Sunday, 3 December 2017

An Inconvenient Beauty

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/an-inconvenient-beauty/376620


Back Cover

Griffith, Duke of Riverton, likes order, logic, and control, so he naturally applies this rational approach to his search for a bride.  While he's certain Miss Frederica St. Claire is the perfect wife for him, she is strangely elusive, and he can't seem to stop running into her stunningly beautiful cousin, Miss Isabella Breckenridge.

Isabella should be enjoying her society debut, but with her family in difficult circumstances, she has no choice but to agree to a bargain that puts her at odds with all her romantic hopes - as well as her conscience.  And the more she comes to know Griffith, the more she regrets the unpleasant obligation that prevents her from any dream of a future with him.

As all Griffith's and Isabella's long-held expectations are shaken to the core, can they set aside their pride and fear long enough to claim a happily-ever-after?

Review

I have been eagerly anticipating An Inconvenient Beauty, which encapsulates the story of Griffith, the oldest sibling of the Hawthornes.  Well, to be honest, anticipating, and also dreading, as with this story, it spells the end of the Hawthorne House series, a series I have been thoroughly enjoying from the first novel, A Noble Masquerade.

Kristi Ann Hunter has brilliantly written another unforgettable historical treat.  Griffith's character was everything I was hoping him to be: the tall, strong, silent type who measures his words and actions to the utmost detail.  It is because of his more stoic, commanding personality that he requires a bit more fun in his orderly life...enter Isabella who has a knack for causing Griffith to laugh and appreciate the small things around him.  And while their personalities may be different, there is a trait that they share in common: a strong sense of duty towards their family's well-being.  While admirable, it is also the one thing that threatens to keep them apart...

With many appearances from the series' past beloved characters, An Inconvenient Beauty was a joy to read.  The interactions were at times highly amusing, and the story did not disappoint.  I'm sad to say goodbye to the Hawthorne House series, but know it is one that I will revisit many times.  In the interim, I will be eagerly awaiting Kristi's next masterpiece!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

The Assault

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/the-assault/385740


Back Cover

In Invitation, four beloved and bestselling suspense authors introduced supernaturally gifted characters on a race to stem the tide of growing evil.  Now Bill Myers, Frank Peretti, Angela Hunt, and Alton Gansky return with the next cycle of fast-paced and riveting tales.

In Bill Myers's "The Revealing", the team finds themselves in Rome trying to retrieve the mystical spear HItler once stole.  The task will take them from hidden chambers inside the Vatican to a mysterious seaside cave with unexpected and dangerous powers.

Frank Peretti's "Infestation" tells of a microscopic plauge unleased on the world that deceives, blinds, kills, then spreads and kills again.  The Harbringers team must confront this faceless evil bent on seducing and destroying humankind.

In "Infiltration" by Angela Hunt, a seaside respite intended to buy time for the wounded team turns deadly when misplaced trust leads the Harbingers into dangerous waters.

Alton Gansky's "The Fog" reveals a supernatural mist unlike any other, filled with vicious monsters that kill whatever they find.  When one team member realizes the only way to stop the fog is to enter it, the ultimate sacrifice must be made.

Review

Draw the curtains and hide under the blanket covers with a baseball bat and a flashlight - the Harbringers are back!  And with it, another set of four dark, twisted, and suspenseful stories that will make your skin tingle and your hair to stand up on end.  

I can't add anything to the back cover's synopsis of each story, but wanted to touch on the authors' writing itself.  With this many authors involved in one piece of work (albeit, they still write four separate stories), I was initially worried that the stories would be stilted and choppy as the authors write each other' character(s).  I'm happy to say that while the authors each have their own unique voice, they do a superb job of staying true to each character's personality, making the flow from story to story seamless.

Each story was creepy and tense (and very good!), my "favourite" this time around was Alton Gansky's "The Fog".  He plays on what has got to be one of the scariest types of nightmares whereby a thick rolling fog is full of man-eating monsters out for blood.  It was a story that had my toes curling and flipping the pages as fast as I could to find out what happens next! 

