Provenance

Author: Carla Laureano

Publisher: Tyndale House

Release Date: August 3, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Such a fun redemption story set in the high altitude of Colorado.

Kendall Green is an interior designer with a specialty in historic preservation who is in high demand for her work.  However, most people don’t know her past; she was abandoned in Denver as a little girl and shuffled through the foster care system.  Once she aged out of the system, she chose a path and never looked back.  Returning from a business trip in Europe, she opens a letter addressed from the town of Jasper Lake, Colorado.  Her grandmother passed away and she has been named the sole heir of her property.  Surprised that she had a family member who knew who she was, yet overjoyed this could be just what she needs to finally purchase her Southern California property and take her business to the next level.

Upon arrival in Jasper Lake, Kendall meets young mayor Gabe Brandt.  She discovers that the town is close to ruin due to previous flooding disasters and a developer wants to build a new resort but needs her property for the lake front access.  Gabe wants to try to save the town without the resort and has tried multiple ways, but nothing has worked.  He hopes that he can sway Kendall to keep the property so that the resort plans cannot move forward.  However, she has no interest in doing that until she sees the five historic houses on the lot.  Will Gabe be able to convince Kendall to help save the town?  Can Kendall stomach the demolition of such unique houses even if it saves her business?

There is nothing quite like a fun, contemporary romance with lots of friction between the two main characters and even more tension surrounding them.  Throw in a redemption story aspect and you’ve got yourself a signature Carla Laureano novel.  I loved going back to Colorado in this series with a nod to the Solid Grounds Coffee Company (be sure to give a shout out when you spot it).  I was kind of hoping for Brunch at Bittersweet Café one day, but maybe it will show up in the future.

Kendall was a difficult character to get to know.  She shuts everyone out (even the reader at times) with her feelings because she has been hurt so badly in the past.  She has no memory of what happened and has felt abandoned all her life.  Interestingly enough, she finds it easier to confide in Gabe about her past and tells him more than anyone else she has met.  I loved seeing her transformation throughout the story and discovering the power of being an adopted child of God. 

Gabe is a fixer and wants to have a hand in solving every problem he encounters.  He has difficulty sitting back and letting other people figure things out, even God.  So, to see him become humble in this book was really intriguing.  I loved the supporting characters and hope that there might be a couple future installments with their stories (fingers crossed!) 

The romance wasn’t forced in the story, and frankly I got a little worried if it was even going to play out, but I think readers will be quite satisfied with the conclusion! I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Hostile Intent

Author: Lynette Eason

Series: Danger Never Sleeps #4

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: August 3, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Another fantastic installment in the Danger Never Sleeps series! Lynette Eason has done it again with Hostile Intent; her writing puts her on a whole new level with this series. No better time for readers to discover one of the very best in romantic suspense!

After entering the Navy shortly after high school, Ava Jackson has spent several years honing her skills, but finds herself having to take an early discharge when her mother falls ill and needs her. Her father is gone after disappearing while deployed. Ava spends as much time as she can at the care facility with her mother, refusing to let her die alone. One night after a visit, Ava is attacked in the parking lot. Her friend and FBI agent, Caden Denning, shows up just in time to fight of her attacker and save Ava. After a little research, they discover that Ava is tied up without her knowledge in the murders of three families. This killer has a plan with Ava is at the center of it and nothing is as it seems.

Just when you think Lynette Eason can’t get any better, she comes along with a new book that blows the others away. Hostile Intent is her newest and best yet. I loved Ava and her relationship with Caden, they made the perfect couple for a great romantic suspense read. I was recently asked what point in a book gets me; the answer was the moment my heart rate goes up a few notches. That happened at several moments throughout this book. I will say I figured out one of the twists before it was revealed, but not in a way that made the book any less enjoyable, it played out in a really great way. The last third of the book was on fire, I couldn’t put it down until I knew what was going to happen to the characters I was so invested in.

Honestly, I have nothing negative to say about this book. I was taken in by the characters and the trouble they faced and felt a deep connection to them as they battled the odds to come out in the end having survived all they faced. What makes a great romantic suspense for me is the connection, if I can connect with the characters, I care more about the story than the other way around. This series found a way to connect me with each of the individual characters in the troubles they faced and want to find out more about them and what they were going through. I recommend this book to fans of Eason and lovers of romantic suspense. Even though this is the fourth in a series It could be read and enjoyed as a standalone. I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

The Chase

Author: Lisa Harris

Series: US Marshals #2

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: July 6, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The second book in the US Marshals book picks up right where the first left off with all the action, drama, suspense and romance a book lover could ask for!

After being shot three months ago, US Marshal Madison James still doesn’t remember who shot her; the one thing she does know is it is time for her to get back to work. Her partner, Jonas Quinn doesn’t want to push Madison on her first day back but when they’re assigned serve a federal warrant to a man connected to several bank robberies. Together they end up at a bank robbery in progress where nothing is going as planned. The bank robbers are all about the thrill and not just the money. When they back the robbers into a corner, all their plans start to spin out making them even more dangerous and making it the most perilous case they have worked together.

 The US Marshals books are by far my favorite by Lisa Harris. I loved the first in the series and the second was just as good. The Chase follows the same main characters, Madison and Jonas, whereas a lot of romantic suspense books will change main characters with each new book in a series this one gives us more of the same, a fact I greatly enjoyed. We really get to see some great character development and depth for Madison and Jonas. There is a lot going on with Madison and the mystery of who killed her husband and why are they still taunting her that helps drive the story and made me have a deeper connection with her as a character. I really enjoy these books because they are fast paced, engaging, great tension and Harris has got me invested in the characters. By keeping the same main characters instead of having new ones with each new book, I am much more involved and determined to see how they pull through the troubles they encounter. There is so much more to develop with them and much more story to tell, I really hope this series goes on for several more books. I recommend this book to those that love a great romantic suspense, but I do recommend reading The Escape first and then diving into The Chase.

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

Breach of Honor

Author: Janice Cantore

Publisher: Tyndale House

Release Date: July 6, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A fantastic police procedural that had me hooked from page one with fantastic character connections and an adrenaline laced story!

Oregon Police officer Leah Radcliff spends every day trying to help others when she is the one that really needs help from Brad, her abusive husband. Even though she has helped countless victims of abuse, she has a hard time believing she is a victim. Brad is a fellow officer and a decorated hero; his family is a staple in town and wields a lot of influence causing Leah to keep her abuse to herself. One night though things go too far and ends up with deadly consequences. Leah has all public opinion against her and is convicted of murdering her husband. Officer Clint Tanner is one of the only ones who believes she acted in self-defense. He works with Leah’s attorney to bring to light the darker side of Brad and others in the department to save Leah.

It has been a long time since I have had a new Janice Cantore novel and I had forgotten how much I enjoy her writing. These books are so well crafted with authentic storylines and characters that are so easy to follow and connect with. Cantore’s time as an officer brings her writing to a higher level than most other authors I have read. I connected with Leah right away, something about the way she was written resonated with me, she had so many struggles, yet she refused to give up. She is a strong female protagonist with a great story. Many of the secondary characters were great too; Nora had a real impact on moving the story along, and Vicki, only in there for a little bit still brought great tension at just the right moments.

The romance aspect of the book played out perfectly for me. Sometimes in a romantic suspense novel, the romance can overshadow the suspense and take me out of the story; here though, there was so much tension I couldn’t do anything else but keep turning the pages to see what was going to happen. A lot happens throughout this book but all of it provides substance to the story and left me wanting more. I don’t know if there will be more coming from these characters, but if there is, you can bet I will be checking it out. I recommend this book to lovers of police procedurals and romantic suspense; you won’t be disappointed.

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

Along a Storied Trail

Author: Ann H. Gabhart

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: June 1, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Gabhart crafts a beautifully written tale set in the Appalachian Mountains with characters that tug at the heartstrings.

