A Glitter of Gold

Glitter of Gold

Author: Liz Johnson

Series: Georgia Coast Romance #2

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: August 6, 2019

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Fun, witty, charming, and pirates make for the best kind of summer story.

 Anne Norris is trying to escape her past life back in California.  A series of wrong choices landed her in places that she would rather never have visited.  As soon as she could, she packed up and moved across country to Savannah, Georgia where no one has a clue who she is.  She even started up a business as a pirate tour guide, but she isn’t making much and barely scrapes by from month to month.  After a hurricane passes over, she spends a morning at the beach and stumbles upon what appears to be a solid gold sword hilt.  If this is real, it could change her life, but also bring in unwanted publicity.  When she visits the local maritime museum, the curator is ecstatic and wants to find the remainder of the treasure but won’t be able to do it without Anne’s help.  Can she trust him?  Or is she better off alone?

 This was a fun quick read that was just perfect to start closing out the summer reading list.  Stories set in Savannah are always fun to take a stroll down the setting.  And when a pirate’s story comes to surface, that makes it even better.  I quickly fell into Anne’s backstory to understand why she was so skittish and lacked self-esteem, which became evident pretty quickly.  Carter was self-assured, but to focused on living up to his family name to actually enjoy life for what it was.  With a colorful group of supporting character, both Anne and Carter were able to grow both individually and together.  The romance never felt forced and was pretty predictable, but fun all the same.  I recommend this book to those who love a good summer read!

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

The Lost Vintage

Lost Vintage.jpgAuthor: Ann Mah

Publisher: William Morrow

Release Date: June 18, 2019

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A fantastic story that is not easily put down until it is finished!

Kate has set her life to achieve one goal: become a master of wine.  Given three opportunities to pass the exam, she has already failed twice.  Now she is more focused than ever, but seems to be continually outfoxed by French wine, which happens to be her native homeland even though she hasn’t been there in years.  As the head sommelier at a local San Francisco restaurant, there isn’t as much time as she would hope to dedicate to studying.  But when the restaurant unexpectedly closes its doors, Kate suddenly has time on her hands.  At her mentor’s urging, she reaches out to her cousin in France to see if it would be ok to come for a visit.  As it is time for the grape harvest, he happily agrees and looks forward to seeing her soon.

Being back in France brings back difficult memories.  She and her cousin’s wife were college friends that visited France during a semester abroad.  One thing led to another and her friend stayed behind while she returned home.  Now she is helping clean out the family cellars under the house.  While much of it is junk that has been stored throughout the years, she stumbles upon some photographs in a trunk of a young woman she has never heard about but bears a striking resemblance to herself.  As she begins to pry into the family history, her uncle shuts down the investigation at every turn.  One day, she discovers a hidden cellar behind a false wall that contains numerous bottles of rare wine.  But will this discovery open a door that can never be closed?

This book taught me more about rare wine that I had thought possible.  I had no idea all the different requirements for storing, handling, and more that must be taken into account.  However, this wasn’t the most interesting part of the story.  That was the time slip portion set back in occupied France during World War II.  I love these stories and all that it brings out historically.  There is always more to learn and Mah did a great job on researching this topic.

The character development was spot on as well.  Kate was instantly likable and felt like a close friend, even though she tends to shut people out.  I enjoyed getting to know her better and was really pulling for her relationship to blossom.  All the supporting characters fleshed out great as well.  Nothing felt forced and even though there were some antagonists, it played out like a great story.

There is some very mild language throughout the book, but nothing that would take away from the story.  I recommend this book to people who love time-slip novels concerning World War II and those that just enjoy a great story.

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

Vow of Justice

Vow of JusticeAuthor: Lynette Eason

Series: Blue Justice #4

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: August 6, 2019

Rating: 5 Star

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

By far the best book I have read by Lynette Eason and easily one of the best I have read all year!

Linc St. John has had some tough cases being a special agent with the FBI, but nothing prepared him for the heartache off finding out Allison, the woman he loves, is dead. Torn between revenge and justice, Linc works every angle he can to track down the killers. In his search, he finds something he never expected to find, Allison is alive. Linc is greatly confused as to how she is alive and what it all means. With no time to find answers to his questions, he and Allison must work together to stop a killer from her past.

Vow of Justice is the fourth book in the Blue Justice series and easily the best. The St. John family is a great group of characters that have been developed beautifully throughout the series. Readers have been waiting a long time to read Linc’s story and it is well worth the wait. Lynette Eason has crafted her best story yet. The emotional connection I felt with the characters is what kept me plowing through the story at warp speed. I know this is Linc’s story but I have to say I fell in love with Allison, the empathy she showed for the others around her and the way her empathy was used as a weapon against her was brilliantly done. I absolutely loved that aspect of the story. The character development and story arc is one of the very best I have read all year. Readers will without a doubt love the action, suspense, romance and overall story of Vow of Justice.

