Featured

Why I Like to Read

I think that I have always enjoyed reading, or at least I cannot remember a time when I did not like it. I was born with asthma so I was limited in the number of activities I was allowed to do, and reading was a safe one for me, so I immersed myself in books from a very young age.  I read all of the Bobbsey Twin books, then went on to read Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys.  I shared my mother’s love of Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney.  For a while, when I was a young wife, I read a lot of romance, including Danielle Steel and others.  I now read a lot of Christian fiction, mysteries, thrillers, and some non-fiction occasionally.  I read a lot of books from the library and post reviews on Goodreads.  I also read for Netgalley and love to be chosen to read some of the latest books before they are available to the general public.  So, I will share some reviews here as well as some of the happenings of my daily life that keep me reading as an escape.  I relax with a good book and forget that I had a stroke and could die any day, or maybe not.  I count my blessings daily that I have lived this long and that I have lived to see the birth of eight grandchildren and have enjoyed so many books. I am just taking one day at a time and one book at a time and loving the life that God has given me.

 

Review of COLDWATER by Samuel Parker

This is not the kind of book I usually read, although the Christian genre drew me to read it. However, from the first chapter, it did not seem Christian at all, except in that it pitted evil versus good. With all the death and darkness throughout the book, at times it was hard to tell the difference between those who were evil and those who were good. The story is about a young man named Michael who spent time in the prison system as a boy and who has now returned to his hometown of Coldwater. But he is hated there, with a hate that is so visceral that it is hard to imagine how someone so young could have so many people hating him and trying to destroy him. It has a satisfying conclusion, but is such a dark novel that it was hard for me to read it. I did see some parts of the novel that were an allegory for the life of Jesus, but you will have to read it yourself to see if you also notice this allegory.

Disclaimer

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

99A906D6-A7A8-4629-99BC-1B4ADFFC3FF33C31538E-BCCB-48CC-B7DE-07B8B8F365E3

 

 

Review of THE LYING KIND by Alison James

This debut novel is available now from your local bookseller!

This is Book 1 of the Detective Inspector Rachel Prince series from debut novelist Alison James. Knowing from the beginning that there will be more novels featuring this character really kept me interested in her quirky character. She works well with her partner Detective Sargeant Mark Brickall. Injured from the beginning of the book while she is out running, Rachel does not let her leg injury stop her from running after clues. She has been tasked with finding out what happened to missing child Lola Jade Harper and hopefully bring her home alive. Her methods of detection are not always what you would expect because Rachel thinks outside of the box. She is single-minded, focusing on finding the little girl before it’s too late. But when the unthinkable happens and another child disappears, Rachel’s job becomes one of cat and mouse. She has to be smarter than the perpetrator, and it is amazing to see how she works things out. The author throws in a lot of red herrings and just when you think you have the mystery figured out, there. Is a twist. The end and the revelation of the criminal was such a surprise that I never saw it coming. Although Rachel is not a particularly magnetic character, she is likeable and eccentric. I am sure that the author has a winning series with Rachel Prince at the center of it!

806A61F6-D352-4EA8-A40C-8A4223BBA53BB81EB537-D1A7-47B7-8F23-B3DF39C21FB4Disclaimer

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

 

 

Review of WICKED RIVER by Jenny Milchman

This thriller by Jenny Milchman will be available at your favorite bookseller on May 1, 2018.

When one thinks of a special wedding and honeymoon, this book is not one that you want to use as your guide. Natalie and Doug Larson get married at a nice little bed and breakfast in the middle of nowhere. Then, they set out for an adventure honeymoon into the Adirondack Mountains. That is where the honeymoon starts going downhlll. Doug loses the GPS, they discover a dead man in the woods, they are hiking more than they are paddling the canoe so they abandon it. So much is already going wrong when their savior appears in the form of a man whom Natalie believes is a homeless vagabond. But Kurt is much more than that; he has lived in the woods for over a year and is a survivor, no matter what he has to do to be able to survive. Natalie and Doug quickly discover that Kurt is not the man he seems and that they must try to escape from his clutches before horrible things happen to them. Kurt is studying them psychologically and nothing that he does to them evokes real emotion; they are just case studies to him. But Natalie and Doug are lost in a wilderness and getting away is harder than they could have ever imagined. This book was written with a realistic tone that was scary and mesmerizing at the same time. The horror was there, but so was the pathos for Doug and Natalie who are a couple that just got married and who may not live to see an anniversary. Natalie was the more sympathetic character since she knew absolutely nothing about this whole adventure thing and this honeymoon was the brainchild of Doug. I also really liked her niece Mia who would not give up searching for her. This teen girl was portrayed as curious and a loner of sorts, preferring her online media to real personal contact. Again, this was such a realistic portrayal that I could actually imagine this girl’s words as she spoke them and was not surprised by the actions she took in her quests to find Natalie and Doug. This is an excellent novel that is not for the weak heart or weak stomach.

