Spin

Author: Patricia Cornwell

Series: Captain Chase Novel #2

Publisher: Thomas and Mercer

Release Date: January 12, 2021

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A little bit sci-fi, a little bit mystery, and a whole lotta personal issues make up this Captain Chase novel.

Captain Calli Chase is back in a new adventure that kicks off with murder!  Shortly after a murder is discovered, a rocket launch is hacked and NASA is forced to destroy the rocket carrying necessary supplies to a space station.  As an investigator, Calli has been at the heard of it and is discouraged to find her twin sister is apparently involved.  But when her truck is hacked, likely by her sister Carme, she follows the GPS coordinates to a location where she indeed finds her.  But not everything is as it seems.  Calli finds herself agreeing to be upgraded in the program that she and her sister have been a part of only to wake up a few days later with new skills that she will have to master in her sister’s destructive wake of acting as Calli while she was out.  As the investigation heats up, she realizes that she is in for more than she bargained for as it takes her to not only the White House to brief the president, but even outside of earth’s atmosphere!

Let me start off by saying that I haven’t read the first book in this series and I think I am missing quite a bit of backstory.  From what I can tell, this one pretty much picks up where the first one left off, so most of the character development for Calli, Carme, and many of the supporting characters had already happened.  That said, the story line is pretty intriguing.  Being NASA, there are a lot of acronyms thrown around.  They are all explained, but with so many, readers may continually have to backtrack to remember what they meant throughout the book or just give up and continue the story line.  One thing is certain, Calli is insecure compared to her twin sister and she likes to eat.  There was so much description of food from different fast food restaurants that I started to want to go pick up an order or two.  The book is pretty clean for the most part and I feel that fans of science fiction will probably enjoy this series.

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

A Stranger at the Door

Author: Jason Pinter

Series: Rachel Marin Thriller #2

Publisher: Thomas and Mercer

Release Date: January 12, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Far better than the first in the series! Readers will not want to miss this spectacular thriller!

It has taken a long time for Rachel Marin to get to a good place. After years of hardships and very difficult situations, she is finally happy adapting to life as a single mom and working alongside the local police department. When one of her son’s teachers is murdered and she is called into help on the case, her perfect little world starts to crumble. After the investigation begins, she discovers an email the teacher sent to her shortly before he was killed. As she is working with the department to find those responsible, an old friend she never expected to see again shows up in her life and threatens to reveal all she knows of Rachel’s past. While she is trying to help determine who murdered her son’s teacher, he is being recruited by someone looking to use her son to keep her in line if she gets too close to discover the truth.

As I picked up this book to start reading it, I thought about the first in the series, Hide Away. It was good, but not that memorable and nothing I planned to really read again. So with that in mind, I decided to give the author another shot and I am sure glad I did. I flew through the pages of this story and loved every minute of it. I had such a connection to the characters and was pulled in quickly. The way Pinter used Rachel being a mother and willing to do whatever it took to protect her family coupled with the antagonists using her son against her was so beautifully written. As a mom, I was drawn into the story by this and couldn’t put it down. The plot was great, characters were engaging, and it is an overall great thriller.

For me, one of the best aspects was the last fifty or so pages, the way the story wrapped up played out exactly as it should, nothing felt forced or unbelievable. The characters had a very natural way of talking and reacting to whatever situation they encountered. Really, there isn’t much negative I can say about this other than I’m sad it’s over, I could have been happy reading more and more. Hopefully there will be another in the series coming out and another after that. There is some harsh language, violence, and sexual content that makes it for mature audiences only. With that being said I would recommend to those that enjoy a fast-paced thriller and a long weekend with nothing to do but sit and read. I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Pudge and Prejudice

Author: A. K. Pittman

Publisher: Tyndale

Release Date: January 12, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Set in fictitious Northfield, Texas during 1984, this story takes readers on a journey similar to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice!

Elyse Nebbitt and her family have just moved to Northfield, Texas and she is faced with finding her place in a new school. Elyse has always had trouble fitting in, being overweight hasn’t helped either. Her beautiful older sister Jayne quickly fits in and starts dating Charlie Bingley, one of the stars of the football team.  While Elyse can’t help but being attracted to Charlie’s best friend, Billy Fitz, Elyse is too insecure in her own body to believe anything could develop in that relationship.  Her new friend, Lottie, helps Elyse to accept herself for who she is and what she can become.

