Almost Mortal

Author: Christopher Leibig

Publisher: Koehler Books

Release Date: May 1, 2016

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A legal thriller with a supernatural twist!

Sam Young is an emerging criminal defense attorney that only takes cases from the public defender’s office.  He’s good at his job, but he knows it is because of these minor psychic abilities that he has developed.  Those that work with him just know that he knows when he says something is going to turn out a certain way.  When a nun named Camille Paradisi contacts him regarding the identity of a serial killer on the loose, who regularly comes into confession, things begin to take on a different turn.  Camille wants to protect her priest and gives Sam an anonymous journal that she believes was written by the serial killer.  As Sam reads the journal, he begins to discover there is more to Camille than meets the eye, as well as himself.

Most of this book entails building the world and setting up the characters for this story.  The premise of the book is very interesting and there is plenty of both courtroom drama as well as supernatural experiences.  Readers will need to pay attention to really understand what is going on with Camille and Sam as it becomes especially important in the next book.  Basically, it feels like this book was pretty much just written to set up the second book in the series.  Readers will need to start with this one to get the background to make the second book really fall into place. 

There is a lot of foul language throughout the book as well as multiple implied sex scenes, though nothing is graphic.  This book is recommended for mature audiences.

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

In Her Tracks

Author: Robert Dugoni

Series: Tracy Crosswhite #8

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: April 20, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Robert Dugoni is at his finest when writing a Tracy Crosswhite novel! The newest addition in this fantastic series comes close to the first installment in terms of being my favorite! Fans of the series, and thrillers in general, will not want to miss this one!

Tracy Crosswhite is returning to work after an extended leave in her hometown of Cedar Grove and now finds her spot with the A team gone as she is reassigned to the cold case unit. With her young daughter at home, Tracy considers the new assignment a good fit with less hectic hours and a chance to solve some of the cases others have forgotten about. Her first case is an abduction of a five-year-old girl whose parents, going through a bitter divorce, are the prime suspects. The case is five years old and Tracy is ready to give it fresh eyes and see if she can find the clues that have evaded everyone else. Along with her cold case, Tracy ends up helping her old partner, Kinsington Rowe, with the investigation into a missing young woman. The search leads them to others missing and Tracy has flashbacks to the case that made her chose the path she has been on for over twenty years: her sister’s disappearance and murder. Tracy must follow her instincts to try and solve the case and not lose herself in the process.

Tracy Crosswhite is one of my very favorite series and favorite characters. I absolutely love the way Dugoni has crafted the character of Tracy and every one of the supporting characters. In Her Tracks is a fantastic new addition to the series as I found myself drawn to the cases Tracy was investigating. With her now being a mother, she has a new and different connection to the cases she works.  Of course, there is still the wonderful dynamic between her and Kinsington and the tension between her and their boss, Johnny Nolasco, which drives the story even deeper into the readers hearts. Dugoni is one of the very best when it comes to writing suspense; he has found a way to craft a story that pulls readers in and makes it hard to do anything but finish the story. That’s what always happens with a Robert Dugoni book, you pick it up and you are transported to the world of his imagination and it is a fabulous get away of fictional delight.

I recommend this book to anyone that loves suspense, action, drama, and so much more. If you haven’t read any of the previous Crosswhite books, you can still enjoy this one but not as much as if you start with the beginning of the series and see it all the way through.

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

A Gentle Tyranny

Author: Jess Corban

Series: Nede Rising #1

Publisher: Tyndale House

Release Date: April 6, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5.

After a slow start, this turned out to be a story that I really enjoyed and can’t wait to see what comes next.

A new look at the popular YA Dystopian genre that so many readers love. A Gentle Tyranny sets up in the world of Nede where women have taken over and have “Gentled” the men. It has taken years of research and testing to be able to tame these men and set up a new hierarchy that on the outside seems tame, but on the inside, nothing is as it first seems. Raina Pierce is seventeen and has been selected to compete for the apprenticeship of becoming the Matriarch of Nede. Her grandmother currently holds the position leading some to believe that Raina is the obvious choice. The trials she must go through show Raina that all that she learned growing up was only part of the story. The world is not what she expected and not so gentle after all. Will she be selected to take over and make the changes so desperately needed? Or will she even be alive to see who wins?

