Saturday, 10 June 2017

Murder is No Accident by A H Gabhart

One body may be an accident. A second body means murder.
The old Chandler place should be empty. The magnificent Victorian mansion is for sale, even if its aged owner Miss Fonda doesn't realize it. But when real estate agent Geraldine Harper enters the house on a sunny October day, she's not alone. Minutes later, there is a body at the bottom of the steep steps leading to the tower room.

Deputy sheriff Michael Keane is called in. At first blush, it looks like the death was a tragic accident, but clues point to foul play. And when a second body is discovered, the race is on to find the culprit . . . before someone else dies.

If you like your small-town America sweet and quirky--with a dash of sinister--you'll love this latest whodunit from deft storyteller A. H. Gabhart.

Review: Hidden Springs reminds me of my hometown - a community so tight that you can't even skip a class in high-school without getting "caught" at least a half-dozen times before you reached the end of the road, and guaranteed your mother would know about it before you even got home. Hidden Springs is a town where everyone knows everyone and investigating murders can get challenging when everyone is someone's brother, sister, or great aunt. Filled with delightful small town quirkiness, this newest installment in "A Hidden Springs Mystery" series is sure to delight its readers. 

Deputy sheriff Michael Keane is called in to yet another Hidden Spring's death. Fortunately, this one appears to be a tragic but innocent mistake. At least, that is what he'd like to think... but then a second body shows up and he is no longer content to close the book on the case. With romance on the brain, Michael fights to keep safe the two things he values most in his life: his lifelong friend Alexandria and his precious town of Hidden Springs. In the end though, is he going to have to choose one over the other?

This is yet another delightful addition to a fun, lighthearted series filled with memorable characters. I would certainly recommend all the books in this series.

Thank-you to Graf Martin Communications and to Baker Publishing House for a complimentary copy of this book. 

Threads of Suspicion by Dee Henderson

Will her latest cold case unravel before justice is served?
Evie Blackwell's reputation as a top investigator for the Illinois State Police has landed her an appointment to the governor's Missing Persons Task Force. With so much public fanfare surrounding the launch of this elite investigative team, the political stakes are high, and the team will have to produce results--and quickly.

Evie and her new partner, David Marshal, are assigned to a pair of unrelated cases in suburban Chicago, and while both involve persons now missing for several years, the cases couldn't be more different. As Evie opens old wounds in a close-knit neighborhood over the disappearance of a college student, David searches for a private investigator whose last case involved a high-powered client.

With a deep conviction that "justice for all" truly matters, Evie and David are unrelenting in their search for the truth. But the questions that lie just beneath the surface in Evie's personal life are also begging for answers.

Review: What a subtle masterpiece! Only Dee Henderson can take hundreds of pages to slowly and cleverly build the tension without giving you a moment's boredom. You will find yourself on the edge of your seat with this title and wondering how you got there. 

There is something unique about Dee Henderson's newest series, "An Evie Blackwell Cold Case". I was chatting with a friend about this book and I think we figured out what it is. Most crime stories are full of non-stop action and/or gory and disturbing content from the perpetrator. This series on cold cases starts off a lot slower (but terribly interesting!) and gets into the nitty gritty of the thought process, the countless false trails, and the mountain of work that detectives must grind through to find the answers. My friend and I both agreed this series is not only riveting, but a breath of fresh air. 

I am also a huge fan of the natural progression of the romantic relationships with all of Dee Henderson's characters. There are no unlikely and completely mismatched people falling dramatically and illogically in love. There are no whirlwind (and stupid) courtships that take a month from meeting to alter. The relationships in this series are smart, prayerful, and careful. They make a good model for what an actual courtship should look like, and are an excellent portrayal of what a healthy relationship should be. Well done, Dee Henderson! The world needs more word pictures like this. 

I really enjoyed "Threads of Suspicion" and am eagerly awaiting the next installment to the Evie Blackwell Cold Case series!

Thank-you to Graf Martin Communications and to Baker Publishing House for a complimentary copy of this wonderful book. 

Thursday, 1 June 2017

An exciting story writing contest!

This is just a quick post to let those want-to-be-published-authors out there know about a fun and rewarding writing contest that is being offered by Anne Elisabeth Stengl. It's cheap to enter and has the added perk that EVERY story submitted is provided with feedback from the panel of judges. The winning stories receive a one-time monetary prize, a free copy of the book, and the joy of seeing their work published.

