Friday, September 29, 2017

First Line Friday - Week 21


Happy Friday!!!

This week I am currently reading a new to me author. I heard about this book through a fellow Friday Line Friday blogger, Moments Dipped in Ink. Since she shared the first line from the first chapter, I am going to share the first line from the chapter I am currently on. 

Today's book is: One More Song to Sing by Lindsay Harrel

One More Song to Sing

Chapter 6
"Today was a new day. Tonight, a new night."

A change is coming to First Line Friday's - a brand new website! Everyone's First Line Friday posts will be linked up on this website and you will have the availabilty to submit your own as well. Check out the website now for a preview and a possible surprise...

 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

A Refuge for the Rancher by Liz Isaacson

Series: Brush Creek Brides # 6
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: AEJ Creative Works
Released: September 26, 2017
126 pages
About the Book:

Shannon Sharpe has lots of kids to look after, and plenty of adult interaction. Being the principal at Brush Creek Elementary affords her such privileges. But she doesn't want to go home with a group of third graders or eat dinner with her teacher friends. She's all but given up on finding someone in the small Utah town, and besides, a transfer is just around the corner.
 
When she has to go talk to a handsome cowboy who's been semi-stalking one of her teachers, Shannon decides Grant Ford isn't all that bad. They work together on a summer school program which includes horses, and Grant makes the same deductions about Shannon.
 
But she's a blonde powerhouse who runs an entire school, and Grant feels inferior on many levels. Can he dig deep and rely on his faith and his friends in order to make a relationship with Shannon successful?

                                 Goodreads / Amazon

My Rating & Thoughts:    🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟  (4 stars) 
 
“One of the greatest blessings of forgiveness is that we don’t have to own that sin anymore. ... What the Lord forgives, He forgets. We should too.”
 
This is book 6 of the Brush Creek series and focuses on Grant, the last single cowboy at the ranch. Shannon and Grant have been going to the same church for 3 years but have never met. What happens when they finally do? Shannon is a school principle used to be in charge which has caused some issues for her in past relationships. Grant has a past he is ashamed of and feels that Shannon is above him. Can these two overcome these issues and possibly find a future with each other? There is an attraction between the two of them right from their first meeting and that attraction grows as they spend more time together. I felt they complimented each other really well, bringing out the best in one another and learning to accept themselves like the other has accepted them. Their interactions were fun and had me smiling many times. I liked that Grant was not put off by Shannon’s take charge attitude. Along with the sweet romance was a message that I will take away from this story - We are not defined by our past; we need to remember to forgive ourselves for past mistakes. This may have been a short story, but it kept my interest the whole way through and left me pleased with the ending.
 
(I received an ARC of this book from the author; opinions expressed
in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)
Other Books in the Series:
 
1-A-Wedding-for-the-Widower_thumb_th 2-A-Companion-for-the-Cowboy_thumb_t 3-A-Bride-for-the-Bronc-Rider_thumb_ 
4-A-Family-for-the-Farmer_thumb 5 A Home for a Horseman

Monday, September 25, 2017

Still Life by Dani Pettrey

Series: Chesapeake Valor #2
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Publisher: Bethany House
Released: January 31, 2017
353 pages
About the Book:

Blacklisted in the photography business over a controversial shot, Avery Tate answered an ad for a crime scene photographer. She expected to be laughed at, but crime scene analyst Parker Mitchell hired her outright--and changed her life. But six months ago, when her feelings for Parker became too strong, she left his employ to sort out her heart.

Now, for the first time, Avery is facing the world that rejected her to attend the gallery opening of a photography exhibit and support her best friend, who modeled for the show. But the only image of her friend is a chilling photo of her posing as if dead--and the photographer insists he didn't take the shot. Worse, her friend can't be found. She immediately calls Parker for help. As Avery, Parker, and his friends in law enforcement dig into the mystery, they find themselves face-to-face with a relentless and deadly threat. 
 