This series reminds me of dark chocolate - dark and intense, yet incredibly addicting and oh, so good.  The next book can't come soon enough! 

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Threads of Suspicion

http://www.bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/threads-of-suspicion/386250


Back Cover

Eve 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 neighbourhood 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

Dee Henderson has crafted another top-notch mystery in this sequel to Traces of Guilt.  Evie is now on her second case involving the Missing Persons Task Force and it is an equally as twisting and mind-boggling as her first.  While I've always had a strong appreciation towards those in the criminal justice system, The "Evie Blackwell Cold Case" series has given  me an even higher esteem for the detectives who work long, exhausting hours in their search for truth and justice.  And sometimes, despite the countless hours and research, a case is never solved - leading to disappointment and heartache not only for affected family members and friends, but understandably, also for the law enforcement who worked the cases.  It's sad we live in a world whereby law enforcement is needed, but I'm so grateful to those who take that career path in efforts to make the world a better place.  

In all of Dee Henderson's crime novels, she approaches the subject matter with tact and respect.  Her main characters - (the good guys) - are always these amazing men and women that are rather awe-inspiring.  I've really enjoyed Evie's character so far - she's strong, intuitive, yet has a hint of vulnerability that makes her feel more relatable!  (haha)  In Threads of Suspicion, there were hints at some secrets in Evie's past that I'm hoping will be delved into more deeply in the next story.  The introduction of David Marshal made for a wonderful counterpart to Evie's character and his backstory brought even more depth to the novel.

As a side note: one of Dee's trademark styles a lot of dialogue to develop the characters and plot.  It makes for a slower read, yet still highly engaging at the same time.  This isn't a fast-paced novel with multiple points of conflict, but the type that simmers along building tension until it hits the major explosive climax.  All in all, Threads of Suspicion was a great read that has my fingers already itching to hold the next instalment!


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Heart on the Line

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/heart-on-the-line/352750

Back Cover

When danger arrives, it's more than just her heart on the line...

Grace Mallory is tired of hiding.  She hungers for a normal life, perhaps even a suitor like two of her friends in Harper's Station have found.  But when the man she believes responsible for her father's death discovers her whereabouts, survival takes priority.

Amos Bledsoe prefers bicycles to horses and private conversations over the telegraph wire to social gatherings with young ladies who see him as nothing more than an oddity.  His fellow telegrapher, the mysterious Miss G, has been the ideal companion.  For months, their friendship - dare he believe, courtship? - over the wire has fed his hope that he has finally found the woman God intends for him.  However, when he intercepts an ominous message and discovers her life is in peril, Amos must shed the cocoon of his quiet nature to become the hero Grace requires.

Review

Heart on the Line is a lighthearted read, with very tongue-in-cheek similarities to the modern world of online dating.  But in the case of Grace and Amos, the computer has been traded for a telegraph machine and emails for dots and dashes.  As I myself have been one of the many who have braved the scary realm of online dating, I found the inferences (whether intended or not) rather amusing in the "I totally understand" way - right down to the main worry of whether the person you come to know "online" is who they say they are in real life.  Their personality could be completely different in person - and are they really the age they say they are??

Online dating similarities aside, the characters of Grace and Amos were just wonderful.  Grace has pluck, determination, cleverness, and is a very classy lady.  Amos is incredibly endearing with his chivalry and protective nature towards Grace, preferring to use his wits rather than his fists in tense situations.  They were the perfect couple to navigate the dangerous scenarios that are encountered in the book. 

I greatly enjoyed returning to Karen's series, "Ladies of Harper's Station".  I wasn't even a chapter in when I paused my reading and came to the realization that it is novels like Heart on the Line that fostered my passion for reading wonderful fiction.  This novel had all the right elements with spot-on characters held together by some terrific writing.  I really, really cannot wait for the next instalment!!


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

One Dominion

https://www.grafmartin.com/one-dominion-bible-league-canada/



Back Cover

Canada is not a nation of one story alone, but of many stories, from ordinary people, and often ordinary people of faith, who helped form the foundations of our wonderful country.

