The Realms of God

Realms of GodAuthor: Michael Livingston

Series: Shards of Heaven #3

Publisher: Tor

Release Date: October 29, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A terrific ending to a fantastic trilogy!

Twenty years has passed and we find that time has once again continued to move on. King Juba and Cleopatra Selene have reigned in peace without interference from Augustus Caesar or Tiberius.  The ark of the covenant has been safely place in Petra in an abandoned tomb, continually watched over by Titus Pullo and Lucius Vorenus, who are also raising Miriam, the daughter of Caesarian and Hannah, who gave their lives protecting the ark.  But evil still lurks by the way of the demons released by King Juba while trying to get revenge for Tiberius’s rape of Selene.  The demons have acquired two of the shards and are now in league with Tiberius to retrieve the remaining items and will stop at nothing for ultimate power.  Can the unlikely band come together a final time to make a stand to protect the world?

I have not enjoyed a series this much in a long time. After reading the first novel, I couldn’t wait for the second.  After the second, I endured another agonizing year for the third.  After the third, I am happy to say that I enjoyed the conclusion even though I long to see it continue out even more.  The character’s personalities really brought this to life for me.  It helps that I’m a huge fan of ancient Rome as well.  I haven’t been much of a historical fantasy fan in the past, but this series has put it on the map for me.  Bringing together some of history’s well known characters and coupling them with an intriguing story is the way to go!

This particular book did not make me research as much as the first two did on the campaigns of Octavian. Even so, I did have to look up more on the city of Petra to get a feel for where I was being taken.  Livingston is a master of tales and I highly recommended this series to all book lovers.  There is some slight harsh language and a brief sex scene, but nothing is really explicit.  Even so, mature YA readers and up should handle this book.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Too Far Down

Too far down

Author: Mary Connealy

Series: Cimarron Legacy #3

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: October 3, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The Boden family is back with their biggest, deepest adventure yet. Done miss the final installment!

The Boden family is once again under attack. The CR Mining Company is hit by an explosion killing men and casting another dark shadow upon the family. Cole Boden moved back to New Mexico after spending years in the East and loving the city life. He has been running the mine and trying to find aspects of the mining and ranching life to keep him happy. Melanie Blake has caught his eye in ways no woman ever has before. She has been fiends of the Boden’s forever and wants to help tackle the latest threat to those she cares about. She never expected to find herself falling for one of the Boden’s but can’t help the feelings she has for Cole. Together they will work to save the family and the land they have all worked so hard for.

As the final book in the Cimarron Legacy series, Mary Connealy, ties up all the loose ends and leaves readers with a satisfying end to a fun, spirit filled story. Which each book focusing on a different member of the family, we really get a chance to know the characters and develop a relationship with them making it easy to laugh and cry with each joy and trial they go through. The Boden family has had more than its fair share of trials and tribulations and this latest takes them deeper than ever before. Mary Connealy has an uncanny talent for creating a story that is both suspenseful and fun to read. It’s hard to find the balance between those two but Connealy has made each of her books entertaining and enjoyable by using wit and humor to make the story flow.

The relationships flowed well keeping with the suspense of the story and the troubles the Boden’s have experienced. At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy the story with Cole as the main lead but he stepped up and brought the story to life. There was so much with his background that helped the story take on new life when I thought it was finished. Melanie is a tough gal that isn’t willing to put up with being talked down to or taken advantage of because she is a woman, which I liked from the start. Being able to bring her into the family dynamic brought about a new view to the family and what they were going through. She has been around them from the start and gave the reader a different perspective. I recommend this book to fans of Connealy’s previous works and romantic suspense lovers alike.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

The Crooked Path

The Crooked Path Author: Irma Joubert

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: November 7,  2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Another fantastic, yet emotionally gripping story set in South Africa during World War II and beyond.

Lettie Louw is the daughter of one of the town’s only physicians. As such, she was also friends with the daughter of one of the only lawyers in town as well.  Sure she had other friends too, but as they grow older, she realizes that she doesn’t have their hair or their figures.  Even so, she has always had a crush on her friend Klara’s brother De Wet.  However, one night she says another friend Annabel and De Wet kissing and resolves that she will not succumb to her emotions and throws herself into her studies.  Upon graduating with a medical degree like her father’s, she returns home to join his practice and live her life her way.

Marco Romanelli is the a scholar who has no interest in politics, until he meets Rachael Rosenweiz. Italy in the late 1930s has suddenly become a fearful place for all Jews, including Rachael and her family.  As Hitler spreads his hatred across Europe, Mussolini is right behind him.  Marco realizes that he must find a safe place for Rachael and her family, but all the borders to safety are closing, so they must head into the mountains.  But winters in Northern Italy can be just as severe as a concentration camp and Marco endures much more than he can handle or bear.  Eventually his health becomes severe and he decides to relocate to South Africa where his brother Antonio has gone.  While there, he meets a young doctor that begins to change his perspective on life.

As always, this book in an incredible excerpt of historical fiction from a time period that I love in an area that I’m beginning to feel like I understand more with each Joubert novel that I have read. What made this even more enjoyable were the intertwining characters between this book and Child of the River.  It was such a treat getting to see the other side of conversations that happened in the other book with a fresh perspective to give even more life to several of the characters, both good and bad.  I also enjoyed that part of the book actually continued the story of Child of the River as it played out even further.

I must warn you, this book is very emotionally taxing. If dealing with lost loves wasn’t enough, now she has brought childhood polio into the mix, making it even more difficult.  Even so, I would read this book another twenty times because it is just that good.  The way she balances historical advances and events with the characters is simply wonderful.  I cannot get enough of her writing.  My synopsis are pretty generic, but once you’ve read it, I’m sure you will see why I wanted you to read this book in the first place.

Highly recommended for historical fiction lovers and to those who just love a good book!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Death on Tap

death on tapAuthor: Ellie Alexander

Series: Sloan Krause Mystery #1

Publisher: Minotaur

Release Date: October 3, 2017

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The newest series by Ellie Alexander is as fun and entertaining as the quaint town and pubs it is set in.

Sloan Krause has everything she has ever wanted with the family she married into. Growing up an orphan didn’t leave her many people to count on and she has grown to love and depend on her husband and his family. Everything changes the day she walks in on her husband having an affair. She leaves him and inevitably leaves the family brewing business.  It doesn’t take long for her to get connected to the newest brewery owner in town, Garrett Strong. As Garrett and Sloane get in a rhythm of working together, things get interesting when a body is found in one of the fermenting tubs. Her husband is the lead suspect and when she finds herself being followed, she wonders if there was more going on under the surface than she ever knew.

As the first book in the newest series by Ellie Alexander, readers can expect to find all the fun, humor and mystery they have come to love from Alexander and her series. I love the way Alexander weaves the mystery together with humor making the story light and fun. There is nothing particularly difficult to figure out with the mystery of who the killer was or any of the secondary mysteries throughout the story. With that said, it doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of the story.  These are not supposed to be, at least in my opinion, edge of your seat, who done it mysteries that leave you guessing till the very end. Garrett and Sloane develop a good relationship but Garrett himself needed a little further development. Even though a lot of details are repeated and can be glanced over, the story itself is fun and an enjoyable read. I recommend this to readers that are a little older and might enjoy the brewing scene along with the fun humor of a cozy mystery.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

The Enoch Effect

The Enoch EffectAuthor: Rick Acker

Publisher: Waterfall Press

Release Date: May 23, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A fun blend of murder mystery, science, and legal thrillers that will give the reader a wild ride full of creative supporting characters that bring the novel to a riveting conclusion.

Leigh Collins has built up her career on being able to turn up the key pieces of evidence at just the right time in order to sway a jury. When Dr. Elijah Rhodes and his life’s work are lost in a lab fire, and Biosolutions looks to cash in on a $100 million dollar insurance policy. Her advisory is Daniel Rubinelli, assistant general counsel for the biotech giant. As soon as the case begins, Leigh and Daniel Clash causing a grueling case.  As they continue the case, they realize that the doctor might have found a “kill switch” for cancer cells and others are willing to kill to get their hands on his research. Leigh and Daniel have to find a way to work together and stay alive in order to solve the case that could affect many.

Rick Acker has delivered another intense and exciting read. I read this after reading Death in the Mind’s Eye and was not disappointed. His style of writing is very different than most I read. The combination of legal thriller along with the murder mystery and psychological aspect of the book makes it so different from others on the market.  It is obvious he is very knowledgeable in what he writes about, but the nice thing is he doesn’t get so technical that the reader gets lost in the technical jargon and loses sight of the real story. Leah and Daniel were destined to be against each other from the beginning but came together to help solve the case when it really mattered. There is a slew of minor characters that contribute to the story making it flow and providing a little bit of a lighter aspect to the story at times.  I am finding that he is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors and can’t wait to see what comes next.  I highly recommend this to readers that enjoy a great legal thriller with plenty of mystery and intrigue throughout.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Death in the Mind’s Eye

Death in the minds eyeAuthor: Rick Acker

Publisher: Waterfall Press

Release Date: October 25, 2016

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A combination of a legal and psychological thriller, the perfect read for anyone wanting a book that will keep them on the edge of their seat.

Mike Webster has built his legal practice winning medical-malpractice cases. His reputation is outstanding but his faith is put to the test when he defends Dr. Johanna Anderson. Dr. Anderson is a psychologist that has been accused of killing a senator’s son, whom she was treating with her revolutionary technology called the Mind’s Eye. She has been able to look into a patient’s mind and see what they are thinking and feeling to determine if they are telling the truth. If her technology is as good as she says it is, it should have been able to prevent the suicide of Seth Bell. The case becomes more and more complicated as the financial firm Horizon Finance wants to take control of her technology and is willing to do anything in order to get what they want.  As things intensify, Mike and Jo feel a mutual attraction towards each other that can’t be denied. Mike’s paralegal digs deeper and finds evidence that could change the case and Mike’s personal feelings as well.

Death in the Mind’s Eye is the best kind of book, explosive drama with twists that will keep the reader engaged and guessing until the final page. Rick Acker uses his legal expertise to put on the page everything needed to make an exceptional read. The combination of the legal drama and the psychological aspect brought the book to a whole new level. Mike and Jo had a relationship that progressed nicely and had a natural arc to it. I enjoyed the pace of the book, the chapters were short and concise going back and forth with several different viewpoints that provided a depth to the story it would have been lacking had it stayed in one point of view.  With the way the world is going and technology advancing, the use of a machine such as this is very believable. There could have been more depth in the technology part but it would have taken the book in a different direction, I liked the way Acker stayed with the legal drama. It can be hard to make a legal thriller very thrilling, I know a few authors who have been able to do it and I am now adding Acker to that list.  I highly recommend this book to readers that are looking for an edge of their seat thriller with a deep connection to the characters you want to cheer for.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

The Mountain Between Us

the mountain between usAuthor: Charles Martin

Publisher: Broadway Books

Release Date: August 15, 2017

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A suspenseful tale of survival with a twist of fate like no one but Charles Martin can achieve.

Ben Payne is a gifted orthopedic surgeon from Jacksonville who is attending a medical conference in Colorado Springs and must take a return flight through Salt Lake City to get back home. While in the airport, he meets Ashley Knox, a budding young magazine writer who is trying to get home for her rehearsal dinner in Atlanta.  The airlines are trying to beat a blizzard out of the airport, but as the they wait for deicing, the airline cancels the flight and brings them back to the terminal.  Needing to get back home to perform a surgery, Ben decides to charter a flight to Denver and invites Ashley along so that she can make her wedding.  But things go wrong mid-air in flight.  Their pilot has a heart attack and crash lands the plane high in a mountain pass.  The pilot is dead and Ashley has suffered a broken femur.  Now caught in the blizzard above 11,000 feet in elevation, it becomes a matter of survival for one or both of them to get back home.

I have rapidly become a fan of Charles Martin and when I saw that this book was available for review, I quickly grabbed a copy. The story picks up tempo quickly and before you know what has happened, you’re stranded on the snowcapped peaks with Ben and Ashley.  The story is told from Ben’s perspective in both present time and reliving memories with his wife on a voice recorder as well as telling her about their current perilous situation.  As he reflects on fifteen years of marriage, Ashely wonders what her marriage will be like.  She loves her fiancée, but not with the kind of love that Ben has for his wife.  Can she make her relationship work if she even gets married in the first place?  There is a twist in the end that some readers will have figured out.  It is sad, but happy at the same time.  Highly recommended read!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.