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Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

51spno9f2klIt’s September, 1871. Tessa Taylor has braved the journey from Detroit to Eagle Harbor in northern Michigan to escape her past, but also to lay hold of the future as a schoolteacher for the children in this rough mining community.

However, Tessa is not welcomed by the people of Eagle Harbor. She learns quickly that the mine superintendent, Percival Updegraff, runs the town in every way, and he does not appreciate a female teacher, nor someone who stands up to him. Apparently, he will stop at nothing to control her as he does every other person and aspect of life in this harsh town. Except the Bjorklund brothers.

Tessa is impressed with Alex and Michael Bjorklund and their independence from Updegraff, until she learns that they run the lighthouse. Memories of her family’s involvement with another lighthouse and the resulting loss and heartache, have made her swear never to set foot in one again.

The more Tessa learns about the sinister life of Eagle Harbor, the more determined she is to stay and change things for the better. But how will she manage to avoid her worst fears when people come to count on her? And how will she choose between two men who both desperately need her?

Author Jody Hedlund has crafted a fine novel in Undaunted Hope. It is a story of determination, faith and unexpected love. The characters are realistic and flawed, which makes them believable. I love the variety of secondary characters that inhabit Eagle Harbor. The plot is layered with tension, conflict and romance, as well as the hope that the title promises. The setting aptly describes mining life and the running of a lighthouse, and the author paces the story with mishaps and lighthearted humor in the midst of impending disaster. An altogether pleasing read.

Check out Jody’s website for other award-winning titles.

 

 

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SeaRoseLaneSea Rose Lane, a Hope Harbor novel by Irene Hannon (from Revell)

Eric Nash has no intention of staying long in Hope Harbor. He just needs a break to regroup after being downsized from a job he thought would result in partner position at the law firm in Portland.

With nothing but time on his hands, Eric decides to visit his father in Hope Harbor.

However, Eric’s homecoming is a shock on several levels. He literally runs into another vehicle while using his cell phone, his unfortunately timed introduction to the beautiful but chilly BJ Stevens. Upon returning home, he finds out that his childhood home is being renovated into a B&B, something his father hasn’t bothered to tell him. And the contractor for the reno is none other than BJ.

BJ Stevens is also a big city transplant, for reasons she is loathe to share. She has no plans to become involved with another tall, dark and handsome man who will leave her with a broken heart.

But with BJ as contractor of his father’s renovation, Eric runs into her often. Neither of them can deny the magnetism between them, but how will they work it out when their goals are diametrically opposed?

Irene Hannon, author of fifty-plus romantic suspense and contemporary romance novels, writes a tight and captivating story about learning how to deal with the past and learning to trust others and God for the future.

I found the lead characters to be realistic and well-layered, and the secondary characters rich, funny, troubled, fascinating. The harbor setting worked its magic, the plot kept rolling between doubt and hope, and the theme of “my brother’s keeper” spoke loudly and movingly.

If you like clean, romantic fiction, the Hope Harbor novels are for you. Check out Irene Hannon’s other books on her website.

 

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51l0eOo6LjLThis was my first taste of Lisa Harris’ fiction, and I loved it. Vendetta is the first book in the Nikki Boyd Files, a series set in the wild woods of northeast Tennessee.

Nikki Boyd is a special agent with the Missing Person’s Task Force. The primary reason she joined the force is to reunite missing persons with their families, and to stop those who seek to abduct and kill innocent people. People like her younger sister, Sarah. Nikki has spent the past ten years trying to catch the man who took her sister and five other young women.

One year ago, Nikki’s best friend, Katie Grant, died in a boating accident. Nikki plans to spend the anniversary with Katie’s husband, Tyler, remembering and honoring Katie, but a call comes in that another teen has gone missing. Nikki asks Tyler to help in the investigation.

As urgency escalates, Nikki becomes suspicious that the perpetrator of this crime is connected with the man who took her sister Sarah ten years ago, and that very possibly, she is his real target. She puts herself in danger to catch him, but has no idea how close she is to becoming his next victim.