                                           Goodreads / Amazon / Christianbook 

My Rating & Thoughts:    🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟  (4 stars)  

“Your past is ... in your past ... it’s what made you who you are.”
 
I love this group of characters. The relationships between those in the group have improved since the first book, the same tensions are not there and they seem to be much more comfortable together. I loved how Ms. Pettrey gives us an update of what’s been going on with the characters since we last saw them without dragging it out. Avery hasn’t worked with Parker for a while but now a case has thrown them together once again. This forced interaction makes them address their feelings for one another. Can they move past their fears and take the risk to express their feelings?
 
There are two cases being dealt with, the main one that keeps Avery and Parker on their toes is creepy. I couldn’t believe the things that someone did. The second case that keeps Declan busy is scary in a different way. Both cases kept me guessing and trying to figure out what would happen next, who was responsible and would justice be served.
 
I really felt for what Avery was going through, but the strength she exhibited to do what she needed to do to get justice for her friend was inspiring. Avery has overcome so much to get to where she is today; she was probably my favourite character in this story. The insert of the various prayers keep the message of turning to God for help strong and showed that God will be there for you through everything. The other strong message presented was that once you turn your life over to God you are a new creation, your past is forgiven and wiped clean.
 
I loved the relationship dynamics between the various characters – Avery & Parker, Griffin & Finlay and of course Declan & Tanner’s entertaining interactions (what is going to happen there?). Then there is Kate who is continuing to search for the missing Luke. This is the one mystery that seems to have the group at odds, they want answers but as the years continue to pass with no answers they are left questioning and their own theories leave them disagreeing.
 
Even though the story deals with some difficult and tension filled moments there are lighthearted, fun and even swoon worthy moments spread throughout with various characters. I highly recommend this series and can’t wait to see what else is in store for these characters, and will they get answers to the Luke mystery?
  
“Know that nothing you could say could change my love for you – other than deepening it. The more I see and learn, the harder I fall.”

(I purchasd my copy of this book; opinions expressed in this review
are my honest opinion and completely my own.)

 Other Books in the Series:
1 Cold Shot 3-Blind-Spot_thumb

Friday, September 22, 2017

First Line Friday - Week 20


Happy Friday!!!

What a week I am so happy its Friday! It was back to work after two weeks of vacation and that meant a very busy week. Just need to get through today and then it's offically the weekend for me. Our vacation was a enjoyable break, filled with beautiful scenery, lots of great memories, and getting to spend some face to face time with my bbf! Of course we chatted books, I added to her TBR pile and she told me I needed to move Dani Pettrey's books up on my TBR list. I had no choice but to listen to her, so I read Cold Shot on the plane ride home and then started book 2 right after. Book 3, Blind Spot, of the series releases in 10 days (Oct. 3). But today I am highlighting book 2, which I just finished last night. My review will be coming on Monday.

Today's book is: Still Life by Dani Pettrey

2 Still Life

"He glanced around what had become a dumping ground by the river's edge.
Dark, silent . . . deserted. Perfect."

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Cold Shot by Dani Pettrey

Series: Chesapeake Valor # 1
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Publisher: Bethany House
Released: Jan. 26, 2016
352 pages
About the Book:

In college, Griffin McCray and his three best friends had their lives planned out. Griffin and Luke Gallagher would join the Baltimore PD. Declan Gray would head to the FBI and Parker Mitchell would go on to graduate school as a crime scene analyst. But then Luke vanished before graduation and their world--and friendships--crumbled.
 
Now Griffin is a park ranger at Gettysburg, having left life as a SWAT-team sniper when a case went bad. The job is mostly quiet--until the day he captures two relic hunters uncovering skeletal remains near Little Round Top. Griffin just wants the case to go away, but charming forensic anthropologist Finley Scott determines that the body is modern--a young social justice lawyer missing since spring--and all evidence points to the work of an expert sniper. When FBI agent Declan Gray takes over the case, past and present collide. Griffin soon realizes he'll need to confront some of the darkest days of his life if he--and those he cares about--are going to escape a downward spiral of murder that crosses continents.