I have so much more I want to say but can’t without giving more of the story away and it is too good to spoil anything. Even though this is the fourth in the series it can be read as a stand alone, reading the whole series gives the reader backstory that makes each installment more enjoyable but it isn’t necessary for new readers to still get a great read. Fans of Lynette Eason’s will love this latest release and readers looking for a new author to add to their shelves will not want to miss this one, I highly recommend Vow of Justice.

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

The Killing Tide

Killing tide.jpgAuthor: Dani Pettrey

Series: Coast Guardians #1

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: August 6, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

In this fast paced and energetic thriller, Dani Pettrey delivers her best book yet!  Readers will not want to miss this one!

Finn Walker, special agent with the Coast Guard Investigative Service, has spent years doing the job he loves, trying to save others.  But when a member of the Coast guard is found dead and another goes missing, he has his work cut out for him. With very few clues and even less to go on, Finn must stretch the limits of his investigative knowledge to solve the case. When his old flame, investigative reporter Gabby Rowley, comes back into town, it makes things even more complicated. To make matters worse, Gabby is in town because a ruthless crime boss she helped put away has put a price on her head. Gabby came home to wait until things blow over; she doesn’t want to put her family in jeopardy, so she stays in Finn’s guest house. Gabby can’t ignore her investigative instinct and works together with Finn to try to solve the case, stay alive, and keep her feelings for Finn under control.

Dani Pettrey set the bar pretty high with her Alaskan courage series. I was skeptical she could top it. I am pleased to say she blew me out of the water with The Killing Tide. This is a story fans will not want to miss. At first, I was a little unsure how I felt about Gabby but I quickly developed a strong connection with her and couldn’t deny my strong feelings for everything she went through. Her backstory and all that lead up to her becoming the person she is at this moment really made me root for her to succeed in all she attempted. Finn was an easy character for me to connect with. He left his feelings dangling from his sleeves and readers will find it hard to keep from connecting with him. I loved the ending and the way the suspense built up to a maximum at just the right moments. This is a perfect blend of romance and suspense to make an absolutely great story. This book is an exceptionally quick read, the story flows beautifully with short chapters and different point of views giving readers a full scope of how the story plays out. I highly recommend this to fans of Pettrey’s previous works as well as new readers to her, this will be a great place to start and get hooked on a wonderful new author.

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

Just One Kiss

Just One KissAuthor: Courtney Walsh

Publisher: Independent

Release Date: July 23, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A beautifully written story about love, redemption and how strong family relationships can be.

Carly Collins has spent the last sixteen years raising her son Jaden by herself when his father, Josh walked out on them. Josh was her fist love and broke her heart when he left them. Leaving Harbor Pointe and his family was the hardest decision Josh Dixon ever had to make. After a hard upbringing with an abusive father, Josh feared he would turn out like his father and hurt the ones he loved. Now he is a highly successful tech mogul and should have everything he wants, except his heart is empty. When Jaden’s health is in danger, Carly and Josh are brought together in the most difficult circumstances and have to decide if they can be a family again or if the second chance at love they are being is worth the risk of heartache all over again.

Just One Kiss is a sweet love story of redemption, love, and how some mistakes are worth forgiving. I loved the family dynamic and how that played out pulling at the heartstrings of not only the characters but also the readers. The parents love for their child helps them put aside their differences and do what is best for him no matter how hard it is. I loved the way these relationships played out, being a mother, it felt raw and real, just as it should. Carly was the perfect character for me, she loved her son and would do anything for him, even if it meant dealing with the man that completely shattered her heart. Even though Josh was a little rough around the edges, I couldn’t help but fall in love with him. The backstory that gives readers a glimpse into Josh’s history with his family helped to flesh out his reasoning for leaving and why accepting the fact that maybe he did deserve a family wasn’t so hard to believe. Even without a suspense element to it, which is what usually drives a book for me, the pace moved quickly with the tension between the characters and the uneasiness of what was happening with their son. This is quality writing and one I want more of. I can’t wait to read the next novel Walsh publishes. I recommend this to fans of romance writing that will give you all the feels and tug at your heartstrings at all the right moments.

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

Love and Other Mistakes

Love and other mistakesAuthor: Jessica Kate

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: July 30, 2019

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A debut that will leave readers content and smiling throughout.

