Dangerous Illusions

Dangerous Illusions

Author: Irene Hannon

Series: Men of Valor #1

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: October 3, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Irene Hannon is back with a new series that will have readers questioning each character and their intentions until the very end, making for an exciting and downright good read.

Trish Bailey has had a rough few years. Her job is demanding, she is taking care of her ailing mother, and now she is having trouble remembering things. When her mother dies of a mistake in her medication, Trish finds herself under police scrutiny. She starts to question if she made a mistake or really is having memory issues. Detective Colin Flynn is called to investigate and the more he looks into things the more they don’t add up. The more he searches for answers the more evil he sees around this case that is touching him more than he thought possible. As Colin continues to discover what really happened to Trish and her mother, Trish finds herself in a precarious position as her feelings for Colin grow, along with the danger to her own life.

Dangerous Illusions is the start of a new series for Irene Hannon and I can’t wait to see where she goes with these characters. I loved the way she weaved the mystery of the memory issues with Trish and how it made her question everything. The suspense played out well throughout until the very end where the romance aspect took over. Everything with the characters flowed naturally, even the relationships. Even though Trish is dealing with the memory issues, she never comes across as a weak character. She is willing to do whatever she has to in order to find the truth and set things right. I don’t want to spoil anything but there was a nice little twist with one of the characters that worked really well with the story. I thought I had it figured out at one point but was pleased with the way it played out.

I have enjoyed Hannon’s writing for a while now and am pleased to say that this book continues my enjoyment with her writing. This was a very enjoyable read that makes me eager for the next in the series. All fans of Irene Hannon will want to check out Dangerous Illusions, I highly recommend it.

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

The Last Girl

The Last GirlAuthor: Nadia Murad

Publisher: Tim Duggan Books

Release Date: November 7, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

You sure you want to know the truth about ISIS? Read this and find out about inhumane trafficking.

Nadia Murad is a Yazidi who spent her entire life in the village of Kocho in Iraq. She was from a large family who worked as farmers.  The families had to be large to have enough children to help work the farms.  The more kids you had, the larger of farm you could handle.  Still, she went to school and learned the material placed into Iraq’s educational systems, which also wasn’t fully truthful.  Yazidis have been persecuted for several years by several different groups.  They are different in that they have no holy book such as the koran or a bible, but keep their religion alive by passing stories down between priests for centuries.  However, they have also survived alongside Sunni Arabs and Kurds without any problems, until ISIS came.  The day they came into town, everything changed.  The routes out of town were cut and nobody was allowed to leave.  Fear drove people to stay inside their homes, but nothing happened to them until the day they told the people to either convert to Islam or be taken to their holy mountain.  Hopeful, everybody came to the schoolhouse to be taken to their holy mountain only to have all of the men and older women slaughtered.  Young boys were sent to an ISIS training compound and the young women were forced to become sex slaves for ISIS militants.  Nadia was bought, sold, raped, and abused in a sickening cycle that is condoned by the caliphate.  Miraculously, She was able to finally escape to safety and tell her story.  Nadia has been featured in Time magazine and told her story in front of thousands including the United Nations Security Council.

These are the stories that never make it to the news in the United States. Stories that you can’t believe are true, but know they must be.  Stories that make you sick when reading them.  Stories that make you cry for the women that have gone through this and are going through this right now.  Stories that make you believe in human rights activism because someone told her story.  Someone wants it to stop.  That someone is Nadia Murad and her story is sad, yet incredible.  How this can happen in today/s society is truly bewildering.  Living in the United States can be easily taken for granted.  News stories are centered around rating points rather than what is going on in the world.  Nadia’s story inspires me to make a difference.  To help others.  To put an end to the violence and sex trafficking.

I hope if Nadia reads this review, she will know she has an ally a world away to fight for her.

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

The Realms of God

Realms of GodAuthor: Michael Livingston

Series: Shards of Heaven #3

Publisher: Tor

Release Date: October 29, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A terrific ending to a fantastic trilogy!

