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Monday, September 26, 2016

Sybil Bates McCormack reviews AGAINST THE TIDE by Melody Carlson.

Sybil Bates McCormack reviews AGAINST THE TIDE by Melody Carlson.

The Publisher’s Summary: 

Returning home for her father's funeral, big-city reporter Megan McCallister is brutally attacked—confirming her suspicions that her father's mysterious death was no accident. But only her childhood friend, Garret Larsson, believes her theory. The teenager she once knew has grown into a brave, honorable man…but can he keep her alive long enough to find the truth? Garret needs Megan to leave town, but he wants her to stay. He knows about the secrets her newspaperman father uncovered and the dangerous exposĂ© he was writing. And now Megan has vowed to finish her father's final article. Someone's determined to kill the story—and Megan along with it—but he'll have to go through Garret first.

 My Take: 

Author Melody Carlson—the award-winning writer of more than 200 inspirational and teen fiction books—has got a way with story. That statement will come as no surprise to the legions of readers who have purchased, devoured and ruminated over tales transcribed by that prolific pen of hers. And here’s what’s even more astonishing: Mrs. Carlson continues to create and deliver books that intrigue, that entertain, that inform and that delight her most ardent fans. “Against the Tide” proves no exception.

Though set in fictional Cape Perpetua on the picturesque Oregon coast, there’s nothing sleepy or tranquil about this novel. From the moment bereaved journalist Megan McAllister sets foot in the seaside tourist town, she’s in for the challenge of her life. One moment, she’s wondering into her father’s old-fashioned newspaper operation, and the next she’s fighting off a would-be killer. The attacks quickly escalate, and Megan adapts. She outwits home invaders, dodges gunfire and even engages in a high-speed car chase fit for a Hollywood spy thriller—all the while planning a bittersweet memorial service for dear old Dad.

Fortunately for Megan, she’s got the perfect companion at her side throughout the two-day series of jarring twists and turns that populate the story. Garret Larrson is an old acquaintance from high school who’s managed to turn into Mr. Small-Town Wonderful during the 10 years Megan’s been away making a name for herself in the Big City. When Megan’s in trouble, Garret’s there on the double. It just works out that way—in the beginning. By the time it’s become clear the attacks on Megan’s life are neither random nor likely to abate, Garrett’s in deep. He’s sincerely concerned about her safety, of course, but he’s also found himself increasingly attracted to her. With all the craziness swirling around them, is there any hope for a stab at romance? The reader can’t help but root for these two as the author engineers a not-so-subtle shift in the narrative. “Against the Tide” isn’t the story of one woman’s fight against a nefarious, cold-blooded villain. It’s the heartwarming, gut-clenching tale of two against the world, and the masterful Melody Carlson makes it well worth the read.

Hope you’ll share your thoughts below. Until next time …

About the Reviewer:

A licensed Georgia attorney since 1998, Sybil Bates McCormack now writes responses to state and Federal contract solicitations during the day while lurching haltingly toward a career as 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, September 19, 2016

Brittany McEuen reviews GRIME FAMILY by Marji Laine

Brittany McEuen reviews GRIME FAMILY by Marji Laine

The Short Version:

Meeting the parents can be murder. For Dani Foster that’s a literal statement, and there’s little chance her boyfriend’s parents will ever warm up to her. Not after what she uncovers. 

After dating for several months, it’s only natural that Jay Hunter should want his girlfriend to meet his family. But Dani’s curious nature and extraordinary observation skills can’t be turned off. Not even for his parents. Their secrets aren’t her doing, and the fact that she unearths them aren’t her intentions, so why is she openly hated? 

His parents’ obvious dislike for the lady he loves leaves Jay with a terrible decision. Does he accept their counsel and give up this woman who has meant so much to him, or does he return to Dallas with Dani and never look back? Or is there some way the problems can be resolved without destroying either relationship? 

My Review: 

I really enjoyed this continuation of the Grime Fighter series. Although the small town setting was slower paced and different than the earlier books, which are set in the Dallas area, there was still a mystery to be solved and danger always seems to find Dani Foster. 

I liked visiting Jay Hunter’s small town and meeting the people he grew up with. It was painful to watch as Dani was continually treated badly by Jay’s family for things that weren’t her responsibility. However, the reasons behind their actions become clear as the story unfolds. I was extremely impressed with both Jay and Dani in the way that they dealt with Jay’s family and their treatment of Dani. 

Each of the previous Grime Fighter mysteries have revealed a bit more about Dani and her past. This novella did not truly add much new information, however, the reader will continue to see Dani struggle with hiding who she really is from Jay. I’m looking forward to reading more in this series and finding out the full extent of Dani’s backstory. This has been a fun series to read. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

About Reviewer Brittany McEuen:

I am a busy homeschooling mom to four children, ranging from kindergarten to high school. I’m happily married to my high school sweetheart and am an avid reader and book reviewer. I feature book reviews, giveaways, and occasional author interviews on my blog, Britt Reads Fiction. You can also connect with me on Pinterest and Goodreads.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Marji Laine reviews WITHOUT WARNING by Lynette Eason

Marji Laine reviews WITHOUT WARNING by Lynette Eason

Short version on Amazon:

Katie Singleton, a partner with the Elite Guardians Protection Agency, stumbles upon her next assignment quite by accident. Spotting blue lights at a familiar restaurant, she stops to investigate, only to discover that owner Daniel Matthews has become the target of someone who will go to any lengths to put him out of business.

