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Dani Pettrey’s Still Life

Still Life (Chesapeake Valor Book #2) by [Pettrey, Dani]

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.

Review

I always enjoy a mystery by Dani Pettry. My thoughts:

What I liked:

The cast of characters. It’s rare that I enjoy a book with a large (more than 5) cast of characters. However, I always enjoy Dani Pettrey’s. Somehow she is able to create a dynamic group so that I am able to not only tell each character a part, but I enjoy seeing through their eyes. This is probably because her series almost always introduce all of the characters in the first book and maintains their arcs throughout the rest of the novels.

Romance. There is a main romance in this book and a budding romance for the next one. I was looking forward to the main romance and it wasn’t disappointing. Pettrey mostly set it up in the previous book, so it was nice to see it come together without any complications. And then I got to see the beginning of what I imagine will be the next main romance. All in all, perfect for this romantic heart.

Mysteries. There is one main mystery an ongoing mystery, and a newly introduced longer mystery. While two were more interesting to me than a third, the book still managed to keep me on my toes.

Spiritually, the novel deals with forgiveness and letting go of the past.

What I didn’t like

For some reason it took me a minute to get into this book, most likely because it’s been a year since I’ve spent time with these characters. But once I was in, I was in.

Also, the team split and one group solved one mystery while the other investigated the other. I found one mystery to be more fascinating than the other.

Overall, a very good read and I’m looking forward to the next one.

Romantic scale: 7.5

**I received a copy from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**

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Monday Musings…Points of Views

I have noticed that I am solidly a minimum point of view reader. I don’t like to have too many opinions when I’m reading.

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If it’s a fantasy novel, I usually only want one voice because I’m learning the lay of the land. Switching povs midstream can at times be jarring.

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In a romance novel I can take two. And while there are always exceptions to the rule, anything more than three is just confusing.

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So, what are your thoughts on points of view? Is there a certain number that’s too many? Does it ever get confusing? Or is it just me?

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Laura Frantz’s A Moonbow Night

From the beloved author of The Frontiersman’s Daughter and Courting Morrow Little comes a new Kentucky novel…On the vast, uncharted Kentucky frontier of the 1770s, Temperance Tucker has learned to be fleet of foot, accurate with her rifle, and silent about the past. But her family secrets complicate her growing attraction to a handsome Virginia land surveyor with a harsh history of his own. Will the hurts and hardships of the past prevent them from a fulfilling future?

Review

Laura Frantz is a wonderful author. She has a real talent for interweaving historical facts and events into a narrative effortlessly. I would argue that first she writes historical fiction and everything after that is secondary. My thoughts:

What I liked

History. I’ve mentioned this before, but Frantz is able to teach me about the Kentucky frontier of the 1770s without having me feel like I’m being taught. When I read her novels I do not skip paragraphs of facts, I slow down to take them all in because if she places it in her novel than it is important to the narrative that she is writing. This book is no different.

Sion. He’s one of those heroes you can trust. You know he’s going to make wise decisions and if, for some reason he doesn’t, he’s going to go back and fix it. Frantz made me trust him.

Temperance. I loved Temperance. She’s strong and capable and unafraid in a time where women weren’t considered such. I especially love that she manages to still come off as a woman of her time, even as she proves that she is able to survive on her own.

Relationships. There are layers and layers of relationships in this novel and uncovering each one was like tasting a different layer of a cake. It was rich and rewarding.

Diversity. I always appreciate novels that show more than one culture in a novel. I especially love it when the people of that culture are presented as complex individuals as opposed to being painted with one brush.

Spiritually, the novel deals with learning to trust God in the midst of grief and bad things happening. Heavy topics, but well worth reading.

What I Didn’t Like:

Pacing. It felt like I spent a good portion of the book waiting for it to start. I kind of wish the novel had skipped the first 35%.

Romance. Okay, Frantz usually shines in the romance department for me, but it didn’t work for me this time. The problem is that both of the main characters are hung up on other people…so much so, that I failed to notice when they started noticing each other. There were obvious moments where they were fascinated with each other, but I was so convinced of their love for other people, I wasn’t sure when they fell in love with each other.

The Last of the Mohicans. I don’t know if you’ve seen this movie, but I’ve seen this movie and this book very much reminded me of this movie. For me personally, after viewing this movie a few things stood out: there were parts I liked, parts I wish I could unsee, and at the end I was very confused as to the point (other than that life on the American frontier in the 1700s was hard). These thoughts were running through my mind.

Romantic scale: 8

Overall, this is not a bad book. Let me make that clear. Once I started this book, I did not put it down. It just isn’t one of my favorites by this author.

**I received a copy from Revell. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**

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Monday Musings…Happy New Year!

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I hope you all had a blessed new year! As with every year, let’s talk about last year:

I read 250 books.

