Category: Book Review

Quote from The Saturday Night Supper Club

Book Review | The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano

Wonderful!

If you ask readers what plot points or ideas they don’t like in novels, there is always one that comes up: the impossibly good-looking hero or heroine. Others dislike too-rich heroes. Or writers. Or all of the above. I confess: I’m one of them. I especially don’t like the impossibly handsome rich writer (except for Richard Castle, but we all know he’s a joke).

The Saturday Night Supper Club has all these things (except for Richard Castle.) Despite that, it’s a great read—almost perfect contemporary Christian romance. It’s also a lesson in the power of the media—especially social media—to work for good and for evil.

And the food … I wanted it all. Well, except the chard. And the fennel. It was a weed where I grew up, and we were all told not to eat it.

Anyway, about the book …

Rachel Bishop is the darling of the Denver casual fine dining scene until a misplaced comment to the wrong person goes viral. Writer Alex Kanin unintentionally started the whole media firestorm, but doesn’t realise the full extent of the repercussions until he tries to apologise to Rachel, and finds his article has cost Rachel her job.

Yes, he’s the impossibly handsome writer whose debut memoir jumped to the top of all the right bestseller lists. He’s also rich, thanks to a couple of timely investments, and grew up in a well-off immigrant family. In contrast, Rachel left home without graduating high school, and has risen to the top of her profession through hard work and determination.

The Saturday Night Supper Club is the story of how Alex and Rachel work together to try and resurrect her career.

It’s a romance, so you know how that goes. It also has a solid Christian thread, in that both Rachel and Alex are Christians, and each has lessons to learn about the nature of God. But it’s not preachy, which is great.

Overall, The Saturday Night Supper Club is a great contemporary Christian romance, with wonderful characters, and wonderful food. I do hope there are a couple of sequels in the works!

Thanks to Tyndale Publishing and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Carla Laureano

Carla LaureanoCarla Laureano is the RITA® Award-winning author of contemporary inspirational romance and Celtic fantasy (as C.E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons, where she writes during the day and cooks things at night.

You can find Carla Laureano online at:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

About The Saturday Night Supper Club

Denver chef Rachel Bishop has accomplished everything she’s dreamed and some things she never dared hope, like winning a James Beard Award and heading up her own fine-dining restaurant. But when a targeted smear campaign causes her to be pushed out of the business by her partners, she vows to do whatever it takes to get her life back . . . even if that means joining forces with the man who inadvertently set the disaster in motion.

Essayist Alex Kanin never imagined his pointed editorial would go viral. Ironically, his attempt to highlight the pitfalls of online criticism has the opposite effect: it revives his own flagging career by destroying that of a perfect stranger. Plagued by guilt-fueled writer’s block, Alex vows to do whatever he can to repair the damage. He just doesn’t expect his interest in the beautiful chef to turn personal.

Alex agrees to help rebuild Rachel’s tarnished image by offering his connections and his home to host an exclusive pop-up dinner party targeted to Denver’s most influential citizens: the Saturday Night Supper Club. As they work together to make the project a success, Rachel begins to realize Alex is not the unfeeling opportunist she once thought he was, and that perhaps there’s life—and love—outside the pressure-cooker of her chosen career. But can she give up her lifelong goals without losing her identity as well?

You can find The Saturday Night Supper Club online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

#Throwback Thursday | Out of the Shadows by Emma Carrie

It’s Throwback Thursday, so I’m resharing my review of Out of the Shadows, the first in The Tacket Secret series by Emma Carrie. It’s a fast-paced YA series that will appeal to thriller fans.

Teenager Emily Brelin’s adoptive mother has just died, and now Child Protective Services needs to find her a place to live. At least, that’s what they think. Emily needs to stay off the grid, to make sure her past doesn’t find her. That means staying out of the system.

Detective Victoria Tacket didn’t even know her friend Dr Jennifer Brelin was ill, let alone that she’d adopted a teenager. And why has Jen nominated her as guardian? She’s not fit to be a parent—which she tells CPS. But then Emily disappears, and Vick knows she has to find the missing teen.

