Justice Betrayed Review

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Justice Delayed is the first book I’ve read by author Patricia Bradley, and I am so delighted to note that this story was exceptional.

About the book:

It’s Elvis Week in Memphis, and homicide Detective Rachel Sloan isn’t sure her day could get any stranger when aging Elvis impersonator Vic Vegas asks to see her. But when he produces a photo of her murdered mother with four Elvis impersonators–one of whom had also been murdered soon after the photo was taken–she’s forced to reevaluate. Is there some connection between the two unsolved cases? And could the recent break-in at Vic’s home be tied to his obsession with finding his friend’s killer?

When yet another person in the photo is murdered, Rachel suddenly has her hands full investigating three cases. Lieutenant Boone Callahan offers his help, but their checkered romantic past threatens to get in the way. Can they solve the cases before the murderer makes Rachel victim number four?

My Thoughts:

I immediately bonded with the heroine, and not only because we share the same first name. 😉 Rachel Sloan was flawed and relatable. She’s been searching for overdue answers concerning her mother’s death, while working as a homicide detective. We glimpse a lot of her professional demeanor, but her soft-hearted nature emerges when interacting with those she loves. I especially adored her relationship with Erin, a special needs young woman. Rachel’s life brimmed with complicated associations from her strained relationship with her no nonsense father to her superior in the homicide department, Boone Callahan, whom she dated prior to her transfer to the department.

Boone Callahan was protective and consistent. I enjoyed reading as the two main characters worked together untangling the scrambled case. Honestly, at first I thought that this story was going to be predictable, but—woah—I was clearly wrong! The plot had twists and turns and a jaw-dropping conclusion.

The romance was a great complement to the suspense factor. The relationship between the two main characters was believable and tender. The pacing of this story was superb and just right for this genre. I truly enjoyed this novel and can’t wait to see what this talented author will come up with next!

I received this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Purchase your own copy of Justice Betrayed here!

About the author:

Patricia Bradley is the award-winning author of Justice Delayed and Justice Buried, as well as the Logan Point series. She is cofounder of Aiming for Healthy Families, Inc., and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. She lives in Mississippi. Learn more at www.ptbradley.com.

 

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Find Your Sword

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Discouragement. The persistent nemesis that endeavors to score our souls, aiming to shred our faith. No matter where you are in life, discouragement seems to find you. Threaten you with its taunting lies, pressuring you to succumb to its doubt-laden grip.

Recently I had entered the sparring ring with this ugly foe, going several bouts before realization hit—I’m not prepared for such a fight. Not on my own. So I called for back-up, meaning I prayed. And the answer came in such an unusual, magnificent way.

But first, a little background. I kinda want to set the stage.

David was a man who knew triumph and loss. Hope and discouragement. So I’ve been reading through Psalm and other books that listed David’s life. And I came across this.

Only a few chapters after David gets blessed by Jesse and then sequentially killed the giant Goliath, he finds himself in a tough spot. So tough he actually declares “that there is only one step between me and death.” (1 Samuel 20:3) David was out of sorts. Saul was trying to kill him, and David was struggling. How could he honor the king that God had anointed while that very same man had been plotting his death?

So then David visits the priest. While there, David asks, “Don’t you have a spear or a sword here? I haven’t brought my sword or any other weapon…” (1 Samuel 21:8) Now, David is a warrior. In fact, he is the captain of the king’s army. Saul is after him. Saul’s men are after him. David should know better than to remain unarmed. Wouldn’t you think the guy would have some sort of defense?

Then it struck me. When the craziness of life hits, how often do we find ourselves unprepared? Scary circumstances arise, and we look at our empty hands and think, “I got nothing. I can’t stand against this.”

But don’t give up hope! Because you’re about to get your sword.

The priest replied to David, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, is here; it is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want it, take it…”

The VERY sword David slew Goliath with, had been wrapped up in cloth and basically shoved in the closet! Not set under glass and on display. Not carried in parades all over Jerusalem. That sword represented one of the greatest showdowns in history, and it was buried under cloth. Forgotten.

How often do we do that to our God-given victories—just wrap them up into the folds of our minds, forgotten and unappreciated. It’s time to shake the dust off and bring them to the front of our thoughts.

So of course, when David realized the sword had been stored there, he nabbed it. Saying, “There is none like it; give it to me.” He knew it was special. When that sword was placed back in his hands he probably relived that moment of glorious triumph over the enemy. Remembering the awesome victory God had worked in his life, being infused with faith afresh.

