Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Every Bride Has Her Day (Brides with Style #3) by Janice Thompson

Title: Every Bride Has Her Day (Brides with Style #3)
Author: Janice Thompson
Pages: 352
Release Date: May 17, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Revell
Format: Paperback (also available in eBook)
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     Another Delightful Romance from the Queen of Romantic Comedy

     Katie Fisher is ecstatic. Pro basketball star Brady James has proposed, and she can’t wait to start planning their life together. She’s confident she’ll make it down the aisle this time – but it still may be easier said than done. A high-society Houston bride has Katie and the Cosmopolitan Bridal team scrambling to get the perfect dress done in time for her spectacular wedding. Meanwhile, Katie finds herself bombarded with everyone’s competing visions regarding her own special day – and she’s beginning to worry that her own ideas will get lost in the crossfire. Will she ever manage to settle all of the details for “her” perfect day? Or will bridal shop chaos and overzealous friends and family make a mess of everything?

     Fan favorite Janice Thompson gives readers what they’ve been clamoring for: another funny, romantic romp with a Texas twang.

My review:

     Another hilarious contemporary romance!

     This is part of a “true” series. You really should read the books in order as they have the same cast of characters and they are progressing through life in an expected manner.

     I have thoroughly been enjoying seeing how Katie develops through this series. She still has some of the same issues cropping up in this book, but she is a little quicker to work through them this time around. She is learning slowly over time just like we all do.

     She is surrounded by a complete cast of very quirky characters. Many of whom want to plan the perfect wedding for her. The problem is they each have their own plans and don’t want to ask what she wants for her big day. Some of the ideas are a riot and Katie has to figure out how to get her wedding planned the way she wants it without hurting anyone’s feelings.

     I really liked seeing how the small home town people and the big city friends all come together to support Katie and Brady. There are incredible moments when deep wisdom and insights are shared by a number of different people. We have a fantastic example of what community is like and how they come together for each other in this wonderful story.

     I believe that this book is a fabulous way to conclude Katie Sue and Brady’s story. I’m giving it a rating of 5 stars and highly recommending it.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Murder Comes by Mail (Hidden Springs Mystery #2) by A. H. Gabhart

Title: Murder Comes by Mail (Hidden Springs Mystery #2)
Author: A. H. Gabhart
Pages: 352
Release Date: May 17, 2016
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Revell
Format: Paperback (also available in eBook)
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     A Cozy Mystery Complete with a Small Town Full of Charming, Quirky Characters.

     Doing a good deed never felt so bad.

     Deputy Sheriff Michael Keane doesn’t particularly enjoy being touted as the hero of Hidden Springs after pulling a suicidal man back from the edge of the Eagle River bridge in front of dozens of witnesses – a few of whom caught the breathtaking moments with their cameras. But the media hype doesn’t last long as a new story pushes its way into the public consciousness of Hidden Springs’ concerned citizens.

     Photos of a dead girl arrive in the mail, and Michael becomes convinced she was murdered by the man he saved. With a killer one step ahead, things in Hidden Springs begin to unravel. Now Michael must protect the people he loves – because the killer could be targeting one of them next.

     Readers will love racing along with Deputy Sheriff Keane as the clock ticks in this page-turning mystery.

My review:

     This is another wonderful small town mystery!

     This is a stand-alone story. The mystery from the previous book is mentioned briefly in passing. It has no bearing at all on the new case though.

     I enjoyed my second visit to Hidden Springs, Kentucky. The cast of characters is just as quirky as they were in book one. They seem to have all recovered from last year’s crazy mystery. Michael especially has been able to get over the shock and settle back into his small town life and police work. I really like how down-to-earth Aunt Lindy is. She is doing her best to help keep Michael grounded and mindful of the need to pray.

     Once again though Michael is thrust into the middle of a very puzzling case and needs the help of his friends and neighbors to sort things out. This time he has to also cooperate with the police detectives from Eagleton, the larger city nearby.

     There are a lot of incredible twists and turns. As soon as I felt that I was starting to understand what was happening another clue was dumped on me and I was again trying to figure out how everything fit together.

     Once again I’m giving a book by A. H. Gabhart a rating of 5 stars and highly recommending it.

     You can learn more about Ann’s books on her website at: http://www.annhgabhart.com/

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Body Under the Bridge (A Father Gilbert Mystery) by Paul McCusker

Title: The Body Under the Bridge (A Father Gilbert Mystery)
Author: Paul McCusker
Pages: 320
Year: 2016
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Lion Fiction
Format: Paperback
Note: I received a free copy of this book through The Suspense Zone in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     A former Scotland Yard detective, Father Gilbert knows about death. But, now a priest of a modest Anglican church in the small town of Hailsham, he didn’t expect it to show up like this – in the suicide of a man who threw himself off the church tower, and in the discovery of a two-hundred-year-old body beneath an ancient bridge.

