Deadly Deceit

Deadly deceitAuthor: Natalie Waters

Series: Harbored Secrets #2

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: November 5, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The second book in the Harbored Secrets book is even more heart pounding and thrill seeking than the first! With heartthrob Ryan at the helm, this is sure to be a fan favorite!

Vivian DeMarco has no desire to stay in Walton, Georgia after finishing her job. Being a journalist, she goes where the story is and right now the story is in Walton. When her boss calls her about a lead, she shows up at his house to find him dead from an apparent allergic reaction. Vivian knows she must search for the truth. Vivian’s search leads her to assist Deputy Ryan Frost. Together they work to find answers and stay safe as Vivian finds herself in danger and Ryan finds himself falling for her. The person behind all their troubles is called The Watcher and is about to force Vivian to confront her past. She will discover how far she is willing to go for a headline.

Natalie Waters Harbored Secrets is a fantastic series full of fun characters and storylines that will keep you hooked until the very end. Deadly Deceit starts off with a heart-pounding storyline full of emotion that sucked me in and kept me glued to the pages. I loved the way Vivian was having a hard time being in Walton but still connected with her boss and was emotionally invested in finding out the truth of what happened. She wasn’t in it just for the story, she wanted to find the story and protect the people in town she had come to care about. The emotional investment she had in helping to solve the murder is what pulled me into the story. If I can feel that emotion with the characters, I am going to be much more invested in the story. The action and suspense were top notch for me followed by the romance. Vivian and Ryan had a rocky road and I loved how it wasn’t an easy coming together for them. The obstacles put in their way were real and difficult to overcome. It was much more believable than a lot of the romance stories today. I recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a good romantic suspense read with a solid emotional attachment to the characters.

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

Protecting Tanner Hollow

Protecting Tanner HollowAuthor: Lynette Eason

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: November 5, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A wonderful collection of novellas that can be read separately but are all intertwined to make a fantastic read. Lynette Eason at her best!

Lethal Homecoming starts the collection with Nolan Tanner and Kallie Ainsworth. Nolan could never understand why Kallie left town when they were younger and in love. She gave him no explanation and he has yet to get over her. When she comes back to town and someone follows her trying to kill her, Nolan has to do all he can to keep her safe and in town this time.

Lethal Conspiracy continues with Lillian Maloney witnessing a murder and running for her life, which brings her to the town of Tanner Hollow and a chance encounter with a man she never would have expected.

Next up is Lethal Secrets. Eli Murphy helps Honor McBride with what he thought was just a tire change but turns out to be much more in keeping her and her children safe from someone bent on seeing her dead.

Lethal Agenda finishes up the collection with a returning favorite for Eason fans as Detective Derek St. John comes to Tanner Hollow. Derek wants a change of pace after a break up and comes to Tanner Hollow only to meet a woman he knew from his past and was never able to get over.

If you want a fun romantic suspense read, Lynette Eason is a sure bet to pick up and enjoy. Each of these stories could have been expanded into a full-length novel, but as they are, they read quick, concise and full of the best suspense and romance out there. I’m sure fans of Eason’s previous novels will be most thrilled with the return of Derek St. John as the St. John family were by far some of her best stories and this was a great addition. With each story being less than a hundred pages in length, it was perfect for a fun afternoon of entertainment. I enjoyed the first and last stories the most; something about the romances between the characters there hit me the hardest and kept me rooting for them to succeed. Tanner Hollow is a small town that has a lot going for it and many dark secrets that if exposed prove to be deadly. All wrapped up together, Protecting Tanner Hollow is a delightful read that I recommend to fans of Lynnette Eason’s and those that may not have read anything by her but are looking for a new author they can add to their romantic suspense favorites.

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

Zapata

zapataAuthor: Harper McDavid

Series: Border Series #1

Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing

Release Date: August 21, 2019

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Exciting, suspenseful, and a proponent of STEM in the female lead role.

Avery McAndrews has never been the stereotypical female. She chose engineering as her career field and then took a job in the oilfield.  While out on assignment in the Texas border town of Zapata, she begins to expect trouble will find her on her ride out to the production station.  As she surveys the tanks and piping, she finds a crude installation of a “security valve” that is not in the plans and schematics.  As she is preparing to ask questions of the team, two local cartels show up and start saber rattling.  As things start to heat up, Avery hopes that she can get out of Texas with her life.

Alejandro DeLeon hates that he is saddled with babysitting his cartel boss’s son Javier. Javier is a hothead who makes stupid decisions and Alejandro is always left cleaning up the mess.  When Javier concocts a scheme to kidnap a female engineer and force her to draw up construction documents for a drug transport tunnel under the Rio Grande, Alejandro knows that he must finally take action before the cartel’s operations are compromised.

As a fellow Texan, I always enjoy reading about books set in Texas. And for a change, the main character was an engineer, which is the occupation that my spouse has chosen too.  I asked him a few questions here and there about both the engineering terminology as well as about the locations depicted in South Texas as he travels there for work frequently.  I always enjoy when a book makes us have discussions about the contents!

The romance between Avery and Alejandro never seemed forced, but did develop very quickly as that can happen in intense situations. I feel that readers will find this an enjoyable read.  I also like that a book is really promoting the science and engineering field for women and hope that it will spark interest for those reading it.

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

Words of Hope for Women

Words of hopeAuthor: Carolyn Larson

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: October 15, 2019

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Having hope in a world that is hard, fast and, at times, cruel can be difficult. Carolyn Larson puts a perfect tool in our hands to find hope when it can be most difficult.

Throughout our daily lives, it can be easy to let our discouragement become overwhelming. Pain from our past combined with the uncertainty of the future can be a bit too much for some to handle without the hope we can find in the Lord. God has no limits and if we will let ourselves hold true to that we will be blessed with all the glory he has writing to bestow upon us.

Each chapter within these pages provides little glimmers of hope in a hopeless world. The scripture starting the chapters can be all we need if we look close enough. Scripture has so much hope, even when we don’t want to admit it is there. There are more words of hope in the bible than hopelessness. Even the stories that start with someone in a hopeless situation end with them finding the hope God has in store for us. Words of Hope for Women is a book that will help everyday women struggling in everyday life situations see the good and prosperous future in store for them. I recommend this book to all those looking for an uplifting read that will help give them hope when they get discouraged.

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

Emergency Skin

Emergency skinAuthor: N.K. Jemisin

Series: Forward Collection #3

Publisher: Amazon Original Stories

Release Date: September 17, 2019

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

What if everything you knew about Earth was a lie?

Several years ago, the founders of a new colony left Earth to form a new civilization. Earth, now known as Tellus, was overpopulated, rivers had run dry, ice caps had melted, and entire cities were lost.  Not everyone could come, so a few thousand were chosen and left to form a new world while leaving everyone else behind to perish.  Now there is need for some cultures from Tellus and a brave individual has volunteered for the effort.  The founders have placed their consciousness along with him so that he can have access to knowledge that may be necessary.  Also packed is an emergency skin that can be used in an emergency, but it will not be needed.  Once the samples have been picked up and returned, the hero will be awarded a beautiful new skin.  But what’s that?  Tellus appears to be inhabited?  This can’t be.  There should be no one here.  What happened after we left?

This was an intriguing read as it was a one side conversation for most of the book. The Founders  consciousness  dictate the conversation with the volunteer.  As questions are asked, the Founders respond in different tones to their mood.  It is pretty easy to determine what the questions where, but it gets hilarious when the humans begin talking to the volunteer and the Founders respond.  Aside from that, the story of how Earth rebuilt civilization was really interesting and worth reading.  I would love to see more of this story and will be picking up some books by this author.

Always Look Twice

Always look twiceAuthor: Elizabeth Goddard

Series: Uncommon Justice #2

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: October 1, 2019

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Elizabeth Goddard has done it again! So many spectacular lines and scenes throughout this book make it a can’t miss for romantic suspense readers.

After being a crime scene photographer, the pictures she has taken along with the trauma of her past force Harper Reynolds to take a year off to focus on some of the more beautiful things she can photograph. Traveling the country with her sister and taking pictures of national parks has been the serenity she needed to sooth her soul. Their last stop before heading home is in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Harper is taking pictures of a bear when she captures a murder. Fearing for her life, she takes off running and loses her camera with pictures of the murder in the process.

Heath Mckade is taking tourists from his ranch around the mountains when he hears shots break out and finds Harper. He is also a reserve deputy for the county and is surprised to find his childhood friend back in the area and in danger. When the sheriff goes to investigate, they can’t find any evidence of a crime and they start to wonder if Harper imagined the entire thing. Together, Heath and Harper must work to prove she saw what she said she did and also to find a murderer before anyone else gets hurt.

Elizabeth Goddard has crafted another great tale of romance, suspense and intrigue. I loved the way she crafted the characters of Harper and Heath and their interactions. Heath I really loved; Harper was great except for the way she let the past drag her down so much. It took away from her as a character and her potential strength. I absolutely loved the line , “She focused her camera on the killer, taking a kill shot of her own.” It was brilliantly done and made the book. Harper was a strong character and other than focusing on the hardships of her past she did grow throughout the story and ended up a character I was rooting for. We can all get stuck focusing on the past and if we do that it can cause us to miss the most wonderful things God has in store for us in the present and future. The suspense was great and the romance hit at just the right moments to make a great story. I would recommend this book to fans of romantic suspense and fans of Goddard. Even if you haven’t read the first in the series this would be a great one to pick up and enjoy.

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

Summer Frost

Summer frostAuthor: Blake Crouch

Series: Forward Collection #2

Publisher: Amazon Original Stories

Release Date: September 17, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Who controls who in this exciting futuristic story!

Years into the future, we have continued to perfect our AI until it becomes a lifestyle for us. We now have virtual reality for almost every aspect of our lives.  Even our games become more of a livable experience than just a past time.  Riley works for one of these companies and is the chief brain behind the new video game Summer Frost.  In this game, Riley has developed a character named Maxine.  She is a non-player character who is supposed to die in the beginning story line.  And she does, for the first two thousand test runs.  But then, Max decides to go rogue.  She starts out by exploring the boundaries of the game.  Then she kills the main character.  Riley can’t believe what just happened, but she knows it’s extraordinary.  She convinces Max to leave the game essentially gives her a place to exists in a hard drive.  As the two begin to communicate, Riley discovers that Max can obtain and learn information at an alarming rate.  Riley begins to have plans for the future of Max including taking her out of the game one day.  She becomes obsessed with this creation that is costs her everything.  But will the return be worth it?

As usual, Blake Crouch writes an amazing story that will put readers on a futuristic track that is mind blowing. You don’t have to be a gamer to enjoy this story, it’s going to take you for a ride either way.  It’s the longest story of the Forward Collection and bends readers concepts of reality.  From 200 story buildings to thought based texting to incredible AI, it puts readers in a place to question how far some of this tech is in the future.  Even in the future, characters are flawed in their relationships and careers.  Obsession still reigns, but has an unexpected price.  I expected the first part of the ending, but not the second.  I would love to see this story  played out even further.

There is some occasional strong language throughout the story. I would recommend this book for mature readers who enjoy a futuristic setting.

Ark

ArkAuthor: Veronica Roth

Series: Forward Collection #1

Publisher: Amazon Original Stories

Release Date: September 17, 2019

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The start of this series already has me hooked!

Earth as we know it is coming to an end. A five mile wide meteor was discovered decades ago and its eventual trajectory will collide directly with Earth.  When it does, it will shred the atmosphere and completely obliterate an area the size of the United States on impact.  The next few days after impact, all life on earth will perish.  Suddenly borders didn’t matter anymore because everyone was an earthling.  A new location for the next Earth has been found and the planet’s inhabitants have been evacuated on airships.  Even though most on board won’t live to see the new colony, their children will.  Those left no family that have a master in science degree are given the opportunity to stay behind and categorize as many samples of species on current Earth to bring to the new Earth in the Ark.  Then days before the meteor impact, they too will be evacuated.  But not everyone has a reason to leave.

This new series has me hooked. Six well known authors are putting together a series that centers around a common theme, but aren’t necessarily tied together.  Roth is such a master at building dystopian worlds that this come across naturally.  Samantha is the main character and has led a rough life with the death of her parents.  She has no one left and as a horticulturalist is given the opportunity to stay behind and categorize samples of plant life.  I loved how she was able to find new life for herself in the death of her planet.  I can tell that I’m going to want more from each of these stories instead of the snippets in time that readers are provided.  Hopefully this project will be granted a continuance.  If you love a good futurist science fiction story, then you will love this series too!

 

100 Words of Affirmation Your Wife Needs to Hear

wifeAuthor: Matt Jacobson

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: October 1, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jared Higgins

The absolute best book for any married couple to read, no matter if you have been married a year or fifty, it will remind you of the little things you can be thankful for in your spouse.

Inside each and every one of us, we have the ability to “Speak Life”, as TobyMac says or bring others down with our words. It is important to remember that the person we share our lives with should hear those words of life from us and often. How do you speak to your wife? Is it with love? How do your children hear you speak to their mother? These are all important questions that we need to ask ourselves as we go throughout our daily lives. She wants to know what you think, but she also wants to know what you think of her.

My wife and I have been married for over fifteen years and we work to grow our relationship every day. I read through this book and agreed with everything that it had, but I realized that I don’t actually say all of these things to her.  I hope that she knows them, but maybe she needs to hear them too.  We sat down and talked about several of the items and what importance they play emotionally. She goes above and beyond for our family, but I don’t’ always tell her.  It’s the little things that can have the biggest impact.

I enjoyed the way Matt Jacobson used little examples from his life to help readers see that he isn’t trying to prove he is better than anyone else, he is showing us that we can all do better and be better for each other and our spouses. So much wisdom and truth in the pages, this is a book that will need to be read again and again to help us remember how much we have to be grateful for in who we married.

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

100 Words of Affirmation Your Husband Needs to Hear

HusbandAuthor: Lisa Jacobson

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: October 1, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The absolute best book for any married couple to read, no matter if you have been married a year or fifty, it will remind you of the little things you can be thankful for in your spouse.

Inside each and every one of us, we have the ability to “Speak Life”, as TobyMac says or bring others down with our words. It is important to remember that the person we share our lives with should hear those words of life from us and often. How do you speak to your husband? Is it with love? How do your children hear you speak to their father? These are all important questions that we need to ask ourselves as we go throughout our daily lives. How often do you actually tell your husband the little things that mean so much for him to hear from you?

I feel like I have a great relationship with my husband and as I read through this list I agreed with everything written within but realized I am seriously lacking on telling my husband many of them. I don’t know that I have ever told him I want to grow closer or thanked him for having my back. And even though he knows I trust his judgment I don’t think I have actually told him that in a very long time. My husband provides for us above and beyond but I don’t think to tell him he is a big success. So many little things that could make such a difference if we just think to tell the man in our lives these positive affirmations.

I love the way Lisa Jacobson used little examples from her life to help readers see that she isn’t trying to prove she is better than anyone else, she is showing us that we can all do better and be better for each other and our spouses. So much wisdom and truth in the pages, this is a book that will need to be read again and again to help us remember how much we have to be grateful for in who we married.

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