Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Bill Higgs's Eden Hill ~ Reviewed


Eden Hill
Bill Higgs
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (July 1, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1496410831

Description:

Nothing seems to change in Eden Hill, Kentucky, and that’s just fine with Virgil T. Osgood. He’s been content to raise his family and run the only service station in town. But when a new station is set to open right across the road from Virgil’s pumps, he suddenly faces obstacles in his career, his marriage, and his self-worth that he’s never even dreamed of.

Cornelius Alexander wants his new Zipco station to succeed and help establish a strong foundation for his growing family. As long as he follows the Zipco guide, he’s sure to be a success―and prove his father wrong.

Reverend Caudill wants to be a conduit for grace in his town, but that grace is challenged by the changes sweeping through in the early 1960s. For the sake of this small town, Virgil and Cornelius must learn to get along, but how do you love your neighbor when his very presence threatens to upend everything you hold dear?

Review:

Eden Hill is a charming book set in the early sixties. Virgil and Mavine own a small gas station in their homey little town. When Cornelius Alexander brings his pregnant young wife to town along with his huge glossy dreams, everything turns upside down. Can Virgil accept a new and snazzy super station right across the street? Oh, and Mavine has been reading a woman's magazine that has begun to mess a little with his marriage, too. Is nothing sacred anymore?

Filled with quirky and realistic characters, Eden Hill portrays family lives, church, the comings and goings of neighbors as they meddle, care and enrich each others lives so well I felt like I was sitting in the town square observing it all. I was born in 1962 and some of the scenes reminded me of snapshots of my childhood. Some of the characters definitely reminded me of folks I brush shoulders with in church and at work, too. Charming and sweet and darn fun to read, I recommend this novel, it would be a great summer read.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

A review copy was provided in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Tamera Alexander's To Win Her Favor ~ Reviewed

To Win Her Favor
Tamera Alexander
Series: A Belle Meade Plantation Novel
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (May 12, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310291070

Description:

A gifted rider in a world where ladies never race, Maggie Linden is determined that her horse will become a champion. But the one man who could help her has vowed to stay away from thoroughbred racing forever.
 
An Irishman far from home, Cullen McGrath left a once prosperous life in England because of a horse racing scandal that nearly ruined him. He's come to Nashville for a fresh start, hoping to buy land and begin farming, all while determined to stay as far away from thoroughbred racing as possible. But starting over proves harder than he'd wagered, especially when Maggie Linden's father makes him an offer he shouldn't accept yet cannot possibly refuse.

Maggie is certain that her mare, Bourbon Belle, can take the top purse in the inaugural Peyton Stakes, the richest race ever run in America. Maggie only needs the chance to prove it. To give her that chance--and to save Linden Downs from being sold to the highest bidder--Maggie's father, aging, yet wily as ever, makes a barter. His agreement includes one tiny, troublesome detail--Maggie must marry a man she's never met. A man she never would have chosen for herself.

Review: 

To Win Her Favor takes place in the South right after the Civil War. We learn about Maggie Linden, who lives with her father on their plantation. They are close to losing the plantation, but Maggie thinks she can make everything okay by racing her horse, Bourbon Belle, at the annual Peyton Stakes at Nashville's racetrack. Cullen McGrath has moved from Ireland, looking for a fresh start, and hoping to buy a place for himself. When he happens upon the Linden' plantation, he meets Maggie's father. They agree on Cullen buying the plantation, as long as he also agrees to marry Maggie and take care of her. It is not an ideal situation for either of them. The story then follows their relationship, as they try to hide things from their past from each other, and fight growing attraction they are feeling.

I love stories written in this era. I admired both characters, and understood why they kept their secrets from each other, but at the same time, I kept wanting to tell them to just be honest with each other and communicate! The story was well written and I really enjoyed it. 



Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Monday, May 09, 2016

Therese Down's The End of Law ~ Reviewed


The End of Law
Therese Down
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Lion Fiction (March 27, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1782641904


Description: 

Berlin, 1933: as Hitler rises to power; the law--designed to protect and serve--becomes twisted to the will of those who dream of a pure Aryan race.
SS Officer Walter Gunther is intensely loyal to the Third Reich. His readiness to kill without question or remorse would seem to make him the ideal candidate to lead the T4 euthanasia programme. SS officer Karl Muller, a trainee doctor and engineer, is also brought into the programme, and assured that his work is consistent with the Hippocratic oath he's due to take.
Their mandate: to kill the "unworthies"--not just the Jews, but crippled children, the mentally ill, homosexuals. Hedda, Walter's wife and old acquaintance of Karl, has no idea of what their work entails. Until, that is, the fate of their families is at stake, and each must confront afresh the choices they have made.
This dark, tense novel is a compelling story of human tragedy, and man's potential to revel in, or fight against, the evil actions of a corrupted nation.