     The deaths are linked. The mummified corpse under the bridge, a murder victim, reignites a centuries-old battle between two local families – the Todds and the aristocratic Hayshams. Then both David Todd and Lord Haysham begin to act strangely, fearful for reasons they won’t explain.

     When Lord Haysham is murdered, David Todd is the prime suspect. But Todd is maniacal, claiming great forces of evil are at work. An entire history of violence and depravity begins to emerge, interweaving the history of several local families with a secret occult society that engages in Black Masses. Has the Society emerged again?

My review:

     An incredibly well written mystery!

     I want to start by letting you know that this mystery does discuss areas of the supernatural. Both good and evil forces are included. If this is something that will bother you I recommend that you skip reading this book.

     I thoroughly enjoyed Father Gilbert. He has many layers to who he is and how he handles things. As the story progresses the reader learns more and more about his past and the events that helped to shape him into the man that he is at the beginning.

     There are many facets to the mystery that are slowly developed and presented. This kept me guessing and turning the pages right up to the end of the story. I was drawn into it from the very beginning and knew that I wouldn’t be able to give up on the book until I knew how it turned out. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next for Father Gilbert and those who work with him at St. Mark’s.

     I am recommending this book to those who are not bothered by reading about the supernatural. It is getting a rating of 5 stars from me.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Cast a Road Before Me (Bradleyville Series #1) by Brandilyn Collins

Title: Cast a Road Before Me (Bradleyville Series #1)
Author: Brandilyn Collins
Pages: 262
Year: 2014
Genre: Southern Contemporary (1968)
Publisher: Challow Press
Format: eBook (also available in paperback)
Note: I received a free eBook copy of this novel through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:


     “A course-changing event in one’s life can happen in minutes. Or it can form slowly, a primitive webbing splaying into fingers of discontent, a minuscule trail hardening into the sinewed spine of resentment. So it was with the mill workers as the heat-soaked days of summer marched on…”


     City girl Jessie, orphaned at sixteen struggles to adjust to life with her barely known aunt and uncle in the tiny town of Bradleyville, Kentucky. Eight years later (1968) she plans on leaving – to following in her revered mother’s footsteps of serving the homeless. But the peaceful town she’s come to love is about to be tragically shattered. Threats of a labor strike rumble through the streets, and Jessie’s new love and her uncle are swept into the maelstrom. Caught between the pacifist teachings of her mother these two men, Jessie desperately tries to deny that Bradleyville is rolling toward violence and destruction.

My review:

     An incredible personal soul searching novel!

     This marvelous story is set in 1968 rural Kentucky. The time period and the setting described and presented so clearly and in such detail that I felt like I had truly gone back in time and was walking the streets of Bradleyville along with Jessie.

     I love the simplicity of the characters. They are wonderfully well developed but with their simpler lifestyle they seem simple and straight forward. I ached for Jessie throughout the story. I wanted her to sort things out and figure out what God had planned for her. Her journey of growth and discovery was at times heart wrenching and heart-warming.

     There were a number of strong believers who were able to speak wisdom into her life and yet willing to let her make her own decisions. As with real life there were others who were also working through their own journeys. Some of them ran parallel to Jessie’s and some of the seemed to intersect her journey.

     This is the very first book that I’ve read by Brandilyn Collins. She has a fantastic writing style that took me from my home in 2016, to small town Kentucky in 1960/68 as soon as I started reading. I will definitely be reading many more of her books. In fact I have already bought book 2 in this series.

     I’m giving this wonderful book a rating of 5 stars and highly recommending it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Deception (Mountain Cove #6) by Elizabeth Goddard

Title: Deception (Mountain Cove #6)
Author: Elizabeth Goddard
Pages: 224
Release Date: June 1, 2016 (eBook), June 7, 2016 (paperback)
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense
Format: eBook (also available in paperback)
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:


     Jewel Caraway thought she’d left her mistakes in the past – but then her past arrives at her door. Though she’s thrilled to reunite with her estranged sister, something about her sister’s new husband makes Jewel uneasy. Does he know her secret? Is he the one behind the growing list of attacks against her? And if he is involved… does that mean her sister is, too? With nowhere else to turn, Jewel must rely on police chief Colin Winters – the first man to make the widow question her resolve to never love again. But will he stay by her side when her guarded secrets are revealed?

