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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Marji Laine Reviews DEATH OF A COUCH POTATO'S WIFE by Christy Barritt

Marji Laine reviews DEATH OF A COUCH POTATO'S WIFE by Christy Barritt


Short Version from Amazon:

Welcome to Boring, Indiana, home to patio cookouts, homeowner dues, carpeted lawns, and neighbors so welcoming they’re dying to meet you — literally.

City slicker turned suburbanite housewife Laura Berry isn’t taking well to life in her new neighborhood. She moved to follow her husband’s dream, and now she can’t tell if she’s clinically depressed or just bored half to death. But Boring becomes anything but when Laura discovers her neighbor Candace Flynn face up on a sofa with her hand buried in a snack bag. With a healthy dose of neighborly suspicion and street smarts, Laura sets out to find Flynn’s killer, but her curiosity becomes desperation when the killer targets Laura.

Someone is determined to stop her from digging deeper into the murder, but Laura is just as determined to figure out who’s behind the death-by-poisoned-pork-rinds.

My Take:

Death by poisoned pork rinds in Boring, Indiana is only the beginning of the humor with this story. And Laura Berry had more issues than her neighbor's strange murder.

I've enjoyed one other book by Christy Barritt, a riveting romantic suspense called DUBIOSITY. So I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this cozy, but the author proved to be as adept at humor as she is at action and the tension of a suspense. The characters in this town are vivid and more than a little quirky. From the sheriff who sounds like a broken record to the perfect housewife with perfect skin and teeth to the septuagenarian who perpetually abides in her teenage years (complete with attitude). They offered ample suspects for the crime as well as some hilarity in their normal interaction.

And the twists to this mystery are exquisite. I was sure about the culprit, then I wasn't sure. I can tell you I figured things out early on in the story, only to have the continuing battery of complications and viable suspects convince me of other culprits. What a plot weaver.

Fans of cozy mysteries and humorous stories will enjoy this clever book! And take advantage of it as an audio-book. The narrator was outstanding and listening to the story made many hours in the car sheer delight.

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. She's also just released her first full novel, COUNTER POINT, for pre-order.

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. In addition to all of that, she's just been named the Executive Director of Write Integrity Press.

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

Monday, November 21, 2016

Lill Kohler reviews EVERYBODY'S BROKEN by Fay Lamb

Lill Kohler reviews EVERYBODY'S BROKEN by Fay Lamb

Short Version from Amazon:

The walls have ears … and voices. Voices that threaten …

Abra Carmichael's husband, Beau, has been murdered. She begins to realize that the man she loved was never who he seemed. Beau's secrets endanger Abra, their twin sons, and everyone who loved him. When Abra's life and the lives of their boys are threatened, she flees to Amazing Grace, North Carolina, and to Beau's family—people she never knew existed until the day of Beau's funeral.

For six years Shane Browne, an award-winning songwriter had both wished for and dreaded the return of his cousin. Beau's departure from their small hometown left behind his family and his inheritance, a grand Victorian with its legend of secret passages, which lay empty. Empty until Abra moves to Amazing Grace, into the house Beau willed to her only weeks before his death.

Shane finds himself deeply drawn to Abra and her sons, desiring a future with them and his daughter. But the danger follows Abra to the peacefulness of the North Carolina mountains. Abra and Shane are both threatened, and Abra claims to hear noises deep within the walls of the old home.

Shane will do everything possible to keep Abra and her boys safe, even if that means revealing secrets of his own that will completely shatter Abra's already broken heart and destroy his relationship with everyone he loves.

My Take:

This is my first time to read a novel by Faye Lamb. I must say she has a flare for twists and turns in a story that even when I figured out who is the villain was, I kept turning the pages. In Everyone’s Broken Fay Lamb shows how we see ourselves may not necessarily be how others see us.

As the main character, Abra, struggles to piece life together while hiding out from the man who killed her husband, she discovers this truth. Her eyes are opened and she’s faced with dealing with who she really is and what these new revelations mean to her future. And as her world seems to be turned upside down she rediscovers her relationship with God and His presence in her life.

The male lead in this novel is Shane. As I turned the pages I discovered a faithful man who withholds truth in order to protect those he loves. He too learns the importance of honesty and how painful lies, even when told to protect, can hurt. But, he also learns about forgiveness and its power of healing.

As family and friends work to solve the mysteries surrounding deaths and attacks their stories and hidden truths also emerge. Together and united, they figure out all the mysteries that need solving. It was a pleasure to see each character grow and each story come to a satisfactory conclusion. I highly recommend Fay Lamb’s book to anyone who has a passion for romantic-suspense.

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.

About the Reviewer:

Lill Kohler wears many hats…mother, grandmother, nurse, writer, blogger, housekeeper, and aspiring gardener. Each holds importance in her heart, but none as great as following the leading of God. She is published in Guidepost’s book Heavenly Company: Entertaining Angels Unaware and OakTara’s Falling In Love With You. You can follow her posts on her blog sites: www.rocking-myworld.blogspot.com, www.AbueSpeaks.wordpress.com, lillkohler.wordpress.com.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Sandra Ardoin Reviews COUNTER POINT by Marji Laine

Sandra Ardoin Reviews COUNTER POINT by Marji Laine

Amazon Short Version:

Someone wants to complete the final assignment of a murdered hit man. 