Emily is a fascinating character, with more skills that people would expect for her age—including the ability to lip-read. She takes the lead in this game of hide and seek, and her willingness to run away and disappear introduce a lot of questions. Who is Emily? Why is it so important she stays out of the system? Who is looking for her … and what will happen if they find her?

This is the first book in a series—thank goodness, because I want to know what happens next! It doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, but the end definitely leaves some unanswered questions for future books. (Cliffhanger endings too often give me the impression the author didn’t know how to finish the book, which breaks the illusion that it’s real).

Out of the Shadows is a fast-paced read with plenty of suspense. The plot and writing are solid, and the characters are excellent. If there was a failing, it was that it was too quick to read (I read it in a single sitting, because I couldn’t put it down). Not a novel to start late in the evening …

Recommended for those looking for Young Adult suspense.

Thanks to the author for providing a free ebook for review (although it’s now permanently free on Kindle).

About Out of the Shadows

Abducted as a child. Groomed to be a teen spy. Expected to become a female assassin.

Emily won’t be a test specimen too.

After years of prolonged mental and physical abuse during combat training, Emily Brelin’s genetic structure changed. New abilities emerged, which she hid from her captor, a rogue general.

Fearing she’d be experimented on, Emily escaped and fled across the globe to New York’s largest metropolitan area, Golden City. There, she met a sympathetic professor who offered her a new home, a new identity, and a new start.

The professor protected Emily’s secrets, until cancer intervened. On her deathbed, she made Emily promise to meet her best friend, a female detective who could keep the teen safe.

Now, despite reservations, Emily is racing to complete her vow. But the general wants his prized teen weapon back. He’s hunting Emily–and her cover is unraveling.

Detective Vick Tacket is shocked when she learns her best friend has died. She’s more stunned to learn the professor had a hidden dependent and named Vick–a single woman with no maternal interest–as the teen’s guardian.

But when mysterious girl disappears, Vick scours the streets of Golden City searching for the missing teen.

What she discovers could get them both killed.

About Emma Carrie

Author Photo Emma CarrieEmma Carrie writes clean YA books with strong female characters. Her debut YA action adventure series, The Tacket Secret, features a teen spy assassin and a homicide detective who are thrown into an awkward adoption that puts both in danger. Each chapter alternates between teen and adult POVs. This 7-book series is packed with suspense and a touch of science fiction fantasy.

When not writing, Emma enjoys her own adventures. She’s explored an active coal mine, fired a Gatling gun from a Humvee, and examined chromosomes with a scanning electron microscope. She’s also hitched a ride in a corporate jet and wiped out on stage while modeling. Unique moments like those fuel her stories.

Emma loves strong female characters who are driven by unconquerable determination–the encouragement she hopes readers take from her stories.

You can find Emma online at:

Website | Facebook

You can read the introduction to Out of the Shadows below:

Quote from The Lost Castle

Book Review | The Lost Castle by Kristy Cambron

The Lost Castle is a split-time romance with a difference. I’ve read several dual-timeline romances, but this is the first with three timelines, all three centering around a mysterious lost castle in the Loire Valley, France—an area famous for wine and chateaux.

The oldest timeline is set amongst the French nobility in 1789, the eve of the Revolution. Aveline Saint-Moreau is about to be married when the castle is stormed and the nobility flee for their lives. She remains at the Chateau des Doux-Reves in the care of the master vinter, recovering from her injuries. She is the Sleeping Beauty, the origin of the legend of the ruined castle.

The middle timeline is set in the same location towards the end of World War II, shortly before D-Day (well, I knew D-Day was coming even though the characters didn’t). This is the story of Viola Hart, an English woman escaping from the Nazis in France. But how did she get there? Her story unfolds as the novel progresses, but ties together both the past and the present story.

The modern story is that of Ellison Carver—Ellie (although I did a double take when I first read the name, as I’m a James Bond fan and Elliot Carver was a James Bond baddie). Ellie was raised by her grandmother, Lady Vi, who is now confined to an Alzheimer’s unit, but who has a request for Ellie: go to France, find the Sleeping Beauty castle, and discover the significance of the castle and the handsome man in the photograph.