     Mountain Cove: In the Alaskan wilderness, love and danger collide.

My review:

     This is another intense romantic suspense novel!

     Even though this is the sixth book in the series the actual plot is a stand-alone story. The only thing that connects it to the other books is that a number of the secondary characters in this book were main characters in previous ones. There are hints to where their lives have gone since their stories were told.

     I love picking up a book by Elizabeth Goddard. I know that I’m in for a real treat. There was no disappointment for me in this one. She has once again crafted wonderful characters. Both of the main characters made appearances in previous books in the series. This time they are front and center claiming all of our attention.

     The story starts off with an incredible adrenaline rush as Jewel’s life is endangered almost from the beginning. It continues its roller coaster ride through danger and brief periods of rest and contemplation. Who is after her? What is her secret and is it the reason she is in danger? Can she trust her heart and her life to Chief Colin Winters?

     There were so many twists to the story that I was kept guessing how it all tied together until the very end. If you have any interest in suspense novels you won’t go wrong by picking up this wonderful book.

     I’m giving this marvelous story a rating of 5 stars and highly recommending it.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Guest Post by Susan Sleeman, author of Web of Secrets

     Today I'm welcoming Susan Sleeman to my blog. I am very pleased to have her here. She is one of my favorite authors. I love her romantic suspense books and have reviewed a number of them.

Here is her official bio. 
     Susan is the bestselling author of Christian/inspirational and clean reads romantic suspense and mysteries. She grew up in a small Wisconsin town where she spent her summers reading Nancy Drew and developing a love of mystery and suspense books. Today, Susan channels this enthusiasm into writing romantic suspense and mystery novels and hosting the popular internet website TheSuspenseZone.com.

     I’m going to let Susan take it away and share her thoughts with you. I’ll come back at the end and tell you where you can find her Agents Under Fire series of books.

~~~~~ * ~~~~~

The Making of A Cover

Many readers wonder how book covers are born. The process is basically the same with every publisher I’ve worked with over the years. The author fills out an information form that tells the art department about the book and the story plot. We give them a description of our characters, a mood or atmosphere for the cover, and details about the time of year, the weather, etc. for the time period in which the book takes place. If possible, the author provides pictures that convey the cover they are envisioning in their head. Of course, you can never find the exact picture that represents your idea so you also share notes that explain the exceptions to the picture.
So I thought it would be fun to look at one of the pictures I submitted for Web of Secrets, my latest release in my Agents Under Fire series. I submitted this picture to the publisher for Web of Secrets and the actual cover below it. Along with the picture, I suggested having the main character heading for this open doorway, the mood suspenseful and eerie.

You can see below with the actual cover, that they have really taken my input and made the cover so much better than I could imagine. What do you think? Did they create a great cover?

Web of Secrets
A nightmare come true . . .
Years ago, a fifteen-year-old girl was abducted by a monster. Although she managed to escape, her tormenter was never caught. So the girl was given a new home, a new name . . . and the determination to save other foster kids from suffering similar horrors.
FBI Agent Becca Lange is in the middle of a credit card fraud investigation when she’s faced with her worst nightmare: a serial killer, van Gogh–given the name because he removed his victims’ ears–has resurfaced. Back in the nineties, van Gogh tortured, then killed several young foster girls. Becca was almost one of them.
Over the years, Becca’s been keeping her own investigation going. So when the police come to her for help, she’s more than ready to do what it takes to put van Gogh behind bars–even if it means working with Connor Warren, the easy-going cop whose attentions she’s been avoiding. Connor is too charming, too good-looking, too . . . tempting. He makes Becca want things she can never have. And might never have . . .
Because van Gogh isn’t finished with Becca yet. He’s been searching for her all these years. And now that he’s found her, he’s got a plan to keep her . . . forever.
I hope you’ll check out this series on my website and here’s a sneak peek from the pages of Web of Secrets.

Chapter One

She was going to die today.
He’d all but promised that. Now it was time, and he was coming for her, moving quickly above. His heavy footsteps headed for the cellar door, the solid footfalls confident, but uneven.
He’d developed a limp. Funny. She hadn’t noticed that until now.
Death, just over the horizon, sharpened her senses, she supposed.
Or was it the dark, the complete pitch black of the windowless space? Her mind was shrouded in pain and despair, her senses hyper-alert, the smells and sounds crisp and vivid. The musty scent of the basement. An old oil furnace in the corner emitting a metallic smell. His footsteps in the distance, growing closer as he headed for the cellar door.
For her.
Painful desperation swallowed everything around her.
Please, please, please don’t let him do this.
She heard each groan of the house. Each creak of the floor. Heard him reach the cellar door.
Her heart kicked hard, sounding a loud echo in her chest.
A key slipped into the deadbolt at the top of the stairs with a firm snick. She could picture the shiny new lock he’d dragged her past the first night. Remembered her hands clutching at anything to stay aboveground, her nails breaking as they scratched to take purchase. Raw and ragged now.
Then the descent. Down the rickety wooden steps. Kicking. Fighting. The fist to her jaw. Seeing stars before her vision cleared. The light burning bright, revealing metal castings stacked on old rotting shelves. The shackles she now bore around her wrists lying limp on the scarred linoleum floor, waiting for her.
The jars. No, stop. She didn’t want to think about them.
She’d thought of little else since she escaped from this madman who, in the late nineties, had pretended online to be Adam Smith, a man in his early twenties who’d developed a crush on her though she was only fifteen. She should have known better than to believe him, even when he’d given her a photo that showed how handsome he was. But as a foster kid, she’d craved love desperately, and he seemed to want to give it.
So she’d gone to meet him, but it turned out the picture he’d sent her had been retouched. His face was grotesquely scarred, and he soon had her handcuffed. Her foster sister, Lauren, had figured he was bad news so she’d followed, and he’d abducted the two of them. But they’d both eventually escaped.
The rusty hinges on the door groaned open like those on an old coffin. Only a stairway separated them.
Bile rose up her parched throat, gagging her. She swallowed hard and strained against the coarse rope digging into the oozing sores circling her wrists. Days of struggling had left them open. Maybe festering. But that didn’t matter. What mattered was the door groaning open. The air around her stirring, dragging a putrid current into the vortex. She retched at the smell of her own body. The stench of her own fear nearly overpowered everything. She hadn’t showered in four days or had access to a bathroom for as long.
She was disgusting.
She’d die like this. Be found like this. Would her family have to see her this way? Identify her?
God, please, no, she begged. Spare them.
A shadow of light filtered through the open doorway. His foot hit the top tread with a thud. Then the next, each step an earthshaking roll of thunder in her ears. His flashlight bobbed on the stairs. Quick circles of light moved down like a slinky before jerking back up. She saw his foot now in an arc of light. A big work boot. Size twelve or larger. Heavy lug soles, worn and scarred. His jeaned leg came next. Then a flannel work shirt. Red she thought, but the light suddenly danced ahead.
He reached the bottom. His boot struck the linoleum with a solid thump. Not a word came from his mouth, but his flashlight spoke for him. Sliding across the space. Searching.
She recoiled. Dug her heels into the floor. Scooted back and tried to cover her nakedness by drawing her knees into her chest.
Nowhere to go.
She needn’t worry about her family seeing her. No one would find her here. He’d chosen the perfect location, an abandoned metal fabrication plant with rows and rows of buildings. Some were in use, others had fallen into decay like this one.