Daniel might be concerned, but he's not convinced that a bodyguard—and a female one at that—is necessary. A new attack and his niece's urgings are enough to make him reconsider. He and Katie must figure out who's behind the intimidation and threats—before a would-be killer strikes again.

My Take:

I love the way Lynette Eason loosely connects her novels, in this case, through the Elite Guardians Protection Agency. Each stands alone, but compliments the ones that were published before. So is the case with Without Warning. The characters from Always Watching, and from the next installment, Moving Target, were prominent throughout this story.

And her characters are so deep. Katie Singleton has deep issues that she'd rather stuff into the unreachable places within her than address. I can't say that I blame her. As her nightmare is revealed bit by bit, she drew me right into her pain and the horror she faced when circumstances resembled those she'd experienced in her past. 

I also liked Daniel Matthews. What an excellent uncle. He has issues as well, but he is made even more complicated with his background in the armed services. A soldier doesn't need a protector. A soldier is a protector. I'm a big fan of seeing the sincere humility or even brokenness of a strong hero. (Oh, that sounds so mean!) But there's a genuineness about situations that leave a mighty man feeling helpless or hopeless. Especially when there's a love interest involved.

And the romance here is so sweet. Lynette Eason always injects her stories with a good balance of respect, admiration, and chemistry. 

But the show-stealer in this book is a attitude-filled teenager named Riley. While determined to stay cool and keep the things around her under control, including her uncle, she shows a vulnerability that is truly enchanting. Having lost so much already, she clings to her uncle with both arms, and her sensitive wisdom and childlike faith make her true-to-life.

My own teenagers loved the story right along with me. We listened to it during several road trips last month. The prospect of hearing more from Without Warning actually helped us look forward to the long drives. This is a masterfully written book that any lover of romantic suspense would enjoy!

About the Senior Reviewer:

Suspense Sister, Marji Laine, loves books and writing. Her own Grime Fighter novella series, about a crime scene cleaner, involves mystery, romance, and a touch of suspense.

Living in a Dallas suburb with her hubby of almost 30 years and her twins - the youngest of four - she spends her days homeschooling and transporting her teenagers to various functions, especially volleyball games. She also directs the children's music, helps with the youth choir, and sings in the adult choir at her church, as well as coordinates the high school credit classes along with the website of a large home school co-op.

Join her at MarjiLaine.com or follow her on FacebookTwitter, or visit her Amazon author page.



Monday, September 5, 2016

Iola Goulton reviews AFTER THE THAW by Therese Heckenkamp

Iola Goulton reviews AFTER THE THAW by Therese Heckenkamp

Amazon Description:

Some wounds heal. Others leave scars.
Four years ago, Charlene Perigard survived a brutal kidnapping. Now at twenty-two, she's put that trauma behind her for a promising future with handsome firefighter Ben Jorgensen. But when new trauma strikes, a new nightmare begins.

Sinister threats, a midnight attack, and a deathbed promise drive Charlene to the little town of Creekside, where she encounters a man from her past whom she has long struggled to forget: Clay Morrow--ex-convict and brother of her kidnapper. He's also the man who once helped save her life.

Despite the odds, Charlene and Clay forge a tentative friendship, unaware of a brooding, mounting danger that seeks to destroy them both. Charlene's wounded heart must choose between her fiancé and the man whose past is more scarred than her own. But in choosing, she may just lose everything.

My Review:

After the Thaw is the sequel to Frozen Footprints—which I hadn’t read, and I certainly didn’t feel I was missing information. There were several flashbacks early in the story, which did make the start feel a little jerky in places. However, they did provide me with plenty of opportunity to catch up on what I’d missed without becoming an overwhelming rehash of what went before.

For those who did read Frozen Footprints, After the Thaw starts over three years later, after Clay has finished his prison sentence. Charlene is now a librarian, and almost engaged to firefighter Ben Jorgensen. She’s escaped from her grandfather’s influence and hasn’t seen Clay in years. But she still has a letter to deliver to him, from his dead mother.

The story starts with a bang (no, I’m not going to tell you what that is, even though it sets the scene and pace for the entire novel), and it doesn’t let up. She’s approached by a strange man with an uncomfortable reminder of her earlier kidnapping. Then she’s arrested for possessing drugs … which makes no sense. And events continue to get stranger and stranger until she doesn’t know where to turn. Although she knows where not to turn: her grandfather.

It’s an excellent story, full of twists and turns which kept me guessing right until the end (especially the Ben/Clay love triangle—I always enjoy a little romance in my suspense). The writing was excellent, and the characters well-developed and realistic.

One thing which is unusual about After the Thaw is that the characters are Roman Catholic. Most Christian fiction shies away from mentioning specific denominations, preferring merely to identify the characters as Christian. (The exception is Amish romance, which seems to dominate the shelves of Christian bookstores to a degree that is far out of proportion with their actual numbers or their influence on world history.) It was refreshing to see an actual denomination … especially one which more often appears to represent the antagonist or the fool.

Overall, I thought After the Thaw was excellent, and recommend it to all Christian suspense fans.

Thanks to Therese Heckenkamp for providing a free ebook for review … especially as she’s now a fellow Suspense Sisters reviewer (which in no way affected my review).

About Reviewer Iola Goulton:

I am a freelance editor specializing in Christian fiction, and you can find out more about my services at my website, or follow me on FacebookTwitterPinterest or Tsu .

I love reading, and read and review around 150 Christian books each year on my blog. I'm a Top 25 Reviewer at Christian Book, in the Top 1% of reviewers at Goodreads, and have an Amazon US Reviewer Rank that floats around 2500 (and I'm in the Top 50 at Amazon Australia).