Still Life by Dani Pettrey

still-lifeI’m thoroughly  enjoying this series! I love how the books are closely connected and we get to see the build-up of each couple’s relationship. Still Life has such a great blend or romance and danger that made it a difficult book to put down. I really enjoyed the investigative side of the story and how the whole group works together to solve the crime. While this story is more focused around Parker and Avery, Declan, Griffin and the rest of the gang have big roles too.

Plot: Avery Tate shows up at an art exhibit in support of her best friend Skylar, who is the model for a well-known photographer, but Skylar never shows up. When the photographer claims that one of the pictures hanging up isn’t one he took and demands it be destroyed, Avery knows she must save the evidence. There’s something about the picture that makes Avery concerned for her friend’s safety. Crime scene investigator Parker Mitchell is one of the best at what he does.  While he enjoys working with Avery,Parker won’t let her get too close. As they dig deeper into Skylar’s disappearance, Avery’s past is unraveled and she fears it will drive Parker farther away.

Characters: Having been introduced to Avery and Parker in the previous story, they’ve had plenty of time to develop a great chemistry. Avery’s overcome a less than perfect past. Parker hasn’t completely gotten over losing his first love. They made a great team before, but they’ll have to risk their hearts if they’re going to work together again.

Content: This is a clean read. I’d consider it appropriate for any readers. Given that there’s a murder in the book, it contains a little violence, but nothing graphic.

Recommendation: I’d highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys romantic suspense. It’s the second book in the Chesapeake Valor series and I’d recommend reading them in order as there are some threads continued throughout the series.

Rating:  4.5/5 stars

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House. This review is my honest opinion.

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Top Reads of 2016

It’s hard to believe another year is almost over! I read so many good books this year that it was difficult to narrow it down, but here are my favorites, in no particular order. To learn more about any of these books, follow the links to my review.

Must Reads- These are the stories that I’d most highly recommend. In fact, just thinking about them makes me want to go re-read them immediately.

cold-shotYou're the One That I Want

where-two-hearts-meetAn Elegant Façade     

Cold Shot by Dani Pettrey As much as I enjoyed her first series, this book starts out even better. I’m looking forward to the next story.

You’re the One That I Want by Susan May Warren Never has a series of books made me shed so many tears as this one did, but I loved every one so much. This is the last book in the series and I’d definitely recommend reading them all in order.

Where Two Hearts Meet by Liz Johnson Prince Edward Island, romance, and excellent food. Need I say more? Caden is the closest heroine to myself I’ve ever met, so I absolutely adored this story.

An Elegant Façade by Kristi Ann Hunter If you enjoy Regency romance, this series is one of the best I’ve ever read. I loved the unique twist of seeing some events that happened in the last story through different characters’ perspectives.

Top Contemporary Romance This was a tough category to narrow down to my top four. As several excellent authors had a couple of books releasing this year, I’ve combined them. My top picks are:

Like Never Beforekeep-holding-onThe Goodbye Bridejust-a-kissthe-red-door-innsea rose lane

Like Never Before and Keep Holding On by Melissa Tagg The Walker Family series has been excellent. Who wouldn’t want to live in the charming quirky town of Maple Valley?

The Goodbye Bride and Just A Kiss by Denise Hunter If you enjoy plenty of kisses in your romance while still keeping it clean and inspirational, Denise Hunter is the author for you. I adored this series and was sorry to see it end.

The Red Door Inn by Liz Johnson The first book of the Prince Edward Island Dreams series is full of charm and emotion. And how about the gorgeous cover? I really need to visit someday.

Sea Rose Lane by Irene Hannon Hope Harbor is another one of those charming fictional towns that I’d love to move to. Irene Hannon is a top storyteller and writes both contemporary romance and suspense equally well.

Top Historical- While I didn’t read as many historical books this year, I did have a few that really stood out.

ReluctantDuchess_mck.indda-lady-unrivaledA Heart Most Certain

The Reluctant Duchess and A Lady Unrivaled by Roseanna M. White This author was a fantastic new discovery for me. I read The Reluctant Duchess and fell in love with the hero. And the heroine in A Lady Unrivaled was perfectly entertaining!

A Heart Most Certain by Melissa Jagears One of the more surprising stories for me, I didn’t expect this one to be as excellent as it was. I was anticipating a lighthearted romance, but this one had some great depth.

Top Suspense

hazardous-holidaytangled-websWithout Warning

Hazardous Holiday by Liz Johnson I really enjoyed the modern day marriage of convenience plot of this book. The suspense and danger was well written and felt realistic. Plus, Zach is a charming, honorable hero. Great book if you’re looking for a quick read.

Tangled Webs by Irene Hannon You know a story is well written when you’re sympathizing with the villain as you learn his motivations. Great conclusion to an excellent suspenseful series.

Without Warning by Lynette Eason If you enjoy strong heroines, this one’s for you. The team of female bodyguards this series is focused around make for some interesting stories.

What about you? Which great books did you read this year? Do you agree or disagree with my picks? I know there are so many more that I didn’t get a chance to read. Otherwise I’m sure they would’ve been included. Check back next year for the upcoming books I’m looking forward to most eagerly. Wishing you all a very happy New Year! May you all be blessed with plenty of good books to read.

