A Dream within a Dream

Dream within a dreamAuthor: Mike Nappa & Melissa Kosci

Series: Coffey & Hill #3

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: June 2, 2020

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The best of the Coffey and Hill series has arrived! Mike Nappa and Melissa Kosci deliver a stellar story, which readers will love to the very last page.

Trudi Coffey and Samuel Hill have an interesting relationship, they are divorced but continue to work together running their private investigator business. Even though they work together, they don’t interact on a daily basis and it’s not unusual for them to go for a while without seeing each other. When the FBI shows up asking about Samuel, Trudy realizes he hasn’t been around in a few weeks and she hasn’t heard from him either. Normally that wouldn’t mean much, but in this case, Trudy knows that Samuel has gotten into something he can’t handle on his own. Samuel has been making some powerful enemies and working to protect a man named Dream from the Boston mob. Dream has the location of stolen artwork from a famous art heist and the mob will stop at nothing to get the information from him. Trudi and Samuel will have to work together and call on a few allies to help keep Dream safe and stop those out to get them.

The Coffey and Hill series just keeps getting better and better. I have loved each one I’ve read, and this newest edition is no different. The focus is more on Trudi than Samuel and I loved seeing her as the lead. Dream was a very interesting character and I loved the different ways he interacted with each member of the team. This story flows so smoothly and kept me guessing. I loved the ending! Each of the characters have their own unique quirks that readers will enjoy and be able to relate to in one way or another. As the third in the series, it continues the story with little tie-ins to the previous giving readers a continuation but not making it difficult for anyone who hasn’t read the previous two. Mike Nappa has a way of creating characters that are unique yet relatable and easy to follow. Even the dynamic of Trudi with Samuel’s son is so interesting and well-done that readers will fall in love with that side of her even more. I don’t know if this is the last in the series, but I sure hope not! The ending was left open for more to come but also closed loose ends if it is the last in the series. I recommend this book to those that love a great mystery and characters they can’t help but fall in love with.

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

The Heart of Hero

Heart of a heroAuthor: Susan May Warren

Series: Global Search and Rescue #2

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: June 2, 2020

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Susan May Warren delivers in a big way with the second in her Global Search and Rescue series. The Heart of a Hero is a fast, intense, adventurous read with all the feels.

After a crazy adventure on the snow-capped mountains of Alaska, Jake Silver is having trouble moving on from the feelings he has for Dr. Aria Sinclair. He and his team helped rescue her and her friends after their expedition went horrible wrong. Jake is trying to move on from Aria and his time as a Navy SEAL to start working as part of a rescue team. Aria heads down to Key West to speak at a medical conference when a hurricane hits, stranding her in Florida trying to help others. When Jake hears of the hurricane and Aria being in danger, he can’t help himself. He jumps on a plane and heads to once again rescue the woman he can’t get out of his head.

Susan May Warren has done it again! Just when I think she is at her peak for creating the most entertaining and adventurous story, she outdoes herself. The Heart of a Hero, the second edition to the Global Search and Rescue series, picks up where the first left off. This time readers get to dive deep into the lives of Jake and Aria. In the beginning, I was thinking this one wasn’t going to be as action packed as the first installment as it took a little longer for the action to start but once it did there was no stopping it. Even though it took a little bit to get going, the end had me glued to my seat, it was so well written with tension at all the right places.

Aria is a strong capable woman but does have a lot of issues to work through. She is a perfect character for readers to be able to relate to. Her drive to help others, even at the expense of her own happiness, is obvious. You can easily see that in her heart she wants to be with Jake but doesn’t feel she is worthy of anything good.

With most romantic suspense writers, there is a formula used and if you read a lot of romantic suspense it doesn’t take long to figure out that formula. Once you have figured that out the books become less enjoyable. Susan May Warren is one of the best Romantic Suspense authors I have read because just when I think she is starting to follow that formula she surprises me with the next story. She puts her characters in hard spots and makes them work to get out of them. It isn’t easy and usually very messy, but in the end, she uses their mess to portray a beautiful message to readers. If you have never read Susan May Warren and you love romantic suspense adventures, you are missing out. I would recommend reading the first in this series before diving into this one to get the back story of the characters and fully enjoy the story.

