A Piece of the Moon

Author: Chris Fabry

Publisher: Tyndale House

Release Date: April 6, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Fabry never fails to give readers a story that will be enjoyable with flawed characters that readers are easily able to bond with.

Gideon Quidley has achieved great wealth throughout his life and when he receives a divine vision telling him to hide his treasure based on bible verses, he sets out to do just that.  When people find out what he has done, treasure hunters search high and low based on the clues.  It becomes an obsession for some people.  For others, it’s become more of a joking matter.  In the small town of Emmaus, West Virginia, mooring radio talk show hosts Waite Evers and TD Lovett, tend to joke about the matter weekly.  But when one of TD’s estranged friends goes missing, he is suddenly pulled into the hunt for his friend over the treasure.  As TD dives into the clues, he begins to discover his own real treasure that isn’t just of this earth.

Leave it to Chris Fabry to set up an incredibly interesting tale that takes readers back to 1981.  I’ve never been disappointed in one of Fabry’s novels and this one kept me intrigued all the way through.  His characters are all incredibly flawed, just like real life, and have the ability to easily connect with readers.  Waite was just one of many, but he saw the good in everybody but himself.  TD felt he could never be more than he was and didn’t know what the point of trying was.  With plenty of supporting characters, readers will easily find someone to resonate with and cheer for throughout the book.  Fabry’s years of experience on the radio show with the technical knowledge included in this book!

The story centers around an earthly treasure of riches, but has a theme of discovering the treasure of ourselves with our heavenly father.  I love the way that this book ended.  I’m not going to say more than that, but I think all readers will enjoy the final wrap up!

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

Present Danger

Author: Elizabeth Goddard

Series: Rocky Mountain Courage #1

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: April 6, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A fantastic start to a thrilling new series! Goddard gives readers a thrill ride with a perfect setting and engaging characters that make a wonderful story.

After being with the FBI for years, Jack Tanner has come back home to Montana to his aunt and work as a detective for the local police. When he is called to out on a search and rescue mission in the national forest, he ends up finding a dead body. In order to find the killer, he must work alongside US Forest Service Special Agent Terra Connors. He and Terra have a history and it isn’t a good one. He left her to join the FBI and seeing her again brings up all the feelings he thought he had left behind. It doesn’t take long for Terra to tie the murder victim with dangerous traffickers involved in archaeological artifacts. Each new clue they turn up brings the danger closer to home and Terra and Jack have little time to find the killer before someone else gets hurt or worse.

Elizabeth Goddard has started this new series with a bang! The action started at the beginning and had me hooked. Terra and Jack have a complicated past which makes their working together that much more difficult and makes the story that much more entertaining. Giving them history shows the tension between them as they work the case more believable. The setting in the rugged mountains kept me engaged in the story. I loved the way Terra worked hard to prove herself with her past and living up to her mother’s reputation, even with all the odds stacked against her. Both Terra and Jack have pasts they are either trying to live up to or get away from and show they are better than that. With each of them holding on to the past, it is hard of them to see what is right in front of them in the present.

As with most romantic suspense novels, the romance side is difficult if rushed and I don’t want to give away anything but the relationship felt a little forced at the end to me, that would be my only negative comment on the whole book. So many great characters in this book and such a great story that I can’t wait to see what comes next. I recommend this story to those that love a good romantic suspense read and will enjoy the start of a new series. 

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

No Unturned Stone

Author: David James Warren

Series: The True Lies of Rembrant Stone #2

Publisher: TriStone Media

Release Date: April 6, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The second edition in The True Lies of Rembrant Stone pulls readers even deeper into the story and has left me dying for more adventures with Rembrant and the gang!

After receiving a watch that helps him travel back in time and solve cold cases, Rembrant Stone returns to the present, but nothing is as he remembers it before going back in time. He solved the past crime and saved lives, but upon his return, his family is gone and he is a shell of the man he once was. To fix what he messed up, he must break the one rule of time travel, don’t mess with the past.

Rembrant Stone is the perfect book if you are looking for an escape, adventure and characters that will make you feel as if you’ve known them your whole life. The second installment picks up right after the first left off and has more twists, turns and jaw dropping moments. When Rembrant returns and nothing is the same, he was warned not to mess with the past, but he can’t help it; going back might be the only way to save what’s ahead of him.