 

An Elegant Façade by Kristi Ann Hunter *Plus Giveaway Links*

An Elegant Façade

I’ve found one of my new favorite authors!  An Elegant Façade is definitely going to be on my “Top Books of 2016′ list at the end of the year.  While reading this story, I was torn between wanting to find out what happens in the end and wishing it would last forever.  An excellent story teller, Kristi Ann Hunter took an unlikeable character from her previous books, peeled back the layers and turned Georgina Hawthorne into a great heroine.  I really enjoyed the unique beginning to the story, where we see events from the previous book happening from the perspectives of Georgina and Colin.

Plot:  Georgina Hawthorne is coming out in society this season and she has plans to marry well and quickly.  She’s been hiding her ‘shortcoming’ and knows she may only have one chance at this before her secret is revealed, leaving her undesirable to London’s elite.  Colin McCrae has money and business connections, but no family pedigree, leaving him on Continue reading

Top Reads of 2015

2015 was a great reading year for me! I read a lot more books than I have in a long time, and branched out with some new-to-me authors.  Here are my picks for the best books published last year. If you haven’t read these yet, I’d highly recommend any of them.

 Top in Contemporary Romance:

 A Love Like Ours by Becky Wade- This book was just the perfect romance for me. I adore stories of childhood friends that grow up and find a romance blossoming between them. Jake and Lyndie are both extremely likeable, albeit stubborn at times. I enjoyed the look into the unfamiliar worlds of PTSD and horse racing.

Jaded by Varina Denman- This was a powerfully moving story based on church hurt and what can happen when the people of the church get in the way of God, pushing others away instead of drawing them into the fold. This book really made me think about how our actions, as Christians, speak louder than words and what far reaching consequences those actions can have. Full Review

Together With You by Victoria Bylin- An emotionally moving story with themes of forgiveness, healing and redemption, Together With You also delves into Fetal Alcohol effects, and I thought the author did a great job of informing in a manner that was part of the story and didn’t bog it down with details. It was very enjoyable reading, full of substance and conflict. The characters were flawed, hurting and made mistakes, but they learned their lessons and grew throughout the story.  Full Review

 Romantic Suspense:

By Your Side by Candace CalvertI love the blend of medical drama, suspense and romance in her stories. I adored Fletcher Holt. He’s probably one of my favorite fictional heroes of all time. I love how he feels compelled to do the right thing and takes his job as an officer seriously.

Web of Deceit by Susan Sleeman-  This is a general market release, not Inspirational, but it’s still clean.  It was an interesting look into the world of cyber criminals. Sam was my favorite character. He’s out of his element investigating this case as he’s not very technologically savvy, but I liked that he wasn’t afraid to admit it and ask questions when he didn’t understand.  Full Review

Sabotaged by Dani Pettrey– This was an action-packed adventure through the Alaskan wilderness, following the Iditarod. Full of suspense, danger, romance and enough plot twists to keep me guessing, this book was difficult to put down. Well written and fast paced, the book doesn’t get bogged down by too much detail, giving the reader just what they need to know. Full Review

 Historical:

Not by Sight by Kate Breslin- This book was so much better than I ever expected it to be.  I felt the back cover description didn’t do justice to the story within.  Kate Breslin created such an interesting cast of characters and wove together a story that kept me guessing.  I loved taking this journey with Jack and Grace as they both faced up to the mistakes of the past and changed for the better. If you enjoy WWI  historical fiction, intrigue, British estates and countryside, or ‘Beauty and the Beast’ type stories, I’d highly recommend this book! Full Review

A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter-  This book had it all: intrigue, romance, an interesting cast of characters and a well paced storyline.  I can’t think of a single thing I’d change to make it better.  There were also some interesting twists and the story was filled with humor.  This was not a typical Regency romance.  It was packed with spies, intrigue, danger and suspense.  Full Review

At Love’s Bidding by Regina Jennings-  While filled with humor and crazy situations, At Love’s Bidding also has plenty of heart.  The characters were fun, but they also had depth and interesting back stories.  I really enjoyed sharing the adventures with them.  This is a great blend of historical western and amusing storyline. Full Review

To Win Her Favor by Tamera Alexander  This story had the perfect blend of historically accurate stories, an element of faith and realistic characters that I can relate to. Tamera Alexander’s stories have that perfect balance where I’m both entertained and educated in a way that it’s just part of the story. To Win Her Favor was an enjoyable book that kept me enthralled. Full Review

My Favorites and most highly recommended:

Married ’til Monday by Denise Hunter This book brings together the fun and adventure of a road trip combined with a last chance for reconciliation. It had fun, lighthearted moments mixed in with some great romantic tension.  Denise Hunter always does romance well, keeping it swoon-worthy without crossing the line.

The Wonder of You by Susan May Warren This is the fifth book in the Christiansen Series, and they all have been phenomenally good.  The stories have been so emotionally gripping, full of moments that can break your heart with enough happy endings to balance it out.  Adored all of these stories and they will probably continue to be ones I recommend the most.  I wanted to get a full review written, but that hasn’t happened yet.

 Falling Like Snowflakes by Denise Hunter Once again, she shows why she’s one of my favorite authors.  A swoon-worthy hero, secretive mother travelling with her mute son, and brothers that don’t always get along combine for a delightful adventure.  This story had a little more suspense and danger than I’m used to from Denise Hunter, but I enjoyed every bit of it. Full Review

From the Start by Melissa Tagg  I love how she throws so many old movie references into the story. As a fellow lover of the classics, it’s like running into a good friend unexpectedly.  It was perfection with the blend of humor and romance, yet the characters have trials they’re going through.  If you enjoy classic movies, humor and romance, you’re going to love Melissa Tagg.    Full Review