If I’m Found

If I'm FoundAuthor: Terri Blackstock

Series: If I Run #2

Publisher: Zondervan

Release Date:  March 21, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The second book in the series but might just be Blackstock’s best book yet.  A tight, suspenseful story that will leave you begging for more.

Casey Cox is on the run for a murder she didn’t commit. She has just gotten away again from the man tasked to bring her in, PI Dylan Roberts.  He had her in his grasp but let her go.  She has been emailing him, insisting her innocence and he is starting to believe her.  He still isn’t sure he can trust her but each day a new piece of evidence turns up making her seem more believable than those after her.  Casey is trying to gather evidence about the murder she is accused of and others, exposing deep corruption within the department that is trying to frame her.  During her search, she also uncovers evidence of a child being abused and a man on the verge of suicide.  Even though she knows she should focus on staying safe and clearing her own name, she can’t help trying to help others, even if she ends up found in the process and killed before she would make it to jail.

I have been a fan of Terri Blackstock for a long time and must say this might be her best book. It is hard for a second book in a series to be that good, a lot of times it is just filler for what is coming in the third (and usually final) in the series.  I would advise reading the first in the series, just to have the background necessary to understand what the characters are going through.  The tension was at a whole new level for Blackstock making this the best I have read by her.  Casey and Dylan both have problems that make them flawed characters that we can relate to and want to root for.  We might not all be running from a murder we didn’t commit or have PTSD, but we all have problems.  At times the problems Casey finds herself in might seem a little hard to believe, but the way it is all set up with Casey being a people person and getting involved in others’ lives when she should be keeping to herself makes it easy to see how she could wind up in the situations she does.  With all the close calls that Casey finds herself in, I was on the edge of my seat and couldn’t put the book down.  It is only March but I have no doubt this will be in my top ten for the year.  I recommend this book to everyone that enjoys a good suspense thriller that is clean, without unnecessary crude language or sex scenes throughout.

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

The Roanoke Girls

The Roanoke GirlsAuthor: Amy Engel

Publisher: Crown

Release Date: March 7, 2017

Rating: 3 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Disturbing and creepy. That’s all I’m saying.

Lane Roanoke is fifteen years old and her mom has just committed suicide, which is really not surprising to her as she has been threatening it for most of her life. What is surprising is that her mom’s parents want Lane to come live with them in Kansas, which is vastly different than New York City.  Once she gets there, she is greeted by her cousin Allegra and they become like sisters, even look like sisters too.  Her grandparents are filthy rich from oil and she becomes one of the Roanoke girls, which pretty much gets you whatever you want.  However, one day she discovers the secret that drives all Roanoke girls either to run or to die.  She runs away and never looks back.

Eleven years later, Allegra has gone missing and Lane is called back to Roanoke. Even though time has passed, it feels the same as soon as she pulls up.  Everyone she left is still there and her messed up family is still the same.  But with Allegra gone, sights are now set on Lane to take her place as the next Roanoke girl.

This book was very disturbing and creepy too. I can’t delve too much into it because it would give away the context to the readers, but needless to say, this is not what I was expecting in some big Kansas farmhouse.  Still gives me the heebie jeebies.  One point that I do have to make is that I can tell this author has written YA novels previously.  The flow and characterizations still tended to show up as YA, which I actually like.  However, what I don’t like is when there is a great YA author that decides to go into mainstream adult fiction and it reads like a YA novel with lots of profanity and sex, which is a bit of the case here.  I’ve seen this happen with lots of great authors in the YA genre.  I like the YA better because it is usually cleaner.  I understand that this book had to have sex since that is the pretense of the whole things, but the profanity could have been cut way back.  This is why I only recommend this book to mature older readers.

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

Murder is no Accident

Murder is no accidentAuthor: A. H. Gabhart

Series: Hidden Springs Mysteries #3

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: March 14, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Another cozy mystery in The Hidden Springs series that is sure to be a hit.