He snapped the dangling string overhead. Light from a bare bulb flooded the area.
“Hello, Molly,” he said, as if they were meeting at a social event. But this wasn’t social—he was coming to kill her.
Her eyes ached from the sudden brightness. She blinked. Thought to keep her eyes closed andvoid seeing her killer’s face one more time.
Hadn’t she seen him enough in her dreams since she’d escaped his capture two decades ago? In nightmares replaying the torture of long ago. Now she was his captive once again, facing him for the last four days, his torment a blur of pain.
Yet, she couldn’t look away. She didn’t have the nerve to ignore her own death. She had to see him. To see the end of her life in his eyes.
She blinked hard until she could focus. His face was a mirror of the one in her dreams, except the passing years had etched wrinkles like a road map across his skin. The dark, dead eyes hadn’t changed. Hadn’t dulled. His chin was angular and covered in graying whiskers. Scars puckered his cheeks, and his nose was nothing more than a red knob, as if an afterthought.
Memories of their first meeting sixteen years ago came flooding back. The same revulsion curdled her stomach. It wasn’t the scars, the stub of a nose. She could handle the deformities from severe burns. It was the sneer of his lips and vile hatred in his gaze. The steady stare that never wavered.
Like now. His gaze sought her out, a hunter looking for prey. He smiled. Wide, toothy, a hint of contempt keeping his lips tight. “I hope you’ve had enough time to think and give me what I want.”
She couldn’t abide his stare, and dragged her gaze away. It landed on the shelf. Nine mason jars were lined up, a set of human ears in all but two of them, preserved in clear liquid. The jars were labeled with the numbers one through nine. Detectives had dubbed this madman Van Gogh for his penchant for removing his victims’ ears. There had been only five jars the last time he’d captured her. Now there were four more. The jars marked four and five were empty. Waiting. She wasn’t surprised to see those jars. Not when she and Lauren had both escaped. She’d figured he’d come after them again, even though they’d both done their best to disappear.
“Well, Molly. Where is Lauren?” he asked, his tone insistent and threatening.
Lauren. Shortly after Molly had overpowered him to escape, she’d seen a news report indicating that Lauren had died in a car crash. But Molly didn’t buy the story. At first, it seemed real, but the police slipped up on one little detail that only Molly would know, proving the detectives had faked Lauren’s death and given her a new identity.
Rebecca Lange. The regal name fit the current-day Lauren, a woman who had become a defender of foster children and a top-notch FBI agent. It was the name she’d always dreamt of having.
“Where’s Lauren?” Van Gogh asked again, this time removing Molly’s gag.
She gathered what little moisture she had in her mouth and spit at him.
He lurched back, anger darkening eyes she didn’t think could get any blacker. He looked up at the ceiling. Took a few breaths. “Don’t worry, Mother. I know she’s gone off the deep end. She will be cleansed today. Her funeral will draw Lauren out. I can cleanse both of them, and my collection will finally be complete.”
He often talked to his mother who was never present, so this wasn’t new. But Molly had never been successful in getting him to explain the cleansing ritual.
“Mother says it’s time to get you dressed.” He opened a box sitting on the shelf and lifted out a virginal white nightgown. “You remember this, don’t you my pet? You will be cleansed and free. Too bad you won’t help me find Lauren so she can know the joy of cleansing sooner.”
He leaned close, an ugly smile parting his lips. The whisper of his breath, the acrid smell of his unwashed body, made her stomach roil. She couldn’t speak. And she wouldn’t, even if she did know where Lauren lived. She’d never betray the trust of her foster sister.
If she did, he’d go after Lauren and kill her. Molly wouldn’t let that happen.
“Let’s get you cleaned up.” He went to the corner and ran a bucket of water, then put it on a table near the sink. He shoved a knife with sharp teeth lining the edge into a sheath on his belt. The knife that had once carved into her body, leaving the number four andinto other girls, including Lauren, who bore the number five.
Humming, he crossed the room to stare at Molly while snapping on a pair of latex gloves. “You really are a mess, aren’t you?”
She thought to try to cover herself, to maintain her dignity. But after the last few days, what dignity did she have left?
He unlocked the shackles, moved her out of her filth and toward the table. She fought, kicked, but after five days without food and little water, she was too weak to make a difference. He bathed her, each touch of the cloth making her want to vomit. Once in the demure nightgown, she lay back, defeated, on the table—his altar stained with blood—where he bound her to cold shackles mounted on the corners.
“It’s time, Molly. Tell me or . . .” His evil smile took his words and buried them in the recesses of the room. He lifted his knife. High. Advanced. His eyes burned with the intensity of fire. He slid his fingers over her ear—gently, almost tenderly, then suddenly backed away.
Was he going to let her live another day? Hope fluttered in her chest.
He crossed the room. Lifted jar number four, the liquid sloshing as he returned to her. He blew the dust from the rusted lid. Fine particles lingered in the beam of light before dissipating in the stale air. He held the knife between his teeth, his eyes gleaming.
He started unscrewing the lid, slowly, each twist feeling like a nail in Molly’s coffin. He set the open jar on the floor, a pungent odor smelling like pickles floated up to her nose. Fear coursed through her body.
Lauren. Remember Lauren.
He slipped his hand into his pocket and two pearl earrings emerged. She fixed her gaze on the burn scars crawling over his hands, not on the earring. He inserted the first one into her left ear. The piercing stud ripped her skin, making her feel as if she were being nailed to a cross. To her death.
This was it, for sure. The end.
She held her breath. He placed the second earring and stood back, his eyes now vacant and his mind somewhere else. Somewhere his earring ritual had taken him.
His breathing grew rapid and shallow, his chest barely moving. Eyes glazed over, he raised the knife. His smile, teeth rotted and yellowing, was the last thing she saw as he bent closer.
“Tell me or not, my pet, it doesn’t matter. The news coverage of my return will be legendary, and your death will bring Lauren to me. She won’t miss your funeral.”
The knife pricked her skin. Her heart seized and refused to beat. She ignored it. Ignored everything, her resolve still in place.
She’d die before letting this butcher near someone she loved.
And, as he’d promised . . . it would be today.

