Dark Ambitions

dark ambitionsAuthor: Irene Hannon

Series: Code of Honor #3

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: October 1, 2019

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Irene Hannon gives another terrific installment in the Code of Honor series. This book will leave you with all the feels long after you turn the last page!

Rick Jordan has tried hard to leave his army days behind him and is now running a camp to help foster children. During the winter, he has the place to himself and that’s the way he likes it until one night when he finds a trail of blood and clues which lead him to suspect a blast from his army past has come back into his life. Rick hires a detective agency to help him track down his friend and figure out what has happened. Heather Shields has worked as a PI since leaving the police force and is one of the best in her field despite the hardships placed in front of her being a female in a male driven career. When she finds Rick’s friend dead, she wants to continue looking into what might have happened even when Rick asks her to leave the case alone feeling it is getting too dangerous. The questions start to add up along with their feelings for each other.

Anyone that has ever read anything by Irene Hannon exactly what they will be getting when they open one of her books: action, undeniable romance, suspense and a great story. Hannah and Rick made an absolutely wonderful pair and I loved watching their story develop and grow as the story progressed. The story paced easily with plenty of tension and lots of page turning suspense. Over the years, I have grown to love Irene Hannon books. It doesn’t matter if she is writing contemporary romance or romantic suspense, the story is going to be top notch and fully enjoyable. While the story had many changing points of view, which might confuse some readers, I found it an easy way to keep up with all the different aspects of the story. Dark Ambitions is a great romantic suspense with characters that have more than enough chemistry to keep the reader attracted to their romance and pull for them to succeed. Even though this is the third book in the series, it could be read as a standalone.  Some of the secondary characters are from previous books but don’t play a big enough role to keep new readers from enjoying the story. I recommend this book to fans of Hannon’s and new readers alike.

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

The Gryphon Heist

Gryphon HeistAuthor: James R. Hannibal

Series: Talia Inger #1

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: September 3, 2019

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Readers are set up for a thrill ride full of suspense, danger, mystery and so many twists and turns they won’t be able to stop until the very last page!

After passing her final tests to become a CIA agent, Talia Inger gets assigned to a case she is less than thrilled about at first. She is assigned to work in the “Other” department. Her first assignment is working with Adam Tyler, a Moldovian executive, to retrieve his technology for their own defense. What seems like a simple task at first turns into the more than she could have bargained for when finds out who else is after the technology and what it is going to take to retrieve it. As the get closer to completing their mission, things get more complicated and Talia starts to wonder who she can trust and if she has been given all the information she needs to complete the mission and return home in one piece.

The Gryphon Heist is a novel full of so many things. That can be both good and bad. It is obvious that Hannibal did his research and knows his stuff, the plot would have been incredibly weak had he not, and this plot was anything but weak. The problem is there was so much going on it was a little difficult to keep up at times. Not only is the plot and storyline very intricate, there are also a lot of characters to keep up with. In my opinion, a few of the characters could have been cut without impacting the story. There were other chapters that just felt awkward and better left on the cutting room floor.  Those were the only items that took the book down a notch for me. When the tension picked up, it did so at warp speed. The last few chapters made the book, I’m talking unstoppable action that left me thirsting for me. The little tidbits about who might be the bad guy on the inside was played out so well I found myself smiling with the turn off each page. I’m so happy that this is the first in a series and we will get to see these characters further developed. I see so much potential for this series and the characters and will be chomping at the bit to get my hands on the next installment. I recommend this book to readers that enjoy the television show Alias and the Mission Impossible movie series type thrillers and a great read.

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

Fatal Strike

Fatal StrikeAuthor: DiAnn Mills

Publisher: Tyndale House

Release Date: September 3, 2019

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

With a combination of FBI Snipers, murder using rattlesnake venom, and a budding romance, DiAnn Mills has crafted a thriller fans will not want to miss.

Galveston is being hit by a new kind of killer using rattlesnake venom for murder. A local gang called the Veneno is the prime suspect and the FBI calls in agents Leah Riesel and Jon Colbert to tackle the case. They have a witness that saw a body being left on a church doorstep but soon disappears. Without their witness, they don’t have much of a case. No one around is willing to help without the fear of being the next victim and the more Leah and Jon dig, the darker the motives become.  The more secrets they uncover, the more they have to face fears they didn’t even know they had.