Disclaimer

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

445A0DE0-6EB2-4A6A-A8DE-B14EEC707A1A

B81EB537-D1A7-47B7-8F23-B3DF39C21FB4

Review of BY THE BOOK by Julia Sonneborn

Available at your favorite bookseller on February 6, 2018.

Anne Corey is a professor at Fairfax College, a small college in California. Her life is about to change because her ex-fiancé Alex Martinez has become the president of the college. Anne is also under pressure to publish a book in order to keep her job. Her romantic interlude with visiting professor Richard Chasen is just what the doctor ordered since Rick has a publisher at Oxford that he can use to help Anne publish. Anne faces all kinds of choices in this romantic novel that is a good read, but it is also thought-provoking about relationships and the importance of good friends. Anne’s best friend is the comic relief for the book. When things get too tense, Larry shows up and entertains the reader with his lifestyle (he’s gay) and his pursuit of love that is unrequited. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, although romances are not usually my genre to read. This book was more than a simple romance; it was a social commentary as well as a relaxing and entertaining novel.

Disclaimer

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

467B841C-958D-45C1-966D-A46BBE5ED9EE

B81EB537-D1A7-47B7-8F23-B3DF39C21FB4

Review of THE SILENT ROOM by Mari Hannah

A policeman has been arrested and charged, and on his way to prison, Jack Fenwick is abducted. His friend and partner Detective Lieutenant Matthew Ryan refuses to accept that Jack is a dirty cop and insists that he was not a party to the abduction, but is instead in grave danger. With a group of people who believe as he does, including a former policewoman named Grace and an MI5 operative named Newman, Matt is determined to find Jack and to discover the truth about his criminal case. What Matt finds is a conspiracy that is so big it is dangerous to his life and everyone around him. I have never read a Mari Hannah book before, so this was an intriguing but challenging read for me. I had difficulty keeping the characters straight and relating them to the confusing conspiracy that is unraveled slowly, like a ball of yarn. Entertaining and thought-provoking mystery/thriller.

Disclaimer

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

F2CD54B8-A955-4493-A95E-D5294E3F9F31

7B5E4D84-F955-4368-983F-20D8A5732717

This book is available now at your local bookseller!  

Review of LOOK FOR ME by Lisa Gardner

E6250C4B-BBDA-4DEF-AEDE-6FEFAEDE76BDB81EB537-D1A7-47B7-8F23-B3DF39C21FB4

This book is part of a series featuring Detective D.D. Warren.  It can be pre-ordered now and will be available at all booksellers on February 6, 2018. 

Synopsis

If I could rate a book higher than a 5, then this would be at least a 10! Lisa Gardner’s latest book in her D.D. Warren series is not just a mystery/thriller. It is also a social commentary on so many issues. Roxie Baez has a dysfunctional family, and the whole book is centered around her and her life. When her family is found murdered, at least everyone except her, she is the number one suspect. LOOK FOR ME becomes a cat and mouse game between Detective D.D. Warren, with quirky survivor Flora Dane thrown in as a confidential informant. The social commentary is fascinating and worked into the story so well that you want to keep reading to find out what happens to Roxie and the many ways the system has failed her. First her mom failed her, then the judicial and foster system failed her, and even her school was not a place of safety for her. So, where does a young girl find help when she is desperate. Enter another character who seems to be on the autism spectrum, but Mike Davis is her only friend in foster care, the one who warns her and tries to watch out for her. The author does an outstanding job of presenting the case against bullying by having two of the main characters, Roberto and Anya be so evil to Roxie from the time she first enters the foster care system. I was enthralled by the mystery as much as by the social commentary. The whole book has an “if only” kind of aura about it. But in the book, as in life, there are no “if only’s”. There is only the reality that is heart-breaking and eye-opening at the same time. Read the book for the mystery; remember the book for the lessons you can take away from it.

Review

This is without doubt the best D.D. Warren book that I have ever read and I have read all of them.  The story itself will draw you into the abyss that is Roxy’s life.  The characters are heroic and sympathetic.  I enjoyed the plot, but I was really attracted to the social commentary about the foster care system and how when it fails children, there can be vast repercussions.  I cheered, I cried, and I stayed up late at night to finish this book because I wanted to know the end of Roxy’s sad tale.  The reality is that this book presents a world in which sometimes the bad guys win, and there is no “Cinderella” ending.  My favorite character was the quirky and intriguing Flora Dane.  Flora, who survived her own attack and over a year of captivity, now runs a site online to help survivors learn how to cope in the world after surviving the unthinkable.  Flora is the narrator for part of the story, telling her part of the story in first person; the parts with Detective Warren featured are in third person.  Roxy has a story, too, so there is a story within the story, telling what a perfect family should be.  This book was a fascinating look at society, including those who cannot speak for themselves, young children and pets.  Yes, there are pets included, too.  A review would not be complete without mentioning Rosie and Blaze, Roxy’s pets, who in many ways are her salvation.  Buy the book to be entertained.  Read the book to enter a world that is unthinkably cruel.

