Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Book Review: Deadly Pursuit by Irene Hannon

Deadly Pursuit by Irene Hannon
Revell, September 1st 2011

As a social worker, Alison Taylor has a passion for protecting children and seeing that justice is served on their behalf. But when she starts getting harassing phone calls and bizarre "gifts," it seems she may be the one in need of protection. When her tormentor's attentions take a violent turn, her brother Cole comes to her aid, along with his new partner, an ex-Navy SEAL, Detective Mitch Morgan. As her relentless stalker turns up the heat, Mitch takes a personal interest in the case. Protecting Alison has become more than just a job--because his own happiness now depends on keeping her safe.

Ages ago, I realized I had started reviewing Irene Hannon's first six books published in Inspirational Romance Suspense. I only got the first four done! Lucky for me, I decided to reread Deadly Pursuit and Lethal Legacy and it was wonderful to discover that I hadn't reviewed them, like I thought I had. So folks, here is my review of Deadly Pursuit.

My second favourite in the book in the Guardians of Justice series. Having met Alison in Fatal Judgment, it was really good to get to read her story. I like Alison, she's spunky and strong without being too much of either. She's a great central character and Irene Hannon does a great job of giving her depth and emotion, especially as she deals with her life after the car accident. When she meets smooth as honey Mitch (this is one smooth talker - but in a good way!), her personal safety is being threatened. Mitch and her brother Cole set out to find the person behind the threats.

Mitch is an interesting hero. He's not my favourite that I've come across in Irene's books. He's got some awesome lines though that just turn Alison to mush and would probably make any girl fall for him. He's a strong character, someone with values and a strong sense of justice. As much as I liked him, he didn't quite capture me fully. Who knows, why really? Maybe, I've met some other hero's that just captured my attention from the get go and Mitch didn't quite make it for me. That's not to say he's not a good character just not my favourite. But I'm sure there are others out there that adored him as much as Alison does!

The pace of the novel moves along nicely and tension is built steadily as the novel progresses. Overall, a solid read!

Finally I must give a warning out to animal lovers. There is a scene involving animals that might cause some readers distress. 


Jess' favourite genre is contemporary women's fiction and contemporary romance fiction. She also enjoys historical fiction with a focus on romance. She loves books set in country towns or farms with a cowboy featured in either historical or contemporary settings.

She is currently writing her first novel, a contemporary women's fiction/romance set in a small country town.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Book Review: Strand of Deception by Robin Caroll

Strand of Deception by Robin Caroll
B&H Publishing Group, March 1 2013

When Gina Ford, the daughter of a prominent Tennessee politician, goes missing from the University of Memphis a week after another girl was murdered on the same campus, police call in the FBI. Nick Hagar, married to his job as Special Agent in Charge, is assigned to the case, and when Gina’s body is found, her father demands justice.

Maddie Baxter is the forensic expert running DNA tests from the crime scene. When they come back without a match, Nick asks her to do a familial DNA run that yields a shocking result: the prime suspect is Adam Alexander, the very same guy who broke Maddie’s heart when she was in college.

But do scientific advancements tell the whole story? Strand of Deception offers romance, suspense, and a lively debate about the impact of DNA testing, for better or worse, on the United States justice system.


The third and final book in Robin Caroll's Justice Seeker Series. This one is my favourite hands down! It was a little different from the previous two books in the series, which for me lent it a realism that wasn't quite there in the other books (not a bad thing, just a good different). The thing that stood out for me was the lack of climax, but this was actually a good thing.Which is weird, as minimal or no climax usually results in dissatisfying reading. I was dissatisfied at all! In fact, had the book had a traditional climax, it would have detracted from the book. For me, the way the book ended suited the way the book started - clear, concise and genuine.

I also really liked Nick Hagar and Maddie Baxter. They were so cute together and they felt more like a genuine couple trying to figure out how to get their lives to mesh. It does get sorted out and with a very nice happy ending. This book had me smiling at parts and curious to the science going on (I'm not a science person at all). It was a pleasure to read!

Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this novel for review.  I was in no way obliged to give a positive review.


Jess' favourite genre is contemporary women's fiction and contemporary romance fiction. She also enjoys historical fiction with a focus on romance. She loves books set in country towns or farms with a cowboy featured in either historical or contemporary settings.

She is currently writing her first novel, a contemporary women's fiction/romance set in a small country town.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Book Review: Love Finds You at Home for Christmas

Love Finds You at Home for Christmas by Annalisa Daughety and Gwen Ford Faulkenberry
Summerside Press, October 1, 2012

Love finds a home in two heartwarming stories of Christmas past and present.

