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10.22.2019

A Christmas Haven ~ Review

A Christmas Haven
An Amish Christmas Romance
By Cindy Woodsmall
  and Erin Woodsmall

Ivy Zook wants to leave the confinement of her Old Order Amish upbringing behind - she wants the freedom to be herself. But to do this she'll have to hurt her family and walk away from the family farm. Not wanting to leave her mother with the daily labor of the farm she pushes her mother to sell the farm. But with her sister Holly's wedding soon to be upon them Ivy temporarily postpones her plans.

Arlan Keim is desperate to get his sister Magda the medical help she needs. His family is an ultraconservative sect that shuns everything modern and any perceived sin is met with the strictest measures by their father. But when their trip for medicine ends with a crash into Greene's Pharmacy their plans are suddenly upset.

The Zooks open their home to the Keim siblings as Magda recovers and Arlan offers to help around the farm - milking the cows, making repairs, and helping out with the crops. Can the kinder freer attitude of the Zook's community offer something that will appeal to Arlan and Magda?

 Christmas is a time for miracles and grace and A Christmas Haven has both as Ivy, Holly, Arlan, and Magda all find something worth having. At approximately 200 pages this book is a surprisingly quick read. The story is well-paced and enjoyable. One can relate to the characters as they navigate life and try to find where they fit in it. I really like Ivy and like how her character just comes alive and she makes the scenes something more with her very presence.

I was provided a complimentary of this book with no expectations but that I provide my honest opinion - all thoughts expressed are my own.



About the Book:

In a desire to grow her budding party-planning business,
Ivy plans to leave behind her Old Order Amish community
and enter the modern world as an Englischer.

Old Order Amish Ivy Zook is wrestling with her need to shed her community's ways so she can grow the business of her dreams: planning parties. As long as she's stuck living without modernization, she can barely get her business on its feet. But if she leaves too soon, she'd cause trouble for her sister, Holly, who is planning her wedding to Joshua Smucker. All of their plans become twice as complicated when an old car crashes into the storefront of Greene's Pharmacy, carrying a Swartzentruber (ultra-conservative sect) Amish man, Arlan, and his very ill sister.

The Zooks take in Arlan and Madga, tending to the woman's illness and Arlan begins helping around the family farm. Ivy and Arlan are on different tracks, one wanting to leave her community and the other to return to his. But both young people are trying to discover what God has in store for their futures and what miracles might lie around the corner this Christmas season.

10.21.2019

Unscripted ~ Review

Unscripted
By Davis Bunn

Danny Byrd's life and reputation have been destroyed by the betrayal of his best friend. He knows that he'll never achieve his dreams of being a producer. Worse he is bankrupt, his business owes money everywhere, and he is sitting in jail assigned a public defender who could care less.

Megan Pierce has worked hard to make a place for herself in the law firm where she has been made senior associate. But all the hours and the elitist attitude of the partners and their A-list Hollywood clients. When she is offered a chance to defend a client who has been unfairly accused she takes the case and changes her future in the process.

When Megan and Danny come together for a project that offers  Danny a second chance they could change not only their world but that of a hurting young woman. Emma has a talent and voices her pain through her music - Emma's gift speaks to Danny and he knows that Emma has to be in his new project. But can a disgraced line producer and an unknown teen create something that will give them a future that seems to be a dream that will never be fulfilled?

Davis Bunn has a way with words and he isn't limited to one genre. The characters seemingly come to life and leave the ties of the page behind. Danny is a layered and complex individual who is dealing with the issues of his past that he thought he'd long left behind. But when he faces an unexpected betrayal he has to deal with what is missing in his life. Fortunately, Megan Pierce's parents offer the young producer their friendship and a willing ear to hear what he needs to share. This book is contemporary fiction and it is excellent reading. This isn't high-intensity reading but rather fiction that deals with the every day, with living life.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations but that I provide my honest opinion. All thoughts expressed are my own.



About the Book:
Young line producer Danny Byrd is well-known in Hollywood for being someone who gets things done on time and under budget. But when his reputation takes a beating after his partner--and former best friend--makes off with their investors' money, Danny has but one chance to redeem himself and restore his ruined career.

