Google+ Badge

Friday, March 16, 2018

Innocent Lies by Robin Patchen - A Book Review

    Robin Patchen

     Readers will be glad that they once again returned to Nutfield, New Hampshire. We have been wondering throughout this series what brought Eric Nolan to this small, New England town, and Patchen is now ready to reveal the answer, one that I am sure none of us saw coming. Readers will enjoy encountering old friends and making new ones of Kelsey and Daniel around whom this story centers. The antagonists of Innocent Lies are darker than those previously encountered in the Hidden Truth series, being involved in the sex trafficking business, a business that sells bodies and threatens to steal souls.

     Patchen’s ability to write believable dialogue, build sensory filled settings, and navigate complex plots is once again on display in Innocent Lies. She has gifted the series’ readers with a special gift at the end of this book. While all of the books in this series work as a stand-alone read, it is my opinion that readers will get greater enjoyment of reading the books in order to benefit from the back story as new characters are introduced. I once again thank Robin Patchen for providing me with a copy of her work in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for this review.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Generous Lies by Robin Patchen - A Book Review

Generous Lies (Hidden Truth Book 3) by [Patchen, Robin]    Robin Patchen

     Generous Lies is the third book in Robin Patchen’s Hidden Truth series. This book is as wonderful as the first two. I love that the mysteries in these books do not feel patterned or predictable. This third book revolves around two youth: Aiden, the son of former FBI agent Garrison Kopp, is a drug addict; Matty O’Brien, Aiden’s dealer and best friend, is thrown into a dangerous situation created by his often-absent father. As Garrison strives to get help for his son, he seeks refuge in the town where the friends he made in Hidden Truth’s second book, Twisted Lives, reside. There Samantha Messenger supports both Garrison and Aiden in their path toward healing. Little do they know that they are being tracked by Aiden’s friend Matty and his father in an effort to retrieve a package that Matty stowed in the trunk of the Kopp’s vehicle. There are some very dangerous men who are determined to take possession of this package.
     Generous Lies promotes hope and healing, both physical and emotional. Patchen uses this platform to let her readers know about the Author of Hope without being preachy, but with characters who demonstrate love and mercy rather than judgement and condemnation. I recommend this book and this series to mystery fans, especially those who like a little romance woven into a good mystery. I thank Robin for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation.  

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

In Places Hidden by Tracie Peterson - A Book Review

In Places Hidden (Golden Gate Secrets Book #1) by [Peterson, Tracie]     Tracie Peterson

     Set in San Francisco in 1905, In Places Hidden has it all: history, mystery, romance, and social justice. Tracie Peterson never fails to entertain while challenging readers to think deeply about their faith. This story has the reader pondering the degree to which he or she is willing to see God and to serve Him in the words of circumstances. She asks us to see the world and set priorities with a Kingdom view, a view that looks past next week, even past a lifetime, into eternity.

     In Places Hidden is the first book in Peterson’s Golden Gate Secrets series. The series follows three young women, each coming to San Francisco with a goal in mind. This first book focuses on Camri Coulter who has come to the city to search for her missing brother, attorney Caleb Coulter. She is assisted in her search by new friends, Judith Gladstone and Kenzie Gifford, along with Caleb’s friend, and former client, Patrick Murdoch. The search moves from Caleb’s fashionable neighborhood to poverty-stricken ones to the infamous Barbary Coast. Camri, an advocate for education and women’s rights, comes face to face with her own biases as her eyes are opened to the needs of others, and as her view of what comprises an education broadens.

     I highly recommend In Places Hidden, and look forward to reading Judith’s story when the second book in this series is released. I appreciate NetGalley and Bethany House Publishers for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for this review.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

If I Live by Terri Blackstock - A Book Review

If I Live (If I Run Series) by [Blackstock, Terri]     Terri Blackstock

     If I Live is the third book in Terri Blackstock’s If I Run series. It follows Casey Cox who has been framed for a murder committed by someone in the police department. She is aided by her friend Dylan Roberts, a private investigator who was hired to find her, having convinced him that her life would be in danger in the hands of the police until it is determined how far the corruption goes within the department.
     Before I started reviewing books, I read Terri Blackstock’s Sun Coast Chronicles series, her Cape Refuge Series, her Restoration Series, and some of her Newpointe 911 series. I would have given each and every book a five-star rating. I loved them all, and often recommended Terri Blackstock to friends. It had been awhile since I had read one of her books, so I was really looking forward to the opportunity to review If I Live. I am sorry to say that I was very disappointed. While the plot was quite good, I was so distracted by the writing style, so different from my memory of her other books, that I was unable to enjoy the time I invested in reading this one. That’s not to say that I think that would be true for all readers, we each have our own personal preferences, and this style may totally suit someone else. Each chapter begins with a character’s name, and the character seems to be talking to the reader telling their side of the story, describing what they are doing, seeing and hearing. Dialogue intersperses this monologue. I felt as the story did not flow smoothly even though the plot was well thought out.
     I do appreciate NetGalley and Zondervan Publishers for providing me with a copy of If I Live in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for providing this review.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Innkeeper's Daughter by Michelle Griep - A Book Review