Deputy Sheriff Michael Keane gets another call he doesn’t want to hear, there has been another body found in Hidden Springs. A 911 call came in saying someone is dead at a Victorian mansion in town. Maggie Greene is in high school and helps her mother keep the mansion clean, and sometimes goes to the tower to write, which is where she is when she finds the body and calls 911.  Michael assumes the death is a tragic accident until there is another body found in the house.  Then Maggie receives threatening phone calls telling her to stay quiet about what she might know.  Michael now feels more pressure than ever to find the killer and solve his biggest mystery yet.

The Hidden Springs Mysteries are becoming some of my favorites. These are the types of books you can just sit down and read and enjoy without worrying about language or a boring story.  I love the way these stories keep the reader entertained and wanting more throughout the entire book.  It has been awhile since I have read the first two in the series but this might be the best one yet in my opinion.  I really liked the relationships and interactions between Michael, Alex, Maggie, and Anthony.  Each one had its own special dynamic that worked well.  I also really enjoyed the mystery in the mansion with the murder from the past and present and how things related.  I don’t have much negative to say about the story because there wasn’t much I didn’t like.  This is just a nice cozy mystery that I think most everyone who picks it up will enjoy.  I recommend this to readers of all ages that enjoy a good clean page-turner that will keep you smiling and guessing till the end.

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

The Travelers

the-travelersAuthor: Chris Pavone

Publisher: Crown

Release Date: March 8, 2016

Rating: 3 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Spy thriller that lacked most of the thriller.

Will Rhodes is a travel writer who has really been ramping up the travel part lately. His wife used to work for the same magazine that he does, but to limit competition between them, she left to be an editor at another magazine.  They move through the motions of marriage, but since they haven’t been able to get pregnant, things have started to dissolve lately and Will is not sure why.  When he is at a conference in Europe, he meets a young Australian freelance writer who really hits it off with him.  He is very drawn to her, but manages to stay faithful to his wife.  Later while in South America, he meets her again and things end up going a little too far.  Only then does Will realize that he has been played.  The young woman is actually an American secret agent who is now using their videoed affair as blackmail to recruit him into the CIA.  After all, he already has the perfect cover to move around without arising suspicions.  But can Will actually do this?  Is it worth it for his marriage?  And is it really legit?

This seemed like a really interesting concept story. A travel writer turned into a spy sounds like a great idea.  I mean, sure it’s been done before, but a good story is just that, a good story.  Unfortunately, that is not how this one felt.  The story was very disjointed in my opinion and just never really got traction.  The prologue hooked me in, but then it was just like the line couldn’t reel me in.  There were a lot of characters to set up and you spend half your reading time trying to figure out who this is referring to, maybe it’s her, maybe it’s him, maybe it’s someone who hasn’t even been introduced yet.  Which got a little frustrating overall, but it is what it is.  There was also a lot of strong language throughout the book which could have been handled a lot differently.  Should you decide to read it, I would recommend it for mature audiences.

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

The Freedom Broker

the-freedom-brokerAuthor: K. J. Howe

Publisher: Quercus Books

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A fast paced, action packed story that will keep readers guessing until the very end!

When Thea Paris was a little girl she witnessed her brother being kidnapped. He was returned to the family after nine months, but that experience would shape the future for everyone in the Paris family.  Thea is one of the best kidnap and ransom specialists in the world and she is the only woman in the freedom broker business.  She is the team leader at Quantum Security International’s black-ops team, which goes on sensitive rescue missions to recover high value targets.  On the eve of the party for her father’s sixtieth birthday party, Christos Paris is taken from his yacht, mere days before the biggest deal of his career.  Everyone aboard the boat is killed and Thea waits for a ransom demand that is slow to come.  Pushing aside the fact that she is too close to the case, she throws herself in to the job more determined to find her father than any case she has ever worked.  The more she digs, the more the past comes to haunt them all and it becomes clear this is no ordinary case.