Her dad's gone, her diner's closing, and her car's in the lake. Cat McPherson has nothing left to lose ... except her life. And a madman, bent on revenge, is determined to take that, as well. Her former boyfriend, Ray Alexander, returns as a hero from his foreign mission, bringing back souvenirs in the form of death-threats. When several attempts are made on Cat’s life, she must find a way to trust Ray, the man who broke her heart.

Keeping Cat safe from a fallen cartel leader might prove impossible for Ray, but after seeing his mission destroyed and hearing of the deaths of several godly people, he knows better than to ignore the man’s threats. Cat’s resistance to his protection and the stirring of his long-denied feelings for her complicate his intentions, placing them both in a fight for their lives. How can a small-town girl survive when ultimate power wants her dead?

My Thoughts:

This one starts off creepy (in a good way) and keeps on charging with suspense and yummy twists. Poor Cat is dealing with the recent death of her father and the future loss of his restaurant—his legacy. Throw in the return of the man with whom she once thought she’d spend her life, along with someone trying to kill her, and… Well, her days get a little hairy, like this:

A loud explosion rocked the car. The wheel jerked out of her hand. The right side reeled. […] Screeching tires silenced when the car shot over the edge of a steep embankment. Another loud pop. The world went white. She lost her breath as the airbag pressed her against the seat. […] The car contacted solid mass and glass shattered.

[…] The airbag drained with puffs of white powder and she found herself in the upper branches of a cottonwood tree overlooking Lake Grayson.

Ray deals with a sense of failure. He’s hailed a hero when he returns home, but people don’t know the truth of the situation, and he’s trying to find a way to tell them, especially Cat. This plot line was built up quite a bit—as it should have been—but I would have liked to have seen a bit more reaction from Cat and others. I liked Ray, though. He’s an everyday guy, dedicated to telling people of the gospel and someone who wants to do the right thing, but doesn’t always succeed. In other words, he’s human.

While I had an idea of the “whodunit” (won’t say if I was right or not), I have to tell you Marji Laine threw in various twists, but came up with one at the end that took me by complete surprise. And she doesn’t play nice with her characters. She makes them earn their place in the story.

Bottom line: If plenty of action and danger gets your reading juices flowing, you’ll want to read Counter Point, the first book in the Heath Point Mystery series. As for me, I’m looking forward to meeting Daisy, Grady, Dell and others in Book Two.

About the Reviewer:

Sandra Ardoin writes inspirational historical romance. She’s the author of The Yuletide Angel and A Reluctant Melody. A wife and mom, she’s also a reader, football fan, NASCAR watcher, garden planter, country music listener, and antique store prowler.


Visit her at www.sandraardoin.com and on the Seriously Write blog. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Pinterest. Join her email community to receive occasional updates and a free short story.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Iola Goulton reviews POINTE AND SHOOT by Alison Stone

Iola Goulton reviews Pointe and Shoot by Alison Stone

Amazon Description:

Jayne Murphy has always put family first. That’s why she abandoned her dream of joining the police force to run her ailing mother’s dance studio.

When one of the studio’s most talented instructors dies in a car crash, Jayne isn’t convinced it was just an accident. Relentlessly pursuing her hunch, she teams up with Officer Danny Nolan, the best friend and partner of her brother Patrick, who died in the line of duty. Haunted by Patrick’s death, Danny has begun to question whether he should still be a cop at all.

As Jayne digs deeper, suspects emerge, including the victim’s clingy ex-boyfriend and a jealous foe from the cutthroat dance world. Her evolving insights into the case rekindle Jayne’s passion for police work. Danny, too, feels a renewed sense of purpose…and a definite attraction to his unofficial partner, which seems to be mutual. Now, if Jayne can only keep herself out of harm’s way, she and Danny both might get a second chance—with their careers and each other.

My Review:

Pointe and Shoot … it’s a great title, and one that had me hooked from the opening line. I just knew something bad was going to happen, and sure enough, it did.

Everyone thinks Miss Melinda’s death is an unfortunate accident, but her boss, Jayne, isn’t so sure. But no one wants to listen when she says she believes Miss Melinda was lured onto the dark lakeside road. Not the police chief, not her policeman brothers, and not even Danny, her dead brother’s patrol partner.

This is where it got clever. Most of the novel is written in third person from Jayne’s point of view. But some chapters are written in first person, from the point of view of the unknown assailant, which means the reader knows it was murder. Kind of … I thought the use of first person here was inspired, because it meant we knew nothing about the assailant, not even their gender. Clever!

Miss Natalie, the owner of the ballet school and Jayne’s mother, has Alzheimer’s. It’s a horrible affliction, and I was impressed with the sensitive way it was portrayed, and with Jayne’s unfailing patience with her mother—on her good days, and her not-so-good days. I did, however, have less charitable thoughts towards Jayne’s brothers for some of their attitudes …

There were a few annoying writing niggles—overuse of words like “noticed” (I always figure if I notice a word, it’s been used enough that I notice the word over the writing). And I would have liked a little more of the developing romance between Jayne and Danny—it did feel like this got left behind in the suspense plot. Hey, I like my romantic suspense to have a little more romance than suspense!

But don’t let that put you off. Pointe and Shoot was an excellent suspense (with romantic overtones), set in a ballet school run by a non-ballerina who once wanted to be a police officer. And which ended with a tantalizing hint that this might be the first book in a series. If so, I’ll be back for more.

Thanks to Waterfall Press and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for 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).