Natalie Groves thought she had her life all set until her fiancé, Jeremy Walters, breaks her heart and leaves town with no explanation and not even a glance back. Shortly thereafter, her father gets diagnosed with cancer and she has to drop everything to help her family. Feeling lost and alone with no way out or up, she lets the next seven years go by without pursuing her dreams. Now, Jeremy has returned to Charlottesville and he is not alone.  He has brought his infant son with him along with all the regrets he has lived with for the past seven years. Natalie is working towards an internship at her dream job but must find a way to make money in the meantime. Together, the two must find a way to put aside their differences and help each other. The more time they spend together, the more feelings from the past collide with feelings from the present and they must decide if staying together or staying apart is the bigger mistake.

Jessica Kate has poured her bubbly Aussie personality into every page of her debut novel. Lots of charm, romance and sass to be found throughout every page. Both Natalie and Jeremy are very well written and the chemistry between the two is undeniable. At times, the relationship teeters on the edge of unbelievable but does work itself out pretty well. The story line of how Jeremy became a single dad needed a little work for me.  As a mom, I find it hard to just want to give up a child, it would take a lot for me to not want to be with my kids. I did enjoy the storyline of Jeremy helping with his niece to get the of the whole family involved without that feeling forced. For me, the writing is well done but that of a first-time author, well written but not as fully polished as a seasoned writer. I am sure that will come with time. For a debut author, I can’t say with certainty that she put in her time and effort and really made this story what it should be even if at times I thought the storyline didn’t flow as smoothly as it could. Overall this was an enjoyable read leaving me looking forward to more from Jessica Kate. I recommend this book to readers that enjoy a clean romantic comedy with a little bit of sass and a lot of heart.

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

Cold Aim

Cold aim

Author: Janice Cantore

Series: Line of Duty #3

Publisher: Tyndale House

Release Date: July 9, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The third installment in the Line of Duty series gives readers the best yet with more drama, action, adventure and romance than anything Cantore has written to date!

 After a wildfire ravages part of Rogue Hollow, Police Chief Tess O’ Rourke tries to get her town back on its feet when the FBI shows up asking Tess to harbor a witness in a human trafficking case. Tess’s gut tells her that this isn’t the best idea, the town is still reeling from the last traumatic event and to put them in harm’s way again goes against her better judgment.  When Pastor Oliver Macpherson, the man she has been seeing, continues to be an example of showing compassion to those in need, Tess decides to help the young girl. This isn’t the first time Rogue Hollow has been home to sheltering a victim of human trafficking; unknown to anyone in town a woman has been keeping her own secrets for years and may prove vital in helping Tess with this request from the FBI. Tess must decide who she can trust and what the right thing to do is in order to keep everyone safe.

 Janice Cantore uses her years of experience with law enforcement to craft a wonderfully written tale that readers can both relate to and enjoy each character and the situations they tackle. Each book that Cantore writes gets better: better characterization, better story lines and better romance and action. I have enjoyed the story arc of Tess and the people of Rogue Hollow. Tess has evolved into a chief the town can trust after proving herself time and time again. She may have come into town as an outsider but now feels this is truly home and the people around her are family. Her relationship with Oliver has played out in a manner that feels real and timed at a good pace, it’s not rushed and doesn’t drag. Over the course of these novels Cantore has been able to develop these characters, even the minor roles into ones that readers are invested in and want to see pull through in the tough times. My one criticism for this book would be the villain, Ice. At times he was referred to as Ice and other times as Royal. Ice was the nickname he got, and I didn’t have a problem with that, I had a problem with the lack of consistency throughout, the name was switched sometimes within the same paragraph and that was confusing. Once the nickname was given I wish it would’ve stayed consistent. Other than that, the read was very enjoyable, and I can’t wait for Cantore’s next great adventure. I recommend this to fans of Cantore’s books as well as anyone that hasn’t read any of her books.  Even though this is the third in the series it could easily be read as a standalone.

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

Tate

Tate.jpgAuthor: Susan May Warren

Series: Montana Marshalls #2

Publisher: Stonewater Books

Release Date: July 9, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The second book in the Montana Marshall series gives readers a look into the family troublemaker.  Fans of the series will not be disappointed by this cowboy.

Tate Marshall has always been considered the family troublemaker, not a trait he likes but one he can’t seem to get past. If he sees something wrong, he can’t stop himself from trying to make things right, no matter what it costs him. When he gets assigned to be the Bodyguard of Glo Jackson, daughter of a U. S. Senator and presidential candidate, he can’t help falling hard for her, which puts them both in danger. Glo is a member of the Yankee Belles, a country western band and a target for terrorist trying to keep her mother from running for president. The band takes a break as Glo helps her mother on the campaign trail. Tate continues to protect Glo until her mother fires him for breaking his promise to not pursue Glo romantically. Tate refuses to stay at arm’s length and will stop at nothing to keep the woman he is falling in love with safe.