"Sweet Southern Christmas"
Both Ruby and Cliff have returned home to their small Arkansas town after serving in World War II. As snow blankets the town and Christmas draws near, will their wounded hearts find healing and love?

"Small-Town Christmas"
Sophia never expected to return to her hometown, but she's converting her grandparents' Victorian mansion into a café. Then her childhood friend Jon walks into her café and back into her life. As Christmas descends upon the Ozark hills, Jon woos Sophie with a tender love that makes her feel like she's come home.


I recently reviewed both these authors. A Wedding Date in Hot Springs, Arkansas by Annalisa Daughety and Love Finds You In Romeo, Colorado by Gwen ford Faulkenberry and I loved them both. So when I was browsing the local book store and saw that these two ladies had collaborated on a book together, well there was no stopping me from purchasing it.

Each story was thoughtfully and lovingly told. In Sweet Southern Christmas, Daughety tells the lovely tale of Ruby and Cliff, who are really good friends who eventually find their way to each other. I really loved the way the friendship was explored, it seemed to me like a friendship first then love. Even though they were attracted to each other, especially Cliff more than Ruby, their friendship took center stage and it was a joy to watch. By the time they figured out their feelings and how to make it work, you wanted them together.

Small-Town Christmas by Faulkenberry was just a beautifully and thoughtfully rendered Love finds You in Romeo, Colorado. Again she takes things slowly but with purpose. Jon and Sophia quietly jumped off the page and landed in my heart. Their friendship of a lifetime was picked up so well after years of distance. When you read the book you feel like these two respect each other and are eager to meet the people they became as adults. Jon still holds feelings for Sophia and it's great to watch her figure out her own feelings as they cement their friendship. The steps to their romance seemed so natural, like it was just the right progression in their lives. Wonderfully written.

When I finished this book I had this thought:

This is what I want my readers to feel about my books. These books don't break records, they don't overstate or understate, they are not flashy - but they are wonderfully told stories that just settle in beside you like an old friend; like they were always meant to be there. This is what story telling for me is.


Jess' favourite genre is contemporary women's fiction and contemporary romance fiction. She also enjoys historical fiction with a focus on romance. She loves books set in country towns or farms with a cowboy featured in either historical or contemporary settings.

She is currently writing her first novel, a contemporary women's fiction/romance set in a small country town.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Book Review: To Write a Wrong by Robin Caroll

To Write a Wrong by Robin Caroll
B & H Publishing Group, Sept 15 2012

In Angola State Penitentiary, a man is serving time for a crime he didn't commit. Riley Baxter is an eager reporter desperate for a story to make a name for herself. When she stumbles upon the daughter of the incarcerated man, Riley sees a little too much of herself in the teen, and vows to help prove her father's innocence.

At the same time, Hayden Simpson has his hands full with keeping his little sister in line, worrying about his job as Police Commissioner, and dealing with his past emotional baggage. The last thing he needs is someone blowing the lid off his emotional bucket. But when Riley Baxter storms into his life, struggling to understand why God would let bad things happen to good people, Hayden has no choice but to follow his heart.

Now, Riley and Hayden must work together to uncover the truth of the past . . . before someone shuts Riley up for good. 


This is the second book in Robin Caroll's Justice Seeker's Series and I really liked this one. For some reason the first book in the series didn't grab me. After reading this second book, I think for whatever reasons Robin Caroll found her footing in this book with the series rather than the first. From the outset, the characters are engaging and the story line trots along at a nice pace. I really enjoyed seeing a different side to Hayden's sister Emily. When we first met her, she wasn't very nice to say the least. This time around, we see more of her and I came to really like her. Riley is good for Emily, good for Hayden too - that's important as he is good for her as well!

It was an interesting story for me to read. Being an Australian, I don't understand America's healthcare system at all. So, parts of this in the story was lost on me, but overall a compelling story. I'm looking forward to reading the last book in this series!

Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this novel for review.  I was in no way obliged to give a positive review.


w
Jess' favourite genre is contemporary women's fiction and contemporary romance fiction. She also enjoys historical fiction with a focus on romance. She loves books set in country towns or farms with a cowboy featured in either historical or contemporary settings.

She is currently writing her first novel, a contemporary women's fiction/romance set in a small country town.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Book Review: The House That Love Built by Beth Wiseman

The House that Love Built by Beth Wiseman
Thomas Nelson, April 2, 2013
 
Brooke has only loved one man. Owen’s heart is filled with bitterness. Can a mysterious house bring them together for a second chance at love?

