Saturday, 26 January 2019

Mind Games by Nancy Mehl

Review:  I've read a number of novels by Nancy Mehl, and "Mind Games" is certainly my new favourite. The character of Kaely Quinn is inspired. An FBI Behavioral Analyst, Kaely Quinn is brilliant if not a little queer. She is emotionally damaged and considered an outsider by her peers, but her ability to get inside an UNSUB's mind is uncanny. Some in the FBI claim her ability comes from living with evil... as her father was a serial killer. Whatever the reasoning, Kaely is well known for her accurate profiles leading to successful arrests.

Life for Kaely is fairly settled as she works for a branch of the FBI profiling killers based on crime scene evidence. Then an UNSUB picks a new target. Her.

Through a series of complicated twists and turns, a clearly brilliant UNSUB begins to play the ultimate game of chess with Kaely. The end game? Her life. Racing against the clock, Kaely and her new partner struggle to keep a step ahead of the killer as he plays his vicious game.

This novel is full of plot twists that kept me entertained (and slightly on edge!) from the first page to the last. "Mind Games" is a mystery regarding a serial killer, and thus it goes without saying that this novel is dark; I would recommend it for a mature audience. However, Nancy Mehl refrained from becoming graphic with her descriptions, but the book is full of murder.

I enjoyed this novel a lot. It kept me guessing until the end and I was shocked at who the UNSUB ended up being. Yay for surprises! And Kaely Quinn is a well fleshed out and developed character - hoping to see more of her in another novel. Looks like this may be a new series? "Mind Games" is a great read for anyone looking to pick up a good murder mystery.

Thank-you to Graf Martin Communications and to Baker Publishing House for a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Back Cover: FBI Behavioral Analyst Kaely Quinn's methods may be highly unorthodox, but her talent is undeniable. She's done her best to establish a new life for herself after being demoted and transferred to St. Louis when a reporter revealed she's the daughter of an infamous serial killer. But when that same reporter claims to have received an anonymous poem predicting a string of murders, ending with Kaely's, it seems her old life has followed her.

When a body is found that fits the poem's morbid predictions, Kaely and her new partner, Special Agent Noah Hunter, are forced to move past his skepticism of her approach and work together to unravel the deadly riddle.

With a brazen serial killer who breaks all the normal patterns on the loose, Noah and Kaely must race to catch the murderer before anyone else, including Kaely, is killed.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

The Cost of Betrayal

Review: I've mentioned this before, but I'll mention it again.... novellas are a very convenient form of reading entertainment. As my life gets busier and busier I have really come to appreciate getting the full scope of a story in a small, bite-sized dose. I can sit down, read for an hour, and enjoy a complete story.

Speaking of bite-sized reads, these three are thrilling and completely satisfying. I can't say which story I enjoyed the most because they were all quite different but equally enjoyable.

The first novella, by Dee Henderson, is full of her typical deep thoughts and heavy processing that I've come to expect from her detective series. Her characters move through the paces logically and intuitively, and she spends a lot of time hashing out the mental aspects of her case. I apologize if I made that sound boring - it's not. She does a really good job.

The second novella, by Dani Pettrey, made my skin tingle as the main character, Tenny, is attacked repeatedly by someone very intent on killing her - fast. I admire the plot twist Dani was able to write into this novella - it's hard to pull off a surprise like that (not going to give it away!) in a short format like a novella, but she did it.

The third novella, by Lynette Eason was amazing... okay, so maybe I do have a favourite. It was fast moving, had a mighty big surprise in it, and I loved the characters. I liked them so much I was actually wishing for a full length novel of these two.

Overall, a great collection. All the stories read well on their own, but they do involve characters that may show up in future books that these authors are writing or have appeared in past books, so it is a good book to add to your collection if you are collecting any of these author's works.

Thanks to Graf Martin Communications and to Baker Publishing House for a copy of this book.