Author, Lisa Harris, displays great skill in bringing her readers into the story and keeping them hooked. Her book is exceptionally well-researched. Tension continually ramps up with each new twist to the plot. Characters are real in that although they aren’t perfect, they are personable and unique. We feel a great affinity for Nikki as she delves into the darkness of this crime. We wonder when she will realize her attraction to the man she works with. And we hope and pray for the girl who has gone missing.Lisa-Harris-304x400

This book is well crafted, a clean and professional read. I’d recommend Vendetta to anyone who enjoys romantic suspense. This volume includes an excerpt from the next book in the series: Missing, due out in the summer of 2016. The third book, Pursued, is set for April 2017 release.

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51+AdFU2LmL._SY346_This Romantic Suspense in the first in the Holly Anna Paladin Mystery series by Christy Barritt. I loved this book and look forward to more from this author and this series.

Holly Paladin has recently discovered she has a rare form of cancer, and has been given a year to live. Instead of dwelling on her disease, she decides to “commit random acts of kindness,” volunteer wherever and whenever she can, be a supportive friend and family member, and avoid the calls from her oncologist.

However, in usual Holly Anna style, she immediately gets herself into deep trouble. If the authorities find out where she’s been, she could be implicated with murder and obstruction of justice, to say nothing of ruining her brother’s chances for the senatorial race, and her sister’s upcoming wedding. With all this in mind, she certainly can’t tell them about her cancer.

Holly and her friend Jamie manage to hide their involvement, but when her high school nemesis shows up in town—as a police officer—the stakes go up. If only Chase Dexter weren’t so handsome…and  so nice.

Holly and Chase’s investigations lead them to suspicions including friends and associates, to street kids and even the other senatorial candidate.

I listened to this book on audio, although I also have the ebook, and I couldn’t put it down. Holly’s wild antics, her loveable if flawed reasoning, and her 1960s femininity, combine to give this book flair and fun.

Note: I’ve read a couple of Barritt’s Squeaky Clean Mysteries too, and loved them.

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51qTc22sdVLGreat romantic suspense from author Mary Ellis.

Five stars from me *****

Niki Price, who has recently been promoted to partner in her cousin Nate’s private investigation firm in New Orleans, gets a call from an old friend, Danny Andre. He’s in desperate trouble and begs her to help. She doesn’t take him seriously until it’s too late.

Nate and Niki go to Memphis to investigate the murder, with the help of Danny’s sister, Isabelle. Unpleasant experiences between Nate and Isabelle from high school, and her continued haughtiness, create extra tension. However, Niki and Isabelle get along fine.

Between them, they discover Danny was a sax player in clubs on Beale Street, but that’s about all they can find out. Gradually, the truth begins to come up, revealing Danny as a good Samaritan who would help anyone in need. So why would someone kill him? What really happened on Beale Street the night Danny died?

When Niki oversteps her boundaries with the Memphis police, Nate asks her to stay out of the investigation. While putting in time at the hotel where her rich fiancé has them staying, she unearths another mystery, one from many years ago. Add to that a man who is stalking Isabelle and the tension ratchets up considerably.

Although the book deals with serious subjects, the mood is light, mostly due to Niki’s wacky sense of humor, and the surprising and sometimes unethical situations she finds herself in.

I really enjoyed this book. The humor is an effective offset to the murder and the street life. There are a lot of relationships between opposites. Niki comes from a normal home while her fiancé is wealthy. Niki, young and pretty, loves seniors and takes time to listen to them and care for them. Isabelle covers her fears and insecurities with haughtiness, but Niki finds her heart and helps her through her struggles.

I didn’t realize until I was halfway through this book that it is a sequel. The first book in the Secrets of the South Mysteries is called Midnight on the Mississippi, and I plan to read it as soon as I can. The fact that I didn’t know this was the second book shows the author did a good job seguing into the sequel.

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51uvZAWyVxLThe Red Door Inn is the first book in the Prince Edward Island Dreams series, so we can look forward to more experiences with this fine set of characters. This first book is endorsed by Max Lucado, Colleen Coble and Becky Wade, so I was expecting a well-written tale, and I was not disappointed.

