Tuesday 20 December 2022

Book Review: The Lost Melody


From The Back:

"Haunting. Riveting. Filled with hope."--Michelle Griep, author of Lost in Darkness

When concert pianist Vivienne Mourdant's father dies, he leaves to her the care of a patient at Hurstwell Asylum. Vivienne had no idea the woman existed, and yet her portrait is shockingly familiar. When the asylum claims she was never a patient there, Vivienne is compelled to discover what happened to the figure she remembers from childhood dreams.

The longer she lingers in the deep shadows and forgotten towers at Hurstwell, the fuzzier the line between sanity and madness becomes. She hears music no one else does, receives strange missives with rose petals between the pages, and untangles far more than is safe for her to know.

But can she uncover the truth about the mysterious woman she seeks? And is there anyone at Hurstwell she can trust with her suspicions?

Joanna Davidson Politano casts a delightful spell with this lyrical look into the nature of women's independence and artistic expression during the Victorian era--and now.

My Reflections:

Where do I start? I have never in my long history of reading come across a book quite like this. It touched my soul and moved me in ways that I can't even flesh out. I feel like it would do the book an injustice if I revealed the inner contents, for this reason I will keep my review subjective and let you enjoy the unfettered essence within.

England 1886 sits Hurstwell  Lunatic asylum a place filled with shadows, deep darkness and immense pain. We are able to take a glimpse into the Victorian era of the misunderstood. The fine line between sanity and madness. 

The characters were so well developed that the story came alive for me. I was moved from emotion to emotion harmoniously flowing with the melody of the story. Ah... I never wanted it to end, I was left crying at the injustices while rooting for the truth to be had. Politano weaves faith gently throughout the entirety of the book adding depth and humanity. We are reminded that in the darkness there is light and hope. We can touch others lives even mired in the darkness, we just have to reach out, even when all seems lost.

The romance is heart achingly beautiful, tender and moving. It almost seemed out of place at the start, but as the story progressed it really added an element of humanity. 

I am completely amazed at the Politano's exceptional ability to take a story and craft it into a work of art. This book just took writing to a whole new level.

 Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Joanna Davidson Politano

Joanna Davidson Politano is the award-winning author of Lady Jayne DisappearsA Rumored FortuneFinding Lady EnderlyThe Love Note, and A Midnight Dance. She loves tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in...

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Book Review: Targeted


From the Back:

Three women. Three men. Three unsuspecting targets.

Get ready for triple the thrills with three heart-stopping stories from your favorite romantic suspense authors!

In On the Run, IT Specialist Daria Nevsky is a highly skilled FBI agent with the ability to hack any computer. She must go on the run to find out who wants her dead--and Dr. Ryker Donahue refuses to let her do it alone.

In Deadly Objective, physical therapist Emily Dixon and Secret Service Agent Liam Harper are committed to keeping their relationship professional. But when the vice president's son enters the crosshairs of a killer, some lines will have to be crossed in order to keep him safe.

In Caught in the Crosshairs, there is no love lost between former Army PSYOPS officer Ari Blackman and CIA officer Claudia Gallegos after Claudia is implicated in the murder of a Saudi prince. But to prevent a coup that would put America at risk, they'll have to learn to trust each other--before it's too late.

My Reflections:

Though I love to sink my teeth into a gool full length novel, once and awhile it is nice to dip your feet in a melody of short stories. What is better than a novella with three of my favorite authors. Lynette Easton, Lynn H. Blackburn and Natalie Walters all had well developed characters, a perfectly thought out plot with faith based threads. Some how they packed all of this into a short 120 ish page feast for the senses. If asked I couldn't pick a favorite, each were wildly different yet had the same thrilling elements that you would expect form these authors.

It was delightful how the authors weaved previous stories into their collections. In the depths of the pages you will find stories that are packed with heart warming romance and spine tingling suspense. The characters are well fleshed out and the story lines were full bodied and satisfying. I feel these short stories could be read as a stand alone. It actually would be a perfect introduction to each authors unique penmanship.

I highly recommend this novella, especially for those cold winter nights.

