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.

The Candidate by Lis Wiehl

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I didn’t enjoy the first book of this series and I don’t know why I bothered reading this one. While the plot was interesting, it was difficult for me to get through. I didn’t really care about most of the characters because of the fact that I’m fed up with both politicians and the media. The story is told using the third person present tense, which I found annoying to read. I was also disappointed to see the romance that began in the previous book didn’t develop in this story.

Plot: In the middle of a hot Presidential race, journalist Erica Sparks begins to grow suspicious that there’s more to one of the candidates than what meets the eye. Something just seems off with his interview. When another potential candidate is brutally killed right in front of Erica, her curiosity won’t let her stop digging for the truth. Erica’s quest may put her in extreme danger, but if she stops, they win.

Content: While this book is from a Christian publisher, I’d consider it more for the general market. There wasn’t any mention of God and although the author doesn’t go into too much detail, a couple of the female characters are apparently in a relationship.

Recommendation: I can’t say I’d recommend this book to anyone. If you enjoy political thrillers, this book does have a good storyline and some interesting twists. I will not be reading any more from this author.

Rating:  2/5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the Thomas Nelson Fiction Guild. This review is my honest opinion.

Long Way Gone by Charles Martin

long-way-goneThis book was such a pleasant surprise! Martin is a new-to-me author, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was completely drawn into the story. Packed full of emotion, this modern day prodigal son story really tugs at the heartstrings.

 

 Plot: Cooper O’Connor grew up in the shadow of his father, a tent revival preacher. At eighteen, following an argument with his father, Cooper steals his favorite guitar and money , taking off for Nashville in search of his big break. Things don’t go as planned, but his pride won’t let Cooper go crawling back to his father. As he gradually scrapes his way to the top, he meets Daley Cross, an amazingly talented singer. Cooper shares a song he wrote with Daley which turns into a big hit. Tragedy strikes, ruining Cooper’s chances to win Daley’s heart and the two go their separate ways. Many years later, they’re reunited when Cooper returns home, but it may be too late for him to reconcile. Continue reading

Love Bears All Things by Beth Wiseman

love-bears-all-thingsAmish Fiction is one of my least favorite genres, so I didn’t really expect to like this book. I had hoped that this would be one of those that surprise me, but it still fell short. I did appreciate that the author showed some imperfections among the Amish characters, portraying them as real people that make mistakes and sin. However, there were too many situations that just didn’t feel very realistic for me to be able to enjoy the story. For example, the Amish man has an old truck sitting in his barn for years, and the main character is able to just take it out and drive it. Apparently they don’t need any kind of license plates or vehicle registrations in that area, because I’m pretty sure no real Amish would have a car registered in their name.

The dialog felt a little forced. I never like how they Continue reading

Unblemished by Sara Ella

unblemishedDo you ever start reading a book, then have to stop in the middle and check for other works by that author because the book is so good? That happened to me while reading Unblemished, and I was surprised to find that this is the author’s debut book. It was impressive! I don’t consider young adult fantasy one of my favorite genres, but after reading this, I may need to reevaluate that. I absolutely loved this story and can’t wait to see what happens next. The author did an excellent job of gradually revealing the storylines, building the new Reflection and developing the cast of characters. To top it all off, there are plenty of plot twists to keep the reader guessing and make the story more interesting.

Plot: Eliyana Ember is just trying to make it through high school. Having an ugly birthmark on her face, she prefers to blend into the background. When her mom dies, friend and neighbor Joshua David, three years her senior, becomes her legal guardian. Sneaking out one night with her best friend Quinn, Eliyana goes to a party and meets a guy that doesn’t seem to be bothered by her birthmark. Ky is friendly at first, but then Quinn abandons Eliyana and everything starts to get weird. Ky knows things about Eliyana’s mom and it becomes clear that Joshua’s not exactly who he says either. There’s another Reflection, a whole different world, in New York City, and Eliyana’s about to be transported there. In this new strange place, it’s not easy to tell who she can and can’t trust. Eliyana may not make it back to her home alive.

Characters:  Eliyana is a well-written character that earns the readers sympathy quickly when her mom dies. I liked having a teenage character that was physically imperfect, but smart and tough. The book is told entirely from her perspective. In order to not spoil anything, I’m not going to say much about the other characters except I really enjoyed their growth through the story.

Content:  This book didn’t have anything I’d consider inappropriate, even for teenage and pre-teen readers. While it’s from a Christian publisher, it could be a general market book. It has themes of good vs. evil, but no mention of God.

Recommendation: I’d strongly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy, whether you’re young or not. It’s the first of a three book series, and I can assure you, you will want to read the rest of them. (Book 2 comes out later this year!) I’d love to see this book become the next big thing and be turned into a movie.

Rating:  5/5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the Thomas Nelson Fiction Guild. This review is my honest opinion.

A Royal Christmas Wedding by Rachel Hauck *PLUS Giveaway*

This was a charming Christmas story. While it’s considered a novella, it reads like a complete book. I really enjoyed the setting of the story and the richness of the country’s tradition of ringing the bell. The characters were well-written and believable.

Plot: Avery Truitt’s reluctant to go to Brighton to visit her sister. Doing so will mean running into her ex-boyfriend Prince Colin, who happens to be her brother-in-law’s cousin. Both Avery and Colin’s heart were broken when they broke up, but now Colin’s expected to marry the wealthy Lady Jordan who he’s been escorting to all the royal events. Brighton tradition surrounds an old chapel bell and the stories of men who would ring the bell for their true love, resulting in Christmas weddings.

Recommendation: This is the perfect story for anyone who’s dreamed of one day finding her prince. While this novella is part of the Royal Wedding Series, it can stand alone. I haven’ t read all the rest of the series, yet I still felt like I wasn’t missing anything. This is strong Christian fiction, with the presence of God firmly felt in some scenes, so if that’s not your thing, I’d suggest looking for another book.

Rating:  4.5/5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the Thomas Nelson Fiction Guild. This review is my honest opinion.

And now for the giveaway. Leave a comment on this post and tell me what books you’re looking forward to reading this year. Share on Facebook or Twitter for extra entries. Giveaway open to US mailing addresses only, please, due to shipping costs. Happy reading!

Here’s some of the books I’m looking forward to reading this month: New Releases Today!

New Releases Today!

This is a huge day in the book world. Four great authors have new releases that I’ve been eagerly anticipating. I can’t decide which one to read first!

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It’s been a while since a new Tamera Alexander book has released. I’m glad to be returning to the Belmont Mansion series. I love the amount of historical detail that she includes in all of her stories. If you like the post-civil war era, check out this series.rescue-me

The cover of this next book is enough to make you want to read is, isn’t it? I loved the characters from the previous one and I can’t wait to see more of Sam and Willow’s story.

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Cold Shot, book one of the series, was so incredibly good! I gave it six stars out of five on my review. I’ve been waiting a year for Still Life, and I have a feeling I’ll hardly be able to put it down once I start reading. moving-target

 

The Elite Guardians has been a great series for strong heroines. I’ve been waiting since the beginning to see Maddie and Quinn’s story. They’ve all been through a lot in the first two books, and I’m sure this one will be full of action and danger as well.

If you’re not busy tonight (1/31) maybe you can drop by the Release Day Party on Facebook with Dani Pettrey, Lynnette Eason and Susan May Warren. I’m sure they’ll have chances for you to win a copy of these great books!

Which of these books would you most want to read? Or what other books are you looking forward to? I’d love to know.