Category Archives: Fiction

Lethal Legacy

Title: Lethal Legacy
Author: Carol J. Post
Publisher: Harlequin
ISBN: 978-1-335-54400-1c

“If he knew Andi, she wasn’t going to give up until she had turned over every stone. She’d learn what had weighed so heavily on her father,” Bryce considers in Carol J. Post’s novel, Lethal Legacy.

~ What ~
Part of the Love Inspired Suspense series, this two-hundred-and-eighty-eight-page pocket-sized paperback targets those who enjoy inspirational suspense with devotion to a parent and love. With no profanity or sexual content, topics of physical abuse, car accidents, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The book promotes that God helps us when we trust and call upon Him. An author’s note and inserts of other Love Inspired series books are at the end.

Second in the trilogy, this current-day short story is based mainly in North Carolina where divorced Andrea Wheaton has returned to her father’s beloved but worn-down cabin after her parents die in a car accident. Unable to avoid the past, Andrea encounters her next door neighbor, policeman Bryce Caldwell, who was her high school sweetheart a dozen years ago, after there is a burglary in the cabin. When she learns someone is searching for something on the old property, she tries to protect her father’s legacy and respect while staying ahead of the perpetrators with Bryce’s help.

~ Why ~
The fast-paced tale shows how a young couple wonder if the flame they felt between them years ago can be reignited or smothered by the past circumstances. I like the author’s way of portraying her broken and imperfect characters who are urged to seek God for help. Like her other books, there is no eternal plan of salvation given, but the underlying story is about trusting God to protect and save.

~ Why Not ~
Similar to the prior book in the series, this one is as predictable regarding romance between two hurt people. Those who do know Jesus Christ personally may not appreciate the undertone of Christianity being a relationship with Christ, not a set of rules. Some may not care for the similarities in accidents portrayed and that the answer to her father’s dilemma was provided early in the book and easy to spot.

~ Wish ~
Since this short novel barely allows its characters to develop fully, it is good that there is a final book in the series that may bring conclusion, although there is little updating of the characters from the first book in this one.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a suspenseful fiction that includes romance and dealing with one’s past, this one shows how determined a daughter can be to clear her father’s name.

Thanks to the author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lethal-legacy-carol-j-post/1127887382

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Book Review, Christian, Fiction

Formula of Deception

Formula of Deception: A NovelTitle: Formula of Deception­­­­­
Author: Carrie Stuart Parks
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 978-0-7180-8385-4

“Hey, and listen. Be careful. Three people connected to this case are dead,” Murphy is warned in Carrie Stuart Parks’s novel, Formula of Deception.

~ What ~
This three-hundred-and-twenty-page paperback targets those who enjoy a Christian suspense fiction about a series of murders in Alaska. With no profanity, topics of abuse, murder, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes an author’s note and biography, acknowledgments, eight discussion questions, and advertisements.

This tale set in current day Kodiak, Alaska, Murphy Anderson is hiding from a serial killer who she thinks has her sister. When she listens to an Alaskan hunter’s death bed confession, she pretends to be a forensic artist who draws his haunting memories of men who mysteriously died on nearby Ruuwaq Island. By assisting the local police, she helps uncover a World War II Quonset hut that may have been used for producing biological warfare. As those she meets tell her she is a “soul searcher,” those who are connected to the mystery are killed, forcing her to wonder who is on her side.

~ Why ~
This is a fast “who-done-it” read that makes the reader keep guessing and wondering as Murphy tries to stay one step ahead of the killer who is trying to keep the past buried. I like that it was well written without any errors.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like stories that contain a belief in God or are a mystery suspense will not be interested in this book. The romantic interlude between the protagonist and a cop was brief. Some may get confused by the plot as it jumps around with Murphy being the only one to figure things out before anyone else does.

~ Wish ~
I wish the last third part of the book was not rushed or scattered with the characters being tossed about as possible perpetrators. The conversations in Murphy’s head of her sister talking to her were confusing and disruptive to this reader.

~ Want ~
If you want to learn about some Alaskan World War II events that are shrouded around a murder mystery with one woman solving the crime, this may be a good read for you, but I finished it with a foggy brain, wondering how it was put together.

