Posted in Christian Fiction, Contemporary Christian Fiction, Inspirational, Suspense

Dead Fall (2021)

About the Book

Book: Dead Fall

SeriesThe Quantico Files #2

Author: Nancy Mehl

Release Date: November 2, 2021

Genre: Christian Mystery and Suspense

After facing the demons from her past, Alex Donovan is ready to move on and focus on her career at the FBI’s elite Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU). When renowned profiler and BAU co-founder John Davis is found dead in his hotel room, the FBI is called in to work on the strangest case they’ve ever faced. How do you find a killer who murders his victims without touching them?

When it becomes clear that the killer is targeting agents in Alex’s unit, they are ordered into lockdown, sheltered in the dorms at Quantico. Alex bunks with a controversial agent, Kaely Quinn, who has returned after being dismissed three years earlier. As they work together, Alex discovers in Kaely the role model she’s never had, despite being warned away.

As Alex questions who she wants to become, things get personal when the brilliant killer strikes close to home. Now Alex will do anything to find the killer–even at the risk of her own life.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

Hold on to your seats when you read this book! Dead Fall by Nancy Mehl is a novel that grips readers from page one and doesn’t let up until page done. There is so much to love about this book. First, this story is seriously fast-paced. When you decide to read this book, make sure you set aside a good chunk of time cause you are not going to want to be disturbed. The suspense is crazy good — it kept me turning pages well into the night. Mehl has a gift for ending her chapters at the exact moment you don’t want them to end. LOL! The characters are also fantastic First, the villain is especially villainous. He is one of the scariest villains I’ve ever read, and how he “kills” his victims is pretty eccentric. Not only is the villain well crafted, but Mehl’s protagonists are pretty stellar, too. I have actually been anticipating this book since I read the first story in the Quantico Files series because Mehl includes Kaely Quinn from her Kaely Quinn Profiler series. Kaely is one of my most favorite characters ever so I was SUPER excited to see how she would fit in with Alex and her BAU team members. She fit in great and I love how she becomes a sort-of mentor to Alex. I appreciate how respectful and considerate Kaely is of Alex’s trauma, and how she clearly wants to help Alex but also respects her boundaries. One of the reasons I like this story so much is because the focus is more on a female, good-friends relationship rather than on a romantic relationship. You don’t see those relationship types get much development in a Romantic Suspense. It was refreshing to read something unique and unlike what’s typical of the genre. I also really appreciate the many topics discussed in this book. The discussion on finding our value in God and not in other humans is my favorite talking point. As someone who has gotten caught up in caring about what others thought about me, this reminder of where my value comes from resonated deeply.

Dead Fall is another home run by Nancy Mehl. If you are a fan of Suspense novels, then this is definitely the book for you. Purchase yourself a copy today so you don’t miss out on a gripping who-done-it!

I received a copy of this novel in paperback form from the publisher, Bethany House Publishers, in order to review. I also purchased a copy of this novel in eBook form from Amazon.com on November 4, 2021, in order to review. I also received an eBook copy via NetGalley to review. In no way has any of this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Posted in Christian Fiction, Christian Romance, Inspirational, Suspense

Trust Me (2022)

About the Book

Book: Trust Me

Author: Kelly Irvin

Release Date: February 8, 2022

Genre: Christian Mystery and Suspense

When Delaney Broward finds her best friend stabbed to death a decade after her brother suffered the same fate, she must confront her painful past in order unmask a killer who isn’t done yet.

How can this be happening again?

Delaney Broward has spent the last ten years rebuilding her life after finding her brother brutally stabbed to death in his art studio, leaving her without a single living family member. His death even took away her boyfriend, Hunter Nash, who was convicted of the murder. Convinced it’s too dangerous to trust her heart to anyone again, Delaney lives alone. She pours herself into her frame shop in the historic art district in San Antonio. She doesn’t have the husband and children she once dreamed of, but her heart is safe.

Until she walks into her best friend Ellie’s shop and finds she has suffered the same fate. Once again Delaney’s life is shattered by violence, tragedy, and loss.

Hunter Nash leaves prison a free man that same day. He’s determined to prove his innocence, win Delaney back, and restore her faith in God.

Delaney’s mission is to bring Ellie’s murder to justice while protecting her heart. They forge an uneasy alliance, both certain the truth will win out. Both are willing to accept the outcome—if they survive.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