                                                           Goodreads / Amazon / Christianbook 

My Rating & Thoughts:    🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟  (4 stars)  
 
“Though she was weak, her Saviour was strong.”

I could not put this down, I was immersed into the story right from the discovery of the body and felt like I was right there with the characters trying to figure out who it is, what happened and who is responsible. This is definitely an action packed and suspense filled ride. There were some scary moments when I wondered if (and how) things would turn out okay. Just when you think you know the answers a twist is thrown in and you are left searching for more answers just like the characters.

Griffin and Finlay have been acquainted for a while and have defined impressions of each other until they are forced to work closely together and learn that their opinions might not be correct. They work together well and chemistry develops. When Finlay’s life is endangered Griffin will do anything to protect her, which includes having to face past demons. I did feel their relationship developed from attraction to love a bit too quickly but I really enjoyed their interactions that I can accept it. I loved that the characters turned to prayer quite a bit not only in times of danger and anxiety.

In addition to the actual case storyline there is much more going on with the characters which gave them depth and made them multidimensional. Each character is dealing with some sort of hurt and is on a journey towards healing. Even though Griffin and Finlay are the main characters in the story we really got the opportunity to get to know some of the other players and I enjoyed the multiple points of view that Ms. Pettrey included. The villain’s pov parts were short but creepy making me really want them caught.

I really enjoyed the dynamics between the characters and am so glad this is only the first book in the series as it means I get to spend more time with them in future books. Now onto book two ...

 “The breathtakingly handsome man had been both the bane of her existence
and source of tingly excitement for the past five months.”

(I purchasd my copy of this book; opinions expressed in this review
are my honest opinion and completely my own.)

 Other Books in the Series:
2 Still Life 3 Blind Spot

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A Home for the Horseman by Liz Isaacson

Series: Brush Creek Brides # 5
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: AEJ Creative Works
Released: September 5, 2017
124 pages
About the Book:

Former rodeo star, Emmett Graves, has retired to Brush Creek Horse Ranch to train barrel racing horses. He loves to make jokes and is completely content with his life—sans women, thank you very much. His momma left when he was twelve, and he's learned that the female portion of the human species can't be trusted.
 
Barrel racing champion, Molly Brady shows up at Brush Creek ready to forget about her ex and the restraining order she had to get against him. She's over all things cowboy, and she wants nothing to do with Emmett, who ruined her favorite shirt the first time they met.
 
As Emmett teaches Molly how to train a horse before it starts winning rodeo events, the spark between them is hot and instant. Can Emmett figure out how to trust women? And even if he does, will Molly allow a cowboy to rope her heart again? They'll have to rely on their faith and their friendships to make sense of the future.
                                 Goodreads / Amazon

My Rating & Thoughts:    🌟 🌟 🌟  (3 stars)

The first meeting between the Emmett and Molly does not go well, then they find out they are going to be working together and are not happy about it at all. Over the course of time they begin to get to know one another and learn that first impressions are not always accurate and feelings start to develop. However Emmett sees no future in relationships due to experiences in his past and Molly has no interest in a relationship with a man, especially a cowboy. They both try to fight the attraction but can only do that for so long and they decide to take the chance that maybe there is more for them then they planned for themselves. Emmett was a great guy and it was sweet how he put everything on the line for Molly. He gave her the space she wanted but also was there for her when she really needed it. I did feel there were a few holes in the story that left me with questions. Molly’s ex is mentioned briefly with indications that it was a bad relationship but we don’t find out much. And we are told that Emmett was retired from the rodeo but I do not feel it was revealed what he did. This story hit really close to home for me as my dad passed away from cancer and the whole situation in the book with Molly’s father reminded me so much of this time of my life.