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

Dead End

Dead endAuthor: Nancy Mehl

Series: Kaely Quinn Profiler #3

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: March 31, 2020

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Kaely Quinn is back in her most heart pounding case yet as Nancy Mehl delivers the third installment in the series!

Kaely Quinn thought she had left her past behind her. After changing her name to get away from her father, a famous serial killer, she joined the FBI to stop predators like him. But when a body is discovered in a field near the town she grew up in and then more bodies are unearthed dating back to the time he killed with his same MO, she is brought in to see if she can get information from her father on who he is working with. Kaely doesn’t know if she is ready to face her father and she hasn’t spoken to him since he was arrested and put in jail. The more Kaely pursues this new killer, the more she feels she is losing her own identity. With each new clue that turns up, Kaely feels more involved in the case and more afraid for her own life. Will she be able to solve the case before anyone else dies? Or is she the killer’s next victim?

If you have read any of this series, you know you are in for a real treat. There is action, suspense, drama, and a sprinkling of romance at just the right moments. I love the relationship Kaely has with Noah and the way her relationship with her father is portrayed. Both those relationships are so very different but so vital in shaping how she approaches life and what she is dealt. I have been waiting since the first book in the series to meet, Ed Oliphant, the notorious Raggedy Man serial killer. Nancy Mehl sure did deliver with these interactions. Even though they were few and we didn’t get to see much of Ed, it was just the right amount along with his interactions with Kaely made for such good story telling.

Throughout this book I felt I was really able to connect with Kaely as a character and understand her more. There was such a good character arc for everyone in this story; the way it played out in the final few chapters were executed so well. Readers will feel it is a very satisfying conclusion to the series, even if we might want more of the story was tied up nicely. It’s one of those fine lines an author must walk of continuing on with the characters or leaving the reader wanting just a little bit more. There easily could have been more but at what cost? Would we have loved the story or tired of the characters? Ending here is the perfect place to leave readers enjoying these characters and the adventures they went on. Even though this can be read as a standalone, I would recommend reading the series from start to finish to get a feel for the story and characters. Readers that enjoy a good mystery with characters full of flaws and looking for what matters most in life will not want to miss this one.

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

Fire Storm

Fire stormAuthor: Nancy Mehl

Series: Kaely Quinn Profiler #2

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: August 6, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The second book in the Kaely Quinn Profiler series is one of the best I have read in a very long time! By far the best by Nancy Mehl!

Kaely Quinn has put her heart and soul into her work as an FBI profiler and left little time for anything else, including family. When her brother calls to tell her their mother has been diagnosed with cancer and he needs help taking care of her, she agrees to put aside their differences and try to come salvage the relationship with her mother. As she heads to Dark Water, Nebraska, Kaely thinks about the emotional distance between her and the rest of her family. She tried to put as much space as she could between everyone related to her after her dad was arrested as a serial killer and sent to prison. Since then, she has tried to show she is nothing like him, even changing her name to distance herself. Dark Water has been dealing with a string of fires that the fire chief claims is a misuse of space heaters during the cold winter, but Kaely feels otherwise as she studies the pattern of infernos. After her arrival and another fire, she is determined they have a serial arsonist in their town but unraveling who is behind it all might just prove to be too hot to handle for Kaely Quinn.

It has been some time since I have read the first book in this series, but I remember loving Kaely and wanted to see what she was up to in Fire Storm. This book is by far the best I have read by Nancy Mehl. The characters have more heart and are easy to relate to, which pulled me in and wouldn’t let go, even after the last page is turned. I loved the way she played the dynamic between Kaely and her family. Each member of the family has their own demons they are struggling with and they inevitably take it out on each other. The tension when Kaely is in the room with her mother or brother is so tight, I felt a little uncomfortable at times, which was fantastic. The writing really brought these feelings out in me and I applaud Mehl on her use of family dysfunction to move the story along.