Thanks to Book Look Bloggers for this complimentary book that I am not obligated to review.

This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/formula-of-deception-carrie-stuart-parks/1127455177

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Thief of Corinth

Thief of CorinthTitle: Thief of Corinth
Author: Tessa Afshar
Publisher: Tyndale Fiction
ISBN: 978-1-4964-2866-0

“I was not planning to make a life of thieving. My actions would be an aberration,” Ariadne confesses in Tessa Afshar’s novel, Thief of Corinth.

~ What ~
At four-hundred pages, this historical Christian novel targets those interested in a fictionalized story that includes the Apostle Paul from the New Testament. With no profanity, topics of thievery and rape may not be appropriate for immature readers. Using the English Standard Version of the Holy Bible, the NIV and NLT are also referenced. The ending includes a chapter of another book by the writer, author’s note, acknowledgments, ten discussion questions, and the author’s biography.

Written in first person, this engaging Biblical-backed tale is told by sixteen-year-old Ariadne, a young girl who has run away from her mean, unloving mother to her lonely father in Corinth, who has a deep secret that she unwittingly learns. Desperate to keep her father from being found out as the city’s infamous Honorable Thief, she emphatically assists him until the stakes become unbearable. As more family secrets are uncovered, she must decide what her and her family’s freedom will cost, especially when they met and befriend Paul, a Jewish convert with a fresh and unusual outlook on love and forgiveness.

~ Why ~
This love story not only shows the devotion between a daughter and father as well as a friendship of two who grew up together, but it also conveys how God’s grace and love conquers all, even when one has to forfeit and give up something they want. I enjoyed reading about the stadion races, community baths, luxurious pompous living of the wealthy, and broken family interactions. The budding romance between the Ariadne and a friend over the years was sincere and believable.

~ Why Not ~
Although the book is loosely based on Paul and I Corinthians 13, Ariadne is not a real character. As a predictable read regarding romance, it does have contain interesting historical content.

~ Wish ~
I wish more novels were written that promoted the Word of God and what it teaches in a venue that is Biblically related.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a fictional story that includes intrigue, romance, and Biblical application of God’s love, this one may grip your senses and make you think of your own relationships that need mending through loving and forgiving one another.

Thanks to Tyndale Blog Network for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/thief-of-corinth-tessa-afshar/1127416123

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Monster Boogie

Monster BoogieTitle: Monster Boogie
Author: Laurie Berkner
Illustrator: Ben Clanton
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 978-1-4814-6465-9

“Everybody does the monster boogie, the monster boogie, the monster boogie,” Laurie Berkner writes her song in her children’s book, Monster Boogie.

~ What ~
This forty-page oversize hardcover book is targeted toward children ages four to eight years old, especially those who like to sing, dance, and are not afraid of pretend monsters. With no scary scenes, the colorful but sophomoric illustrations by Clanton cover the pages.

In this short story that is in rhythmic verse adapted by a song by the author, a supposed scary monster visits two children as they are in their dark bedrooms at night. The purple creature states he is the biggest monster they have ever seen, with purple eyes, green teeth, and one who is scary. While one child is frightened, the other is happy, the monster starts dancing a boogie around the room. When the monster tells the children they can do the boogie too, all start dancing. The monster repeats most of the song, changing a few words, and they all do the monster wiggle around the room until the purple animal and his monster friends leave.

~ Why ~
This book is a nice, light read in itself with lots of repeated words that new beginner readers can recognize. Although the child is frightened at first, the ending expresses how fun it is to dance the monster boogie and monster wiggle. The colors are bright and noticeable.

~ Why Not ~
Children who are afraid of the dark and monsters may not appreciate this book at first, but it can become a helpful tool about monsters being fun by seeing them dance. Others may prefer books with more details and background designs to look at while someone reads the book to them.

~ Wish ~
While I like the idea that under the jacket cover the hardbound has sheet music to the song with the same name, I wish the book included a free CD or online link to download since I am unaware of the song so will have to play it for my grandchildren when they visit and I give them the book.