Review:
The End of Law is a heavy, heavy read. I tend to shy away from wartime fiction. In my thought process there is no sense in reading something depressing when life can be so heavy all by itself. And I don’t like the omniscient point of view where the narrator knows the inner thoughts of every character. Two strikes for The End of Law, but once I got past the first couple pages I just couldn’t stop. I found so much horrific history buried between the covers, but I also saw the wonder of people sacrificing and fighting against the encroaching evil of the Nazis. The characters are mainly members or attached to members of the Nazi party, many are protected from the horror of reality, others’ hands are so dirty that all sanity seems to be gone. When a little bit of truth leaks out, a powder keg blows within one family. The results are tragic. However, the thread of hope is not lost. God was not silent during that period of insanity. And the proof is in the good of the people who fought against the ideas of a few mad men. I so recommend this novel to anyone interested in this time frame.
This novel was provided to me for review purposes.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Irene Hannon's Hope Harbor ~ Reviewed

Hope Harbor
Irene Hannon
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (July 7, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800724526


Description:

Tracy Campbell never wanted to leave Hope Harbor, Oregon, or the idyllic three-generation cranberry farm where she grew up. But life--and love--altered her plans. When tragedy strikes and changes her plans yet again, she finds herself back in her hometown with a floundering farm to run and a heartbreaking secret. Romance is not on her agenda. Nor is it on Michael Hunter's. The visitor from Chicago has daunting secrets of his own. But when Tracy recruits him to help save a struggling charitable organization, the winds of change begin to sweep through Hope Harbor, bringing healing, hope, and love to countless lives--including their own.

Fan favorite Irene Hannon brings a whole new cast of characters to life in a charming Oregon seaside village. Emotional and heartwarming, this story invites readers to come home to Hope Harbor, where love and hope bloom--and hearts heal.

Review:

Hope Harbor takes place in small town America on the coast. We follow Michael Hunter, who's wife died due to a sudden illness. He has many regrets about not being there for her while she was alive. He decides to come to the place she talked of visiting as a child, Hope Harbor, hoping it would help him to clear his head and find direction. Tracy Campbell runs a cranberry farm with her uncle, and has her own issues. Her husband died a tragic death, which she holds herself responsible for. Michael and Tracy meet under less than ideal circumstances, and manage to keep running into each other. Different events provide a chance for them to get to know each other better, and though they both feel they are unworthy of being loved again, they can't help the feelings that develop.

This was a great story. My heart went out to each character for different reasons, but looking back on the story, it's amazing to see how each of their lives impacted everyone in the town, and if they hadn't been the people they were, and done the things they did, everything would have been different, if that makes sense. This was a great story.

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Jordyn Redwood's Peril ~ Reviewed


Peril
Jordyn Redwood
Series: Bloodline Trilogy (Book 3)
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications (September 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0825442133


Description:

Dr. Thomas Reeves is at the pinnacle of his career. The Department of Defense has awarded him a lucrative contract for his new research into superior autobiographical memory, which promises the ability to create combat troops able to quickly learn complex battle plans and enact them perfectly under the most demanding battlefield scenarios.
An elite unit has received neural grafts from fetal cadavers of genetically altered brain cells with enhanced NMDA receptors. The results are remarkable . . . until the recipients begin suffering hallucinations, nightmares, paralysis, . . . and death. Dr. Reeves searches for answers, but DOD insiders want him to stop the search.
The situation becomes public when pediatric ICU nurse Morgan Adams, Dr. Reeves’s daughter, is taken hostage by three research subjects in an attempt to force Dr. Reeves into disclosing why they are sick. If answers aren’t revealed within twenty-four hours, patients in the pediatric ICU will be killed.
This spine-tingling conclusion to the Bloodline Trilogy raises spiritual and ethical dilemmas torn directly out of today’s headlines. When does life begin? How far does commitment to family go? And can the sins of the father ever be forgiven?


