Dead End

Dead endAuthor: Nancy Mehl

Series: Kaely Quinn Profiler #3

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: March 31, 2020

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Kaely Quinn is back in her most heart pounding case yet as Nancy Mehl delivers the third installment in the series!

Kaely Quinn thought she had left her past behind her. After changing her name to get away from her father, a famous serial killer, she joined the FBI to stop predators like him. But when a body is discovered in a field near the town she grew up in and then more bodies are unearthed dating back to the time he killed with his same MO, she is brought in to see if she can get information from her father on who he is working with. Kaely doesn’t know if she is ready to face her father and she hasn’t spoken to him since he was arrested and put in jail. The more Kaely pursues this new killer, the more she feels she is losing her own identity. With each new clue that turns up, Kaely feels more involved in the case and more afraid for her own life. Will she be able to solve the case before anyone else dies? Or is she the killer’s next victim?

If you have read any of this series, you know you are in for a real treat. There is action, suspense, drama, and a sprinkling of romance at just the right moments. I love the relationship Kaely has with Noah and the way her relationship with her father is portrayed. Both those relationships are so very different but so vital in shaping how she approaches life and what she is dealt. I have been waiting since the first book in the series to meet, Ed Oliphant, the notorious Raggedy Man serial killer. Nancy Mehl sure did deliver with these interactions. Even though they were few and we didn’t get to see much of Ed, it was just the right amount along with his interactions with Kaely made for such good story telling.

Throughout this book I felt I was really able to connect with Kaely as a character and understand her more. There was such a good character arc for everyone in this story; the way it played out in the final few chapters were executed so well. Readers will feel it is a very satisfying conclusion to the series, even if we might want more of the story was tied up nicely. It’s one of those fine lines an author must walk of continuing on with the characters or leaving the reader wanting just a little bit more. There easily could have been more but at what cost? Would we have loved the story or tired of the characters? Ending here is the perfect place to leave readers enjoying these characters and the adventures they went on. Even though this can be read as a standalone, I would recommend reading the series from start to finish to get a feel for the story and characters. Readers that enjoy a good mystery with characters full of flaws and looking for what matters most in life will not want to miss this one.

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

Fire Storm

Fire stormAuthor: Nancy Mehl

Series: Kaely Quinn Profiler #2

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: August 6, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The second book in the Kaely Quinn Profiler series is one of the best I have read in a very long time! By far the best by Nancy Mehl!

Kaely Quinn has put her heart and soul into her work as an FBI profiler and left little time for anything else, including family. When her brother calls to tell her their mother has been diagnosed with cancer and he needs help taking care of her, she agrees to put aside their differences and try to come salvage the relationship with her mother. As she heads to Dark Water, Nebraska, Kaely thinks about the emotional distance between her and the rest of her family. She tried to put as much space as she could between everyone related to her after her dad was arrested as a serial killer and sent to prison. Since then, she has tried to show she is nothing like him, even changing her name to distance herself. Dark Water has been dealing with a string of fires that the fire chief claims is a misuse of space heaters during the cold winter, but Kaely feels otherwise as she studies the pattern of infernos. After her arrival and another fire, she is determined they have a serial arsonist in their town but unraveling who is behind it all might just prove to be too hot to handle for Kaely Quinn.

It has been some time since I have read the first book in this series, but I remember loving Kaely and wanted to see what she was up to in Fire Storm. This book is by far the best I have read by Nancy Mehl. The characters have more heart and are easy to relate to, which pulled me in and wouldn’t let go, even after the last page is turned. I loved the way she played the dynamic between Kaely and her family. Each member of the family has their own demons they are struggling with and they inevitably take it out on each other. The tension when Kaely is in the room with her mother or brother is so tight, I felt a little uncomfortable at times, which was fantastic. The writing really brought these feelings out in me and I applaud Mehl on her use of family dysfunction to move the story along.

There were lots of points throughout the story that readers will think they know who is behind the fires but then on the next page they will question their theories, which makes this read so much fun. Kaely’s dynamic with her partner Noah is another aspect of the story I think readers will really enjoy. The slow build and tension between the two of them played out beautifully. As good as Fire Storm is, I am anxious to see how the third book in the series, Dead End, holds up. I recommend this book to readers that enjoy a good romantic suspense book with enough suspense to keep them on the edge of their seat and up reading far past their bedtime

Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish

Hadley BeckettAuthor: Bethany Turner

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: May 5, 2020

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Turner pulls off yet another Hallmark Movie story that her readers will love!

