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Book Review: Dark Ambitions

17 Oct

Former Army Night Stalker Rick Jordan usually has his camp for foster children to himself during the winter months. But someone has visited recently — leaving a trail of blood. One of the two clues left behind tips Rick off to the identity of his visitor, who soon turns up dead. The police deem it an accident, but Rick isn’t convinced. With the help of private investigator Heather Shields, he sets out to decipher the remaining clue. Except someone doesn’t want them to succeed–and will stop at nothing to keep them from finding the truth.

With her trademark psychological suspense ratcheting up the tension on every page, bestselling and award-winning author Irene Hannon takes you on a search for a cold-blooded killer with an ambitious goal and deadly intent.

Irene Hannon is a bestselling, award-winning author who took the publishing world by storm at the tender age of 10 with a sparkling piece of fiction that received national attention.

Okay . . . maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. But she was one of the honorees in a complete-the-story contest conducted by a national children’s magazine. And she likes to think of that as her “official” fiction-writing debut!

Since then, she has written more than 50 romantic suspense and contemporary romance/women’s fiction novels. She is a seven-time finalist for and three-time winner of the RITA award — the “Oscar” of romance fiction — and a member of the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. She has also received a Career Achievement award from RT Book Reviews for her entire body of work. In addition, her books have won a Daphne du Maurier award, two Carol awards, three HOLT Medallions, a National Readers’ Choice award, a Retailers Choice award, three Booksellers’ Best awards and two Reviewers’ Choice awards from RT Book Reviews. She is also a two-time Christy award finalist.

Irene, who holds a B.A. in psychology and an M.A. in journalism, juggled two careers for many years until she gave up her executive corporate communications position with a Fortune 500 company to write full time. She is happy to say she has no regrets!

In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, gardening and singing.  A trained vocalist, she has sung the leading role in numerous musicals, including “South Pacific,” “Brigadoon,” “Oklahoma” “The King and I” and “Anything Goes.” She is also a soloist at her church.

When not otherwise occupied, Irene and her husband enjoy traveling, Saturday mornings at their favorite coffee shop and spending time with family. They make their home in Missouri.

My Impressions:

Irene Hannon is my go-to author for romantic suspense, and her latest book, Dark Ambitions, vaulted to the top of my favorites by her. In the third book of the Code of Honor series, Hannon adds a hefty dose of sizzle to the suspense. With the perfect blend of romance and mystery, this book was unputdownable. I give it a highly recommended rating.

Rick Jordan, ex-Army Night Stalker and the third member of the Treehouse Gang introduced in the first two books of the series, is the focus of Dark Ambitions. Determined to help a missing friend from his service days, Rick employs Heather Shields, a PI with the Phoenix group. (If you are a fan of Hannon’s Private Justice series, you will love seeing those characters again.) The mystery is very complex, and there are a number of suspicious characters to choose from. Various secrets and private agendas add to the twists and turns this novel takes.  I loved reading the first person POV of the unnamed bad guy hoping to ferret out clues to just whodunit. Rick and Heather join forces in the case, and their attraction begins right at the start. Kudos on the chemistry that Hannon created. Both characters are believers and place their trust in God’s sovereignty.

Dark Ambitions can easily be read as a standalone novel, but the whole series is excellent. I suggest you begin at the beginning  — perfect for binge-reading goodness!

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to Revell for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Children’s Corner — Two for Fall

16 Oct

I love the fall season — crisp temperatures, colorful leaves, and fresh sweet apples! I have two children’s books to share today that capture the essence of fall. Check them out below!

Snuggle Time Fall Blessings by Glenys Nellist

Snuggle up with your little one and enjoy all the best parts of autumn together—pumpkin picking, colored leaves, hayrides, and more — with this adorable padded-cover board book. Get ready for repeated readings and lots of hugs!

Carving pumpkins. Fresh baked apple pie. Leaf piles. Jack-o’-lanterns. Featuring Glenys Nellist’s whimsical read-aloud rhymes and Cee Biscoe’s cuddly illustrations, the Snuggle Time Fall Blessingsboard book will become part of your new autumn reading tradition.

Whether you’re a parent or grandparent, Sunday School teacher or older bother or sister, the little ones in your life will be ready for all the joys fall can bring when they hear …

Let’s go apple picking,
Shake them from the tree.
Round and fat and juicy,
The big red one’s for me

Glenys Nellist was born and raised in a little village in northern England. The author of multiple children’s books, including the bestselling ‘Twas the Evening of Christmas and the popular series Love Letters from God and Snuggle Time, her writing reflects a deep passion for helping children discover joy in the world. Glenys lives in Michigan with her husband, David.

My Impressions:

Snuggle Time Fall Blessings is a great board book suitable for the tiniest reader. Adorable illustrations featuring woodland animals participating in fun autumn activities accompany easy rhymes. Each poem flows naturally into the next so that the book can be read in one sitting or during successive reading times. There’s all sorts of fun things within this book — apple picking, pumpkin carving, wagon rides — that your child will identify from your own family activities. And it opens and closes with the same sentiment — thankfulness to God for all He provides. Recommended!

Recommended.

Audience: preschool aged children.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to Zonderkidz for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Love Is Kind by Laura Sassi

Love Is Kind is a heartwarming story about Little Owl who hopes to buy his grammy a heart-shaped box of chocolates for her birthday. On his quest for the chocolates, he’s thwarted at every turn, but ends up discovering the real meaning of love as described in 1 Corinthians 13. Told in simple prose by bestselling author Laura Sassi, this heartfelt and humorous picture book is a sweet reminder that real love isn’t found in a box – even one filled with chocolates. Love Is Kind takes a charming and gentle approach to teaching kids the true meaning of love, while celebrating the bonds that kids have with their grandparents, and the many forms that love and happiness can take.

Laura Sassi has a passion for telling humorous stories in prose and rhyme. She is the author of GOODNIGHT, ARK (Zonderkidz, 2014), GOODNIGHT, MANGER (Zonderkidz, 2015), DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE (Sterling, 2018) and LOVE IS KIND (Zonderkidz, 2018) She lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children, and a black Cockapoo named Sophie.

My Impressions:

Love Is Kind by Laura Sassi tells the tale of Little Owl and his determination to buy his Grammy a present for her birthday. But as Little Owl meets all kinds of troubles along the way, he is reminded of what love really looks like. The story has a simple, yet powerful message found in 1 Corinthians 13. In fact, snippets of the Love Chapter can be found hidden in the illustrations — added fun as you and your child look closely to discover truths from God’s word. While Love Is Kind by Laura Sassi is not specifically about autumn, it definitely gives off a fall-vibe in its illustrations. The cute animal characters are decked out in scarves and sweaters and colorful leaves cover the ground. The color palate is warm with oranges, browns, and yellows making this book perfect for a snuggly family read. Recommended!

Recommended.

Audience: children ages 4-8. 

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to Zonderkidz for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Book Review: Always Look Twice

14 Oct

At the advice of her therapist, homicide survivor Harper Reynolds has traded her job as a crime scene photographer for a more peaceful life taking photographs of the natural world. But her hopes for a life surrounded by the serenity of the outdoors are dashed when she inadvertently captures a murder being committed in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She flees the scene in fear — and loses the camera.

Former Green Beret Heath McKade is a reserve deputy in an understaffed county who has been called in to protect Harper, a childhood friend he is surprised to see back in the area. When Harper learns that the sheriff’s department can’t find any evidence of the murder she witnessed, she is determined to do what she can to see that justice is done. What neither Harper nor Heath could know is how many explosive secrets from the past will be exposed–or how deeply they will fall for each other.

In this suspenseful page-turner, bestselling author Elizabeth Goddard keeps you on the edge of your seat as you discover that uncommon justice lies just on the other side of fear.

 

Elizabeth Goddard is the bestselling, award-winning author of forty romance novels and counting, including the romantic mystery, The Camera Never Lies — a 2011 Carol Award winner. Four of her six Mountain Cove books have been contest finalists. Buried, Backfire, and Deception are finalists in the Daphne Du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense, and Submerged is a Carol Award finalist. A 7th generation Texan, Elizabeth graduated from North Texas State University with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and worked in high-level software sales for several years before retiring to home school her children and fulfill her dreams of writing full-time.

To get book news sign up for her newsletter at her website: http://elizabethgoddard.com
Follow her on Bookbub! https://www.bookbub.com/authors/elizabeth-goddard
You can connect with Elizabeth on Facebook:http://facebook.com/elizabethgoddardauthor
or Twitter: http://twitter.com/bethgoddard

 

My Impressions:

Elizabeth Goddard takes the reader back to the breathtakingly beautiful wilderness of the Bridger-Teton National Forest of Wyoming in Always Look Twice, book 2 in her Uncommon Justice series. This book focuses on McKade brother Heath, introduced in book 1, Never Let Go, and Harper Reynolds, the best friend who disappeared from his life 20 years before. As the two reconnect under extreme circumstances, their past and present collide providing plenty of mystery, danger, and sparks for fans of the romantic suspense genre.

Heath and Harper are wounded characters who have worked hard to overcome their pasts. Former military, Heath still has a strong need to protect, but doubts his abilities to do just that. Harper has chosen the emotionally challenging career of crime scene photographer in an attempt to bring justice to others that she did not have as a child. Goddard lets the reader into the thoughts and emotions of both characters allowing for a complete look at their struggles. Guilt over past mistakes and the actions of others they could not control have contributed to the wariness the two have in entering romantic relationships. But for fans of romance, there is definite chemistry between the two. In this intriguing mystery, danger is never far off, with bombings and sniper fire just two of the threats the characters face. Twists and turns take the reader and the characters on a bumpy ride. As they endure one challenge after another, they learn to trust God more and more.

If you like your suspense with a heavy dose of romance, then consider Always Look Twice. Athough it is book 2 in a series, it can be read as a standalone. But nothing is keeping you from diving into the entire series. 😉 (The Kindle version of book 1 is on sale for 79 cents!)

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to Revell for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Book Review + Giveaway! — Darcy by Any Other Name

10 Oct

About The Book

Book: Darcy by Any Other Name

Author: Laura Hile

Genre: Historical Christian Romance, Regency

Release Date: May 13, 2016

Discover the Pride and Prejudice body-swap romance that has readers laughing in surprise and delight.

For most, this is a glorious evening of music and dancing. But out in the garden two men are arguing, while a ferocious rainstorm swirls round. And then the unthinkable happens: a lightning bolt from heaven strikes. In that instant everything changes.

Jane Austen’s heartthrob hero becomes the bumbling Reverend Collins. Shorn of his fortune, his social standing, and his good looks, Mr. Darcy is trapped in Mr. Collins’ body. And Mr. Collins wakes up to discover that he is master of Pemberley.

Could there be anything worse?

But the inner man is still Darcy. He is in love with Elizabeth Bennet. And now he is living in her house.

If you enjoy a smart, sparkling Regency romp in the classic “Heyeresque” style, then you will love Laura Hile’s Darcy By Any Other Name.

Click here to get your copy.