Just like David, we need to grab that sword and carry it with us, being ever ready to wield it against discouragement’s attacks. Your sword would most likely NOT be one of steel or iron, but perhaps it’s a memory. A time when God had miraculously delivered you in a tough situation. Or maybe it’s an actual object. Like mine.

My sweet daughter was diagnosed autistic when she was three. There were developments supposedly beyond her reach. Challenges, professionals had projected, she may never overcome. One of those obstacles was potty-training. This one is personal for me, because it was rough. Rough on my daughter because, at the age of seven, she knew it wasn’t normal to be in diapers. At that time, she was mostly non-verbal, but just because she couldn’t express her frustration with words didn’t mean it never shown in her dejected expression, her sorrow-filled eyes. We prayed and believed. Month after month. Diaper box after diaper box. And even though it felt hopeless, we continued to hope. Then one day, it clicked. And she never had an issue again. She never even had an accident! When God does something, it’s HUGE.

But like most, I’d forgotten what a colossal triumph that was for our daughter.

One recent afternoon, I was feeling discouraged about our daughter’s progress. It just seemed she had SO much more obstacles to overcome. Every hindrance seemed to glare at me, mocking. With my eyes watering and my hopes floundering, I went into the garage for something…then I saw it.

The diaper box.

I’m not exactly sure why we still had one. It was broken down and stuffed into another box but I had spotted it. And I remembered. I thought of those days we struggled and cried. Those moments I’d gathered my daughter close and whispered God would help us.

Faith rekindled.

That diaper box had become my sword. A reminder of God’s mighty hand in our lives. Since that encounter in the garage, I had used that to fight discouragement when a situation arises which tries to knock me out of faith. God is listening and He is faithful. So when God works the miraculous, I choose not to wrap it in unbelief, but rather put it on display in my mind.

Just as the Psalmist says, “I will remember the works of the Lord; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.”

So tell me, what’s your sword that you wield in the face of discouragement? OR what has God done lately in your life that you find oh-so-awesome?

Falling For You Review

 

“Perhaps she’d been so bent on protecting herself from the improbable that, somewhere along the line, she’d stopped believing in the miraculous.” Willow from Falling For You

This quote! The ministering impact on my heart when I read those words! See, this is why I adore Christian fiction. Because while the mind is agreeably engaged in a captivating story, the heart is in a constant state of refreshing. It’s beautiful. And so is Becky Wade’s latest release Falling For You. From the gorgeous cover to the mesmeric prose, this book is uniquely stunning.

About the Story:

Famously beautiful model Willow Bradford is taking a temporary break from her hectic schedule to work as the innkeeper at her family’s small-town bed-and-breakfast. She was enjoying the peace of her hometown, Merryweather, Washington, right up until she came face-to-face with Corbin Stewart, the man she loves to hate. A thoughtful rule-follower by nature, Willow threw caution to the wind four years ago when she entrusted her heart to Corbin–and suffered the consequences when it all fell apart.

Former NFL quarterback Corbin is forceful, charming, and accustomed to getting what he wants . . . except where Willow Bradford is concerned. Unable to forget her, he’s never stopped regretting what happened between them. When their paths unexpectedly cross again, he’s determined to make her give him a second chance.

When a decades-old missing persons case finds Corbin and Willow working together, they’re forced to confront their past and who they’ve become–and whether they can risk falling for one another all over again.

My Thoughts:

Any time I review a Becky Wade novel, the fangirl in me emerges. Never fail. And with this book, it’s no different. I loved Willow’s character when she was introduced in True To You, and even in those few scenes, the tension between Willow and Corbin was thick and tangible. I couldn’t wait until they took center stage! And their story didn’t disappoint!

In Falling For You, the main characters search for a woman who’s been missing for decades. Decades! Add in the spark-ridden chemistry between Willow and Corbin, and you have a fabulous, can’t-stop-turning-the-pages kind of story.

Becky Wade creates characters that are not only believable but relatable. The motives, the dreams, the strengths and weaknesses of Willow and Corbin stem from the events and circumstances in which they’d experienced over the years, giving them layers of authenticity. That’s what I love about her stories. She “gets” people. Becky, where were you during my teenage years?! I totally digressed, but seriously, this author knows how to craft characters. Extremely well.

Of course the romance was tender and brilliant, but what stirred my heart was Willow’s spiritual growth. I won’t detail her fabulous “God-moment” for spoiler’s sake, but I will admit it was my favorite scene of the book.

