshal Hunter Davis charged into a career but left behind much in doing it. This was exactly what he wanted, but until now, he didn’t feel a loss.  Maybe that was his problem.  He just didn’t feel.  As a Marshal, one stays in the background, does the job, and moves on.  How could he feel and do this job?  Some of these answers become obvious, but some of these answers can cause him to make a mistake and hurt the ones he cares about. While he watches Annie and Sophia, Hunter has come to grips with his own mistakes and a grieving he didn’t even expect.

Shirlee McCoy’s SAFE BY THE MARSHAL’S SIDE is a standalone title, but also is the first in a continuity. I can’t wait to see what other suspense filled discoveries are abound in this series! With me, be on the look out for the rest if the WITNESS PROTECTION continuity: THE BABY RESCUE by Margaret Daley (Love Inspired Suspense February 2014), STOLEN MEMORIES by Liz Johnson (Love Inspired Suspense March 2014), and TOP SECRET IDENTITY by Sharon Dunn (Love Inspired Suspense April 2014)!

 

Book Review: FORGET ME KNOT (A QUILTING MYSTERY) by Mary Marks

Publisher: Kensington

Published: January 07, 2014

Format: Paperback (384 pages)

ISBN: 9780758292056

Origin: Publisher

***Though the publisher provides the free ebook, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

Martha Rose, Birdie Watson, and Lucy Mondello are on their way to meet with Claire Terry.  They’ve discussed whether Claire would be a good fit for their quilting club for Quilty Tuesdays, and now they want to be sure . . .  

These gals are a bit dubious, as a previous new member really wasn’t a good fit at all.  All three women know Claire Terry’s quilting abilities, as she’s won many awards, but this grouping is made of friends not frenemies, and being an award-winning quilter isn’t a requirement. 

Upon arrival, it was odd the host wasn’t answering her door. 

The meeting was scheduled and therefore expected; Claire hadn’t cancelled.  Martha Rose looked in the window and saw someone laying on the floor. The resulting alarmed conversations brought forth the nearest neighbor to the rescue with a key, but no rescue attempts could help Claire Terry. This grouping discovers her dead body, lying unseeing on the floor with bloody hands. 

Fast forward to a quilt showing, knowing it would be her last, it was hard to see the dead woman’s quilt hanging with its award. However, what was even harder was to see her quilt and a few others stolen. A masked thief had caused many disturbances upon his escape, but a detective wants to know why these women seem to show up at crime scenes. Just when things couldn’t possibly get worse, Martha Rose was asked by the association to make the condolence call on the Terry family. 

Mrs. Siobhan Terry had a request.  It was one Martha couldn’t decline, although she doubted she’d be able to find anything.  Claire had once told her mother that these quilts denote her life stories.  Did they? 

Finding nothing stuffed inside the quilts begins a puzzle these three ladies are perfect to solve, but Martha Rose pays a price for playing the lead amateur detective, when death threats push up the suspense in this deadly game of hide and seek. 

My Take:

FORGET ME KNOT (A Quilting Mystery) by Mary Marks is a surefire hit in crafting cozies!     

These women are all in various stages and ages over fifty. Some of them have health problems, not so great marriages, or cheating ex-husbands, but they all they have close stitched friendships that brings each a support system.  Their love of quilting is their attachment, but their love of each other is their true bond.  Murder is a motive for growing closer and solving a puzzle, but it’s also a motive for keeping each other close and watching out for safety.  Maybe quilting is reason to kill, but it’s also a great way to gather clues.   

Meeting Martha, Lucy, and Birdie is a like being with a group of people you’d love to spend more time with. Their life isn’t yours or mine, but their situations could easily be any of ours. I chuckled, clamored, and clucked, but I rooted for a shot of romance along the way.

Mary Marks’ FORGET ME KNOT is a standalone title that will introduce you to the world of quilting, with both bad and good characters.  However, if you’ll be able to pardon my pun, you will find yourself on pins and needles until the next Quilting Mystery comes along!