Trust Me by Kelly Irvin is the first novel I’ve read by this author, but it will not be my last. Having never read a story by Irvin before I really didn’t know what to expect. What I got was one crazy ride! The first thing that drew me to this book is its cover. The slash marks through the title and author name, the spooky colors, and the blurry solitary figure all combine to create an image that really captures a reader’s eye. Then I read the premise and I knew I had to get my hands on a copy of this book. For me, I found the story highly engaging and quite unputdownable. I will admit to guessing the villain pretty quickly, but that did not ruin my enjoyment of the book. In fact, this book reminds me of classic Greek literature. Take Oedipus Rex by Sophocles for example. Everyone goes into that story knowing poor Oedipus’s background and his horrible demise. In the grand scheme of things, none of that really matters. What matters is the journey to his end. It’s the same here with Trust Me. Yes, I figured out who-done-it pretty quickly, but I didn’t care because the journey is FANTASTIC. The twists, the turns, the action, the suspense, the clues that emerge — it’s all such fun reading. And, I love how this story is a character journey as much as it is a murder mystery. Hunter and Delaney are excellent protagonists. They’re both older, wiser, more cynical, and dealing with some serious traumas and heartbreaks. I love Hunter’s dogged determination and his steadfast faith in God. No matter how bad things get he turns to God for help — he knows turning to God is the best response in any situation. Delaney’s story is heartbreaking. Man, the bad just keeps pummeling her. It’s like she is a human punching bag, so I really appreciate how she uses boxing as a way to channel her anger and fear and frustration and loneliness. She takes what life viciously throws at her and she throws a few punches back. I enjoyed how Hunter and Delaney’s relationship progresses over the course of this story. Is this novel the greatest love story every told? Is the passion fierce? No. BUT, this isn’t really a story about romantic passion. Trust Me is about rebuilding trust and friendship after all of that has been lost. I feel that Hunter and Delaney’s relationship progresses exactly as it should considering their crazy past. All in all, Trust Me is an outstanding Romantic Suspense story that I HIGHLY recommend. This is a book that should go to the top of your TBR pile.

At the end of the story in the Q+A section, there is one question that really caught my attention and I would like to address it here in this review. The question does not pose any threat of spoiling the storyline because all the info in the question is learned at the very beginning of the book. But if you would rather not know the details, you can skip this paragraph and go purchase a copy of Trust Me for yourself, or you can read after the italicized/bold question. In no way will I spoil the story in my response. Here is the question: Delaney lost her parents in a car accident as a child, then her grandparents, and years later her brother was murdered. The man she loved was convicted of his murder. She lost her faith in God. As Christians what should we say to those who suffer about God’s plan, where God’s goodness is, and what the reasons might be for their suffering? This is a great question that can really elicit some deep responses. All of them well-meaning. As a woman who has been through some serious trauma and recently lost three very close, very important people in her life one right after the other, I can say with great authority that the best thing you can do in this situation is say nothing at all. When you have a hurting friend or loved one who is struggling with his/her relationship with God because of the many, many traumas that seem to keep happening the best thing to do is say nothing. Nine times out of ten, the words that come out of well-meaning people’s mouths are the absolute wrong things to say to someone shrouded in grief. The worst question ever is, “How do you feel?” Don’t ask it! I once heard a pastor who was discussing Job say, “The best thing Job’s friends did was sit with him for one week and say nothing. The worst thing they did was start talking when that week was up.” Truth!!! The thing is it’s not anyone’s place to proselytize or assert some kind of “God does all things for the good of those who love Him” message when someone is in the throes of devastating and debilitating grief. It just makes the person angry and makes them more strongly turn from God. It’s an assault and an insult to be told that God killed off your loved one for a good purpose. I have to say that I appreciate HOW Irvin deals with this topic in her novel. Hunter is a fantastic model of what to do when someone you love has moved away from God because of trauma. He’s patient, he prays, and he NEVER pushes. He gives Delaney space and lets her take the wheel so to speak. When she is ready, he is there for her. But in the meantime he prays and he prays and he prays. This is the way it should be always. God will show the way when it is actually the right time to broach with your loved one the subjects of trauma, loss, and getting back into a relationship with Him. All you need to do in the meantime is just be present in whatever way the loved one needs. They’re the boss in this situation, not you!

There is a lot more that I could say about Trust Me. This book is excellent and my review can’t do this story justice. Add this book to your TBR pile now, pre-order yourself a copy, and read it ASAP when it comes out in February. You will love it!

I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the publisher, Thomas Nelson, via NetGalley. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Posted in Historical Fiction, Suspense

The Girl in the Painting (2021)

About the Book

BookThe Girl in the Painting

Author: Tea Cooper

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: March 9, 2021

Genre: Historical Fiction

A young prodigy in need of family. A painting that shatters a woman’s peace. And a decades-old mystery demanding to be solved.

Australia, 1906

Orphan Jane Piper is nine years old when philanthropist siblings Michael and Elizabeth Quinn take her into their home to further her schooling. The Quinns are no strangers to hardship. Having arrived in Australia as penniless immigrants, they now care for others as lost as they once were.

Despite Jane’s mysterious past, her remarkable aptitude for mathematics takes her far over the next seven years, and her relationship with Elizabeth and Michael flourishes as she plays an increasingly prominent part in their business.

But when Elizabeth reacts in terror to an exhibition at the local gallery, Jane realizes no one knows Elizabeth after all—not even Elizabeth herself. As the past and present converge and Elizabeth’s grasp on reality loosens, Jane sets out to unravel her story before it’s too late.