Marie Carrington is troubled and alone, running from a traumatic experience that has left her unable to trust anyone. She meets Jack Sloane on the ferry to Prince Edward Island and he offers her a temporary place to stay. Jack is an older man who is determined to carry out his dear late wife’s wishes to transform the place he’s bought into a B&B.

Jack’s nephew, Seth Sloane, also lives at the B&B. Trying to get back on his feet after his fiancé conned him out of his construction business and everything he owned, Seth is severely suspicious that Marie is up to stealing everything from his too-trusting uncle.

Even though Marie and Seth feel strong attraction to each other, their past experiences won’t allow them to trust.

Several other of the village’s unique inhabitants play parts in this captivating story of the healing power of Christ’s love and His plan for His children.

My favorite character is Jack, who trusts people and believes the best in them, even putting himself and his inn at risk to help them. Marie’s gifted interior design abilities piqued my interest, and also brought the setting into greater focus.

I found both the cover and the title intriguing, as well as the setting. As a Canadian, I’m happy to see a series set in my country. I’ve visited PEI, and it’s a completely different pace of life than the mainland. The author has done an excellent job of portraying that.

Johnson’s writing is tight and clean, the characters are realistic—I especially love the quirks that differentiate them from one another—and I learned to love them as I read. The author uses tension well, from hidden secrets to romance, from financial struggles and time constraints to trust issues.

I love it when the first chapter of the next book in the series is featured at the end of the story. Looks like the next part of the series will focus on one of the secondary characters from the first book: chef Caden. I look forward to more time spent at The Red Door Inn.

This book is published by Revell and I would classify it as a Christian Romance. A worthwhile read. For more information on Liz Johnson and her writing, visit her website.

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51Y8gZvg0mL._SY346_This first book in the Serena Jones Mystery series begins with the words: “I should have listened to my mother.” The story ends with the same words, but don’t jump ahead.

Serena Jones, twenty-eight and single, has joined the FBI as an art crime detective. She loves the work, although it often puts her in danger. One of her quirks is that she’s terrified of elevators, which can be dicey when she’s escaping down multiple flights of stairs in high heels.

Serena has a curious relationship with her boss, Tanner Calhoun, who is about ten years her senior. She tries to follow his directives, but often her own ideas take precedence, resulting in frustration between them, coupled with a certain level of mutual attraction.

Nate Butler, the superintendent of Serena’s apartment building, is more her age and also very good looking. He can be depended upon to rescue her in times of trouble.

A Fool & His Monet carries a creative plot with a good supply of red herrings and possible suspects. The story it a fast-paced whodunit with many twists and turns and double-backs.

Author Sandra Orchard has produced a tightly written, clean and professional book that is superbly researched. It sparks with tension, a strong plotline, an intriguing romantic triangle, realistic characters, credible settings and good action.

The mood is light, fed by wacky humor that will be sure to tickle the reader. On page 13, Serena refers to the bullet-riddled desk as “newly aerated.” She tends to compare people to movie stars. She admits that no matter how quirky her family is, she craves their approval. And she lives among nosy neighbors.

The first chapter of Orchard’s next book appears at the end of this one, which is enticing because although the necessary storylines have been tied up for the first book, there are still some threads left to be resolved over the course of the series.

A Fool & His Monet has been endorsed by a list of excellent authors such as Susan May Warren, Lorena McCourtney, Patricia Bradley and Christy Barritt. It’s published by Revell, categorized as mystery fiction, Christian fiction, detective fiction.

I encourage you to come along for the ride. It’s a blast.

press-kit-headshotSandra Orchard is a multi-award-winning author of mysteries and romantic suspense  She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America and The Word Guild (Canada). A mother of three grown children, she lives in Niagara, Canada with her real-life-hero husband and writes full time…when not doting on her young grandchildren.  Learn more about Sandra’s books and bonus features at www.SandraOrchard.comor connect at www.Facebook.com/SandraOrchard

Sandra is represented by Steve Laube of the Steve Laube Agency.

 

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