4.04.2020

Nameless Queen by Rebecca McLaughlin ~ Review

My Review:

A name can be an identity, a future, and power.

Coin has made a living on the streets, a Nameless in a caste system of Royals, Legals and Nameless. She doesn't know her real name, but when she is impossibly named the heir to the throne, she must fight for her life and for the lives of her people.

A engaging young adult read from debut author Rebecca McLaughlin, set in a well constructed world, with surprising twists and allies along the way.

Coin is a clever heroine, having survived on the streets by her own wits for years when suddenly a  new destiny is thrust upon her. She is emotionally distant from others, and doesn't trust anyone, but over the course of the book we see her long held standards challenged. I admired her determination, fighter's spirit, she doesn't back down, and isn't afraid to play the long game.

There were many fantastic characters, especially strong females. I really liked Esther, Devil, and Hat, with her child-like innocence and enthusiasm. But of course Glenquartz was a fantastic character, and rather unexpected.

Well written, engaging, with great world building, and characters, with a compelling concept and subsequent consequences. I also really liked how this book proved that you don't need a romantic storyline to tell a killer story, instead focusing on strong themes of friendship, family, power, and identity. Lots of action, and political intrigue, with a satisfying ending.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Border Breach by Darlene L. Turner ~ Just Read Tour, Review

Border Breach JustRead Blog Tour 
Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for Border Breach by Darlene L. Turner, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Border Breach Title: Border Breach
Author: Darlene L. Turner
Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense
Release Date: April 1, 2020
Genre: Inspirational Romantic Suspense

When drugs are smuggled across the border
it’s their duty to stop the culprits…at any cost.

Forming a joint task force, Canada border officer Kaylin Poirier and police constable Hudson Steeves have one objective: take down a drug-smuggling ring trying to sell a new lethal product. But when the smugglers come after Kaylin and Hudson, this mission becomes more than just a job. Can they live long enough to solve the case?

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository  

Review:

Canadian Border Agent Kaylin Poirier and Constable Hudson Steeves must join forces to stop a deadly drug ring, with a lethal new product on the market. Kaylin and Hudson have worked together in the past, to disastrous results, but as they work on the case they become targets themselves and have to catch the culprits before they become the next victims.

Kaylin is a strong and capable young woman, and draws inspiration and motivation from the pain of her past. She is very conscientious and devoted to her job, though at times she feels like she is constantly proving herself again and again, which eats at her confidence. She doesn't like to think about faith, and I liked how Hudson challenges her in that way.

Hudson is devoted to finding the kingpins of the drug ring, and he knows that he made mistakes last time he worked with Kaylin. He is strong in his faith, and aware of his failings. I liked his honesty and how he really does work hard to be more conscious of how he treats others.

A high stakes, action packed adventure from debut author, Darlene L. Turner. I liked how both Kaylin and Hudson make an effort to open up the lies of communication, leading to a stronger partnership, and great interaction throughout. I loved the strong backstory, as well as the secondary storyline of Kaylin and her father's difficult relationship. Fantastic read from beginning to end, I didn't want to put it down! Highly recommend!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Darlene Turner

Darlene L. Turner is an award-winning author and lives with her husband, Jeff in Ontario, Canada. Her love of suspense began when she read her first Nancy Drew book. She’s turned that passion into her writing and believes readers will be captured by her plots, inspired by her strong characters, and moved by her inspirational message. You can connect with Darlene at www.darlenelturner.com where there’s suspense beyond borders.

CONNECT WITH DARLENE: Website | FacebookTwitter | Instagram  


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a cross pendant, bookmarks, pens, and $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Border Breach JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule shown below. Giveaway will begin at midnight March 31, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on April 7, 2020. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US/CAN mailing addresses only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.



Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
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*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

4.01.2020

The Story Peddler by Lindsay A. Franklin ~ Review

My Review:

Tanwen dreams of being the royal storyteller, spinning her colorful stories and never going to bed hungry again. But her craft is a dangerous one when there are only a handful of approved stories, and anything outside of that is considered treasonous. As she continues to tell her stories and she unravels more of her mysterious past and that of the usurper, the truth becomes more and more difficult and even painful to suppress.

Will the truth cost Tanwen her life?

A fantastical new series, with strong worldbuilding, and wonderfully unique underdog heroes. A well crafted story, with a straightforward, and unflinchingly curious heroine. Tanwen says what she thinks, though she is also sensitive to others and struggles to strike a balance with one of her dearest friends.

I loved how the author used the color imagery of story spinning to bind the story together, as well as using various viewpoints to tell the story.