This book takes time to pause and reflect on the stories of these ordinary men and women of God who contributed to the fabric of our nation.

Let us not just celebrate the blessings we enjoy today because of them, but learn from their example and, as we look to the future of our country, perhaps be inspired to action as well.

Review

With beautiful large photographs, One Dominion tells the story of Canada, and how our country was built on Biblical truths and morals.  It is evident from the beginning of our great nation that the founding fathers intended that Canada be a nation under God, governed by His precepts, for all citizens to follow.  In determining the name for Canada, the founding fathers decided upon "The Dominion of Canada" in reference to Psalm 72:8, "He (God) shall have dominion also from sea to sea and from the river unto the ends of the earth".  Even our Peace Tower, built in 1917 is etched with Scriptures pointing people to our Father in heaven for wisdom and guidance.

It was eye-opening the many different influences Christianity had in the formation of Canada.  From our laws, to education, work place rights, eradication of child labour, and healthcare, it was professing Christians who were instrumental in all the social reforms.  It is a very encouraging thing to read as there is always the hope and prayer that someday Canada will return to its Christian roots. 

One Dominion is a well-written history of Canada that is meant to be shared.  I will be passing around this book to many of my friends and family and re-reading it many, many times.

Book has been provided courtesy of Bible League Canada and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

A Name Unknown

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/a-name-unknown/383300

Back Cover

Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins who helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London.  Grown now, they are no longer pickpockets - instead they focus on high value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class coeity.  Rosemary is beginning to question whether she can continue in this life when she's offered the challenge of a lifetime - determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany.  After all, how does one steal a family's history, their very name?
As Europe moves ever closer to World War I, rumors swirl around Peter Holstein.  Awkward and solitary, but with access to the king, many fear his influence.  But Peter can't help his German last name and wants to prove his loyalty to the Crown - so he can go back to anonymously writing a series of popular adventure novels.  When Rosemary arrives on his doorstep pretending to be a well-credentialed historian, Peter believes she's the right person to help him dig through his family's past.

When danger and suspicion continue to mount, both realize they're in a race against time to discover the truth - about Peter's past and about the undeniable attraction kindling between them.

Review

Set in 1914 with the world on the brink of war, A Name Unknown follows recluse, Peter Holstein, and thief for hire, Rosemary Gresham.  Peter is a quiet man who simply wants to continue writing his adventure stories in peace.  I found it highly amusing how Peter would get so caught up in his characters and the story he was writing that he would blank out in the middle of conversation as a new idea would come to mind - particularly because it was something I could easily relate to!  Rosemary is definitely the more exuberant personality, full of grit and determination and finds herself caught between loyalty to her family, employer, and a newfound friendship with Peter.  Their differing personalities caused many moments of frustration between the two, but also provided for some entertaining interactions to read that were full of wit and teasing humour!  

The World War(s) have provided many a backdrop to historical novels.  I recently just read another novel, High as the Heavens, that was also set during the tumultuous times of World War I.  Yet even with the high number of novels set in and around WWI, Roseanna White was able to shed light on another angle to British war efforts during WWI that I had never even heard of before. I won't say exactly what angle it is (you have to read the book to find out!), but after finishing the story, be sure to read the "Note from the Author" located at the back of the book for further fascinating historical background on this particular effort. 

A Name Unknown is a wonderfully story whereby the author has expertly woven in some favourite genres -  history, romance, intrigue - into a tale of faith, redemption, and courage.  It is first in a new series (yay!) "Shadows over England", and I will be eagerly awaiting the next novel!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

An Uncommon Courtship

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/an-uncommon-courtship/376610

Back Cover

Lord Trent Hawthorne couldn't be happier he is not the duke in the family.  Free to manage his small estate and take his time discovering the life he wants to lead, he has grand plans of someday wooing and falling in love with the woman of his choice.  When he finds himself honor bound to marry a woman he barely knows, his dream of a loving marriage like his parents' seems lost forever.
Life for Lady Adelaide Bell was easier when she hid in her older sister's shadow - which worked until her sister got married.  But even with her socially ambitious mother's focus entirely on her, the last thing she expected was a marriage of convenience before she's been introduced to society.

