What Hope Remembers

What hope remembersAuthor: Johnnie Alexander

Series: Misty Willow #3

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: May 2, 2017

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The third installment in the Misty Willow books brings the heat and is a pleasant addition to the charming series.

Gabe Kendall has decided to try and make a fresh start at his aunt’s horse ranch. Having just been released from prison, he is skeptical of being found trustworthy anywhere he goes.  As he goes for a ride one day, he bumps into a face from the past, Amy Somers.  He has been in love with her since he was a teenager, but fell out of contact for many years.  He doesn’t think she will ever want to be with him after finding out about his past.  The thing Gabe doesn’t know is that Amy has a past and secrets of her own, some she isn’t proud of either.  Can these two let go of what has been holding them back and find a way to move forward?  Or are they going to be stuck in their own self-made prisons?

What Hope Remembers is a nice addition to the Misty Willow books.  The nice thing is you don’t have to read them all to enjoy each one individually.  It has been a while since I read the previous in the series and didn’t remember a whole lot going into this one, but that didn’t keep me from connecting with the characters and enjoying the story.  I did think that both Gabe and Amy were a little too hard on themselves at times.  Yes, they made mistakes, and yes, they had things in the past neither was proud of, but that was all they seemed to think about for most of the book.  The last quarter of the book was the best, the suspense kicked in and made the pages fly.  I think fans of the series, and the author, will really enjoy this one.

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

Local Poet

Local PoetAuthor: Paul Trembling

Publisher: Lion Fiction

Release Date: October 21, 2016

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

He killed her, but who was she?

One day Rob Seaton is minding his own business driving his delivery van around London, when suddenly a young lady steps out in front of his van and he has no choice but to run into her, which kills her. It turns out her name is Laney Grey and she is a local poet known and loved by many.  It is ruled an accident, but it just won’t leave Rob’s head.  The way she looked at him before she died haunts him.  He decides that he needs to learn more about who she is and starts reading her poetry.  At first it makes no sense, but after a stop by the library, a friend of Laney’s helps him begin to understand.  The more he reads, the more he realizes that her writing was a direct reflection of her life.  And hidden in her last poem is her suicide note with a warning as to what caused her to take her life.

This was a phenomenal book to pick up and read. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was quickly drawn into the story and couldn’t put it down until I found out what was going to happen.  Just the story of Laney was intriguing enough, but add the police corruption and family drug connection and I just kept going deeper.  The writing flows great and there is no language or sex throughout the whole story.  Overall it is a really short story, but it left me wanting more, which fortunately it is going to continue.

If you want a good mystery that will keep you entertained and possibly emotional, grab a copy of this book.

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

Firstborn

firstbornAuthor: Tosca Lee

Series: Descendants of the House of Bathory #2

Publisher: Howard Books

Release Date: May 2, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The sequel to The Progeny, my top pick for last year, had big shoes to fill, luckily it did not disappoint. 

After Audra Ellison went to extreme measures to erase her past from her memory, she has now come face-to-face with what she tried so hard to forget. These secrets she was willing to die to protect are now what make her more vulnerable than ever to both the Historian and traitors within their midst.  All her efforts to protect those she cares about seem to be falling short.  The man she loves, Luka, has fallen into the hands of the Historian and she is in a race to meet the demands to save his life.  Her powers are growing but also take a toll on her physically and emotionally.  With the help of her friends and unexpected allies, Audra risks everything in order to save them all and stop a four-hundred-year-old war between progeny and scion.  Just when things look their worst, Audra feels she is in over her head and isn’t sure if she can be the answer they are all looking for.