A perfect read for the holidays!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Lynette Eason

  1. Lynette Eason is the USA Today bestselling author of Life Flight, Crossfire, and Critical Threat, as well as the Danger Never Sleeps, Blue Justice, Women of Justice, Deadly Reunions, Hidden Identity, and Elite...

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  2. Lynn H. Blackburn

    Lynn H. Blackburn is the award-winning author of Unknown Threat and Malicious Intent, as well as the Dive Team Investigations series. She believes in the power of stories, especially those that remind us that true love exists, a gift...

    Continue reading about Lynn H. Blackbur

  3. Natalie Walters

    Natalie Walters is the author of Lights Out and Fatal Code, as well as the Harbored Secrets series. A military wife, she currently resides in Texas with her soldier husband and is the proud mom of three. She loves traveling, spending time with...

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Sunday 9 October 2022

Book Review: To Win A Prince


From the Back:

Can she stop herself from falling before she's too far gone?

As a fashion aficionado and best friend of the queen of the African island country Ọlọrọ Ilé, Iris Blakely dreams of using her talent to start a sustainable clothing line to help citizens in impoverished areas and honor the country's resources. But when she discovers that Ekon Diallo--the man who betrayed her best friend--will be her business consultant, the battle between her desires and reality begins.

Ekon Diallo has lost everything: his princely title, his material possessions, his friends, and the respect of his fellow Ọlọrans. To pay for his actions against Ọlọrọ Ilé, he's forced to assist the charismatic Iris Blakely--but he can't allow his heart to distract him from regaining his status.

Though they come from vastly different worlds, Iris and Ekon are both determined to reach their goals, and the only way to do that is to work together--if they can just keep their hearts from getting in the way . . .

My Reflections:

This is Shiloh's sequel to her first book "In Search of A Prince." I absolutely loved that book and  was excited to see what was in store for Iris Blakey, the bff to Brielle who is the Queen of Oloro Ile.

Iris, is an exuberant lively character full of emotions and love for people. Having just started up her new fashion business. Her plan is not only to create a sustainable clothing line but also to give back to Oloro Ile and it's people. Filled with excitement and dreams Iris launches full steam ahead into making those dreams a reality.

It is not easy sailing however, the business sustains all kinds of road blocks that keep Iris on her toes. One thing that is forefront in her mind is the matter of her new Business consultant, Ekon.

Ekon is not your typical Business consultant he is actually the fallen prince who tried to betray Queen Brielle's title. As punishment he is ordered by the council to do community service along with helping Iris as she launches her new career. Thing is Pampered Ekon is holding onto so much resentment and bitterness for his punishment he can't see past his own nose to care about anything other than restoring the good graces with his father and the upper-class citizens of Oloro Ile. 

Iris and Ekon come to an understanding from the start, this is just a business deal and a way to complete Ekon's sentence and community service hours. It all seems so simple..

Ah, not so. As Ekon grows and matures and with the help of Iris his heart starts to soften. The blinds are slowly peeled back layer by layer until he is reduced to face his past and the person he was. Does it come too late? (I loved the fantastic plot twist, it really added depth to the story.)

Iris tries to keep focused on the tasks at hand, but her heart has other ideas. Torn with what she knows is right and what her heart is telling her she must lean on God to find out his true plan for her life. This is no easy task for a dreamer. Is there any hope for Ekon? Can he turn around his life? What about his heart, is he brave enough to be vulnerable?

I loved the depth this story had, it comes off as a fluffy dreamy type novel but in truth it is filled with the struggles of character, the call to faith and the courage to rise above and follow a path less traveled. There are quite a few surprises to be had in this story! I was entertained by the musings of both characters and their crazy antics. And yes, I fell in love with the Suck up Ekon, he won my heart by the end of the novel. If you love fairytales and happily ever after you will love Shiloh's newest novel, but do your self a favor and read book one!

Well done Toni Shiloh, I can't wait for what you have in store for us in your next!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Toni Shiloh

Toni Shiloh (www.tonishiloh.com) is a wife, mom, and multi-published Christian contemporary romance author. Her novel In Search of a Prince has been praised by OprahDaily.com, Popsugar, Library Journal, and Booklist, and is a Parable...

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Book Review: Dangerous Beauty

From the Back:

What is the price of freedom?