From the gritty reality of the Australian goldfields to the grand institutions of Sydney, this compelling novel presents a mystery that spans continents and decades as both women finally discover a place to call home.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

The Girl in the Painting by Tea Cooper is a phenomenal read. I was hooked from the first page and stayed up late several nights to keep reading. My favorite thing about this novel is that it is so unique and intriguing. This is actually my favorite thing about Tea Cooper’s novels — they are all so interesting and so different from anything else in literature today. Cooper takes seemingly insignificant things and turns them into the most captivating of stories. In this book, the reader is treated to a little romance, a ton of mystery, and a great illustration of what it means to be a family.

One of the things I suffered when I gave birth to my daughter was a brain bleed. The subdural hematoma occurred on the side of my brain that deals with language and memory. The first thing I had to overcome was a 64-day long migraine. Yes, it took 64 days for the migraine to dissipate. It was awful. Then, I had to relearn words. This was one of the most frustrating aspects to my recovery because I felt I knew the words — I could feel them hovering on the edge of knowing — but I couldn’t see or say them. My brain was a hazy fog. I also had to come to terms with all the memories I had lost. Random smells or pictures or sounds would make me feel like I should remember something, but for the life of me I could not figure out what it was. I would get so sad and depressed because I felt like my life had been stolen from me and I didn’t know how to get back on track. The brain injury also caused mood swings — one minute I would be totally normal, then I would be angry, then I would cry like a baby. All of this emotional upheaval would come suddenly and out of nowhere. I felt like I was taken hostage by a brain that needed healing and I had NO control or say over the healing process.

So why am I telling you all this? Because one of the characters in The Girl in the Painting suffers from repressed memories. When she was four, she went through something traumatic but her brain has been hiding the event from her for fifty years. I felt drawn to Elizabeth’s character because I can fully relate to her moments of frustration and mood swings caused by her lack of memory. To know something is wrong with you, but to not know what is excruciating and embarrassing. Cooper did a great job crafting Elizabeth’s character. As someone who personally dealt with memory issues, I can tell you this one facet of the story is spot on. I also have to admit to appreciating the sense of catharsis that came from reading this book. Some of the reactions and emotions that Elizabeth experiences, and then the way she acts after her memory-loss moments when she’s embarrassed by her sudden and seemingly out-of-character outbursts, made me feel so not alone. I wasn’t crazy when I was going through my episodes. I just had a hurt brain that needed to heal just like the protagonist of this story has.

I know my review is super personal and totally random, but I think it still reflects what a unique story The Girl in the Painting is. This book has it all — a well-written and highly engaging plot, mystery that kept me turning pages well into the night, and amazing attention to historical detail, so much so I felt like I was transported back in time to early 20th century Australia. This book is stellar and is not one you will want to miss.

I received a copy of this novel in eBook form from Thomas Nelson Publishers via NetGalley in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Posted in Clean Wholesome Romance, Historical Fiction, Suspense

The Merchant and the Rogue (2021)

About the Book

Book: The Merchant and the Rogue

Author: Sarah M. Eden

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing

Release Date: August 17, 2021

London, 1865

Vera Sorokina loves reading the Penny Dreadfuls and immersing herself in tales of adventure, mystery, and romance. Her own days are filled with the often mundane work of running the book and print shop she owns with her father. The shop offers her freedom and an income, and while she is grateful for the stability it brings to her life, she often feels lonely.

Brogan Donnelly was born and raised in Ireland, but has lived in London for several years, where he’s built a career as a penny dreadful writer. He has dedicated himself to the plight of the poor with the help of his sister. But with no one to share his life with, he fears London will never truly feel like home.

Brogan and Vera’s paths cross, and the attraction is both immediate and ill-advised. Vera knows from past experience that writers are never to be trusted, and Brogan has reason to suspect not everything at Vera’s print shop is aboveboard. When a growing criminal enterprise begins targeting their area of London, Brogan and Vera must work together to protect the community they’ve both grown to love. But that means they’ll need to learn to trust each other with dangerous secrets that have followed both of them from their home countries.

Purchase Links

Amazon 🍀 Barnes & Noble 🍀 Book Depository 🍀 Bookshop 🍀 Goodreads

About the Author

Sarah M. Eden is the author of critically acclaimed and award-winning Proper Romance series novels including The Lady and the Highwayman and Ashes on the Moor. Combining her passion for history and an affinity for love stories, Sarah crafts smart, witty characters and heartfelt romances. She happily spends hours perusing the reference shelves of her local library and dreams of one day traveling to all the places she reads about.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

My Thoughts

The Merchant and the Rogue by Sarah M. Eden wins my award for book with the most highlights. When I say there is so much to love about this story, I mean it! I’ve heartily enjoyed each novel in this series, but book #3 is my favorite. I found the plot wonderful and totally engaging. The characters are excellently crafted. It was fun getting to see many of the characters I grew to love in previous installments in The Merchant and the Rogue, and I really fell for the new characters, especially the children, Olly and Licorice. The relationship and romance that grows between Vera and Brogan are very realistic and relatable, and I felt it grew at a good pace. I also REALLY loved the many, many timely themes discussed in this story. As I said above, I highlighted this book like crazy. As much as I feel this book can be read and loved by anyone, I think it would really make a great book-club choice. It would lend to some good conversations.

