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Monday, February 23, 2015

DEADLY ECHOES by Nancy Mehl

Sandra Ardoin reviews DEADLY ECHOES by Suspense Sister Nancy Mehl.

Sarah Miller and her sister Hannah lived through the tragedy of their parents’ murders. Now, Hannah is dead and Sarah receives guardianship of her niece. For Sarah, too many similarities exist between the deaths of her sister and her parents, and she wonders if she’ll be next.

Together with Deputy Sheriff Paul Gleason, Sarah seeks to prove her sister did not die at the hands of a drug-addicted robber. At the same time, she becomes the guardian of her ten-year-old niece and must deal with the difficulties presented by a grieving, sometimes hostile, child.

Deadly Echoes is the second book in Nancy Mehl’s Finding Sanctuary series. Ms. Mehl’s novels are never as heavy on the romance as most fiction labeled romantic suspense, although you’ll find one in each story. For me, the strength of her books lies in her characters, including the setting.

A variety of personalities people the small town of Sanctuary. Many are Mennonite—some Old Order. Others move there looking for a place to take shelter from their former lives. In reading, one gets a sense of the close-knit and faith-filled community while the story revolves around an invading evil.

This novel opens with a great hook—Sarah as a child hiding from her parents’ killers.
The old familiar fear returned with a vengeance, along with the musty smell of neglect and the sweet scent of sweat. 
How’s that for an opening paragraph?

As an orphan, Sarah grew up in foster homes, separated from her sister. She doesn’t see herself as appealing, especially to Paul. Here’s an example of the way she thinks:
Hannah was the golden child. Smart, beautiful, ambitious, and full of life. I’d lived in her shadow when we were children, and even now, her own daughter recognized her mother’s value over mine. 
For the most part, there are no real surprises with regard to the climax. I suspected who was responsible pretty much right away. Twists come through backstory and a secondary character. Overall, I found the novel an intriguing and thoroughly enjoyable read.

And … I doubt I’ll look at a white orchid again without remembering Sarah.

About the reviewer:

Passionate about horses and a fan of old westerns, it’s only natural that Sandra Ardoin sets her stories in the days of the horse and buggy. Her Christmas novella, The Yuletide Angel, is no exception. Sandy is the married mother of a young adult.

Visit her at www.sandraardoin.com and on the Seriously Write blog. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Pinterest. The Yuletide Angel, is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This book came to me free from the publisher, Bethany House, with the hope that I would mention it on this blog. There was no requirement for me to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Giveaway: MORTAL INSIGHT by E.B. James


Suspense Sisters and Rhiza Press are delighted to offer one paperback copy of Mortal Insights by E.B. James to one reader on today's post.

Leave a comment with your email address by February 23, 2015 to enter. This giveaway is open worldwide!

Here's the short version of the story:

Detective Sergeant Steve Keller has begun to see things. He desperately hopes the visions mean something and not that he’s going crazy.

But the visions don’t go away, and when they start meaning something more, Steve finds himself caught in an investigation way bigger than he ever imagined.

As the pieces begin to fit together, something dangerous emerges. He can’t hide what he knows, but to expose it doesn't just stir up controversy, it provokes someone who lurks in the shadows; someone who will kill to keep this information quiet.

Mortal Insight, E.B. James new novel, brings you conspiracy, crime, action and asks the question: when your life is at stake, are some truths worth bringing out into the open?

It's an excellent book, with loads of suspense and a real twist or two!

Note: while Mortal Insight is written from a Christian point of view, it isn't overtly Christian fiction. But it's still a good clean read!

Monday, February 9, 2015

TAKEN by Lisa Harris

Author Lisa Harris’ Taken opens right in the thick of things. Graduate student and photographer Kate Elliot reaches the entrance to her sister’s home in an upscale Dallas neighborhood, dials 9-1-1 to request assistance, and—moments later—discovers Rachel lying at the point of death on the floor of her bedroom. The house has been ransacked, but Kate’s too distraught, initially, to fully comprehend what has occurred. When Rachel begins to recount the details of a terrifying home invasion experience, Kate’s stunned to learn the galvanizing truth. Rachel isn’t the only victim of the crime: Kate’s precious young niece, Sophie, has been kidnapped. When Rachel begs her to find her daughter—to bring her home—what is Kate to do?