~~~~~ * ~~~~~

     When I read this book I was completely hooked before I finished the first chapter. I hope you are too. The rest of the story lives up to the beginning of it in my mind. My full review for this book is at: http://godslittlebookworm.blogspot.com/2016/05/web-of-secrets-agents-under-fire-3-by.html

     Here are the links to buy all 3 books in the Agents Under Fire series.

Web of Deceit:

Web of Shadows:

Web of Secrets:

Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Beautiful Pretender (A Medieval Fairy Tale #2) by Melanie Dickerson

Title: The Beautiful Pretender (A Medieval Fairy Tale #2)
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Pages: 320
Release Date: May 17, 2016
Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Format: eBook (also available in paperback)
Note: I received a free eBook copy of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     What happens when a margrave realizes he’s fallen in love with a servant?

     The Margrave of Thornbeck has to find a bride, fast. He invites ten noble-born ladies from around the country to be his guests at Thornbeck Castle for two weeks, a time to test these ladies and reveal their true character.

     Avelina is only responsible for two things: making sure her deception goes undetected and avoiding being selected as the margrave’s bride. Since the latter seems unlikely, she concentrates on not getting caught. No one must know she is merely a maidservant, sent by the Earl of Plimmwald to stand in for his daughter, Dorothea.

     Despite Avelina’s best attempts at diverting attention from herself, the margrave has taken notice. And try as she might, she can’t deny her own growing feelings. But something else is afoot in the castle. Something sinister that could have far worse – far deadlier – consequences. Will Avelina be able to stop the evil plot? And at what cost?

My review:

     A delightful retelling of a fairy tale!

     Melanie does an incredible job of intertwining aspects from both The Princess and the Pea and Beauty and the Beast in this charming medieval story. Knowing both of the usual fairy tales made it very easy to recognize the key components of those stories. But they were combined and the final story was completely new and refreshing.

     The main characters that she has created are so well developed and presented. I was able to connect with both of them very early in the story. Avelina of Plimmwald is a sweet and demure girl who only wants to do what she is told and take care of her family.  Reinhard Stolten, Margrave of Thornbeck, is deeply brooding and grumpy about being forced to find a wife.

     All my favorite parts of a fairy tale are present and accounted for. A sweet damsel, that is poor and in need of rescuing. A strong handsome hero, that needs a woman to love. And an evil villain who wants nothing but to destroy both of them and all that is good. Throw in some sacrificial love where both the damsel and the hero try to save the other and all is good.

     This wonderful book is getting a rating of 5 stars from me. I highly recommend it.

     You can find out more about Melanie and her books on her website at: http://www.melaniedickerson.com/

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Honor (Quaker Brides #1) by Lyn Cote

Title: Honor (Quaker Brides #1)
Author: Lyn Cote
Pages: 375
Year: 2014
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Tyndale House
Format: eBook (also available in paperback)

About the book:

     When unexpected circumstances leave Honor Penworthy destitute after the death of her grandfather, she is forced to leave her Maryland plantation – and the slaves she hoped to free – and seek refuge with a distant relative. With no marketable skills, her survival hinges on a marriage arranged through the Quaker community to local glass artisan Samuel Cathwell. Samuel is drawn to Honor, but he has been unwilling to open his heart to anyone since scarlet fever took his hearing as a child.

     A move west brings the promise of a fresh start, but nothing in Honor’s genteel upbringing has prepared her for the rigors of frontier life with Samuel. Nevertheless, her tenacity and passion sweep her into important winds of change, and she becomes increasingly – though secretly – involved in the Underground Railroad. Samuel suspects Honor is hiding something, but will uncovering the truth confirm his worst fears or truly bring them together as man and wife?

     Set against the backdrop of dramatic and pivotal moments in American history, the Quaker Brides series chronicles the lives of three brave heroines, fighting to uphold their principles of freedom while navigating the terrain of faith, family, and the heart.

My review:

     An incredible history lesson in a novel!

     This is the first full-length book in what I believe is going to be a “true” series. There is a prequel novella that is in eBook format only. I did read the novella first and it gives a lot of insight into who Honor Penworthy is and her relationship with her grandfather.

     I absolutely love the detail of the main characters. There was a wonderful variety among them and each one was very rich and three dimensional. I felt like I knew them individually and wasn’t just reading a story about them.

     The plight of women and slaves in 1819-20 is so well presented that my heart broke for them throughout this book. I also had never thought about how a deaf person would have been viewed and treated during this time period before reading this story. It was truly an eye-opening book for me.

