The Red Door Inn by Liz Johnson

Red-Door-Inn-Cover
Isn’t that cover gorgeous?

 

First thoughts: I’ve always wanted to visit Prince Edward Island, and running a bed and breakfast has seemed like my kind of dream job, so a book that combines the two was perfection for me.  I quickly fell in love with the characters and setting of this story and I didn’t want it to end.  As the story unraveled the pasts of the characters, I couldn’t wait to learn more about them and figure out how they would overcome.  The quaint setting of North Rustico is so inviting and the islanders were so welcoming that I wanted to pack my bags and join them!  Sometimes while reading a book, I think of things I would have done differently if I were writing the story, but not with Red Door Inn!  I loved everything about it.

Plot:  Marie Carrington is down on her luck, the money she has left to her name isn’t even enough to buy her a ferry ticket to Prince Edward Island or lunch.  An older man strikes up a conversation at the terminal, introduces himself as Jack Sloane and asks her opinion on colors for the bed and breakfast he’s planning to open.  When Marie shows an eye for that sort of thing, Jack hires her on the spot and offers her a room at the inn until they can get it up and running.  Upon arrival, Marie is disappointed to learn that Jack’s nephew Seth is also staying there.  She has reasons to dislike men.  Seth is wary of the stranger, sure she’s trying to take advantage of his uncle.  Sparks fly as the two battle, and the unlikely trio struggle to prepare the inn in time for it’s opening day.

Characters:  Each of the main characters had issues and heartbreak from the past which immediately earned my sympathy.  Marie and Seth were adorable together, as they’re fighting and then gradually becoming friends.   I also enjoyed having an unexpected second romance blossoming in the story.  (I won’t mention any names so you can be surprised.)   I loved the supporting characters, especially Caden.  The moment Caden invited Marie into the bakery, I was really hoping that she would get her own story later in the series.  (She does in the next book!)

 Recommendation:  I’d strongly recommend reading this book if you enjoy inspirational romance.  I liked the spiritual journey that Marie was on.  It was well written and a natural part of the story.  I do feel it’s only fair to issue you this warning: Caden works in a bakery.  There are descriptions of baked goods that will make your mouth water.  (I was really craving cinnamon rolls while reading this book.)

Rating:  5/5 stars

 The Red Door Inn is now available as an e-book.  Paper book releases soon.  Kindle Book

For more on the author, her books, or to connect with her online, check out these links:

http://www.lizjohnsonbooks.com/

https://www.facebook.com/lizjohnsonbooks

https://twitter.com/lizjohnsonbooks

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/203132.Liz_Johnson

Cold Shot by Dani Pettrey

cold-shot

First thoughts:  Cold Shot just became one of my favorite books I’ve ever read.  I really enjoyed the Alaskan Courage series from this author and I feel like she stepped it up another notch or two with this story.  It  was exceptionally well done, with an intricate plot that kept me reading late into the night.  The characters were all so deeply fleshed out, with enough history and chemistry between them to keep things very interesting.

Plot:  Former SWAT sniper Griffin McCray is now a park ranger at Gettysburg, a job that should be quieter, until he discovers what’s left of a body buried there.  As it’s clearly more recent than the Civil War, he calls in forensic anthropologist Finley Scott to examine the remains.  The two quickly find themselves in over their heads with this investigation and FBI agent Declan Gray and crime scene analyst Parker Mitchell, two of Griffin’s college buddies, are called in to assist.  There’s clearly more going on than they realize, and soon it’s apparent that the killer plans to eliminate them all.

This story held me captivated the whole way through with plenty of action, an investigation that was interesting and informative, plenty of raw emotion from the characters, and enough mystery and twists to keep me guessing.  I loved meeting all the characters and can’t wait to learn more about Declan and Parker in the coming books.    I really enjoyed how they all had to play a part in solving the crime, not just Griffin and Finley.   The only thing I don’t like is having to wait until the next book.

Recommendation:  I’d strongly recommend Cold Shot to those who enjoy romantic suspense.  The details of the investigation reminded me of a CSI show.  For the more sensitive readers, there is slight descriptions of forensic details, as a skeleton is discovered, but nothing too creepy.  Also, there are a few unanswered questions about the history of Griffin, Declan and Parker, so if that will bother you, maybe wait until the series is completed to read them all.

Rating:  6/5 stars  (Yes, six!)  I can do that, right?

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.

