Sunday, July 31, 2016

Nikki Boyd Is Back In Missing by Lisa Harris

Missing (The Nikki Boyd Files Book #2) by [Harris, Lisa]Looking for a good suspense novel?  Missing, Book 2 in the Nikki Boyd series, is full of intrigue that will keep you wondering who, what and where. Award winning Author Lisa Harris' latest gives us a well written plot full of twists and turns leaving us in a wake of bodies and an unthinkable white collar crime.  Mac Hudson, a lead scientist for Byrne Laboratories discovered a deadly secret about the drugs his company produced.  The secrets cost him his life and now Nikki Boyd of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Task Force and her team are frantically searching for Mac's missing wife Lucy.

Counterfeit drugs are finding their way into mainstream America, short circuiting strict FDA regulations and lining the pockets of a few men who play a new kind of hard ball. While searching frantically for Lucy, Nikki, Jack and Gwen pull out all stops. This special missing person's task force of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation refuses to lose ground as the deadly killers forge ahead as though unstoppable.

Vivid descriptions and well developed characters set this suspense novel apart from your average whodunit. The plot is fresh and unpredictable. As the story progresses, more information emerges that will surprise you enough to keep turning the pages.  From the beginning I was enveloped into the case and finally let go when the author tied everything together like a sailor slips a knot.  Add this to your reading list if you like suspense. I am already looking forward to her next book in the series, Pursued, coming in spring 2017. Many thanks to Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group for the opportunity to review this book.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sunday Review: A Haven On Orchard Lane

This past week I finished reading A Haven On Orchard Lane by Lawana Blackwell for review. The story, set in England in 1880 follows former actress Charlotte Ward as she creates a new life for herself.  Charlotte had ended a successful career on the stage to wed Lord Fosberry who promised her a life of love on his secluded country estate.  He was not as he seemed, however, and his promise of love turned to cruel loneliness and forced seclusion.

Our story really begins when Charlotte is wooed to return to the stage in London.  Her husband posed serious threats and derided her reputation.  He had people on the lookout for her, waiting to bait her for tabloid fodder. Her nerves collapsed under the strain, forcing her to change the course of her dreams. Sometimes, though, dreams take a different turn and what we think we want turns into something else altogether.

A Haven on Orchard Lane by [Blackwell, Lawana]After weeks of illness she found she was under the care of her estranged daughter Rosalind, who wanted nothing to do with her. Charlotte has no money and no means of support other than what Rosalind can provide. Taking leave from her teaching job, Rosalind plans to stay only long enough to help her mother regain her health and no longer.  She found them a cottage to rent in a small coastal village. For Charlotte, being reunited with Rosalind was like a gift. Her career dictated she leave her daughter with a spinster aunt to raise.

Rosalind, for her part in the story also finds a new path in her life. Caught up in her classroom she would have missed some of life's most rewarding moments.  She meets a handsome bookseller who turns her head and surprisingly captures her heart.

In this story of resilience and second chances, Lawana Blackwell gives us glimpses of love when no hope seems possible. Love takes many forms in this story, not the least of which is romantic love.  The more pages I turned the more love shone through. Charlotte is an amazing character who touched many lives in her small coastal village.  From the town gossip to a pair of young, neglected brothers, it is clear that even though her life had some sharp turns, her love for others transformed them.  She saw people for who they could become, not as they seemed.  Out of the darkest moments of her life, she became a strong woman with much more to offer than she had ever been led to believe.  In the end, Charlotte managed to truly create a Haven On Orchard Lane.

I give this book 4+ stars just for the wonderful characters Lawana Blackwell developed. I read The Widow of Larkspur Inn, also  by this author, the heroine in this book is also a seemingly weak woman who rose above her difficult situations.  These characters teach us that perhaps we haven't had an easy life but we can overcome many hardships with faith and love. Many thanks to Bethany House for the opportunity to review this book!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Fun And Mischief In The Tea Shop Folly

Product Details
It is a lot of fun to meet an author and even more fun when you discover that by chance you have read her work before but didn't make that connection. This is true of my chance encounter to meet Carrie Fancett Pagels last week. I was lucky enough to have an opportunity to read and review the Tea Shop Folly, A Teacup Courtship Novella.  As luck would  have it I was just wrapping up a good book and was at sixes and sevens for my next selection. I found this story entertaining with a little bit of added history added. Set in Michigan, young Lilly has arrived after inheriting her Great Aunt Lillian's home and fortune.  She left behind a gravely ill mother and  her younger sisters who are in need of much needed hope that Lilly hopes to share upon receiving her bequest. 

What follows is a series of misunderstandings after she meets a handsome young engineer from the Soo Locks, Theo on her first day in town.  As fate would have it, Lilly and Theo meet again when he mistakes her home for Tea Shoppe.  On the hunt for yet another teacup set for his hard to please mother, Theo spies piles of teacups that Lilly is sorting out from her Great Aunt's hoard of treasures.  While she never acknowledges her home is a tea shoppe, he continues to believe she owns a business. When he finally realizes his folly all manner of characters have arrived to make this an even sweeter tale.  Lilly is a treasure and her thoughtful approach to situations thinking about what her mama would do is a testament to proper upbringing and good family values.

