The Edge of Over There

Edge of over thereAuthor: Shawn Smucker

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: July 3, 2018

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

I love it when the middle of a story gets filled in!

The Tree of Life changed everything. It changed the way Abra saw the world.  It changed her relationship with her family.  It even changed her relationship with Samuel.  On the day Tennin fell and Abra became the next guardian of the tree of life, she started to notice changes around her.  It started in the hospital where she and Sam were recovering.  That is where she met the next demon taking over the search for the tree.  She was even more ruthless than Jinn and more ambitious.  She not only wanted here, she wanted over there too.  Even with all Abra had learned, nothing could have prepared her for what was going to happen in New Orleans.  No one saw it coming or could have guessed what was going to happen.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, even more than The Day the Angels Fell.  This one fills in part of the gaps between when Samuel and Abra destroyed the tree and Abra’s funeral, at least one event in particular.  The previous book left that section pretty wide open and I’m glad this was the transition to the next phase.  I enjoy the way that Smucker is weaving these worlds together to intertwine with popular stories that have been heard concerning different events.  I also enjoyed the story of Leo and Ruby and how it tangled into Abra’s story, even though parts of it left me aching.  I hope to see more of Ruby in the next book and maybe she can find her way into Samuel’s life.  Either way, I’m sure it will be another fantastic read!

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

Called to Protect

Called to protectAuthor: Lynette Eason

Series: Blue Justice #2

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: July 31, 2018

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

By far the best book by Lynette Eason I have read and maybe even the best book I have read all year. The tension was so crisp keeping me on the edge of my seat until the very end!

Chloe St. John is one of the top officers in the K-9 unit with her partner Hank. After a rough break up, Chloe has decided Hank is the only man she wants in her life.  She and Hank have been working on a human trafficking case that has ties to her missing cousin.  US. Marshall Blake MacCallum has been on protective detail of a judge in town after the judge receives death threats for his tougher stance on human trafficking.  When Blake’s daughter goes missing, he receives a message telling him that if he wants to see his daughter alive he has to kill the judge.  A task force is assembled to take down the people behind everything and Chloe and Blake work together to find his daughter and hopefully find answers to what happened to Chloe’s cousin.

This has got to be one of the very best romantic suspense novels I have ever read. Most of the books I read lead up to that point of biting my fingernails to see what is going to happen and then it stops the tension before it actually gets to that point, something that is truly frustrating.  I usually feel that the author could have carried the action and tension a little further, even without getting gory or to a point that would turn readers away.  Eason found a way in Called to Protect to make every page a nail-biting experience.  I felt a connection with Chloe from the very beginning.  Her passion for her job and her passion for helping those around her pulled me in and had me rooting for her to succeed.  I had a few questions about Blake and if I should really connect with him at first but it didn’t take long to find that connection and root for him as well.  The plot line of this story is a very sensitive subject as it deals with human trafficking.  As much as we would like to say it doesn’t exist, it does and we have to do what we can to keep it from expanding.  Without giving anything away, I loved how it played out.  It wasn’t a quick unrealistic ending, each character brought exactly what they were supposed to at just the right moment to let the scene come together perfectly.  The ending is left open for the next in the series and I feel certain it will deal with Penny, Chloe’s cousin and after the little we read of her here I can’t wait to see what more is in store for these characters.  I recommend this to readers that enjoy a fast paced suspense read that is going to leave you thirsting for more.

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

The Immortal Gene

Immortal GeneAuthor: Jonas Saul

Publisher: Vesuvian Books

Release Date: July 17, 2018

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A new police procedural series with a bit of a sci-fi twist.

Jeffrey Harris takes families as he needs them, which is every so often. He has been coined as the Blood Eagle killer because of the shape that he leaves the father in when he is finished.  He has never been caught because he is very, very careful.  It’s always the same: take the mother, take the father, and then take the children.  He is very good at what he does, which is why they’ve never caught him in the years he’s been doing this.