Of the many, many wonderful topics discussed in this book my favorite is the idea of taking a stand against evil. Of the three stories told in this book, two of them deal with a very, very “bad” guy. In the main story, it’s actually a cabal — a group so heinous they are able to manipulate and threaten community members, friends, and family against fellow community members, friends, and family. In the penny dreadful, the main character, Tallulah, must battle a fear dearg — a demon — or lose her very life. In both stories, the solution to the heroes’ and heroines’ conflicts is clear — stand and fight no matter how scary the situation appears. In both stories, the main characters begin their quests against evil by bringing the community together, by showing one another that they have each other’s back. Once the community realizes they are not in the fight alone they are more than willing to do what is necessary to take back their communities and their lives. I LOVE so much this illustration of good, regular people coming together to fight against an evil that initially seems too big to be defeated. I feel like today we good, regular people are in the fight for our very lives too, but unlike the characters in this excellent story, we are forced to fight this battle alone. It makes me sad, but reading this book has given me some hope. I just need to find my fighting community.

The Merchant and the Rogue is an excellent story. One I highly recommend. If a well-written Historical Romance filled with suspense and intrigue sounds like the read you need then I highly recommend this excellent story.

I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the publisher, Shadow Mountain Publishing, via NetGalley. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.


Special Offer

Please help Sarah M. Eden get her latest novel, THE MERCHANT AND THE ROGUE, to hit the New York Times best-seller list by purchasing a copy between August 15-22, 2021.

Everyone who submits a copy of their receipt and fills out the form during the week of August 15-22 will receive The Merchant and the Rogue – Swag Bundle. Supplies are limited, so act today. Please visit the Swag Bundle webpage for details.


Blog Tour Stops

Join the virtual book tour of THE MERCHANT AND THE ROGUE, Sarah M. Eden’s highly acclaimed historical romance, August 16-29, 2021. Thirty-five popular on-line influencers specializing in historical romance, mystery/suspense, and inspirational fiction will join in the celebration of its release with spotlights, exclusive excerpts, and reviews of this new Victorian-era novel set in London, England.

Aug 16 Among the Reads (Review)

Aug 16 Austenprose (Review)

Aug 16 Reading is My Superpower (Review)

Aug 17 Literary Time Out (Review)

Aug 17 Getting Your Read On (Review)

Aug 17 Heidi Reads (Excerpt)

Aug 17 Laura’s Reviews (Review)

Aug 18 Our Book Confessions (Review)

Aug 18 Bookworm Lisa (Review)

Aug 19 Fire & Ice (Review)

Aug 19 From Pemberley to Milton (Excerpt)

Aug 20 My Bookish Bliss (Review)

Aug 20 Gwendalyn’s Books (Review)

Aug 20 Storeybook Reviews (Excerpt)

Aug 21 Bookish Rantings (Review)

Aug 21 The Calico Critic (Review)

Aug 22 The Christian Fiction Girl (Review)

Aug 22 Books, Teacups, & Reviews (Excerpt)

Aug 23 My Jane Austen Book Club (Spotlight)

Aug 23 Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen (Review)

Aug 23 Reading with Emily (Review)

Aug 24 Wishful Endings (Review)

Aug 24 Relz Reviewz (Review)

Aug 24 The Book Diva Reads (Excerpt)

Aug 25 Bookfoolery (Review)

Aug 25 Greenish Bookshelf (Review)

Aug 26 A Bookish Way of Life (Review)

Aug 26 Nurse Bookie (Review)

Aug 27 So Little Time… (Excerpt)

Aug 27 Probably at the Library (Review)

Aug 27 Bringing Up Books (Review)

Aug 28 Books and Socks Rock (Review)

Aug 28 The Bibliophile Files (Review)

Aug 29 Book Confessions of an Ex-Ballerina (Review)

Aug 29 A Darn Good Read (Review)

Posted in Christian Fiction, Christian Romance, Historical Christian Fiction, Inspirational, RomCom, Suspense, TBR Challenge

The Mistletoe Countess (2021)

About the Book

Book: The Mistletoe Countess

Author: Pepper Basham

Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Suspense, Christmas Lit, Historical Rom-Com

Release Date: September 1, 2021

Will the magic of Christmas bring these two newlyweds closer together, or will the ghosts of the past lead them into a destructive discovery from which not even a Dickens’s Christmas can save them?

Mistletoe is beautiful and dangerous, much like the woman from Lord Frederick Percy’s past, so when he turns over a new leaf and arranges to marry for his estate, instead of his heart, he never expects the wrong bride to be the right choice. Gracelynn Ferguson never expected to take her elder sister’s place as a Christmas bride, but when she’s thrust into the choice, she will trust in her faithful novels and overactive imagination to help her not only win Frederick’s heart but also to solve the murder mystery of Havensbrook Hall before the ghosts from Frederick’s past ruin her fairytale future.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

The Mistletoe Countess by Pepper Basham is a wonderfully delightful story. This book has everything a reader could love: a fast-paced and highly engaging plot, realistic and endearing characters, excellent literary allusions and mentions, tons of romantic chemistry, and intrigue and suspense. This story is also hilarious. There are so many moments I chuckled out loud. The Mistletoe Countess is a story the reader will not want to put down. I hated it when pesky chores and sleep got in the way of my reading, so you will definitely want to make sure you secure plenty of reading space in your schedule in order to enjoy and devour this lovely read.

He tipped his head toward her, breathing in the life she brought into these dead rooms. ‘You think I’m strong enough for this?’

‘Of course I do, but not only I. God doesn’t go about placing people haphazardly into their stories. He must think you are strong enough too.’

The Mistletoe Countess

One of my most favorite topics of discussion in this story is the idea that we are all placed in the exact right story. God doesn’t make mistakes. If He places us somewhere that’s where He wants us. It’s reminiscent of Esther 4:14 — we are all where God wants us “for such as time as this.” The thing is though sometimes it feels like maybe we’re not cut out for the place God put us. Maybe we feel too cowardly or too small or too insignificant or too unqualified. Yes, we can accept that God put us where we’re at because He is God and we respect Him, but sometimes it takes a minute or two to understand why He put us where we’re at. Grace is an American who comes from New Money. She is the second daughter, so expectations for her are less stringent at the moment than they are for her beautiful elder sister. Her sister, Lillias, is engaged to Lord Frederick Percy. She appears to be the ideal woman for British Society — she is poised, elegant, and refined. She knows the latest fashions, has impeccable taste, and knows what to say and when to say it. All things considered, Lillias is perfect for Frederick. But, as life would have it, a hiccup happens and Grace finds herself taking her sister’s place and becoming Lady Astley. Grace is an awesome character. Her heart is golden and she is all compassion and kindness. She always considers the feelings of others and loves to bring the best out of them. But, she’s not 100% certain at first that she is qualified to be part of the British aristocracy or a good wife for Frederick, and she does wonder what God is doing especially since this is putting a wrench into her life plans. Grace, however, fully trusts that God has her where she belongs, but it is going to take her a moment to figure out her place in her new world. What I love so much about Grace is that she never doubts God. Never. She is an excellent example of what it looks like to trust God in every facet of one’s life — especially in those moments that don’t go according to our plans. I admit that The Mistletoe Countess came into my life at just the right time. One, I needed this reminder that God doesn’t make mistakes when He places us where He does. And, two, I really needed an illustration of what it looks like to trust God no matter what. I love when a book comes into your hands just when you need it most!

There are like 7,458 more reasons to love The Mistletoe Countess — it’s that chock full of awesomeness. I highly, highly recommend this novel. If you are in the mood for an excellent Historical Romance filled with great characters, tons of fun chemistry, and lots of suspense then you’ve got to put The Mistletoe Countess on the top of your TBR list today!

I received a copy of this novel in eBook form from the publisher, Barbour Fiction, via NetGalley in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Posted in Christian Fiction, Christian Romance, Contemporary Christian Fiction, Historical Christian Fiction, Inspirational, Suspense

Come Back to Me (2021)

About the Book

Book: Come Back to Me

Series: Waters of Time #1

Author: Jody Hedlund

Release Date: June 1, 2021

Genre: Historical Romance, Contemporary Fiction, Time Travel, Inspirational

The ultimate cure that could heal any disease? Crazy.

That’s exactly what research scientist Marian Creighton has always believed about her father’s quest, even if it does stem from a desire to save her sister Ellen from the genetic disease that stole their mother from them. But when her father falls into a coma after drinking a vial of holy water believed to contain traces of residue from the Tree of Life, Marian must question all of her assumptions. He’s left behind tantalizing clues that suggest he’s crossed back in time. Insane. Until Marian tests his theories and finds herself in the Middle Ages during a dangerous peasant uprising.

William Durham, a valiant knight comes to Marian’s rescue and offers her protection . . . as his wife. The longer Marian stays in the past, the more she cares about William. Can she ever find her father and make it back to the present to heal her sister? And when the time comes to leave, will she want to?

Bestselling author Jody Hedlund is your guide down the twisting waters of time to a volatile era of superstition, revolts, and chivalry in this suspenseful story.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

When I pick up a Jody Hedlund novel, I know I’m not going to be disappointed. I do admit a little hesitancy when I first picked up Come Back to Me because I am not a sci-fi, fantasy, speculative-fiction kind of gal. These books are not the genres I gravitate to. But, I love Hedlund’s novels so I took a chance, and, boy, am I glad I did. Come Back to Me is a truly unique and highly satisfying read. This book has everything: a contemporary setting, current medical issues, time travel, suspense, and steamy romance. The characters are great, but my most favorite aspect to this story is how the modern heroine deals in the historical time setting.

I have always believed that God is incapable of making a mistake. So, if you were born in the 1380s it’s because He meant for you to be alive in the late 1300s. When I was in high school, I remember girls in history class saying things like, “I was born in the wrong time period. I wish I had been born in the 1400s.” I always found that desire to be odd because, again, God doesn’t make mistakes. So I would ask these girls why they felt this way and they would always respond that it was because of the clothes. They wanted to live in a time period because of the medieval clothing style. I’m not going to lie, I always felt sad for these girls. To feel like they were born “at the wrong time” because of clothes?! I would be blown away by this answer because in my mind, I saw all the ways life was REALLY difficult to be a female in the medieval age — very little power or control over her own life, her inherent vulnerability because she had no power or control, her monthly period, her inability to bathe whenever she wanted, massive disease, etc. Personally, I really appreciate my shower, my current clothes, my ability to make the money I need to pay bills, and my ability to make decisions for myself. What I love in Come Back to Me is how Hedlund illustrates Marian’s initial arrogance when she first arrives back in time to 1381 England. Before she left her time period, Marian utilizes the internet to do a basic search on Canterbury, England in 1381. She learns that there was a Peasant Revolt that ended very badly for the peasants. Cool, that’s the extent of her prep. She’s got this! Then she ends up in 1381 Canterbury and she is immediately schooled in just how ignorant she truly is about the medieval age. Her immediate lack of protection as a single, beautiful woman is apparent within minutes of “landing” in 1381. Then, there’s issues with money, control over her own life, abuse, clothing, food, assumptions made against her, her speech, etc. It really stood out to me this dichotomy between Marian’s modern assumptions of history versus her actual reality once she became a part of that time period. I also really liked how Marian grows as a woman during her time in the medieval setting. I appreciate how she assesses her truth — yes, there are things about the modern era that make life really comfortable, but there is a lot about the medieval time that allows life to be all the more full and vibrant. Marian’s assessment of herself made me consider my time period, the things I have that make me comfortable, how I interact with my loved ones today, and the things I can learn from history to make my relationships better today.

There is no way to adequately review this book. Come Back to Me needs to be experienced. I loved the highly engaging plot, the uniquely relatable characters, and the many excellent themes discussed. Come Back to Me is a great read and I highly recommend it. If you love suspense, romance, history, and/or time travel then you will absolutely love this story!

I purchased a copy of this novel in eBook form from Amazon.com on June 12, 2021, in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Posted in Christian Fiction, Inspirational, Suspense

Night Fall (2021)

About the Book

Book: Night Fall

Series: The Quantico Files #1

Author: Nancy Mehl

Release Date: March 30, 2021

Genre: Christian Mystery and Suspense

For any little boy or girl who hears the Train Man speak,
Who feels his rancid breath caress their pretty cheek,
Must close their eyes, pretend to sleep, and very softly pray,
Or else the evil Train Man may carry them away.

Finally free of her troubled upbringing, Alex Donovan is able to live out her childhood dream of working for the FBI. But soon after she becomes a member of the FBI’s elite Behavioral Analysis Unit, authorities in Missouri contact them about bodies found on freight trains–all killed in the same way.

Alex never expected to be forced to confront her past in this new job, but she immediately recognizes the graffiti messages the killer is leaving on the train cars. When the BAU sends her to gather information about the messages from her aunt in Wichita, Kansas, Alex is haunted by the struggles she thought she’d left behind forever.

In a race against time to solve the case and recover a deadly virus sample the killer intends to spread, Alex must face how far she’ll go–and what she’s willing to risk–to put a stop to the Train Man.

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My Thoughts

I am very new to Nancy Mehl’s novels; I have only read her Kaely Quinn Profiler series. So, I came to Night Fall very excited, but still not entirely sure what I was getting into. I admit that there is a lot to like about Night Fall, but I did struggle with a couple of things.

What I Loved

  • The intensity — there are some seriously dark, seriously intense moments in this story. I may have actually caught myself holding my breath a couple of times. I LOVE when a good suspense/mystery gets me so caught up in the storyline I stop breathing for a moment!
  • The juxtaposition of Alex to Adam — Adam is the bad guy in this story. We learn this immediately, so this is not a spoiler. Alex is the heroine, and this, too, is known from page one. Alex and Adam are very similar characters — they have almost identical, messed up childhoods, the adults in their lives utterly failed them, and they both were raised in an insane cult. Both started life walking down the same path. BUT when they came to their metaphorical forks in the road, Alex made very specific choices to better her life, while Adam did not. I LOVE the discussion in this novel about OUR choices. We all have free will and we all have access to doing what is right. It’s a simple matter of choosing to be a victim versus choosing to be a victor. Even though both lives were filled with immense pressure and trauma, Alex made the right choices while Adam did not.
  • Alex — Alex is a tough cookie who isn’t very tough at all. In fact, in this first book of The Quantico Files series, we see that she is quite cracked and it looks like maybe she will shatter into a million pieces. She’s fragility wrapped in tough glass. In this, Alex is exceptionally easy to relate to. I appreciate her coping mechanisms — cleaning and disinfecting, keeping things in order, commanding herself to get over her fears, etc. — because they are exactly like mine. I may have the cleanest kitchen in all of America. It’s my go-to defense when my world feels like chaos. If I can keep my kitchen clean, I have control over something. I like Alex because Alex reminds me of me, and she made me feel not so alone in this crazy world.
  • The overall plotNight Fall is a pretty predictable mystery. Because we are told who the bad guy is from the very beginning, it’s easy to figure things out. BUT, I did like the overall storyline because I liked seeing HOW the police, FBI, and other agencies came together to try to beat the bad guy before it was too late. I found this aspect of the story HIGHLY engaging and fun.