Tansy Calhoun feels like love will never find her after being left by the man she thought she was going to marry. She spends her time as a librarian, taking books up the rough trails on horseback to others in the area that otherwise wouldn’t have anything to read. The Great Depression is in full swing and her family works together to survive the hard times. Tansy has given up hope of finding love until a young writer comes to town and she believes she might have found her perfect man. Perdita Sweet is a lot like Tansy, love has not been a friend to her, and she eventually stopped trying. Now, she sees a love blooming for Tansy but fears no one will listen to her advice.

Set in the time of the Great Depression when many were struggling financially and had so many problems, Gabhart weaves a beautiful tale of love, longing to belong and so much more. For fans of historical romance this book will hit all the right buttons. A fun read about horseback librarians, something I had never heard of but makes total sense, a way to get literature to those who would otherwise have none. The main focus of this story is love but in so many ways, love of family, finding love for yourself, loving where you are at and what you can do for those around you, love, love, love. While historical romance is not my normal read, I enjoyed the themes and characters. Tansy is a great protagonist as the horseback librarian, ones I think others will relate to and enjoy reading. Fans of Gabhart and historical romance 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.

A Lady in Attendance

Author: Rachel Fordham

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: June 1, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Such a great historical fiction story that had me laughing as much as researching!

After serving a five-year sentence in the House of Refuge in Hudson, New York, Hazel is released with little hope of finding a decent job as she believes no one will trust her.  She uses an alias to find employment and lands a job as a lady in attendance for a dentist, Dr. Gilbert Watt.  As she begins to work with Dr. Watt, she begins to trust again and finds a friendship that may be able to heal her soul and mend any past transgressions.

There is nothing better when you read a historical fiction novel that makes you research the accuracy of the story.  This holds so true for Rachel Fordham and this book.  From the prologue set in the House of Refuge, which was actually the second prison for women in the United States, to the job duties of a lady in attendance for dentistry at the time.  I learned so much through this book that I had to go back and reread parts just to make sure I fully understood what was going on.  In addition to the historical accuracy, I couldn’t have loved seeing two characters thrown together more than Hazel and Gilbert.  Their banter was priceless throughout the book.  The humor was spot on and I even laughed out loud at a book I thought I wouldn’t even crack a smile in.  Great job!

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

Power Play

Author: Rachel Dylan

Series: Capital Intrigue #3

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: June 1, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The third installment in the Capital Intrigue book is the best in the series with more action, danger, and romance at all the right swoon-worthy moments.

While at a diplomatic dinner, State Department attorney Vivian Steele watches as two ambassadors collapse, and it is soon speculated that poison is involved. She is quickly recruited into a joint FBI task force to investigate what really happened. Together with Diplomatic Security Service agent Jacob Cruz, they must figure out who is behind the attack, if anyone else is being targeted, and who can be trusted. Viv works with her sources and Jacob uses his skills as a former Navy SEAL to find the truth and stay alive as the danger comes closer and their working relationship becomes complicated by their growing feelings for one another.

I’m going to start with the only bad thing I have to say about this book, it is the last in the series and I don’t want this series to end! Each book has brought more drama, suspense, romance, tension, and characters that I have fallen in love with. This one really had a way of making me extra invested in the characters and what was going to happen. So much tension builds with each chapter that it kept me glued to my seat turning the pages as fast as possible. I love it when a novel gets me so engrossed, I forget about everything else going on around me. One thing I loved was the fact that Viv was a twin and Dylan really showed that relationship and how important it is. Each of the main characters from the previous books show up as secondary characters, so readers get a chance to see how their stories are continuing to progress which is nice. I recommend this book and series to anyone who likes romantic suspense with a great storyline that is fast paced and a good clean read.

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

On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor

Author: Jamie Jo Wright

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: June 1, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Jaime Jo Wright does it again!! I could not put this book down. Such a fantastic back and forth story that will grab your attention at the very beginning and make you feel like you are on the edge of the cliffs.

