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Mini-Book Review: The Souls of Lost Lake

21 Sep

Jaime Jo Wright is the queen of spooky, and The Souls of Lost Lake is no exception! The dual timeline features a young woman who everyone suspects of murdering her family, yet there’s no evidence and plenty of skepticism that a child could carry out such a heinous crime. Years later Ava Coons has become a campfire story to scare the daylights out of kids! Wren grew up with the stories, but now suspects that a missing child is somehow tied to the legend. I loved both stories as told by Wright. To get the scoop on what really happened decades before, and have a modern mystery to solve, was a treat for this reader. And when I say spooky, I mean it! Especially a creepy porcelain doll that shows up in unexpected places — shiver-y goodness. The title is appropriate as people can be lost in so many ways. While throughout their lives, Wren and Ava feel disconnected from others, they find a sense of place and acceptance. Wright kept me guessing until the very end of the book. I didn’t see either ending coming!

The Souls of Lost Lake is perhaps my favorite of all of Wright’s books, and that is saying a lot. It definitely is a highly recommended read. Just make sure you keep the light on. 😉

Highly Recommended.

Audience: Adults.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To save the innocent, they must face an insidious evil.

Wren Blythe has long enjoyed living in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, helping her father with ministry at a youth camp. But when a little girl in the area goes missing, an all-out search ensues, reviving the decades-old campfire story of Ava Coons, the murderess who is believed to still roam the forest. Joining the search, Wren stumbles upon the Coonses’ cabin ruins and a sinister mystery she is determined to unearth.

In 1930, Ava Coons has spent the last several years carrying the mantle of mystery since the day she emerged from the woods as a thirteen-year-old girl, spattered with blood, dragging a logger’s ax. She has accepted she will never remember what happened to her family, whose bodies were never found, and that the people of Tempter’s Creek will always blame her for their violent deaths. And after a member of the town is murdered, and another goes missing, rumors spread that Ava’s secret is perhaps more malicious than previously imagined.

Two women, separated by time, must confront a wickedness that not only challenges who they are but also threatens their lives, and the lives of those they love.

Daphne du Maurier and Christy Award-Winning author, Jaime Jo Wright resides in the hills of Wisconsin writing suspenseful, mysteries stained with history’s secrets. Jaime lives in dreamland, exists in reality, and invites you to join her adventures at jaimewrightbooks.com!

Audiobook Review — Every Word Unsaid

15 Sep

I recently listened to the third of Kimberly Duffy‘s books set in India. I loved the exotic feel of Every Word Unsaid and the appreciation that main character Augusta Travers had of the uniqueness of India. This is an historical novel that features a woman’s place both in American and Indian society. If you like traveling to foreign lands, even from an armchair, then I highly recommend trying this book out.

Augusta Travers has spent the last three years avoiding the stifling expectations of New York society and her family’s constant disappointment. As the nation’s most fearless–and reviled–columnist, Gussie travels the country with her Kodak camera and spins stories for women unable to leave hearth and home. But when her adventurous nature lands her in the middle of a scandal, an opportunity to leave America offers the perfect escape. 

Arriving in India, she expects only a nice visit with childhood friends, siblings Catherine and Gabriel, and escapades that will further her career. Instead, she finds herself facing a plague epidemic, confusion over Gabriel’s sudden appeal, and the realization that what she wants from life is changing. But slowing down means facing all the hurts of her past that she’s long been trying to outrun. And that may be an undertaking too great even for her. 

Kimberly Duffy is a Long Island native currently living in Southwest Ohio. When she’s not homeschooling her four kids, she writes historical fiction that takes readers back in time and across oceans. Her books feature ahead-of-their-time heroines, evocative settings, and real-life faith. Kimberly loves trips that require a passport, recipe books, and practicing kissing scenes with her husband of 20 years. He doesn’t mind. 

You can find Kimberly at:

http://www.kimberlyduffy.com 

My Impressions:

Kimberly Duffy has ignited my imagination in her books. Every Word Unsaid is just the latest to bring another place and time to life for me. Augusta Travers, or Gussie, is a main character to love. Her need to find a place in the world, to do something important, is at odds with her family and societal expectations. But as she runs to India to photograph and document its wonders for her magazine’s readers, Gussie grows in her understanding of the world and herself. India was not all she expected, and neither is her renewed relationship with her childhood friends. Every Word Unsaid seems like a coming of age story for Augusta as she discovers the beautiful, the tragic, and the horrific world of early 1900s India. Readers will discover the tenuous place women had in society, the domination of colonial rule in everyday life, and the necessity to see people as they are — unique and valued. There’s adventure, suspense, and romance all wrapped up in a beautifully written story. (I am in awe of Duffy’s facility for creating a wonderfully crafted narrative.) You’ll fall in love with all of the characters, not just Gussie. The audiobook was excellently narrated, and I was immediately swept up in the story.

