Sunday, August 13, 2017

Freedom's Ring By: Heidi Chiavaroli

Back of the Book

Boston, 2015
Two years after nearly losing her life in the Boston Marathon bombing, Annie David is still far from “Boston strong.” Instead she remains isolated and defeated—plagued by guilt over her niece, crippled in the blast, and by an antique ring alongside a hazy hero’s face. But when she learns the identity of her rescuer, will he be the hero she’s imagined? And can the long-past history of the woman behind the ring set her free from the guilt and fears of the present?

Boston, 1770
As a woman alone in a rebellious town, Liberty Caldwell finds herself in a dangerous predicament. When a British lieutenant, Alexander Smythe, comes to her rescue and offers her employment, Liberty accepts. As months go by, Alexander not only begins to share his love of poetry with her, but protects Liberty from the advances of a lecherous captain living in the officers’ house where she works.

Mounting tensions explode in the Boston Massacre, and Liberty’s world is shattered as her brother, with whom she has just reunited, is killed in the fray. Desperate and alone, she returns home, only to be assaulted by the captain. Afraid and furious toward redcoats, Liberty leaves the officers’ home, taking with her a ring that belonged to Alexander.

Two women, separated by centuries, must learn to face their fears. And when they feel they must be strong, they learn that sometimes true strength is found in surrender.

My Thoughts

Freedom's Ring is a uniquely written novel from start to finish.  The beginning felt choppy and more like 2 separate novels as we learn the back stories of both Annie (Boston 2015) and Liberty (Boston 1770). Once the novel finally started to take shape and the past and the present slowly came together I was hooked.  Annie and Brad are a perfect blend, and as they dig into the past you can tell the amount of research Chiavaroli had to do to write this novel.  Liberty's life was told bluntly to a point it felt uncomfortable, which made her story harder to enjoy.

Freedom's Ring was an interesting, well researched novel but not an easy read and definitely not for younger audiences.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Chasing Secrets By: Lynette Eason

Back of the Book

Elite Guardians bodyguard Haley Callaghan may be in South Carolina, but when a photo leads investigators in West Ireland to open a twenty-five-year-old cold case, her life is suddenly in danger. Haley knows how to take care of herself; after all, she's made a career out of taking care of others. But after an uncomfortably close call, Detective Steven Rothwell takes it upon himself to stay with her--and the young client she has taken under her wing. A protector at heart, he's not about to let Haley fight this battle alone.

In a sweeping plot that takes them into long-buried memories--and the depths of the heart--Haley and Steven will have to solve the mystery of Haley's past while dodging bullets, bombs, and bad guys who just won't quit.

My Thoughts

After reading Moving Target I wasn't sure how Eason would be able to match not only the intensity but the thrill.  Yet just pages into Chasing Secrets I was hooked!  The plot of this novel was intense, thrilling, and gripping.  Every chapter added to the suspense yet Eason always finds a way to weave in a love story to soften the novel.  Steven was by far the best love interest I have read in a while, he is a compassionate and a true kind hearted person.  Haley has a history that pulls at your heart strings and makes you want to learn more.  I thoroughly enjoyed Chasing Secrets and have loved the Elite Guardians series.  Lynette Eason has such an amazing writing style I can't wait to read what she writes next.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Name Unknown By: Roseanna M. White

Back of the book

Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they concentrate on stealing high-value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. But when Rosemary must determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany, she is in for the challenge of a lifetime. How does one steal a family's history, their very name?

Peter Holstein, given his family's German blood, writes his popular series of adventure novels under a pen name. With European politics boiling and his own neighbors suspicious of him, Peter debates whether it might be best to change his name for good. When Rosemary shows up at his door pretending to be a historian and offering to help him trace his family history, his question might be answered. 

But as the two work together and Rosemary sees his gracious reaction to his neighbors' scornful attacks, she wonders if her assignment is going down the wrong path. Is it too late to help him prove that he's more than his name?

My Thoughts

The plot is fantastic!  Great details highlight the amount of research White has done on the time period, A Name Unknown is a must for any historical fiction fan.  Rosemary is exquisite, her personality is bold yet kind, and the details written about her facial expressions are amazing.  Peter is a complex blend of an outgoing introvert, yet as the story progresses his character becomes even more complex.  A Name Unknown took me by complete surprise and I loved it.  You will not find another novel as well written and as entertaining as this.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

A Matter Of Trust By: Susan May Warren

Back of the Book

Champion backcountry snowboarder Gage Watson has left the limelight behind after the death of one of his fans. After being sued for negligence and stripped of his sponsorships, he's remade his life as a ski patrol in Montana's rugged mountains, as well as serving on the PEAK Rescue team. But he can't seem to find his footing--or forget the woman he loved, who betrayed him. 

Senator and former attorney Ella Blair spends much of her time in the limelight as the second-youngest senator in the country. But she has a secret--one that cost Gage his career. More than anything, she wants to atone for her betrayal of him in the courtroom and find a way to help him put his career back on track. 