I did a few interviews, but not as many as I used to in previous years. I am going to attempt to do more of those this year. They can be a lot of fun!

Themes. I used to do a lot more themes before, but have since slacked off.

More book reviews. Yes.

Basically, last year can be summed up like a roller coaster, I had some highs with a lot of lows.

This year my goals are to:

Read 150 books. This number has dropped drastically over the years. I just don’t have the time anymore. But, I also found that I have been reading tons of secular novels, be they historical or Ya or mysteries. This means that I actually do not review a lot of Christian fiction because I don’t read as much of them as I used to.

Why? You ask.

Lately, I have found it to be kind of formulaic. I am always on the hunt for new ideas or old ideas presented in new ways and…I’m struggling to find Christian authors who present books in this way (though there are a few, and those I read!). Hence, this year, I will branch out more in the indie Christian field. That is my goal.

Writing more books. I am planning on writing more books this year. As to publishing them all at the same time…..yeah. It’s expensive to pay for an editor and my books are not selling at the point where things are breaking even, so I will still continue to publish one book a year unless a publisher picks me up or my books start selling. But, know that I am always, always writing and this month I will really get deep into the last book of my Tate series.

More blogging. This. I love this blog and I haven’t been acting like it lately. Things are about to change folks!

Anyway, may 2017 be a blessed year for all of us!

 

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Best books of 2016!

Book-wise, 2016 was kind of a disappointment. Kind of. Some of my favorite authors wrote books I would rather forget. But, I also stumbled across some fabulous new authors. Here are some of my favorites and by favorites, I mean books that I highly recommend and/or would reread:

 

Broken Trust (The Mission League Book 3) by [Williamson, Jill]

Giver of Wonders by [White, Roseanna M.]

The Promise of Rayne by [Deese, Nicole]

Third Strand of the Cord: A Novel of Love in Liberty by [Richmond, Catherine]

Agree?Disagree? What were some of your favorites this year?

 

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Ronie Kendig’s Conspiracy of Silence

Four years after a tragic mission decimated his career and his team, Cole “Tox” Russell is persona non grata to the United States. And that’s fine–he just wants to be left alone. But when a dormant, centuries-old disease is unleashed, Tox is lured back into action.

Partnered with FBI agent Kasey Cortes, Tox has to pull together a team to begin a globe-spanning search for answers–and a cure. As their quest leads them from continent to continent, it slowly becomes clear they’re not just fighting a plague–but battling against an ancient secret society whose true goals remain hidden.

With time running out and opposition growing on every side, the key to everything may rest in an antique codex, the Crown of Jerusalem–but will Tox and his team be able to trust each other enough to break this century-spanning conspiracy of silence?

Review

Ronie Kendig for me is another hit and miss author. It isn’t that her writing is bad or that the story isn’t interesting, it’s just that, for me, it can be a bit difficult for her to balance relationships vs action in her book. I am a reader who relies heavily upon relationship and too much action makes me skim. That said, when she finds the balance, her books are amazing. However, this one for me, just didn’t work.

What I liked:

The setup. This new series appears to focus on literal spiritual warfare. It’s almost like Indiana Jones but with the military. I got the impression that the author did a lot of research and it showed. It’s a bit fantastical and you have to suspend your disbelief at moments, but overall it works.

Military knowledge. I come from a military family and I always enjoy when an author respects the institution. Kendig respects the institution and she knows her stuff.

What I didn’t like:

Too many characters. There was so much going on and by adding multiple povs, I found myself skimming several main characters. It was just too much.

Not enough relationship. There are two relationships going on here: Tox’s relationship with his team and his relationship with his lady. His team doesn’t trust him in the beginning of the novel and they let him know…and then suddenly, they just do. If they talked it out, I missed it. And this is sad, because I was looking forward to seeing them all become friends again. Then there was Tox and his lady. I have no idea when they fell in love. They were too busy surviving and barely talking to each other and, quite frankly, knew very little about each other at the end of the book. I was so disappointed.

Tox. He was called Tox because his presence was considered toxic to those around him. He whined about this…and then surrounded himself with those he cared about. I wanted to say, choose another name buddy.

Romantic scale: 6.5

Overall, not a bad book if you’re reading for action. But if you’re reading for relationships, you might want to pass.

**I received a copy from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**

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Monday Musings…Cover Love

Can you believe 2016 is almost over? I know I can’t. It seems like time is running by. Anywho, that means tons of 2017 books to look forward to. Here are some covers that caught my eye:

To Wager Her Heart (A Belle Meade Plantation Novel Book 3) by [Alexander, Tamera]

Can a reformed gambler from the Colorado Territory and a Southern Belle bent on breaking free from society’s expectations find a way to work together to achieve their dreams in the new reality of the post-Civil War South?

Seeking justice  . . . 