Back Cover: 
Dee Henderson - "Betrayed"After serving six years of a twenty-year sentence for a murder she didn't commit, Janelle Roberts is finally freed. But the truth is still waiting to be discovered, and a murderer is still at large. Janelle needs to be somewhere safe with someone she can trust. She may not survive another act of treachery.

Dani Pettrey - "Deadly Isle"Tennyson Kent is trapped on the isolated island of her childhood by a storm surge, and she is shocked when the typically idyllic community turns into the hunting grounds of a murderer. Cut off from any help from the mainland, will she and first love Callen Frost be able to identify and stop a killer before they become the next victims?

Lynette Eason - "Code of Ethics"When Detective Isaac Martinez lands in the ER with a gunshot wound, he pulls through thanks to trauma surgeon Ruthie St. John. But as the witness to a crime and possible corruption, Martinez is at risk from someone intent on silencing him--and those around him--forever. When he barely survives another attack while recovering, both he and Ruthie must flee, trying to outrun deadly killers while locating the evidence they need to end the danger.

Hidden Peril by Irene Hannon

Review: Well, I devoured this book. Why? It had originality. Solid characters. Great plot. There is a lot to like in this latest thriller from Irene Hannon. I would definitely recommend it be added to your 'to be read' list.

Kristen Dane is a very likable woman. She is the type of person you'd call if you were sick and ask for a grocery run and know she'd pick up your groceries, make you dinner, and probably walk your dog too. She cares about her friends and the world at large and does her best to invest her time and effort into things that will make others' lives better. It's not surprising that she owns a business that sells specialty merchandise for impoverished countries and the proceeds go back to helping those people.

When Kristen lands up in the middle of a murder investigation  Detective Luke Carter quickly strikes her off the suspect list. He has great gut instincts, and everything about Kristen appeals to him - from her honesty, generosity, and compelling eyes that he can't help but dream about.

Unfortunately for any potential romance between the two of them, Kristen's store seems to be a wheel in a much bigger scheme and both Kristen and Luke have to figure out who is operating the plot and how to stop them. As the investigation grows, Luke realizes they are dealing with a much larger master plan than anyone originally suspected....

I don't want to give away the plot... but it's a good one and it will keep you reading right to the end. And oh... what an ending! It gave me quite the shock - in a very good way! Also, it is important to note that this book would be suitable for a highschooler + age, in my opinion. There is nothing too gory and the romance is tasteful. I certainly recommend this book. 

Thank-you to Graf Martin Communications and to Baker Publishing House for a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinin.

Back Cover: As teenagers, Kristin Dane and her two best friends took a vow to make the world a better place. Twenty years later, she's fulfilling that pledge through her fair trade shop that features products from around the world. All is well until, one by one, people connected to the shop begin dying. 

Detective Luke Carter, new to the St. Louis PD, wants to know why. Before he can answer that question, however, the FBI weighs in and Kristin suddenly finds herself in the middle of international intrigue--and in the sights of the ruthless mastermind behind an ingenious and deadly scheme. Can this cold-blooded killer be stopped before more people die . . . including Kristin?

Friday, 26 October 2018

Thirst of Steel by Ronie Kendig

Back Cover:

The Final Conflict Will Hinge on One of History's Most Dangerous Blades

Dismantled centuries ago, the sword of Goliath is still rumored to thirst for its enemies' blood. Cole "Tox" Russell wants only to put the dangers of his past behind him and begin his new life with Haven Cortes. First, though, he's called to complete a final mission: retrieve the sword and destroy the deadly Arrow & Flame Order.

The AFO, however, is determined to reunite the sword. Threatening the life of Ram and Tzivia's father, they jeopardize Ram's long-held and dangerous secret while demanding Tzivia locate the blade. With the Wraith team slowly being torn apart, things worsen when Mercy Maddox, a new operative, emerges with the stunning news that the artifact is tied to both Ram's secret and a string of unsolved serial murders.

Tox, Ram, and the others are forced to set aside fear and anger to target the true enemy. No matter the cost, Wraith must destroy the AFO . . . or join them in the flames. x


Oh. My. Word.   .....