Liliana Vela hates the term victim. She's not a victim, she's a fighter. Stubborn and strong with a quiet elegance, she's determined to take back her life after escaping the clutches of human traffickers. But she can't stay safely in America--unless the man who aided in her rescue is serious about his unconventional proposal to marry her.

Meric Toledan was just stopping at a service station for a bottle of water. Instead, he becomes the key to Liliana's rescue. If he can keep his secrets hidden, his wealth and position afford him many resources to help her. But the mysterious buyer who funded her capture will not sit idly by while his prize is stolen from him.

My Reflections:

"Dangerous Beauty" is a poignant and raw novel about the travesty of human trafficking. Melissa Koslin has written a moving yet powerful story, filled grit and honesty. She tackles the subject with tact, giving readers just enough detail to become engaged and embroiled in the story, without becoming traumatized by the sensitive subject matter. 

Taken by the Cartel and sold Liliana finds herself in a new country fraught with dangers. She manages a harrowing escape and is mercifully helped by a complete stranger. Liliana must trust this man as she finds he is the only way out to safety. Meric her rescuer is a man of secrets, he is stoic in his interactions, and Liliana is not sure where she stands. Struggling to learn a new language, and gently testing the boundaries around her she grapples to find her way and navigate the dangers and beauty of this new country.

In a blink of an eye, Meric has turned his world upside down. In his rash attempt to help Liliana he has opened up wounds he has been trying to bury for as long as he can remember. Afraid that he will lose control of his tightly held secrets he tries his best to close himself off and keep Liliana at a distance. It is impossible however to ignore the pain this woman has experienced and he finds himself trying his best to help her deal with her trauma and heal.

Their relationship is tenuous at best and they make quite an odd couple. Having both seen a dark side of life that few have, they must both work hard to find a way to healing and happiness.

Melissa Koslin is a master storyteller. She addresses human trafficking head on painting an accurate picture of the ugliness of the situation, yet showing us the strength of the human heart when we let God's love and grace unravel the pain.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Melissa Koslin

Melissa Koslin is a fourth-degree black belt in and certified instructor of Songahm Taekwondo. In her day job as a commercial property manager, she secretly notes personal quirks and funny situations, ready to tweak them into colorful additions for her books....

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Monday 1 August 2022

Book Review: Free Fall

From The Back

The closer she comes to the truth, the deadlier her chase gets.

FBI behavioral analyst Alex Donovan and her colleague Logan Hart have been called upon to write a profile for a missing woman, but a little digging quickly turns up more disappearances in Virginia with the same physical description.

Alex is in a race against the clock to rescue the missing victims, so when the UNSUB makes demands of her in exchange for information, Alex takes the bait. But when her life is put in jeopardy, Logan must do whatever it takes to track them down before time runs out.

Alex works to think one step ahead of the suspect, but the more Logan and the BAU learn about the serial kidnapper, the more they fear Alex may not make it out alive.

My Reflections:

Nancy Mehl has done it again. She weaves a chilling, intense story that has her readers on the edge with a sense of foreboding and fear. This novel is one of a series from the Quantico files. Her third book contains just as much drama and spine-tingling suspense as her other two novels. Though this is a series and would be better suited to be read together this novel could be read as a stand-alone.

Special analysts Alex Donavan and Logan Harris race against time to try to stop a serial killer who has targeted several women who oddly resemble Alex. This case is a complex puzzle as they try to create a profile to his ever-changing patterns.

As Logan battles a personal health crisis, he finds himself struggling to keep in the loop and stay involved in catching the unsub. 

Alex also has her own demons. Struggling with PTSD from her last mission, she must push through her emotions and focus on her present case to save as many lives as she can. Will she be able to get herself out of another dangerous situation?

Buckle up and ride the waves of this ever-changing roller coaster of emotions. I loved this series so much and can't wait for Nancy Mehl's new series to be released! 

If you are looking for a novel with real-to-life characters, thrilling suspense mixed with a sweet love story peppered amongst the ruins of a dangerous mind, look no further my friends This book is just for you!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Nancy Mehl

Nancy Mehl (www.nancymehl.com) is the author of more than forty books and a Christy Award finalist, as well as a Carol Award winner, the winner of an ACFW Book of the Year Award, and the winner of the Daphne Du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense...