For those seeking an immersive reading experience, I highly recommend Every Word Unsaid.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: Adults.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review — A Lady’s Guide to Death And Deception

6 Sep

What is a spy willing to do when both her heart and her country are at risk?

Life changes once again for British spy Miss Mary Bennet when Napoleon Bonaparte escapes from the Isle of Elba. Mary quickly departs England for Brussels, the city where the Allied forces prepare for war against the French. But shortly after her arrival, one of the Duke of Wellington’s best officers is murdered, an event which threatens to break the delicate alliance between the Allies.

Investigating the murder forces Mary into precarious levels of espionage, role-playing, and deception with her new partner, Mr. Withrow-the nephew and heir of her prominent sponsor, and the spy with whom she’s often at odds. Together, they court danger and discovery as they play dual roles gathering intelligence for the British. But soon Mary realizes that her growing feelings towards Mr. Withrow put her heart in as much danger as her life. And then there’s another murder.

Mary will need to unmask the murderer before more people are killed, but can she do so and remain hidden in the background?

PURCHASE LINKS

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AUDIOBOOK PURCHASE LINKS

AUDIBLE | LIBRO.FM | CHIRP BOOKS | APPLE BOOKS

********************

Katherine Cowley read Pride and Prejudice for the first time when she was ten years old, which started a lifelong obsession with Jane Austen. Her debut novel, The Secret Life of Miss Mary Bennet, was nominated for the Mary Higgins Clark Award. Her Mary Bennet spy series continues with the novels The True Confessions of a London Spy and The Lady’s Guide to Death and Deception. Katherine loves history, chocolate, traveling, and playing the piano, and she has taught writing classes at Western Michigan University. She lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan with her husband and three daughters.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

EXCLUSIVE AUTHOR INTERVIEW

My Impressions:

I am a sucker for anything Jane Austen. I especially love the variations of her novels in which supporting characters become the stars. Fun spin-offs, if you will. Katherine Cowley has created the perfect role for younger sister Mary Bennet in her Secret Life of Mary Bennet series. Mary a spy? How unexpected and thoroughly charming! I listened to the audiobook of The Lady’s Guide to Death And Deception, book 3 in the series, and was immediately swept up in the intrigue and mystery. The combination of old favorites (and not so favorites) from Pride And Prejudice and historical figures of the day made this book unputdownable. While staying true to Austen’s depiction of Mary, Cowley has certainly created a very grown-up version of Mary. I loved her prim and proper manners as she dons disguises, practices her shooting, and finds romance. This book is a must-read for Janeites! Even though it was book 3 of the series, I had no trouble following the plot or adjusting to this new side of Mary. I do, however, HAVE to read books 1 and 2 now! Thanks to Cowley for adding more to my TBR stack. 😉 I very much enjoyed the audiobook. The narrator was spot-on. The Lady’s Guide to Death And Deception is a highly recommended read or listen!

Highly Recommended.

Audience: Adults.

(Thanks to Austen Prose for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review: Bookshop by The Sea

31 Aug

Bookshop by The Sea is a great choice for a summer-y read. It has romance, endearing characters, and a quaint seaside town. If you are looking for a quick read with plenty of sparks, then this contemporary romance by Denise Hunter is for you. Recommended.

Sophie Lawson should be enjoying her sister’s wedding day. But nothing could have prepared her to see the best man again.

After her mother became bedridden and her father bailed on the family, Sophie found herself serving as a second mother to her twin brother, Seth, and younger sister, Jenna. Sophie supported her siblings through their college years, putting aside her own dream of opening a bookshop in Piper’s Cove—the quaint North Carolina beach town they frequented as children.

Now it’s finally time for Sophie to follow her own pursuits. Seth has a new job, and Jenna is set to marry her college beau in Piper’s Cove. But the destination wedding reunites Sophie with best man Aiden Maddox, her high school sweetheart who left her without a backward glance.