FBI agent Marcus O’Brian chases big ticket bad guys for a living. Dispatched to the Dallas home of half-French, half-American businessman Chad Laurent—whose wife has just been shot and whose daughter has gone missing—Agent O’Brian is searching the lower floor of the home for answers when he detects a noise upstairs. Seconds later, he aims his service weapon at an attractive young woman who looks remarkably similar to Laurent’s wife. The sister, no doubt. But, what’s she doing at the crime scene rather than the hospital? And what’s her connection to the shady Laurent character who’s been at the center of Marcus’s year-long investigation into a diamond smuggling operation?

Immediately suspicious of one another, neither Kate nor Marcus is in the market for love. Both have been hurt in the past, and the experiences have taken their toll. But, when a common goal—the hunt for a kidnapper and would-be killer—foists them into close proximity on the other side of the Atlantic, will they find they’ve got more in common than they realized?

Ahh… Paris. The City of Lights. The city of love. The city of … murder?

Please say it ain’t so.

Author Lisa Harris has done it again—created a great story around layered, intriguing characters in a setting like none other on Earth. It’s all there—the Louvre (Museum), the Eiffel Tower, the Cathedral of Notre Dame, the fabled Latin Quarter… It’s been many years since yours truly visited Paris as a young teen, and Mrs. Harris’s grand tour for the uninitiated only whet mon appĂ©tit for more.
But, I digress…

When Lisa Harris writes a story, forget everything you thought you knew about who done it and why. In Taken, she gives the reader everything one could hope for in a quick-read Love Inspired Suspense. The bright, feisty—albeit stubborn—heroine with a bent toward the fearless. The handsome, chivalrous, take-no-prisoners hero with a penchant for showing up at the right place at the right time. A villain chasing a goal that stands in solid, compelling contrast to those of the main characters. And satisfying resolutions to the suspense, romance and spiritual arcs that drive and undergird the story throughout.

Don’t miss this read!


A licensed Georgia attorney since 1998, Sybil Bates McCormack now writes healthcare proposals during the day while lurching haltingly toward becoming an inspirational romantic suspense author at night. She's also the crazed wife of a bi-vocational pastor and mom to two bright, talented kids. They don't call her BizzySyb for nothing! You can visit Sybil at her blog, Christian Romance/Pulsating Suspense, follow her on FacebookPinterest and Twitter, friend her on GoodReads, connect with her on LinkedIn, and add her to your circles on Google+.

Monday, February 2, 2015

DUBIOSITY by Christy Barritt

Marji Laine reviews:
Dubiosity by Christy Barritt is a brilliantly twisted story!

Savannah Harris vowed to leave behind her old life as an intrepid investigative reporter. But when a friend raises suspicions about two migrant workers who’ve gone missing from the sleepy coastal town Savannah calls home, her curiosity spikes.

As ever more eerie incidents begin afflicting the area, each works to draw Savannah out of her seclusion and raise the stakes—for both Savannah and the surrounding community. Even as Savannah’s new boarder, Clive Miller, makes her feel things she thought long forgotten, she suspects he’s hiding something too, and he’s not the only one. Doubts collide in Savannah’s mind: Who can she really trust?

As secrets emerge and danger closes in, Savannah must choose between faith and uncertainty. One wrong decision might spell the end…not just for her, but for everyone around her.

Will she unravel the mystery in time, or will doubt get the best of her?

I've never read a Christy Barritt before, but I'm oh-so glad I read this one! She's like an artist revealing a tiny portion of her masterpiece at a time. This story twists at a whim and then turns back with foundational truth and unexpected delights. 

Her characters are broken people. 

Savannah wants to live in emotional bondage, a prison she's created for herself as a bizarre penance for tragic circumstances. Her plans have nothing to do with a dying migrant worker. But when the man whispers a desperate plea to Savannah on his deathbed, her direction changes. Her heart-breaking past loosens its grip, allowing her to reignite former passion with an added desire to right injustices. 

Clive arrives on the scene with a secret past and surreptitious mission. His goal have nothing to do with Savanna beyond renting her property. When his path collides with Savannah's again and again, not only do his plans threaten to crumble, but the thick wall around his heart as well.

Do I need to mention that I loved this story? I look forward to enjoying another Christy Barritt romantic suspense soon! I'm so grateful to Netgalley.com and Waterfall Press for providing a free copy in return for an honest review.

More about Senior Reviewer Marji Laine:

Marji is an author as well as a reviewer. Her current book, Love Boat Bachelor released by Write Integrity Press, is a collaborative novella by 8 different authors. It's posting by chapter at the publishers blog and will be available for free on Valentine's Day. When Marji isn't writing or reading, she enjoys laughing and singing with her family, playing games, and taking photographs. You can find her at her Faith Driven Fiction website, on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and her Amazon author page.