I unashamedly neglected housework and social media browsing to consume this story. I was hooked from the first chapter. There were plenty of sighs. Numerous bursts of laughter. And a continual elevation of my heart. I’m SO looking forward to book three!

Want to snag this wonderful story? Click here

* I received a copy from the author. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

14717107_1209316469138525_2511127232118521208_nBecky Wade is a native of California who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and now lives in Dallas. A favorite among readers of Christian contemporary romance, Becky has won a Christy Award, a Carol Award, an Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, and an INSPY Award. Learn more at http://www.beckywade.com.

 

 

 

Storm Front Review

 

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I’ve been following The Montana Rescue series from book one, and had absolutely loved each consecutive story. Storm Front is no different. To be honest, at first I had mixed feelings about the main characters, mostly because they’d been lingering in the background in previous books. I had no clue what to expect from them. They may have been casted before as extras but Susan May Warren brought them center stage, and they steal the show!

About the book:

A tornado has destroyed a small Minnesota community and among the missing are not only a group of students but PEAK Rescue team leader Chet King. Ty Remington will stop at nothing to rescue his mentor, not even when the girl he loved–and lost–walks back into his life. But Brette needs his help more than he knows, despite her stubborn determination to push him away. And when he gets a second chance, loving her just might cost him more than he can imagine.

A blogger for Vortex Storm Chasers, Brette Arnold didn’t expect her adventures to land her in the same place as Ty, the guy who she walked–no, ran–from over a year ago. She had her reasons–good ones. The kind that tell her that falling for him again would only lead to heartache. But Ty isn’t the kind of man to give up–not on the missing students, or on her.

Life and love hang in the balance in Susan May Warren’s breathless story of holding on to hope during a deadly summer of storms.

My Thoughts: 

My heart went out to Brette Arnold, rooting for her happiness, as early as chapter one. Having close friends who, only recently, have battled breast cancer, this one hit a bit close to home for me. Brette may appear weak and one who rolls with the punches, but as the story progresses, the reader sees her for who she truly is—a fighter with a resilient heart. And Ty Remington?! What a hero! He pursued Brette, loving and protecting her. Not only was his effort to win her affections moving but the way he planted seeds of faith into her withered heart was both tender and inspiring. Brette’s resistance coupled with Ty’s persistence created an emotional tug-of-war for the reader, but oh, was it worth it! The adventure element was fast-paced, believable, and may cause you to gasp several times before you reach the final page. Overall, it was truly an amazing read.

This series is like a jigsaw puzzle. With each story you get more pieces to the lives of the characters, of the ongoing mystery presented in book one, and of the ups and downs of romance. But above all, you get a layered picture of God. How he pursues us, protects us, and loves us with a fierce devotion.

I received a copy of this story. All opinions are my own.

Want to purchase Storm Front? Click here!

About the Author:

309115_10151025782841246_660114708_nSusan May Warren is the USA Today bestselling author of over fifty novels with more than 1 million books sold, including Wild Montana SkiesRescue MeA Matter of Trust, and Troubled Waters. Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol Awards, as well as the HOLT and numerous Readers’ Choice Awards, Susan has written contemporary and historical romances, romantic suspense, thrillers, romantic comedy, and novellas. She makes her home in Minnesota and can be found online at http://www.susanmaywarren.com, on Facebook at Susan May Warren Fiction, and on Twitter @susanmaywarren.

Last Chance Wife Review

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I’m a sucker for a great love story. Seriously. It could be in the form of a movie, a book, browsing a friend’s wedding album, eavesdropping at Panera Bread. You get the picture. Today, I have the privilege of gushing over Janette Foreman’s debut book Last Chance Wife.

About the book:

When six-time mail-order bride Winifred Sattler is stranded in Deadwood, Dakota Territory, she’s grateful to find a temporary position at Mr. Ewan Burke’s business until she can return home. Ewan is handsome, but stuffy and serious—her complete opposite. Unlike her new anonymous correspondent, Mr. Businessman, who appreciates her bubbly optimism.

To keep his mining company afloat, Ewan can’t be distracted by Winifred’s vivacious beauty. He needs a no-nonsense wife. Someone like Miss Thoroughly Disgruntled, the only respondent to his recent ad with whom he truly connected. In person, Winifred and Ewan don’t get along, but in their letters they’re falling in love. Will they discover a perfect match in each other?

My thoughts:

The premise of this story captured my attention because it reminded me of one of my favorite movies – Shop Around the Corner. (Hubby and I watch it every year around Christmastime.) And though the plotline is lightly touched with similarities of the classic, this story is distinct and memorable, possessing its own dynamic elements.