When an advancing hurricane strands Aiden in Piper’s Cove after the wedding, he finds the hotels booked to capacity and has to ask Sophie to put him up until the storm passes. As the two ride out the weather, old feelings rise to the surface. The delay also leaves Sophie with mere days to get her bookshop up and running. Can she trust Aiden to stick around? And will he find the courage to risk his heart?

Denise Hunter is the internationally published bestselling author of more than forty novels, three of which have been adapted into Hallmark movies. She has appeared on the The 700 Club and been featured in Southern Living and Woman’s World.

Denise writes heartwarming, small-town love stories, peopled with layered characters who have real-life issues. 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, drinking chai lattes, hiking, and playing drums. Denise makes her home in Indiana where she and her husband raised three boys and are currently enjoying an empty nest and two beautiful granddaughters. 

You can learn more about Denise through her website http://www.DeniseHunterBooks.com or by visiting her FaceBook page at https://www.facebook.com/authordenisehunter.

My Impressions:

For fans of contemporary romance, Bookshop by The Sea by Denise Hunter checks all the right boxes. Charming characters with a second chance at love is always a favorite trope. But this book isn’t just fluff. There are deep themes of fear of abandonment and finding worth in others’ opinions. More than a hurricane and a bookstore opening cause Sophie and Aiden to second-guess a new relationship. I have to say I found Sophie infuriating at first. She finally has a chance to realize her own hopes and ambitions following her mother’s death. She has sacrificed and put her life on hold for far too long. But she falls into old patterns with her family, and her life doesn’t really seem her own. And while Aiden has baggage of his own, he plays a crucial role in helping Sophie recognize her need for boundaries. The sizzling chemistry between the two is great for romance readers, but their growth as individuals was heartwarming as well. My book club read this book for our August selection. The beach setting and the bookshop appealed to our bookish, ready for vacay hearts. 😉 A quick read, Bookshop by The Sea was just what I needed!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(I purchased the Kindle version of this book. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Audiobook Mini-Review — The Kitchen Front

25 Aug

The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan, a WWII-era novel featuring women’s friendships and cooking was my book club’s choice this month. While it got mixed reviews from my members — some liked it, others said it was just okay — it did inspire some fun discussion — from horrible wartime foods, to the role of home economists, to relationships. I listened to the well-narrated audiobook and enjoyed it. It was a quick read full of interesting details on a woman’s place in the mid 1900s and of course lots of food! The four main characters were all involved in a fictional cook-off featuring the real BBC radio program, The Kitchen Front. They each had unique struggles, and as the book progressed they grew and became stronger. While two of the characters were especially odious at the beginning of the book, I came to appreciate them all. The book also caused me to search an old family cookbook I own which features rationing tips and meal plans for all socio-economic levels. The Kitchen Front is a general market novel, but I found it to be an overall clean read. Recommended for those who like fiction set in the WWII-era, especially featuring those who remained at home.

Two years into World War II, Britain is feeling her losses: The Nazis have won battles, the Blitz has destroyed cities, and U-boats have cut off the supply of food. In an effort to help housewives with food rationing, a BBC radio program called The Kitchen Front is holding a cooking contest—and the grand prize is a job as the program’s first-ever female co-host. For four very different women, winning the competition would present a crucial chance to change their lives.

For a young widow, it’s a chance to pay off her husband’s debts and keep a roof over her children’s heads. For a kitchen maid, it’s a chance to leave servitude and find freedom. For a lady of the manor, it’s a chance to escape her wealthy husband’s increasingly hostile behavior. And for a trained chef, it’s a chance to challenge the men at the top of her profession.

These four women are giving the competition their all—even if that sometimes means bending the rules. But with so much at stake, will the contest that aims to bring the community together only serve to break it apart?

Jennifer Ryan is the author of National Bestseller The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir, The Spies of Shilling Lane, and The Kitchen Front. Before she began writing, she was a nonfiction book editor with a passion for the Second World War. Her warm and cheerful grandmother would tell stories about that era, both funny and fascinating, and the books are based on these. 

http://www.JenniferRyanAuthor.com

Audiobook Review — Healing Skye

3 Aug

Those of you who are fans of Janet W. Ferguson‘s Coastal Hearts series are going to love Skye Youngblood’s story in Healing Skye. Okay, even if you haven’t read any of Janet’s books, if you like contemporary romance with more substance than fluff, you will want to get this book. Wonderful coastal setting, hurting but hopeful characters, and a message of redemption all make this book a recommended read!