~ Want ~
If your preschooler to early elementary school grade child is into dancing and loves monsters, this may be a good section for them if they already know the song.

Thanks to Waldmania for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/monster-boogie-laurie-berkner/1127208821

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A Daring Venture

A Daring VentureTitle: A Daring Venture
Author: Elizabeth Camden
Publisher: BethanyHouse
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1882-8

“It was going to be a challenge to get him to reconsider the filtration plant, but it had to be done,” Rosalind determines in Elizabeth Camden’s novel, A Daring Venture.

~ What ~
The second of three in the Empire State series, this three-hundred-fifty-two-page paperback targets those who like historical fiction with suspense and romance during the early 1900s regarding chlorinating water for the first time in New Jersey. With some slang words, its topics of impropriety, physical abuse, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. A historical note, ten discussion questions, sequel information, author’s biography, and advertisements are included.

Set in 1908, twenty-eight-year-old Doctor Rosalind Werner is one of the few women biochemists who has a passion to cure water-borne diseases in drinking water. Upon coming to America, she hides her tainted past and works with Doctor John Leal to secretly add chlorine to New Jersey’s water, despite how New York’s newly-appointed water commissioner, Nick Drake, is vehemently opposed to the groundbreaking idea.

Between the lies and hidden truths of the doctor’s past and the professional’s uneducated background and anger issues, they wonder if they can fall instantly in love without compromising their core beliefs in how to have clean, healthy water for the people.

~ Why ~
I enjoy historical romance stories where I learn something new, and this one offers details about underground water systems, chlorination, and filtration. How the judicial system got involved and maintained decorum between the opposite approaches to the state’s water problems was interesting.

~ Why Not ~
Like the first book in the series, this one also contains a family feud dragging decades long and includes dealing with greed and personal wealth to gain status or favors. Others may not like the limited use of slang words. Again, there is little Christian influence mentioned in the story.

~ Wish ~
To me, it seems this tale has the same cookie-cutter format as its predecessor with the beginning interesting, informative, and engaging while the abrupt ending is about restoring relationships, family dynamics, and resolution.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a historical fiction dealing with overcoming shame due to the past and questioning mistakes made, this second in the series may interest you more than the prior one.

Thanks to Bethany House for this complimentary book that I am freely reviewing.

This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-daring-venture-elizabeth-camden/1127179090

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The House at Saltwater Point

The House at Saltwater PointTitle: The View House at Saltwater Point
Author: Colleen Coble
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 978-0-7180-8580-3

“I need to be concentrating on finding the cocaine and your sister, but the personal stuff keeps inserting itself,” Grayson explains to Ellie in Colleen Coble’s novel, The House at Saltwater Point.

~ What ~
Part of the Lavender Tides series, this three-hundred-and-forty-page paperback targets those interested in romantic suspense that involves searching for siblings while trying to stop a EMP bomb from exploding. Using slang words such as heck and darn, the topics of kidnapping, torture, murder, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes a note from the author, eight discussion questions, acknowledgments, author’s biography, and advertisements.

In this current day tale based in the state of Washington, Ellie Blackmore loves restoring and flipping old houses. When her sister goes missing and it appears she has met with foul play, Ellie tries to overcome her guilt of the past and find out what happened to her sibling. Meanwhile, Coast Guard Grayson Bradshaw arrives in town, searching for stolen cocaine and gets involved in the hunt for Ellie’s sister as he learns about his own past.

~ Why ~
This is a quick read that has everything from romance, guilt, fear, and heartbreak to covering up the past, wanting to forgive oneself, and making stupid mistakes that could cost one’s life. Without focusing much on God, the underlying prayers promote that God knows what we are going through and is in control.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like mystery stories with predictable romances may not enjoy this book. I found the combination of the EMP bomb, connections to North Korea, and a relationship with a terrorist unbelievable.

~ Wish ~
Having read a prior book in the series, I liked reading about some of the past characters, but I wish the story was more realistic and not cookie-cutter.

~ Want ~
Similar to the other book in the series, this romantic tale about a small Washington town that is involved in terrorism, kidnapping, and murder as well as finding the truth about one’s parents and siblings may keep a reader’s attention.