For starters, there’s the heroine, Winnie. She’s weighted by past failures but refuses to let dark circumstances dim God’s light within her. She shines bright even in a dusty, mining town. Her go-getter attitude complements her sensitive heart.

Let’s not leave out the hero, Ewan. At first glance, this man appears stiff-necked, but as the pages turn, I found him to be compassionate, level-headed, and having a heart that longed to believe in the impossible.

Take Winnie’s spirited disposition and match it with Ewan’s straitlaced manner, and you have the makings of a great romance! This story is sprinkled with hope, brushed with light humor, and steeped in a beautiful thing called love. I enjoyed what this author brought to the table and can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

*I received a copy from the author. All opinions are my own*

To purchase Last Chance Wife click here!

 

About the author:

21371236_1479962642083252_6576790669271838472_n.jpgA former English teacher, turned stay-at-home mom, she’s passionate about God-centered romances. She’s a proud member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), ACFW Dakotas chapter secretary, and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray at the Steve Laube Agency. She loves to read, quilt, make cloth dolls, and draw. Janette makes her home in the northern Midwest with her amazing husband, polydactyl cat, bird-hunting dog, and the most adorable baby twin boys on the planet.

Honeysuckle Dreams Review

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It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of Denise Hunter’s books. Her style of writing is relevant, engaging, and uplifting. But what impresses me most is that her novels get better and better. Seriously, after thirty stories, this author continues to pen unsurpassed work.

Okay, enough fangirling.

About the Book:

After Brady Collins’ ex-wife dies, he receives devastating news—his nine-month-old son Sam isn’t his son at all. And Sam’s wealthy maternal grandparents want custody of the child. Brady knows he’s in for the fight of his life. But regardless of what any blood test says, Sam is his son, and Brady will go to any lengths to keep him.

Brady’s attorney tips him off that one major life change would virtually assure him of winning guardianship of baby Sam at the final hearing: an impending marriage. And his friend Hope is willing to step in as the loving and devoted fiancé.

Local radio celebrity Hope Daniels has been driven by a solitary goal her entire life, and after a happy accident she’s finally offered her dream job. But if the truth comes out about her arrangement with Brady, she may miss the chance of a lifetime and stand in the way of a dear friend’s dreams.

As Brady and Hope make sacrifices to help each other in their times of need, they risk uncovering a truth neither of them expects to find.

My thoughts:

As much as I loved the vivid plot of the story, what sealed the deal for this being one of my favorite reads of 2018 was the romance! The romance, y’all! Branded with her signature writing flair, Denise Hunter brings to life one of my favorite love tropes—best friends to soul mates.

I sensed Brady and Hope’s chemistry in Blue Ridge Sunrise and couldn’t wait to discover how their relationship would evolve. When Brady’s custody of his son, Sam, is threatened, these two characters don’t just cautiously toe over the “friend zone” line but take an intense leap across it. The amazingly awkward moments, the witty banter coupled with bonding conversations, and the zing of attraction between these two dynamic characters kept me turning the pages.

I also love the way the author isn’t afraid to tackle real issues in the characters’ lives such as insecurity and fear. Rather than sidestepping these sensitive topics, the author approaches them with hope wrapped in grace, creating a story not to be forgotten.

Honeysuckle Dreams releases May 1st, BUT you can PRE-ORDER this fabulous story here!

*I received a copy from the author. All opinions are my own.

About the author:

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Denise Hunter is the internationally published bestselling author of more than 30 novels, including “The Convenient Groom” and “A December Bride” which have been made into Hallmark movies. She has appeared on the The 700 club and won awards such as The Holt Medallion Award, The Carol Award, The Reader’s Choice Award, The Foreword Book of the Year Award, and is a RITA finalist.

Denise writes heartwarming, small-town love stories. Her readers enjoy the vicarious thrill of falling in love and the promise of a happily-ever-after sigh as they savor the final pages of her books.

In 1996, inspired by the death of her grandfather, Denise began her first book, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she’s been writing ever since. Her husband says he inspires all her romantic stories, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!

When Denise isn’t orchestrating love lives on the written page, she enjoys traveling with her family, drinking good coffee, and playing drums. Denise makes her home in Indiana where she and her husband raised three boys and are currently enjoying an empty nest.

You can learn more about Denise through her website or by visiting her on FaceBook.

 

Justice Review, Author Guest Post, & Giveaway!