With nothing going as expected, can Trent and Adelaide's marriage of obligation survive their own missteps and the pressures of London society to grow into a true meeting of hearts and minds?

Review

In An Uncommon Courtship Kristin Hunter tells the story of Lord Trent Hawthorne, the younger brother in the Hawthorne family.  Trent is an affable, easy-going athletic fellow who loves his family, and is happy to have two new brother-in-laws.  His life is thrown into a tailspin when he is forced to marry Lady Adelaide Bell in order to preserve her honour.  What follows is his rather bumbling but heartfelt journey to win her heart.  He has the best of intentions, but sometimes the execution doesn't come out exactly as planned!  

NOTE:  This is a Christian romance, and it is evident throughout the story.  However, I felt that there was some romantic content that went a little "too far", which was disappointing as it was such a good story otherwise.  While nothing is too graphic, there was a certain aspect of the story that I found unwarranted, and certainly wouldn't be suitable for younger audiences.  Reader discretion is advised!

Aside from the above, this was a sweet, well-written novel.  I really, really, really can't wait for the next instalment - Griffith's story.  I have a feeling that one will be the best yet...

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.


The Mark of the King

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/the-mark-of-the-king/382560

Back Cover

After the death of her client, midwife Julianne Chevalier is imprisoned and branded, marking her as a criminal beyond redemption.  Hoping to reunite with her brother, a soldier, she trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling French colony of Louisiana.  The price of her transport, however, is a forced marriage to a fellow convict.

New Orleans is nothing like Julianne expects.  The settlement is steeped in mud and mosquitoes, and there is no news of her brother, Benjamin.  When tragedy strikes, she turns to military officer Marc-Paul Girard for help, but does he know more about her brother than he will admit?

With her dreams shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous land, where only grace - and love - can overcome the stigma of the king's mark on her shoulder.

Review

My goodness, was this one an incredible tale!  The Mark of the King brings readers back in time to early 1700s where North America was very slowly being colonized by various European countries.  One of the ways of colonization that was used, was (force) marrying men and women prisoners (!!!), shipping them off to the New World, and plunking them into a small, starving village to make a life for themselves all the while trying to stay safe from warring Native tribes.  Sounds rather dream-worthy, eh?  In reading this story, I couldn't help but shake my head in disbelief that this was all TRUE and had actually happened!  

In addition to the eye-opening history lesson, The Mark of the King had a fascinating plot that had me turning the pages as fast as I could.  The author surprised me with her various twists and turns and kept me thoroughly intrigued with Julianne's story.  It was an amazing historical piece of fiction and I will definitely be checking out other books by the author!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

On Love's Gentle Shore

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/on-love-s-gentle-shore/355150

Back Cover

Natalie O'Ryan had no plans to return to Prince Edward Island.  But when her fiance books their wedding in her hometown and schedules a summer at Rose's Red Door Inn, she sets out to plan the perfect wedding.  Yet she can't possibly plan for a run-in with Justin Kane - the best friend she left behind all thos eyears ago after promising to stay.

Justin has never forgotten Natalie.  He'd been prepared to follow her off the island until tragedy struck, leaving him to run the family dairy farm.  He's done the best he can with the life that was thrust upon him - but with Natalie back in the picture, he begins to realize just how much joy he's been missing.

After Natalie's reception venue falls through, she must scramble to find an alternative, and the only option seems to be a barn on Justin's property.  As they work together to get the dilapidated building ready for the party, Natalie and Justin may discover that there is more between them than broken promises and an old friendship.

Review

Sigh.  Stories generate many different emotions in a reader, including great shouts of excitement, groans of disappointment, outright laughter, tears of sadness, or that "sigh" of complete satisfaction.  On Love's Gentle Shore elicited the warm, fuzzy feelings and sweet sigh of "wow, that was so good!"  It held themes of grace, mercy, unending love, reconciliation, and forgiveness (it packs a wallop!)  Stories of reconciliation impact me more and more these days as I find it one of the most poignant signs of Christ working in a person to love without restrictions and forgive without conditions - just as God loves us.  