It is hard to believe that this is the debut novel. Howe wrote a very intriguing fast paced thriller that I very much enjoyed.  One of the best aspects of the novel was the pace, it flowed easily even with chapters of different length.  This actually helped because as the action intensified, the chapters got shorter making the pages fly faster and faster.  The main character, Thea is the heroine, but is also very relatable with her weakness, diabetes.  She is reluctant to share this information with anyone because she doesn’t want them to view her as weak because of it.  I have read kidnap books before but never one where the focus is on the team that is sent in to get them back.  It was a unique view of how things unfold on that side of the story.  There was a fair amount of back and forth between past and present, usually this can be confusing and take the reader out of the story.  Howe was able to make the transitions smoothly with the past scenes providing emotional support for the characters in the story.  There were a few graphic moments of sexual content and some adult language making this only appropriate for a mature audience.

I picked this up after seeing a favorite author recommended it and I am really glad I did. I really hope there will be more to come from Thea Paris and her rescue missions.  I recommend this book to lovers of suspense thrillers.

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

Still Life

still-lifeAuthor: Dani Pettrey

Series: Chesapeake Valor #2

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: January 31, 2017

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

When Avery Tate makes her way back into the art world that rejected her to support a friend, she never imagined she would end up investigating her possible death!

When the photography world turned its back on Avery Tate, she put her talents to use as a crime scene photographer. She started working with analyst Parker Mitchell and it wasn’t long before she developed feelings for him as more than just working partners.  She knew she couldn’t work with him feeling the way she did, so she quit working with him, but it wasn’t enough to shut of her growing feelings.  Now, for the first time since being rejected, Avery is going back to the art world for a gallery opening to support a friend that is being featured in one of the photos.  However, when she arrives her, friend is nowhere in sight except for a picture that shows her deceased.  The photographer says that is not the picture he took.  Avery knows she is in over her head and calls Parker to help. Together they search for the truth of what happened to her friend and who might be to blame.

Dani Pettrey is becoming a top name in the Christian Romantic Suspense world and for good reason. Her Alaskan Valor series was top notch.  Now with the second book in her Chesapeake Valor series she is continuing that trend.  I really liked the concept of this book.  And while it was a really good read I can’t say that it was my favorite.  I had several issues.  Even though there weren’t a massive amount of characters, I found myself having a hard time following who was who at different times.  Between Avery and Parker as well as Declan and Tanner there seemed to be too much going on.  I wish the focus would have been on one of the couples and their growing romance instead of trying to go back and forth between them both.  Avery and Parker were the main focus and they came together pretty good.  The tension really heated up about three quarters of the way through.  At this point there, was a spot I thought it was about to take off into warp speed, instead it totally fizzled out.  I don’t want to give too much away about the story but I was really disappointed it didn’t go in the direction I was hoping.  Other readers might not have a problem with this but for me it wasn’t as good as it could have been.  Overall it was still an enjoyable read and romantic suspense lovers will want to add this to their list.

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

Justice Delayed

justice-delayedAuthor: Patricia Bradley

Series: Memphis Cold Case #1

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: January 31, 2017

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

An investigation into a cold case brings old secrets to life and danger to all involved.

Andi Hollister has become a hot television crime reporter with her investigations into cold cases. However, her next investigation hits a little too close to home, which is the death of her sister over eighteen years ago.  There is a man behind bars that confessed to the murder and his execution date is coming soon.  His cousin is Detective Will Kincaide who has just been promoted to the Cold Case Unit and wants to prove his cousin is innocent after a letter surfaces claiming he isn’t the killer.  There is less than a week to find the killer and stop the execution.  As Will and Andi work together to get justice for her sister, they find more than they bargained for, including police corruption, smuggling and running for their lives.

As the first book in Patricia Bradley’s newest series, she has started off on the right foot. Romantic suspense is hard to write and find the right balance so as not to lose the reader with romance in the middle of the tension.  Patricia Bradley is becoming better with every novel.  I liked Andi and her spunk.  I do feel a few of her issues were left open at the end that needed a little more closure.  Will was a top notch cop that had a lot of personal issues, but kept focused on the job at hand.  The writing flowed smoothly, especially with the dialogue scenes.  The narrative dragged a bit at times with so many characters but that I can only classify as a nit-picking issue.  I am finding myself more a fan of Bradley and her writing with each new book and can’t wait to see where she goes with this series.  This book will be perfect for fans of Bradley’s work and those that love romantic suspense novels.  I recommend Justice Delayed to all that enjoy a good read with a good message.

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