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“I don’t want your kind of justice. What I want is to heal. I want to be whole. I want to find the treasures God has for me here.” Brooklyn from Justice

Achingly-tender from the first chapter, this story captured my heart in a tangible way, stamping my memory with brilliant strokes of grace.

About the Story:

Jake thought he was meant to marry Brooklyn, but now she’s pregnant, and he had nothing to do with it. As Brooklyn wrestles with questions about what her pregnancy means and how it will affect her relationship with Jake, she can’t bring herself to tell him the truth. To make matters worse, if the man who owns the bookstore across from Jake’s coffee shop, has anything to do with it, the baby will ruin them both. Can Jake and Brooklyn overcome the obstacles thrown in their path, and finally find the truth in God’s love and in each other?

My thoughts:

Having previously read—and enjoyed—short stories written by this author, I’ve been anticipating Justice’s release. Sensitive issues laced the pages, but with a poignant delicacy, the story skillfully addresses the layers of grief and bitterness which often arises from trauma, revealing that the beauty of forgiveness can bloom in even the most heartbreaking trial.

I was immediately drawn to Brooklyn. I found myself championing her healing from the tragic assault that left her soul broken and her life in shambles. I admired her convictions, hoping as the chapters progressed, that she’d find the wholeness she desired and discover the once-in-a-lifetime love given by Jake.

Out of the scores of heroes I’ve met through novels, Jake stands alone as far as loyalty is concerned. His devotion reminded me a lot of Christ—unconditional and fervent. The relationship Brooklyn and Jake shared is beautiful and inspiring.

So add these engaging characters to a vivid plot penned with a unique voice, and it equals an unforgettable story! I can’t wait to see what this author brings us next!

Click here to purchase Justice!

*The author provided me with a copy of this story. All opinions are my own *

Guest Post By Emily Conrad

A couple of years ago, I asked my grandma to reteach me to crochet. The skill made its way into the manuscript I was working on, and now, when it starts to get colder out each fall, I tend to break out my bag of yarn (okay, there are several bags…) and start a new project. Though, come to think of it, I still haven’t made an afghan.

I find it relaxing and the end products useful, but all that sitting around with a hook and a wad of yarn and nothing to do but count stitches has also given me a lot of time to reflect on what crochet can teach us about life.

One of these ideas is mentioned in Justice, but you’ll have to read the book to find out which one!

Little routines make a big difference. Crochet has a few basic stitches, and different patterns are created by combining them. A little switch—sometimes just the difference between stitching into one thread instead of its neighbor—repeated row after row, create pretty texture.

Little routines in our lives do this, too. A routine of working with my dogs will result in better behaved dogs. A routine of helping a neighbor will result in a friendship. A routine of time with Jesus will sweeten life in so many ways.

Sometimes, you have to practice blind faith in the pattern, moving forward with it even when you seem to only be making a mess. Once, a pattern left me feeling like I was performing the crochet version of gymnastics. What a mess of yarn I had on my hands! But, I kept following the pattern, and wouldn’t you know—it turned out in the end.

Living out our faith can be a messy process sometimes, too. It can put us at odds with others. It can mean changing our plans. It can mean years of waiting. When we stay faithful to the pattern (the Bible), we can be assured that life with Jesus will turn out in the end.

Generations need each other. My mother and paternal grandmother taught me to crochet. Another woman at church taught me to knit. Likewise, these women also teach me about faith.

I’d love to hear about what crafts you enjoy! Knitting, crochet, painting, something else? Use the comments to tell us about it!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

IMG_3561.JPGEmily Conrad lives in Wisconsin with her husband and two rescue dogs. She loves Jesus and enjoys road trips to the mountains. Her debut novel, Justice, released March 9, 2018 from Pelican Book Group. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, she is an ACFW First Impressions winner (2015) and finalist (2014) and an ACFW Genesis semi-finalist (2012, 2015).
Her non-fiction has been published in Southern Writer’s Magazine (May/June, 2016) and on various blogs including GraceTable.org, KrisCamealy.com, CreativeandFree.com, and JerushaAgen.com.

Giveaway!!!

coffee pic Emily's post.jpgBecause most of this fabulous story takes place in a coffeeshop, Emily is offering a bag of coffee to one commenter! And because this story is SO enamoring, I’m going to include a copy of Justice! Sooooo one lucky winner will win both a bag of coffee AND an e-copy of Emily Conrad’s Justice! Winner will be announced March 21st! *Due to crazy shipping costs, this giveaway is limited to the continental U.S.*