Twenty years has passed and we find that time has once again continued to move on. King Juba and Cleopatra Selene have reigned in peace without interference from Augustus Caesar or Tiberius.  The ark of the covenant has been safely place in Petra in an abandoned tomb, continually watched over by Titus Pullo and Lucius Vorenus, who are also raising Miriam, the daughter of Caesarian and Hannah, who gave their lives protecting the ark.  But evil still lurks by the way of the demons released by King Juba while trying to get revenge for Tiberius’s rape of Selene.  The demons have acquired two of the shards and are now in league with Tiberius to retrieve the remaining items and will stop at nothing for ultimate power.  Can the unlikely band come together a final time to make a stand to protect the world?

I have not enjoyed a series this much in a long time. After reading the first novel, I couldn’t wait for the second.  After the second, I endured another agonizing year for the third.  After the third, I am happy to say that I enjoyed the conclusion even though I long to see it continue out even more.  The character’s personalities really brought this to life for me.  It helps that I’m a huge fan of ancient Rome as well.  I haven’t been much of a historical fantasy fan in the past, but this series has put it on the map for me.  Bringing together some of history’s well known characters and coupling them with an intriguing story is the way to go!

This particular book did not make me research as much as the first two did on the campaigns of Octavian. Even so, I did have to look up more on the city of Petra to get a feel for where I was being taken.  Livingston is a master of tales and I highly recommended this series to all book lovers.  There is some slight harsh language and a brief sex scene, but nothing is really explicit.  Even so, mature YA readers and up should handle this book.

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

Too Far Down

Too far down

Author: Mary Connealy

Series: Cimarron Legacy #3

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: October 3, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The Boden family is back with their biggest, deepest adventure yet. Done miss the final installment!

The Boden family is once again under attack. The CR Mining Company is hit by an explosion killing men and casting another dark shadow upon the family. Cole Boden moved back to New Mexico after spending years in the East and loving the city life. He has been running the mine and trying to find aspects of the mining and ranching life to keep him happy. Melanie Blake has caught his eye in ways no woman ever has before. She has been fiends of the Boden’s forever and wants to help tackle the latest threat to those she cares about. She never expected to find herself falling for one of the Boden’s but can’t help the feelings she has for Cole. Together they will work to save the family and the land they have all worked so hard for.

As the final book in the Cimarron Legacy series, Mary Connealy, ties up all the loose ends and leaves readers with a satisfying end to a fun, spirit filled story. Which each book focusing on a different member of the family, we really get a chance to know the characters and develop a relationship with them making it easy to laugh and cry with each joy and trial they go through. The Boden family has had more than its fair share of trials and tribulations and this latest takes them deeper than ever before. Mary Connealy has an uncanny talent for creating a story that is both suspenseful and fun to read. It’s hard to find the balance between those two but Connealy has made each of her books entertaining and enjoyable by using wit and humor to make the story flow.

The relationships flowed well keeping with the suspense of the story and the troubles the Boden’s have experienced. At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy the story with Cole as the main lead but he stepped up and brought the story to life. There was so much with his background that helped the story take on new life when I thought it was finished. Melanie is a tough gal that isn’t willing to put up with being talked down to or taken advantage of because she is a woman, which I liked from the start. Being able to bring her into the family dynamic brought about a new view to the family and what they were going through. She has been around them from the start and gave the reader a different perspective. I recommend this book to fans of Connealy’s previous works and romantic suspense lovers alike.

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

The Crooked Path

The Crooked Path Author: Irma Joubert

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: November 7,  2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Another fantastic, yet emotionally gripping story set in South Africa during World War II and beyond.

Lettie Louw is the daughter of one of the town’s only physicians. As such, she was also friends with the daughter of one of the only lawyers in town as well.  Sure she had other friends too, but as they grow older, she realizes that she doesn’t have their hair or their figures.  Even so, she has always had a crush on her friend Klara’s brother De Wet.  However, one night she says another friend Annabel and De Wet kissing and resolves that she will not succumb to her emotions and throws herself into her studies.  Upon graduating with a medical degree like her father’s, she returns home to join his practice and live her life her way.

Marco Romanelli is the a scholar who has no interest in politics, until he meets Rachael Rosenweiz. Italy in the late 1930s has suddenly become a fearful place for all Jews, including Rachael and her family.  As Hitler spreads his hatred across Europe, Mussolini is right behind him.  Marco realizes that he must find a safe place for Rachael and her family, but all the borders to safety are closing, so they must head into the mountains.  But winters in Northern Italy can be just as severe as a concentration camp and Marco endures much more than he can handle or bear.  Eventually his health becomes severe and he decides to relocate to South Africa where his brother Antonio has gone.  While there, he meets a young doctor that begins to change his perspective on life.