I have become a fan of the Novella as a wonderful way to feed my reader for times when I really want to get into the story without committing to a large book. Award winning Carrie Fancett Pagels has not disappointed me with The Tea Shop Folly.  I happily discovered that it was Carrie who wrote the Lumberjack Ball, book 2 of the Christy Lumberjack Series.  If you like a good story with a hint of historical flare, I recommend this novella and other works by Carrie.  

Monday, July 11, 2016

Suspense abounds in Traces of Guilt

Dee Henderson is a gifted writer who has brought us yet another good suspense novel, Traces of Guilt, an Evie Blackwell Cold Case. What an example showcasing this author's talent in creating one of the best in Christian suspense novels. 
Product Details
Evie Blackwell is a detective with the Illinois State Police. She tackles each case like a puzzle and her methods are successful. That is why she is likely to be tapped by the Governor-Elect to be on a special two-year task force to solve cold cases in her state. She loves her job and the opportunity this task force would take her career to a new level.  We meet her on her way to  a working vacation in rural Carin County to look at two cold cases. Both cases have been investigated with a fine-toothed comb yet remain unsolved for many years.

Gabe Thane, Carin County Sheriff assists her by providing boxes of evidence and honest support that many a small town sheriff with an ego might withhold. The first case involves the disappearance of Deputy Scott Florist, his wife Susan and son Joe.  Secondly, she is examining the case of Ashley Dayton, aged six who disappeared as her parents were checking into a motel in Carin. These cases are near to the heart of the sheriff and his father, who had been sheriff at the time when both occurred.

Traces of Guilt is very complex and the characters mesh with each other in an incredible way.  Evie unpacks all the boxes of evidence, separating each piece into two separate time lines on the wall. She and Gabe have discussed what has gone on before and what she hopes to find that was missing in previous investigations. While doing so I am struck by something she says to Gabe as she begins reexamining all the evidence: "Cases solve when you can get a thumbnail under a corner of the answer and peel it back." That is exactly what unfolds.  It is tempting to share how she approached this but I am not one to spoil a good mystery.  

The research for this story was incredible. The power of the hunt for answers kept me turning pages long past time I should have called it a night. The process of the investigations, the discussions between the characters and the care toward all the victims was very well written. I give this book 5-stars with my heartfelt recommendation. I am already hoping another Evie Blackwell Cold Case book will be released.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy Birthday America!

On this day in 1776 our forefathers declared their independence from British rule. Looking back over many trials, it is hard to believe our country has come so far. I wonder what those great men would think about the country they were forging way back then. I have read many letters and documents written by these men. While we think of them as great men, deservedly so, they were men who thought of themselves as average men who were building homes for their families. The respect they shared for each others among themselves spoke volumes in the legacy we share today.  May we never forget the principles on which our country was founded. God Bless America, now and forever.  

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Romance Sizzles In Melody Carlson's All Summer Long

All Summer Long is one of those lighthearted books you enjoy reading when you want to kick the lazy days of summer into high gear.  It is a story about Tia and Leo, two people who met casually at a sailing camp ten years before our story begins. As everyone said goodbye on the last day of camp, Leo planted Tia with a kiss. Years later, with that kiss on her mind, Tia is moving to San Francisco to help her aunt open a boutique restaurant on a luxury yacht.

The excitement of playing a pivotal role restoring the yacht and designing the ultimate galley kitchen and dining room play on her mind as she arrives in San Francisco.  Instead of her aunt, a handsome young man is waiting to pick  her up. Not just any handsome man but an older version of the teenage boy who gave her that memorable kiss all those years ago.

As fate would have it, she and Leo will be thrown together often as they manage the work needed on the Pacific Pearl.  Her uncle's pressing need heart surgery and her aunt's natural desire to stay at his side compels the pair to work together to complete the work.

The work needed is significant but takes second place in the plot to Tia and Leo's story.  We can almost feel the fog roll in and the wave lapping on the side of the yacht, docked in the bay. The author, Melody Carlson is very adept at setting us right in the middle of the story.  From the start Tia enjoyed meeting Leo again, deciding that moving from northern Washington state was the best decision she'd made since graduating from culinary school.  The only bump on the road was Natalie, Leo's fiance.  Naturally, Tia is disappointed but can she work with Leo to oversee all the work needed to turn a 1980's remodel job gone bad into her aunt's vision of the Pacific Pearl?  Can she stand by and watch a man she is falling for marry another woman?  Even if the other woman has also become her friend?

 Read it and find out!  All Summer Long is another good book to add to your summer reading list. And if your vacation plans are on water, all the better to grab your copy of All Summer Long from your favorite local bookseller.  Melody Carlson is an award winning author of more than 200 books.  She was awarded a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market. All Summer Long is book 2 in her Follow Your Heart Series.  For information on Melody and her books check out her website at: