Book Review: Deep Extraction

26 Jun

A pacemaker should have saved oil and gas magnate Nathan Moore’s life. Instead, it provided his killer with a seemingly perfect means of execution.

A bombing at one of Nathan’s oil rigs days earlier indicates his death could be part of a bigger conspiracy, a web Special Agent Tori Templeton must untangle. But her first order of business is separating the personal from the professional―the victim’s wife, her best friend, is one of the FBI’s prime suspects.

Clearing Sally’s name may be the biggest challenge of her career, but Tori finds an unexpected ally in the newest member of the task force, recently reinstated Deputy US Marshal Cole Jeffers. As Tori and Cole dig deeper into Nathan’s personal and business affairs, they uncover more than they bargained for. And the closer they get to finding the real killer ― and to each other ― the more intent someone is on silencing them for good.

 

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.

DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at http://www.diannmills.com.

 

My Impressions:

For fast-paced romantic suspense it is hard to beat a novel by DiAnn Mills. Deep Extraction, the second installment in her FBI Task Force series, is no exception. With characters you’ll love, an action-packed plot, and a spiritual theme that touches the heart, Deep Extraction will appeal to fans of this genre. Take this book along on your next weekend getaway.

FBI agent Tori Templeton and US Marshall Cole Jeffers are called to solve their friend Nathan Moore’s death. Not only faced with the shock of the murder of someone close to them, they also have to come to grips with the fact that they really didn’t know him. But they are determined to uncover the layers of deception to find the guilty party, no matter who that might be.

Deep Extraction is filled with tension and surprise twists and turns. The main characters are challenged with finding truth, even if it implicates those closest to them. I found Tori and Cole’s struggle with maintaining professionalism and objectivity in the face of personal feelings a great addition to the book. Can anyone ever really know someone? That’s what they battle as they investigate a case that gets more personal day by day. Readers who like plenty of action will appreciate the dangers Tori and Cole encounter — snipers, explosions, to name just a few. Along with dealing with the sense of betrayal, they must also overcome ingrained fears from past experiences. Trust in God is part of that struggle and is a theme woven naturally throughout the novel. The reader gets a glimpse into the actions of the bad guys before the main characters and I loved that, but I didn’t see the big surprise twist coming either!

Although book 2 in a series, Deep Extraction can be read as a standalone. A page-turner that I just could not put down, this one gets a recommended rating from me.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

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

Book Review: Yankee in Atlanta

23 Jun

When soldier Caitlin McKae woke up in Atlanta after being wounded in battle, the Georgian doctor who treated her believed Caitlin’s only secret was that she had been fighting for the Confederacy disguised as a man. In order 
to avoid arrest or worse, Caitlin hides her true identity and makes a new life for herself in Atlanta.

Trained as a teacher, she accepts a job as a governess to the daughter of Noah Becker, a German immigrant lawyer, who enlists with the Rebel army. Then in the spring of 1864, Sherman’s troops edge closer to Atlanta. Though starvation rules, and Sherman rages, she will not run again. In a land shattered by strife and suffering, a Union veteran and a Rebel soldier test the limits of loyalty and discover the courage to survive. Will honor dictate that Caitlin and Noah follow the rules, or love demand that they break them?

 

Jocelyn Green is a former journalist who puts her investigative skills to work in writing both nonfiction and historical fiction to inspire faith and courage.

Her books have finaled in the Christy Awards and Inspirational Readers Choice Awards, and have won gold from the Military Writers Society of America and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.

Complex and nuanced characters, rich historical detail and twisting plots make her novels immersive experiences. Her fiction has been praised by Historical Novel Society, Romantic Times, Library Journal, historians specializing in her novels’ time periods, as well as popular and acclaimed authors Laura Frantz, Lori Benton, Jody Hedlund, Sarah Sundin, Joanne Bischof, Julie Lessman, and more.

Jocelyn loves Broadway musicals, the color red, Toblerone chocolate bars, Mexican food, and well-done documentaries. She lives in Iowa with her husband, two children, and two cats she should have named Catticus Finch and Purrman Meowville.

Visit her at jocelyngreen.com, and receive a free gift when joining her e-newsletter mailing list at jocelyngreen.com/subscribe.

 

My Impressions:

By The Book chose Yankee in Atlanta by Jocelyn Green as our June selection. A well-researched historical, this novel surprised all the Southern gals in my group. Many of us are Georgia natives, yet we didn’t know some of the history surrounding Sherman’s march to capture Atlanta. Since I am originally from Florida, I really was at a disadvantage before reading this book. FYI, you really can’t base your Civil War knowledge on Gone with The Wind! LOL! Thanks to Green we now are much better educated, especially about the home fronts in both North and South. Great writing, characters, and plot made this one a highly recommended read.

After disguising herself as a man, 23-year old Caitlyn McKae finds herself on the wrong side of the battle lines when she awakens in a Confederate hospital in Atlanta. A northerner, Caitlyn must learn to survive as she awaits either a chance to escape to the North or the arrival of northern troops. She finds refuge in the home of immigrant lawyer, Noah Becker. But war pulls all in the home into its inexorable grip.

There are a lot of things to like about Yankee in Atlanta. The characters are well-developed and easy to relate to. Their struggles, both physical and spiritual, touched my heart. There are two parallel storylines in the book that connect the characters, some who live in Atlanta and others that live in New York City. Historical details of the time period, including the living conditions of both cities during the Civil War give the novel authenticity. I also found myself doing my own bit of research. I love when a book makes me dig deeper into its subject matter. The revival that broke out among the troops from the North and South is explored too. It was heartening to see how God used the worst of times to reach men (and women) for Him. God’s will versus our own is just one spiritual theme. One character, Vivian, expressed that concept so well as she advised “Hope! Always hope, but in God alone. Wait, yes, but on the Lord. Expect Him to do great things and trust His timing rather than demanding that He follows yours.” Those are words I should certainly incorporate daily.

Yankee in Atlanta provided a great deal of discussion — the effects of war on soldiers and civilians, the role of women during the period, the lessons that can be learned even today. If you are looking for a book for your discussion group, this one is a great pick. Part of the 4-volume Heroines Behind The Lines series, it shares some characters with the other books, but is easily read as a standalone.

Highly Recommended.

Great for Book Clubs.

Audience: older teen to adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(I purchased this book from Amazon. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review: The Road to Paradise

22 Jun

An ideal sanctuary and a dream come true – that’s what Margaret Lane feels as she takes in God’s gorgeous handiwork in Mount Rainier National Park. It’s 1927 and the National Park Service is in its youth when Margie, an avid naturalist, lands a coveted position alongside the park rangers living and working in the unrivaled splendor of Mount Rainier’s long shadow.
 
But Chief Ranger Ford Brayden is still haunted by his father’s death on the mountain, and the ranger takes his work managing the park and its crowd of visitors seriously. The job of watching over an idealistic senator’s daughter with few practical survival skills seems a waste of resources.
 
When Margie’s former fiancé sets his mind on developing the Paradise Inn and its surroundings into a tourist playground, the plans might put more than the park’s pristine beauty in danger. What will Margie and Ford sacrifice to preserve the splendor and simplicity of the wilderness they both love?
 
Karen Barnett’s vintage national parks novels bring to vivid life President Theodore Roosevelt’s vision for protected lands, when he wrote in Outdoor Pastimes of an American Hunter: “There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the Yosemite, the groves of the giant sequoias and redwoods, the Canyon of the Colorado, the Canyon of the Yellowstone, the Three Tetons; and our people should see to it that they are preserved for their children and their children’s children forever, with their majestic beauty all unmarred.”

 

Karen Barnett is the award-winning author of The Golden Gate Chronicles (Out of the Ruins, Beyond the Ashes, and Through the Shadows) and Mistaken. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, two kids, and three mischievous dachshunds. When she’s not writing, Karen enjoys photography, hiking, public speaking, decorating crazy birthday cakes, and dragging her family through dusty history museums. Oregon Christian Writers (OCW) honored her with the Writer of Promise Award in 2013 and a Cascade Award for her debut novel, Mistaken, in 2014. In 2016, she was named Writer of the Year by the prestigious Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. Karen is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Oregon Christian Writers (OCW) and has been published in Guideposts.

 

My Impressions:

Karen Barnett has a winner on her hands! The first book in her Vintage National Parks series, The Road to Paradise, has everything — history, romance, adventure, and the majestic beauty of an American jewel. Great wiring and endearing characters kept the pages turning for this reader. Perfect for your summer reading, I give The Road to Paradise a highly recommended rating!

Many may believe Margie Lane is only the pampered daughter of a US Senator, but she is determined to live her dream — living and working surrounded by God’s creation as a part of the National Parks Service. And many have their doubts, especially Chief Ranger Ford Brayden. While Margie sees the wilderness as a place of healing and refuge, Ford knows the danger that lurks beneath the beauty. As they spend more time together, will their differences divide or compliment each other?

The Road to Paradise is set in the early days of the National Parks Service. Tension between commercial development and conservation was as real then as it is now. I loved that Barnett emphasized the early work of rangers and naturalists who made sure that future generations of Americans could experience the wilds of our nation. Mt. Rainer National Park, the setting of the novel, becomes almost a character in itself. It is a prominent part of the book, with its history and majesty fully developed. Barnett also does a great job of making her main human characters real and relatable. The earnest Margie and the dedicated Ford are characters I came to love. She also includes a bad guy you’ll love to hate! LOL! There is plenty of chemistry between the characters that will appeal to the romance fan. As they traverse the park, adventure, challenges, and danger abound making this novel a page-turner. Historical details are seamlessly woven throughout the narrative, allowing the reader to experience the rustic life at the park in the 1920s. Barnett includes a spiritual thread that is meaningful without being preachy.

The Road to Paradise is the perfect book to take along on your own road trip this summer. And I am anxiously anticipating the next installment in this series.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: older teens to adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to Waterbrook/Multnomah for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Children’s Corner: Two for The Tiniest of Readers!

21 Jun

Check out two new Beginner’s Bible books! They are great to share with your tiniest readers!

 

The Beginner’s Bible® has been a favorite with young children and their parents since its release in 1989 with over 25 million copies sold. With over five million copies sold, The Beginner’s Bible® is the bestselling Bible storybook of our time. Now there’s a condensed version for active little ones to take with them wherever they go. With a padded cover, this board book is soft, durable, and can withstand any child’s energetic lifestyle. Playfully illustrated, the storybook introduces toddlers to the Bible in an imaginative way. The accompanying text is simple so that children are engaged by and can learn eight cherished Bible stories, including Creation, Noah’s Ark, and the birth of baby Jesus.

To purchase, click HERE.

 

The Beginner’s Bible®, the bestselling Bible storybook of our time, is now in a special carry-along edition with over 30 stories! Children will love The Beginner’s Bible Carry-Along Treasury created especially for tiny hands to carry with them wherever they go. The carry-along edition features a smaller size, a go-anywhere handle, and an easy magnetic closure. Kids will come to know and love the key stories and characters of the Bible with this best-loved Bible storybook. Now updated with vibrant new art, The Beginner’s Bible® is the perfect starting point for children. Little ones will enjoy the fun illustrations of Noah helping the elephant onto the ark, Jonah praying inside the fish, and more, as they discover The Beginner’s Bible® just like millions of children before!

To purchase, click HERE.

 

(I received these books courtesy of Zonderkidz. This post is a book spotlight only.)

Happy Book Birthday! The Whys Have It by Amy Matayo

20 Jun

Happy Book Birthday to Amy Matayo, author of The Whys Have It. Be sure to check out her book!

 

“His music holds the heart of America . . . but his soul holds a terrible secret.”

Chart topping pop musician Cory Minor has it all—fame, money, more women at his disposal than time to spend on them. He’s living the life most American men only dream of. Until an ordinary concert in Springfield threatens to destroy everything he’s worked for.

As he and his band leave the arena for his next show, Cory’s tour bus crashes into two teenage girls, killing one girl instantly and leaving the other barely clinging to life. Lawsuits are threatened, tabloids are talking, and Cory’s idyllic world falls apart. But what no one knows is that this scene is all too familiar. Because this isn’t the first accident Cory has caused. This isn’t the first time he’s destroyed someone else’s life to save his own.

It’s just the first time he’s had to face it head on.

Small town girl Samantha Dalton has no one—no mother, no father, and now no sister. She’s lost everything in a world that celebrates excess. So when Cory Minor shows up at her doorstep offering money and apologies, she turns him away too. You can’t lose what you don’t have, and she can’t take another letdown, especially not from someone who has managed to rip away all she had left. Samantha has been fine on her own for years, she’ll be fine now too.

At least that’s what she tells herself.

But Cory won’t leave. He’s persistent in the worst possible way.

Will Cory’s determination to make things right pay off in the end, or will Sam keep pushing him away until there’s nothing left to fight for? How can two people learn to rely on each other when life keeps hurting them both?

 

Author Amy Matayo is an excellent speaker, mathematician, seamstress, chef . . . and liar. She’s decent at writing books but not much else. Then again, the book thing makes her marginally cool and a whole lot intimidating.

Not really. Not even her kids are afraid of her.

She graduated with barely passing grades from John Brown University with a degree in Journalism. But she’s proud of that degree and all the ways she hasn’t put it to good use.

She laughs often, cries easily, feels deeply, and loves hard. She lives in Arkansas with her husband and four kids and is working on her next novel.

Visit her website at http://www.amymatayo.com

You can also find Amy on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/amymatayo

Twitter: @amymatayo

Happy Book Birthday! Distorted by Christy Barritt

20 Jun

Happy book birthday to Christy Barritt! Her newest suspense novel, Distorted is out today. Check it out!

 

 

Mallory Baldwin is a survivor. A former victim of human trafficking, she’s been given a second chance, yet not a night goes by that she doesn’t remember being a slave to weapons dealer Dante Torres. Despite being afraid of the dark and wary of strangers, Mallory is trying to rebuild her life by turning her tragedy into redemption.

To former Navy SEAL Tennyson Walker, Mallory seems nothing like the shattered woman he rescued two years ago, and he can’t help but be inspired by her strength and resilience. So when a stalker suddenly makes Mallory vulnerable once again, Tennyson steps up as her bodyguard to keep her safe.

Mallory and Tennyson’s mutual attraction can’t be ignored, but neither can Mallory’s suspicion that Tennyson is keeping a terrible secret about her past. As the nightmare closes in, it’s not only Mallory and Tennyson’s love that comes under fire but their very lives as well. Will their faith sustain them? Or will the darkness win once and for all?

 

USA Today has called Christy Barritt‘s books “scary, funny, passionate, and quirky.”

A Publishers Weekly best-seller, Christy writes both mystery and romantic suspense novels that are clean with underlying messages of faith. Her books have won the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Suspense and Mystery, have been twice nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, and have finaled for both a Carol Award and Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year.

She’s married to her prince charming, a man who thinks she’s hilarious — but only when she’s not trying to be. Christy’s a self-proclaimed klutz, an avid music lover who’s known for spontaneously bursting into song, and a road trip aficionado.

Christy currently splits her time between the Virginia suburbs and Hatteras Island, North Carolina. She has more than fifty books published with over one million copies sold.

For more information, visit her website: http://www.christybarritt.com.

We Interrupt This Book Blog For A . . . Food Blog!

20 Jun

My youngest son and his bride embarked on an exciting adventure on December 30. He was a first year law student and she was a recent college grad. As they make their home in our nation’s capital, they have had some once in a life time opportunities — tickets to the Inauguration, attendance at the Dem/Rep baseball game, etc. But with just one income, they have to be smart in their money management. That includes food. Yesterday my DIL started a new venture — a food blog geared toward healthy and flavorful food on a budget. Take a few moments to visit her blog, Two Cooks – One Kitchen. Thanks and enjoy!

Their first recipe share is for Burnham Stew — yummy!