Friday, May 27, 2016

5-Star Review of "Brighton Belle"

Review of Brighton Belle

by Sara Sheridan


25852904

In post-World War II England, former Secret Service operative Mirabelle Bevan becomes embroiled in a new kind of intrigue…

1951: In the popular seaside town of Brighton, it's time for Mirabelle Bevan to move beyond her tumultuous wartime years and start anew. Accepting a job at a debt collection agency seems a step toward a more tranquil life. 

But as she follows up on a routine loan to Romana Laszlo, a pregnant Hungarian refugee who's recently come off the train from London, Mirabelle's instincts for spotting deception are stirred when the woman is reported dead, along with her unborn child. 

After encountering a social-climbing doctor with a sudden influx of wealth and Romana's sister, who seems far from bereaved and doesn't sound Hungarian, Mirabelle decides to dig deeper into the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death. Aided by her feisty sidekick--a fellow office worker named Vesta Churchill ("no relation to Winston," as she explains)--Mirabelle unravels a web of evil that stretches from the Brighton beachfront to the darkest corners of Europe. Putting her own life at risk, she must navigate a lethal labyrinth of lies and danger to expose the truth.

MY REVIEW:   This is highly engaging book, full of action, deception, kidnapping, murder and more!   Plan on getting sucked into the action as Mirabelle and Vesta play detective to solve the crime and look for the missing boss.   In post-World War II time period, the Nazi war criminals are being found and executed.  The police do not want their help.  The events will leave you reeling.  The events of the book lead them to a dangerous conclusion.  
        ALERT:  This book does contain strong language and violence.  I would not consider this book for teens and tweens.
        I rated this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to lovers of suspense.
       I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:
Sara Sheridan
  
Born in Edinburgh. I'm a complete swot - love books always have! Currently obsessed with Georgian and Victorian explorers, about whom I write and with 1950s Britain for my Mirabelle Bevan murder mystery series set in London and Brighton.


Saturday, May 21, 2016

5-Star Review of "Forgiving My Daughter's Killer"

Review of Forgiving My Daughter's Killer: A True Story of Loss, Faith and Unexpected Grace

by Kate Grosmaire with Nancy French


26209215
Forgiveness has less to do with the person who harmed you than you think.



On March 28, 2010, Kate and Andy Grosmaire received two pieces of news that would change their lives forever.



The first was their worst nightmare: “Ann has been shot.”



The second was the dumbfounding addendum: “Conor was the one who shot her.”



Their nineteen-year-old daughter had been killed by her boyfriend, a young man who had lived with the family and had come to feel like part of it.



In a beautiful, tragic testament to the liberating power of forgiveness, Kate Grosmaire finally tells the whole story of her daughter’s death at the hand of her boyfriend—and the stunning, deliberate forgiveness and help that Kate and her husband offered to the young man who shattered their world. That forgiveness meant not only telling him face-to-face that they forgave him but even working to reduce the time he would spend behind bars.

MY REVIEW:  What a touching and incredible story!  Indescribable horror when they get the news that their 19-year-old daughter has been shot....by her own boyfriend whom they love.  They were practically engaged.  They find their daughter unresponsive, her head bandaged so they cannot even see her face or head.  Her eye was blown away along with half of her brain.  They must make the unthinkable decision to take her off the life support and let her go to the Lord after several days of hoping and praying.   Their friends, family, and church are an amazing support system, but the shooter's family has no one.  Conor's family is left alone but his father appears at the hospital to see her and express his sadness.  Kate and her husband take him in and love him.  Kate is asked to visit Conor in jail as he can only put four visitors on his list and he puts her.  He apologizes profusely and she forgives him.  
      I love the way this family approaches their tragedy with grace and mercy.  They even work to reduce the sentence for Conor.   They give the ultimate gift:  forgiveness.  They know that God commands that we must forgive others in order that He may forgive us.  They put this into practice in a big way.   This is the best non-fiction book I have ever read about a family's tragic experience and their forgiveness of the killer.   I could not stop reading as it was so compelling and brutally honest.  
       I rate this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers.
       I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:
Kate Grosmaire became an educator about Restorative Justice after her daughter was killed.  She and her husband are the cofounders of the Ann Grosmaire "Be the Change" Fund, a charitable fund to promote forgiveness and restorative justice practices.  Kate lives in Tallahassee, Florida.