Fans of Tosca Lee’s The Progeny have been anxiously awaiting the sequel, Firstborn.  I have now read The Progeny three times; I had to reread it before starting Firstborn to make sure I remembered everything correctly and it was just as good as the first time.  With a book that good, it is hard for a sequel to live up to the hype.  Luckily Firstborn does not disappoint.  There is just as much suspense and tension as the first book and the ending was even more than I expected.  Audra goes through so much in a very short period of time when all things are considered.  She doesn’t know if she has the strength to be what everyone needs her to be and if she is strong enough  or what will she be like when it is all said and done.  One of the ways I determine a book is outstanding is if when I am reading it I see it playing out in my mind as a movie.  That can happen with a lot of books but the movie in my head isn’t always the best. Firstborn would be a blockbuster that doesn’t let up.  In a way, I wish this wouldn’t be the last book for the series, it’s so good that two installments just don’t feel like enough.  But on the other hand, if it were to be spread out over a few more novels, it would have made the story less enjoyable by having fluff and too much unneeded story.  Tosca Lee is the kind of author that everyone needs to read, either these books or one of her other works.  There is something for everyone out there. Firstborn is a book I will be recommending to everyone that enjoys a heart-pounding suspense ride that will take you to another world away from any troubles you might be having.  I know it is still early in the year, (at least for me reading this in February), but I am going to go ahead and name this my top pick of the year.  It will be hard for anything to top this.

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

Cycle One: The Invitation

InvitationAuthors: Bill Myers, Frank Peretti, Angela Hunt, & Alton Gansky

Series: Harbingers #1

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: April 4, 2017

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

An intriguing tale of the supernatural by four of today’s top Christian suspense writers makes this a must read!

Broken into segments, the first is The Call by Bill Myers told from the viewpoint of a street hustling tattoo artist that sees the future and uses that to help a student at a psychic institute.  He is being trained to use his gifts to help world leaders but at a very high cost.  The next segment is by Frank Peretti called The Haunted.  Peretti dives deep into the darkness within us all in this supernatural case of murder centered within a mysterious house.  Third is The Sentinels by Angela Hunt which showcases a strange phenomenon of animals around the world mysteriously dying.  The fourth and final section is by Alton Gansky called The Girl.  It is a strange tale of a young girl found in the snow barefoot and holding a piece of parchment type paper.  After careful investigation, it appears she is not of this world and someone wants to kill her.  Brought together they make the first cycle in the Harbingers Series.

Invitation is a unique blend of several of the top Christian authors doing what they do best.  I must admit before this I hadn’t read anything by several of the authors.  I know Frank Peretti’s work and that is what drew me to this.  Oddly enough, his section was probably my least favorite.  When I first heard of the premise of this story I thought there were several ways it might work out.  Each author took a character and told the story from their point of view.  It wasn’t the same story over and over, instead it was a continuation.  When one section is over you go to the next character further in time.  This left me with several questions for how each section played out and how I thought it should have played out.  Overall the story itself was very interesting, even though I do still have some questions.  Since this is the first installment, my questions might still be answered in the next book.  At least that is what I am hoping.

With each author taking a section, it was clearly noticeable the way the writing changed with who the new point of view character was and that we were in a different story. I don’t want to say it was an exceptional story, it could have been, but fell short at several points for me.  With that said though, I still recommend this book to readers that love a supernatural story with suspense on every page.  Each author brought his and her own personal touches to their section making it unique.  The first section was the best to me and easily drew me into the story.  I enjoyed that so much I stuck with the entire thing and am glad I did.  I can’t wait to see what comes next.

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

A Welcome Murder

A Welcome MurderAuthor: Robin Yocum

Publisher: Seventh Street Books

Release Date: April 4, 2017

Rating: 3 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Several viewpoints makes an intriguing tale, but this won’t be at the top of my list of best reads

Johnny Earl was at the height of his life. He had everything going for him, until it all fell apart.  He had a promising baseball career that ended with an injury, which led to him selling cocaine.  It didn’t take long for him to end up in prison for seven years.  Prison is just another obstacle for him to overcome.  Once out, his only goal is to retrieve the drug money he stashed before being arrested and leave town.  Before he is even able to start getting his things together, he is picked up for questioning in the murder of the FBI informant who sent him away.  To top matters off, his former cellmate shows up in town wanting Johnny’s money to use to fund an Aryan nation group.  Johnny is stuck between a rock and a hard place and it might just be a jam he can get out of.