On Love's Gentle Shore was simply a beautifully written story that will go on my favourites shelf.  

NOTE: It is third in the series, "Prince Edward Island Dreams".  I have not read the first two novels, but will definitely do so now!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

High as the Heavens

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/high-as-the-heavens/379460

Back Cover

A British nurse in WWI German-occupied Brussels, Evelyn Marche spends her days at the hospital and her nights working at a cafe...or so it seems.  Eve's most carefully guarded secret is that she also spends her nights carrying out dangerous missions as a spy for a Belgian resistance group.

When a plan crashes as she's en route to a rendezvous, Eve is the first to reach the downed plane and is shocked to recognize the badly injured pilot as British RFC Captain Simon Forrester.  She risks her life to conceal him from the Germans, but as the secrets between them grow and the danger mounts, can they still hope to make it out of Belgium alive?

Review

As High as the Heavens reads as the title implies: a sweeping drama that pulls on the heartstrings, infused with hope and love.  Set in war-torn Brussels, Evelyn Marche, a competent and brave nurse, is doing everything she can to provide for her family and assist the resistance at the same time.  But of course, being a spy is incredibly dangerous, and she opens herself up to more and more risks.  One such risk comes in the form of pilot, Simon Forrester.  However, just as it was never a option not to assist with the war efforts, Evelyn doesn't think twice to shelter Simon from the Germans.  From the moment she makes that decision, it becomes increasingly harder for her to hide her double life from the Germans and those she loves.  With this steady undercurrent of drama and danger, As High as the Heavens takes the reader on a ride filled with highs and lows, joy and sorrow, danger and peace, faith and despair - all to culminate into a journey one will still remember even long after the last page is read.


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Monday, 28 August 2017

The Captain's Daughter

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/the-captain-s-daughter/383320



Back Cover

When a series of circumstances beyond her control leaves Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater putting on the most popular show in the city.  A talented musician and singer, she feels immediately at home and soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage.  That is, as long as the shadows from her past don’t catch up with her.

After a hand injury forces Nate Moran from his army regiment in India, he returns home to London, a place that holds bitter memories.  He agrees to fill in temporarily as a stagehand while his brother recuperates from a broken leg, but Nate is counting down the days until he can rejoin his regiment.  His future is decided – until he meets a beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate years to leave behind.

Review

The historical novels that have been recently released from Bethany House have been fantastic so far!  The Captain’s Daughter is a wonderfully written story set in London in 1879 where family and jobs meant everything.  Without a respectable job, it was so easy to fall into poverty and hardship, and therefore being easily susceptible to persons with devious intentions.  Similarly to With You Always, after reading The Captain’s Daughter, it provided me with a newfound thankfulness for the blessings in my life…and more than one nudge to “pay it forward”.

One thing that also struck out to me in the novel was the wonderful cast of characters!  The friends that Rosalyn makes at the theater were all unique, eccentric, and highly entertaining.  Nate’s family was so warm and friendly, that you wished you could bring them to life.  I thoroughly enjoyed the engaging characters and hope many of them make appearances throughout the series.

The story had adventure, romance, intrigue, and a strong dose of drama.  It was a great well-rounded novel and I can’t wait for the next instalment!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

With You Always

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/with-you-always/379430


Back Cover

One of the many immigrants struggling to survive in 1850s New York, Elise Neumann knows she must take action to care for her younger sisters.  She finds a glimmer of hope when the New York Children's Air Society starts sending skilled workers to burgeoning towns out west.  But the promise of the society's orphan trains is not all that it seems.
Born into elite New York society, Thornton Quincy possesses everything except the ability to step out from his bother's shadow.  When their ailing father puts forth a unique challenge to determine who will inherit his railroad-building empire, Thornton finally sees his chance.  The conditions to win?  Be the first to build a sustainable community along the Illinois Central Railroad and find a suitable wife.

