Books reviewed on this site have been provided to me, at no charge, by the publisher, or by the author, in exchange for an honest review. I have received no further compensation for these reviews. All reviews are my honest opinions.

February 13, 2017

Snow Country {Kristin Neva}

snow country kristin neva
Shame desperately depends on secrecy for its survival in this multi-generational story of love and loss. 

JILTED THREE WEEKS BEFORE HER WEDDING, Beth Dawson escapes sunny California for the snowy Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where a young State Trooper challenges her to let go of her rules for Christian courtship. Her domineering mother chides her to stay single and wants her to talk her ailing grandmother into moving to Los Angeles. 

COPPER ISLAND averages over 200 inches of snow annually. The fictional towns of Douglass and Quincy mirror the actual towns of Houghton and Hancock, and although the names of businesses and persons are imaginary, the history, landmarks, and spirit of the region described in the novel are real. 

My Thoughts:
Kristin Neva is a new-to-me author who I "met" on Instagram through another book blogger. I believe this is her first work of published fiction, and a good story to kick off this new series.

We meet Beth as she is being dumped by her fiance just a few weeks before their planned wedding. She quickly hops in the car and drives across the country to visit her grandmother in Michigan. Although she has visited her grandparents in the past, this is the first time Beth has really spent any extended time in the area.

We realize pretty quickly Beth is one who plays by the rules others set for her. Although she is an adult, she seems pretty tied to the opinions of her mother and has always followed the guidelines her mother has placed on her life. Because of this Beth had a hard time making logical decisions on her own when she first arrives in Michigan. This trait annoyed me about Beth, but I liked her more as she learned to think for herself.

My first impression of Danny was that he was a cocky law enforcement officer. I felt he was pushy and too willing to pursue Beth even after she told him she was not interested. However, as the story moves along I being to like Danny for his unwillingness to give up on his pursuit of Beth. I thought he was a little dorky, but appreciated the way he cared for Beth and her grandmother.

Although I enjoyed this story and these characters, I felt this book moved a little fast. I would have appreciated a little more insight into the thoughts and feelings of the characters as they worked through different obstacles in their lives. I felt the dialog was a little choppy at times, but overall I thought it was a great book for a new author. 

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February 6, 2017

In the Shadow of Denali {Tracie Peterson | Kimberley Woodhouse}

in the shadow of denali tracie peterson kimberley woodhouse
Cassidy Ivanoff and her father John, a wilderness guide, work at a prestigious new hotel outside Mt. McKinley. John's new apprentice, Allan Brennan, finds a friend in Cassidy, but the real reason he's here--to learn the truth about his father's death--is far more dangerous than he knows.

My Thoughts:
I wanted to love this book. Based on the description is sounded like it was going to be a suspenseful read with surprises in each chapter. Unfortunately, that was not at all what this was.

I enjoyed the characters in this book but did not feel any real connection to them. John and his daughter, Cassidy, are hard workers with an outstanding faith in God. They work in the hotel within the new national state park and live their lives as any other person does.

Allan was an interesting character with great potential, but he fell flat for me once he arrived in Alaska. His turmoil, his walk towards faith, and his journey to forgiveness felt very forced and predictable.

We know from the beginning how Allan's father died, so trying to turn that storyline into something of suspense just did not work. It was hard to be surprised by any of the revelations from the characters or their events.

Although this story lacked the suspense and surprise I was hoping for, it was still a decent read. It moved at a steady pace, and the characters were okay.

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February 4, 2017

Series Saturday: The Firstborn Series {Karen Kingsbury}

Note: This year I am reading some "older" series from some of my favorite authors. Rather than do reviews of these individual books, I will be reviewing the series as a whole. You can look for these Series Saturday posts through the year.

firstborn series karen kingsbury

I'm continuing my way through the Baxter Family series, so naturally, my next books are the Firstborn Series. This series also contains five books, Fame, Forgiven, Found, Family, and Forever.

We learned in the first series that Elizabeth and John had a baby, a son before they were married and were forced to give it up for adoption. Although they rarely discussed the boy, and never once mentioned the child to their five children they raised, Elizabeth and John thought of the boy often. They had once tried to find him but met dead ends. We also know that Elizabeth's dying wish was to find and meet, her firstborn son. Right before Elizabeth passes away, she gets to meet her son, and learns he is none other than the most famous movie star in the country, Dayne Matthews.

