Monday, December 17, 2012

Full Disclosure by Dee Henderson

I’ve long been a fan of Dee Henderson’s books, so when this one became available for review, I jumped on it.

Let’s begin with the summary:

Dee Henderson Is Back!

Ann Silver is a cop's cop. As the Midwest Homicide Investigator, she is called in to help local law enforcement on the worst of cases, looking for answers to murder. Hers is one of the region's most trusted investigative positions.

Paul Falcon is the FBI's top murder cop in the Midwest. If the victim carried a federal badge or had a security clearance, odds are good Paul and his team see the case file or work the murder.

Their lives intersect when Ann arrives to pass a case off her desk and onto his. A car wreck and a suspicious death offer a lead on a hired shooter he is tracking. Paul isn't expecting to meet someone, the kind that goes on the personal side of the ledger, but Ann Silver has his attention.

The better he gets to know her, the more Paul realizes her job barely scratches the surface of who she is. She knows spies and soldiers and U.S. Marshals, and has written books about them. She is friends with the former Vice President. People with good reason to be cautious about who they let into their lives deeply trust her. Paul wonders just what secrets Ann is keeping, until she shows him the John Doe Killer case file, and he starts to realize just who this lady he is falling in love with really is...

And now, my review:

If I’m not mistaken, Dee wrote herself into this book. She mentioned the O’Malley series (which was so good) and spoke of her heroine as the one who penned the titles. And though it’s hard to tell how many of the other details also apply, it seems fitting that those do at least. And any time you’re reading along and discover (or suspect) elements of the writer’s life, it’s a fun experience for readers.

Dee has always excelled at including such detailed and believable elements to her investigations and police work. She plots well, in that regard. Same’s true in this novel—vintage Dee.

It’s been a long time since I’ve read her work, and I was reading the advance reader copy (unedited proof) for this review. But, the writing often presented in passive voice, with plenty of “telling” (as opposed to “showing"). Also her main characters tended to have the same voice, and we bounced between POVs a few times, which was jarring. I also felt the romance and plot didn’t move fast enough, which surprised me, considering romance was always so strong in her earlier novels. Again, these elements may have been changed in the final version.

I think her fans will enjoy this latest release. The years of anticipation has everyone excited. I'll be watching for her next release because I sincerely respect Dee and her writing. I just didn't love this particular story. 

Have you read the story? Feel free to share your opinion in a comment.

Check out the trailer:

  (print version)   (e-book)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Soul's Gate by James L. Rubart

Soul's Gate by James L. Rubart

I enjoy Jim Rubart's books, so I was excited to see this new release, Soul's Gate, a Well Spring novel. 

Let’s begin with the summary:

“Every now and then we get a break from reality. A glimpse into the other world that is more real than the reality we live in 99 percent of our days. The Bible is about a world of demons and angels and great evil and even greater glory.”

What if you could travel inside another person’s soul? To battle for them. To be part of Jesus healing their deepest wounds. To help set them free to step boldly into their divinely designed future.

Thirty years ago that’s exactly what Reece Roth did. Until tragedy shattered his life and ripped away his future.

Now God has drawn Reece out of the shadows to fulfill a prophecy spoken over him three decades ago. A prophecy about four warriors with the potential to change the world . . . if Reece will face his deepest regret and teach them what he has learned.

They gather at a secluded and mysterious ranch deep in the mountains of Colorado, where they will learn to see the spiritual world around them with stunning clarity—and how to step into the supernatural.

Their training is only the beginning. The four have a destiny to pursue a freedom even Reece doesn’t fully fathom. But they have an enemy hell-bent on destroying them and he’ll stop at nothing to keep them from their quest for true freedom and the coming battle of souls.

And now, my review: 

Once in a while a book comes along that’s as relatable as it is enjoyable (no coincidence, I’m sure). This was one of those books.

The author deals with spiritual warfare along with some universal themes: regret, family dynamics, relationship issues, and one’s calling. The idea that people can war for each other in each other's souls was unique and interesting.

I liked the main setting—the Pacific Northwest is one of the most beautiful places on earth.

I enjoy Christian books that cross over into supernatural territory, which this one did a lot. The author demonstrated the truth that there is power in our words and the truth does set people free. I could relate with the warfare and how Jim portrayed the fierce battles with demons, but how Jesus’s name, His blood, His power overcame for them. These characters weren’t perfect, and that was relatable too. 