Not even going to pretend I'm not going 'fan-girl-crazy' over this series because I totally am. The Tox Files Trilogy is officially now one of my all time favourite series. It is ridiculously clever, totally unpredictable, in the most awesome way possible, and the plots are just.... (warning: going 'fan-girl' again) mind boggling! 

I just flipped the last page of Thirst of Steel today, and I'm still reeling. What an epic conclusion to a seriously amazing trilogy. Ronie Kendig completely outdid herself. Obviously, I 100% recommend this entire trilogy to anyone who wants an excellent adventure/suspense read. Honestly, there are few books that have held my attention as unrelentingly as this series. The wanna-be-author in me is still wracking my brain trying to figure out how on earth she came up with the brilliant ideas for this series. She is amazing. This series is amazing. (told you I was going fan-girl-crazy...)

As this is the third book in the series, I want to be careful with any plot summary comments as it would be an utter shame to give away anything. That being said, the series is centered around a highly trained, military tactical team who is tasked with retrieving and neutralizing international threats originating from dangerous artifacts. In addition to the American/Israeli based team dubbed 'Wraith', who is fighting to find these artifacts and set to right the 'curses' surrounding them, there is a wicked group called the Arrow & the Flame order determined to win these artifacts for themselves and complete their goal of world domination. In the case of this last book, the artifact in question is the sword that David used to behead the giant Goliath.

My review is not doing this book nor the series justice, but believe me when I say you seriously need to read these books. I guarantee you will be as riveted as I was because they are utterly amazing.

Thanks to Graf Martin Communications and Baker Publishing House for a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

A Light on the Hill by Connilyn Cossette

Review:  I have been a fan of Connilyn Cossette since I read her "Out of Egypt" series. I completely fell in love with her writing style, vivid portrayal of Old Testament Bible stories, and the incredible knack she has for bringing the Bible to life. She is now my go-to-author for Biblical historical fiction, and I recommend her books frequently. 

Her latest novel, "A Light on the Hill" is the first book of her new series, "Cities of Refuge". This book prompted me to look up 'cities of refuge' in the Bible - and what do you know.... they were a real thing. The society of ancient Jews set up these 'cities of refuge' to help ensure that people accused of a crime received a fair trial. This novel, centered on one woman's desperate flight to such a city, brings this briefly mentioned Biblical fact to life and emphasizes the importance that such cities served. 

In addition to being enthralled by the history within the pages of this novel, I found the fictional story of Moriyah and her valiant guardian to be utterly swoon worthy. While Moriyah's story is tragic, this novel is filled with hope, God's steadfast faithfulness, delightful action, and a truly beautiful romance. 

I thoroughly enjoyed every minute I spent reading this book and eagerly look forward to the next book in this series. I highly recommend that this book be added to your "must read" pile. 

Thank-you to Graf Martin Communications and to Baker Publishing House for a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Back Cover: 

Though Israel has found relative peace, Moriyah has yet to find her own. Attempting to avoid the scorn of her community, she's spent the last seven years hiding behind the veil she wears. Underneath her covering, her face is branded with the mark of the Canaanite gods, a shameful reminder of her past captivity in Jericho and an assurance that no man will ever want to marry her. 

When her father finds a widower who needs a mother for his two sons, her hopes rise. But when their introduction goes horribly wrong, Moriyah is forced to flee for her life. Seeking safety at one of the newly established Levitical cities of refuge, she is wildly unprepared for the dangers she will face and the enemies--and unexpected allies--she will encounter on her way.x

Monday, 1 October 2018

Dead Drift by Dani Pettrey

Back Cover: Burning debris littering the ground . . . smoke pluming in the acrid air . . . this is just the beginning if he fails.

Seven years ago, operative Luke Gallagher vanished to become part of an elite team set on capturing a deadly terrorist. When Luke returns to face those he left behind, their help becomes his only hope of stopping his target's latest threat of an attack that would shake America to its core.