When Ella's brother goes missing on one of Glacier National Park's most dangerous peaks, Gage and his team are called in for the rescue. But Gage isn't so sure he wants to help the woman who destroyed his life. More, when she insists on joining the search, he'll have to keep her safe while finding her reckless brother, a recipe for disaster when a snowstorm hits the mountain. 

But old sparks relight as they search for the missing snowboarder--and suddenly, they are faced with emotions neither can deny. But when Ella's secret is revealed, can they learn to trust each other--even when disaster happens again?

My Thoughts

A Matter Of Trust is a perfect blend of adventure and romance with some drama on the side.  This is not a stand alone novel so you will definitely want to go back and refresh yourself with what happened in the past books.  Gage is the perfect blend of strength and humility which makes him a wonderful and entertaining match for Ella.  Like in Warren's past novels the main characters are just a small portion of the novel, the side characters are well written, and the transitions back and forth between scenes is smooth and never feels choppy.  I loved A Matter Of Trust and can't wait for the next novel.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.


Monday, June 26, 2017

Dark Deception By: Nancy Mehl

Back of the Book

Kate O'Brien has been leading a quiet life in small-town Shelter Cove, Arkansas, for the past four years when her past suddenly comes roaring back to life. Four years ago, she and her twin sister were attacked by an elusive serial killer. Only Kate survived, and it was her drawing of the attacker--along with some last-minute evidence--that convicted the suspect. 

She's been in witness protection ever since, but new evidence suggests the convicted man isn't the murderer and she's been subpoenaed to testify in the new trial. Nervous about the risk, she'll only agree if the same Marshal who protected her during the original trial escorts her to St. Louis.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Tony DeLuca accepts the assignment to bring Kate to the trial, remembering how her strength impressed him. While in Shelter Cove, however, he gets a call from his chief, advising them to stay in Shelter Cove until a new development in the case can be straightened out. But when Kate's safety is threatened, Tony must race against the clock to keep her alive and put this ugly case to rest before anyone else gets killed.

My thoughts

Dark Deception is suspenseful from page one and never lets up to the very end.  Mehl has written yet another amazing, intense novel which I couldn't put down.  While I felt blindsided at many times as the story unfolded, I never felt lost as they blended easily into place as the case developed.  The side characters and their stories are unlike anything I have read in a suspense novel, it brought a unique charm to the book that I was not expecting.  Overall this is an intense, enjoyable and completely entertaining book on so many levels.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own

Monday, June 12, 2017

Under a Summer Sky By: Melody Carlson

Back of the Book

High school art teacher Nicole Anderson is looking forward to a relaxing summer in Savannah, house-sitting and managing an art gallery for a family friend. The house is luxurious in a way that only old money could make it, and the gallery promises interesting days in a gorgeous setting. Yet it isn't long before her ideal summer turns into more than she bargained for: a snooty gallery employee who's determined to force her out, a displaced adolescent roosting in the attic, and two of Nicole's close childhood friends--who also happen to be brothers--vying for her attention.

With a backdrop of a beautiful historical city, incredible architecture, and even an alleged ghost or two, combined with the opportunity for romance . . . anything can happen!

Bestselling and award-winning author Melody Carlson invites readers to spend the summer surrounded by beauty and tantalizing possibilities for the future.

My thoughts

Like a nice evening stroll, Under A Summer Sky is a smooth, comfortable novel.  The characters were easy to relate to, the conversations were enjoyable and the love story is like reading a hallmark.  While I enjoy books with suspense, sometimes I find the need to clear the tension and drama, this is the perfect novel to cleanse the readers palate.  I wholeheartedly recommend this novel.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own

Just Look Up By Courtney Walsh

Back of the Book

After tirelessly climbing the ranks of her Chicago-based interior design firm, Lane Kelley is about to land her dream promotion when devastating news about her brother draws her back home—a quaint tourist town full of memories she’d just as soon forget. With her cell phone and laptop always within reach, Lane aims to check on her brother while staying focused on work—something her eclectic family doesn’t understand.

Ryan Brooks never expected to settle down in Harbor Pointe, Michigan, but after his final tour of duty, it was the only place that felt like home. Now knee-deep in a renovation project that could boost tourism for the struggling town, he is thrilled to see Lane, the girl he secretly once loved, even if the circumstances of her homecoming aren’t ideal.

Their reunion gets off to a rocky start, however, when Ryan can’t find a trace of the girl he once knew in the woman she is today. As he slowly chips away at the walls Lane has built, secrets from his past collide with a terrible truth even he is reluctant to believe. Facing a crossroads that could define his future with Lane and jeopardize his relationship with the surrogate family he’s found in the Kelleys, Ryan hopes Lane can see that maybe what really matters has been right in front of her all along—if only she’d just look up.

My Thoughts

You can never go wrong reading a Courtney Walsh novel,  and Just Look Up is a clear reminder of this.  The story was wonderfully entertaining and heart warming.  Lane is an amazingly well written character with a personality and struggles that are easy to relate to.  Ryan is the epitome of peace and patience and as the story develops those qualities grow stronger and more endearing.  Walsh addresses real issues many of us face and shows them in an entertaining way and begs the question, how can our lives change if we Just Look Up?

I was given a complementary copy of this novel.