A Gentle Tyranny started really slow; I almost gave up on it but am glad I stuck with the story. It was hard to picture the new world and connecting with these characters was difficult. In any new series, especially a dystopian such as this, the world building takes time.  About halfway through, things started to pick up and catch my attention. Once I felt the connection with the characters, I was more invested in the story and couldn’t wait to see how it played out. I really enjoyed Raina in the forest and her interaction with the men, so different from what she was led to believe.

As a debut novel, Jess Corban finally found her footing and took off. While this isn’t my favorite of the year, I will definitely be giving the next in the series a chance. Hopefully now that the world is built, the pace will be quick and the enticing characters will continue to engage the readers. I recommend this to fans of dystopian that are willing to be patient and let the story go where it will and be happy with the payout at the end.

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

Blackberry Beach

Author: Irene Hannon

Series: Hope Harbor #7

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: April 6, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Fans of the Hope Harbor series will enjoy this newest edition with a few new characters and some favorites making recurring appearances.

Katherine Parker has escaped to Hope Harbor to try and make some very difficult life decisions in peace. The rental house she has come to try and relax is tucked away overlooking the pacific and Katherine uses the time away from everyone to think about the direction her life needs to go. With the last year being wrapped up in scandal and more attention than she would like, the slower pace of life in Hope Harbor is just what she wants.

Local coffee shop owner Zach Garrett has left the corporate life to follow his dreams of opening a coffee shop in the quant town of Hope Harbor. His family life is rough, and he has plenty to keep him busy at the shop without getting involved with his new neighbor. When Katherine and Zach end up working on a project in town together, they both notice the sparks flying between the two of them. The more time they spend together, the harder the decisions become, and both must decide if love is worth fighting for or if they are better parting ways now before they get hurt.

Blackberry Beach is the latest installment in Irene Hannon’s Hope Harbor series. At first, I thought the story line was going to go the way of Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks, with Katherine running and hiding from an abuser; I was wrong on that front and once I realized that the pace slowed up a little, but not much. I’ve said this with most of the Hope Harbor books and I’ll say it again, Charlie is the best character and what keeps me coming back for more. I was happy to see him in a fair number of scenes and his interaction with so many different characters. For a contemporary romance it is top notch; a fast read with characters that interact in believable and relatable ways. If you are into romance reads such as these, I recommend this one, even if you haven’t read the others in the series you will still be able to enjoy this by itself.

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

A Piece of the Moon

Author: Chris Fabry

Publisher: Tyndale House

Release Date: April 6, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Fabry never fails to give readers a story that will be enjoyable with flawed characters that readers are easily able to bond with.

Gideon Quidley has achieved great wealth throughout his life and when he receives a divine vision telling him to hide his treasure based on bible verses, he sets out to do just that.  When people find out what he has done, treasure hunters search high and low based on the clues.  It becomes an obsession for some people.  For others, it’s become more of a joking matter.  In the small town of Emmaus, West Virginia, mooring radio talk show hosts Waite Evers and TD Lovett, tend to joke about the matter weekly.  But when one of TD’s estranged friends goes missing, he is suddenly pulled into the hunt for his friend over the treasure.  As TD dives into the clues, he begins to discover his own real treasure that isn’t just of this earth.

Leave it to Chris Fabry to set up an incredibly interesting tale that takes readers back to 1981.  I’ve never been disappointed in one of Fabry’s novels and this one kept me intrigued all the way through.  His characters are all incredibly flawed, just like real life, and have the ability to easily connect with readers.  Waite was just one of many, but he saw the good in everybody but himself.  TD felt he could never be more than he was and didn’t know what the point of trying was.  With plenty of supporting characters, readers will easily find someone to resonate with and cheer for throughout the book.  Fabry’s years of experience on the radio show with the technical knowledge included in this book!

The story centers around an earthly treasure of riches, but has a theme of discovering the treasure of ourselves with our heavenly father.  I love the way that this book ended.  I’m not going to say more than that, but I think all readers will enjoy the final wrap up!

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

Present Danger

Author: Elizabeth Goddard

Series: Rocky Mountain Courage #1

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: April 6, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A fantastic start to a thrilling new series! Goddard gives readers a thrill ride with a perfect setting and engaging characters that make a wonderful story.