Where The Redemption series focused on the Baxter children and their very real-life issues with marriage and life, The Firstborn series focuses on Dayne and his life as one of the most famous people alive. Dayne obviously knows the Baxters are his biological family, but his desire to protect them from the paparazzi keeps him from coming forward as their son. However, John Baxter decides to fulfill his wife's last wishes and hires his own investigator to find his firstborn son.

Soon John learns Dayne's identity and must tell the other five children of their missing brother. Although he keeps Dayne's identity a secret, the children now know all about the secret their parents shared all throughout their marriage. The children all have various reactions and must process this information in their own way.

Another key character in this series is Katy Hart. Katy is the children's theater director in Bloomington, and best friend to Ashley Baxter. Through a series of only-God-can-do-this events, she and Dayne have met, and Dayne has fallen head-over-hills in love. But the obstacles of his status, Hollywood, the tabloids, and distance make it difficult for their relationship to go anywhere.

As this series progresses through the five books, we see God work in relationships in ways only he can. We see love, heartache, tragedy, and hurt. But most of all, we see God at work in the lives of is children. This series seemed to start fairly slow for me. I though the first two books spent more time building characters than necessary, but when the story really started moving it was impossible to put these books down.

By the final book, I was up all night just waiting to see if everyone was going to get the happy ending I hoped for them. When the final book was over, I could look back and say I really enjoyed the series as a whole. I cannot wait to dive into the next series!

February 2, 2017

Moving Target {Lynette Eason}

moving target lynette eason
When Maddy McKay and Quinn Holcombe don't show up for Quinn's surprise birthday party, his friends know that something is very wrong. Their search turns up little beyond evidence that Quinn and Maddy just decided to take off for a long overdue vacation. But it soon becomes apparent that they did not leave of their own accord.

Maddy awakens in a cement room with no idea where she is. But it's not long before she realizes she's in the clutches of a madman exacting revenge by hunting. His prey of choice? Humans. Now Maddy and Quinn must run for their lives, hoping to find their killer before the next game begins. Because if they don't win this game, they die.

My Thoughts:
This series just continues to get better and better! The Elite Guardians are back, but this time it is their own that needs all the protection she can get.

Maddy and Quinn have found themselves the target of a serial killer and their lives quickly land in the kind of danger usually reserved for the movies. He has kidnapped them and put them on an island with little to no chance of survival. We know Maddy and Quinn are pretty quick thinkers and skilled at survival, but the scenario they land in - even I was not sure they would ever make it out alive.

As the entire Elite Guardian team steps in to provide rescue and assistance in catching the killer, we get to see all of their skills and personalities come together. I love watching them all bounce ideas off each other and work to get things accomplished.

This book is full of face-paced suspense that will keep you reading until the very end. But it also full of love and God's grace and forgiveness. Both Maddy and Quinn have family baggage they have been dealing with, and we get to see each of them work through that in their own way while still working to capture a killer. We also get to see the relationship between the two of them grow in such a sweet way.

Just when I thought this book was over and everything was figured out, Maddy lands in trouble again. Watching the team work through this last piece of information was exciting and heart-pounding.

I loved this book, maybe my favorite in the series so far. Such a great series and I definitely recommend it to anyone who loves a good action story.

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January 30, 2017

Still Life {Dani Pettrey}

still life dani pettrey
Work hits too close to home for crime scene photographer Avery Tate when her best friend disappears. The only lead is a chilling photo of her--apparently dead. As Avery, her boss Parker, and his friends dig into the case, she's forced to confront her feelings for Parker when they come face-to-face with a dangerous criminal.

My Thoughts:
Truth - I didn't finish this book. I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Cold Shot, and was looking forward to this one so much. Unfortunately, I never found anything in this book to hold my attention. I felt the character development was very poor, and Avery just about drove me nuts. Her constant internal struggle with the way her life used to be vs her current situation. I just wanted her to tell her partner what was going on so they could move on to more important things. I felt the missing person case was too predictable for these characters, and I just felt uninterested in the entire thing.

January 24, 2017

With this Ring {Debra Clopton}

with this ring debra clopton
After her small son, Kevin, asked both God and Santa for a new daddy for Christmas, and then didn’t find him under the tree, school teacher, Jessica Lyons is starting the new year out with a very unhappy six-year-old on her hands. Kevin can’t understand that she’s only been a widow for 2 years and she can’t imagine marrying again—not yet at least. But, unknown to her Kevin has a plan and has decided that if God and Santa won’t give him what he wants then maybe the police can! 