People can’t be trusted.

Animals always made more sense than humans did to marine biologist Skye Youngblood. After her mother’s tragic death, she left Alabama and never looked back. These days, she pours her heart into protecting nature’s sea creatures. When she returns to Dauphin Island, Alabama, for a temporary manatee migration study, her dark past is much too close. She can’t let her guard down. But how can she keep her heart hidden when a kind man with a genuine smile makes her want a fresh start?

Charter fishing pays the bills for widower Pete Thompson and his little girl, but like his father, a pastor, Pete can’t help but fish for men. Only, after growing up under constant scrutiny as a preacher’s kid, Pete’s ways are a bit more unconventional. And the bulk of his life revolves around raising his precious daughter.

When he witnesses the car wreck of a new marine biologist on the island, it doesn’t take a genius to see that more than just her physical pain needs tending. Pete feels called to help Skye find true healing, but he’s navigating dangerous waters. And he’s not at all sure he’ll walk away unscathed.

Janet W. Ferguson is a Christy Award finalist and the FHL Readers Choice Award winning author of realistic inspirational fiction. An avid reader, she loved books so much she found a job as a librarian. Then she turned that love of story into writing faith-filled novels with characters who feel like best friends. You’ll laugh and cry as the quirky heroes and heroines chase their happily ever after.

Janet and her husband live in Mississippi where they say y’all a lot, and she forces him to visit the beach as often as possible. They have two grown children, one really smart dog, and a cat that allows them to share the space.

My Impressions:

Summers often call for contemporary romance reads. If the book has a beach-y vibe, all the better. Healing Skye, a standalone novel in Janet W. Ferguson’s Coastal Hearts series, fits the bill. It is set on Dauphin Island and features Skye, a manatee researcher on temporary assignment. Her introduction to the area doesn’t start so well and causes her to depend on people to get her bearings. Skye has serious trust issues, which as you discover her past, you don’t blame her! She is constantly thrown together with Pete, who is the widowed dad of a young girl. His faith is an anchor for him, and he spends his time fishing for, well, fish (he’s a charter boat captain) and for men. I really liked these two characters, along with the secondary characters that facilitate the story. As I said, trust is hard-won with Skye, and I kept rooting for Pete to get past her defenses. I also liked that Pete, and Skye’s “mother” Miss Lydia hear God’s voice and act on it. Their example goes a long way in prompting Skye to listen for His voice. The romance is sweet, but the spiritual message is this book’s strength. A tie-in to Star Rising was an added bonus. Specific to the audiobook — the narrator did an excellent job. The pacing was perfect.

If you are looking for a contemporary romance to tuck into the pool bag, Healing Skye is an excellent choice. Real and relatable characters, tough issues, and a strong spiritual message make this a novel with depth and heart.

Recommended.

Audience: Adults.

(Thanks to the author for a complimentary copy of the audiobook. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review: Sea Glass Cottage

25 Jul

A return visit to Hope Harbor is always on the agenda! Irene Hannon‘s contemporary romance, Sea Glass Cottage, was the perfect read when I needed an uplifting story filled with, well, hope! 🙂 Find out all the details below.

Christi Reece is desperate. The one-time golden girl’s life has tarnished, and a cascade of setbacks has left her reeling. She needs help, and she’s certain Jack Colby is in a position to provide it. 

When she shows up in Hope Harbor, however, Jack wants nothing to do with the woman who betrayed him. He’s built a new life on the Oregon coast–and there’s no room in it for Christi, even after she takes refuge in a charming but mysterious cottage nearby. Yet it soon becomes apparent his opinion of her may need revising . . . especially when he ends up needing her help. 

Can these two hurting souls make peace with their past and open their hearts to a new beginning? 

Come home to Hope Harbor–where hearts heal . . . and love blooms.

Bestselling and award-winning author Irene Hannon delivers another heartwarming and romantic story set in the enchanting seaside community of Hope Harbor that is loved by readers the world over. Once you visit, you’ll never want to leave.

Irene Hannon is the best-selling author of more than 35 novels. Her books have been honored with the coveted RITA Award from Romance Writers of America, the HOLT Medallion, the Reviewer’s Choice Award from Romantic Times BOOKreviews magazine and the Daphne du Maurier Award for mystery/suspense. Irene and her husband make their home in Missouri, USA. Irene invites you to visit her at her website, http://www.irenehannon.com.