Hadley Beckett, famous TV chef, has a horrific experience facing rude, drunk, chauvinistic chef, Max Cavanaugh. Hadley’s popularity skyrockets as Max enters rehab for anger management. A world class agent wants to represent Hadley, promising to fulfill her dreams of cooking in a spectacular kitchen at her home in Nashville. One day, Chef Max shows up on Hadley’s doorstep humbled and apologizing. This begins a tumultuous relationship between the two chefs. Hadley and Max are cast together in a biographical TV show that is coveted by top chefs. The two must weather forming a friendship while learning about each other and moving past their challenging history.

I thought this story was a nice read. The beginning did not automatically draw me in but I’m glad I continued reading. The character development is well written. The plot is interesting and not all sunshine and rainbows but has a lovely happy ending. I found myself cheering for Hadley and Max in the end. I recommend this book to readers that enjoy contemporary romances that are a little cheesy and make them smile as they read.

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

Standoff

standoffAuthor: Patricia Bradley

Series: Natchez Trace Park Rangers #1

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: May 5, 2020

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Patricia Bradley knocks it out of the park with the first installment of her new series! Twist and turns, romance, action and suspense galore keep readers glued to the edge of their seat until the very last page.

Brooke Danvers is ready to join her father and become a Natchez Trace park ranger. On the night he is supposed to let her go for a ride along to start her training, he cancels on her and then his dead body is found. It is ruled a suicide, something Brooke refuses to believe and uses her first days on the job trying to prove her father would never kill himself. Luke Fereday is one of the only people in town to believe her and wants to help prove her case. Working with Luke isn’t going to be easy. She hasn’t seen him in years, and the last time she did, he broke her heart. Luke is working undercover trying to take down a large drug ring in town and keeping his secret is going to be harder than ever as he grows closer to Brooke. Trying to keep his distance without hurting her is going to be difficult as his feelings for her continue to grow.

Standoff was a perfect start to this new series. I loved Brooke and Luke as the main characters. The little mysteries throughout of who was behind the murders played out so great and kept me intrigued all the way through. Luke was a complicated character, but he had a lot of heart and I enjoyed seeing him open up and grow closer to Brooke. Starting her job with the death of her father hanging over her and then transitioning to her life being in danger with the investigation will keep readers flying through the pages to find out what is going to happen. The history that Brooke and Luke have helps move the story along as well as their relationship. There was plenty of suspense and the romance moved smoothly except for the end, which, to me, just felt too rushed. That is the only drawback I have with this story. That said, I enjoyed the story very much, but wish the ending would have played out a little smoother. I will be curious to see how the next in the series will play out using some of the minor characters in this book.

I recommend this book to readers that enjoy romantic suspense and characters they can relate to and feel a deep connection to. Since this is the start of a new series, it is the perfect time for readers new to Patricia Bradley to jump on board and find a great new author.

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

On a Coastal Breeze

on a coastal breezeAuthor: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Series: Three Sisters Island #2

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: May 5, 2020

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A great story to show that anyone can change!

Maddie Grayson is finally starting up her own counseling practice on Three Sisters Island. She leases space in a building that shares space for the local church office. The island has been looking for a new pastor for quite some time and one finally agreed to come parish the small island off the coast of Maine. On the opening day of her practice, Maddie hears a commotion and discovers that the new pastor is parachuting into town. This doesn’t surprise her as much as when she learns that the new pastor is someone who she went to school with from kindergarten to graduation named Ricky O’Shea. Ricky tormented Maddie throughout her entire school life and she thought she was rid of him for good. But what is he doing as a pastor now? Can Maddie accept him to be the man he is today instead of the boy he was?

The second book in the Three Sisters Island picks up pretty much where the first left off. Cam and Seth are engaged, but a project to get the island on reliable renewable energy has taken Cam’s attention away and causing some problems. Blaine is back home from culinary school and facing challenges in her life and with her palette. Maddie is getting her practice going and having sessions with some of the islands characters.

The story is mostly centered on Maddie, although all three sisters experience growth of some sort. Maddie had to overcome past hard feelings about Rick and many of the experiences she had at his hands are relived at the end of several chapters. But what made Rick decide to join the marines and become the man he is today just might surprise some of the readers. I also enjoyed Maddie’s therapy sessions with her sisters and her clients. It made each of the characters come to life. The next book is set to be Blaine’s story as she travels across Europe and I can’t wait to help her find herself.

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

Airborne

airborneAuthor: DiAnn Mills

Publisher: Tyndale House

Release Date: April 28, 2020

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A timely novel about a virus outbreak on a plane that threatens the lives of all aboard and puts the country on the edge of a terrorism outbreak. DiAnn Mills has outdone herself in her latest novel that readers will not want to miss!