     I knew before reading this story that the issue of abolition was a very touchy subject. It really came alive for me though more than just being a phrase I had heard. The anguish that many of the characters went through when discussing it was palpable!

     I really love this book and have to give it a rating of 5 stars. I’m highly recommending it.

     You can find out more about Lyn and her books on her website at: http://booksbylyncote.com/SWBS/

Monday, May 9, 2016

Web of Secrets (Agents Under Fire #3) by Susan Sleeman

Title: Web of Secrets (Agents Under Fire #3)
Author: Susan Sleeman
Pages: 234
Release Date: May 13, 2016
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
Format: eBook (also available in paperback)
Note: I received a free eBook copy of this novel from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     A nightmare come true . . .

     Years ago, a fifteen-year-old girl was abducted by a monster. Although she managed to escape, her tormenter was never caught. So the girl was given a new home, a new name . . . and the determination to save other foster kids from suffering similar horrors.

     FBI Agent Becca Lange is in the middle of a credit card fraud investigation when she’s faced with her worst nightmare: a serial killer, van Gogh – given the name because he removed his victims’ ears – has resurfaced. Back in the nineties, van Gogh tortured, then killed several young foster girls. Becca was almost one of them.

     Over the years, Becca’s been keeping her own investigation going. So when the police come to her for help, she’s more than ready to do what it takes to put van Gogh behind bars – even if it means working with Connor Warren, the easy-going cop whose attentions she’s been avoiding. Connor is too charming, too good-looking, too . . . tempting. He makes Becca want things she can never have. And might never have . . .

     Because van Gogh isn’t finished with Becca yet. He’s been searching for her all these years. And now that he’s found her, he’s got a plan to keep her . . . forever.

My review:

     Another well-crafted suspense novel!

     Though this is the third book in the series it is a stand-alone story. The only connection is that some of the main characters from the earlier books are secondary ones in this one.

     Susan Sleeman is a master at creating her characters. Becca and Connor are incredibly well developed. It was easy to understand what made them tick as their pasts were slowly, but completely, spelled out. She did a marvelous job of delving into the villain’s psyche without including graphic violence.

     The progression of the investigation was fantastic. It started very slowly with a few different cases being mentioned and both Becca and Connor trying to figure out what was the most important one to work on. Then as more information was discovered their priorities had to be adjusted. They were both trying to balance all of this even while trying to figure out their attraction to each other. It’s always nice to throw a little romance in with the suspense.

     With Becca being the third agent on the cyber-crime team it looks like this series is done. I’d really like to see it continue though since they have all been wonderful books. Since a rookie agent was introduced in this book though I have hopes that the series will go on.

     As with the previous two books this one is getting a rating of 5 stars and I’m highly recommending it.

      You can find more information about this series of books on Susan Sleeman’s web site at: http://www.susansleeman.com/

Friday, May 6, 2016

A Lady of Esteem (Hawthorne House #0.5) by Kristi Ann Hunter

Title: A Lady of Esteem (Hawthorne House #0.5)
Author: Kristi Ann Hunter
Pages: 159
Year: 2015
Genre: Historical Romance (London, 1812 – Regency Era)
Publisher: Bethany House
Format: eBook (only - FREE on most sites)

About the book:

     Miss Amelia Stalwood may live in London at her absent guardian’s townhouse, but she’s never actually met any nobility, and instead of aristocrats, her closest friends are servants. Quite by happenstance, she’s introduced to the Hawthorne family and their close family friend, Anthony, the reformed marquis of Raeburn. They welcome her into their world, but just as she’s beginning to gain some confidence and even suspect she may have caught Anthony’s eye, she’s blindsided by an unexpected twist in her situation accompanied by nasty rumors. Will she lose her reputation when the world that has only just accepted her turns its back on her, or will she rest in the support of the friends who’ve become like family and the man who’s shared his faith and captured her heart?

     A Lady of Esteem is an e-only novella that gives an exciting introduction to Kristi Ann Hunter’s new Regency romance series about the aristocratic Hawthorne family! Includes an extended excerpt of Kristi’s debut full-length novel, A Noble Masquerade.

My review:

     A delightful historical romance novella!

     This wonderful story introduces us to a new writer and her first series of books. I love her style of writing and found that she has a wonderful knack for inserting very humorous situations throughout the story.

     The development of the main characters is fantastic. I fell in love with Amelia Stalwood from very early on. We are given a glimpse of what her childhood was like in the prologue. It made me feel like wrapping my arms around her and to help her to feel loved. I then found that she hadn’t let it make her mean in any way. She cares about others and that shines through with everyone she meets.