My Impressions:

What a fabulously fun book! Darcy by Any Other Name by Laura Hile is a unique reimagining of Pride And Prejudice. This twist on the classic combines all of the Austen-goodness with a Freaky Friday vibe. The premise is that through a freak act of nature, or more likely the workings of God, the handsome, aloof and arrogant Mr. Darcy trades bodies with odious Mr. Collins. For fans of P&P, the action begins at the end of the Netherfield ball. There is quite an adjustment for both men as they navigate the other’s world. More focus is placed on Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett’s relationship. Will a happily-ever-after occur for them? You will just have to read it. The book is faithful to the original in its setting and characterization. Everyone shows up — Caroline and Charles Bingley, Mrs. Bennett, Mr. Wickham, Lady Catherine, Georgiana, and Colonel Fitzwilliam. Yet there are plenty of twists and turns to make this novel a fresh read. I found the book charming and at times laugh-out-loud funny. Hile injects a faith message that is spot on. Darcy is forced to view his former attitudes in the light of his current circumstances. Humility and care for others takes precedence over social status and Regency manners. At one point Darcy realizes that “when God did a thing  . . . He was frighteningly thorough”.

I am a big Austen fan and enjoy the variations that have been written featuring all of her novels. Darcy by Any Other Name is now at the top of my favorite re-tellings.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to the author and Celebrate Lit for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

About The Author

My journey as a writer began with the Internet. And with Jane Austen.

How is that for an unlikely combination?

I have always loved classic Regency romances. You know the kind – with a dashing, honorable hero and a lovely, intelligent heroine. Delicious banter, unexpected plot twists, humor, and a happy ending. If faith is woven into the story, so much the better.

When I discovered an online forum for Jane Austen-related fiction, I was hooked. With Jane’s characters for inspiration, I began writing and posting serialized Regency stories. To keep readers coming back for more, I developed my signature style: intertwined plots, cliffhangers, and laugh-out-loud humor.

The comedy I come by in my job as a middle school teacher—there’s never a dull moment with teens!

I live in Beaverton, Oregon with my husband.

More from Laura

I see that double-take you just did. Darcy By Any Other Name is a what? A Pride and Prejudice body-swap romance? Seriously?

Indeed yes. And it’s a really fun read. I blame my sense of humor. And the fact that I think too much.

Here’s the thing: we women are captivated by Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy—we are! Handsome, aloof, and wealthy, he embodies the perfect male. By comparison, the ordinary guy has no chance. (And heaven help the fellow who is plain!)

Yet we know that attraction involves more than good looks and a fat wallet.

I began to play with this thought. Because Mr. Darcy is also honorable, intelligent, kind, and funny—qualities that transform an ugly man and capture a woman’s interest. The shared smile, the twinkle in the eyes, the finishing of her sentences. These are endearing! These are why we women fall in love!

Once the body swap idea showed up, I knew I had struck story gold. Will Darcy-as-Collins capture Elizabeth Bennet’s heart?

No, wait! She cannot fall for him because he’s the wrong man—no, the right man! But he’s in that podgy body! She cannot love Mr. Darcy when he’s—ugly! Can she?

Ah, but of course she can. Now what?

Think of Darcy By Any Other Name as a happy roller coaster ride. And you know what they say about those: “Get in, sit down, and hold on.”

Do leave a comment and enter the giveaway. I think you will enjoy this fun, romantic book.

Blog Stops

Through the Fire Blogs, September 30

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 30

A Baker’s Perspective, October 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 1

Reflections From My Bookshelves, October 2

For Him and My Family, October 2

Back Porch Reads, October 3

Sara Jane Jacobs, October 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 4

Mary Hake, October 4

Remembrancy, October 5

Emily Yager, October 5

Bigreadersite, October 6

Rebecca Tews, October 6

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 7

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 7

Rev. Rebecca Writes: Read, Write, Pray, October 8

Creating Romance, October 8

Blossoms and Blessings, October 9

janicesbookreviews, October 9

By The Book, October 10

Moments, October 11

Pause for Tales, October 11

Texas Book-aholic, October 12

A Reader’s Brain, October 12

Inklings and notions , October 13

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Laura is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the HERE to enter.

 

Book Review and Giveaway — Stitches in Time

7 Oct

About The Book

Book: Stitches in Time

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Genre: Contemporary Amish fiction

Release Date: October 1, 2019

Detachment had worked well as a life strategy for horse trainer Sam Schrock. Until he met Mollie Graber . . .

New to Stoney Ridge, schoolteacher Mollie has come to town for a fresh start. Aware of how fleeting and fragile life is, she wants to live it boldly and bravely. When Luke Schrock, new to his role as deacon, asks the church to take in foster girls from a group home, she’s the first to raise her hand. The power of love, she believes, can pick up the dropped stitches in a child’s heart and knit them back together.

Mollie envisions sleepovers and pillow fights. What the 11-year-old twins bring to her home is anything but. Visits from the sheriff at midnight. Phone calls from the school truancy officer. And then the most humiliating moment of all: the girls accuse Mollie of drug addiction.

There’s only one thing that breaks through the girls’ hard shell – an interest in horses. Reluctantly and skeptically, Sam Schrock gets drawn into Mollie’s chaotic life. What he didn’t expect was for love to knit together the dropped stitches in his own heart . . . just in time.

Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to the little Amish church of Stoney Ridge for a touching story of the power of love.

Click here to get your copy!

 

My Impressions:

Stitches in Time, the second book in Suzanne Woods Fisher’s Deacon’s Family series, takes the reader back to Stoney Ridge and the Plain community readers have come to love. The book finds all the familiar residents of the town living life as they always have — with simplicity, caring, and a bit of quirk thrown in. Newlyweds Luke and Izzy Schrock are adjusting to married life, Fern Lapp is learning to live without her beloved Amos, and the church has welcomed newcomer Mollie Graber to teach their scholars. Everything is going well until an unlikely man is selected by lot as deacon and the nearby group home full of preteen and teenaged girls needs some emergency help. The Amish step in and life is not the same! I loved how the community decided not to remain insulated from the needs of the English world, but instead reached out with their typical practicality and love. Both Plain and English learn great lessons. As always, Fisher balances serious issues such as addiction and fostering with just the right amount of humor. Relationships are key in this novel, and run the gamut of married couples, courting couples, and fostering families. Fisher uses Psalm 23 and the many references to sheep in both the Old and New Testaments to speak truth of God’s care and provision into a number of the character’s lives. While this novel continues the stories begun in Mending Fences, it can be read as a standalone. But I recommend beginning at the beginning to make sure all of this series’ goodness is savored. 🙂

This one is not just for fans of Amish fiction. I definitely recommend Stitches in Time to all readers looking for a thoughtful and heartwarming story.

Recommended.

Audience: Adults.

(Thanks to Revell and Celebrate Lit for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

About The Author

Carol-award winner Suzanne Woods Fisher writes untold stories about inspiring people. With over one million copies of her books sold worldwide, she is the bestselling author of fiction and non-fiction, ranging from Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World to the historical novel Anna’s Crossing.

More from Suzanne

Have you ever felt the tug to become a foster parent?

On any given day, there are nearly 438,000 children in foster care in the United States. Most states have a critical need for more foster parents, and the number of children placed in foster care increases yearly.

There are plenty of assumptions about having foster children, but most are incorrect. The media has a tendency to focus on the negative, but from all the research I conducted to write this book, for every bad news story, there were two good ones. Good stories just don’t make the news.

Below are some of the most common assumptions about foster care, with corrected information that is applicable across the United States (but keep in mind that each state has their own requirements).

Myth: Kids in foster care are bad or troubled.

Truth: Children in foster care are good kids taken out of a troubled situation. They need a caring foster parent who is patient and understanding. When given the opportunity, most of these children begin to thrive.

Myth: To be a foster parent, you need to be married and own a home and be a college graduate.

Truth: You don’t need to be married or to own a home or even be a college graduate. That means if you’re single or renting, you can be a foster parent.

Myth: I can’t afford to be a foster parent.

Truth: There are monthly reimbursement rates for children in foster care based on the level of care you provide. Medical and dental care is paid through state Medicaid programs.

Myth: Most kids in foster care are teenagers.

Truth: The average age of a child entering foster care is seven years old.

Myth: Most kids are in foster care because their parents have abused drugs.

Truth: Now, this one is not a myth. It’s true. There are fifteen categories that can be responsible for a child’s removal from a home. Drug abuse from a parent has had the largest percentage increase.

Myth: Fostering could require a commitment until the child turns eighteen.

Truth: Generally, children remain in state care for less than two years. Only six percent spend five or more years in foster care.

Myth: It’s too hard to give a child up to his biological family.

Truth: Most children are in foster care for a short time, returning to their biological families. Reuniting a child to his family is the ideal situation. Foster families provide a safe haven for a child. Healthy grieving is to be expected, but it’s for the right reasons. It’s healthy.

Myth: You can’t adopt foster children.

Truth: In 2016, more than 65,000 children—whose mothers and fathers parental rights were legally terminated—waiting to be adopted. Also in 2016, more than 20,000 children “aged out” of foster care without permanent families. Research has shown that those who leave care without being linked to a “forever family” have a higher likelihood than the general youth population to experience homelessness, unemployment, and incarceration as adults.

Is there room in your heart and family for a child in need? There are many ways to get involved, some that do not even require foster care. One recommendation: volunteer with The National CASA Association (Court Appointed Special Advocates) for Children. You can find out more information here: www.casaforchildren.org.

Or consider small ways to connect to children in need—after school tutoring at your public library. Volunteering at a community center. Buy Christmas gifts for a family in need through an Adopt-a-Family program with a local church. Support a family who does provide foster care with respites—babysitting or meals. There’s many ways to get involved to care for children in need. And every little bit makes a difference.

Blog Stops

The Power of Words, September 26

The Becca Files, September 26

SusanLovesBooks, September 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 26

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 27

Through the Fire Blogs, September 27

Adventures of a Traveler’s Wife, September 27

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 28

Inspiration Clothesline, September 28

Texas Book-aholic, September 28

Book bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, September 29

Jeanette’s Thoughts, September 29

Blogging With Carol , September 29

Hookmeinabook , September 29

The Avid Reader, September 30

Mia Reads, September 30

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 30

janicesbookreviews, October 1

My Devotional Thoughts, October 1

Maureen’s Musings, October 1

CarpeDiem, October 1

For Him and My Family, October 2

Stories By Gina, October 2

Activating Faith, October 2

A Reader’s Brain, October 3

EmpowerMoms, October 3

Wishful Endings, October 3

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 3

Carla Loves To Read, October 4

Pause for Tales, October 4

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 4

Inklings and notions , October 5

Quiet Quilter, October 5

Vicky Sluiter, October 5

Hallie Reads, October 5

Blossoms and Blessings, October 6

For The Love of Books , October 6

For the Love of Literature, October 6

Bigreadersite, October 7

By The Book, October 7

She Lives to Read, October 7

Moments, October 8

Southern Gal Loves to Read, October 8

Girls in White Dresses, October 8

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, October 9

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 9

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of her book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click HERE to enter.

 

Book Review: Christmas in Winter Hill

3 Oct

Krista Galloway is not a fan of Christmas. After her rough childhood in multiple foster homes, the holiday season just brings too many bad memories to the surface. But when she accepts a job as a city manager in the mountain town of Winter Hill, Washington, Christmas is part of the deal. The small town is famous for its Christmasville celebration, something that the city manager . . . well, manages.

As she tries to make her tiny new apartment feel like home for her and her eight-year-old daughter, Emily, Krista begins to wonder if this move was a mistake. She doesn’t always feel welcomed in the close-knit town, and Emily continually wonders, “Where’s the snow?” Can a friendly stranger and his family help restore Krista’s Christmas spirit before the big day?

Bestselling author Melody Carlson invites you to spend this holiday season in a town you’ll never forget — and never want to leave.

Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books (with sales around 6.5 million) for teens, women, and children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller”. Her novels range from serious issues like schizophrenia (Finding Alice) to lighter topics like house-flipping (A Mile in My Flip-Flops) but most of the inspiration behind her fiction comes right out of real life. Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, TrueColors, etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She’s won a number of awards (including Romantic Time’s Career Achievement Award, the Rita and the Gold Medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog. To find out more about Melody Carlson, visit her website at http://www.melodycarlson.com/

 

My Impressions:

Melody Carlson is the queen of Christmas fiction. I look forward to a new novella every year to start the season off right. Christmas in Winter Hill is another winner from this talented author. With endearing characters, including an adorable little girl, a wonderful hometown feel, and a message of hope, this book cannot be beat. Recommended.

Let me first say if you are looking for a book with an all over Christmas-y feel, Christmas in Winter Hill is the one for you. The town of Winter Hill is over-the-top in its embrace of the Christmas spirit, something main character Krista finds hard to resist. Although she doesn’t like Christmas due to the many disappointments surrounding past holidays, she does try very hard to preserve the town’s traditions and her daughter’s dreams. With fits and starts in her new job as Winter Hill’s city manager, Krista learns about community and real family. I loved that though there is a promise of romance in Krista’s future, the story revolves around Krista’s emotional and spiritual growth and her relationship with her daughter. Dreams are not impossible as Krista once thought, and that is a very hopeful message. I knew where the story was going, but I loved the journey along the way. Christmas in Winter Hill is like your favorite Hallmark Christmas movie, only better — it’s a book!

So grab a copy and snuggle in to its warmth and heart.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to Revell for a complimentary copy. all opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Book Review: One Final Breath

2 Oct

When investigator Gabriel Chavez had his cover blown by an aggressive reporter, the silver lining was being able to rejoin the dive team. The downside? Dive team captain Anissa Bell–a woman who both fascinates and frustrates him.

Anissa grew up as a missionary kid on the Micronesian island of Yap and always planned to return after college. But she remained stateside, determined to solve the case that haunts her–the murder of her best friend and the disappearance of a three-year-old child.

When Anissa’s fractured past collides with Gabe’s investigation into the tragic shooting death of a teenage boy in Lake Porter, they’ll have to put their complicated history with each other aside in order to uncover the identity of a killer. What they’ll discover is that revenge has no statute of limitations.

Lynn H. Blackburn believes in the power of stories, especially those that remind us that true love exists, a gift from the Truest Love. Her Dive Team Investigations series includes Beneath the Surface and In Too Deep (a Fall 2018 Okra Pick and 2019 Selah finalist). The conclusion to the series, One Final Breath, releases in September 2019. She is also the author of Hidden Legacy and Covert Justice which won the 2016 Selah Award for Mystery and Suspense and the 2016 Carol Award for Short Novel.

 

My Impressions:

Lynn Blackburn sure knows how to keep her readers guessing! In the final book in the Dive Team Investigations series, One Final Breath, the action focuses on not one, not two, but three seemingly unrelated cases. Suspense is amped up and the sparks fly in this romantic suspense. Definitely a recommended read!

Blackburn has created a wonderful ensemble cast of characters in her series, but each book has focused on one couple. In One Final Breath, Anissa and Gabe, once adversaries, have become good friends. The chemistry is there, if only they would admit it! Enemies to friends to something more is developed wonderfully by Blackburn. And while I liked the romantic aspect of the book, it is the suspense-filled action that kept me turning the pages. I read this one in record time because I just had to know how the cases intersected and the identity of the bad guy(s). And boy was I surprised — something that doesn’t happen often. Blackburn created intricate plot lines that came to a credible ending. I enjoyed getting to see favorite characters from the preceding books as they all worked together to solve the cases. Blackburn explores works vs grace, as both Gabe and Anissa strive to make up for past mistakes and perceived blame. While I don’t share any elements of the main characters’ past lives, I could identify with their desire to make things right.

There’s a lot to love about One Final Breath, and one thing to hate — the series is now at an end. 😉 But I look forward to more great books from Lynn Blackburn.

Recommended.

Audience: adults

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(Thanks to Revell for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)