FBI Agent Heather Lawrence has needed a vacation for a long time and when her marriage falls apart, she decides to take the vacation they never did. Only a few hours into her flight, she is awakened by a scream for help. Passengers begin showing signs of an unknown infection that spreads quickly and proves to be deadly. By the time the flight lands in New York, the passengers are quarantined at either a hospital for the sick or a secure facility for the ones showing no symptoms. Even though Heather and her husband are separated, she hasn’t wanted to tell him she is pregnant after he left her and said he never wanted to be a father since it would interfere with his medical aspirations. Dr. Chad Lawrence has tried his hardest to put everything he has into finding cures for horrific illnesses and now finds himself the prime suspect in this attack. Heather must decide if Chad is capable of something like this or if the man she married could really have changed so much and put her life in danger along with so many others. Time is not on her side as she searches to find the killer before anyone else falls ill.

DiAnn Mills has outdone herself. Airborne is by far the best book Mills has written and one of the very best I have read all year. It has been an incredibly long time since I have been sucked into the pages of a book unable to put it down until the final pages were finished. The first third of the book flew by as fast as if I were on the plane myself flying across the country. The middle took a little longer but only because I was concentrating so hard to figure out who the villain was. The research for this book shows on every page and the best part about it all is the fact that it isn’t boring. Detailed subject matter such as this it can get to be over the head of many readers with the small points that would turn it into a science class causing readers eyes would glaze over. Not here! DiAnn Mills kept me glued to the story with a vested interest in each of the characters, even the ones that didn’t have a lot of time in the story. I haven’t been so enthralled in a story in a very long time and love the way this one played out. I hate to even classify this one as romantic suspense because the romance played such a small part; this doesn’t need a classification in a genre, it is just a GOOD book to read and enjoy. Good luck to all other authors beating this one for my best of the year. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a great read that will keep them on the edge of their seat and satisfied as the last page turns.

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

Starfish Pier

starfishAuthor: Irene Hannon

Series: Hope Harbor #6

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: March 31, 2020

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Another wonderfully written Hope Harbor edition with our favorite characters and more you can’t help but fall in love with!

After moving to Hope Harbor a year ago to reconnect with his brother, Steven Roark left his past as a Delta Force operator and is working as a charter fishing boat captain. During this year, his relationship with his brother hasn’t improved but he has hope that will change. Parts of his past still haunt him and the more he tries to put it behind him the more he finds himself coming face to face with his demons, especially when he runs into first-grade teacher Holly Miller. Holly is trying to help with a fundraiser for the town and asks Steven to donate a fishing expedition. It doesn’t take long for the two of them to feel the sparks for each other and no matter how much they try to deny it, the feelings are real. A problem arises when their pasts come to light and Holly doesn’t know if she can accept some of the decisions Steven has made and let her feelings for him progress.

Hope Harbor is one of the best contemporary Romance series I have read, evident in the fact there are six books in the series so far and each one seems to be better than the previous. I think my favorite thing about the series is Charley and his taco truck. I can’t see any reader not liking Charley. Each new book in the series brings a new set of main characters but also has some of our favorites as secondary characters. Holly and Steven have an interesting dynamic; at first glance you wouldn’t think they would be a good fit, but the longer the story goes it is hard to not see them ending up together. Steven starts out incredibly rough but as the story progresses, we get to see a lighter side to him. He has made mistakes, but he owns up to them and shows that a person can change if they have the right motivation and rely on a higher power for help. Holly has a rough past as well, with her medical issues and trying to convince everyone that she can take care of herself, she has her plate full and isn’t sure how much more she can take from others. It’s a back and forth dialogue between the two and I found the way their relationship was written very satisfying. Even though this is the sixth in the series it could be read by as a standalone. The reader might miss a few things from the previous books that would cause a smile. That being said, I do recommend reading the whole series to get the most enjoyment out of it.

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

Flight Risk

flight riskAuthor: Cara Putman

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: April 7, 2020

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

With sharp characters and a story within the story, Flight Risk is a perfect blend of excitement, adventure, romance and suspense.

Savannah Daniels has had her share of troubles in the past. Her ex-husband left her after going off to war and when he came back, he had a baby with her sister who struggles with substance abuse. Being there for her niece is one of the most important things in her life right now, along with building her law practice. Finding love is one of the last things on her mind, especially after her ex-husband is in an accident and winds up dead.

Jett Glover is a reporter who has been working all his life to get over finding his father dead of suicide by reporting the truth. When he comes across the story of his career, he can’t pass it up and spends months doing research to make sure he comes to the right conclusion. His story is an expose that features a celebrity baseball player and a group of men involved in sex-trafficking; one of the men happens to be Savannah Daniel’s ex-husband. When Jett releases his story, it leads to a chain reaction of events, an airline crashes, the men connected to the sex-trafficking start to mysteriously die, and Savannah’s new clients are implicated in the crash. Together Jett and Savannah work to figure out what is fact and what is fiction with his story and all they have been told before one or both of them wind up dead.