My Impressions:

I love Irene Hannon’s Hope Harbor contemporary romance series for many reasons. First and foremost is the community that Hannon has created. Set on the Oregon coast, the small town of Hope Harbor is a place I like to visit again and again. Its quaint shops, beautiful scenery, and endearing permanent residents have become like a real place. Favorite characters from previous books make occasional appearances in each successive novel, while new characters add depth to the town. In her newest book, Sea Glass Cottage, newcomer Christi and resident policeman Jack are the main focus of the story. They had a previous relationship that soured Jack and created shame in Christi. Their story of forgiveness and second chances is heartwarming. But Hannon always adds another plot thread that reinforces her message and compliments the main story line. I loved all the characters introduced in this book, and think it may be my favorite of the 8 novels to date. Although, I almost always say that. LOL!

If you haven’t read any of the Hope Harbor books, don’t despair. Sea Glass Cottage can be read as a standalone. But why would you want to when there are so many wonderful stories in the series? For those new to the series, I recommend starting with book 1. Binge reading anyone?

Recommended.

Audience: Adults.

(Thanks to Revell and NetGalley for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Audiobook Mini-Review: The Last Train to Key West

20 Jul

My lunchtime book club discussed The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton this month. We really enjoyed it. It has a lot to recommend it — 3 strong female voices, a tropical location, rich historical detail, and the tension of a monstrous hurricane bearing down on all. The three main characters — Helen, Mirta, and Elizabeth — were products of their time and culture. Each is facing decisions regarding their marital relationships and seek resolutions very different from each other. We liked all the women, but Elizabeth especially grew on us. Not a sympathetic character at first, she probably was our favorite. As for the men, they ranged from a despicable abuser, to a dashing devil, a loyal companion, and a true hero. It was no question that John won the best male character category. 😉 The autonomy of women is a strong theme, with each female character navigating her own situation with determination and conviction. There were a number of twists and turns we did not see coming, and that just added to the suspense of the oncoming hurricane. We knew what history told us, but not if or how the fictional characters would survive. This is a general market novel, but very clean with bedroom scenes taking place behind closed doors. There is some domestic abuse that may be troubling to some readers. Specific to the audiobook — 3 narrators are used to bring the women’s stories to life. I loved each voice. This is the perfect book/audiobook to pack in the pool bag.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(I borrowed the audiobook from my local library through Libby. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

In 1935 three women are forever changed when one of the most powerful hurricanes in history barrels toward the Florida Keys.
 
For the tourists traveling on Henry Flagler’s legendary Overseas Railroad, Labor Day weekend is an opportunity to forget the economic depression gripping the nation. But one person’s paradise can be another’s prison, and Key West-native Helen Berner yearns to escape. 
 
After the Cuban Revolution of 1933 leaves Mirta Perez’s family in a precarious position, she agrees to an arranged marriage with a notorious American. Following her wedding in HavanaMirta arrives in the Keys on her honeymoon. While she can’t deny the growing attraction to her new husband, his illicit business interests may threaten not only her relationship, but her life. 
 
Elizabeth Preston’s trip to Key West is a chance to save her once-wealthy family from their troubles after the Wall Street crash. Her quest takes her to the camps occupied by veterans of the Great War and pairs her with an unlikely ally on a treacherous hunt of his own.
 
Over the course of the holiday weekend, the women’s paths cross unexpectedly, and the danger swirling around them is matched only by the terrifying force of the deadly storm threatening the Keys.

Chanel Cleeton is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick Next Year in Havana, When We Left Cuba, The Last Train to Key West, and The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba. Originally from Florida, Chanel grew up on stories of her family’s exodus from Cuba following the events of the Cuban Revolution. Her passion for politics and history continued during her years spent studying in England where she earned a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Richmond, The American International University in London and a master’s degree in Global Politics from the London School of Economics & Political Science. Chanel also received her Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law. 

Learn more about her on her website at http://www.chanelcleeton.com.