The writing is spectacular, especially the descriptions of 1789 France—the clothes, the chateau, the social inequity. This was definitely my favourite of the three timelines, because it’s a less common period to read about. I also enjoyed the Christian theme of God’s faithfulness woven throughout the three timelines.

Kristy Cambron’s first stories were dual timeline, and both had World War II settings (and in both, I thought the historical portion of the story was more compelling than the present). Her later novels have been straight historical fiction, in American settings. Personally, I prefer her dual (and now triple) timeline stories.

The Lost Castle takes Cambron’s talents in writing and researching, and brings the French Revolution and D-Day France to life. Recommended for readers looking for Christian fiction that’s a little out of the ordinary.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About The Lost Castle

Broken-down walls and crumbling stones seemed to possess a secret language all their own.

What stories would they tell, if she finally listened?

Ellie Carver arrives at her grandmother’s bedside expecting to find her silently slipping away. Instead, the beloved woman begins speaking. Of a secret past and castle ruins forgotten by time. Of a hidden chapel that served as a rendezvous for the French Resistance in World War II. Of lost love and deep regret . . .

Each piece that unlocks the story seems to unlock part of Ellie too—where she came from and who she is becoming. But her grandmother is quickly disappearing into the shadows of Alzheimer’s and Ellie must act fast if she wants to uncover the truth of her family’s history. Drawn by the mystery surrounding The Sleeping Beauty—a castle so named for Charles Perrault’s beloved fairy tale—Ellie embarks on a journey to France’s Loire Valley in hopes that she can unearth its secrets before time silences them forever.

Bridging the past to the present in three time periods—the French Revolution, World War II, and present day—The Lost Castle is a story of loves won and lost, of battles waged in the hearts of men, and of an enchanted castle that stood witness to it all, inspiring a legacy of faith through the generations.

You can find The Lost Castle online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

About Kristy Cambron

Kristi CambronKristy Cambron has a background in art and design, but she fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. Her debut novel, The Butterfly and the Violin, was named to Library Journal’s Best Books of 2014 and nominated for RT Book Reviews’ Choice Awards Best Inspirational Novel of 2014 and for the 2015 INSPY Awards for Best Debut Novel. Her second novel, A Sparrow in Terezin, was named Library Journal’s Pick of the Month (Christian Fiction) for February 2015 and a Top Pick for RT Book Reviews. Kristy holds a degree in Art History from Indiana University. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three young sons.

You can find Kristy Cambron online at:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter

#ThrowbackThursday | If I Live by Terri Blackstock

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m resharing my reivew of If I Run by Terri Blackstock, because the final book in the trilogy (If I Live) releases soon, and you’ll want to read all three.

When Casey Cox finds her best friend’s bloody body, she knows she’s going to be the main suspect in his murder, because the investigation will be conducted by the same police officers who ignored the evidence in her father’s death and called it a suicide. Thanks to a healthy ‘rainy day’ stash of cash, tricks learned from her cop father, and prolific reading of suspense novels, Casey is able to keep several steps ahead of the local police.

The victim’s family hire Dylan Roberts, ex-army Criminal Investigations Division, to find the missing Casey Cox. But Dylan finds the police are reluctant to allow him access to all the information relating to the crime, and to the earlier Cox suicide, and this—along with some of his findings—means he questions Casey’s guilt.

If I Run is suspense at its finest.

Casey is intelligent—very intelligent—and suspicious of the local police force. We (and Dylan) find out more and more of her personal history as the story progresses, which confirms Casey’s innocence but doesn’t necessarily tell us who is guilty—or why. She’s also kind and shows concern for others—a thoroughly likeable character. Dylan was equally intelligent and likeable, especially with his curiosity and empathy.

The story was well-plotted with a significant subplot that rose naturally out of what seemed like a coincidental meeting, but which ended up playing a major part in the Dylan-chases-Casey story. There was also a strong underlying Christian thread with Casey’s views on faith, but this was subtle and never got in the way of the story.

And the ending was excellent, setting Casey and Dylan up for a sequel . . . which I now want to read as soon as possible! Recommended for all suspense fans.

