The Promise of Pierson Orchard

51hkTM8SZVL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_Author: Kate Brandes

Publisher: Wyatt McKenzie

Release Date: April 22, 2017

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Sort of like a soap opera, but with fracking.

Pierson Orchard has seen its share of hardship and tragedy. Started by Jack’s grandfather, it has much become a family business. Only the orchard is unforgiving and those that work in it never get a break. Jack’s father’s devotion to the orchard caused their mom to run. And now it has cost Jack and Leann their marriage. But when Jack’s estranged brother Wade returns to the town of Minden as an employee for Green Energy, a gas development business, folks in town start to listen to him because he can offer them money for their mineral rights. But when the first fracking well causing toxic trespass into Jack’s orchard, tension begins to run high in the town. Add the unfinished business that Wade left with Jack’s wife before he left, and things might come right down to a bloody pulp.

So, first off, this story is full of wonderfully flawed characters. Everyone one of them is damaged and has a chance for redemption throughout the story. Unfortunately, not all of them find it. I really enjoyed the science behind this story. I live in west Texas, where fracking is a normal part of life. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen around the area that I live, but it is still a widespread industry that affects employment and can easily become a highly charged issue. The same is true in this story. The townspeople always got along when they were in the same boat, but when they started getting money for their land, a type of social pecking order began to development. I also enjoyed have the story told form the four viewpoints of Jack, Wade, Leann, and Stella. That way I was able to easily understand what each character was feeling and how they were handling the situation.

There is some strong language throughout the story and one fairly explicit sex scene. I would recommend this book to mature audiences, especially if this is a field of interest to them.

 

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

 

Tosca Lee’s New Book!

The Lost Stories.pngIf you’ve read Tosca Lee’s book The Progeny, I hope you will agree that it was the best book in 2016.  At least I thought so, be sure to check out my review of it here.  Even more exciting is that the sequel Firstborn releases in ONE WEEK from today!  How exciting is that?  And if you are worried that the sequel doesn’t live up to it’s predecessor, I can assure you that you will not be disappointed.  This new book is just as incredible and I will be posting my review of it here very soon.

In the meantime, be sure to head over to Tosca’s site (http://toscalee.com/firstbornswag/) and check out what she has in store for those who buy the book!  She has some amazing swag to give away to those who buy the book.  And even more amazing swag if you buy two books (one for you and one for a friend)!

But to those that love to read (and write), you know that there are always stories behind the stories.  And Tosca has written those down and they are available to YOU!  Check out her site to find out how to get them!

Susan May Warren Interview

susan-may-warren

We were able to catch up with Susan May Warren and ask a few questions in anticipation of her upcoming July release A Matter of Trust.  She has a lot of interesting things brewing and we hope you learn something new about her as well!

Where did the idea for the Montana rescue series come from?

The Montana Rescue series is a six book series about the PEAK Rescue team, a search-and-rescue outfit located in the shadow of Glacier National Park. With a ongoing thread of mystery that runs through each book, each book highlights one member of the team, exploring their challenges, hopes and romances as they face danger and sacrifice. Set against the rugged, beautiful backdrop of Montana, the stories are taken from real-life events that show us just how faithful God in when our darkest fears come true.  It’s epic adventure and romance with a touch of wilderness suspense that I think my readers—both old and new—will love.

The next book, A Matter of Trust, is the third in the series, is it going to be the last or do you have any plans to continue with these characters? 

This is only the middle book! There’s sooooo much more fun ahead with the characters we met and come to love. Book four features Sierra, the team administrator;  book five features Ty, the co-helicopter pilot, and the final book is about Pete and Jess, the team EMTs.  And, of course, we still have to solve the mystery threat!

Do you prefer the romance or suspense scenes?

Oh, boy, I love them both. Both contain elements of risk and romance, right?  Because we fall in love with each other as we see our heroes or heroines save others. But there is always an element of risk when we give out our heart in a romantic scene. So, maybe the question is…is there really a difference between the two scenes in a well-written romantic suspense?

Which character in this series has been your favorite to write?

I think I love the romance between Pete and Jess the most—they’re both so capable, but have dark, painful secrets that keep them from giving out their hearts. I am enjoying watching their romance develop (or fall apart!)

When writing do you have any sort of routine to help you get the words flowing?

I talk through the scene with my writing partner, Rachel Hauck, before I start writing it, and that helps me know what I’m going to write and get into the emotion of the character. I also figure out the blocking (how the characters will move in the scene) as well as the stakes and tension of the scene. Once I talk it out, it’s much easier to start writing.

Who are some of your favorite authors and recent books you have read?

I’m a huge fan of Rachel Hauck—she’s my go-to beach read. And I love Ronie Kendig and Dee Henderson. I’m also a fan of Melissa Tagg and Beth Vogt. And I am a recent fan of Lori Benton.  As for recent books—I just finished Rachel’s newest book, The Wedding Shop.

What is on your to be read list?

I recently download a number of Tamara Leigh’s books, so I’ll be reading through her historical time-travel series. I also have Dani Pettrey and Lynette Eason’s newest books in the wings, so lots to fill up my weekends!

What project are you working on next?

I just finished the rough draft of Ian and Sierra’s story, book four in the Montana Rescue series, so I’ll be working on rewrites and editing that project. It’s set in the Caribbean, so maybe I need a little more research, too!

Almost Missed You

Almost Missed YouAuthor: Jessica Strawser

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Release Date: March 28, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A wonderful debut novel that will leave the reader guessing at every turn and wondering if we ever really know the people we have in our lives.