Private investigator Kate Maxwell never stopped loving or looking for Luke after he disappeared. But she also never imagined he left her or his life by choice. Now he's back, and together they must unravel a twisting thread of secrets, lies, and betrayal, all while on the brink of a biological disaster.

Review: First, I would advise not reading this book in the middle of the night. I picked it up around 3 am because I couldn't sleep... and then proceeded to jump at every shadow and throw furtive, nervous glances out the darkened window every thirty seconds. Needless to say, it did not help me get back to sleep (haha), BUT it was totally worth staying up for!

I would definitely  recommend this novel (and all of the books in the Chesapeake Valor series). I am loving this series. "Dead Drift" is stuffed full of action and kept me on the edge of my seat worrying that one of the good guys was going to get annihilated by the bad guys. "Dead Drift" has two separate plots weaving through it. We have the continual saga of 'Who murdered Jenna?' from the first three books continuing on through Dead Drift. Much to my pleasure, all the characters that I've fallen in love with from the first three books were wonderfully present in "Dead Drift". In addition to the 'Jenna' plot, there is also a subversive and rather frightening bio-terrorism plot that the mysterious Luke Gallagher is chasing down. 

I was rather shocked and totally stoked that Luke is actually back. After disappearing for seven years, his friends and girlfriend Katie all thought him likely dead... but here he is - back in action and super spy trained. It was very entertaining and super satisfying watching him try and woo himself back into Katie's good graces and do a kick butt job taking down the terrorist threats with his mad skills. I had a great time reading this book and would recommend it as well as the rest of the series.

Thank-you to Graf Martin Communications and to Baker Publishing House for a complimentary copy of this fun book.

The Golden Vial by Thomas Locke

Back Cover: When a hidden evil threatens to destroy the realm, a young orphan, untested and untrained, could mean the difference between victory and total defeat.

Vulnerable and weakened by grief after a terrible loss, Hyam has been struck by a mysterious illness that threatens to claim his life. Seeking to help Hyam and restore the realm, Queen Shona travels to Hyam's remote hometown to find answers and offer aid.
Dally has always had abilities far beyond those of a normal human--far-seeing and magic come naturally to her. Before the arrival of Shona and her army, Dally had always kept her abilities secret. But with an ancient evil bearing down on her village and the fate of the realm hanging in the balance, the orphaned servant girl steps forward to do what no one else can. Will the battle claim more than Dally is willing to give?

Review:  I couldn't put this book down. "The Golden Vial" is the third book in this series, and follows the equally riveting "Emissary" and "Merchant of Alyss". I am loving this imaginative world created by Thomas Locke, and I hope this series has many more books left in it. 

There really wasn't anything I disliked about "The Golden Vial" (other than it left me hanging and I can't wait to find out what happens next). However, there were a lot of things I really did like. First, I am a continual fan of the creative brand of magic/power that Locke has invented for his fantastical world. In this series, there are 'rivers' of power the flow deep beneath the earth and are climaxed by mysterious and hard to find 'orbs'. These orbs are so powerful that they are fueling the incredible abilities of our two main heroes (first Hyam and now Dally) as well as the war with the dark Fiends of the encroaching forest. So far, there hasn't been a lot reveled about the evil force that the heroes of the Realm are fighting. I am hopeful that we will get a better understanding of that in the next book. 

As far as the characters go, they are simplistic but wonderfully satisfying. Dally is your typical sad orphan ... until we learn that she has special abilities to communicate with wolf hounds. From that point forward, her abilities explode and suddenly she is capable of ... well.... pretty much anything. Hers is a fun origin story and it's great how every chapter she learns more about her abilities and just gets stronger and stronger.  The supporting characters are just that - supporting. The elves and humans alike band together to help Dally in her mysterious quest that may (hopefully) help save the realm from certain ruin. 

The story line moves very quickly and every page is full of adventure. This series would be a great gift for a teenage reader who is fond of fantasy or adults who enjoy YA fiction.

Thank-you to Graf Martin Communications and to Baker Publishing House for a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my opinion.