Thanks to Zondervan and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Terri Blackstock

Terri BlackstockTerri Blackstock is a New York Times best-seller, with over six million copies sold worldwide. She has had over twenty-five years of success as a novelist. Terri spent the first twelve years of her life traveling in an Air Force family. She lived in nine states and attended the first four years of school in The Netherlands. Because she was a perpetual “new kid,” her imagination became her closest friend. That, she believes, was the biggest factor in her becoming a novelist. She sold her first novel at the age of twenty-five, and has had a successful career ever since.

In 1994 Terri was writing for publishers such as HarperCollins, Harlequin, Dell and Silhouette, when a spiritual awakening drew her into the Christian market. As she was praying about her transition, she went on a cruise and noticed that almost everyone on the boat (including her) had a John Grisham novel. It occurred to her that some of Grisham’s readers were Christians, and that if she wrote a fast-paced thriller with an added faith element, she might just find her niche. As God would have it, Christian publishers were showing interest in the suspense genre, so she quickly sold a four-book series to Zondervan. Since that time, she’s written over thirty Christian titles, most of them suspense novels.

You can find Terri Blackstock online at:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

About If I Run

Casey knows the truth. But it won’t set her free.

Casey Cox’s DNA is all over the crime scene. There’s no use talking to police; they’ve failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she’s arrested . . . or worse. The truth doesn’t matter anymore.

But what is the truth? That’s the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren’t adding up.

Casey Cox doesn’t fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan’s skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn’t guilty, why did she run?

Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than he has, but as Dylan’s damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices: the girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer . . . or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet.

You can find If I Run online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

You can read the introduction to If I Run below:

Book Review | Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano

I’m not the biggest fan of writers writing novels about writers—it seems to take the advice to “write what you know” a little too literally for my taste. But Lady Jayne Disappears worked in spite of this, perhaps because Aurelie Harcourt is the transcriber for author Nathaniel Droll rather than the author himself … although that changes as the story moves forward.

Aurelie is trying to find the identity of her mother, who disappeared from her ancestral home of Lyndhurst Manor when she was a baby. Mr Rotherham is trying to find the identity of Nathaniel Droll (great name, by the way). And various members of the Harcourt household are keeping their own secrets as well …

Lady Jayne Disappears has a strong plot with an intriguing mystery and more than a hint of romance. The characters are strong and likeable, and many have their own secrets which adds to the overall mystery. The writing was excellent. I especially liked the many lines about reading and writing. Here are a few of my favourite:

Fiction was not always a lie, but a truth told in parallel to real life. A pill of advice disguised in an easy-to-swallow tale.

Reading is the perfect way to engage and excite your mind while appearing to merely pass the time.

There were also some excellent lines about human nature, such as:

Every girl is born with the ability to be herself. Many simply unlearn it because they do not like who that is, and they thing no one else will either.

I also liked the strong Christian thread, and the distinction between religion and true Christianity:

This house simply oozes religion, but has precious little of God.

My one problem with Lady Jayne Disappears was the number of anachronisms. I’m a history fan and a marketing major, and a character discussing book marketing in Victorian England isn’t right (my dictionary confirms my marketing lecturer was right: “marketing” in Victorian England was the activity of going to the market). Victorian English residents were also unlikely to “schlep”, and didn’t write checks (okay, that’s an Americanism rather than an anachronism). I also suspect they were more likely to eat French pastries than Danish.

I know, I know. Most people won’t notice these things, and they certainly shouldn’t allow them to detract from a solid debut novel with a unique twist. I hope to see more of Aurelie and Nathaniel Droll in future.

Thanks to Revell and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Joanna Davidson Politano

Author Photo - Joanna Davidson PolitanoJoanna Davidson Politano freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives.

Her manuscript for Lady Jayne Disappears was a finalist for several contests, including the 2016 Genesis Award from ACFW, and won the OCW Cascade Award and the Maggie Award for Excellence.

She is always on the hunt for random acts of kindness, people willing to share their deepest secrets with a stranger, and hidden stashes of sweets. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan.

You can find Joanna online at:

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Twitter

About Lady Jayne Disappears

Book Cover - Lady Jayne DIsappearsWhen Aurelie Harcourt’s father dies in debtor’s prison, he leaves her just two things: his wealthy family, whom she has never met, and his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll. Her new family greets her with apathy and even resentment. Only the quiet houseguest, Silas Rotherham, welcomes her company.