LA lawyer Megan Pierce has sacrificed years of her life proving herself to her impossible bosses only to find herself disgusted at their snobbery and their specious business practices. When an opportunity to actually make a difference comes her way, she knows she has to grab it--even though she's not entirely clear what "it" is.

Danny and Megan are each other's best hope for redemption. What they never could have imagined was that they might also be each other's best hope for love.

Bestselling and award-winning author Davis Bunn takes you into the beating heart of Hollywood with two characters determined to thrive in a cutthroat business.

10.20.2019

Dark Ambitions ~ Review

Dark Ambitions
Code of Honor #3
By Irene Hannon

Rick Jordan needs help - a former army buddy is in trouble and he's disappeared. When one of his best friends recommends Phoenix Inc. Rick becomes their newest client and case is given to Phoenix's newest PI, ex-police detective Heather Shields.

When the camp he runs has a visitor who leaves behind clues as to his identity, Rick knows that an army buddy he hasn't seen in over five needs his help. But with nothing to go on as to Boomer's whereabouts, this may be an almost impossible case. But Heather isn't dissuaded by the lack of information that Rick has. Using all the resources at her disposal she soon confirms that Boomer has indeed disappeared. The deeper she digs the more concerned she becomes that the outcome will not be favorable.

Soon it becomes apparent that someone has something to hide and that they are willing to do whatever is necessary to keep their secrets firmly hidden in the past. And anyone who gets too close becomes a target. But what secret is so closely guarded that no cost is too high? That is the question that Heather and Rick want to find out.

Dark Ambitions is the third book in the Code of Honor series which shares the story of Rick Jordan, the third member of the Treehouse Gang. This one throws in several other interesting side-threads that play out in a most interesting way. Let's just say if you set out to deceive you may want to be careful because the web you weave may catch you so that you can never get free.

As with many of Irene Hannon's works, this is a contemporary romantic suspense set in the St. Louis, Missouri vicinity. There is a steady build-up in the suspense and the identity of the perpetrator is well hidden with hints that offer potential suspects without completely revealing who is behind everything. Dark Ambitions is perfectly named and well worth the late-night reading that you'll feel compelled to give this one.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations but that I provide my honest opinion - all thoughts expressed are my own.



About the Book:
Danger Lurks When Ambitions Turn Deadly...

Former Army Night Stalker Rick Jordan usually has his camp for foster children to himself during the winter months. But someone has visited recently--leaving a trail of blood. One of the two clues left behind tips Rick off to the identity of his visitor, who soon turns up dead. The police deem it an accident, but Rick isn't convinced. With the help of private investigator Heather Shields, he sets out to decipher the remaining clue. Except someone doesn't want them to succeed--and will stop at nothing to keep them from finding the truth.

With her trademark psychological suspense ratcheting up the tension on every page, bestselling and award-winning author Irene Hannon takes you on a search for a cold-blooded killer with an ambitious goal and deadly intent.

10.17.2019

Agent Assassin ~ Review

Agent Assassin
Max Thorne #3
By Ethan Jones

Max Thorne's life has taken some unexpected turns in the recent past - all of which started with a transport assignment gone wrong (Eighteen Minutes). Then he is sent to recover a gone-rogue Russian agent who just so happens to be the father he never knew (Agent Recruit) and yet another mission goes wrong. When he, his father, and his girlfriend get betrayed and end up on the wrong side of a persistent agent of British Intelligence, Max makes a rash decision that leads to a new job (Agent Rising). Are you starting to see a pattern here?

Well, now Max is serving in his new role as an operative of SOT (Special Operations Team) an elite international team of assassins picked from various intelligence agencies from around the world. And the main task of this secret group - make problems go away when all other avenues are exhausted - yes our new favorite Russian agent is now part of an international assassination team - a team with no ties to any government so deniability by all is possible. Have a world leader playing all sides of a situation no problem - they'll be the unfortunate victim of an accident.

But Max has a problem with his new role - what about the innocent associate or bystander? With the understanding that there are to be no witnesses how do you live with the collateral damages? This is something he needs to figure out and fast if he plans on making it within the SOT.