Thrown together against all odds, Elise and Thornton couldn't be from more different worlds.  The spark that ignites between them is undeniable, but how can they let it grow when that means forfeiting everything they've been working toward?

Review

With You Always is a heartrending story surrounding the extreme poverty and horrible conditions that beset many people in America in the mid-late 1800s.  It is tragic that some families worried about the very things we take for granted: clothing, shelter, food, personal safety, work, and family.  It was a time where parents were forced to make such difficult decisions as giving up their own children to asylums just so they wouldn't have to worry about whether their children would be fed and clothed.  Some children were outright orphaned and took the long train ride out West in hopes of being adopted by a loving family.  Some families provided wonderful homes for the orphans.  Others viewed the children as a form of free slave labor on their farms.

For men and women alike, the downward spiraling economy was not their friend.  Driven by power and money-hungry businessman whose only concern was their bottom line, the working class sunk deeper into poverty.  Settlements out in the West provided some hope of new jobs, and it is on this thread of hope that men would board the trains to a new town, and hopefully, a promising future.  With You Always rides on the hopes of orphans desiring a better future and the wealthy businessmen looking to make their next million.  

The author, Jody Hedlund, has weaved a rich historical tale during this time that engages the reader from the first page.  I was drawn into Elise's story and appreciated the deep love she held for her sisters, and her determination to look after them.  The love story between her and Thornton is sweet and tender and was a real bright spot in the novel.  I look forward to reading the sequel!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Justice Delayed

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/justice-delayed/376420


Back Cover

 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?

Review

Justice Delayed is a classic "who-done-it" story with multiple rabbit trails, many different suspects,  and a hero/heroine who won't rest until justice is served.  

Driven to find the truth, Andi Hollister is a tenacious investigative reporter who doesn't let threats or trouble stop her from getting her story.  Her actions at times bring others around her into dangerous situations, so much more so when she starts digging into her sister's murder.  Detective Will Kincaide, who is equally determined (but perhaps more level-headed), reluctantly teams up with the fireball Andi to search for the truth together.  He is just as invested in clearing is cousin's name, but as his attraction for Andi grows, he is hesitant to put Andi in danger, often pitting the two at odds with each other.

Trouble falls quickly on the heels of each new revelation as Andi and Will pull back the layers of the past to get to the bottom of the mystery once and for all.  As sparks of romance begin to fly between the two main characters, Andi and Will have to decide whether a relationship between them is something worth pursuing - at the risk of potentially damaging their long-standing friendship should the relationship fail.  Another angle is introduced to the story as one of the characters in the book struggles with an addiction to narcotics.  The story of addiction for the character was an eye-opener in showing how someone can so easily, so simply, come to rely too heavily upon pain medication.  Of course, the results of the addiction can be devastating, and it serves as a reminder that we can never be too careful in using heavy painkillers.

Justice Delayed was an intriguing story that I enjoyed reading.  I'm looking forward to Andi's brother's story in Justice Buried, set to come out later this year!  
 

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Invitation

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/invitation/385270


Back Cover

Four strangers with gifts they don't understand. 
A world falling into darkness.
This is Harbingers.


You're invited on a journey of suspense and the supernatural as four of your favourite bestselling authors team up for a unique series.

From the minds of Bill Myers, Frank Peretti, Angela Hunt, and Alton Gansky, Invitation compiles the first four episodes of "Harbingers", each following a different character.

Brenda - the street-hustling tattoo artist who sees images of the future.
The Professor - the atheist ex-priest ruled by logic.
Andi - the professor's brilliant but geeky assistant who sees inexplicable patterns.
Tank - the naive, big-hearted jock with a surprising connection to a healing power.

Brought together for the first time in "The Call", the four soon realize pockets of darkness are emerging throughout the world.  Whether it involves a mysterious house, the unexplainable death of animals around the world, or an otherworldly little girl, each puzzle they solve brings them closer to the ultimate explanation of what's happening.  But will they discover the truth in time?