Pudge and Prejudice was just a fun read. I enjoyed the way the characters were laid out with different personalities. There is someone in this book for everyone to relate to in one way or the other. Pudge is bigger, a little insecure at times, but overall a fun character to read about. The rest of her family and friends she meets in her new town make for a well-rounded cast of characters that will leave readers smiling and nodding their heads at the different antics they get into. Her sisters are very different than her in size and attitude at times and the romance aspects of the book progress at a rate that is very relatable for teen angst and drama, although I will say that the end relationships did make me wonder if it was something that would really happen or just playing out well for the sake of the story.

Charlie and Billy are brought into the story to meet the girls by helping the family move in and one thing leads to another as our story progresses. The pace of the story was perfect for teens and anyone wanting a quick read that doesn’t require a lot of deep thought. Overall, this was a fun enjoyable read that I recommend to young readers, probably more suited for girls than boys, but the sports aspect of the story would appeal to male readers.

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

Check out our Q & A with the author!

Lethal Intent

Author: Cara Putman

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: January 12, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A medical/legal thriller that gets darker with every twist and turn!

Caroline Bragg is excited to start her new job as legal counsel for Praecursoria, a research lab working on cutting edge therapy for cancer treatment. Along with the new job, her relationship with Brandon Lancaster has never been better. Just when she thinks things can’t get any better, her world comes crashing around her as the job she thought was so perfect starts to show all is not as it seems and with each new stress at the job her relationship with Brandon becomes more and more strained. Brandon has been running a foster home and one of the kids in his care, Bethany, is very sick and a candidate for the new research. When the treatment doesn’t show the same results for Bethany as others and things don’t add up as they should, Caroline starts to wonder if things in the company are not as good as she and others were led to believe. The more she digs, the more she discovers the danger she and others are now in and wonders how much she might lose to expose the truth.

I have always loved Cara Putman’s writing style. She is a lawyer and her legal thrillers have always been top notch with so much passion, emotion and realistic content the story flies by. Lethal Intent is more of a medical thriller than legal thriller to me; the story revolves more around the sick kids and research than anything legal and I think that slowed it down for me. I didn’t feel any real tension in the story until almost halfway through. At that point though the story did fly by and was much more enjoyable, just not the usual fast paced thriller I am used to from her. The characters each had moments to shine, I enjoyed Caroline’s tenacity and commitment to follow through in finding the truth. Brandon was determined to do anything he could to help those he cared about. This is the kind of story that takes patience and the pay out at the end is good if you stick with it and don’t give up after the slow start. I recommend this to readers that enjoy medical/legal thrillers with a little romance thrown in the mix.

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

Tidewater Bride

Author: Laura Frantz

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: January 5, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Frantz always does her research and it shines through in Tidewater Bride.

Selah Hopewell thoroughly enjoys matching other people up, especially the tobacco brides that arrive into the new colonies.  Unfortunately, there are more men than there are available women, which she has no intent to marry as she is taking care of her family’s shop.  When she meets Xander Renick, who is married to his business, can she find him a mate?  Or will she find what has been missing in her life?

Laura Frantz never ceases to amaze me in the amount of research that she puts in for each of her novels.  Tidewater Bride is no exception.  From the true era language to the description of scenery and activity, it all rang true.  I love how she makes me do my own research to determine the accuracy of hers, which has always showed to be true.  I also love that the book doesn’t center on romance but has action to move the story along.  Readers of early frontier colonial era stories will love this one as well!

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

Bone Canyon

Author: Lee Goldberg

Series: Eve Ronin #2

Publisher: Thomas and Mercer

Release Date: January 5, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Smart and cunning homicide detective Eve Ronin is back to solve another case and this one puts her up against the most dangerous odds she has faced!