What I Struggled With

  • I knew who the bad guy was immediately — knowing right away that Adam is the bad guy and knowing his plan for everything zapped all of the mystery out of this story for me. And, because we get told everything up front I feel like most of the story is a lot of telling at me. Why read a story when you basically know everything? And, because I was told the mystery right from the beginning, the little reveals weren’t really reveals cause I figured them out almost immediately. This “knowing everything at the front of the novel” aspect was the most frustrating part for me because it made me not want to read. So, then I dragged my feet with this book and it took me NINE days to read.
  • COVID-19 and MORE pandemic fear – for crying out loud, can we just NOT talk about COVID? Like ever again? When I read, I want to escape. I don’t want the fictional worlds I read about to be full of the mainstream things that are literally happening this moment in my real world. And, to be honest, if I never ever hear the words COVID-19 and pandemics ever again I’ll be a very happy woman. The fact that this novel is all about a crazy person who wants to purposely cause a pandemic to kill 2/3 of the population made me also want to put the novel down. I’m so done with fear and disease.

So, that’s my list of what I liked and what I struggled with. As you can see, the likes far outweigh the struggles. In this, I can honestly say, “Go get this book now!” All kidding aside, I do think there is a lot about Night Fall that many, many readers will love, and so I highly recommend this book to those who love a good mystery/suspense tale.

I received a copy of this novel in paperback form from the publisher, Bethany House Publishers, in order to review. I also purchased a copy of this novel in eBook form from Amazon.com on April 1, 2021, in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Posted in Christian Fiction, Christian Romance, Contemporary Christian Fiction, Inspirational, Suspense

Active Defense (2021): A Mini-Review

About the Book

BookActive Defense

SeriesDanger Never Sleeps #3

Author: Lynette Eason

Release Date: January 5, 2021

As a former field surgeon in Afghanistan, Heather Fontaine is used to life-or-death situations. She just didn’t expect them to follow her home. When she returns from a party to find that someone has broken into her house–and threatened her friends–she assumes it is the stalker who has been following her and creeping her out. She hopes to find safety and peace of mind by leaving the city and hiding out in a small town. But trouble has followed her even there.

Luckily, a stalker isn’t the only one watching Heather. Travis Walker has been secretly watching out for her for weeks. As owner of his own security agency, it’s what he does. Together, Travis and Heather must figure out who wants her dead–and why–before it’s too late.

Bestselling and award-winning author Lynette Eason will have you looking over your shoulder as you dive into this fast-paced, suspense-filled story about losing control and finding something even better.

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My Thoughts

Active Defense by Lynette Eason is one wild ride. This is a story the reader will not want to put down. As with the previous two novels in the Danger Never Sleeps series, Active Defense is a story that will keep the reader guessing right up until the end. It was fun to see characters from the first two novels make several cameo appearances. I actually quite like the deep friendship between the women in this series. They are always there for one another, and, like all true friendships, are willing to call each other out when necessary and hold each other accountable. They are a great illustration of true friendship. I love the relationship between Heather and Travis. I think it is sweet how much Travis is drawn to Heather. His protectiveness of her, his consideration of her feelings, and his acknowledgement of her being an intelligent, independent, strong woman makes Travis one excellent hero. I found that Heather and Travis’s relationship grew naturally and realistically over the course of the story — this is definitely not an insta-love kind of romance. I found Heather’s trust issues relatable. Her upbringing has made trusting others quite difficult. Instead, Heather feels it is best to take care of things on her own and with as little fuss as possible so as not to burden others. I relate to Heather in this. Trust is a really hard thing for me, and I found that the way Heather works through her trust issues is rather realistic and familiar. I also love how down-to-earth and common-sense she is. Heather is a rule-follower, sure, but she also uses her brain. She assesses her situations and creates solutions to problems based on what is appropriate for the moment rather than following a black-and-white rule book. I really love this quick-thinking, common sense, logical way about Heather. And, finally, my favorite aspect to Active Defense is the suspense and mystery. It definitely kept me turning pages well into the night. I love the fast-paced, highly engaging, edge-of-your-seat kind of read that is Active Defense. This is a story I highly recommend, and I cannot wait for the next novel in this series to release!

I purchased a copy of this novel in eBook form from Amazon.com on January 9, 2021, in order to review. I also received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the publisher, Revell, via NetGalley. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Posted in Christian Fiction, Christian Romance, Contemporary Christian Fiction, Inspirational, Suspense

Acceptable Risk (2020): A Mini-Review

About the Book

BookAcceptable Risk

SeriesDanger Never Sleeps #2

Author: Lynette Eason

Release Date: August 4, 2020

Sarah Denning is a military journalist with the Army in the Middle East when her convoy is attacked and she’s taken hostage. When former Army Ranger Gavin Black is asked by his old unit commander–Sarah’s imposing father–to plan an extremely risky rescue, he reluctantly agrees and successfully executes it.

Back in the US, Sarah is livid when she’s discharged on a false psychiatric evaluation and vows to return to the Army. Until she learns of her brother’s suicide. Unable to believe her brother would do such a thing, she puts her plans on hold and enlists Gavin to help her discover the truth. What they uncover may be the biggest story of Sarah’s career–if she can survive long enough to write it.

Strap in for another breakneck nail-biter from bestselling romantic suspense author Lynette Eason that will have you up turning pages long into the night.

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My Thoughts

If book 1, Collateral Damage, in the Danger Never Sleeps series by Lynette Eason is intense (and it is!), then book 2, Acceptable Risk, is intensity on steroids. From the very first page, Acceptable Risk is one wild ride and never lets up. Seriously, there are moments in this story that are so edge-of-your-seat I could barely breathe and I began to tear up. I loved every minute! Sarah Denning is an amazing heroine. She is beyond brave and courageous, and she is super smart. I would love to have 1/10th of her non-stop energy. Gavin Black is the best kind of hero. He’s strong, intelligent, capable, and compassionate. He really does have a big heart. I love how he’s able to see ten steps ahead, how he’s able to read Sarah like a book, and how he’s able to recognize his mistakes and work towards making himself a better man. I enjoyed following the mystery and trying to see if I could put the pieces together ahead of the characters. I was able to somewhat, but overall this story kept me guessing till the end. And, Acceptable Risk isn’t just a fluff Romantic Suspense story. I very much appreciate the many timely themes and messages. I especially loved the discussion on forgiveness, and how we don’t have to fall victim to our past sins. We can move forward as a new, better-improved version of our former selves. All in all, Acceptable Risk is an excellent Contemporary Romantic Suspense story that I highly, highly recommend!

I purchased a copy of this novel in eBook form from Amazon.com on November 30, 2020, in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Posted in Christian Fiction, Christian Romance, Historical Christian Fiction, Inspirational, Suspense

The Thief of Blackfriars Lane (2021)

About the Book

BookThe Thief of Blackfriars Lane

Author: Michelle Griep

Genre: Historical Christian Romance

Release Date: January 1, 2021

Constable Jackson Forge intends to make the world safer, or at least the streets of Victorian London. But that’s Kit Turner’s domain, a swindler who runs a crew that acquires money the old-fashioned way—conning the rich to give to the poor. When a local cab driver goes missing, Jackson is tasked with finding the man, and the only way to do that is by enlisting Kit’s help. If Jackson doesn’t find the cabby, he’ll be fired. If Kit doesn’t help Jackson, he’ll arrest her for thievery. Yet neither of them realize those are the least of their problems.

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My Thoughts

Michelle Griep is a fantastic storyteller. I have loved every book she has written, and I always look forward to what’s next from her. The Thief of Blackfriars Lane is a great story! I loved every minute spent in her fictional Victorian London. The plot of this story is highly engaging — the pages flew by! The characters are spectacular. Every character gives off the unique, multi-faceted flavor of Victorian London, but none come off as mere caricatures. I absolutely adore Jackson and Kit. They have big hearts, they care deeply for justice being served, and they are pretty selfless. I love how even though they come from vastly different worlds they are able to come together and work as a great team. I enjoyed heartily the action of this story. Kit and Jackson find themselves in some seriously crazy situations. And, I very much appreciated the themes and messages discussed throughout the narrative. This book got me to stop and think about quite a few things. I love when a book does that!

So, what’s one thing this book got me thinking on? Well, one thing I thought about A LOT is my independence. I am a pretty capable person. I’m healthy. I’m strong. I have skills. I work hard. I pay the bills. If I’m not careful, I could really get into the mindset that it’s me who is the cause of my capabilities and abilities. Add to this that I have basically been left to my own devices most of my life, and have therefore had to figure a lot of life out on my own, and I really could think that I alone am responsible for my successes, my progresses, my talents, and my place in the world. Kit is in the same boat. She has been on her own for a long time and grew up in the rough and tumble world of London surviving through her own intelligence, wit, and skill. God doesn’t even figure in her life, not really. But then she meets Jackson and he upends her life as she knew it. He gets her thinking about God and her relationship to Him. She does come to realize that God is more present in her life than she gave Him credit for, and, if she is honest, maybe a few of the negatives in her life came from rushing into things before checking in with Him. But it’s often difficult to know what God wants from us in a single given moment. There is this great moment where Kit has to act, but she questions herself: “Was she running ahead of God again? Or had He provided this opportunity for a reason?” You’ll have to read this wonderful story to find out what Kit decides. For me, though, these questions stuck in my craw. How do we know when we are doing something of our own volition or because it’s God’s will? I mean, every single day things are put into our lives. Are those things consequences of our actions or things God has ordained? I’m guessing I’ll be working on the answers to these questions my whole life, but I think it is pretty amazing the deep questions The Thief of Blackfriars Lane has gotten me to consider. I love when a novel is more than just a good story — and, man, is The Thief of Blackfriars Lane more than just a good story!

The Thief of Blackfriars Lane is an excellent Victorian Romantic Suspense novel that I highly, highly recommend. If you are a fan of superb storytelling, Romantic Suspense, and Historical fiction, then this is the book for you!

I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the author, Michelle Griep, via NetGalley. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.