DiAnn Mills says to expect an adventure with her books and that is definitely what readers will get with this book. The premise is gripping: death by snake venom, no thanks! My mind was reeling with what could be coming as I turned the pages.  Leah and Jon had a great story, I really connected with them and the feelings they developed for each other over the course of the story. The ending kept me guessing, which I love in a suspense novel.  I don’t want to be able to figure everything out quickly, I like those little surprises and DiAnn Mills always exceeds my expectations.

I have always enjoyed DiAnn Mills books and know I am going to get a great story. Fatal Strike was a really good story, but certain aspects of this story fell short for me. Leah had the ability to be a great female lead but the way her backstory was written didn’t resonate with me. If you take that out of the story, readers will have a heart pounding thrill ride. While this is not my favorite novel Mills has written, it was still a very enjoyable read and one I recommend to readers that enjoy a good romantic suspense novel with a great romance and a story line that will keep you up thinking late into the night.

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

A Single Light

single lightAuthor: Tosca Lee

Series: The Line Between #2

Publisher: Howard Books

Release Date: September 17, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Fans of Tosca Lee’s writing will have to clear their calendar of everything to devour A Single Light!  This is Thriller writing at its best!

It has been six months since Wynter Roth and Chase went underground to stay safe from the disease ravaging the country. Along with the sixty others underground, they wait for the day the door will be opened by Noah and the rest that are supposed to be waiting above ground to meet them. When messages from above stop coming months before they are supposed to be released, the fate of the world starts to seem grimmer than any of them could have imagined. As release day draws near, Wynter is eager to leave in order to find medicine for her very sick friend, Julie. As the doors open, Chase and Wynter find themselves in a world far worse off than they could have imagined. The vaccine they expected to be manufactured and passed around the country is nowhere in sight and those that survived are turning on each other in order to survive the war zones the cities have become. With each passing hour, Wynter finds herself losing hope that she can help her friend or if any of them can survive in this new world.

For me, topping The Line Between was going to be something almost impossible to do. Tosca knocked that first book out of the park. The characters and storyline grabbed me and wouldn’t let go, making me ache for more of this incredible story. By the time I got my hands on A Single Light, I had to pace myself, so I didn’t devour it too quickly. The story picks up where the first left off, Wynter and Chase in the silo waiting with the others for the day they can emerge into society. Instead of chapters, Lee uses days and hours as chapter headings and to show the passage of time. Instead of letting the time in the silo pass slowly and lose readers in the process, she skips over large portions of this time and gets to the really great twists and turns. There is so much embodied in the pages of this novel: fear, hope, love, deep longing to belong and help those we care about. Each emotion Wynter feels jumps off the page at me and griped me tightly. The connection between Wynter and Chase and how they came to be together is so well written and took me by surprise at times. If you are reading this and looking for a chance to put it down you will be disappointed, this is the kind of book that can be devoured in one sitting. I am wishing for time to go back and read it again and again. Tosca Lee has become one of the very best thriller writers in my opinion and readers can look forward to a fantastic story every time they pick up one of her books. At one point I thought I knew what was going to happen with the ending, but Lee took it in a slightly different direction, which was perfect for this story. I am trying to come up with something negative to say and am at a loss. I recommend this book to fans of Lee’s writing and those looking for an amazing story to pull them in and never let go. However, I would recommend reading The Line Between first.

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

The Last Widow

Last widow

Author: Karin Slaughter

Series: Will Trent #9

Publisher: William Morrow

Release Date: August 20, 2019

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A kidnapping, an explosion, and the threat of a biological weapon bring together a story that is intricately laid out and hard to put down.

 When a scientist from the Centers for Disease Control is kidnapped in broad daylight from the parking lot of a shopping center, authorities search high and low for any clue as to who took her and why. Days and weeks go by with no sign of her and no ransom demand until bombs start going off in Atlanta’s busiest neighborhood as a statement and a distraction. As first responders rush to the scene, Will Trent, an investigator with the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, and his partner Sara Linton reach a car crash at the outskirts of the bomb radius. Not knowing they have just stumbled upon the bombers, Sara tries to help and ends up being kidnapped as well. Will works from the outside to get his partner back while Sara works from the inside to figure out who this group is and what they are really after before it is too late.