There were lots of points throughout the story that readers will think they know who is behind the fires but then on the next page they will question their theories, which makes this read so much fun. Kaely’s dynamic with her partner Noah is another aspect of the story I think readers will really enjoy. The slow build and tension between the two of them played out beautifully. As good as Fire Storm is, I am anxious to see how the third book in the series, Dead End, holds up. I recommend this book to readers that enjoy a good romantic suspense book with enough suspense to keep them on the edge of their seat and up reading far past their bedtime

Standoff

standoffAuthor: Patricia Bradley

Series: Natchez Trace Park Rangers #1

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: May 5, 2020

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Patricia Bradley knocks it out of the park with the first installment of her new series! Twist and turns, romance, action and suspense galore keep readers glued to the edge of their seat until the very last page.

Brooke Danvers is ready to join her father and become a Natchez Trace park ranger. On the night he is supposed to let her go for a ride along to start her training, he cancels on her and then his dead body is found. It is ruled a suicide, something Brooke refuses to believe and uses her first days on the job trying to prove her father would never kill himself. Luke Fereday is one of the only people in town to believe her and wants to help prove her case. Working with Luke isn’t going to be easy. She hasn’t seen him in years, and the last time she did, he broke her heart. Luke is working undercover trying to take down a large drug ring in town and keeping his secret is going to be harder than ever as he grows closer to Brooke. Trying to keep his distance without hurting her is going to be difficult as his feelings for her continue to grow.

Standoff was a perfect start to this new series. I loved Brooke and Luke as the main characters. The little mysteries throughout of who was behind the murders played out so great and kept me intrigued all the way through. Luke was a complicated character, but he had a lot of heart and I enjoyed seeing him open up and grow closer to Brooke. Starting her job with the death of her father hanging over her and then transitioning to her life being in danger with the investigation will keep readers flying through the pages to find out what is going to happen. The history that Brooke and Luke have helps move the story along as well as their relationship. There was plenty of suspense and the romance moved smoothly except for the end, which, to me, just felt too rushed. That is the only drawback I have with this story. That said, I enjoyed the story very much, but wish the ending would have played out a little smoother. I will be curious to see how the next in the series will play out using some of the minor characters in this book.

I recommend this book to readers that enjoy romantic suspense and characters they can relate to and feel a deep connection to. Since this is the start of a new series, it is the perfect time for readers new to Patricia Bradley to jump on board and find a great new author.

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

The Girl Beneath the Sea

girl beneathAuthor: Andrew Mayne

Series: Underwater Investigation Unit #1

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: May 1, 2020

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

With quick, witty characters and an ending that left me thirsting for more, I can’t wait to see what adventures await in the future for this group of characters!

Sloan McPherson has worked hard to overcome her family’s past as underwater treasure hunters and scammers. Even so, she hasn’t strayed far from the water and works for the police as a diver to recover evidence. While on a dive to find artifacts for her professor at the university where she is studying, she recovers a body dropped in the water while she is diving. When it is discovered she knows the dead woman and could unknowingly be connected to what happens, her colleagues are suspicious of her and keep an eye on her every move, along with the killer. While under watchful eyes, Sloan must turn to the only ally she can think of, the DEA agent who put her uncle in jail who she has loathed ever since. As they work together to uncover facts, it becomes clear that this goes deeper than either of them could have imagined. If they don’t discover the truth quickly, they might not make it to the surface before they run out of air.

Underwater Investigation Unit, also known as legal pirates, is such a great concept for this book. I loved Sloan and her desire to be more than what everyone saw her as because of her family’s past. She worked hard to show she is more than a scammer like her father and uncle, and even though she doesn’t want to see her father in that way, it’s what it is. But when she needs his help most, her father proves he loves her more than a treasure and wants to do right by her. The dynamic between Sloan and each of the other characters is crafted perfectly, her attitude switches between her father and her new partner, and again between her daughter and her ex. There is plenty of danger throughout and Sloan uses all she has learned to keep herself and those around her safe. I felt each moment she was being chased and with each terrifying heartbeat she has in danger, I felt it right there in the moment. I love when I can feel those moments while reading, it is rare and a beautiful thing while engaging in a story. One thing to note is that this story does have a fair bit of language that is not suitable for young readers and is intended for a mature audience. Readers that enjoy an engaging, dynamic, and entertaining story will not want to miss this one. I recommend The Girl Beneath the Sea to fans of thrillers and if you haven’t ever read anything by Andrew Mayne I recommend starting right here.