Dealing with the aftermath of wildfires in the Santa Monica Mountains, homicide detective Eve Ronin and her partner are called when the remains of a woman are found. Eve is the youngest homicide detective in the Los Angeles county Sheriff’s Department and not many are happy with the way she got her position. Eve doesn’t let anyone’s opinion deter her from doing her job and solving the crimes in front of her. The remains turn out to be from a missing person case from over six years ago and each turn in the new case exposes more horrors and more bodies. Eve is now up against the most dangerous odds she has faced and isn’t sure who she can trust.

This is the second installment in the Eve Ronin series and am finding myself more and more in love with this character. She reminds me of Tracy Crosswhite by Robert Dugoni, and that’s a big comparison since that is my favorite series by one of my very favorite authors. More and more male authors are writing lead female detectives and doing a bang-up job of it. Eve is a tough, gritty and determined detective that isn’t afraid to do the hard things to solve a case. Even though she is up against a department that isn’t for her, she knows she is where she belongs and is willing to do what it takes to prove herself. I loved the way she took whatever is thrown at her and get right back up, but also doesn’t pretend to be superhuman and show no pain. The times when she is with her partner and they banter back and forth were perfect, along with the investigation moments with the anthropologist, Daniel. Something about the way those two relationships were written really made the story flow well. I am still not a fan of Eve’s mom, she just annoys me, which I think that is the way she is supposed to be written so in that sense it is a job well done. There is a fair amount of language and sex throughout, none of it graphic, but enough to make me say it is for a mature audience only. I would recommend this to readers that enjoy a fun suspense thriller that will take no time to breeze through.

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

All That We Carried

Author: Erin Bartels

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: January 5, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Tension coupled with redemption makes this a stellar tale!

It’s been ten years since Olivia and Melanie’s parents died in a car accident while they were away on a hiking trip.  Ten years since the sisters have really spoken to each other.  With reconciliation on her mind, Melanie asks her sister to join her on a hiking trip in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  Olivia reluctantly agrees but does so on her terms; she picks the place and plans out the whole adventure.  While on the trail, the sisters face uncertainty, accidents, and disasters, which forces them to evaluate their lives, choices, and beliefs.

From the onset of the book, Olivia and Melanie could not be more polar opposite.  Olivia is a prosecutor that is a driven, goal-oriented, planner who has mapped out her life for any possible contingency that could occur.  Melanie is a free-spirited life coach with a YouTube following that believes the good in every belief system while trying to shut out the bad.  Needless to say, tension starts on the first page and doesn’t slow down until the epilogue.  These two women face all sorts of challenges in the wilderness that force them to rely on each other.  I love that both had to reflect on their view of spirituality to truly discover the truth about themselves and each other.  There are some twist and turns that will take readers for quite a bit of a ride, but those with siblings will likely find they have had some of the same arguments.

Bartels description of the beauty of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and that of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and Porcupine Mountains State Park easily drew me in.  I’ve not been to Michigan, but I’ve read a lot of stories set there and until now have really not had a desire to go.  The descriptions of waterfalls and that of Lake Superior made me research the park while I was reading the book and have now added it to my bucket list!  The pictures were so beautiful, and I never would have known about it!

I recommend this book to readers who enjoy a great story and like to see relationships restored!

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

Night Bird Calling

Author: Cathy Gohlke

Publisher: Tyndale

Release Date: January 5, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Fantastic character development mixed with well researched history make this a must read to start off 2021!

After years of watching her mother in an abusive relationship, Lilliana finds herself in a similar situation.  After her mother dies, she overhears her husband and father discussing her future so that her husband can divorce her with the church’s sympathy so that he can freely remarry.  Lilliana musters what strength she has coupled with a ring that her mom gave her and flees from Philadelphia to her Great Aunt Hyacinth’s house in the small town of No Creek, North Carolina.  Her aunt is overjoyed to see her and works to provide her a safe place, but she isn’t in the best health and won’t be on this earth for long.  She begins to make some new friends with those that help her Great Aunt and before long, great plans to restore the house’s library surface.  This library will become a lending library for the town to promote the joy of reading to anyone in town regardless of the color of their skin.  However, some feel that this library should only be used by the whites and don’t like change.  As war in Europe begins to brew, so do the dangers in this small community.  There are secrets that could change everything that Lilliana holds dear!