 First of all, I went into reading this book not realizing it was the ninth in the series. Not totally sure if that helped or hurt my take on the story. Maybe having a little backstory on Will and Sara might have helped my enjoyment, although I did get a lot out of the chemistry between the two characters. They had a great dynamic and I had no idea this was not their first book, but it does make sense the way they were written so well together. There was A LOT going on in this book and if readers aren’t careful, they will miss key elements to the story. That being said, I felt a good hundred pages could have been cut and the story wouldn’t have lacked anything. With so much going on, it was hard to follow at times, but I will say Slaughter did a great job with tension at critical moments. The last 50-75 pages really brought the emotion out and made me care about the characters when it counted. I have seen lots of mixed reviews on this title and agree with both sides There are lots of good points in the book, but it was a little slow at times. One of the best parts for me was the different points of view, this gave me as the reader more of the story to see and understand. There is a lot of harsh language throughout, and while it does fit with the characters and how they would respond to a situation, readers need to be aware before reading. I would recommend this to an audience who love thrillers, especially ones that deal with medical issues, bombings and radical groups.

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

The Girl Behind the Red Rope

Girl behind red rope

Authors: Ted Dekker & Rachelle Dekker

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: September 3, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Teaming up for the first time, father and daughter Ted and Rachelle Dekker deliver an intense and fascinating read that will leave fans thirsting for them to team up again and again and again.

 It has been over ten years since Grace and the rest of her community saw something that would forever change their lives. Since that time, they have lived within the confines of the red rope, a boundary that is supposed to keep them all save from the evil furies of the world. They live under strict rules put in place by Sylous, their leader who only shows himself when necessary and usually only to one in the community, Rose. After so many years, Grace and her brother Jamie wonder if it might be safe to venture outside the rope and see what is happening with the rest of the world. Jamie has gone a few times without any consequences and when they speak up to the community with their concerns, they are sent out further to see what happens. It only takes one night out for them to encounter the Fury and let the community know. While the community lets them return, they are now looked at in a different light. It doesn’t take Jamie long to repent and change to the ways of the community, but Grace has a harder time going back to believing so easily. With each passing day, the things Grace has been taught and believed for the past decade start to unfold before her eyes and she must decide if what she has always believed is still true or trust what she sees.

 Anyone that has ever read a Ted Dekker novel knows they are going to be in for a fantastic ride full of fantasy, thrills, emotions and allegorical underlying spiritual tones that can be interpreted in several ways. Dekker has always had a way of pulling readers in and giving them a story that is more than an escape. His newest novel is going to give readers an escape into this world and leave their minds churning long after they turn the last page. While this was a collaboration between him and his daughter, Rachelle Dekker, I found it to be another incredible Dekker novel, no matter it was written by two Dekkers. I can’t tell yet if that gave it strength or not. It is hard to say whose writing is where within the pages. As I have read Rachelle’s novels, I have noticed the influence of her father in her writing; they are good books, but I couldn’t really see her own individual distinct voice. I enjoyed her books and maybe with her style so similar to the Elder Dekker it enhanced the story to make it more than what it would have been without the two writing together. With the two Dekker’s combined, the story takes off and pulls the reader in with no chance of escaping until the story is over. I almost read this in one sitting, if I hadn’t had anything to do, I could have easily finished this in one sitting and I can’t say when the last time I sat with a book and wanted to finish like that was. The authors did a fantastic job of portraying these characters in a way that kept the reader from questioning their actions. The empathy used to reach an emotional level was stunning. I loved Grace and the way she kept her head and tried to solve the ridiculously hard puzzle life was putting in front of her. The evil she goes up against is written in a way we can all relate to in one form or another. I recommend this book to fans of Dekker and those that enjoy a great mystery/thriller. If you have read Ted Dekker before, you will see little snippets that relate to other books he has written, (not in actual characters or settings but similar themes). If you have never read a Dekker book this would be the perfect one to get you hooked.