Each new chapter brings new adventure, drama, tension, and more. As with the first in the series, No Unturned Stone shows what happens when powerhouses, Susan May Warren and James Rubart team up with David Warren to give us some of the best storytelling I have read in a very long time. These stories read so incredibly fast you can sit and read in one day. Short and to the point with no extra fluff that makes the story drag. Plenty of description to make the readers feel as if they are right there with the characters and experiencing what they are at the same time with the bonus of clean writing that can be recommended to anyone. So many stories today have such harsh language or mature themes that aren’t appropriate for younger readers and it is refreshing to have a good, well-written story that has nothing like that. I recommend this book to those that are looking for a story that will be both entertaining and engaging, even if you haven’t read anything by any of these authors this is the perfect series to start with. You really need to start with the first in the series and enjoy a time traveling masterpiece that will transport you to a whole new world. 

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

Covet

Author: Tracy Wolff

Series: Crave #3

Publisher: Entangle Teen Books

Release Date: March 2, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The third book in the fantastic Crave series is not to be missed! Tracy Wolff has crafted characters that readers will fall more in love with and be on the edge of their seat waiting to see if they survive the trials before them!

Grace thought the roughest thing she was going to have to deal with after the death of her parents was moving to Alaska to live with her cousin and uncle. That was, until she finds out she is now at a boarding school for the paranormal and she is a gargoyle, her cousin is a witch, her boyfriend is a vampire and his dead brother who was living in her mind is now alive and saying he is her mate. Katmere Academy has its share of high school drama and now that Grace has found herself in the crosshairs of The Circle and Hudson has an arrest warrant issued for him, she finds herself on the verge of a breakdown trying to figure out what to do and how they are all going to come out of this disaster alive.

I have fallen in love with the entire Crave series and characters. Grace is a fantastic protagonist for this series. A lot of comparison between this and Twilight, but Grace is so much stronger than Bella. She starts the series with the devastation of losing her parents and grows so much stronger through each crazy new even she encounters. In Covet, there is so much going on. This is not a story you can breeze through by any means; it is a lot to unpack and digest but so worth the time spent with these characters and all they go through.

Hudson is probably my favorite character, and to say that after what we are led to think about him in the first book shows how well Tracy Wolff has developed this character. With that said I have to say that all of the characters have amazing arcs and developments from book one until now, each character has shown growth, moments that surprised me and made me have a deeper connection with them and the story.

My one and only complaint about this book is the harsh language, I have let it go through the first two and was hoping it would ease up a little, but it has only gotten more widely used. Good story telling can be done without all that, especially if you are marketing to a young adult audience. It might not bother some and I can look past it for the most part if the storytelling is done well, which it is here, but I still need to say something about it with a YA audience.

That really is my only complaint, this is the kind of story that I can’t wait to finish anything else I have going on and get back to reading to see what is going to happen. The description is also so vivid that as I am reading, I see it playing out like a movie in my mind, not something that happens with every book I read, even though I wish it would. More writers need to look at these kinds of books and apply these methods to their own works. I recommend this book to those that enjoy a great paranormal story with lots of action, love, heart, suspense, and danger at the turn of every page.

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

Winterborne Home for Mystery & Mayhem

Author: Ally Carter

Series; Winterborne Home #2

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Release Date: March 2, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The follow up to the first Winterborne Home is just as good, if not better, with more mystery, action, adventure, and so much more! Young readers are in for a real treat!

After all the craziness of finding Gabriel Winterborne alive and helping get his uncle arrested for attempted murder, April and the others living at the Winterborne estate thought they had found a home and happy ending. The kids are the only ones who know that Gabriel Winterborne is not only a famous billionaire but also a vigilante. He’s not the only one, another masked figure breaks into their house and the kids fear for their safety and home they have created with one another. April and her friends must work together to solve a mystery that is decades old and find a way to stay together.

The second edition in the Winterborne Home series is just as good as its predecessor, an action-packed adventure that had me more drawn in and connected to the characters than the first one. One of the best aspects about this installment was the character connection. I was connected in the first but not on the level I was with this one. April had a way of pulling at my heart strings at every turn. She has been through so much and just when she thinks she has a home and family, everything gets turned upside down once again. After April, Tim would be the strongest character and I hope we get to see him develop further. It would be nice to see more from all the other kids as well. I feel as if there is still so much story to tell in this series and hope there is more to come.