This novel transcended entertainment. I found myself thinking differently, praying differently while reading. Readers pick up new tools, new perspectives. You can't put a price on that. 

Once again, reading this story felt like watching a movie. I could see the battles, the adventures. And just when I thought something might go one way, he’d surprise me with a twist while he kept things focused on the team of heroes. Their courage inspired me. And I can’t wait until their next adventure.

Highly recommended!

Here's the trailer:


(print version)      (e-book)

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Duke's Promise by Jamie Carie

Another beautiful cover, don't you think?

Let's begin with the summary of this third book in the Forgotten Castles series by Jamie Carie:

From the Land of Fire and Ice back to England’s shores, Alexandria Featherstone finds herself the new Duchess of St. Easton. Her husband has promised a wedding trip to take them to the place where her imperiled parents were last seenItaly and the marble caves of Carrarabut a powerful Italian duke plots against Alex and her treasure-hunting parents.

Hoping to save them, Alex and Gabriel travel to Italy by balloon. Fraught with danger on all sides and pressured by Gabriel’s affliction to the breaking point, they must learn to work and fight together. The mysterious key is within their grasp, but they have yet to recognize it. This journey will require steadfast faith in God and each othera risk that will win them everything they want or lose them everything they have.

And now, my review: 

This is one of those series that should be read in order, book one through three. Thankfully, now with all of them released, you won’t have to wait to get the next one. ;)

I like the element of longing in a story. That’s why I loved book one in this series. And I like when the hero and heroine spend time together, which is why book two was my favorite! This book (book three) was about an adventure these two had together that tied the series together in a satisfying way.

The adventure takes these two on a few hot air balloon flying missions. Fascinating learning about this mode of transportation in its early stages so long ago. This element seemed a little like a fantasy, which worked since we were already experiencing the colors of sound with our hero, the duke.

Speaking of which, I liked how the author explored the colors of sounds through our hero’s experience, including supernatural elements. I liked watching how the hero and heroine related with each other through their challengehow they learned to work together. The hero's new-found humility remained in this story, which appealed to this reader. As he continues to face hearing difficulties and ear pain/complications, he has a relatable hope: that God has already taught him everything through the affliction that he needed to learn so he can move on, leave the pain behind. And Alex has to face her abandonment issues and face the challenge of learning to trust God. Between wise exploration of relatable issues and the author's prose, I was reminded again why I appreciate Jamie's writing.

Some of the elements in this story didn't keep me as engaged as the earlier books. That's understandable, I think, because this story wasn't centered on romance like books one and two were (this reader's favorite genre). But because this story follows our beloved characters through to the conclusion of their mission, I still recommend it. And because this is such a great series, I know readers will enjoy it.

(print)       (e-book)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Christmas Roses by Amanda Cabot

Welcome to the blog tour for Amanda Cabot's novella, Christmas Roses

As always, let's begin with the summary:

Celia Anderson doesn't need anything for Christmas except a few more boarders, which are hard to come by in this small mining town. She certainly doesn't have a husband on her Christmas wish list. But when a wandering carpenter finds lodging at her boarding house, she admits that she might remarry if she found the right man--the kind of man who would bring her roses for Christmas. It would take a miracle to get roses during a harsh Wyoming winter. But Christmas, after all, is the time for miracles . . .

And now, my review:

Christmas novellas are a treat—the perfect length for a busy time of year. I enjoyed this book from the first page. The story drew me in. I could relate with the heroine's worry about her infant daughter's life. The hero's search for his father kept me engaged as well. 

I liked the heroine's romantic heart and the hero's creativity, that he acted on his growing affections for the heroine. He helped her as she ran her bed and breakfast. She's a widow raising a daughter alone and while Mark's in town, he'll help her as much as he can. And he does. I liked this heroic part of his character. 

Mark was angry at God, but God still blessed him with this new "family" in town, including a job doing what he loved. 

Poor Celia. So many men wanting to marry her for convenience's sake, but she's holding out for love. Of course, with Mark's distance from God, she can't welcome a proposal from him either. But her daughter Emma has no filter. She accepts and loves Mark—the perfect symbol to how God welcomes us even when we aren't always likable.

This time of year, it's wonderful to read a heart-warming tale of romance and Christmas cheer. Don't miss this delightful read this holiday season—a sweet Christmas romance, the best kind!

Highly recommended!

The first link below is for the lovely hardcover edition. The second is for the Kindle e-book version. Enjoy!

(print)         (e-book)

Available September, 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.