As always, this book in an incredible excerpt of historical fiction from a time period that I love in an area that I’m beginning to feel like I understand more with each Joubert novel that I have read. What made this even more enjoyable were the intertwining characters between this book and Child of the River.  It was such a treat getting to see the other side of conversations that happened in the other book with a fresh perspective to give even more life to several of the characters, both good and bad.  I also enjoyed that part of the book actually continued the story of Child of the River as it played out even further.

I must warn you, this book is very emotionally taxing. If dealing with lost loves wasn’t enough, now she has brought childhood polio into the mix, making it even more difficult.  Even so, I would read this book another twenty times because it is just that good.  The way she balances historical advances and events with the characters is simply wonderful.  I cannot get enough of her writing.  My synopsis are pretty generic, but once you’ve read it, I’m sure you will see why I wanted you to read this book in the first place.

Highly recommended for historical fiction lovers and to those who just love a good book!

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

Death on Tap

death on tapAuthor: Ellie Alexander

Series: Sloan Krause Mystery #1

Publisher: Minotaur

Release Date: October 3, 2017

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The newest series by Ellie Alexander is as fun and entertaining as the quaint town and pubs it is set in.

Sloan Krause has everything she has ever wanted with the family she married into. Growing up an orphan didn’t leave her many people to count on and she has grown to love and depend on her husband and his family. Everything changes the day she walks in on her husband having an affair. She leaves him and inevitably leaves the family brewing business.  It doesn’t take long for her to get connected to the newest brewery owner in town, Garrett Strong. As Garrett and Sloane get in a rhythm of working together, things get interesting when a body is found in one of the fermenting tubs. Her husband is the lead suspect and when she finds herself being followed, she wonders if there was more going on under the surface than she ever knew.

As the first book in the newest series by Ellie Alexander, readers can expect to find all the fun, humor and mystery they have come to love from Alexander and her series. I love the way Alexander weaves the mystery together with humor making the story light and fun. There is nothing particularly difficult to figure out with the mystery of who the killer was or any of the secondary mysteries throughout the story. With that said, it doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of the story.  These are not supposed to be, at least in my opinion, edge of your seat, who done it mysteries that leave you guessing till the very end. Garrett and Sloane develop a good relationship but Garrett himself needed a little further development. Even though a lot of details are repeated and can be glanced over, the story itself is fun and an enjoyable read. I recommend this to readers that are a little older and might enjoy the brewing scene along with the fun humor of a cozy mystery.

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

The Enoch Effect

The Enoch EffectAuthor: Rick Acker

Publisher: Waterfall Press

Release Date: May 23, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A fun blend of murder mystery, science, and legal thrillers that will give the reader a wild ride full of creative supporting characters that bring the novel to a riveting conclusion.

Leigh Collins has built up her career on being able to turn up the key pieces of evidence at just the right time in order to sway a jury. When Dr. Elijah Rhodes and his life’s work are lost in a lab fire, and Biosolutions looks to cash in on a $100 million dollar insurance policy. Her advisory is Daniel Rubinelli, assistant general counsel for the biotech giant. As soon as the case begins, Leigh and Daniel Clash causing a grueling case.  As they continue the case, they realize that the doctor might have found a “kill switch” for cancer cells and others are willing to kill to get their hands on his research. Leigh and Daniel have to find a way to work together and stay alive in order to solve the case that could affect many.

Rick Acker has delivered another intense and exciting read. I read this after reading Death in the Mind’s Eye and was not disappointed. His style of writing is very different than most I read. The combination of legal thriller along with the murder mystery and psychological aspect of the book makes it so different from others on the market.  It is obvious he is very knowledgeable in what he writes about, but the nice thing is he doesn’t get so technical that the reader gets lost in the technical jargon and loses sight of the real story. Leah and Daniel were destined to be against each other from the beginning but came together to help solve the case when it really mattered. There is a slew of minor characters that contribute to the story making it flow and providing a little bit of a lighter aspect to the story at times.  I am finding that he is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors and can’t wait to see what comes next.  I highly recommend this to readers that enjoy a great legal thriller with plenty of mystery and intrigue throughout.

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