This year's topic is: Snow White! A fun story to re-tell :)

You can see the contest rules here:

Friday, 12 May 2017

Recruits by Thomas Locke

It's a world they've seen only in their dreams--until now.

Twins Sean and Dillon Kirrel have dreamed about a world beyond their own since they were children, but it has always been a fantasy. Not long before their eighteenth birthday, however, the arrival of a mysterious new neighbor and the revelations he shares bring that far-off world within reach. 

When Sean and Dillon learn they share a unique gift--the ability to transfer instantly between worlds--they are offered an opportunity to prove themselves as recruits to the planetary Assembly. But unlocking their abilities awakens an enemy beyond anything they ever imagined, thrusting them into an interplanetary conflict that could consume the entire human race.

Review:  Recruits is a fast paced, action packed blend of Avatar and Star Trek with a whole lot of unique spins, clever ideas, new worlds, romance, and teenage super powers. 

It is pretty hard not to enjoy a book like this one. It has everything. 

Action? This book is fast paced from start to finish and simply leaves you wanting more. Romance? Absolutely. Creativity? You bet. The potential for these books is limitless with hundreds of worlds left to explore. Magical powers? Of course! This was probably my favorite part of this story. I loved following along as Sean and Dillon figured out their abilities, pushed the borders of their skills, and kicked butt with their mad new talents. Good story line? Yes. Very clever. 

So in short, I really enjoyed this book and would certainly recommend it as a young adult sci fi read (Not saying an adult wouldn't like it, I think they very much would).

Thank-you to Graf Martin Communications and to Baker Publishing House for a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Sunday, 7 May 2017

To The Farthest Shores by Elizabeth Camden

The unpredictability of her upbringing prepared army nurse Jenny Bennett to face any challenge at the Presidio Army base, but the sudden reappearance in her life of the dashing naval officer who broke her heart six years ago is enough to rattle even her. 

Lieutenant Ryan Gallagher is one of the few men in the world qualified to carry out a daring government mission overseas--an assignment that destroyed his reputation and broke the heart of the only woman he ever loved. Honor-bound never to reveal where he was during those years, he can't tell Jenny the truth, or it will endanger an ongoing mission and put thousands of lives at risk. 

Ryan thinks he may have finally found a solution to his impossible situation, but he needs Jenny's help. While her loyalty to her country compels her to agree, she was too badly hurt to fall for Ryan again despite his determination to win her back. When an unknown threat from Ryan's past puts everything at risk--including his life--can they overcome the seemingly insurmountable odds stacked against them in time?

Review: I give this book a ten out of ten. Gold star! Two thumbs up! Well, you get the picture... I loved it! 

First, it was so believable. The way Elizabeth Camden wrote the character of Jenny is breathtaking. She is so real I half expected her to leap off the page and come to life. As a budding writer myself, this book bears re-reading as a study on how to write dynamic and complex characters. Jenny lives and breathes within these pages. Her reactions to situations are so believable - you can tell Ms Camden didn't just write in flaws for the sake of making her character flawed. She created a character whose very essence from the core IS flawed...if that makes any sense. Also, unlike most romances, Jenny doesn't just throw her good sense into the wind and fall head over heals for her fallen hero, she reacts the way any sane and confident woman would - she tells him to take a hike. She keeps her wits and her brains about her. She's in love but not stupid. Basically, this romance didn't feel pushed at all. Often times it feels like authors force their characters to love each other despite conflicts and mistakes. Ms. Camden doesn't do that. The relationship between Jenny and Ryan is so natural - I'm basking in the glory of this book right now. SO WELL DONE!

Second, I really really liked how historical events were incorporated into this story. I have to be careful here not to give out spoilers so I won't get into it, but needless to say the historical aspects of this story are so interesting and really add to this story.

Third, I loved the espionage woven through this tale and the multiple layers of intrigue. This book is an amazing story of two people's emotional journey back to each other, but it is also a very interesting spy book set in a rather tense period of American-Japanese history.

I give this book full marks. Absolutely excellent!

Thank-you to Graf Martin Communications and Baker Publishing House for the complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Justice Delayed by Patricia Bradley

In one week, the wrong man will be executed for murder.
Let the chase for the real killer begin.