Overall this is an excellent start to a sure to be fantastic trilogy. I had heard rave reviews from other bookish friends so I was excited to dive into this one, and I wasn't disappointed. It has strong themes of truth, with seedling threads of faith, as well coming of age themes. Many of the characters are very interesting, some of them we got to know better than others, but I'm excited to get to know them better and see where the story goes. The ending was satisfying, in that it gave me just enough answers, while still leaving many threads unwound to be woven in subsequent installments. Definitely recommend!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

How I'm Doing: Life Update

It's hard to know what to say in times like these.

I'm at a loss for words.

I want to be upbeat and encouraging despite the challenges we are facing, but I also want to respectful of the difficulties that many close to me are facing being laid off of work, or with loved ones who are at an especially high risk due to pre-existing health conditions.

I'll be honest it's difficult to know how to respond. My heart hurts for those who have lost loved ones, and for those who are struggling to make ends meet and don't know if they will be able to keep a roof over their family's head or food on table. If this is you, know that you are in my prayers.

This has been a time of slowing down and reflection as well. I've been very blessed, and I am so thankful to have a very people centered employer who is doing the best to make sure that our needs are met while we continue to serve our community. To be honest my family has not been immediately affected by these changes, as I continue to work my full-time job--with reduced hours coming soon, and both my father and brother are very busy working in the grocery industry.

During this time of social distancing and self-isolation it has been amazing to me how over and over these past few weeks whenever I have been tempted to worry or despair, I have been reminded of how great my God is. He is sovereign over all. Over the economy. Over our leaders. Especially over COVID-19. He is in control and I am not. Luke 12:25-31 has been a passage that keeps coming to mind during the last few weeks, and has been a great source of encouragement.

Forgive my rambling thoughts.

Until next time.

Copycat Killer by Laura Scott ~ Review

Lucie's Review:

A double homicide eerily mirrors that of one that happened 20 years ago.

Willow Emery's brother and his wife are going through a difficult time, so Willow offers to take care of her niece, Lucy. But when Lucy's parents are brutally murdered, she finds herself also the target of an unknown killer. Willow is an aspiring photographer, and loves her niece dearly, she is determined to do everything that she can to help them solve the case and keep her niece safe.

Nate Slater is a cold case detective, he likes to be emotionally distant, and doesn't want to get involved in the of the people he works with, but Willow and Lucy are different, and he takes on responsibility for their safety. I like how being with them helps him to open up and make peace with his past, taking a second look at things that he had been overlooking.

I loved how this book follows up on a dog who was a puppy in the previous book, showing how Murphey has really matured and grown into his potential. Lucy is adorable child and Murphy is excellent with her. Nate and Willow are strong leads, who compliment each other well, bring out the best in each other. I really liked how Willow was open about her faith, and I admired her authenticness.

This book is filled with a good balance of action, faith, and good relationship building. It sets up the next books in the series well, with a strong plot, and great setting.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

3.30.2020

The Traitor's Pawn by Lisa Harris ~ Review

Lucie's Review:

FBI Agent Jack Shannon comes to Corpus Christi to track down the person selling government secrets to China. But when the Senator is shot during a hunting trip and a woman is kidnapped, Jack is shocked to find out that the woman taken is his high school crush, Bree Grayson. 

A high stakes, action-packed, with the security of the country at risk. There are a lot of twists and turns, filled with betrayal and friendship.

Bree is a strong heroine, she has never been close with her father, but the Senator is like a surrogate father to her. She has a passion for justice, and wants to do whatever she can to be of help to investigation. She feels at home with Jack, everything is so easy with him even though the situation around them is not, I loved their interaction and how God's timing brought them together.

Jack is an excellent agent, devoted to his job, and Bree is the girl he never forgot. He is devoted to his job and isn't sure what to expect with Bree coming back into his life so unexpectedly. He is an man of action, and is serious about his faith.

Overall, a fast paced, action-packed read, it was hard to put down and had plenty of suspense. I liked the balance of romance with high stakes international intrigue. This was an engaging and entertaingin read, highly recommend!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

3.28.2020

Hunger Winter by Rob Currie ~ Review


My Review:

The story of a courageous boy and his family as they fight for freedom, in the Nazi occupied Netherlands during WWII. When Dirk and Anna's older sister is arrested, Dirk and Anna set off on a dangerous journey, facing kidnapping, betrayal, and coming face to face with the enemy multiple times.

Will their fractured family ever see each other again?

An action packed historical read targeted at middle grade readers about the Hunger Winter and the struggles that the Dutch faced during Nazi occupied Netherlands.

Dirk is a brave young man, he is very responsible and his quick thinking keep himself and his sister safe. Anna is a sweet little girl, with a straightforward innocence and trust, with a child-like faith that reminds those around her about what is important.

I liked how the book also follows Dirk and Anna's sister, Els showing her strength and resilience against the odds.

I will mention that there was gun use and violence, but I think that it is fitting for this book as it depicts a very tumultuous time in history, and made the story more realistic.