This is the perfect book for Middle Grade readers, a fast paced, engaging story but at a level that won’t be over their heads and will keep them into the story and wanting more. I read this one ahead of my ten-year-old reading it to be able to talk with him about it and see if it would interest him and be appropriate for his level. I am happy to check off a big yes to all of those. Not only will those his age enjoy it, but parents can read it and enjoy as well. It is refreshing to read/be able to recommend a good, clean, engaging book for young readers. This will be a great series for boys or girls and those that love a good mystery.

Winterborne Home for Vengeance & Valor

Author: Ally Carter

Series: Winterborne Home #1

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Release Date: December 29, 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Ally Carter has crafted a fabulous adventure for young readers that will keep them turning the page and engaged in a great story.

April has bounced from one foster home to another after being left by her mother at the age of two. After a trip to the museum when she sees an emblem that resembles one her mother left her that is on a key she keeps around her neck, her life gets even more complicated. The museum catches fire when she is there, and she doesn’t remember how she got out of the museum. Now, April is taken to a new home, a big creepy mansion that is home to a group of other orphans. April feels out of place; in her mind she isn’t an orphan, her mother is coming back for her. The longer she is at Winterborne Home, the more confused she gets with secrets behind closed doors and one secret leads to another. April and the other kids must work together to solve the mysteries in front of them before they all lose the home they have come to love.

Ally Carter can now be added to my list of favorite children’s authors. Winterborne Home was a fun, engaging mystery that will leave kids wanting more and more of the story to read. To me, this is the best kind of story, especially for kids as it contains so much mystery and young characters that learn to rely on each other when they have been alone for so long. This is the first Middle Grade novel Ally Carter has written and I am so excited to see what all she comes out with next. Her writing these characters was spot on, April and the other kids are written with the perfect mannerisms and characteristics of the age they are portraying. Each one has unique characteristics that makes them stick out, Sadie is an inventor, Tim a charmer, and Violet is shy but has just the right thing to say at exactly the right moment. Young readers will find a character they can relate to whether they are a boy or girl, adventurous or more introverted, either way there will be relatable aspects to the story for everyone. I read this so I would know if it would be a good fit for my ten-year-old son and even though the main character is a girl I know he will still love the story. I recommend this to young readers eager for an adventure and getting ready to get lost in the pages.

Kingston and the Magician’s Lost & Found

Authors: Rucker Moses and Theo Gangi

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Release Date: February 16, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A fun, magical adventure for young readers that I can highly recommend to my ten-year-old and enjoy watching him continue to discover the magic of reading.

Kingston Preston has moved back home after being away from Echo City, Brooklyn for the past four years. When he was eight and his magician father disappeared during one of his tricks, his mother took them both away. Being in a place so full of magic and reminders was too much for her to take. Now that they are back home, Kingston is ready to find out what happened to his father. When King disappeared, magic in Echo City went with him. Magic is frowned upon now in the city and Kingston finds a magic box left behind that gives him clues as to what happened to his father. He can’t tell his mother about his find and so he works with his cousin, Veronica, and old childhood friend, Too Tall Eddie, to find out the mystery of what happened to his father.

Kingston and the Magician’s Lost and Found was a breath of fresh air. I read this so I would know if it would be a good fit for my ten-year-old to read. I have to say that not only will I let my son read it, but I really enjoyed reading it! The story was good, fast-paced, and entertaining. The characters were engaging and kept me interested in the story and what they were going through. There is magic, code breaking, a family torn apart and a battle against good and evil. Kingston and his mom have had a good relationship but they both have missed his dad since he disappeared and being back where it happened is hard on them both. I love the secondary characters and how they brought a little extra humor to the tense situations. Too Tall Eddie was probably one of my favorite characters.

The story wrapped up nicely but has been left open solidly for more to come. I’m not sure if this is planned as a series and if so, how many, but there is definitely more story to be told here. One of the best things about this book was that it was fast paced, suspenseful but also clean. I don’t have to worry about harsh language or mature themes that would not be appropriate when my son reads it. I recommend this to middle grade readers and even parents for a fun family read with good family values, good vs. evil and to just enjoy the magic of reading.

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

The Curator’s Daughter

Author: Melanie Dobson

Publisher: Tyndale House

Release Date: March 9, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A great blend of historical and contemporary makes for a terrific read!

In 1940, archaeologist Hannah Tillich is searching for the Holy Grail for Himmler’s antiquities group.  As a child who went through Germany’s defeat and humiliation in the great war, Hannah is proud of the Third Reich and their work to reunite Germans.  But when she learns that she has been reassigned to work as a museum curator in her home of Nuremburg, she finds the façade begins to crumble.  Soon she is forced to marry a SS officer, who has fully bought into Hitler’s vision.  After being unable to conceive, her husband presents her with an adopted daughter, who she comes to love as her own.  When she learns what is happening to Jews across the continent, she comes up with a plan to save their stories that just might cost her own.