When Aurelie decides to complete her father’s unfinished serial novel, writing the family into the story as unflattering characters, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for the truth about her mother’s disappearance–and perhaps even her father’s death.

Author Joanna Davidson Politano’s stunning debut set in Victorian England will delight readers with its highly original plot, lush setting, vibrant characters, and reluctant romance.

You can find Lady Jayne Disappears online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

Or click here to find Lady Jayne Disappears in my Amazon shop!

Quote: You asked if I’d always worked as a magician … I’m an illusionist and there is quite a difference.

#ThrowbackThursday | The Illusionist’s Apprentice by Kristy Cambron

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m reviewing The Illusionists Apprentice by Kristy Cambron, because her new book releases this month (and I’ll be reviewing it soon).

This is Kristy Cambron’s fourth novel, and I am really hoping it signals a permanent change in direction. That’s not to say her first three novels weren’t any good—they were. The first two were dual timeline stories with a present-day plot that linked back to Hitler’s Germany They weren’t exactly my preferred happy-ever-after (see above comment re: Hitler’s Germany), but they were excellent. Her third novel also moved around in time, but was primarily a historical romance set against a backdrop of Ringling Bros. Circus. I’ve read and reviewed them all, and they were all excellent.

The Illusionist’s Apprentice takes what was good about each of Cambron’s earlier novels and steps it up a notch. It’s said that we are each a combination of the five people we spend the most time with. Well, Cambron is now keeping company with some of the giants of the Christian suspense world, and it shows. She thanks Robyn Carroll, Colleen Coble, Lynette Eason, Ronie Kendig, Michelle Lim, and Carrie Stuart Parks with helping her brainstorm … and it shows.

Wren Lockhart is an illusionist, apprenticed under Harry Houdini himself. Like Harry, she has never believed in people coming back from the dead (with the obvious exception of Jesus), so she’s more than sceptical when she visits a graveyard one New Year’s Eve to watch a man be raised from the dead. But she’s as surprised as anyone when a man climbs out of the grave … and promptly dies.

FBI agent Elliot Matthews is also in attendance, and now finds himself in charge of a murder investigation. While no one knows the identity of who died in the graveyard that night, it’s obvious that a man was alive and talking and then he wasn’t. It’s equally obvious that something untoward happened.

Elliott approaches Wren for help, but that doesn’t go as planned when they are pushed together at a society party and followed home by live bullets. But were they aiming at Elliot … or at Wren? Why? Is it related to the death in the graveyard or something else? And what?

The Illusionist’s Apprentice follows some of the pattern of Cambron’s earlier novels, as we are shown some of Wren’s background through well-placed flashbacks. But it’s also definitely a suspense novel, as the flashbacks gave both all the clues necessary to identify the evildoer and their motive … and none of the clues. The ending was a complete surprise, completely logical, and completely satisfying.

Overall, The Illusionist’s Apprentice was an excellent historical suspense/murder with a pleasing romantic subplot, and some fascinating insights into the world of magic and illusion. Recommended.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About The Illusionist’s Apprentice

Harry Houdini’s one-time apprentice holds fantastic secrets about the greatest illusionist in the world. But someone wants to claim them . . . or silence her before she can reveal them on her own.

Boston, 1926. Jenny “Wren” Lockhart is a bold eccentric—even for a female vaudevillian. As notorious for her inherited wealth and gentleman’s dress as she is for her unsavory upbringing in the back halls of a vaudeville theater, Wren lives in a world that challenges all manner of conventions.

In the months following Houdini’s death, Wren is drawn into a web of mystery surrounding a spiritualist by the name of Horace Stapleton, a man defamed by Houdini’s ardent debunking of fraudulent mystics in the years leading up to his death. But in a public illusion that goes terribly wrong, one man is dead and another stands charged with his murder. Though he’s known as one of her teacher’s greatest critics, Wren must decide to become the one thing she never wanted to be: Stapleton’s defender.