After being with the FBI for years, Jack Tanner has come back home to Montana to his aunt and work as a detective for the local police. When he is called to out on a search and rescue mission in the national forest, he ends up finding a dead body. In order to find the killer, he must work alongside US Forest Service Special Agent Terra Connors. He and Terra have a history and it isn’t a good one. He left her to join the FBI and seeing her again brings up all the feelings he thought he had left behind. It doesn’t take long for Terra to tie the murder victim with dangerous traffickers involved in archaeological artifacts. Each new clue they turn up brings the danger closer to home and Terra and Jack have little time to find the killer before someone else gets hurt or worse.

Elizabeth Goddard has started this new series with a bang! The action started at the beginning and had me hooked. Terra and Jack have a complicated past which makes their working together that much more difficult and makes the story that much more entertaining. Giving them history shows the tension between them as they work the case more believable. The setting in the rugged mountains kept me engaged in the story. I loved the way Terra worked hard to prove herself with her past and living up to her mother’s reputation, even with all the odds stacked against her. Both Terra and Jack have pasts they are either trying to live up to or get away from and show they are better than that. With each of them holding on to the past, it is hard of them to see what is right in front of them in the present.

As with most romantic suspense novels, the romance side is difficult if rushed and I don’t want to give away anything but the relationship felt a little forced at the end to me, that would be my only negative comment on the whole book. So many great characters in this book and such a great story that I can’t wait to see what comes next. I recommend this story to those that love a good romantic suspense read and will enjoy the start of a new series. 

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

No Unturned Stone

Author: David James Warren

Series: The True Lies of Rembrant Stone #2

Publisher: TriStone Media

Release Date: April 6, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The second edition in The True Lies of Rembrant Stone pulls readers even deeper into the story and has left me dying for more adventures with Rembrant and the gang!

After receiving a watch that helps him travel back in time and solve cold cases, Rembrant Stone returns to the present, but nothing is as he remembers it before going back in time. He solved the past crime and saved lives, but upon his return, his family is gone and he is a shell of the man he once was. To fix what he messed up, he must break the one rule of time travel, don’t mess with the past.

Rembrant Stone is the perfect book if you are looking for an escape, adventure and characters that will make you feel as if you’ve known them your whole life. The second installment picks up right after the first left off and has more twists, turns and jaw dropping moments. When Rembrant returns and nothing is the same, he was warned not to mess with the past, but he can’t help it; going back might be the only way to save what’s ahead of him.

Each new chapter brings new adventure, drama, tension, and more. As with the first in the series, No Unturned Stone shows what happens when powerhouses, Susan May Warren and James Rubart team up with David Warren to give us some of the best storytelling I have read in a very long time. These stories read so incredibly fast you can sit and read in one day. Short and to the point with no extra fluff that makes the story drag. Plenty of description to make the readers feel as if they are right there with the characters and experiencing what they are at the same time with the bonus of clean writing that can be recommended to anyone. So many stories today have such harsh language or mature themes that aren’t appropriate for younger readers and it is refreshing to have a good, well-written story that has nothing like that. I recommend this book to those that are looking for a story that will be both entertaining and engaging, even if you haven’t read anything by any of these authors this is the perfect series to start with. You really need to start with the first in the series and enjoy a time traveling masterpiece that will transport you to a whole new world. 

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

Covet

Author: Tracy Wolff

Series: Crave #3

Publisher: Entangle Teen Books

Release Date: March 2, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The third book in the fantastic Crave series is not to be missed! Tracy Wolff has crafted characters that readers will fall more in love with and be on the edge of their seat waiting to see if they survive the trials before them!

Grace thought the roughest thing she was going to have to deal with after the death of her parents was moving to Alaska to live with her cousin and uncle. That was, until she finds out she is now at a boarding school for the paranormal and she is a gargoyle, her cousin is a witch, her boyfriend is a vampire and his dead brother who was living in her mind is now alive and saying he is her mate. Katmere Academy has its share of high school drama and now that Grace has found herself in the crosshairs of The Circle and Hudson has an arrest warrant issued for him, she finds herself on the verge of a breakdown trying to figure out what to do and how they are all going to come out of this disaster alive.

I have fallen in love with the entire Crave series and characters. Grace is a fantastic protagonist for this series. A lot of comparison between this and Twilight, but Grace is so much stronger than Bella. She starts the series with the devastation of losing her parents and grows so much stronger through each crazy new even she encounters. In Covet, there is so much going on. This is not a story you can breeze through by any means; it is a lot to unpack and digest but so worth the time spent with these characters and all they go through.

Hudson is probably my favorite character, and to say that after what we are led to think about him in the first book shows how well Tracy Wolff has developed this character. With that said I have to say that all of the characters have amazing arcs and developments from book one until now, each character has shown growth, moments that surprised me and made me have a deeper connection with them and the story.