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Sunday 19 June 2022

Book Review: To Tame a Cowboy

They share a passion to heal what is broken, but it's their own hearts that need to be made whole. 

Brody McQuaid is a broken man, and he knows it. While his body survived the war, his soul did not. Besides loving his little niece, his only sense of purpose comes from saving the wild horses that roam South Park. Ranchers in the area have taken to killing the horses, which are competing with their cattle to feed on the open grass.

Savannah Marshall is a veterinarian on her family's Colorado ranch. She longs to keep her father happy following the tragic death of her older brother, including marrying a man of his choosing. But days before her wedding, she gets cold feet and disappears to South Park. As she learns more about the destruction of the horses, she joins Brody in an attempt to save the wild creatures. But when Savannah's family and the resentments of the area cattlemen catch up with them both, Brody and Savannah will have to tame their fears if they've any hope to let love run free.

My Reflections:

What a fantastic sequel to the Colorado Cowboys series. If you haven't read books one and two I would highly recommend it, however, this could easily be read as a stand-alone.

Brody suffers from PTSD from his time as a Union soldier during the war. He struggles with frequent anger, depression, terror-filled dreams, and feelings of unworthiness. Savannah seems to be a balm to Brody's soul.

Savannah the ultimate tender soul is fleeing from a loveless union. She wants to please her family but must put some distance between them so that she can figure out her own heart. Having trained to be a veterinarian, she flees to the hills to fulfill that dream. 

Brody and Savannah find a common passion in saving the wild horses, will this relationship be just what Brody needs to calm his wild heart? Will Savannah find the courage to stand up for what she wants? 

Overall this is an enjoyable series set in the rustic Colorado mountains. If you are a horse lover this story will likely be a hit! I am excited to see what happens next with Ivy and Dylan, there has to be a squeal for them! 

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Jody Hedlund

Jody Hedlund (www.jodyhedlund.com) is the bestselling author of over 30 historical novels for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards, including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Awards. Jody lives in Michigan with her husband,...

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Book Review: When The Meadow Blooms

 From the back:

If any place on God's earth was designed to help one heal, it is Meadowland. Surely here, at her brother-in-law's Kentucky farm, Rose and her daughters can recover from the events of the recent past--the loss of her husband during the 1918 influenza epidemic, her struggle with tuberculosis that required a stay at a sanatorium, and her girls' experience in an orphanage during her illness. At Meadowland, past troubles become rich soil in which faith can grow.

Dirk Meadows may have opened his home to his late brother's widow and her girls, but he keeps his heart tightly closed. The roots of his pain run deep, and the evidence of it is written across his face. Badly scarred by a fire and abandoned by the woman he loved, Dirk fiercely guards his heart from being hurt again.

But it may be that his visitors will bring light back into his world and unlock the secret to true healing.

My Reflections: 

When the Meadow Blooms is set in Kentucky in 1925. 
This is a touching story of hardship and sorrow and the will to overcome it.

Rose fights to become strong enough to overcome her battle with tuberculosis. The only thing she can think of is her two children Calla and Sienna, who are being cared for at an orphanage.
Having lost her husband she must face her battle alone, that is until she becomes desperate enough to ask her brother-in-law for help.

Dirk has his own history and must work through his troubled past to help his kin who are near strangers.
Living as a recluse is he ready to unchain his heart and move into a new life.

I think my favorite character if I had to pick one would be little Sienna, her keen observations and sweet nature stole my heart. She is a sensitive child who often sees the little details most of us are oblivious to. 

This is a poignant story that highlights God's redeeming love, no matter our past. I so enjoyed traveling with Rose, Calla, Sienna, and Dirk throughout this novel. The story ends neat and tidy making me wish for a sequel. 
I cried I rejoiced and I smiled. This will be a keeper on my library shelves.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Ann H. Gabhart

Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of Along a Storied Trail, An Appalachian SummerRiver to RedemptionThese Healing Hills, and Angel Sister, along with several Shaker novels--The RefugeThe Outsider,...

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Wednesday 1 June 2022

Book Review: Sea Glass Cottage


From the Back:

When painful pasts collide, can love overcome heartache--and triumph despite the odds?