Let me break this one down into the good and the bad. The good would have to be the storyline.  The murder mystery was interesting and with the dialogue between the viewpoints it made it even more interesting to see who was involved and how.  The bad is that about does it for the good.  Even though the story was interesting, I couldn’t get into it as much as I would have liked because of all the harsh language and sex.  That might not bother some people but for me it was far too much.  The book is short and I did get through it quickly but I still can’t say it is one I enjoyed much or can recommend.

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

Pursued

PursuedAuthor: Lisa Harris

Series: Nikki Boyd Files #3

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: April 4, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A plane crash, a kidnapping and more than one missing person will make this the hardest case Nikki Boyd has had to tackle yet.

When Nikki Boys flies back into Nashville, she tries to control her nerves. Flying doesn’t bother her; she is excited to see her boyfriend who has been away for over a month.  As they prepare to land, the woman sitting next to her is nervous about the flight and landing, especially as they end up crash landing.  Chaos quickly envelopes the plane while Nikki looks for her seatmate, Erika Hamilton who is now missing and no one has heard of her or will admit she was ever on the plane.  Nikki soon finds out that the man sitting beside her was an air marshal and Erika was set to testify as a key witness in an upcoming trial.  Nikki saw the look of panic on Erika’s face and knows she is in danger.  Without even taking time to see her family, Nikki and her team work together to find Erika and figure out the deeper, darker secrets this case holds.

This is the third book in the Nikki Boyd series and to me it is the best yet. The stakes are higher and the action is tighter than in the previous.  I think one of the things that made this one better was the fact that it was heavier on the suspense than the romance.  That is something that has become unusual for romantic suspense novels lately.  I enjoy romantic suspense, but they are typically not my favorite because they tend to go with more romance which takes away from the suspense.  The relationship was put more on the backburner with this novel making Nikki focus more on the case at hand.  Lisa Harris is getting better with each book and this is probably the best one she has written.  Fans of her work and who enjoy a good suspense novel with a little romance sprinkled in will not want to miss this one.

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

Without Warning

without warningAuthor: Joel C. Rosenberg

Series: J.B. Collins #3

Publisher: Tyndale

Release Date: March 14, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Will ISIS strike on American soil? This is Rosenberg at his best!

J. B. Collins and Yael were part of a team that successfully rescued the President of the United States. Now back in the US for two months, J.B. has been recovering and the President has been launching air strikes and driving ISIS back out of Iraq, but J.B. feels it is not enough. He wants the President to go after the leader, kill the snake by cutting off the head. Then the unthinkable happens.  At the State of the Union address, mortar shells start hitting the capitol building.  A full attack has been unleashed against the President, vice-president, and all the members of congress.  Although the President survives, several members of congress do not.  J. B. expects retaliation, but the President seems to be in denial.  What’s worse is now the attack has turned personal when the terrorist find J.B. and his brother Matt’s family.  If the president is not going to stop ISIS, maybe J.B. can do just that.

This was an incredible ending to the latest trilogy by Rosenberg. All three books flow seamlessly together and can easily be devoured in a short period of time.  The way he writes current events into a novel can be truly frightening.  Suddenly the ideas he has don’t seem so farfetched.  I was glad to see that J.B.’s personal struggles were finally resolved in this book and that he had peace.  I can definitely say that I didn’t expect the ending.  That made me feel like it was cut a little short, even though it is the longest book in the trilogy by far.  I was also really impressed with how Matt handle his suffering.  I thought he might have gone into depression, but he stayed strong throughout.  I was also really disappointed in the romance between Yael and J.B., but given the ending, it is probably for the best.

With high tension, fast-paced suspense, and well developed characters, this trilogy needs to be read by all!

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