In 2019, Ember Ellis is pursing her post doctorate on hatred of the Jewish people while working at a Holocaust museum.  She is no stranger to the hatred of people as she was raised in a white supremacy convent and was able to escape when she was fifteen.  When she reconnects with a former teacher whose mother was a friend to Jewish people in World War II, she sets off to Nuremberg to find out what information she can.  But somebody is watching Ember and doesn’t seem to want her to discover the truth or expose any secrets best left forgotten.

When I first read the synopsis for this book, I thought maybe it would be an Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade type of adventure, mainly because of the holy grail search during World War II.  Even though it wasn’t all action and adventure, it easily captivated me at the first page through the very last sentence.  Dobson did a great job of paralleling not only the two main characters to each other, but also to the story of Saint Katharine.  There are lots of hidden nuggets throughout this book that readers will love to find. 

There are three main points of view throughout the book: Ember, Hannah, and Lilly.  At times, Lilly’s POV can through you off early in the book, but it quickly pieces things together as it moves along.  It also felt more like it was set in the future at times with the march against the Holocaust museum, but that could have easily happened in 2019.  It’s sad that there is still so much hate in the world.  Dobson did a great job of putting that on display and showing how love can help diffuse it.  I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Miriam’s Song

Author: Jill Eileen Smith

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: March 2, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Fans of Smith will likely enjoy her adaption of the story of Miriam.

Miriam and her family have been living during the Israelite oppression in Egypt.  While they have been praying for deliverance, it has been quiet.  When the Pharaoh becomes threatened and decrees that all male Hebrew babies shall be killed, she knows that her mother’s new baby is likely to die soon.  Fortunately, Pharaoh’s daughter finds him and raises him as her own.  Miriam’s little brother, Moses, will change the world for the Israelite people.

I have always enjoyed Smith’s ability to tell a well-known biblical story from a different perspective.  I enjoyed her previous book with the story of King Herod told from his sister’s perspective and felt that this one would be interesting as well.  I was able to get into the story pretty easily having well known characters, but it took a little while for me to get through it.  I’ve done a lot of research on the books of law and had to go back to double check some events based on this book.  I know that fiction is subjective and can be interpreted differently.  I’ve read past authors that have even moved actual events to different timelines to support their stories. With this story, there were some things that didn’t seem to sit correctly, which took time to research and understand her point of view.  Fans of hers will likely still enjoy this book, but I’m hoping the next one turns out to her usual standards.

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

The Beirut Protocol

Author: Joel C. Rosenberg

Series: Marcus Ryker #4

Publisher: Tyndale

Release Date: March 9, 2021

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Good overall story, but a little different than what I expected.

Marcus Ryker has had his fair share of action and adventure coupled with loss and heartache.  He’s been a marine, secret service agent, CIA liaison, and diplomatic security special agent who has traveled to Russia, Korea, Israel, and all parts of the middle east.  He’s frustrated attacks on the president and Israeli prime minister, participated in an assassination of a global world lead, and thwarted terroristic agendas.  So, when he and his partner Kailea are out making rounds to prepare for the Secretary of State’s arrival and are ambushed the last thing you expect to happen is that he is captured by Hezbollah agents.   If they figure out who they’ve captured, there is no way they will be ransomed or returned.  They will be taken to Beirut and sold to the highest bidder of Ryker’s enemies!  Can he pull off yet another escape and save his team?  Or is this the end of Marcus Ryker?

This series has been loaded with action since the first book and this one kicks it off in the same style.  Until they are captured?  What????  How did this happen?  Marcus always gets out with a narrow miss, but not this time.  What ensues is torture, deprivation, and a less than expected storyline dealing with Hezbollah, Iran, and the Kairos terrorist organization.  It’s really not what I expected to for this series or these characters.  Plus, none of the characters really progress in development in this book.  Everybody pretty much stays the same with a fast pace and short chapters to keep the story line moving.  Overall, it just didn’t have the same feel to it that the previous books did and the faith element that readers have seen with Marcus becomes stagnant as well.  Had this been the first book, I would have had a different opinion and could have seen the characters grow from there, but this one just fell a little flat.  I’m not sure if this is the last book in the series, but I hope that there is one more mission to really hit the nail on the head.

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