Nancy French is a three-time New York Times bestselling author who has written books with former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Chinese dissident Bob Fu, Iraq war vet and Constitutional lawyer David French, Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson, and Bristol Palin.  Read about these--and other books--at www.NancyFrench.com and connect with her on Twitter at @NancyAFrench.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

5-Star Review of "Threads of Love"

Review of Threads of Love

by Judith Miller

29577173

Rediscover this classic romance from bestselling author Judith Miller. Feeling unloved and unwanted after her mother dies, Delphinia leaves her childhood home in Illinois for a Kansas homestead to become a nanny and housekeeper for five orphans and their uncle. Only the threads of a precious quilt remain to tie Delphinia to the mother who taught her to trust in God. Will faith alone guide her to a steadfast man and lifelong love? Also included is a bonus historical romance following related characters. 
Includes bonus story:  Woven Threads  

MY REVIEW:  What a sweet, sweet story!  Delphinia is sent away to care for five little orphans after her precious mother dies!   She does not understand how her father could possibly do such a thing to her.   She does not Jon and she does not want to go and she communicates that to both men.   Jon finds her amusing and that further infuriates her.  When she arrives, she finds there is also a sick grandmother for her to deal with.   She faces a sullen, angry little Tessie.  Tessie feels she can continue caring for the children and does not need Delphinia's assistance.   Will things work out for Delphinia?  How will things ever be alright again?   
           The bonus story, Woven Threads, continues the story with Tessie's life when she leaves home to study to become a doctor and fulfills that dream.  She takes in a little orphan and begins to fall in love.   Will life ever be normal for her?   What will she do with two men vying for her hand in marriage?  
          I rated this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to lovers of historical fiction.
         I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:
Judith McCoy Miller

Judith McCoy Miller is an award-winning author whose avid research and love for history are reflected in her bestselling novels. Judy and her husband make their home in Topeka, Kansas.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

4-Star Review of "That Darkness"

Review of That Darkness

by Lisa Black 


26025628

As a forensic investigator for the Cleveland Police Department, Maggie Gardiner has seen her share of Jane Does. The latest is an unidentified female in her early teens, discovered in a local cemetery. More shocking than the girl’s injuries—for Maggie at least—is the fact that no one has reported her missing. She and the detectives assigned to the case (including her cop ex-husband) are determined to follow every lead, run down every scrap of evidence. But the monster they seek is watching each move, closer to them than they could ever imagine.

Jack Renner is a killer. He doesn’t murder because he savors it, or because he believes himself omnipotent, or for any reason other than to make the world a safer place. When he follows the trail of this Jane Doe to a locked room in a small apartment where eighteen teenaged girls are anything but safe, he knows something must be done. But his pursuit of their captor takes an unexpected turn.

Maggie Gardiner finds another body waiting for her in the autopsy room—and a host of questions that will challenge everything she believes about justice, morality, and the true nature of evil …
 

MY REVIEW:  This one started out with me confused. I wasn't sure where the story was headed and I didn't understand all of the technical language.   About half-way through the book, it began to make sense.  There is a great deal of violence as this is a murder-mystery so many readers will not want to try this if that is not their cup of tea.   The killer is actually trying to right wrongs that justice did not correct.   For the ones who got away....who did not serve time for the horrific crimes they committed, Jack Renner wants to make sure they don't hurt anyone else ever again.   He thinks there is only one way for him to ensure that safety for other innocent victims.  
         Maggie Gardiner is a very thorough investigator, which is unfortunate for Jack Renner.  She leaves no stone unturned....even though her job is to perform autopsies, she goes above and beyond the call of duty.   Have you ever been reading and wished for the bad guys to be killed?  because they are just that bad?   That's how I felt as I read this book. 
       I rated this book 4 stars as I did find the first half confusing but enjoyed it and really wanted to know how the story would be resolved after figuring out what was going on.   
       I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:
Lisa Black