Cara Putman is fantastic at writing romantic suspense. Her main characters as lawyers are totally relatable and easy to cheer for. I particularly enjoyed Savannah and her relationship with her family, it was messy but so real. Even though she doesn’t want reminders of her failed marriage, she also wants nothing more than to be there for her niece who is a shining jewel to her in the chaos of her life. She realizes her sister isn’t the greatest mother, and no matter how much she has tried to help, Savannah realizes she can’t make her sister change if she doesn’t want to. The only thing she can do is be there for her niece and make sure she feels loved. Jett could have been a difficult character to relate to but Putman writes him in a way that even when it is shown that he made a mistake, he tries so hard to make it right you can’t help but cheer him on in the process. Almost every aspect of the story is well thought out and written perfectly except for a few scenes that had me scratching my head by the end of the book as to why they were necessary. I don’t want to say too much about them and give anything away. If you take those out of the equation there is nothing at all for me to complain about. I would recommend this to fans of legal thrillers with a hint of romance, fans of Putman’s previous work will thoroughly enjoy Flight Risk.

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

Silent Shadows

silent shadowsAuthor: Natalie Walters

Series: Harbored Secrets #3

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: March 31, 2020

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A story with a lot of heart, suspense and relationships that demands the reader’s attention and love. Such a great combination!

Pecca Gallegos moved to Walton, Georgia to start a new life with her son and try to escape his father and his gang. She has worked hard to become a nurse at a Home for Heroes and loves her work and the community she has found in the small town. Her newest patient, Captain Colton Crawford, comes with a disorder that hasn’t been diagnosed yet and is making it hard for him to function and find a purpose for his life. At first, they clash but it doesn’t take long for Colton to find a connection with Pecca’s son who had to have a leg amputated when he was a baby and just wants to be able to play sports like the other kids his age. The more time he spends with the two of them, the more Colton’s heart aches to be able to find love and have a family. But the life Pecca left behind comes back and puts their lives in danger. Colton wants to protect them but is afraid he won’t be able to with his disability. With each passing day, the danger becomes greater and their feelings for each other grow stronger. Will he be able to help them or put them in more danger?

The heart of this story is Pecca and her relationship with her son; that is what drew me in and kept me going. There are so many more great aspects that will keep the reader turning the page as well. Pecca’s number one goal is to keep her boy safe, and that has been hard with the hand she has been dealt since before he was born. I love the fact that even though she has been through a lot of hardships, she never once tries to throw herself a pity party; instead she focuses her energy on helping others which helps lift her own spirits as well. Colton on the other hand has no faith that his life can turn around and almost gives up trying. It will be easy for readers to find someone in this book to relate to, whether it be Pecca, Colton or even one of the other minor characters throughout. I will say I didn’t see the twist coming towards the end and loved how that played out. This is the third book in the series and readers will enjoy the addition to the series or even as a stand-alone. The romance plays out as well as the suspense in this book and that is a hard dynamic to pull off, but Walters was able to do that here. I would call this her best book yet. I recommend this to readers that enjoy a good, clean romantic suspense read with lots of heart.

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

Beach Haven

beach havenAuthor: T.I. Lowe

Series; The Carolina Coast #1

Publisher: Tyndale House

Release Date: April 7, 2020

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A great quarantine read for all of us staying home who need a world to escape to right now!

Opal Gilbert has always been a free spirit and loves her life in Sunset Cove running her store selling vintage furniture. As her store grows, she needs help with deliveries and hires Lincoln Cole, an ex-marine who is new to town trying to recover from wounds both physical and emotional. At first, he doesn’t want the job, but it doesn’t take long for him to come around after a hurricane strikes causing damage to Opal’s shop. Lincoln decides to help her restore the shop and the furniture. As he is trying to help restore the shop, Opal is trying to help restore Lincoln and all that he is dealing with. Even though Lincoln doesn’t want to admit it, his wounds are healing the more time he spends around Opal. He knows that if he wants to pursue any kind of future with her, he will have to step out in faith and repair some of the damage on his own.

With extra time on our hands, I decided to pick this one up and was pleased with the fun, entertaining read it was. I finished this in two days, could have been one if I had pushed it. Beach Haven is a fun start to a new series that I foresee being an enjoyment for readers that love a book they can pick up and escape into for a few hours. There is nothing in this book that is too heavy or extra that would take readers extra time to push through. Opal and Lincoln have a relationship that can be hard to understand at first, but the more time they spend together the more the reader will want to see them grow closer. I particularly enjoyed the way Lowe brought things to a conclusion; I don’t want to give anything away but the last several chapters were my favorites. Lincoln is a hard man to get along with and doesn’t want to allow anyone to get close to him. Once you learn a little of his back story, it is easy to see why he feels the way he does. This was a fun easy read for me and I am sure many will enjoy as well. I recommend this to readers that enjoy a clean, contemporary romance that will pass the time and put a smile on your face.

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