Detective Jake Wood has been working with his partner Kirk Aiken for quite some time and have developed a friendly relationship. Jake is shaken when the Blood Eagle killer murders an entire family in his jurisdiction.  While on site, he comes in contact with horses and suddenly discovers that he has an allergy after he goes into shock.  While in the hospital, he comes in contact with an old friend who needs him to come down to Brazil.  He initially declines, but then heads down there after he finds out that it may be life or death.  While there, he gets into some serious consequences that leave him in the hospital for at least 18 months.  Upon release, Jake finds that his fiancée has moved on and so has his partner.  Jake also learns that he suddenly has some new reptilian powers after a dose of snake venom.  When he finds himself under tough circumstances now, Jake can use his powers to help protect himself and others.

This book started out as a typical serial killer novel with a little suspense here and there mixed with a lot of personal troubles for the protagonist of the story, Jake Wood. From there, it begin to mix with some sci-fi and sort of turned into a vigilante/police procedural mash up.  It was definitely entertaining throughout, but had some weak dialogue at points.  There were also times that the serial killer didn’t follow his profile, which makes for an interesting fiction concept, but not so much in real life.  There was some strong language throughout much of the book as well as some sex scenes that make the book more suitable for mature audiences.  I suggest readers give the book a chance before they make final decision.

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

The House at Saltwater Point

House at Saltwater PointAuthor: Colleen Coble

Series: Lavender Tides #2

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: July 3, 2018

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The follow up to The View from Rainshadow Bay is even more entertaining and suspenseful making it a must read and might just be Coble’s very best yet.

After learning how to fix up houses from her dad, Ellie Balckmore has turned into a house flipper in Washington state. When her sister Mackenzie disappears, Ellie knows there is more to the story and can’t believe her sister is dead.  She follows the only clues left: a massive amount of blood left on her sister’s boat, indicating she went into the water and probably won’t find her body.  Mackenzie has been tense with her ex-husband who is also Ellie’s partner in flipping houses.  Even though Ellie doesn’t believe Mackenzie is dead, Coast Guard Intelligence officer Grayson Bradshaw is sent to investigate Mackenzie’s involvement in a cocaine theft.  The one thing that unites Grayson and Ellie is the search for the truth, a fact that might bring them together or keep them far apart from each other as their feelings intensify.

After reading The View from Rainshadow Bay, I kind of felt I knew what to expect with The House at Saltwater Point, a lot of romance and a little suspense.  As I read, I found myself sucked into this story much more than the previous in the series.  The chemistry between Ellie and Grayson was straightforward from the beginning and brought to a whole new level with the tension they both had to deal with while trying to figure out what happened to Mackenzie.  Not only did you have the suspense of what happened with Mackenzie and the romance firing up between Grayson and Ellie but we also find out a little about Grayson’s missing sister.  I feel that that will be explored more during the next book because so many questions were left unanswered.  Usually with unanswered questions in a book, I feel a sense of betrayal with the author, always wanting to know more of what is to come, but this was left with just the right set up for the next book.  I loved that this was such a clean read with no language, no violence, but still plenty of suspense to keep the story moving forward.  I can’t wait to see what will happen in the third book to bring everything full circle with what we have been building up to through these first two in the series.  I recommend this book to fans of Coble and those that love a good romantic suspense read.

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

The Love Letter

The Love LetterAuthor: Rachel Hauck

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: June 12, 2018

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Two timelines combined with two love stories and the way Hauck brings them together is better than the best Love Letter ever written.

Chloe Daschle has become known as the queen of the death scene and is in dire need of a change. She doesn’t want to be cast in a movie to just be killed off at the end.  She wants to prove she can be deeper than what is shown on screen.  Romance has never been successful for her, either on screen or in real life.  When Chloe is given the script for the best love story she has ever read, she knows she is perfect for the role of Esther Kingsley.  The story is one of romance, war, and finding out if true love can really exist.  Jesse Gates, the screenwriter, has written this based off of a one-page letter found from his ancestors.  He has had rocky relationships in the past and doesn’t feel he deserves happiness.  Jesse wants to be deeply involved in the film and ends up as one of the extras. During a scene with Chloe, the chemistry is undeniable and they both start to play out their own love story.