Thanks to Book Look Bloggers for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-house-at-saltwater-point-colleen-coble/1127455204

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Pidge Takes the Stage

Pidge Takes The StageTitle: Pidge Takes the Stage
Author: Michelle Staubach Grimes
Illustrator: Bill Deore
Publisher: Pidge Media
ISBN: 978-0-9908420-1-9

“Pidge stretched her mouth so wide it hurt. Tears welled in her eyes. What have I gotten myself into? She thought,” Michelle Staubach Grimes writes in her children’s book, Pidge Takes the Stage.

~ What ~
A sequel in a series, this oversized thirty-two-page hardbound targets five- to six-year-old children and readers who appreciate a fun story about participation, hard work, and acceptance. With no scary scenes, it would be best read to beginner readers based on some complicated words. Expressive, detailed illustrations by Deore cover the pages with the story coinciding with the artwork.

In this charming story, young Pidge decides to audition for a school play and include her rather unruly-behaved dog, Maverick. While everyone tells her the dog is not well trained and she has to learn how to sing properly, the girl believes in herself and her canine. After taking lessons and training her dog as best as she can, the day of the audition arrives, but chaos occurs when Maverick misbehaves. Pidge’s friend takes care of the beloved pet so she can audition and be selected for a different role in the play.

~ Why ~
This book is a clever way for a young child to learn about believing in oneself, practicing to get better at something, not giving up on others, being a friend, offering unconditional love, and trying your best in every situation. I love how the author promotes doing hard work and fortitude to achieve a goal.

~ Why Not ~
The book contains many multi-syllable words that may frustrate beginner readers, but it also is a way to learn new words. Those with visual issues may find some of the illustrations too busy and hectic.

~ Wish ~
While the book is for five and six-year-olds, I think it could be read and understood by younger children or read on its own by older kids in the lower elementary grades. I hope more adventures of Pidge are in the works.

~ Want ~
If you read the first in the series of Pidge’s life, this book will delight a young reader. It would be well received by a reader who likes to learn or try new things while accepting things do not always work out as planned.

Thanks to Finnpartners and the author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/pidge-takes-the-stage-michelle-grimes/1127921224

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Together Forever

Together Forever (Orphan Train Series #2)Title: Together Forever
Author: Jody Hedlund
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1805-7

“And there’s nothing more you could have done either,” Marianne tells her partner in Jody Hedlund’s novel, Together Forever.”

~ What ~
The second in the Orphan Train series, this three-hundred-and-fifty-two-page paperback targets those who like historical fiction with heartbreak and happiness in the 1850s. Containing no profanity, topics of poverty, abuse, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The author’s notes and biography, as well as advertisements for other books, are included.

When Marianne Neumann gets a job with the Children’s Aid Society, she has ulterior motives to search for her sister who she thinks is one of the orphans put on the trains headed west to find better homes. As the nineteen-year-old woman travels with over thirty children to handle their placing-outs, she shares the task with Drew Brady, a young man who is guilt- and grief-ridden about his past. While the miles pass on the rails, Marianne and Drew flirt, tease, and have playful bantering that may end up altering more than just their two lives.

~ Why ~
The author does a thorough job explaining how the organization placed orphaned children in homes across the states while showing the tender but sometimes heart-wrenching decisions to let go to those that need to find their way. I like development of many of the children, showing their fears and dreams as they are revealed.

~ Why Not ~
Some may wish the book was not so romantically predictable with its premarital passion. Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not like the lightly-sprinkled spiritual references. I questioned Marianne’s unchallenged lying and the unusual marriage engagements.

~ Wish ~
Having not read the first book in the series, I felt there remained many unanswered questions in this one. Due to the book’s ending, it may leave many wondering what happens next to its characters, which hopefully will be mentioned in the third book.

~ Want ~
If you like historical Christian fiction of orphan trains involving the Children’s Aid Society in America, this will peek your interest, but you may tire of the ongoing breathy romance between two protagonists as you wait for its ending.