Violet and Finn’s relationship has been one people talk about as the couple that was meant to be. They came to be together by not one, but several coincidences.  A chance meeting on a beach, another with a note on a website to find each other again, and friends that connect them as well.  Three years into their marriage Violet thinks things are perfect.  They have a little boy named Bear, whom they both love and are all going on a family vacation back to the beach.  One afternoon as she is relaxing on the beach, Finn offers to take Bear back to the hotel for his nap so she can relax.  As the afternoon wears on, she packs her things and heads back to the room to find it empty, no Finn, no Bear.  All of the boy’s things are gone, it’s like they were never there to begin with.  Violet finds herself living her worst nightmare and starts to wonder if she ever really knew the man she married.

Caitlin and Finn have been best friends for years. When he takes off with Bear it is Caitlin he runs to for help, demanding she help hide them or he will reveal a secret that could destroy her family.  Caitlin is faced with a difficult decision, help her longest, closest friend to protect her secret, or do what she knows deep down is the right thing to do.

This story is told from alternating viewpoints of Violet, Finn and Caitlin and back and forth from present to past. It is rare that an author can pull something like that off, but Jessica Strawser did an outstanding job with Almost Missed You.  For a debut novel, this was outstanding.  Rarely have I read a book that made this kind of emotional connection, was a thrilling page turner, and made me think so hard about the possibility of this actually happening in my own life or the lives of people I know.  It was incredibly easy to see the depth of love all of these characters had for their children and also the hard choices they were facing with each step they took.  Violet lived every mother’s worst fear, losing a child, and more astounding to someone they thought they could trust.  Finn was the epitome of someone in need of help dealing with pent up issues keeping him from moving forward with his life.  And Caitlin is stuck in the middle.  She knows about Finn’s past and doesn’t want to betray him in any way but can’t stand to see Violet hurting.  I think the reason this story worked so well was the fact it was told from so many different viewpoints.  We got to see more of what was happening compared to if it was just from one character’s viewpoint.

I love finding new authors that I will want to stick with for years to come and I am happy to say I think I found one in Strawser. I recommend this book to all those that enjoy a good mystery that is tight with emotional connections that will keep you turning the pages well past bedtime.

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.

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold

Kitty HawkAuthor: Iain Reading

Series: Kitty Hawk Flying Detective #1

Publisher: CreateSpace

Release Date: December 3, 2012

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A high-flying adventure that is full of twists and turns with an overall good message to boot.

Kitty Hawk is about to set out on her first big adventure flying her plane to Alaska to study and document the habits of whales before she starts college. She has been flying for as long as she can remember and feels certain she is ready for this big adventure.  Kitty soon finds herself in the middle of an even bigger adventure, chasing gold thieves and getting caught up in an epic chase with roots deep into the gold rush of long ago.  Before all is said and done, Kitty will have had the adventure of a lifetime, made friends with people she never would have imagined, and learned so much about herself.

Kitty Hawk was a great adventure read for young adult readers, which is the target audience. I only have one issue with that, there were a few instances of harsh language, especially one use of GD, which I have a very hard time seeing in a book intended for young readers.  That and the print being very small makes it a little harder for reluctant readers to want to pick up and stick with the book are my only negatives.

Kitty is a very adventurous girl that I think can be a very good role model for young girls. Even though she is just out of high school, there are times that she seems a bit younger, maybe middle school age.  I really liked the way things didn’t turn out how you would have expected.  I don’t want to give much away, but I will say I enjoyed the relationship between Kitty and Charlie and his brothers.  There were a few points where I wasn’t sure if things should have played out the way they did, but it was all quickly cleared up, just make sure to not give up and keep reading.  There is enough mystery to keep the readers guessing and a nice history lesson about the area dealing with the gold rush.  I really enjoyed the way the characters were so knowledgeable about their different areas, Kitty and flying, Charlie and so many other areas.  Overall I really enjoyed this book, (minus the few harsh words), and will recommend it to mature young readers.

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

Police at the Station and they don’t look friendly

PoliceAuthor: Adrian McKinty

Series: Detective Sean Duffy #6

Publisher: 7th Street Books

Release Date: March 7, 2017

Rating: 2 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The sixth installment in the Sean Duffy series is a mystery that just didn’t work for me.

Set in Belfast in 1988, Detective Sean Duffy is called in to solve a series of murders involving a crossbow and drug dealers. Things become more mysterious the further Duffy investigates and he soon discovers that things are much more complex than they appeared.  Duffy is soon in a race for his own life as he is being held at gunpoint and forced to dig his own grave.  To top things off, his home life is falling apart and he doesn’t know how to fix either his personal life or his professional one.

I wanted to like this book, I really did, but unfortunately it fell flat for me. It could be that it is the sixth in a series and I hadn’t read any of the previous.  Then again, I feel that it had great potential, even for a reader that, like me, hadn’t read any of the others in the series.  It is a crime drama and set in the past in Belfast.  I usually love crime dramas, when well written, but here it just didn’t work for me.  Being set in Belfast the language was a little different than what I am used to reading, as well as lots of profanity that was needless in my opinion.  I rarely do this and hate to say that this was a book I just didn’t want to finish. I got almost two-thirds of the way through and had to push myself to power through the remainder.  I’m sure fans of the Sean Duffy series will enjoy having prior knowledge of the characters but this isn’t one to start in the middle of a series like this.

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