In 1885, Adria Fontaine is on a mission to retrieve what her father has pirated and return it to him. She must go to Foxglove Manor, a house on the cliff overlooking Lake Superior. This mission is the only way to keep her father from putting her into an institution and Adria is determined to find the treasure. Standing in her way is the mistress of Foxglove, a cruel old woman with more secrets and danger than Adria left behind at home. In present time, Kailey Gibson finds herself and her autistic brother at Foxglove, which has been turned into a senior home, as the new nurse’s aide. When she was younger, her family took a vacation to Foxglove when it was a rental and shortly after she was kidnapped for a day and returned home safely. She has repressed memories of this time but is hoping returning to Foxglove will help her figure out what really happened. To get to the truth, she is going to have to uncover deep, hidden secrets the manor doesn’t want exposed to the world.

Anyone that has ever read a Jaime Jo Wright book knows that you are going to have to set aside a good chunk of time to read and not be bothered. These are the types of books you want to read and never put down. I devoured this book as there is so much good within the pages. Not only am I floored by the way she takes two different timelines and weaves the stories together flawlessly, but each story also holds my interest equally. Some writers focus more energy on only one of the timelines, causing the other to be more dull, but not Wright!. Each of the characters, no matter if they were minor or not, had me vested in their story and wanting to see it turnout for the best. Jaime Jo Wright is fast becoming one of my favorite authors and keeps me aching for more stories and worlds to lose myself in. I recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a beautifully crafted mystery with lots of depth to it and has a lot of time to set aside to devote to the story.

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

Come Back to Me

Author: Jody Hedlund

Series: Waters of Time #1

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: June 1, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A fun twist to a time slip with some time travel!

When Marian Creighton receives a phone call from one of her father’s colleague’s in Canterbury telling her that he has fallen into a coma, she hops on the first flight across the pond to find out what is wrong.  Her family has been a mess since her mother had a rare genetic disease that was fatal and was passed along to her sister.  She quickly discovers that this may be connected to his lunacy in searching for a single cure for all diseases.  As she begins to uncover his research, she discovers he has some artifacts that are tied to holy water stored centuries ago.  She also finds that she is not the only one looking for items that he left hidden.  When Marian ingest some of the residue from the artifact, she finds herself transported back to the middle ages, during a very inconvenient time to be without protection.  Can she find her way back to the present?  And will she want to?

For my first Jody Hedlund novel, this was quite a ride.  I’ve read several time slip novels, but none that have the same character split centuries apart.   It was a little bit romance, a little bit time travel, and a little bit time slip, but it was quite entertaining.  For those that enjoy the unlikely romance aspect in a novel, this one is for you.  And if you enjoy a little bit of high stress situations with some suspense, this will fall into your favorites as well.  Hedlund did a great job of both character development and world building.  It makes me look forward to what is going to happen in the second book of the series!

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

Don’t Hate the Player

Author: Alexis Nedo

Publisher: Bloomsbury YA

Release Date: June 15, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A fun read for all the video game fanatics out there.

Emilia Romero likes to be an ordinary kid, playing field hockey and keeping up with her grades. The problem is she is not normal; when she gets home, she turns on her persona of a hard-core gamer and competes as the only female member of a highly competitive esports team. While it is hard to keep her two lives separate, she feels it is the best way to stay safe since female gamers are not highly accepted and often harassed. When Emilia goes to compete in the tournament, her two worlds collide when she is recognized by a member of their rival team. Jake Hooper has wanted to be with Emilia for years and now that his team has made it to the tournament he is shocked to see her and find out she has been leading a double life with no one knowing of her gaming life. They both work to help their teams win the tournament but also keep others from finding out about her secret.

This book is perfect for gamers and those into that world. If you are not a big gamer, this will be a hard one to keep your interest. The characters and their relationships are written well giving us a drive to see them succeed with the goals they have set throughout. Setting a lead character of a girl gamer is different and unique right now and will really hit a spot with a select group of readers. I enjoyed the way this showed the problems that girl gamers face, just like so many facets of life, females will face lots of challenges when it comes to a more male dominated area. Many of the secondary characters got on my nerves at times and I had to brush past them to try and enjoy the rest of the story. I enjoy finding different types of books that are not the same old same old that tend to be the most picked up and read. I would recommend this to young readers that enjoy video games and that lifestyle.