Standoff by Patrician Bradley

Standoff book cover

Brooke Danvers is excited to follow in her father’s footsteps as a park law enforcement ranger, but after his sudden death, she finds herself caught in a dangerous mission to determine his killer.  She is suspicious when her old high school flame, Luke Fereday, unexpectedly shows up in town and begins to poke around the crime scene, offering suggestions and assistance.  But Luke has his own agenda, working as an undercover agent sent to infiltrate the drug route along the Natchez Trace National Parkway.  As Brooke and Luke continue to uncover pieces to the puzzle, someone out there is determined to stop them for good.

This is a great start to a new series!  I liked the action and the twists and turns as we followed Brooke and Luke trying to solve mysteries before it was too late.  It took me a few chapters to keep the characters straight, but this also allowed the story to contain some complexity, as there were several characters that fit the villain description, and kept me guessing well into the book.  I liked the background of the novel, and could easily picture the humid summer setting.  There is a bit of a love triangle, which made the romance not altogether predictable.  I did think that the ending felt a bit rushed as several loose ends tied up quickly, but it was a satisfying conclusion.  I think one of the secondary characters is going to be the main character in the next book and I cannot wait to read the rest of the series!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Publishing.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish by Bethany Turner

Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish book cover

After famous hot-tempered chef Max Cavanagh’s public outburst during a televised cooking competition, he finds himself on a forced sabbatical and his limelight is transferred to sweet and humble chef Hadley Beckett, queen of southern cooking.  But when Max returns from his break and is presented with the opportunity to film a show with Hadley, neither of them is certain that they can control their tempers when cooking together in the kitchen. However, the more that Hadley works with and learns about Max, she realizes that perhaps there is more to him than meets the eye.

I like how Bethany Turner incorporates humor into her romantic novels!  This book is a great romantic comedy full of cooking puns and likeable characters.  Max grows and changes for the better, and I always like a good redemption story.  It is also nice to read how even Hadley improves and flourishes, too, becoming more confident in herself and her career.  I do wish there had been a bit more Christian principles and themes incorporated into the book rather than simply a story of changing for the better.  However, the novel definitely is clean and the romance never crosses an inappropriate line.  The internal dialogues of the characters and their interactions are easy to read, and the writing style contributes well to the overall story.  I really enjoyed this book and look forward to more by this author!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Publishing.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

The Traitor’s Pawn by Lisa Harris

The Traitor’s Pawn book cover

FBI agent Jack Shannon is determined to pursue the man responsible for selling government secrets to China, but he does not expect an interruption in his search.  Yet when a senator is shot and a woman is abducted, he joins the hunt.  He is stunned to learn that the abducted woman is no other than Detective Aubrey Grayson, an old flame.  Jack digs deeper and discovers that the intended victim of the shooting may have been Aubrey herself.  As Jack untangles the mystery, he realizes that she may also be linked to his other case, creating a web that he needs to untangle before it is too late.

Lisa Harris never fails to write fast-paced suspense and mysteries full of intrigue!  This book flowed quickly as I turned the pages to find out the villain of the story.  I liked that the action held my attention.  The romance in the story felt a little repetitive to me, but nonetheless, the characters are likable and relatable.   I enjoyed reading about themes of forgiveness in the novel and liked how the spiritual concepts were incorporated subtly.  I think certain aspects of the book stretched believability just a bit for me, but that did not detract from the overall story.  I recommend this book to those who enjoy contemporary suspense!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Publishing.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Silent Shadows by Natalie Walters

Silent Shadows book cover

Pecca Gallegos enjoys her work as a nurse at the Home for Heroes in Walton, Georgia, helping veterans as they recover from physical and mental trauma of war.  She especially likes the small town that provides her some measure of anonymity, as her complicated past relationship with a gang leader continues to pose some threat to her and her son.  However, when strange events begin happening in their quiet town, Pecca is concerned that the gang may have found her.  She discovers an unlikely ally in her new patient, Army veteran Colton Crawford, a man determined to protect Pecca despite his own struggles and undiagnosed disorder.  As Pecca and Colton try to stay safe, they realize that this may be more dangerous they suspected.

