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.

The First Hostage

The First HostageAuthor: Joel C. Rosenberg

Series: J.B. Collins #2

Publisher: Tyndale

Release Date: December 29, 2015

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Could the President of the United States really be kidnapped by ISIS?

After ISIS has attacked the peace summit in Jordan that would bring peace to Israel and Palestine, the President of the United States has suddenly gone missing. In an attempt to elude the attackers, the President was rushed off by the secret service to get on air force one.  J.B. Collins was pulled alongside the Jordanian President who managed to get to the airport in an attempt to board the plane as well.  Only one problem, air force one is gone, and the President is not one it.  Unfortunately, the airport has been hit with sarin gas, which killed all those who where present.  Not long after the attack, a new video surfaces showing Abu Kalid, head of ISIS, with the President saying that American has 48 hours to turn Islam or the President will be beheaded.  Can he be saved?  If so, how?

If Rosenberg was wanting to ratchet up the suspense in his novel, he certainly found the right formula. The next book in the series picks up immediately where the previous left off.  Fortunately, I read them back to back so I didn’t have to wait months like everyone else.  Rosenberg continues to combine tension and suspense and play up the romance between J.B. and Yael.  You really wonder if this could happen, but the way Rosenberg lays it out, it really seems like it could.  I’m starting to get a little scared of what he is writing because it really seems believable.  What could possibly happen next?

The Third Target

The Third TargetAuthor: Joel C. Rosenberg

Series: J.B. Collins #1

Publisher: Tyndale

Release Date: February 6, 2015

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

ISIS is growing fast and we have no idea where they will strike next, or do we?

J. B. Collins is a very successful foreign war correspondent working for the New York Times. He followed in the footsteps of his grandfather who did some pretty foolish things. However, J.B. may have just trumped anything his grandfather could have ever done by taking an invitation to meet in person with one of the leaders of ISIS in Syria. Already a torn country ravaged by its civil war, Syria has become a stronghold for many followers of the Al-Qaeda split off and are very dangerous.  J. B. gets his interview and manages to safely get away, but not before he can confirm that ISIS has procured chemical weapons.  But will his interview put a target on his back once his story goes public?  Or will ISIS keep him around as long as they can use him?

Rosenberg is well known for his end times novels and this is no exception. He keeps the novel on a fast pace with lots of action in a very realistic current events setting.  J.B. embodies everything that Rosenberg typically has for a main character.  He is successful.  He has a job that puts him in the line of fire for current events.  And he is not a Christian, yet.  But he has people in his life that urge him to give his life to Christ.

I really enjoyed this book. The current events make you think about what could happen today.  The tension keeps you moving through the book at a fast pace.  And the potential love interest makes you root for the romance within the suspense.  I can’t wait to read the next one!

A Trail of Crumbs

A trial of crumbsAuthor: Susie Finkbeiner

Publisher: Kregel

Release Date: March 28, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

As the dust bowl rages on, so does the turmoil in young Pearl’s life!

Pearl Spence has been through more in her eleven years than most people have in a lifetime. Having to endure the dust bowl in the Oklahoma panhandle is bad enough, but finding out you’re adopted and then having you birth mother murdered before your eyes makes it seem like a cake walk.  On a rare nice day with a clear blue sky, Pearl hopes that new life is coming into Oklahoma, until she sees another raging duster heading their way.  This particular storm is going to do more damage than just skin deep, it will set a chain of events in place that will threaten to rip her family apart.

After A Cup of Dust, I was excited to hear that Pearl’s story was going to continue.  Having grown up with family members that lived during the dust bowl made me appreciate the research and time that the author put into her book.  I was happy that the first part of the book was still set in Oklahoma.  Then the remainder moved out to Michigan, which didn’t get the dust bowl but still had plenty of depression.  Reading this story, I wonder how much Pearl actually wrote of her own story.  I wonder if Susie Finkbeiner was sitting there and suddenly saw what happened to Pearl and thought “didn’t see that coming!”  I know there are some characters that have that ability and I could see Pearl in that role.

This story really created a civil war within Pearl, as with many kids who have the issue that Pearl has toward the end of this book. I really want to write more on the subject, but doing so will completely give away the climax of the book, so I’m not going there.  What I will say is that this is another great story that has raw emotion built into it so that you actually feel Pearl’s anguish.  And most importantly, her story is going to continue yet again coming February 2018!

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

Deep Extraction

Deep extractionAuthor: DiAnn Mills

Series: FBI Task Force #2

Publisher: Tyndale

Release Date: April 4, 2017

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Another great book by DiAnn Mills will keep readers guessing and turning the pages well past their bedtime.

FBI agent Tori Templeton is going up against one of her hardest cases, proving that one of her best friends did not kill her own husband. When she gets the call that oil and gas tycoon Nathan Moore was found dead in his home, she goes to investigate.  He had been receiving death threats and recently had a bomb go off at one of his rigs.  It is soon discovered that he was in fact murdered.  His wife is at the top of the suspect list, along with several others.  Tori is assigned to a task force to find the killer along with recently reinstated Deputy US Marshal Cole Jeffers.  Together they dig into the past of people they both cared about in order to discover the truth; but the more they dig, the more secrets they uncover and the more danger they find themselves in.

I always like reading a DiAnn Mills novel. It is a good clean mystery that I know I am going to enjoy.  The story here was good with several twists that kept me guessing until the end.  I liked that both Tori and Cole had to face the challenge of being connected to the victim and still be objective enough to do their job.  Mills did a great job of weaving doubt and suspicion onto several different characters making me question if they could be the guilty party.  I liked the oil and gas setting in Texas, I grew up in an oil town so this was easy for me to relate to.  I did question a few of the actions of several characters. Some of them just didn’t seem to fit with what I thought they should actually do in those situations.  Not enough for me to make more out of it than this slight mention, probably something that just bugged me and others might not even notice.  This was definitely an enjoyable read and one I will be recommending to fans of romantic suspense by a great author.

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

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