In the small town of Smithville, Texas, Brooke Holloway is raising six-year-old Meghan and ten-year-old Spencer on her own two years after her husband's death. Being a single-mom and running the family’s local hardware store keep her busy.
While Meghan longs for a daddy, Spencer has threatened to run away if Brooke even goes out on a date. But the last thing on Brooke’s mind is falling in love. When a stranger moves to town and buys a house with a mysterious past, Brooke can’t contain her curiosity. As she spends time with the new owner, she wonders if maybe God is giving her another chance at happiness.

Owen Saunders fled the big city to start over in a small, rural town famous for baking the world’s largest gingerbread man. Then he bought an old house to restore—for all the wrong reasons. If anything needs restoration, it is Owen’s heart in the aftermath of his failed marriage. With little hope and lost faith, Owen is tempted by happiness when he meets Brooke, but his heart remains sealed shut.

As they learn more about Owen’s house, one thing becomes obvious to both of them: God has put them together for a reason.

This is my first Beth Wiseman book and I quite liked it. There was much to like about this book. Both Owen and Brooke are coming to terms with loss - his divorce and the death of her husband. They are also struggling with their growing feelings for each other, while trying to sort out the craziness of life around them. Brooke's son doesn't wanting her looking at another man, much less dating one, Owen has taken on the town troubled teen to help him with his house. It's a beautiful friendship that is formed between this young man and Owen. 

Themes of forgiveness, bitterness, hope, trust and new beginnings run through this book. There are a few twists in this book and for the most part they work well with the story. I like Beth's style of writing, it's engaging and draws the reader into the lives of these characters.

A lovely book.
Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this novel for review.  I was in no way obliged to give a positive 

review.


Jess' favourite genre is contemporary women's fiction and contemporary romance fiction. She also enjoys historical fiction with a focus on romance. She loves books set in country towns or farms with a cowboy featured in either historical or contemporary settings.

She is currently writing her first novel, a contemporary women's fiction/romance set in a small country town.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Book Review: Barefoot Summer by Denise Hunter

Barefoot Summer by Denise Hunter
Thomas Nelson, May 28 2013

Madison’s heart has been closed for years. But one summer can change everything.

In the years since her twin brother’s drowning, Madison McKinley has struggled to put it behind her. Despite the support of her close-knit family and her gratifying job as a veterinarian in their riverside town, the loss still haunts her.

To find closure, Madison sets out to fulfill her brother’s dream of winning the town’s annual regatta. But first she has to learn to sail, and fast.

Beckett O’Reilly knows Madison is out of his league, but someone neglected to tell his heart. Now she needs his help—and he’ll give it, because he owes her far more than she’ll ever know.

Madison will do anything—even work with the infamous Beckett O’Reilly—to reach her goal. And as much as she’d like to deny it, the chemistry between them is electrifying. As summer wanes, her feelings for him grow and a fledgling faith takes root in her heart.

But Beckett harbors a secret that will test the limits of their new love. Can their romance survive summer’s challenges? And will achieving her brother’s dream give Madison the peace she desperately seeks?

Another great read by my go-to author for romance - Denise Hunter. In fact, every time I read a new book of hers, I'm inspired to go back to my favorite book of hers - Sweetwater Gap. It's winter here, so it's nice to pick up a book saturated in summer and romance. Makes our dreary days go a little faster!

I liked this story - I liked Madison and the issues she was dealing with. She felt like a woman with heart and depth and I liked her history with Beckett - what a nice touch! She felt like a real person, struggling with real stuff and that stuff interrupts her life on all levels - as it does in real life. My only quibble was with her family. Too many people for me to keep track of well. Maybe the next book in the series I will be able to know who's who better.

Beckett, didn't steal my heart. He was a great romantic lead, but for me there was something lacking in him. I'm not even sure what that is at this point. I did love how he patiently taught Madison to overcome her debilitating fear of water. He is misunderstood and having lived with the stigma of the bad boy of high school, he struggles to overthrow it into adulthood. It's also very possible, people in town never quite believe he's changed. I liked the story with his father. It was hard but touching to see a relationship begin to slowly repair.

You have written another great book Denise and I'm keen to read more in this series. Thanks!


Jess' favourite genre is contemporary women's fiction and contemporary romance fiction. She also enjoys historical fiction with a focus on romance. She loves books set in country towns or farms with a cowboy featured in either historical or contemporary settings.

She is currently writing her first novel, a contemporary women's fiction/romance set in a small country town.