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

Airborne

airborneAuthor: DiAnn Mills

Publisher: Tyndale House

Release Date: April 28, 2020

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A timely novel about a virus outbreak on a plane that threatens the lives of all aboard and puts the country on the edge of a terrorism outbreak. DiAnn Mills has outdone herself in her latest novel that readers will not want to miss!

FBI Agent Heather Lawrence has needed a vacation for a long time and when her marriage falls apart, she decides to take the vacation they never did. Only a few hours into her flight, she is awakened by a scream for help. Passengers begin showing signs of an unknown infection that spreads quickly and proves to be deadly. By the time the flight lands in New York, the passengers are quarantined at either a hospital for the sick or a secure facility for the ones showing no symptoms. Even though Heather and her husband are separated, she hasn’t wanted to tell him she is pregnant after he left her and said he never wanted to be a father since it would interfere with his medical aspirations. Dr. Chad Lawrence has tried his hardest to put everything he has into finding cures for horrific illnesses and now finds himself the prime suspect in this attack. Heather must decide if Chad is capable of something like this or if the man she married could really have changed so much and put her life in danger along with so many others. Time is not on her side as she searches to find the killer before anyone else falls ill.

DiAnn Mills has outdone herself. Airborne is by far the best book Mills has written and one of the very best I have read all year. It has been an incredibly long time since I have been sucked into the pages of a book unable to put it down until the final pages were finished. The first third of the book flew by as fast as if I were on the plane myself flying across the country. The middle took a little longer but only because I was concentrating so hard to figure out who the villain was. The research for this book shows on every page and the best part about it all is the fact that it isn’t boring. Detailed subject matter such as this it can get to be over the head of many readers with the small points that would turn it into a science class causing readers eyes would glaze over. Not here! DiAnn Mills kept me glued to the story with a vested interest in each of the characters, even the ones that didn’t have a lot of time in the story. I haven’t been so enthralled in a story in a very long time and love the way this one played out. I hate to even classify this one as romantic suspense because the romance played such a small part; this doesn’t need a classification in a genre, it is just a GOOD book to read and enjoy. Good luck to all other authors beating this one for my best of the year. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a great read that will keep them on the edge of their seat and satisfied as the last page turns.

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

The Jerusalem Assassin

jerusalem assassinAuthor: Joel C. Rosenberg

Series: Marcus Ryker #3

Publisher: Tyndale

Release Date: March 17, 2020

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Marcus Ryker is back in another thrilling, action-packed novel that is sure to keep readers turning the pages!

Marcus Ryker has led anything but a normal life. He spent years in the secret service protecting the president. He was an accomplice for the assassination of the Russian president. He helped stop North Korean warheads from being deployed by the Iranians in the South China sea. Shouldn’t he take a break? Apparently not. As part of his deal to be allowed back into the US after the Russia incident, Marcus now works for the state department. President Andrew Clarke is set on starting a middle eastern peace summit in Jerusalem and Marcus couldn’t disagree more, but no one wants his opinion. He is placed on an advance team to promote the message to Muslim leaders prior to the president’s arrival. But a new terrorist organization known as Kairos is beginning to strike fear into the world. They take out one of the top leaders in a church shooting in Washington DC and then astound intelligence agencies when they manage to detonate a body cavity bomb on the steps of 10 Downing street. With time working against him, Marcus must work to find out who is behind this new organization before the world ends.

This has become one of my favorite series by Rosenberg. Each series has a unique set of characters with a very flawed protagonist who takes on multiple antagonists across several books. Marcus has had his share of trials and tribulations. Everyone around him seems to die including members of his own family. He perseveres through each trial, but he has to have help from friends and family. This book centered almost exclusively on Marcus the entire time. The previous two books had some other characters fleshed out more, but this one is mostly continued development on Marcus. I feel like there may be a fourth book based on the portion with the Russians in the earlier part of the book. At least I hope so!

I like that Marcus has a strong faith in this book. I also like that his character grows to realize that his life may finally be worth living after the death of his wife and son from the previous books. I hated that some of the characters from the previous books were killed off, but that is what keeps the momentum moving in the right direction with this type of book. It is good that there is a current events thriller series that is clean and fun to read at the same time.