Thanks to Bethany House for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/together-forever-jody-hedlund/1127179102

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Before I Saw You

Before I Saw YouTitle: Before I Saw You
Author: Amy K. Sorrells
Publisher: Tyndale Fiction
ISBN: 978-1-4964-0956-0

“You may not have a choice in this, but you can give your baby a chance,” Jaycee is told in the novel, Before I Saw You, by Amy K. Sorrells.

~ What ~
At three-hundred-and-sixty-one-eight pages, this paperback targets those who enjoy contemporary women’s fiction involving adoption, forgiveness, and complicated relationship dynamics. Using the slang word “heck,” topics of child endangerment, physical abuse, opioid addiction, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes a note, excerpt from another one of the writer’s novels, twelve discussion questions, author’s biography, acknowledgments, and advertisements.

In this tale told in first person, Jaycee Givens has had a rough upbringing growing up in a run-down Indiana trailer park when her mother is addicted to drugs, she feels responsible for her young brother’s death, and she hides her unplanned pregnancy. As she sorts through her life-changing options, she yearns to trust God’s soft voice with the help of newcomer Gabe’s determined friendship and a wise animal lover’s gentle advice.

~ Why ~
With the heroin epidemic ravaging America, this book points out how it can devastate not only the user but family members too. I appreciate how Jaycee works through her issues of not only breaking up with an abuser but also reconciling with loved ones, dealing with the loss of a dear friend, and making the ultimate decision to give her child a better life.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not like this read. Others may feel uncomfortable reading about the ramifications of drug use and heartbreaking decision to give up a child for adoption.

~ Wish ~
I wish all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence and the slang word was avoided. Due to the ending, continuing the story of some of the characters could be an anticipated sequel.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a touching, tender, and redemptive read, this one that shows how God knows and cares about what happens to us will keep you turning the page as tears gather in your eyes.

Thanks to Tyndale Blog Network for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/before-i-saw-you-amy-sorrells/1127416107

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Honeysuckle Rose

Honeysuckle DreamsTitle: Honeysuckle Dreams
Author: Denise Hunter
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 978-0-7180-9052-4

“What am I going to do? I can’t stand the thought of losing him,” Brady laments about Sam in Denise Hunter’s novel, Honeysuckle Dreams.

~ What ~
Second in the A Blue Ridge Romance series, this three-hundred-and-twenty-page paperback targets those interested in a romance regarding marrying for the sake of a child and not love. Including slang words such as darn and heck, topics of drug addiction, premarital sex, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending has acknowledgments, author’s biography, and advertisements.

In this current-day trilogy, divorced high-end car mechanic, Brady Collins, has learned that to keep custody of his six-month son, it is recommended he marry. Although he got divorced from his wife and she died, he finds out from a paternity test that he is not Sammy’s father and that his in-laws want custody.

Brady’s best friend, Hope, offers to marry him so not only he gets to keep the boy, but also she gets a ready-made husband and child without having to deal with the love issue. As time progresses and the two marry, her fears of the past overshadow the happiness a blessed marriage offers.

~ Why ~
Focusing on love being forefront in relationships, the story shows that even non-biological parents can offer support and unconditional love. I liked the author’s effort at the romantic and sexual energy between the protagonists while not being too risqué in the details.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not see the validity of praying and trusting in God which is minorly mentioned throughout the book. Others who do not like romantic stories about heartbreak and how to overcome the past may not be interested in this type of read.

~ Wish ~
Although I have not read any of the author’s other books, I was often frustrated reading this one. If it was not the one-night-stand pregnancy, rocky marriage, instant divorce, and then oddly-arranged remarriage within a year’s time, it was the rush to print that included miswords like dishwater instead of dishwasher (page 52) and Heather quoting her name when it should have been Audrey’s (page 220). I thought the writing was campy and unrealistic when it came to Brady and Hope being best friends for so long, yet she never confronted him when he married Audrey nor was he aware of her past fears.

~ Want ~
If you like unrealistic romances that are on the cutesy-wootsey side complete with baby talk, this could be your ticket, but I doubt I will read another of Hunter’s novels as this one was rushed and had an awkward premise.

Thanks to Book Look Bloggers for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://ww.barnesandnoble.com/w/honeysuckle-dreams-denise-hunter/1126606486

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