My one and only complaint about this book is the harsh language, I have let it go through the first two and was hoping it would ease up a little, but it has only gotten more widely used. Good story telling can be done without all that, especially if you are marketing to a young adult audience. It might not bother some and I can look past it for the most part if the storytelling is done well, which it is here, but I still need to say something about it with a YA audience.

That really is my only complaint, this is the kind of story that I can’t wait to finish anything else I have going on and get back to reading to see what is going to happen. The description is also so vivid that as I am reading, I see it playing out like a movie in my mind, not something that happens with every book I read, even though I wish it would. More writers need to look at these kinds of books and apply these methods to their own works. I recommend this book to those that enjoy a great paranormal story with lots of action, love, heart, suspense, and danger at the turn of every page.

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

Winterborne Home for Mystery & Mayhem

Author: Ally Carter

Series; Winterborne Home #2

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Release Date: March 2, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The follow up to the first Winterborne Home is just as good, if not better, with more mystery, action, adventure, and so much more! Young readers are in for a real treat!

After all the craziness of finding Gabriel Winterborne alive and helping get his uncle arrested for attempted murder, April and the others living at the Winterborne estate thought they had found a home and happy ending. The kids are the only ones who know that Gabriel Winterborne is not only a famous billionaire but also a vigilante. He’s not the only one, another masked figure breaks into their house and the kids fear for their safety and home they have created with one another. April and her friends must work together to solve a mystery that is decades old and find a way to stay together.

The second edition in the Winterborne Home series is just as good as its predecessor, an action-packed adventure that had me more drawn in and connected to the characters than the first one. One of the best aspects about this installment was the character connection. I was connected in the first but not on the level I was with this one. April had a way of pulling at my heart strings at every turn. She has been through so much and just when she thinks she has a home and family, everything gets turned upside down once again. After April, Tim would be the strongest character and I hope we get to see him develop further. It would be nice to see more from all the other kids as well. I feel as if there is still so much story to tell in this series and hope there is more to come.

This is the perfect book for Middle Grade readers, a fast paced, engaging story but at a level that won’t be over their heads and will keep them into the story and wanting more. I read this one ahead of my ten-year-old reading it to be able to talk with him about it and see if it would interest him and be appropriate for his level. I am happy to check off a big yes to all of those. Not only will those his age enjoy it, but parents can read it and enjoy as well. It is refreshing to read/be able to recommend a good, clean, engaging book for young readers. This will be a great series for boys or girls and those that love a good mystery.

Winterborne Home for Vengeance & Valor

Author: Ally Carter

Series: Winterborne Home #1

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Release Date: December 29, 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Ally Carter has crafted a fabulous adventure for young readers that will keep them turning the page and engaged in a great story.

April has bounced from one foster home to another after being left by her mother at the age of two. After a trip to the museum when she sees an emblem that resembles one her mother left her that is on a key she keeps around her neck, her life gets even more complicated. The museum catches fire when she is there, and she doesn’t remember how she got out of the museum. Now, April is taken to a new home, a big creepy mansion that is home to a group of other orphans. April feels out of place; in her mind she isn’t an orphan, her mother is coming back for her. The longer she is at Winterborne Home, the more confused she gets with secrets behind closed doors and one secret leads to another. April and the other kids must work together to solve the mysteries in front of them before they all lose the home they have come to love.

Ally Carter can now be added to my list of favorite children’s authors. Winterborne Home was a fun, engaging mystery that will leave kids wanting more and more of the story to read. To me, this is the best kind of story, especially for kids as it contains so much mystery and young characters that learn to rely on each other when they have been alone for so long. This is the first Middle Grade novel Ally Carter has written and I am so excited to see what all she comes out with next. Her writing these characters was spot on, April and the other kids are written with the perfect mannerisms and characteristics of the age they are portraying. Each one has unique characteristics that makes them stick out, Sadie is an inventor, Tim a charmer, and Violet is shy but has just the right thing to say at exactly the right moment. Young readers will find a character they can relate to whether they are a boy or girl, adventurous or more introverted, either way there will be relatable aspects to the story for everyone. I read this so I would know if it would be a good fit for my ten-year-old son and even though the main character is a girl I know he will still love the story. I recommend this to young readers eager for an adventure and getting ready to get lost in the pages.