Eighteen years ago, TV crime reporter Andi Hollister's sister was murdered. The convicted killer sits behind bars, his execution date looming. But when a letter surfaces stating that the condemned didn't do the crime, Detective Will Kincaide of the Memphis Cold Case Unit will stop at nothing to help Andi get to the bottom of it. After all, this case is personal: the man who confessed to the crime is Will's cousin. Andi and Will must find the real killer before the wrong person is executed. But what can happen in only a week? Uncovering police corruption, running for your life, and, perhaps, falling in love?

With the perfect mixture of intrigue and nail-biting suspense, award-winning author Patricia Bradley invites you to crack the case--if you can--alongside the best Memphis has to offer.

Review: This was a good read and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a clean, non-graphic, entertaining murder mystery. After reading several incredibly graphic crime novels (from Christian publishing houses) recently it was really nice to read something that didn't make my stomach turn or give me nightmares. This is proof you can have a good mystery without resorting to awful graphic detail. Well done, Patricia Bradley! More Christian authors needs to take note of what you've accomplished here.

As to why else I liked it, I really enjoyed how the plot of this book was laid out! It was done a little differently, in that the forward of the book pretty much explains why Andi Hollister's sister was murdered and gives some large hints as to who did it. As the author jumps into present time and follows Andi as she tries to figure out the crime the reader is a step ahead. I haven't read a book written in this style for a while, and it was fun cheering on Andi and her friends as they wandered closer and closer to the truth. Patricia Bradley also did an impressive job on maintaining the suspense even though the reader does have the upper hand with the knowledge she shares in the beginning. It didn't get dull at all. 

Another interesting part of this book that really got to me was Andi Hollister's narcotic habit. I don't want to get into it too much, but what starts out as an innocent prescription for a little of back pain slowly turns into a monster. What starts out as one pill on occasion, when her back is really hurting her, suddenly become ten then twelve pills a day as the stress of finding her sister's true murderer builds. Almost by accident, Andi finds herself in the sort of trouble she never would have dreamed would befall her. This fall into addiction was wonderfully and insightfully written. Again, well done Patricia Bradley.

The romance in this novel is tentative and sweet, but certainly not the main focus of the story - more like a nice side dish. 

A well done novel and one that I would definitely recommend. 

Thank-you to Graf Martin Communications and Baker Publishing House for a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Monday, 24 April 2017

For the Record by Regina Jennings

Rather Than Wait for a Hero, She Decided to Create One 

Betsy Huckabee has big-city dreams, but nobody outside of tiny Pine Gap, Missouri, seems interested in the articles she writes for her uncle's newspaper. Her hopes for independence may be crushed, until the best idea she's ever had comes riding into town. 

Deputy Joel Puckett didn't want to leave Texas, but unfair circumstances have made moving to Pine Gap his only shot at keeping a badge. Worse, this small town has big problems, and masked marauders have become too comfortable taking justice into their own hands. He needs to make clear that he's the law in this town--and that job is made more difficult with a nosy reporter who seems to follow him everywhere he goes. 

The hero Betsy creates to be the star in a serial for the ladies' pages is based on the dashing deputy, but he's definitely fictional. And since the pieces run only in newspapers far away, no one will ever know. But the more time she spends with Deputy Puckett, the more she appreciates the real hero--and the more she realizes what her ambition could cost him. 
Review: Oh dear! Betsy Huckabee thought she had the perfect plot to finally move out of her uncle and aunt's home and into her own place. It should have worked. Really it should have. The new Deputy in town simply had to be dramatically heroic - enough to make the ladies swoon - and she'd have the perfect stories to send into the lady's fictional section of the newspaper in order to make a few dollars.

The problem is... he really is heroic (when he isn't being a complete annoyance) and he's also incredibly handsome (Too handsome). The big city newspaper also makes a rather big mistake and publishes her fictional stories in the true news section.... the results of which are NOT pretty.

Between masked vigilantes, stubborn ponies, crazy mountain men, and vivid imaginations... this story is a fun read.

This is a classic romantic comedy: light hearted, fun, enough mystery to keep you turning the pages, and corny but in a really sweet way.

There are a few romantic sections that might not be appropriate for a younger audience - nothing scandalous, by any means - but I wouldn't give this book to someone under 15.

Thank-you to Graf Martin Communications and Baker Publishing Group for a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.