Knox

KnoxAuthor: Susan May Warren

Series: Montana Marshall

Publisher: Stonewater Books

Release Date: March 12, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Fans of Susan May Warren will not want to miss the beginning of the Montana Marshall series. This is by far the best I have read by her and am aching for the next installment!

After his father died, Knox Marshall knew he must settle down and run the family ranch. His dreams of becoming a professional bull rider put on hold so he can raise champion bulls for the National Professional Bull rider’s Expo. He has a good life on the ranch but starts to wonder if the best has already happened for him until he meets Kelsey Jones. Kelsey has a hard past, her parents were murdered, and she was beaten and left for dead when she was fourteen. Now she puts her past trials into her life as a country singer. No matter how far she goes though she can’t outrun her past to find the safe and secure future for which she longs. When she meets Knox Marshall, everything she has ever known is thrown out the window. With an exploding relationship and more danger around them than either could anticipate, this might be a recipe for disaster or the perfect romance in the making.

Susan May Warren is one of the very best romantic suspense writers on the market. Her Montana Rescue series is still one of my very favorite and as hard as it is for me to say this, I think Knox and the Montana Marshall series might just be even better. I absolutely loved the way she tied in characters from the Montana Rescue series flawlessly into this storyline. I can just see more of those characters popping up in future books in this new series. Tying the two series together in that way could be risky but now with Warren at the helm, she weaved storylines together that other writers wouldn’t dream of being able to make flow. It will be easy for readers to fall for Knox, as well as the other Marshall men, within the first few pages of reading. Knox is everything a cowboy heartthrob should be, and I loved reading about him. The chemistry between him and Kelsey was steaming off the page. Regardless of how much Kelsey wanted to steer clear of any romance, there was no getting past what her heart wanted. Her story line is one of my favorites. I was drawn in by her history and what she went through and how it affected her in the present that everything else flowed and kept me intrigued. I don’t want to spoil the story, but readers will be walking away from this wanting to throw the book at the wall (in a good way) and pacing the hall until they can get their hands on the next in the series. All I can say is if the rest in the series are half as good as the first, readers will have a new favorite author without a doubt. I recommend this book to fans of Susan May Warren and those that may not have read anything by her but love western romantic suspense.

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

Breach of Trust

Breach of trust

Author: Rachel Dylan

Series: Atlanta Justice #3

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: February 5, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Book three of the Atlanta Justice series brings the most powerful and emotional story to date.  Fans of the series will not want to miss this one!

 When Mia Shaw finds her friend and co-worker brutally murdered. everything she has known about the law goes out the window. She wants justice for her friend and vows to do anything in her power to put the murderer behind bars. Working as a lawyer, she knows how the system should work and hopes she can use that to her advantage to help the investigation. The man they arrest says he is innocent and hopes his friend, Noah Ramirez, a security tech expert can help prove it. Mia has to take over at work for the case her friend had been working on and soon learns there might be more to his death than everyone originally thought. Secrets come to light that have her wondering if she stumbled upon corporate espionage and much worse. She turns to Noah for help and even though they have a different opinion on the case. she is still able to trust his judgment and feels safer with him working beside her. Together they must solve the murder case and try to stay alive in the process.

 I have loved the Atlanta Justice series and am very happy to say that the finale does not disappoint. I think Mia might just be my favorite of the characters. Her emotion in this story made everything so much more real. Mia is the kind of character that feels deeply for those she cares about and brings that quality into everything she does using it to help her solve the most dangerous of cases. Noah was more of a grounded character that helped Mia navigate through the mess she finds herself in. The relationship between these characters was written well and I found myself rooting for them. I really love the way Dylan brings in her real-life law experience to make the story points realistic and play out as they should. Fans of romantic suspense will love this finale in the series. I especially loved the twist at the end. I can usually see those kinds of things coming but didn’t see this one and loved the way it worked out. I recommend this to fans of the series but also readers who haven’t had a chance to read any of Dylan’s work yet, this would be a great one to start with. Even though it is the third in the series, it can be read as a stand-alone without missing anything.

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

Low Country Hero

Low Country HeroAuthor: Lee Tobin McClain

Series: Safe Haven #1

Publisher: HQN

Release Date: February 26, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A fun romance with just the right amount of suspense to make for a great read.