Review

Close your windows.  Lock your doors. Check under your bed and look in your closet.  Then curl up in your favourite chair with some (calming) tea before cracking open Invitation.  

The first book in the new "Harbingers" series, Invitation is a collective effort by well-known authors, Bill Myers (his Forbidden Doors series gave me the shivers as a teen), Frank Peretti (the Christian fiction world wouldn't be the same without This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness), Angela Hunt (while not of the suspense genre, her "Heirs of Cahira O'Conner" series is one of my favourites), and Alton Gansky (Distant Memory was one of the first books that hooked me to the suspense genre).  The story revolves around four, and sometimes five, different (and quirky) individuals who all have unique gifts, several of which are on the supernatural side.  While it's a modern day setting, I felt immersed in an entirely different world!  In each novella, they encounter some strange otherworldly experiences that require each of their special gifts to overcome.  Intriguing doesn't begin to describe the stories.  Full of suspense, a heavy dose of creepiness, and a smattering of sassy dialogue, Invitation was a great collaborative effort.

In the introduction to the book, the authors write that one of their "rules" to writing this book was to write it like a TV series, with each author's story akin to an episode.  From there, depending on the response and demand of Invitation, it would then be decided whether further "episodes" would be written.  PLEASE do write more.  I haven't read a book as fast as I've read this one in a long, long time.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Conspiracy of Silence

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/conspiracy-of-silence/378490


Back Cover

This is the way the world ends.

Four years after a tragic mission decimated his team, Cole "Tox" Russell has been disavowed by the United States.  And that's fine - he just wants to be left alone.  But when a dormant, centuries-old disease is unleashed, Tox is lured back into action.

Tox and his former Special Forces team regroup to work with FBI deception expert, Kasey Cortes, and fiery archaeologist, Tzivia Khalon, to search the globe for answers - and a cure.  As the mission leads from one continent to another, it becomes clear they're not just fighting a plague but battling an ancient secret society whose true goals remain hidden.

With time running out and the threat of a global pandemic rising, Tox and his team realize their sole chance might be to reach back through centuries of silence to find the only answer that can save them all.


Review

In her signature style, Ronie Kendig has crafted a fast-paced thriller packed with strong heroes and heroines, danger, intrigue, and sparks of romance.  Each chapter is filled with an onslaught of action as the characters race against time to stop a plague from wiping out civilization.  I was a little surprised at the "doomsday" plot as it is a bit of a departure from Ronie's previous works that I've read, but it is nonetheless a story that captures the reader's attention from the first to the last page.  I enjoyed the intertwining of Biblical themes and an Old Testament event as it made the situations and threats showcased in Conspiracy of Silence feel even more plausible.  I'm excited that this book is a start of a new series, and will be eagerly looking forward to subsequent novels.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/the-innkeeper-of-ivy-hill/376350

Back Cover

The lifeblood of the village of Ivy Hill is its coaching inn, The Bell.  When the innkeeper dies suddenly, his genteel wife, Jane Bell, becomes the reluctant landlady.  Jane has no idea how to manage a business, but with the town's livelihood at state and a large loan due, she must quickly find a way to save the inn.

Despite their strained relationship, Jane turns to her resentful mother-in-law, Thora, for help.  Formerly mistress of The Bell, Thora is struggling to overcome her losses and find purpose for the future.  As she works with Jane, two men from her past vie for her attention, but Thora has promised herself never to marry again.  Will one of them convince her to embrace a second chance at love?

As pressure mounts from the bank, Jane employs new methods, and puzzles over the intentions of several men who seem to have a vested interest in the place, including a mysterious newcomer with secret plans of his own.  With the help of friends old and new, can Jane restore life to the in, and to her empty heart as well?

Review

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill is another beautifully written story by Julie Klassen.  Julie takes her time developing her characters, fleshing out their personalities to make them so real they could jump off the page.  The story itself was a little bit slower than her previous novels, but still well written with a historical setting that felt very authentic.   There were multiple relationships showcased throughout the story, romantic and family alike, which makes me eager to read the sequel.  Another well-done historical novel!