Lisa Black spent the happiest five years of her life in a morgue. Strange, perhaps, but true. After ten years as a secretary, she went back to school to get a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Cleveland State University. In her job as a forensic scientist at the Cuyahoga County Coroner’s Office, she analyzed gunshot residue on hands and clothing, hairs, fibers, paint, glass, DNA, blood and many other forms of trace evidence, as well as crime scenes. 
She had her life sorted out just the way she liked it until her husband got fed up with Cleveland snow and moved them to Florida, 1400 miles away from her family and her career. Not that she’s bitter or anything. Now she works as a latent print examiner for the city of Cape Coral, Florida, police department, working mostly with fingerprints and crime scenes.
Lisa has lectured at writer’s conventions and appeared on panels. In her life as a writer she’s a member of Sisters In Crime, Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. In her life as a forensic specialist she’s a member of the American Academy of Forensic Scientists, the International Association for Identification, the International Association of Bloodstain Pattern Analysts and is certified by the American Board of Criminalistics. She has had over 741 hours of instruction in forensic topics and has testified in over 50 trials.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

5-Star Review of "The Final Tap"

Review of The Final Tap

(Living History Museum #2)

by Amanda Flower

26796657

March on Barton Farm can only mean one thing: maple sugar season. To combat the winter slump, resilient director Kelsey Cambridge organizes a Maple Sugar Festival, complete with school visits, pancake breakfasts, and tree tapping classes. Kelsey hires curmudgeonly maple sugar expert Dr. Conrad Beeson to teach the classes, despite misgivings over his unpleasant demeanor. It's a decision she ends up regretting when, before the first tree can be tapped for sap, Dr. Beeson turns up dead.

The maple sugar expert's death threatens to shut down not only the Maple Sugar Festival, but also Barton Farm itself. Kelsey must solve Dr. Beeson's murder to escape the increasingly sticky situation.

MY REVIEW:   Hey, I love maple syrup and pancakes too, but not quite enough to murder someone over maple syrup!   When Dr. Conrad Beeson turns up dead at Barton Farm, and the police determine it was murder, Kelsey Cambridge once again plays detective to clear her employee's name.  Gavin is the prime suspect and Kelsey is sure that the mild-mannered young man could not have committed such an act.   The police do not exactly welcome Kelsey's interference in their investigations.   
          I must admit that I could not figure out who had stabbed Dr. Beeson with the power drill after his apparent heart attack.   I am usually pretty accurate at guessing when I read mysteries, but I love it when an author stumps me and leaves me with my mouth gaping as Amanda Flower did in The Final Tap.   This book was fast-paced and left me anxious to continue reading.    Kelsey is a highly believable and likable character as were the other characters in the book.   The farm sounded like such a beautiful place to live, work, and visit.   The descriptions left me feeling like I was walking the grounds with the employees and tourists.  
          I rated this book 5 stars because it is highly deserving of the highest rating and I highly recommend it to readers.   
          I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:

Amanda Flower

Amanda Flower, an Agatha-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. Her debut mystery, Maid of Murder, was an Agatha Award Nominee for Best First Novel. Amanda is an adult services librarian for a public library near Cleveland. She also writes mysteries as USA Today bestselling author Isabella Alan.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

5-Star Review of "The Promise of Forgiveness"

Review of The Promise of Forgiveness

by Marin Thomas

25734194

When it comes to family, Ruby Baxter hasn’t had much luck. The important men in her early life abandoned her, and any time a decent boyfriend came along, she ran away. But now Ruby is thirty-one and convinced she is failing her teenage daughter. Mia is the one good thing in her life, and Ruby hopes a move to Kansas will fix what’s broken between them.

But the road to redemption takes a detour. Hank McArthur, the biological father Ruby never knew existed, would like her to claim her inheritance: a dusty oil ranch just outside of Unforgiven, Oklahoma.

As far as first impressions go, the gruff, emotionally distant rancher isn’t what Ruby has hoped for in a father. Yet Hank seems to have a gift for rehabilitating abused horses—and for reaching Mia. And if Ruby wants to entertain the possibility of a relationship with Joe Dawson, the ranch foreman, she must find a way to open her heart to the very first man who left her behind.
 