When the very handsome Chief of Police, Levi Sinclair shows up as Kevin’s Show-and-Tell he believes, as does Jessica, that her son has asked him there to show him off as the "police chief"—it’s a little awkward when Kevin introduces Levi as his next daddy!

Things are getting a bit complicated on the shores of Windswept Bay! Come join the fun in With This Ring book 6 of this captivating series. You’ve watched the four Sinclair sisters fall in love now it’s time to watch the five Sinclair brothers find the women of their dreams.

My Thoughts:
I have been waiting for hunky Levi Sinclair's story, and it did not disappoint in any way. Levi is the local police chief, and apparently the goal of many of the women in town. The thing is, he doesn't even realize it.

Then Levi falls in love with six-year-old Kevin. The relationship that Levi and Kevin forms melted my heart immediately and had me hoping these two would somehow find themselves in each other's lives on a permanent basis. The only thing standing in their way is Kevin's mother, Jessica.

Jessica and Kevin have been through a world of hurt following the death of her husband, Adam. Kevin seems to have recovered more quickly than his mother, and he is determined to make Levi his father. Jessica isn't too sure. Her heart is guarded following the death of her husband, and she is so sure she is not ready to marry, she's not even trying.

As Levi and Jessica become friends, we see the sparks almost instantly. These two are meant to be together, but it takes the work of the entire Sinclair clan to finally convince them of their love for each other. This installment of the Sinclair family had so much love and made my heart so happy. Whether you are new to the Sinclairs, of have been reading all their stories, this story is one you must get your hands on.

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January 23, 2017

Rescue Me {Susan May Warren}

rescue me susan may warren
When Deputy Sam Brooks commits to something, nothing can sway him--not just on the job as liaison between the Mercy Falls sheriff's department and PEAK Rescue, but in his private life. He's the one who stuck around to take care of his mother after his father's accidental death. And he's the one--perhaps the only one--who believes Sierra Rose is the perfect girl for him. Safe, practical, and organized, she's nothing like her hippie, impulsive, bleeding heart sister, Willow.

Willow, however, has been in love with Sam Brooks for as long as she can remember. But she wants her sister to have a happy ending. Besides, Willow has other things to focus on--namely, nabbing the job as youth pastor for her small-town church. Best thing for her to do is to purge Sam from her heart.

Neither can predict the events that will bring them together in a fight for their lives in the forbidding wilderness of Glacier National Park. Stranded, injured, and with the winter weather closing in, Sam and Willow will have to work together to save a crew of terrified teenagers. As they fight to survive, they might just discover a new hope for love.

My Thoughts:
This is one of those series I find myself impatiently awaiting the release of the next book. It is just that good. We first met the PEAK Rescue team two books back, and it seems the series will use each book to focus on a specific member of the team. In this book, we get to focus on Sam Brooks.

Sam is so stubborn. We know of his tormented history and the rocky relationship he shares with his brother. The only thing that seems a constant in his life is his relationship with Sierra. But one minute of misunderstanding and he suddenly can't get Sierra's sister, Willow, off his mind. It was at that point that I began begging for Sam and Willow to end up together.

Willow is as care-free as they come. While many see this as a character flaw, it is this trait that makes me love her. I love that she lives life to the fullest and rolls with the punches. She has a massive trust in God that he will provide everything she needs in every situation she faces. We should all live more like her. The only thing she wants in life is Sam, but she also wants her sister to be happy, so she vows to stay as far from Sam as she can.

Fortunately, Sam and Willow end up having a very bad horrible day. They take the youth group on a hiking trip and everything that could go wrong does. The group finds themselves cold, injured, and in need of rescue - about 30 miles from where anyone thinks they are. As Sam and Willow spring into action to save everyone's lives, we begin to see their relationship grow. But they both know they will have to face Sierra if they ever get rescued.

The twists and turns that keep this book moving are heart-stopping. Each time I thought everyone was going to end up rescued and happy something else happens to turn the story all the way around. Through their struggles and their accomplishments, the characters in this book learn a whole new way of trusting in God. The result is amazingly beautiful, and a great reminder that no matter what happens in life, God's got this.

I cannot wait for the next book in this series!

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