Forced to team up with the newly formed FBI, Wren races against time and an unknown enemy, all to prove the innocence of a hated man. In a world of illusion, of the vaudeville halls that showcase the flamboyant and the strange, Wren’s carefully constructed world threatens to collapse around her. Layered with mystery, illusion, and the artistry of the Jazz Age’s bygone vaudeville era, The Illusionist’s Apprentice is a journey through love and loss and the underpinnings of faith on each life’s stage.

You can find The Illusionist’s Apprentice online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

About Kristy Cambron

Kristi CambronKristy Cambron has a background in art and design, but she fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. Her debut novel, The Butterfly and the Violin, was named to Library Journal’s Best Books of 2014 and nominated for RT Book Reviews’ Choice Awards Best Inspirational Novel of 2014 and for the 2015 INSPY Awards for Best Debut Novel. Her second novel, A Sparrow in Terezin, was named Library Journal’s Pick of the Month (Christian Fiction) for February 2015 and a Top Pick for RT Book Reviews. Kristy holds a degree in Art History from Indiana University. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three young sons.

You can find Kristy Cambron online at:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter

You can read the introduction to The Illusionist’s Apprentice below:

Book Review | Aint Misbehaving by Marji Laine

I’ll get the less-good aspect of Aint Misbehaving out of the way first. Annalee Chambers was not an easy character to like in the early chapters. We’re first introduced to her as she is on trial for a hit-and-run accident, to which she pleads guilty (her only saving grace). As the story progresses it soon becomes apparent that Annalee is somewhat naieve, but not nearly as shallow, self-absorbed, or selfish as her mother. In fact, given her mother’s personality defect, it’s a wonder Annalee has turned into a decent person.

And she is—she’s had an extraordinarily privileged upbringing, living a charmed life until a car accident shows her exactly how privileged she is. She is sentenced to community service at a community centre providing free after school care for children from a lower socio-economic area. Annalee is enthusiastic, but finds the other workers are less than keen to have her there, to the point of obstruction.

Annalee also has a problem that she’s attracted to the janitor … someone who would be at the top of her mother’s list of inappropriate men. And CJ is hiding his own secrets: he’s not actually the janitor. He’s the manager, and he’s rich—rich enough to keep Mother happy.

I’ve read several of Marji Laine’s romantic suspense novels, but Aint Misbehaving (as far as I know) is her first straight romance novel. It’s a good read—partly frustrating (thanks to Mother), partly amusing (thanks to CJ and his secret), and another part frustrating (the social worker). It all provides lots of conflict, and made for a good read.

I also liked the faith aspect. Annalee has the typical upper class view of church and religion—it’s something for Christmas and Easter. Working with CJ and the children shows her another side of church and religion, faith and belief in Jesus. It was well done, and ensured Aint Misbehaving was more than an average romance.

Thanks to the author for providing a free ebook for review.

About Marji Laine

Marji LaineMarji Laine is a home-schooling mom of four with twin seniors left in the nest. When she can’t indulge in her passion for story-telling, she’s transporting teenagers, teaching various high school classes at a local co-op, and directing the children’s music program at her church. She loves acting in musical comedy, has directed many stage productions, works with a youth group, sings in her church choir, coordinates high school classes for a large home-school group as well as maintaining their website, scrapbooks, and is the historian for the Dallas/Ft. Worth chapter of the American Christian Fiction Writers. Her faith in Christ is central to her writing and her life.

You can find Marji Laine online at:

WebsiteFacebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Twitter

About Aint Misbehaving

Annalee Chambers: Poised, wealthy, socially elite. Convict.

Annalee Chambers floated through life in a pampered, crystal bubble until she smashed it with a single word. Dealing with the repercussions of that word might break her, ruin her family, and land her in jail. True, Annalee’s crime amounted to very little, but not in terms of community service hours. Her probation officer encouraged her with a promise of an easy job in an air-conditioned downtown environment. She didn’t expect her role to be little better than a janitor at an after-school daycare in the worst area of town. Through laughter and a few tears, Annalee finds out that some lessons are learned the hard way, and some seep into the soul unnoticed.