Disclaimer

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

 

Review of BEST FRIENDS FOREVER by Margot Hunt

Alice is a suburban housewife with a husband who is kind, understanding, and budget-challenged. With two young children, Alice is absolutely thrilled when she makes a new friend in the tony neighborhood of Jupiter Beach, Florida. Kat is a wealthy heiress who runs an art gallery and who is happy to share her bounty with Alice. They go on a mini-vacation together, share secrets with each other and depend on each other for just about everything. But all is not as it appears, as the reader finds out when Kat’s husband Howard dies from an accidental fall from the balcony of his house. Just what do these ladies want from this friendship, and who will be disappointed? This book was a real eye-opener about relationships and how much you really know about your friends.

Disclaimer

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

96254146-EA9D-41E6-85E5-B4A9905B9B8C.jpeg

B81EB537-D1A7-47B7-8F23-B3DF39C21FB4

This psychological thriller is available for pre-order now and can be purchased on January 23, 2018 from your favorite bookseller.  

Review of OUT OF THE DARKNESS by Heather Graham

Sarah Hampton is very protective of her cousin Davey who has Down’s Syndrome, but when Davey wins tickets to the haunted mansion, Sarah and all of her friends accompany him to a night that they will never forget. One of the exhibits turns out to be all too real, with real victims that have been beheaded. And the animatronic figure in the room isn’t an automaton at all, but an escaped killer. Somehow, Davey saves the day and Sarah and all of her friends escape. Years later, they are reunited when one of their group, Hannah, has been found beheaded. Sarah had loved Tyler before the mayhem on Halloween, so she is grateful that he returns to NYC from Boston to assist in the investigation of Hannah’s murder. The friends know that Archibald Lemming is dead, so who is trying to kill them all now? The book was an entertaining read, easy to figure out what was going to happen in some cases, but with a real plot twist at the end.

Disclaimer

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

 

 

This Harlequin Intrigue book will be available on January 16, 2018 at your local favorite bookseller.  

Review of ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL by Sarah Vaughan

ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL is a fascinating look at the life and actions of an accused rapist and all of the people that his actions affect. James Whitehouse is a respected junior member of Parliament and a very good friend of the Prime Minister. When he is accused of rape, the accusation changes the lives of all around him. His wife Sophie has to make the choice to support him or to leave him. With two children, this is a difficult choice and one that makes the reader think, “What would I do?” The prosecutor has a personal reason to make sure that James is found guilty. The accuser actually loves James, so the time in court in heart-wrenching for her. The author asks the reader to examine the evidence and decide for yourself if James is actually guilty. Did Olivia say “no” and actually mean it? This is a great read that will keep you reading late into the night. And you will be choosing sides: the wife, the prosecutor, or James. Who is your favorite, and who is the most sympathetic and believable?

Disclaimer

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

3F0E5EC8-1BC5-43CE-B77A-E19C17F4DFEC.jpeg

B81EB537-D1A7-47B7-8F23-B3DF39C21FB4

This novel will be available at your favorite retailer on January 23, 2018.

Review of SILENT THREAT by Dana Marton

Annie Murray has moved to Broslin for a job and to be close to her family there. She is a quirky ecotherapist and animal lover who puts her beliefs into actions in her everyday life. Working for a rehab center for veterans with PTSD, Annie does not expect to have any real problems other than how to deal with the horrific past of her patients. But Annie is being stalked and is in danger from the stalker who has her in his crosshairs. Annie meets Cole at the rehab center and really falls for him hard, but she struggles to maintain her patient/therapist relationship while Cole struggles to overcome the nightmares of war that haunt him. Annie has a delightfully humorous daily caring time with a group of misfit animals that she has adopted. These include baby skunks, a one-eyed donkey, a pig and llamas. Her time with these animals is a period when the reader can relax from the fast-moving drama and danger presented in the regular plot of the book. SILENT THREAT was a great read with danger lurking constantly, a real love story and a realistic portrayal of the products of war on the minds of the men fighting.

Disclaimer

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

 

11E6B7A8-D600-41CA-AD3E-61D01DDDF788

B81EB537-D1A7-47B7-8F23-B3DF39C21FB4

 

This book is available free on Kindle Unlimited and is for sale at your favorite book retailer.