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

Flight Risk

flight riskAuthor: Cara Putman

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: April 7, 2020

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

With sharp characters and a story within the story, Flight Risk is a perfect blend of excitement, adventure, romance and suspense.

Savannah Daniels has had her share of troubles in the past. Her ex-husband left her after going off to war and when he came back, he had a baby with her sister who struggles with substance abuse. Being there for her niece is one of the most important things in her life right now, along with building her law practice. Finding love is one of the last things on her mind, especially after her ex-husband is in an accident and winds up dead.

Jett Glover is a reporter who has been working all his life to get over finding his father dead of suicide by reporting the truth. When he comes across the story of his career, he can’t pass it up and spends months doing research to make sure he comes to the right conclusion. His story is an expose that features a celebrity baseball player and a group of men involved in sex-trafficking; one of the men happens to be Savannah Daniel’s ex-husband. When Jett releases his story, it leads to a chain reaction of events, an airline crashes, the men connected to the sex-trafficking start to mysteriously die, and Savannah’s new clients are implicated in the crash. Together Jett and Savannah work to figure out what is fact and what is fiction with his story and all they have been told before one or both of them wind up dead.

Cara Putman is fantastic at writing romantic suspense. Her main characters as lawyers are totally relatable and easy to cheer for. I particularly enjoyed Savannah and her relationship with her family, it was messy but so real. Even though she doesn’t want reminders of her failed marriage, she also wants nothing more than to be there for her niece who is a shining jewel to her in the chaos of her life. She realizes her sister isn’t the greatest mother, and no matter how much she has tried to help, Savannah realizes she can’t make her sister change if she doesn’t want to. The only thing she can do is be there for her niece and make sure she feels loved. Jett could have been a difficult character to relate to but Putman writes him in a way that even when it is shown that he made a mistake, he tries so hard to make it right you can’t help but cheer him on in the process. Almost every aspect of the story is well thought out and written perfectly except for a few scenes that had me scratching my head by the end of the book as to why they were necessary. I don’t want to say too much about them and give anything away. If you take those out of the equation there is nothing at all for me to complain about. I would recommend this to fans of legal thrillers with a hint of romance, fans of Putman’s previous work will thoroughly enjoy Flight Risk.

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

Silent Shadows

silent shadowsAuthor: Natalie Walters

Series: Harbored Secrets #3

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: March 31, 2020

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A story with a lot of heart, suspense and relationships that demands the reader’s attention and love. Such a great combination!

Pecca Gallegos moved to Walton, Georgia to start a new life with her son and try to escape his father and his gang. She has worked hard to become a nurse at a Home for Heroes and loves her work and the community she has found in the small town. Her newest patient, Captain Colton Crawford, comes with a disorder that hasn’t been diagnosed yet and is making it hard for him to function and find a purpose for his life. At first, they clash but it doesn’t take long for Colton to find a connection with Pecca’s son who had to have a leg amputated when he was a baby and just wants to be able to play sports like the other kids his age. The more time he spends with the two of them, the more Colton’s heart aches to be able to find love and have a family. But the life Pecca left behind comes back and puts their lives in danger. Colton wants to protect them but is afraid he won’t be able to with his disability. With each passing day, the danger becomes greater and their feelings for each other grow stronger. Will he be able to help them or put them in more danger?

The heart of this story is Pecca and her relationship with her son; that is what drew me in and kept me going. There are so many more great aspects that will keep the reader turning the page as well. Pecca’s number one goal is to keep her boy safe, and that has been hard with the hand she has been dealt since before he was born. I love the fact that even though she has been through a lot of hardships, she never once tries to throw herself a pity party; instead she focuses her energy on helping others which helps lift her own spirits as well. Colton on the other hand has no faith that his life can turn around and almost gives up trying. It will be easy for readers to find someone in this book to relate to, whether it be Pecca, Colton or even one of the other minor characters throughout. I will say I didn’t see the twist coming towards the end and loved how that played out. This is the third book in the series and readers will enjoy the addition to the series or even as a stand-alone. The romance plays out as well as the suspense in this book and that is a hard dynamic to pull off, but Walters was able to do that here. I would call this her best book yet. I recommend this to readers that enjoy a good, clean romantic suspense read with lots of heart.

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