Carlton Whelen hides behind the nickname of CJ so people won’t treat him like the wealthy son of the Whelen Foundation director. Working at the foundation’s after-school program delights him and annoys his business-oriented father. When a gorgeous prima donna is assigned to his team, he not only cringes at her mistakes but also has to avoid the attraction that builds from the first time he sees her.

What can a bunch of downtown kids teach an uptown Texas princess?

You can find Aint Misbehaving online at:

Amazon | Goodreads

You can read the introduction to Aint Misbehaving below:

#ThrowbackThursday | Step by Step by Candace Calvert

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m reviewing Step by Step by Candace Calvert, who I was lucky enough to meet when she visited New Zealand last year. Step by Step is the second book in her Crisis Team series.

I started out really enjoying Step by Step, but then had that awkward moment around a third of the way through when I realised it was supposed to be romantic suspense … but there wasn’t a lot of suspense.

I needn’t have worried. While Step by Step wasn’t a heart-stopping thriller like those by Brandilyn Collins or Terri Blackstock, or a puzzling mystery like Julianna Deering, it certainly ended up with more than enough suspense, from several angles.

There was the medical suspense of the setting in an ER room. There was the romantic suspense, of whether Taylor was ever going to realise Dr Perfect wasn’t (and therefore see that Seth was). And there was the underlying suspense: who is Sloane? Why does she have a problem with both Taylor and Seth? Who is chasing her? And how does this connect to Taylor? Or Seth?

So, yes, great plot. And great characters. Especially the animals. And excellent writing, with enough humour to break up the tension when needed—I especially liked lines like “Cross my heart, hope to pass a cholesterol test”. Recommended for medical suspense fans (or anyone who doesn’t mind a bit of blood and medical trauma in their fiction).

Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Step by Step

Three years after a tragic accident left her a widow, ER nurse Taylor Cabot is determined to move on, checking off one item after another on her survival list. Her relationship with a handsome plastic surgeon even gives her hope for the last point―“fall in love again.” At least until crisis chaplain Seth Donovan steps back into her life, reawakening unanswered questions about her husband’s death.

While in San Diego to train community volunteers, Seth hopes to learn why Taylor is backing away from the crisis team and from their friendship. But nothing prepares him for the feelings that arise when he sees Taylor again . . . and sees her moving on with another man.

When a community crisis hits home and puts lives at risk, emotions run high and buried truths are unearthed. Will hope make the survival list?

You can find Step by Step online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

About Candace Calvert

Author Photograph - Candace CalvertOften called the author of “medical hope opera,” Candace Calvert is an ER nurse who landed on the other side of the stethoscope after the equestrian accident that broke her neck and convinced her love, laughter–and faith–are the very best medicines of all.

Her popular medical drama series (Mercy Hospital, Grace Medical and Crisis Team) offer readers a chance to “scrub in” on the exciting world of emergency medicine, along with charismatic characters, pulse-pounding action, tender romance, humor, suspense–and an encouraging prescription for hope. Think “Grey’s Anatomy finds its soul”!

A native northern Californian, mother of two and proud grandmother to eight, Candace is a passionate “foodie,” equally at home with a whisk in her hand as she is penning stories

You can find Candace Calvert online at:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

And you can read the introduction to Step by Step below:

Quote from The View from Rainshadow Bay

Book Review | The View from Rainshadow Bay by Colleen Coble

Fast-paced Romantic Suspense

Colleen Coble is the master of Christian romantic suspense, and The View from Rainshadow Bay is no exception. It starts with a murder in the Prologue, and the pace never lets up.

It’s been a year, but Shauna McDade still blames Zach Bannister for the death of her husband. Unfortunately, she needs his help as a father-substitute for her son’s class trip. Two murders and a mysterious box later, she needs Zach’s help for more than just the class trip.

One of the items in the box is a unique necklace that belonged to Shauna’s mother—one that was supposed to have been buried with her. Shauna and Zach chase clues together, but there are no easy answers. It’s a detailed plot, with lots of seemingly insignificant events coming together in an unexpected end twist (no spoilers, but I really hope this is fiction!).

And that makes it kind of hard to review—pretty much anything I might want to say could be giving away a significant plot point. So I’ll keep it simple and say that if you’re a fan of Colleen Coble, Christian romantic suspense, or both, then you’ll want to read this book.