Trying to protect her five-year-old twins, Anna George has left her abusive husband and fled to Safe Haven, South Carolina.  All she wants is a safe place to raise her girls and try and figure her life out. As she drives into the town, she finds what she thinks are some abandoned cabins and hopes to stay until she can get on her feet. She quickly discovers that the cabins are being refurbished by a contractor, Sean Dwyer, who catches her staying without permission. He is able to make arrangements with the owner for her to stay on the property and help him with the work. Sean remembers coming to Safe Haven when he was a young boy with his mother and two brothers to escape his abusive father. As soon as they arrived in town, his father found them and left with his mother, leaving the boys behind.  He wants to help Anna and her girls even though Anna is hesitant to ask for help. It doesn’t take long for Sean to fall hard for Anna and the girls, which scares him.  He has never wanted a family and now he seems to have found the one he can’t live without.

For me this wasn’t the typical romance I am used to and I loved it. The story was great, and I particularly enjoyed the way the characters came together at the right pace. They each had their struggles and used those struggles to relate to what the other might be going through. Anna was most concerned about her girls and how they would be affected with everything they were all going through. She isn’t looking for romance and after all she has been through it really is the last thing on her mind. Sean is a rough and tough kind of guy but shows a softer side when interacting with Anna and her girls. This is the first in the series and I for one can’t wait to see what happens next. There are a lot of secondary characters that need more fleshing out and can bring more life into a story already alive and kicking. Readers that enjoy a romance with characters with big hearts will love Low Country Hero.

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

Castle on the Rise

Castle on the Rise

Author: Kristy Cambron

Series: The Lost Castle #2

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: February 5, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Three more stories centered around a new set of castle ruins.  This series is fantastic!

 As Ellie and Quinn’s wedding approaches, Ellie’s friend Laine Forrester travels to France with her daughter Cassie to attend.  Shortly after the wedding, Ellie drops a bombshell concerning her health to Laine and explains that she and Quinn will be traveling to Ireland to visit his estranged family over a personal mater.  She asks if Laine and Cassie will come along because of her experience with antiques.  But Laine has been holding secrets of a failed marriage from Ellie as well.  Quinn’s brother Cormac has become a welcome distraction in Ellie’s life and Cassie has become quite taken with him as well.  Once in Ireland, Laine begins to learn the history behind the family’s pub that has been in business since the late 18th century and all the events that the pub has survived in the past.  When Laine discovers that the family has been left a castle estate, she begins to help catalogue the items left there, including several pianos.  But no one could believe the role this castle has played in the revolution and rebellion throughout Ireland’s history.

 There have been a lot of reviews about the controversy of this book.  First of all, this is a work of fiction.  The author did a great job portraying the time period that each of the stories are set.  The language and phrases used by the characters fit both with the location that the book is set in as well as the time period.  There was some negativity mentioned about alcohol, which is part of the culture of Ireland and the fact the part of the book is set at a pub yields that this is going to be part of the story.  I challenge readers to not get taken in by minutia, but just to enjoy the stories that have been presented to them.

 As far as the stories go, I enjoyed this book more than the first.  Laine’s story is that of a broken woman who has been dealt blow after blow in life.  She needs a strong companion, who has historically been Ellie, but with Ellie’s condition she won’t be able to fully rely on her.  Enter Cormac who is something of a dark horse that finds a way to Laine’s heart.  The companion stories of the 1916 Easter weekend uprising and the 18th century revolution also completed the story of the present in multiple ways.  If I dive to far into these I’m afraid that I’ll start to reveal spoilers, so I encourage you to pick up a copy of this book to find out more!

 The first book centers around Quinn with the second on his brother Cormac, even though neither is the primary character.  Given that this is a trilogy, will the next book be told with their sister Kiera?  I would love to see this story told with a member of their family as the primary character, but I’ll guess I’ll have to wait until next year.

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

The Sky Above US

The Sky Above UsAuthor: Sara Sundin

Series: Sunrise at Normandy #2

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: February 5, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

As the series continues, more is revealed about what happened to change the lives of the Texas brothers.

Burdened by the grief of his past, Lt. Adler Paxton ships off to England as a fighter pilot with his sights set on becoming an ace against the German Luftwaffe.  But the secrets of his past weigh heavily on his mind and have caused him to turn into a hothead in confrontations.  When he learns that he will be a wingman instead of a fighter, he decides to take matters into his own hands, which leaves his partner exposed and frightfully close to being killed.  Realizing that he is on a mission of destruction, Adler turns to God to finally heal his wounds.