MY REVIEW:  I must admit that the beginning of the book made me think that there would be a great deal of sexual content which I don't particularly enjoy reading, but the book was a delightful surprise.  Ruby and Mia are both in need of healing and forgiveness seems hard to come by for both of them.   When Ruby finally meets her long-lost father, he is nothing like she imagined but he is everything Mia longed for in a grandfather.  This book deals with adoption, abandonment, forgiveness, and second chances.  Hank has loved Ruby's mother his entire life, even after she ran off and left their newborn daughter in the hospital right after her birth.   Can Ruby forgive her mother and father, as well as her adoptive parents, for the hurt and pain they have inflicted on her heart?   Can she learn to trust men or is she doomed to be just like her mother?   
             I rated this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers. 
             I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review. 

About the Author:
Marin Thomas

from goodreads' author bio:

I was born in Janesville, Wisconsin. I played D-I Basketball for the University of Arizona in Tucson then married my college sweetheart in a five-minute ceremony in Las Vegas. My husband and I currently live in Phoenix, Arizona, where I spend my free time junk hunting and researching ghost tours.
Connect with the author at:  http://www.marinthomas.com/

Thursday, April 28, 2016

5-Star Review of "Hope in the Land"

Review of Hope in the Land

by Olivia Newport 

26113234

When Henry Edison turns up in Lancaster County to survey farm women about their domestic contributions during the 1930s, the last thing Amish housewife Gloria Grabill has time for is the government agent’s unending questions. Gloria’s hands are already full with a farm to run alongside her husband, a houseful of children, and an English neighbor, Minerva Swain, who has been trying Gloria’s patience for forty years. Gloria’s oldest daughter, Polly, wants nothing more than the traditional path of an Amish farmer’s wife, but everything she does seems to push Thomas Coblentz further away. While the Great Depression shadows the country in gloom, can Amish and English neighbors in Lancaster County grasp the goodness that will sustain hope?

MY REVIEW:  Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, 1936, Ernie had rolled up his shirt sleeves and was scrubbing his arms all the way up to his elbows.  Minerva's stomach sank.   "We're going to the Grabills' for lunch."  Ernie flashed a grin.  "Did you invite yourself again?" "It was Marlin's idea this time."  
Minerva is the English neighbor and Gloria, the Amish homemaker, and the two have never gotten along.  The two women attended school together as youngsters and they didn't get along then and they still don't get along.   But Marlin had invited them all to dinner so Gloria would play the dutiful housewife and serve the neighbors a decent hot meal.   Times are very hard as the Great Depression is upon the country and Ernie comes along to survey the local farm wives about their domestic contributions.   Gloria again does what a good Amish housewife would do and offers Henry a place to stay in their barn.  
This book greatly saddened me in many ways as I thought of my mother and father being born during the early 1930's and I knew that times had indeed been very hard for them.  What I loved, though, was their hope in the land.....hope that the vegetables they grew in their little family gardens would sustain the family through the winter.   Minerva and her daughter, Rose, had many things they would learn from Gloria and her daughters.  The dynamics of the two families was quite interesting.  This book evoked great emotion for me.   I believe that readers will feel torn between many emotions as well as they read.   
I rated this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers/
I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author:
 Olivia Newport
From goodreads' bio:

I’m imagining you. You walk past as I water my front flowerbeds and we wave. You check the time as we both stand in a long line at the grocery store. You sit in front of me in church. I’m at my table in the coffee shop and you’re at yours.

We may smile politely and move on with our separate lives. Or one of us may speak, a simple invitation to conversation, and the words flow between us.

Here the adventure begins. When we meet someone new, we never know where it might lead.

I’ve been married for over thirty years and have two twenty-something kids. We live in stunning Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where the day lilies in my back yard grow as tall as I am. (No short jokes, please.)

Not every piece of my life is pretty, though. Some days I want to throw out whole chunks. But I am living each day looking for the grace of God to me, in me, and through me. Having your companionship along the way will help uncover a lot of great stories.