The View from Rainshadow Bay is the first in the new Lavender Tides series from Colleen Coble, so it’s a great place to start if you’ve never read her books before. Recommended.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Colleen Coble

Colleen CobleBest-selling author Colleen Coble’s novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, the ACFW Carol Award, the Romance Writers of America RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has over 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana.

 

Find Colleen Coble online at:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

About The View From Rainshadow Bay

After her husband, Jack, dies in a climbing incident, Shauna has only her five-year-old son and her helicopter charter business to live for. Every day is a struggle to make ends meet and she lives in constant fear of losing even more than she already has.

When her business partner is murdered, his final words convince Shauna that she’s in danger too. But where can she turn? Zach Bannister was her husband’s best friend and is the person she blames for his death. She’s barely spoken to him since. But right now he seems her only hope for protecting her son.

Zach is only too happy to assuage his guilt over Jack’s death by helping Shauna any way he can. But there are secrets involved dating back to Shauna’s childhood that more than one person would prefer to stay hidden.

In The View from Rainshadow Bay, suspense, danger, and a longing to love again ignite amid the gorgeous lavender fields of Washington State.

Find The View from Rainshadow Bay online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

Book Review | Oath of Honor by Lynette Eason

Oath of Honor is the first book in Lynette Easons new Blue Justice series. At first glace it looks similar to the O’Malley series by Dee Henderson or the Alaskan Courage series by Dani Pettrey, in that it centres on a large family, most of whom are involved in law enforcement or other service occupations.

And it delivers. I fully expect stories about Brady, Lincoln, Ruthie, Chloe, and Derek St. John in the future. But this story focuses on Isabelle—Izzy—Derek’s twin.

The story was a little confusing at first, as there were a lot of characters to introduce—the six St. John siblings, as well as Izzy’s police partner, Kevin, his family, and other members of the police force … and the criminal classes.

But once I worked out who was who (and that Kevin was the victim, not the hero—oops) … Then the story really got going. This is not one of those books where I have a heap of quotes to share, because it was a pageturner. I was so engrossed in what was happening and in the growing relationship between Izzy and Ryan that I barely paused for breath.

Oath of Honor was great. A perfect Christian romantic suspense novel.

The suspense plot was excellent, with plenty of tension and twists, and the ongoing question of what Derek was doing. The romance was excellent, as Izzy and Ryan took tentative steps towards transitioning from friends and neighbours to something more. And there was a definite Christian aspect to it, which was good because I like my Christian fiction to have a discernable but not overbearing faith element.

In short, Oath of Honor was everything I look for in a Christian romantic suspense novel.

I’m looking forward to the next in the series. Recommended for romantic suspense fans. Thanks to Revell and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Lynette Eason

Lynette EasonLynette Eason is the bestselling author of the Women of Justice series, the Deadly Reunions series, and the Hidden Identity series, as well as Always Watching, Without Warning, Moving Target, and Chasing Secrets in the Elite Guardians series. She is the winner of two ACFW Carol Awards, the Selah Award, and the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award. She has a master’s degree in education from Converse College and lives in South Carolina.

Find Lynette Eason online at:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

About Oath of Honor

Police officer Isabelle St. John loves her crazy, loud, law-enforcement family. With three brothers and two sisters, she’s never without someone to hang out with–or fight with. And she knows they’ll be there for her when things get tough. Like when her partner is murdered and she barely escapes with her own life.

Determined to discover exactly what happened, Izzy’s investigation sends her headfirst into a criminal organization, possibly with cops on the payroll–including someone from her own family. With her dead partner’s handsome homicide detective brother Ryan shadowing her every move, Izzy’s head is spinning. How can she secure justice for her partner when doing so could mean sending someone she loves to prison? And how will she guard her heart when the man she’s had a secret crush on for years won’t leave her side?

With her signature fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat action, Lynette Eason invites readers into a captivating new series where justice is a family affair.

You can find Oath of Honor online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

You can read the introduction to Oath of Honor below:

Click here to find Oath of Honor and other great Christian fiction at my Amazon store!