Violet Lindstorm has always wanted to be a missionary like her Aunt in Kenya.  To begin her career, she joins up with the American Red Cross to help with the war effort overseas.  Once in England, she becomes the manager of an Aeroclub at a new base.  While there are many challenges, one of the bright spots is the mysterious Lt. Adler Paxton who seems to quickly connect with her, but then draw away just as fast.  Maybe she can help Adler overcome the demons of his family’s past.

I was glad to find out more about the event that started the series in The Sea Before Us.  I was gripped from the beginning in that book and got about one third of the story.  Now in this installment, there is another third that is presented.  So, the whole story is getting closer, but more complications are thrown in that I didn’t know about.  Can’t wait for the next installment to fully understand everything!

As with the first book, this one deals with the main character wrestling demons from the event that split up three brothers.  In both cases, Clay seems to have been betrayed the worst, but his story is not up for telling yet.  Paxton and Violet seem destined to be together, but there are plenty of challenges to keep them apart.  And not just Adler’s past either, though that is a large part of it.  The resounding theme of this book is forgiveness on both main characters.

If you are enjoy historical fiction centered around WWII with a balance of romance, then you need to get this book!

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

Secrets at Cedar Cabin

Secrets

Author: Colleen Coble

Series: Lavender Tides #3

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: January 22, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The third installment of the Lavender Tides series brings the whole family together with the most excitement and best storyline yet!

 Bailey Fleming is at a loss after her mother is murdered and she finds out the man she married has been lying to her from the beginning. When her mother’s murderers come after her, Bailey flees to a remote cabin in Lavender Tides. Once she arrives, she finds out more of her life has been a lie than she knew. The cabin she is staying at has been used for human trafficking, which brings FBI agent Lance Phoenix into her life. Lance has been working the case to try and rescue his sister, Ava, who was snatched after running away from home. When his path crosses with Bailey, he wonders if her story is really as true as she says and if she can somehow bring him in touch with his sister.

 I am sad to see this series come to an end. I have really come to enjoy these characters and the circumstances that brought them all together. In this installment, we finally get to meet Bailey and see what has happened in her life. The events that brought her to end up back In Lavender Tides are very interesting and really bring the series full circle. With her bad marriage at the beginning, it is hard to believe she will fall for anyone very quickly, but then again having a great guy like Lance come along after being burned so bad could be just what she needed. I enjoyed the interactions between the two of them and how they gravitated towards each other in the rough times they were going through.  When Bailey finds out who she really is and that she has family she can lean on in the hard times, I was really touched by the way that played out. Going from thinking you are alone to finding out you have a family in the middle of an emotional turmoil was a great scene. I would recommend reading the first two in the series before beginning this one to get the backstory of all the characters and what is happening in their lives to bring them all to the point they find themselves in during this book. Readers will be pleased with how all the loose ends from the entire series will be tied up by the last page.

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

Pretty in Punxsutawney

Pretty in Punxsatawney_RD3Author: Laurie Boyle Crompton

Publisher: Blink YA Books

Release Date: January 15, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A great coming of age story that shows how important it is to not judge a book by its cover and find what’s beneath the surface.

Andie loves movies more than most anybody she knows. When she moves to Punxsutawney with her family right before the start of her senior year in high school, she gets caught in her very own version of Groundhog Day. Being the new kid in school is hard enough but having to live the first day at a new school over and over again is even worse. Andie gets stuck in a time loop reliving the first day of school with only her realizing the day is repeating. After watching Pretty in Pink and other classic teen romances, she becomes convinced she needs to meet her true love and get a kiss to break the curse. Each day she tries to infiltrate a new clique and finds the best in each of them she never would have seen or known otherwise. With each passing day, she learns more about her new friends but also loses hope she will end the time loop and be able to continue with her life.

Confession time, I have seen neither of the main movies it talks about here: Groundhog Day or Pretty in Pink. Even so, I knew what the stories are about and was able follow along without a problem. This was a very cute story that has a lot of heart to it. I loved the way Andie used each new day as a way to learn something and bring all that together in the end to help solve her problem instead of getting discouraged to the point she gave up altogether.  Even though I found certain parts of it predictable, it didn’t take away from making me want to keep turning the pages to find out what was going to happen. Andie’s relationship with her parents played out well, the more she continued in the time loop the more worried they became with her behavior and with good reason. I enjoyed the fact that this is a YA read that is clean and not anything I would have concern letting my children read. I recommend this book to young readers that want a fun romance with heart, and maybe even older readers looking for a little nostalgia.

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