An action packed read, filled with daring, family and hope. I liked how the book did a good job of showing the danger that the children faced as well as the humanity of the people affected. It was a quick read, written for a younger target audience, and while there was a lot going on, I did find myself skimming here and there. But I do think that this is a good, wholesome read, with good themes of discernment, family and faith.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

3.27.2020

Hearts in Harmony by Beth Wiseman ~ Review

My Review:

Helping a family friend brings two Amish young adults together, as well as their shared love for music, which is forbidden.

Levi Shetler longs to play the music that calls to him in his head, naturally gifted he has never had a piano lesson yet he has been blessed with an uncanny talent. But that kind of music is forbidden.

Mary Hershberger is a young woman from a more lenient district than Levi's Old Order District, she also loves to listen and sing along with banned melodies. She and Levi bond over their shared love of music and their friendship with an elderly English woman.

A series of misunderstandings threaten to keep them apart, does their love have a chance?

A heartwarming Amish read, about family, friendship, and love. Mary and Levi come from different spectrums of the Amish, Mary's family is more modern and wealthy, while Levi's large family is more modest and traditional. I loved Adeline and how she embraces Levi, Mary, and Natalie as her friends, finding comfort in their friendship. Adeline is a wonderful woman with a natural gift for hospitality, she doesn't have much but she shares what she has. I loved how she mentored and encouraged Levi, Natalie, and Mary with love and faith.

Natalie is a hardworking young woman who is branching out on her own after a difficult childhood caught between two fighting parents. She connects with Adeline reluctantly, but quickly is charmed by Adeline's genuine heart for others, expecting nothing in return. I really like how this book shows how she has grown through her pain.

Overall, this was a quick, enjoyable read from one of my favorite Amish story writers, Beth Wiseman. I liked how she handled the difficult topics that came up in this book, and in the context of this story it worked well. Great start to a series, with many memorable characters, and great interaction. I definitely recommend this highly enjoyable read!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

The Alamo Bride by Kathleen Y'Barbo ~ Review

Lucie's Review: 

Aspiring healer Ellis Dumont finds a man unconscious, feverish, raving about treasure and war, on their Texas land. Ellis's father and brother are away fighting with the Texans. She's convinced that he is either crazy or a spy, but for which side?

Claibourne Gentry doesn't remember his mission, or what brought him to the Dumonts.

Will Ellis risk it all for her family on the word of a man she just met?

A bit slow to start it takes a awhile to get going because of how long Claibourne is unconscious, and the uneasiness of their acquaintance, as well as the situation.

Ellis's grandfather is a strong a protective patriarch, watching out for Ellis, her mother, and younger brothers. 

Ellis grows over the course of the book finding a sense of purpose in helping others. Clay also finds a chance at a new start upon meeting the Dumont family. Ellis struggles to put faith over fear, and is inspired by the strong women in her family.

Overall, a entertaining read, though it had a slow start, and at times the way that the plot moved was hard to follow. I admired Ellis's desire to help others and do meaningful work. A pleasant historical read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

3.26.2020

Like Flames in the Night by Connilyn Cossette ~ Review

My Review:

The final book in the Cities of Refuge Series follows Tirzah who is Moriyah and Darek's youngest daughter, widowed, but the beloved by her family. She doesn't want to marry again, yet wants to join her people in laying claim to the promised land. She convinces her brother to allow her to participate in a dangerous mission.

Liyam is a skilled warrior, fighting for his people, he returns home to tragedy. Angry and hurting he seeks the man who hurts him and his family, he meets Tirzah's family and pledges his service in their mission in exchange for help with his own.

Can these two warriors help their people claim their rightful land, and is it ever too late for forgiveness and new beginnings?

Tirzah has experienced deep hurt and loss, yet she is courageous and strong willing to help her people, speaking truth, acting in compassion. I admired her strength, she is quick on her feet, acts decisively. Odelaya is a faithful friend, youthful, and enthusiastic, I loved how she brought out a softer side of Tirzah.

Liyam is a seasoned warrior, he knows the risks he is taking on. I loved how he admired Tirzah's courage and quick thinking, and how he was supportive of her unconventional role in fighting alongside their people.

One of my favorite things in this book was how it brought together one of my favorite families from a previous series, with Moriyah and Darek's family, in a beautiful and satisfying way. I loved how this book brought back many of my favorite characters like Malakhi, Eitan, Nessa, even Alannah, from previous books.

Overall, a action packed read, and wonderful conclusion to this series bringing everything full circle into a powerful ending. Strong themes of faith, with a glimpse of what it might have been like to live under the Torah, while waiting for fulfillment of the promise. Great chemistry between TIrzah and Liyam, I loved how they both had suffered, yet God used their pain to bring about something new and beautiful.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.