Agent Assassin is an intense reading experience as Max and his team move in on their newest target, a target who may or may not be what he seems to be. With a limited window of opportunity to remove a person who could upset the balance of power in the world, Max needs to decide if he will follow his orders without question or let a potential enemy live to see another day. What follows will leave you wondering just how far someone will go to get the job done and what the final outcome will be.

If you are a fan of clean-reading spy suspense you've found it in this winner from Ethan Jones. Action and adventure all from the comfort of your favorite reading corner what more could you want.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book with no expectations. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Release date is October 23, 2019

About the Book:

Can an assassin have a conscience?

While hunting for the truth about his past, former Russian FSB agent Max Thorne has lost any sense of innocence or hope. But striving for redemption, he joins the Special Operations Team, an elite international assassins team so secret even top-level FSB brass doesn’t know it exists and so deadly that few leave alive.


Reeling from inexcusable mistakes and now working with even darker forces, Max is confronted with insidious choices and inescapable scenarios. With no way out, will Max be able to suppress his conscience to execute his harrowing assignments? Or, will he fail, putting his family in peril and betraying his own?

Join Max as he faces the darkness that is the secret service the only way he knows how ... head-on.

10.15.2019

Black Women in Science ~ Review

Black Women in Science
By Kimberly Brown Pellum, PhD

Black Women in Science is a quick overview of 15 extraordinary women who made a tremendous impact on the world through their work and discoveries. Rebecca Lee Crumpler was the first African-American woman to work as a professional doctor, but what was most impressive is when she did this - during the 1860s. But Rebecca is just the first whose accomplishments are covered in this book. Annie Turnbo Malone used her business skills and her knowledge as a chemist to create hair and beauty products and she trained others - improving the community in the process. Bessie Coleman trained to become a pilot becoming the first licensed African American pilot.

These are just a few of the remarkable and determined women who weren't content to let the world tell them who the had to be and want they could do. They worked hard and often faced challenges not only because of the color of their skin but also because they were the wrong gender for the tasks they set before themselves. Some of these women are not well-known while others have come to the recent attention of the world (Kathrine Johnson and Hidden Figures).

At just under 130 pages this isn't an in-depth book but there is more information and substance than most school textbooks. The few pages given to each person offers a nice overview of their life and how they made a lasting impact on the world around them.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book with no expectations but that I provide my honest opinion - all thoughts expressed are my own.

10.14.2019

A Distance Too Grand ~ Review

A Distance Too Grand
American Wonders Collection #1
By Regina Scott

Meg Pero has been her father's assistant from the time she was eight years old and capturing a moment in time has become her passion. With her father's death, she is determined to fulfill the last contract that he signed with the US Army. If she can capture the perfect image with her cameras she can start making a name for herself and secure her future. There is just one problem the US Army isn't prepared to take a single unaccompanied young lady on a survey expedition of the Grand Canyon's North Rim. And she'll have to appeal to the leader of said expedition if she hopes to join it. Too bad she broke Ben Coleridge's heart when he asked her to marry him.

Captain Ben Coleridge has no choice in the matter - he has to take Meg Pero with him if he has any hope of getting the North Rim survey done before winter sets in. He needs a photographer to journal the survey and unfortunately, Meg is the only one available with necessary skills. In addition to commanding the survey expedition, Ben has another mission one that he is not at liberty to share with those accompanying him. Months ago his father Colonel Coleridge never returned from a similar route and Ben needs to determine what happened. Why did his father never return?

A Distance Too Grand is an exploration of the unknown - 1871 finds the country still recovering from the wounds of war. Travel into the vast wilderness for pleasure is unheard of and most have never seen an image of the Grand Canyon. It is into this world that Meg Pero fights to capture and not with a phone but with equipment that needs its own wagon for transport. Images captured in a moment not happening rather minutes are required to preserve a view.

Travel is limited by the wagons they bring with them and the willingness of their mules and horses to carry their additional supplies as well as most members of the expedition. One would be hard-pressed to imagine just what it was to live in such a manner but Regina Scott gives the words life so that one gets a glimpse of the dangers and efforts that such an undertaking entailed. I can't say that the hard-living has much appeal to me, but the awe at getting the first glimpse at the untouched and unknown glory of that they came upon would be a feeling one can only hope to experience.

The pacing is good and most of the characters are likable. The descriptive detailing of the various settings is perfect in bringing the scene to life, at least in this reader's opinion. If you are a fan of Historical American fiction this is one you'll want to add to your TBR list.  I like it when a book makes me want to delve deeper into what it has shared and this one certainly does that on several topics - early photography and surveying of the Grand Canyon.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations but that I provide my honest opinion - all thoughts expressed are my own.


About the Book:
Meg Pero has been assisting her photographer father since she was big enough to carry his equipment, so when he dies she is determined to take over his profession--starting with fulfilling the contract he signed to serve on an Army survey of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in 1871. What she doesn't realize is that the leader of the expedition is none other than the man she once refused to marry.
Captain Ben Coleridge would like nothing more than to leave without the woman who broke his heart. He can't afford to be distracted during this survey, which is a screen for another, more personal mission, one he cannot share with any member of his team.
As dangers arise from all sides--and even from within--Meg and Ben must work together to stay alive, fulfill their duties, and, just maybe, rekindle a love that neither had completely left behind.

10.10.2019

Always Look Twice ~ Review

Always Look Twice
Uncommon Justice #2
By Elizabeth Goddard

Harper Reynolds has returned to the place she used to call home. The place that shattered her family and her life. She is trying to heal from the past but the peace she was expecting to find while capturing the beauty of the Bridger-Teton Nation Forest near Grayback, Wyoming, is shattered when her camera captures something else.

Heath McKade has recovered physically from the gunshot wound he received less than a year ago, mentally he is still dealing with the betrayal. While taking his ranch guests on a guided trail ride and hike to a wilderness camp he hears something. The something that he searches for leads him to Harper - the friend from childhood he hasn't seen since her mother suddenly moved them away. But Harper needs his help after an injury from a tumble - a tumble that was the result of witnessing a murder.

Harper is determined to not run this time. This time she will see justice done for the young woman she saw hunted down. This time she would be the witness that she couldn't be for her father. This time justice will prevail. There is just one problem the local sheriff's office can't find any evidence to support Harper's claims and her own evidence - her camera was lost during her fall.

Unfortunately for Harper, the killer saw her and now not only is her life in danger so too are the lives of those around her. And this killer won't let anyone get in the way of his plans.

Always Look Twice is the second book in the Uncommon Justice series and this time around the McKade brother that takes center stage is Heath who upon their father's death inherited the Emerald M Ranch. Heath and Harper are both hurting from the losses of their past - Harper her father and Heath his mother. This book is Contemporary Romantic Suspense and there are a lot of twists and turns that seemingly point to various persons who could be guilty. And the ending not what one might be expecting and it is a definite build to the climax.

I received a complimentary copy of this book with no expectations but that I provide my honest opinion - all thoughts expressed are my own.

For those interested, the third McKade brother, Liam makes an appearance in this book and one can tell he has some issues that need to be dealt with. (Book 3 Don't Keep Silent is sure to provide the answers one is left with concerning Liam - June 2020)


About the Book:
At the advice of her therapist, homicide survivor Harper Reynolds has traded her job as a crime scene photographer for a more peaceful life taking photographs of the natural world. But her hopes for a life surrounded by the serenity of the outdoors are dashed when she inadvertently captures a murder being committed in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She flees the scene in fear--and loses the camera.

Former Green Beret Heath McKade is a reserve deputy in an understaffed county who has been called in to protect Harper, a childhood friend he is surprised to see back in the area. When Harper learns that the sheriff's department can't find any evidence of the murder she witnessed, she is determined to do what she can to see that justice is done. What neither Harper nor Heath could know is how many explosive secrets from the past will be exposed--or how deeply they will fall for each other.

In this suspenseful page-turner, bestselling author Elizabeth Goddard keeps you on the edge of your seat as you discover that uncommon justice lies just on the other side of fear.