Sylas Rutledge, the new owner of the Northeast Line Railroad, invests everything he has into this venture, partly for the sake of the challenge. But mostly to clear his father’s name. One man holds the key to Sy’s success–General William Giles Harding of Nashville’s Belle Meade Plantation. But Harding is champagne and thoroughbreds, and Sy Rutledge is beer and bullocks. Sy needs someone to help him maneuver his way through Nashville society, and when he meets Alexandra Jamison, he quickly decides he’s found his tutor. Only, he soon discovers that the very train accident his father is blamed for causing is what killed Alexandra Jamison’s fiancee–and what has broken her heart.
 
Struggling to restore honor . . .

Spurning an arranged marriage by her father, Alexandra instead pursues her passion for teaching at Fisk University, the first freedmen’s university in the United States. But her family–and Nashville society–do not approve, and she soon finds herself cast out from both.

Through connections with the Harding family, Alexandra and Sy are thrown together. And despite her first impressions, Alexandra gradually finds herself coming to respect, and even to love this man. But how can she, when her heart is still spoken for? And when his roguish qualities and adventuresome spirit smack more of recklessness than responsibility and honor?

Sylas Rutledge will risk everything to win over the woman he loves. What he doesn’t count on is having to wager her heart to do it.

Set against the history of Nashville’s Belle Meade Plantation, To Wager Her Heart is a sweeping Southern love story about seeking justice and restoring honor at a time in history when both were fragile and hard-won.

A Viscount's Proposal (The Regency Spies of London Book 2) by [Dickerson, Melanie]

Leorah Langdon has no patience for Regency society’s shallow hypocrisy and unnecessary rules, especially for women. She’s determined to defy convention by marrying for grand passion instead of settling for a loveless union like her parents—or wedding a stuffy, pompous gentleman like Edward, the Viscount Withinghall. But when a chance meeting in the countryside leads to Leorah and Withinghall being discovered in his overturned carriage—alone and after dark—the ensuing gossip may force them together.

Withinghall has his reasons for clinging to propriety; his father perished in a duel with his mistress’s husband, and Edward must avoid scandal himself if he wants to become prime minister. He certainly has no time for a reckless hoyden like Miss Langdon. But soon the two discover that Withinghall’s coach “accident” was no such thing: the vehicle was sabotaged.

Can the culprit be brought to justice? Strong-willed Leorah and duty-driven Withinghall will have to work together if they have any hope of saving her reputation, his political career—and his life.

Never Forget (Beacons of Hope Book 5) by [Hedlund, Jody]

Rose Island Lighthouse, Rhode Island
June 1880

Will she betray his trust to stay on the island she loves?

Abbie Watson is content to spend her days clamming, crabbing, and tending Rose Island Lighthouse. Her grandpa is the head light keeper, but his senility may lead to their eviction. Since leaving the island would kill her beloved Gramps, Abbie will do anything to keep him in the one place he knows and loves.

Wealthy Nathaniel Winthrop III’s wild living has gained him a reputation as the ‘bad boy’ among the elite social circles of Newport. After a blow to the head in a yachting accident washes him up on Rose Island, Nathaniel has no memories of his past.

Abbie tends the wounded stranger in her home only to realize he assumes they’re married. Although she knows she needs to correct Nathaniel’s mistake, his presence calms Gramps and provides a way to prevent eviction from the lighthouse.

The longer the charade continues, the harder it gets for Abbie to tell Nathaniel the truth, more so as she begins to fall in love. Everyone she’s ever loved has abandoned her. Will Nathaniel leave her too, once he discovers he’s not really her husband?

A Matter of Trust (Montana Rescue Book #3) by [Warren, Susan May]

Champion backcountry snowboarder Gage Watson has left the limelight behind after the death of one of his fans. After being sued for negligence and stripped of his sponsorships, he’s remade his life as a ski patrol in Montana’s rugged mountains, as well as serving on the PEAK Rescue team. But he can’t seem to find his footing–or forget the woman he loved, who betrayed him.

Senator and former attorney Ella Blair spends much of her time in the limelight as the second-youngest senator in the country. But she has a secret–one that cost Gage his career. More than anything, she wants to atone for her betrayal of him in the courtroom and find a way to help him put his career back on track.

When Ella’s brother goes missing on one of Glacier National Park’s most dangerous peaks, Gage and his team are called in for the rescue. But Gage isn’t so sure he wants to help the woman who destroyed his life. More, when she insists on joining the search, he’ll have to keep her safe while finding her reckless brother, a recipe for disaster when a snowstorm hits the mountain.

But old sparks relight as they search for the missing snowboarder–and suddenly, they are faced with emotions neither can deny. But when Ella’s secret is revealed, can they learn to trust each other–even when disaster happens again?

These are just the tip of the iceberg! Looking forward to all the books coming out next year. Is there any one that catches your eye?