Cookbook Review: Wanda Brunstetter’s Amish Friends 4 Seasons Cookbook

18 Jul

Whether you garden with the intent of feeding your family or love to purchase fresh produce at local farm stores or markets, the Amish Friends 4 Seasons Cookbook will be an invaluable resource for your kitchen. I love how this cookbook is divided by seasons, allowing the chef in his/her kitchen to bring the freshest of dishes to the family table. Summer is in full swing and there is plenty of zucchini here in the sunny South. I chose to use some of the abundance to make Zucchini Chocolate Coffee Cake. This very chocolate-y cake turned out super moist, and the slight hint of coffee in the frosting gave it just the right note to balance the sweetness. There are plenty of other zucchini recipes plus hundreds more featuring seasonal garden vegetables for appetizers, side dishes, main courses, and desserts. There are also recipes for preserving your garden bounty for future meals. I’m looking forward to exploring all the seasonal goodies in this well-organized and easy to use cookbook.

Recommended!

(Thanks to Barbour Publishing for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Fresh Recipes for Each Season of the Year

Do you strive to eat what local, fresh, and in season? Then this is the cookbook for you. Organized by the winter, spring, summer, and fall seasons, there are a bounty of recipes for various ways to use up seasonal fruits and vegetables. Sprinkled with tips for growing and harvesting, too, the well-organized book boasts contributions from Amish and Mennonites from across the United States who are fans of author of Amish fiction, Wanda E. Brunstetter. Encased in a lay-flat binding and presented in full color, it is a must-have cookbook for anyone who gardens, participates in a CSA, or enjoys farmers’ markets.

Book Review: Critical Alliance

13 Jul

Looking for a fast-paced romantic suspense that will keep you reading past your bedtime? 😉 Then you need to check out Critical Alliance by Elizabeth Goddard. Book 3 in the Rocky Mountain Courage series returns the reader to the breathtaking scenery of Montana and the twisting danger that Goddard readily supplies. Recommended.

Mackenzie Hanson’s special set of skills opened the door to a successful career as a professor of cybersecurity at a Michigan university, allowing her to put her criminal past behind her. But when a long-ago partner in crime delivers a cryptic message about her father’s tech company being under cyberattack, she heads for Montana to secure exposed assets, close security breaches, and hopefully save lives.

Diplomatic Security Services special agent Alex Knight is back home in Montana to decompress from a mission gone wrong. But even as he’s trying to relax, he’s drawn into another mystery, complete with suspicious deaths, lethal threats, and whispers of espionage that all have one thing in common–a beautiful cybersecurity expert with a dark past.

When the situation turns deadly, Alex and Mackenzie will have to work together to find the answers they need–before someone silences Mackenzie for good.


With over one million books sold, Elizabeth Goddard is the USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling, award-winning author of over fifty romance novels and counting. Four of her six Mountain Cove books have been contest finalists. Buried, Backfire, and Deception are finalists in the Daphne Du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense, and Submerged is a Carol Award finalist. A 7th generation Texan, Elizabeth graduated from North Texas State University with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and worked in high-level software sales for several years before retiring to home school her children and fulfill her dreams of writing full-time.

To get book news sign up for her newsletter at her website: http://elizabethgoddard.com

Follow her on Bookbub! https://www.bookbub.com/authors/elizabeth-goddard

You can connect with Elizabeth on Facebook: http://facebook.com/elizabethgoddardauthor

or Twitter: http://twitter.com/bethgoddard

My Impressions:

Elizabeth Goddard has become a go-to author of romantic suspense for me. Her current novel, Critical Alliance just solidified that for me. There’s a lot to like about this quick-paced book filled with close calls and a twisty plot. First the characters are real and relatable even though they have some major skills. Mackenzie is former hacker turned cybersecurity specialist and Alex provides high level security for the Diplomatic Security Services. (As a bonus I learned a little bit about this little known federal agency.) While their training and knowledge is well above what I’ve experienced they are down-to-earth characters with doubts and struggles common to all. They join in an off-the-books search for a deadly cybercriminal. The techie side of Critical Alliance, with its info on drones and hacking, is a fun and frightening addition to the plot. It’s scary what someone can do with current technology. Romance between the two is a big part of the story, and I enjoyed their growing relationship. Faith is naturally woven into the narrative. While Critical Alliance is book 3 in the Rocky Mountain Courage series, it is not necessary to read the first two to enjoy the book. There is a plot thread that has continued throughout the series, though. My advice, is to read the first two books. They are so good you won’t want to miss them!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Revell and NetGalley for a complimentary ebook. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)