Susan May Warren is by far one of the top Christian Romantic Suspense writers out there today. Her second installment in the Montana Marshall series keeps the tension and romance going full force. I absolutely loved the Montana Rescue series and was hoping this series would continue my love for Montana romance by Susan May Warren. Luckily, she nailed it with Knox and now Tate follows suit keeping my love for Montana Marshalls alive and kicking. Tate is such a strong character, even if he feels weak at times.  The little vulnerabilities shown throughout make him relatable and one that readers will want to cheer for. Glo has her own issues to work through and she doesn’t feel she deserves the love Tate is willing to offer. The backstory with her family brings everything to light and shows us why readers should cheer for her and Tate. The book also gives us a glimpse into other members of the Marshall family and helps set up what will come in future books. If you have read anything by Susan May Warren before, you will be familiar with her writing style will know what is coming but still enjoy every page. I have always loved reading her books; I know what I am going to get, a great love story with plenty of suspense to keep the story moving along. I recommend this book to fans of romantic suspense novels that are clean, fast-paced, and full of characters you will fall in love with.

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

Almost Home

Almost HomeAuthor: Valeria Fraser Luesse

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: March 5, 2019

Reviewer: Jennifer S. Roman

Set in rural Blackberry Springs, Alabama, during World War II, Almost Home takes a look at how people have to take time to get to know themselves before they can connect with others.  

Blackberry Springs is home to a variety of transplants looking for work after the war sunk the United States into tough economic times, and Dolly Chandler’s large family home-turned-boarding house is full to the brim.  A young married couple from the Midwest is there after selling the farm and needing a new income; a young war hero is there to set himself right after the war’s ravages on his mind; a married couple of college professors is there because nobody is attending school.  Along with a few locals, the newcomers manage to forge friendships and even some romance out of the destruction that the war inflicted on their lives.  Dolly and her husband act as guardians and even parents to some of these people who really need someone to rely on, and in the meantime, these visitors help Dolly reconnect with her family’s heritage through her home’s secrets.

This is one of those books that, just like the setting, is a warm, lazy summer day with a cold drink at the ready.  It’s no trouble at all to read the book and soak it all in, but by the end, you feel refreshed and full.  The characters all have flaws that, while sometimes obvious how they will be fixed, still show a human side that makes them likeable.  I can’t say the storyline is anything new or unique, but it is a warm, fun reflection on a time when people helped others who were often in the same dire straits that they were.  Old-fashioned and charming, Almost Home truly made me feel welcome.

I loved this book for its message and characters, and the subplot of adventure woven through tied it all together.  Some of it may not be entirely plausible, but it makes for a fun read that kept me entertained from the last page to the first.  Pick up this book for a fun summer read or a quiet weekend in.  It’s a sweet story sure to please.

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

 

The Number of Love

Number of Love

Author: Roseanna M. White

Series: Codebreakers #1

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: June 4, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A mysterious read that crosses between A Beautiful Mind and Bing Bang Theory.

 Margot De Wilde understands mathematics and finds comfort in numbers.  After her family fled Belgium at the beginning of the Great War, Margot has found use for her talents as one of the lead codebreakers in the British navy.  An unconventional position for a woman at the time, but Margot is quite unconventional herself.  She does not notice any of the attentiveness of men and hopes to secure a professorship at a university after the war.  While at work one day, she meets a new young lady named Dot, who is to be serving as a secretary.  Dot has her own quirks and doesn’t like to leave her house but knows she must.  Margot and Dot strike up a mutual friendship where each person can accept their own faults.  But when Dot’s brother Drake shows up, things become much more interesting.

 Drake Elton serves as a spy for the British navy.  Fluent in three languages and having a grandfather in Spain who runs a prosperous shipping business gives him the perfect cover to set up a base of operations there.  But after a botched mission lands him in the infirmary in London, Drake dreads the recovery time.  His sister Dot comes to visit him quite often as does her friend the mathematician, Margot.  Drake has never met anyone like Margot, who is extremely intelligent and can match wits with Drake on any occasion.  When remnants from his mission in Spain begin to show up in London, Drake knows that he must return to duty to save his country and Margot.

 This was a very entertaining story from the beginning to the last sentence.  Margot became my best friend instantly and we had a great adventure throughout the journey.  Granted, I’m married to an engineer, so maybe math people are my friends.  Even so, the best way that I can describe Margot is like a female Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory.  She fully understands numbers and math but is completely oblivious to social norms.  The romance between her and Drake evolved in its own time and wasn’t forced like so many books attempt.  Everything flowed great and her armor was slowly chipped by Drake until it was worn down and she finally understood what it was to love and be loved.  I also appreciated the author weaving faith into the story and the trials and tribulations that Margot had to go through to become the woman she was meant to be.

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