The Innkeeper's DaughterMichelle Griep

          The Innkeeper’s Daughter is set in Dover, England in the year 1808. Johanna Langley bears the lion’s share of the responsibility for keeping the Blue Hedge Inn open and running. Her widowed mother helps in the kitchen and with tending the rooms, while her scamp of a younger brother follows in his late father’s footsteps trying to bring in what coins he can through games of chance. The inn’s rundown appearance and lack of staff do not draw in many visitors, so Johanna must look to other enterprises in order to meet the payments required by Mr. Spurge and to avoid the work house. While a certain guest of the inn is anxious to give Johanna money, she must wonder what he expects in return.
     Alexander Moore or Morton as he has come to be called, is directed to stay at the Blue Hedge Inn  while assigned to work undercover in an attempt to ferret out a traitor. Without many clues as to the traitor’s identity and goal, Alex must be suspicious of everyone and constantly on guard. Living a life of duplicity is difficult for this man of high morals and standards, but becomes even more so when he must deny his growing affection for Johanna when his cover demands he become betrothed to another.
     Reading The Innkeeper’s Daughter was like listening to a beautiful piece of music played on a piano with a key or two out of tune. The plot was intriguing. The characters well developed. Each of the senses is piqued as characters move from inn, to waterfront, to gaming rooms, to ships’ holds. I understand that when writing historical fiction, the language of the day would be too cumbersome to today’s readers, and dialogue is often written in speech patterns more common to today; however, some modern phrases and clich├ęs have the ability to jerk the reader out of the time period in which the story is set. For example lyrics from a popular Kelly Clarkson song are paraphrased as Johanna says, “I suppose what does not drive us into the ground only serves to make us stronger, hmmmm?” A quote originated by Friedrich Nietzsche, a German philosopher, born seventy-six years after the setting of this book. Another character refers to “doing a thorough background check,” a rather modern expression. Would I let these little annoyances keep me from reading The Innkeeper’s Daughter? Absolutely not! I enjoyed the story very much, and thank NetGalley and Barbour Publishing for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for this review.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Twisted Lies by Robin Patchen - A Book Review

Twisted Lies (Hidden Truth Book 2)  Robin Patchen

     Twisted Lies is book two in Patchen’s Hidden Truth series, and is every bit as wonderful as the first. Both books pull at the reader’s heart strings because young children are at risk. In Twisted Lies four-year-old Ana, adopted daughter of Marisa Vega, has been kidnapped, and the kidnapping is linked to the life Marisa led before fleeing to Mexico. Also linked to that life is former New York Times reporter, Nate Boyle. Can Marisa count on him to help her find her daughter before it is too late? Will Nate be able to work past the PTSD caused by the role he played in protecting another mother and child?
     While being drawn into Ana and Marisa’s story, the reader will also be pleased to encounter lead characters from book one in the Hidden Truth series, Convenient Lies.  Brady, Rae and Sam are on hand to help find Ana and to help bring her kidnapper to justice. By the end of the book, the reader will be looking forward to reading book three, Generous Lies, the story of Sam (Samantha) and retired FBI agent, Garrison Kopp.

     Once again, I was impressed by Robin Patchen’s skill in writing dialogue, keeping it fresh and real. The story is well-paced, and clues to the mystery’s solution well-delivered. I really appreciate Robin’s providing this book in exchange for my honest review, and like other readers, I am excited about reading book three.  

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Man He Never Was by James L. Rubart - A Book Review

The Man He Never Was: A Modern Reimagining of Jekyll and   Hyde   Image result for james l rubart

     How is it possible that I have not discovered this amazing author long before now? My favorite type of Christian fiction is not the sweet stories of Christians living out their faith, although those are wonderful; rather my favorite type of Christian fiction is the type whose stories open my heart and mind to the truth of God’s Word in a way that I have not seen it before. Ted Dekker and Francine Rivers, two very different types of writers, but both quite skillful at teaching God’s truth, are among the best, and now I know James Rubart to be that type of writer as well.
     In The Man He Never Was Rubart addresses what it means to truly be crucified with Christ, the essence of God’s love, and what it means for perfect love to cast out all fear. He does this by allowing us to join Toren Daniels through an abusive childhood into an out-of-control adulthood. As readers we get to watch Toren’s struggle to gain control, to do the right things, and to win back the family he drove away. Stalked by someone from his middle and high school years, aided by a group of mysterious strangers, Toren is torn between darkness and light, between desires for peace and for an outlet for his anger, between love and hate. Warren Wiersbe wrote that Satan’s philosophy is glory without suffering, and God’s philosophy is suffering transformed into glory. Toren was certainly torn between choosing the philosophy that would determine which mountain he would end up climbing in his effort to be the man he wanted to be.

     Not long into The Man He Never Was I was already wanting to share this book with many of my friends and family. It is one of those books that I will want to give a permanent spot in my home library, frequently revisiting the pages I’ve highlighted, of which there are many. It will be necessary to delete the copy that NetGalley and Thomas Nelson kindly provided in exchange for an honest review, but it will be worth purchasing a copy to transfer my highlighting to. I received no monetary compensation for providing this review. It was fueled with the hope that others will be moved to read this moving and enlightening book.