Review:

Medical fiction is one of my favorite genres. Crime fiction is right up there. So when they are combined and the story is a well-written page-turner, then it earns a two thumbs up. 

Jordyn Redwood's Peril is definitely a two thumb up novel. A ruthless killer, oh, not just any killer, one who's had some help from a mad scientist, a woman grieving the loss of her baby and her part in missing the signs, a husband trying to keep his grieving wife through the dark days...oh, and a young girl who...well, let's just say the plot is action packed. 

Chicken warning, this book has some intensity that may make you suck your thumb and need a night light. Anyone who is intrigued by the above, it's a page turner.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Diann Mills's Deadlock ~ Reviewed



Deadlock
by DiAnn Mills
Series: FBI: Houston (Book 3)
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (October 1, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1414389957

Descriptions: 

Two murders have rocked the city of Houston. Are they the work of a serial killer, or is a copycat trying to get away with murder?

That is the question facing Special Agent Bethany Sanchez, who is eager for her new assignment in violent crimes but anxious about meeting her new partner. Special Agent Thatcher Graves once arrested her brother, and he has a reputation for being a maverick. Plus, their investigative styles couldn’t be more opposite: he operates on instinct, while she goes by the book.

When hot leads soon fizzle out, their differences threaten to leave them deadlocked. But an attempt on their lives turns up the heat and brings them closer together, and a third victim might yield the clue that will help them zero in on a killer. This could be the case of their careers . . . if they can survive long enough to solve it.


Review:

Deadlock is about two FBI Agents, coming together as partners for the first time to investigate serial killings that are going on. Special Agent Bethany Sanchez is a “by the rules” kind of gal. She got involved in the FBI after seeing so much violence in her neighborhood growing up. She has even had to testify against her own brother, which sent him to prison. Special Agent Thatcher Graves once arrested Bethany's brother, but hasn't connected the relationship. He goes by his gut and isn't afraid to throw the rules out the window and go by instinct. This case has them struggling, not only trying to balance their strengths with each other, but trying to solve the case before someone else gets murdered. On top of that, they are having a growing attraction to each other that they are trying to fight as it's against the rules.

I really enjoyed this book. I typically wouldn't choose this type of storyline, but I've enjoyed Diann Mills books. It keeps you interested and wanting to read more to find out what will happen next. And the story has twists that take you by surprise, so you don't really know what's going to happen next. If you like suspense and romance together in a clean format, I highly recommend this book.

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Colleen Coble's Mermaid Moon ~ Reviewed


Mermaid Moon
Colleen Coble
Series: A Sunset Cove Novel
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (January 12, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1401690289

Description: 

Mallory’s mother died fifteen years ago. But her father’s last words on the phone were unmistakable: “Find . . . mother.”

Shame and confusion have kept Mallory Davis from her home for the last fifteen years, but when her dad mysteriously dies on his mail boat route, she doesn’t have any choice but to go back to Mermaid Point.

Mallory believes her father was murdered and childhood sweetheart Kevin O’Connor, game warden in Downeast Maine, confirms her suspicions. But Kevin is wary of helping Mallory in her search. She broke his heart and left—without a word—years ago.

When Mallory begins receiving threats on her own life—and her beloved teenage daughter, Haylie—their search intensifies. There’s a tangled web within the supposed murder, and it involves much more than what meets the eye.

As answers begin to fall into place, Mallory realizes her search is about more than finding her father’s killer—it is also about finding herself again . . . and possibly about healing what was broken so long ago with Kevin. She just has to stay alive long enough to put all the pieces together.


Review:


Colleen Coble’s Mermaid Moon, sequel to The Inn at Ocean's Edge begins with massive intrigue and murder.

Mallory is facing life alone with her teen daughter after her husband dies. Without life insurance. While trying to sell some of her handcrafted jewelry she receives a phone call from her father. Her already complicated life unfurls into a storm unlike any she has faced. 

As she returns home for the first time in 15 years she finds that her heart has never really left, and that someone wants to keep a secret deeply buried and will stop at nothing to do just that. Edge of seat reading.

Set in Folly Shoals and revisiting some characters, It was fun to see Claire and Luke settling into life. If you loved The Inn at Ocean’s Edge, you’ll love Mermaid Moon because there is another multi-twisted plot involving murder. And, of course, an equally sweet love story.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer