The Cover Story

The Cover StoryAuthor: Deb Richardson-Moore

Series: Branigan Powers Mystery #2

Publisher: Lion Fiction

Release Date: June 27, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Another crazy case brings Branigan Powers back to try and solve another crime before others get hurt.

When reporter Branigan Powers hears of a fatal car crash involving two college girls coming home to celebrate the holidays, she, and everyone else, think it is just an accident until the sole survivor informs them it was anything but. She doesn’t remember much from the accident, but Charlie swears it was an old-fashioned hearse that forced them off the road.  Branigan heads to the college to see if she can uncover clues as to why they were forced from the road.  Her search leads her to fraternity row and pledge parties that have gone too far.  Back once again to help her with her case is Malachi Martin.  Even though he is homeless, he is able to look beyond what most see and uncover details that will help solve another case for Branigan.

The next book in the Branigan Powers book is just as witty, delightful and fun as the previous. The characters bring their own pizazz to the story that keep the story flowing at a great pace.  I absolutely loved each of the books in the series and was excited to see a new installment come out.  This is the kind of story you can sit down and just enjoy; it is clean, it is witty, and it is well written.  Moore has a way with these characters, especially Malachi who is back and able to see what others can’t.  This is a Christian mystery series but it is not at all preachy and will appeal to all audiences.  The reader gets to venture back into this world that Moore has created and get to dive even deeper.  With that being said, it isn’t one that you would have to read the previous books to enjoy and know what all is going on in the story.  I highly recommend this to any and all readers that enjoy a good cozy mystery.

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

Another Man’s Ground

Another mans groundAuthor: Claire Booth

Series: Sheriff Hank Worth #2

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Release Date: July 2017

Reviewer: Jennifer S. Roman

Sheriff Hank Worth and his friends and family, along with some new characters, are back in Another Man’s Ground.  Just as Hank is in the midst of his campaign to be elected Sheriff, he is called to what seems to be a simple, and almost silly, theft case.  Vern Miles has called Hank because all of the bark has been stripped off his slippery elm trees, and he has been selling the bark to herbalists for its medicinal properties.  Since Vern has inherited the old family homestead, he has been selling the bark to pay the property taxes until he can decide what to do with the property itself.  However, as Hank walks the property to investigate, he comes across someone stuck in a crevice.  It turns out to be an illegal immigrant worker, but additionally, the worker has fallen onto a body.  The forensics tell Hank that the person died at someone else’s hand, so now he has a homicide to contend with.  Using his wits and relying on his faithful team to help him solve the crime, Hank gets more than he bargained for when family secrets come out and a local family dynasty falls.

This is the second in the Hank Worth series, and I have read both.  I really enjoyed the first one for its setting in Branson, MO, not the most typical location for a book.  The scenery and characters speak to me and to many readers because they are regular people.  Hank refuses to be bought and just wants to do his job and spend time with his family.  This second book, I must say, is even better than the first.  The characters are developed more, and are given more opportunities to shine.  The setting this time is summer in a woods, which gives a lot more possibility to crime and excitement.  Having a “good old boy” selling to natural medicine companies is unusual, but that makes the story all the more fun.  Throw in generations of a family that is so feared in the county that nobody will challenge them, let alone investigate them for a crime, and you have the makings of a great read.  As mentioned before, the book is the second of a series, but each could be read alone and appreciated with ease.  My hope is that there will be at least a book three, if not more.  It is refreshing to read a book in which the main character is witty but not out to be a hero and cannot be bought by local politicians.

I highly recommend this book for people who enjoy a good mystery, whether murder or otherwise.  This book has a lot of action and excitement, and even a few twists that keep it interesting until the very last page.  There is some strong profanity that may be offensive to some readers, but it is used sparingly and not unnecessarily.  Otherwise, the story is a great read for mature teens and up.

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

Graveyard Shift

Graveyard ShiftAuthor: Michael F. Haspil

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: July 18, 2017

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Vampires and mummies as part of today’s society? Interesting….

Alex Menkaure works in a special police unit in Miami that oversees vampire crimes. Since a blood substitute was released, legislation was passed that allowed vampires to integrate into society.  However, that doesn’t mean that everything runs smoothly.  Alex has been fighting vampires for years, centuries even.  You see, he was a Pharaoh and then mummified and since then he has lived through wars, revolutions, and vampires.  But when a group begins poisoning the blood substitute, tensions between vampires and humans rise to a new level that threatens to destroy Miami.  Can Alex put a stop to it before it is too late?

So this was different! A mummy has a main character that has a good friend that is a ancient vampire?  Not at all what I expected when I picked up the book, yet overall it was a very interesting story that I couldn’t put down.  However, there are a lot of viewpoints throughout the book that a reader has to keep following that can bog down the read a little bit.  The descriptions given throughout the book are also very detailed and could have been left more generic to keep the pace moving faster.  One of the things that I love about book from tour is they keep exposing me to new genres.

There is a lot of harsh language throughout the book as well as some sexual references. I recommend this book for mature readers who love a new reading experience.

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

The Writing Desk

The Writing DeskAuthor: Rachel Hauck

Publisher: Zondervan

Release Date: July 11, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A romance that spans the ages, and continents, to bring people together even in the hardest of times.

After her first book became a runaway success, Tenley Roth feels the pressure to bring another hit. However, due to the pressure, she is unable to get any words on the page.  During this time, her estranged mother calls asking for Tenley to help her through chemotherapy in Florida.  Shortly after arriving, she ends up meeting a furniture designer that shows her what real romance is about.  Tenley finds an old desk at her mother’s house that she uses to try and kick-start her new book.  The desk has history to it that ties everything together between the families and past writing.

Birdie Shehorn is the daughter of old money who wants to be her own person and not have her parents make her every decision, especially about who she will marry. Birdie wants to write novels and get her stories out in the world, a difficult feat for an unknown woman in this time.  Her mother is working behind her to get her future set the way she believes it should be, which is not want Birdie wants.  Tied together through time and circumstances, Birdie and Tenley find that even though their circumstances are not what they want, they can make the best of it if they follow their hearts.

This is one of those books that at first I thought I was going to give up on, the back and forth between the timelines and characters was a little confusing and took me out of the story. However, by the end of the book, it worked together so well.  The decisions made by each character and how it brought about the actions and reactions of those around them was done incredibly well.  Rachel Hauck did a fantastic job bringing about the sympathy for Tenley and the hard times she went through with the decisions she made and the consequences she had to face.  The relationship between Jonas and Tenley was a nice slow build up instead of an instant attraction that exploded into a full-blown romance that took over the whole story.  Even though this is an inspirational novel, it never gets preachy in any way that would be a turn off to some.  One of the nicest aspects is this is a story of forgiveness and redemption and how it can soothe the soul.  This book will be great for those that love romance and a story of hope and moving on to make the best of a situation.

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

High as the Heavens

High as the heavensAuthor: Kate Breslin

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: June 6, 2017

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Fantastic historical fiction, mystery, and redemption all in one terrific story!

In 1917 German occupied Brussels, Evelyn Marche is just trying help the Allies while working as a nurse for the Red Cross. She believed that she had lost many of her family members during the occupation, until she recently learns that her brother and sister were able to escape a work camp train and flee to France.  She also believed herself to be a widow of the war until a plane crashes near her hospital and she finds her husband was a survivor, but also an Allied spy.  Now she must figure out a way to save him without jeopardizing her position.  But being apart three years has changed both of them.  The more they learn about each other, the more secrets between them are uncovered.  Will they be able to be a family again if this war ever stops?

As usual, Kate Breslin does a great job weaving a story together set in war ravaged Europe. Not much focuses on the Great War itself, but on the internal war within Evelyn.  She has gone through so much in a short period of time that has really challenged her faith, as I have to believe it would have mine as well.  The treatment she received the first night of the occupation as well as losing most of her family members would easily tear up someone’s soul.  Simon’s had to rely on his faith to make it through multiple POW camps just to hope to see his wife again.  Setback after setback, he still managed to make it through and trust in God.  He was a very likable character that we all need to have a friend that resembles him.  If you are going through inner struggles today, I suggest you read Eve’s story.

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

Contagion

contaigonAuthor: Marcy G. Dyer

Series: Dark Days #1

Publisher: Roller Coaster Suspense

Release Date: July 11, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

An altered strain of rabies that turns its victims into Zombies has been unleashed turning the world into chaos and leaving three families to fend for themselves and try to stay alive.

When scientist Reginald Barker develops a deadly strain of rabies, he doesn’t have any idea it will be released around the world and turn people into zombies, but he fears what could happen if it winds up in the wrong hands and has a special fortress built in Texas to keep his family safe. When the outbreak happens, he takes his family and tries to get to safety, a task that is not as easy as he hoped it would be.  The contractor he hired, Randi Martinez, knows it is not her property but sees Barker’s development as the only safe place to take her family.  Reginald’s nephews also know about the compound and head that way to stay safe.  All three families are in a fight to stay alive and ease the torture they feel for different reasons.

Normally for me, a book about Zombies would not be a go to for me. I have nothing against them, just not my usual read. Contagion was an incredibly enjoyable read that left me foaming at the mouth for more.  The story was fast and strong with so much that I enjoyed.  The characters were all written in a way that made them relatable and easy to want to see them succeed.  Even the characters it was obvious that were not meant to be liked were written in such a way I enjoyed reading about them.  The story itself had a good message behind it of hope and redemption even when things look their darkest.  Dyer did an excellent job with this story and I can’t wait to see what the next installment has to offer.  I recommend this to readers that enjoy a thriller with a heart to the story, and enjoying reading about zombies won’t hurt either.

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

Unraveling

UnravelingAuthor: Sara Ella

Series: Unblemished #2

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: July 11, 2017

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The second installment in the Unblemished trilogy is a great read that will leave you aching for more.

Eliyana Ember has always wanted her world to be a fairy tale. After a defeating her grandfather and saving the second Reflection, El starts to only trust what she can see and touch.  The Kiss of Infinity she once shared is nothing but a memory and now that she is becoming queen she doesn’t know if she is prepared to deal with any of it.  The Verity is cast within her soul and therefore leaves Joshua by her side ready to rule her birth land.  Even with all she has, she feels something is missing.  The Callings, she and others have had as magical powers, begin to fail and El wonders if her connection to Ky Rhyen is somehow involved.  Light and dark cannot coexist and El needs to find the answers before the Callings disappear altogether.

This book is outstanding, as long as you have read the first. If you come into this having as a standalone or don’t have Unblemished fresh in your mind, you will likely have difficulties.  There is so much that is set up in the first book that is relevant to Unraveling in order for everything to make sense that it is very important to have the first firmly in your mind when starting this one.  The characters develop much more fully here along with the world.  This is very different from our own, but also similar in many, many ways.  I enjoyed the introduction of new characters and the interaction they had with already established characters.  One of the best aspects is it is a very clean book without losing the intensity of the story, a very rare trait to be found today.  Other than making sure you have read the first book, I can’t think of anything negative to say about this book.  I can’t wait to see what the third installment has in store.

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