Thin Ice by Irene Hannon

Thin Ice

Irene Hannon is one of the best at romantic suspense and Thin Ice is an expertly crafted story that will keep you turning the pages.  It was well-paced with plenty of twists and it kept me intrigued until the end.  I loved that the hero was a brand new FBI agent on his first case.   It was an interesting perspective to see him learning the ropes through this investigation.  I liked having the bad guy’s point of view as well as the main characters.  Even knowing the bad guy’s name, there were still the unanswered questions of why he’s targeting Christy and how he’s connected to her, so the story stayed unpredictable.

 Plot:  Christy Reed’s sister Ginny was killed in a house fire just a few months after their parents died in a car accident.  Six months later she receives a letter, addressed in Ginny’s handwriting claiming her sister is still alive.  When Christy seeks help from the FBI, she contacts Lance McGregor, who’s just joined the bureau after ending his career in Special Forces.  It quickly becomes apparent that Christy has a stalker who will stop at nothing to get his revenge. 

 I’d highly recommend reading this book if you enjoy romantic suspense.  The second book in the Men of Valor series, it can stand alone, but you’ll probably want to read Buried Secrets first.  I’ve enjoyed the close knit family of McGregor brothers and how the stories are tied together, so we get a better introduction to Finn’s life and can anticipate his adventures coming up next.

Rating: 5/5 stars

With This Ring? Novella Collection

With This Ring

I always love when a good novella collection featuring  a beloved author introduces me to similar writers.  I’ve enjoyed Regina Jennings and Mary Connealy’s historical westerns with touches of humor and I was glad to find the stories from Melissa Jagears and Karen Witemeyer are just as entertaining.  These four novellas all revolve around couples where the path to love runs rough, but will be sure to draw a few laughs.

The Husband Maneuver by Karen Witemeyer:  Marietta Hawkins has a crush on her father’s ranch foreman, partly because of what she actually knows of the man, and partly from the dime novels based on his earlier life when he was known as Dead-Eye Dan.  Daniel Barrett despises the stories written about him, more fiction than fact, and he’d rather forget about his days as a bounty hunter.  He’s ready to move on with his life, leave the ranch and build his own spread.  Marietta has one last chance before he goes to win his heart, but her love of the dime novels may get in the way.  I really enjoyed how the story included little snippets from the novels at the beginning of chapters, showing the contrast between the fictionalized and real man.  The characters were nicely developed, so even for  a novella, I felt like I knew them well.  She has a great writing style.  I am looking forward to reading more books by Karen Witemeyer.

Her Dearly Unintended by Regina Jennings:   Katie Ellen is taking care of the family farm while her parents are away.  When neighbor Josiah comes over to check on her, the bridge washes out, stranding the pair.  A suspicious-looking stranger has Josiah fearing for Katie Ellen’s safety, so the two pretend to be newlyweds in order for Josiah to keep her safe.  Only problem is, the pair can barely get along, so convincing the stranger will take a lot of effort.  Regina Jennings part in this collection is what made me want to read this book.  Josiah and Katie Ellen’s story was my favorite, a couple of childhood best friends that grew apart .  I enjoyed how they kept their sense of humor, even with a dangerous stranger watching them.

Runaway Bride by Mary Connealy:  Carrie is being pressured into a marriage she doesn’t want, so when she decides to run away, she writes to her sister for help.  Carrie and younger brother Issac sneak out one night and run into Big John, the Texas Ranger sent by their sister to help them cross country to safety.  I enjoyed all the characters in this story, main and supporting.  I wanted to know more of their stories, which I’m hoping will be connected in the rest of the Kincaid Brides Series.

Engaging the Competition by Melissa Jagears:  Harrison and Charlotte (AKA Charlie) have been competing since they were kids in school.  Charlie is in danger of losing her family home, which would be devastating to her ailing mother, so she plans to marry August Whitacre.  While taking refuge in Charlie’s barn during a storm, Harrison’s glasses get broken, leaving him nearly blind.  Feeling responsible, Charlie agrees to help Harrison with his teaching job until he can get replacement glasses.  This was my first time reading anything by Melissa Jagears.  I highly enjoyed this story.  I love that she gave the main character a physical flaw, being nearly blind without glasses.  This was a charming novella, and I will be looking for more books to read from this author.

Recommendation:  I’d highly recommend this collection to anyone who enjoys light-hearted reads and old west cowboys.  This is a great way to test out some authors that may be new to you.  Who knows, you may discover a few new favorites like I did.  This is one of the best novella collections I’ve read.

Rating:  5/5 stars

I received a free copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review.