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

One Final Breath

One final breathAuthor: Lynn Blackburn

Series: Dive Team Investigations #3

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: September 3, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Lynn Blackburn finishes up the Dive Team Investigations series with the very best yet! Fans of the series will have no choice but to fall in love with Gabe and Anissa’s story.

Anissa Bell, captain of the dive team investigators, has had a problem with Gabe Chavez since before he was on her team. He worked undercover and would only dive once or twice a year, not enough in her opinion to stay up to speed with the rest of the team. Anissa was a missionary kid growing up until she went to college and her best friend was murdered and the three-year-old child she was watching disappeared. From that moment on, she spent her time trying to solve the case leading her to be with the dive team and around Gabe. When an investigation surfaces into the death of a young boy on the lake, they must figure out how to put their issues with each other aside and work to solve the case.

With each book in this series I have seen Blackburn come alive in her writing. One Final Breath brings the best of the series and gives readers even more to love. The suspense is top notch, the romance is right on point and the story flows without even trying. Each character brings just the right amount of believability to the story to make it an easy enjoyable read. I loved everything about this series and am sad to see it come to an end, but happy to say it is a satisfying end. Gabe and Anissa have been mentioned in the other books but this one is devoted to them and their story, and oh what a story it is! Both have a past that wasn’t the easiest, but they use that past to fuel them going forward making them a great team. Each of the main characters from the previous books have a role here and it lets us see how those relationships have progressed as well. The ending was my favorite in every way. The suspense was at its peak, and the romance was there without getting in the way of the tension driving the story forward. This is by far Blackburn’s best novel to date, fans of hers will love the conclusion to this series. Readers that enjoy Lynnette Eason, Dani Pettrey and other Christian Romantic Suspense authors will want to add Lynn Blackburn to their list of go to authors. Even though this is the third in the series, it could be read as a stand-alone without feeling lost. This is one of those books I wish I could rate more than five stars. I highly recommend this to fans of romantic suspense and all those that enjoy a good clean, quick read.

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

Ford

FordAuthor: Susan May Warren

Series: The Montana Marshalls #3

Publisher: SDG Publishing

Release Date: September 3, 2019

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The third book in the Montana Marshalls lets readers glimpse into the life of Navy Seal Ford Marshall. Readers will love this strong courageous man that will stop at nothing to protect the ones he loves.

Ford Marshall went into the Navy to become a Seal and prove he was just as tough or tougher than his brothers, but when his twin sister RJ is in trouble, he must use every ounce of strength he has to not fall apart. The family finds out RJ has been accused of an international incident, but Ford won’t let anything stop him from getting to her. Knowing this isn’t something he can do on his own, he calls on the one person he knows will have his back, Petty Officer Scarlett Hathaway. Scarlett can help him get into the country and he wouldn’t mind one more mission with her before she leaves to be a Rescue Swimmer. If he is being honest with himself, what he really wants is to convince her to give the two of them a chance. Scarlett has complications of her own since her mother died and she has a little brother to take care of. Being single in the navy isn’t the best life for that and she is left with a tough decision to make. Thrown into the search for Ford’s sister, Scarlett puts aside her troubles and together they both must decide how much they are willing to sacrifice for love.

Ford is the third book in the Montana Marshalls series following Knox and Tate. Each of the Marshall men have their own strengths and special talents making them swoon worthy with Ford potentially being the most of all as a navy seal. He is strong, independent, capable and will stop at nothing when someone he cares about is in danger. The relationship between Ford and RJ was an interesting dynamic. Being twins, they have a special bond the other siblings don’t share, but that bond was damaged when they were young, and it still hasn’t been repaired. As a twin, I know how hard a strained relationship can be and the way Ford knew that his sister was in trouble and needed him is true of a twin relationship and the bond that can’t be broken. For me, this is not the best of the series but still a very enjoyable read. Fans of Warren’s books will surely enjoy the story. It read a little slower than the first two, maybe because of the setting and so much of it being in Russia just didn’t pull me in as much as her writing usually does. Even so, I was still able to get through the book quickly and can’t wait for the next in the series.

One thing about a Susan May Warren book is you know you are getting a good story that is filled with inspiration, romance, action, suspense and a good time. I recommend this to fans of her work and even those that are new to her writing will find the series enjoyable.

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.