Christi Reece is desperate. The one-time golden girl's life has tarnished, and a cascade of setbacks has left her reeling. She needs help, and she's certain Jack Colby is in a position to provide it.

When she shows up in Hope Harbor, however, Jack wants nothing to do with the woman who betrayed him. He's built a new life on the Oregon coast--and there's no room in it for Christi, even after she takes refuge in a charming but mysterious cottage nearby. Yet it soon becomes apparent his opinion of her may need revising . . . especially when he ends up needing her help.

Can these two hurting souls open their hearts to a new beginning?

My Reflections:

This sweet story about forgiveness and reconciliation hit all the right spots. set in the quaint little town of Hope Harbor, Oregon the inhabitants are quirky and genuine.

Christi is treading on thin ice. After a failed marriage and losing her inheritance she does the only thing she can think of. Asking for a loan from a long ago summer fling is desperation even she couldn't have fathomed. Growing up in a privileged upper class society Christi has learned some hard lessons, now she just has to prove the hard won change to Jack the person she hurt all those long years ago. Hope Harbor draws Christi in with a series of blessings, which encourages her to stay awhile and explore the path God has for her life.

Jack finds his oasis in Hope Harbor living a peaceful life as a police officer and writer. His world is upended in two major ways when Christi walks back into his life. Not only is she fanning the past hurt in his life but she is also fanning feelings he thought were long dead. 

A cast of characters adds life to this story. You have Charley the artist and taco stand owner who seems God inspired with his spot-on wisdom and nuggets of truth. Father Murphy and reverend Baker who love to banter back and forth, Gladys and Floyd and let's not forget those crazy seagulls!

This is a second-chance love story you won't want to miss. If you are looking for a story that is an easy-to-read fun getaway from life's demands this just very well is what you are after!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Irene Hannon

Irene Hannon is the bestselling and award-winning author of more than 60 contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels. In addition to her many other honors, she is a three-time winner of the prestigious RITA Award from Romance Writers of America. She is...

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Saturday 23 April 2022

Book Review The Element of Love


From the Back

She mixed danger, desperation, and deception together. Love was not the expected outcome.

With their sharp engineering minds, Laura Stiles and her two sisters have been able to deal with their mother's unfortunate choice in husband until they discovered his plans to marry each of them off to his lecherous friends. Now they must run away--far and fast--to find better matches to legally claim their portion of their father's lumber dynasty and seize control from their stepfather.

During their escape, Laura befriends a mission group heading to serve the poor in California. She quickly volunteers herself and her sisters to join their efforts. Despite the settlement being in miserable condition, the sisters are excited by the opportunity to put their skills to good use. Laura also sees potential in Caleb, the mission's parson, to help with gaining her inheritance. But when secrets buried in Caleb's past and in the land around them come to light, it'll take all the smarts the sisters have to keep trouble at bay.

My Reflections: Who doesn't love a novel filled with spunky characters and a daring escape?

These sisters are smart and they know it. Running from their stepfather Edgar's mistreating, these girls risk their lives to get out and get help for their battered mother who is left in the hands of this despicable man. 

This book centers around Laura Stiles and her relationship with Caleb the minister she meets after her harrowing escape. Laura is a firecracker... literally. She knows how to use explosives well, her father trained all his girls to take over the lumber business before he died an early death. I enjoyed Laura's antics and bold ways. 

Laura pretty near throws herself at the unsuspecting Preacher. The thing is the lumber dynasty can only be transferred to the girls and out of the hands of their stepfather if they marry. So marry she must and fast! Will Caleb take her up on her offer? 

Caleb signs on to be the preacher of a small ragtag group of missionaries. As he stumbles along and does his best to minister to those around him Laura shows up and turns his world upside down. As things start to develop into a relationship with Laura his past is the only thing holding him back.

I cannot wait for the next two books of this series. The story ends quickly leaving us in suspense as to what happens to the other sisters, Michelle and Jilly. If you are after a new Mary Connealy book this one is sure to please!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.   

Mary Connealy (www.maryconnealy.com) writes "romantic comedies with cowboys" and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has sold more than half a million books. She is the author of the popular series Brothers in Arms, Brides of...

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