Cathy Gohlke is a master of creating stories set during difficult times.  She has such an inspiring ability to create real conflict between her characters that makes her stories move along as such a suspenseful pace that readers can’t help but be intrigued.  Her ability to create a world to bring readers to the time of the Klan mixed with a young woman who had never experienced the Jim Crow era of the South that was suddenly thrust into it was just masterful. 

The development of the main characters was brilliant as well.  Lilliana was extremely flawed having been involved in two abusive relationships, her father and husband, and was extremely untrustworthy of men.  Yet she had the courage and backbone to stand up to several men she didn’t know.  Celia was loud, outspoken, and yet yearned for a father figure to keep her dreams alive.  Ruby Lynne was such a heartbroken character in so many ways that you just wanted to reach through the pages to hold and comfort her.  Not many authors can successfully create that level of emotional connection with so many characters. 

This will be a difficult novel to read for some as it deals with abusive relationships, Jim Crow era violence, drinking, and rape.  However, the story is so genuine that it is well worth the read!

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

Active Defense

Author: Lynette Eason

Series: Danger Never Sleeps #3

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: January 5, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The third installment in Lynette Eason’s newest series is sure to be a crowd pleaser. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Eason just gets better and better with each book!

Heather Fontaine thought she left life and death situations behind when she left Afghanistan, but after she is home she gets the feeling someone is following her and has broken into her house. She finds a threat to her friends and is afraid they will be in danger if she stays in town. Not wanting to be the reason something bad happens to anyone she cares about, Heather takes off with only a text to let them know she is okay but needs to be gone for a while. None of that sits well with her friends and they set out to find her. It doesn’t take long for them to locate her hiding out in a small town and Travis Walker sits back and watches her to make sure she is okay and safe. Travis owns his own security firm and knows how to stay in the shadows and keep a close eye on Heather without being spotted. When the danger follows Heather to the small town, Travis must work with her to figure out who wants her dead and why before they both end up casualties.

Lynette Eason really is getting better with each book and there is no exception with Active Defense. I read this in one day, I read a lot, but it is rare for me to finish a book in one day. The book started with a bang and didn’t let up until the very end. Eason has a way of crafting characters that suck you into their lives and stories and make you feel deeply for them, a brilliant way to write that many authors aren’t nearly as good at. I have found when I read if I can’t connect with a character or feel for them in any way, either nervous when they are in danger or excited when a relationship goes good, I have a hard time staying with the book. In each book that Eason writes, I have found one or more characters that pull me in and don’t let go until the very end. The story was incredibly fast paced, easy to follow and had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. A perfect book to start the new year with in a wonderfully engaging series.  I recommend this to fans of romantic suspense. Even if you haven’t read any in the series it would be okay to start with this one as the back story of the other characters does help but it is not crucial to following the story to have read the previous in the series.

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

Greenlights

Author: Matthew McConaughey

Publisher: Crown Publishing Group

Release Date: October 20, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Matthew McConaughey’s biography is “Allright, Allright, Allright!”

Matthew McConaughey is well known for several romantic comedies as well as a leading actor in multiple dramatic films.  He even won best actor for his work in Dallas Buyers Club.  But who is he?  How did he get his start?  What makes him tick and how did he get from here he was to where he is now?  In other words, how did he find his Greenlights to show him when to hit the gas and not the brake?

I’ll admit that I really didn’t know much about Matthew McConaughey before I read this book.  I had some preconceived notions of who he is, but I really had no idea.  I didn’t know he was a writer, straight A student, foreign exchange student, etc. etc.  I knew he hailed from Texas, but not where he got his start.  Needless to say, it was interesting to learn more about him.  I enjoyed getting to find out his version of himself.  I’ve seen several of his films and it is easy to put him in a certain category, but when it comes down to it, he’s not really that different from any of us.  That’s what is so great about memoirs, you really find out their true character. 

This is quite a bit of harsh language throughout the book as well as some implied sexual activity, nothing overly graphic.  I recommend this book for mature audiences that have an interest in McConaughey or enjoy personal biographies/memoirs.