(I received an ARC of this book from the author; opinions expressed
in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)
Other Books in the Series:
 
1-A-Wedding-for-the-Widower_thumb 2-A-Companion-for-the-Cowboy_thumb 3-A-Bride-for-the-Bronc-Rider_thumb 4 A Family for the Farmer

Sunday, September 17, 2017

A Time to Stand by Robert Whitlow

Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Released: September 12, 2017
416 pages
About the Book:

Adisa Johnson, a young African-American attorney, is living her dream of practicing law with a prestigious firm in downtown Atlanta. Then a split-second mistake changes the course of her career.

Left with no other options, Adisa returns to her hometown where a few days earlier a white police officer shot an unarmed black teen who is now lying comatose in the hospital.

Adisa is itching to jump into the fight as a special prosecutor, but feels pulled to do what she considers unthinkable—defend the officer.

As the court case unfolds, everyone in the small community must confront their own prejudices. Caught in the middle, Adisa also tries to chart her way along a path complicated by her budding relationship with a charismatic young preacher who leads the local movement demanding the police officer answer for his crime.

This highly relevant and gripping novel challenges us to ask what it means to forgive while seeking justice and to pursue reconciliation while loving others as ourselves.


My Rating & Thoughts:    🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟  (4 stars)
 
“Your biggest job in life is to show God’s unconditional love to a world that desperately needs to see it.” 
 
Mr. Whitlow has written a compelling story that will have you questioning what really happened and wondering what is going to happen. This book felt like it was taken right out of a current day headline. A white police officer shots an unarmed young African-American man and racial tensions arise. Readers are right there with Officer Luke when the shooting happens and we experience everything he goes through at the time. It was easy for me to side with the officer, but then we meet Adisa a young African-American lawyer who has recently returned to town due to her Aunt’s health and gets pulled into this case. After reading the newspaper articles and meeting a few from the African-American community she deems to the white officer guilty, but then she is asked to help defend him. Which side of the case should she be on? Is Officer Luke guilty or not?
 
After being challenged by the Lord, Adisa searches her heart and joins the defense team. Now she is experiencing backlash from the African-American community due to her association with this case. Luke struggles with the whole situation, he is feeling guilty but feels he did what he needed to do at that time; he is scared for his family and is unsure whether or not to trust Adisa. Luke struggles with letting God handle the situation and making what seems impossible to get through possible.
 
Story is told through multiple perspectives which provides readers with the ability to really get to know the characters and feeling for them. Along with the main characters there were some secondary characters I really liked. The aunt, the grandmother and the lawyer each challenged Adisa and made her analyze her thoughts and feelings. Luke’s wife, Jane, was a great prayer warrior and a wonderful support for him. I was a bit disappointed in the way the pastor first reacts to Adisa’s news but he redeemed himself in my eyes when he challenged everyone “It’s time to stand! To look past differences the Lord created and come together in unity of God’s spirit.” Can everyone put racial feelings aside to find the truth of what happened and fight for justice together?
 
This book challenged me as there were times I was back and forth between sides, wanting justice for the young man but didn’t feel the officer was guilty. I loved the way God intervened to give a resolution to a situation that seemed impossible possible. I was pleased with the way the story ended, it felt complete.
 
“Barriers between races weaken in the face of a common purpose
that unites people in a cause bigger than any individual.”
 
(I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley;
opinions expressed in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)

  Other Books I've Read by Robert Whitlow:
A House Divided The Choice Jimmy

Friday, September 15, 2017

First Line Friday - Week 19


Happy Friday!!!

This week I am highlighting a book I read back in January. This was an emotional read, but one I really enjoyed as I watched the characters grow. And don't you love the cover? My review can be found here.

Today's book is: Change of Heart by Courtney Walsh

Change of Heart

"Everlyn Brandt stood in her kitchen, the sound of uptight laughter filtering in from the dining room. Hosting the Loves Park Chamber Ladies hadn't been her idea. Christopher told her a good politician's wife had to put herself out there. So she did."