     Anthony Pendleton is carrying memories of what he used to be like and he expects everyone to still be judging him by his past mistakes. That includes people that didn’t even know him before he changed. I enjoyed seeing his journey as he dealt with this.

     I’m looking forward to reading the rest of this series. I’m very glad that I have the first full-length book waiting for me in my to-be-read pile already. I have to give this sweet novella a rating of 5 stars. I’m highly recommending it. I think I may have found another favorite author.

     You can find out more about Kristi and her books on her website at: www.kristiannhunter.com

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Murder at the Courthouse (Hidden Springs Mystery #1) by A. H. Gabhart

Title: Murder at the Courthouse (Hidden Springs Mystery #1)
Author: A. H. Gabhart
Pages: 336
Year: 2015
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Revell
Format: eBook (also available in paperback)

About the book:

     Michael Keane’s stressful days as a Columbus police officer are done. He’s ready to relax into his new position as deputy sheriff in his sleepy hometown. Nothing ever happens in Hidden Springs, Kentucky – and that’s just fine with Michael.

     Nothing, that is, until a dead body is discovered on the courthouse steps. As Michael works to solve the case, it seems that every nosy resident in town has a theory. When the sheriff insists Michael check out one of these harebrained theories, his surprising discovery sends him on a bewildering search for a mysterious killer that has him questioning everything he has ever believed about life in Hidden Springs.

     Bringing with her a knack for creating settings you want to visit and an uncanny ability to bring characters to life, A. H. Gabhart pens a whodunit that will keep you guessing.

My review:

     An incredibly well developed cozy mystery!

     This is the first book that I have read by Ann (A.) H. Gabhart. She has a marvelous talent for creating realistic settings and characters that just welcome the reader into their midst.

     Hidden Springs, Kentucky is a delightful small town where everyone knows everyone else. It is filled with a lot of very quirky characters. Michael Keane is a solid man with very clear thinking and a desire to sort out the mystery that has been dumped in his lap. He wants to keep all the residents of Hidden Springs safe.

     There is a nice balance of humor and concern for safety. The humor comes from the different personalities and all their little habits. The concern is based mainly in not believing that anyone in their little town could commit murder.

     There were a lot of twists to the story that really kept me guessing throughout the book. Each character was presented in such a way that I felt that I knew them and I couldn’t believe any of them capable of committing murder either. I actually felt shocked at the outcome and heartbroken at the feeling of betrayal by the lies that had been perpetrated.

     I will definitely be looking forward to reading the rest of this series. I will also look for any other books written by this author. This wonderful book is getting a rating of 5 stars from me. I’m highly recommending it.

     You can learn more about Ann’s books on her website at: http://www.annhgabhart.com/

Monday, May 2, 2016

Emergency Response (First Responders #4) by Susan Sleeman

Title: Emergency Response (First Responders #4)
Author: Susan Sleeman
Pages: 224
Release Date: May 1, 2016 (eBook), May 10, 2016 (paperback)
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense
Format: Paperback (also available in eBook)
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the book:

     On her way to visit a little girl she recently helped save, paramedic Darcie Stephens is attacked by a stranger dead-set on killing her. She escapes unscathed when detective Noah Lockhart comes to her rescue, but an officer finds a hit list dropped by the assailant – and Darcie’s name is next. Now with an assassin constantly on their heels, Darcie and Noah must uncover why somebody wants her dead. Noah fights hard to protect Darcie, but she’s determined to keep the cop at arm’s length. After all she’s lost, she’s afraid to love again, especially a handsome lawman with a guarded heart. And a murderer doesn’t plan to let Darcie live long enough for any second chances.

My review:

     An incredible adrenaline rush!

     This book is only connected to the previous books in the series is the fact that the main characters from the earlier books are now secondary characters. The plot for this book is a stand-alone story.

     I loved getting to know Darcie better. I liked her when I first met her in book one of the series. Now that I know her story I love her. She is carrying a huge amount of hurt that has shaped who she is.

     Noah is a very solid and dependable man. Yet he is holding onto guilt for a decision that he made years ago. That is keeping him from moving on in his personal life.

     I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that both Darcie and Noah believe in God and are seeking Him about how to deal with their personal pasts and move beyond them.

     The plot is extremely well laid out and presented. There are plenty of twists and turns that kept me guessing until the very end of the book.

     I have been enjoying this entire series. I have to give this newest installment a rating of 5 stars and I’m highly recommending it.

     You can find out more about Susan and her books at: http://www.susansleeman.com/