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Yes, yes yes!!!  I say that because this series has been a thrilling ride and a wonderful collection of suspense!  I really enjoyed this final installment.  Natalie Walters writes a perfect blend of suspense, surprising twists, and romance.  I like how she can take time to create backstories for her characters and develop their deeper personalities, which is hard to do in a story that is centered on suspense and fast paced plots.  The story pulled me in from the beginning and kept my attention throughout the book.  I loved the integration of spiritual themes of forgiveness and mercy.  The novels can be read in order, or individually, but it is fun to read about past characters in this final book of the series.  I very much enjoyed the complicated plot with a twist that I did not see coming!  I really liked this book and highly recommend it!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Chasing the White Lion by James R. Hannibal

Chasing the White Lion book cover

Talia Inger is not pleased to be in close contact with the assassin who killed her father, but she needs his help with infiltrating the crowd sourced crime syndicate and rescue some refugee children.  The crime boss, the White Lion, is determined to destroy Talia and her team, forcing Talia to place more trust in the assassin.  Danger closes in on every side and Talia realizes that if she does not succeed, it may cost her life.

There is no denying that this author is a talented writer and pens complex and creative stories!  I liked the intricate plot and fascinating subjects in this story.  It was great to read about a strong, intelligent female lead that is passionate about injustices of refugee children.  It is really commendable that the author highlights the good work of the Compassional International organization as well.  I was sometimes lost in the technical and complicated topics of the story, which was a little distracting from the plot.  And I definitely recommend reading this series in order.  However, I enjoyed the suspense in this novel and the story kept my attention.  I recommend this book!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Publishing.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Collision of Lies by Tom Threadgill

Collision of Lies book cover

San Antonio police detective Amara Alvarez thinks that a child involved in the deadly crash between a school bus and freight train three years ago may still be alive.  She is determined to prove her theory correct despite others protesting that it could not be possible.  Her suspicions are especially controversial because it would mean that the deadly event was not an accident, but intentional.  As she digs deeper, it becomes a race against the clock to find out the truth before it is too late.

As a new-to-me author, I was not sure what to expect from Tom Threadgull.  And I must say, he has a great talent for writing suspense!  The plot was intriguing with a creative premise. I liked that the main character was tenacious in her hunt for truth.  The action part of the story was definitely worth the read.  I must say, however, that I was disappointed with the lack of Christian content.  It is a clean book, just not heavy on Christian growth or development, which I like in my Christian fiction novels.  Nonetheless, the plot is interesting and enjoyable!  I am looking forward to reading more from this author!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Publishing.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

The Land Beneath Us by Sarah Sundin

The Land Beneath Us book cover

Leah Jones desires a family and a home, dreaming of her baby sisters she was separated from at a young age at the orphanage.  She uses her background as a librarian to research her sisters, desperate to locate her family.  Her life is forever changed when Private Clay Peterson, a US Army Ranger with his own painful past secrets, saves her from a brutal attack and offers her a marriage of convenience.  When he ships to England for D-day, they communicate through letters across a great distance, their love slowly growing despite the separation.  But war is a fickle thing and Leah fears that her new family may once again be lost forever.

Full of greatly researched history, gripping emotional characters, and deeply woven spiritual concepts, this book is captivating from beginning to end!  I really liked this story, and I do think it was my favorite of the series.  You do not have to read the stories in order, but there is definitely a common thread of brothers throughout the series that is best enjoyed if you read them all!  I loved Leah in this book, her captivating backstory, her quiet and strong faith, and her determination to do anything for those she loves captured me and allowed me to connect with her character easily.  I also really liked Clay, who has a painful past but is a genuinely good man with a heart of gold as he learns a lesson of forgiveness in this story.  The history is very well researched and integrated. I greatly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Publishing.  Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.