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Monday, 22 May 2017

A Moonbow Night

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/a-moonbow-night/375090


Back Cover

After fleeing Virginia, Temperance Tucker and her family established an inn along the Shawnee River.  It's a welcome way station for settlers and frontiersmen traveling through the wild Cumberland region of Kentucke - men like Sion Morgan, a Virginia surveyor who arrives at the inn with his crew, looking for an experienced guide.

Though he balks when Tempe is appointed to lead his team through the wilderness, it isn't long before Sion must admit that her abilities may outmatch his own.  But can the tenuous tie they are forming survive the dangers waiting just around the bend?

Review

Laura Frantz brings her readers into a perilous wilderness where looking over your shoulder for danger is as much of a habit as having a coffee with your breakfast.  A place where "friends" and "allies" don't always stay true, and often the only thing you have left to hold onto is faith.

Tempe is a strong woman, able to and track with the best of them.  Her skills were born of necessity in order to survive in the beloved woods she calls home.  She has a fiercely loyal spirit to her family, and it is because of that, she becomes a tracker for Sion Morgan and his team.  Sion, an indomitable force himself, finds himself drawn to Tempe and dreaming of a life he thought he would never have.  

I greatly enjoyed Laura Frantz' A Moonbow Night with her almost poetic writing style with what felt like authentic dialogue that immersed me in a story of family, loyalties, Indian raids, dangerous wilderness, and love.  She has crafted a story that will snag a reader's attention from the very first page to the final word.  A great read.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Monday, 6 February 2017

For the Record




http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/for-the-record/346090


Back Cover


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


Regina Jennings’s newest novel, For the Record, is a light-hearted historical read that highlights themes of forgiveness, trust, respect, and learning not to jump to conclusions.  Deputy Joel Puckett’s career was nearly shattered due to the conniving actions of another, and rather than stand up for him, his supervising sheriff decided to transfer him out of state – and out of mind of the townspeople.  He enters Pine Gap, Missouri with hopes of a fresh start.  Unbeknownst to him, Betsy Huckabee, with dreams of a better future, uses him as her inspiration for a serial newspaper story, which ultimately threatens the privacy that he was trying to protect.

I greatly enjoyed the character of Betsy Huckabee – she has a quick wit, spunk, and a huge imagination. She’s willing to work hard for what she wants, yet still cognizant of putting other people first (except perhaps when it comes to using Joel as inspiration for her story).  She was a fun character to read about, and totally anchored the story.

One tiny little grievance:  I did find the hyper-speed romance between Betsy and Joel a little unrealistic.  It moved at such a quick pace that I almost felt like reaching out into the story and telling them to slow it down!  However, the author did an excellent job in crafting two characters that thoroughly complement each other.

 In closing, For the Record, is a fun adventure-type romance that would certainly bring appreciative smiles to its readers.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

The Domino Effect


http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/the-domino-effect/379500




Back Cover


Esther Larsen, a top risk analyst at one of the country’s largest banking institutions, is becoming more and more convinced that she has uncovered a ticking bomb with the potential to make the 2008 market crash look minor by comparison.  And as her own employer pursues “investment” strategies with ever-increasing levels of risk, she becomes convinced she must do something.  But Esther is only one person; can she stand up to an international conspiracy of greed?  And if she does, will anyone take her seriously?

Every moment of indecision edges the markets closer to a tipping point – the teetering first domino in a standing row that circles the globe.  And when Esther finds her voice, those she seeks to expose will not sit idly by.  With global markets on the brink, and her own life in danger, Esther is locked in a race against the clock to avert a financial tsunami that threatens worldwide devastation.


Review


This is the first novel I’ve read where the global markets were the central storyline to the book.  I confess I don’t have much of a head for numbers, but I found The Domino Effect quite fascinating.  Davis Bunn took great care in explaining various terminology and facets in relation to the markets that made this book very readable.  It was intriguing, suspenseful, and even slightly scary with respect to how interconnected the markets/economy are with our daily lives!  It was another great adventure read by the talented Davis Bunn.


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.