I have to admit I had just a little bit of trouble getting into this book, a fact that surprised me since I have loved Rachel Hauck’s previous books. Luckily, I didn’t give up on the story and loved how it played out in the end.  The love stories, both in the past and present played out in such a way that worked beautifully for the characters and settings they were in.  There were some really special moments between some of the characters, in particular between Chloe and her dad and even Jesse and Chloe’s Dad.  A few moments felt a little slow, especially towards the beginning, but once the story was part way in it really picked up the pace and captured my attention until the very end. I don’t want to give away any spoilers but the ending is well worth sticking with the story.  Rachel Hauck is quickly becoming one of the best romance writers out there and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. I recommend this to readers that love historical romance and a love story that spans time.

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

Dead Drift

Dead DriftAuthor: Dani Pettrey

Series: Chesapeake Valor #4

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: July 3, 2018

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The final book in the Chesapeake Valor series gives fans what they have longed for with the story of Luke and Kate! The best in the series by far!

It’s been seven years since Luke Gallagher disappeared leaving all the people he cared about to wonder if they would ever see him again. He has been determined to stop a deadly terrorist before returning to the life he left behind. There is no way he can feel comfortable leaving the agency until the threat is neutralized.  When the threat returns close to home, Luke knows he can’t do it alone anymore and turns to his friends to help stop what could be the deadliest terrorist attack in history.  Kate Maxwell has been perfectly happy running her own private investigator firm, even if she has used it to help keep track of the one man she loved and lost, Luke.  With Luke back in her life and working with her to track down a terrorist, they have more opportunities than she would have thought possible to be close again.  It’s hard for her to forget the pain he caused her but they have bigger problems, like staying alive with the terrorist targeting them next.

I love when a series I’ve fallen in love with wraps up and leaves a smile on my face with the conclusion. I’m sure I’m like most fans of Dani Pettrey who have anxiously been awaiting the story of Luke and Katie.  Each book in the series has had its own high points and this one brought everything full circle with all the characters we love.  One of the best aspects of Dead Drift is finally finding out who killed Griffin’s sister! I loved the way that plotline played out, although I will say I wish the suspense would have gone just a little longer and not wrapped up so quickly.  That’s just me though, I feel like our characters can always be in just a little more danger for just a little longer before things play out.  It is hard to have so many characters and story lines and still be able to wrap things up without leaving loose ends, something Pettrey has become a pro at with her series.  The Cheasapeake Valor series might have become one of my very favorites, not only for the characters but also for the way they connect with each other and bring the reader right into the story.  I hate that this is the last book in the series but can’t wait to see what comes next for Pettrey.  I recommend this book to fans of Romantic suspense and of authors like Dee Henderson, Lynette Eason and Susan May Warren.

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

StarPassage Book Three: Honor and Mercy

Star Passage 3Author: Clark Rich Burbidge

Publisher: Deep River Books

Release Date: June 21, 2018

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The time travel and adventures are more explosive than ever in the third installment of the this exciting series.

After his adventures with the Star, Mike wants to help others around him struggling which may end up causing more trouble than any of them could foresee. The leader of the Trackers has made it to the present time and has plans to cause problems for all those involved in the Starpassages and more. The Tracker wants to use Mike’s new friend to bring the others down and take possession of the Star himself.  Now using the Star is a guessing game of danger and determining if it is worth the risk to travel becomes harder than ever.

The third book in the StarPassage series picks up right where the previous left off and takes us on more crazy adventures. The storyline continues as before with a back and forth between the Carsons’ and the Trackers giving us a view from each side.  In this installment, Burbidge dives deeper into the faith and Christianity than in the previous two books, but at no point does it get too preachy for the intended audience.  Young adults reading this are going to find this a fun read with the history lessons and the travel back and forth in time.  Not only is it an adventure but it is a chance to learn something fun for readers.  I was a little concerned that with all the travel back and forth and the changing of history we were going to see a ripple effect, and maybe that could work in to the next installment, but for die hard fantasy/science fiction fans they may have a small problem with that part of the story.  Overall this was a very enjoyable read and one I think kids 8-12 years of age will probably really enjoy.  I like the fact that it is a clean read and parents won’t have to worry about what their kids are reading and finding inappropriate material within. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next in the series.

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