Tag Archives: audiobook

Blog Tour — Summer Plans (And Other Disasters)

25 Aug

About The Book

Book:  Summer Plans and Other Disasters

Author: Karin Beery

Genre: Women’s Romantic Fiction

Release date: April 2021

Elementary school music teacher Callie Stevens thinks she’s finally figured out God ’s plan for her life — she even made a list to keep her on track. Moving in with her brother and reconnecting with her ex-boyfriend are at the top of the list. What ’s not on the list is running into her childhood crush, Ryan. God wanted her to connect with Kyle, right? Trying to figure out God ’s plan is hard enough. But a dating-averse older brother, the young blonde who adores him, a pregnant best friend, and Callie ’s continual mishaps make her wonder whether her best-laid plans were truly God-inspired.

Click here to get your copy!

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My Impressions:

What a great summer read! Karin Beery’s debut novel, Summer Plan And Other Disasters checked all my boxes for light, yet thoughtful, romance/women’s fiction. Even though I am of *ahem* a certain age and may not be the target audience for this book, I found it delightful. The characters are charming and easy to bring into your heart. Callie is earnest in following God’s will, but sometimes it’s easy to do what we think is God’s will. Along with great characters, I loved the setting. I have never been to Michigan, but I felt like I was right at home. Now I want to live in a lighthouse too! Although I first read the paperback of this book, I am so glad that the audiobook is available too. I often look for a fun book to listen to during my walks — Summer Plans fits the bill nicely!

So if you are looking for your next summer read, pick up Summer Plans in paper or audio. I heartily recommend it.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Celebrate Lit for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

About The Author

Karin Beery grew up in a small, rural Michigan town where she wrote her first novel in high school. She’s still writing today, telling contemporary stories with a healthy dose of romance. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s editing or teaching it. And when she’s not doing that, she enjoys time at home with her husband and fur babies, once again living in a small, rural Michigan town.

More from Karin

I discovered audiobooks two years ago, and they have changed my life! Now I look forward to long car rides and endless hours cleaning and cooking. Well, I don’t really look forward to the cleaning and cooking, but at least the chores are tolerable because I just turn on a new book and listen to a story while I work! I know I’m not the only one who multitasks with audiobooks. I had a few friends ask me when my books would be available in audio form so they could listen—with long commutes and families at home, they prefer listening to their books in the quiet of the car.

That’s why I’m so excited to bring Summer Plans and Other Disasters to audiobook, and I’m just as excited about my narrator, Jasmine Zhwalen. Summer Plans was my first published book, and now it will be Jasmine’s first too. As soon as I heard her audition, I knew I wanted her to give Callie, Jack, Stacey, and Ryan their voices. Considering it’s the first go-round for both of us, I think it turned out pretty well!

Thanks for listening!

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 17

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 18

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, August 19

Texas Book-aholic, August 20

Cats in the cradle blog, August 20

Inklings and notions, August 21

For Him and My Family, August 22

deb’s Book Review, August 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 24

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 24

By The Book, August 25

The Sacred Line, August 26

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, August 27

CarpeDiem, August 28

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 28

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, August 29

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 30

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Karin is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Audible gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/112e5/summer-plans-and-other-disasters-celebration-tour-giveaway

Audiobook Mini-Review: When I Close My Eyes

1 Feb

I was delighted to find one of my favorite authors on my library’s digital site. When I Close My Eyes by Elizabeth Musser has been on my radar since it was released a year or so ago. Libby had it available in audiobook form, and I jumped at borrowing it. It is an excellent read. It definitely will make my best of 2021 list!

Could she ever share the secret of The Awful Year? 

There is one story that novelist Josephine Bourdillon shirked from writing. And now she may never have a chance. Trapped in her memories, she lies in a coma. 

The man who put her there is just as paralyzed. Former soldier Henry Hughes failed to complete the kill. What’s more: he never received full payment – funds that would ensure surgery for his son. 

As detectives investigate disturbing fan letters, a young but not-so-naive Paige Bourdillon turns to her mother’s turbulent past for answers. Could The Awful Year be worse than the one they’re living now? 

Set against the flaming hills of North Carolina and the peaceful shores of the Mediterranean Sea, When I Close My Eyes tells the story of two families struggling with dysfunction and finding that love is stronger than death.

Elizabeth Musser writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France. Elizabeth’s highly acclaimed, best-selling novel, The Swan House, was named one of Amazon’s Top Christian Books of the Year and one of Georgia’s Top Ten Novels of the Past 100 Years (Georgia Backroads). Two Destinies, the final novel in The Secrets of the Cross trilogy, was a finalist for the 2013 Christy Award. The Long Highway Home was a finalist for the Carol Awards. All of Elizabeth’s novels have been translated into multiple languages and have been international best-sellers.

Find more about Elizabeth’s novels at www.elizabethmusser.com and on Facebook, Twitter, and her blog

 

My Impressions:

An audiobook is great when you need something for a road trip or morning walks, especially if it is from a favorite author, has a story that grabs you from the beginning, and has narrators that bring life to the characters. I got all of that while listening to When I Close My Eyes by Elizabeth Musser. This novel seemed to be a bit of a departure for Musser. Set in modern-day Asheville, but including glimpses of one character’s past life, it is a study in grace and forgiveness. Three narrators gave voice to Paige, Josephine, and Henry — all excellent! Josephine, a best-selling author is shot by Henry (a man struggling with family pressures and PTSD), and Paige, Josephine’s daughter, is left to make sense of what is happening. I loved how Musser showed the impact of the initial murder attempt and the winding road to wholeness — although in ways this reader was not expecting. Mental illness in a variety of manifestations is explored thoughtfully and sensitively. I began listening in one hour intervals, but when I found myself under the weather, the book kept my mind engaged while resting. (And good news — all the tests came back negative, if you know what I mean 😉 .)

While I loved the audiobook experience, When I Close My Eyes is a book to contemplate and savor, so you may find the physical copy more to your liking. Either way it is a highly recommended read!

Highly Recommended.

Audience: Adults.

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

Audiobook Mini-Review: Unintended Consequences

10 Nov

My husband and I have been steadily working our way through Dan Walsh‘s Jack Turner Suspense series in audiobook form. The combination of modern day suspense and WWII flashbacks make for compelling reading. The third book in the series, Unintended Consequences, is a bit different from the other books in the series. If you like action set in WWII, you will love this one. Recommended!

 

Jack and Rachel leave Culpepper for their long-awaited honeymoon trip, a driving tour through New England. On day three, they stop at a little bayside town in Cape Cod to visit Jack’s grandmother. After he gets called away to handle an emergency, Rachel stays and listens as Jack’s grandmother shares a remarkable story about how she and Jack’s grandfather met in the early days of World War 2. It’s a story filled with danger, decades-old family secrets, daring rescues and romance. Jack is named after his grandfather, and this story set the course and direction for Jack’s life to the present day. After hearing it, Rachel is amazed that anyone survived.

Dan Walsh is the bestselling author of 22 novels (all available on Amazon), including The Unfinished Gift, Rescuing Finley, When Night Comes and The Reunion (now being made into a feature film). Over 1 million copies of Dan’s books are in print or downloaded. He’s won both the Carol and Selah Awards multiple times, 4 of his novels have been finalists for RT Reviews Inspirational Novel of the Year.

Reviewers often remark about Dan’s rich, character-driven storylines and page-turning suspense (even with his more inspirational books). He’s been writing full-time since 2010. He and his wife Cindi have been married 43 years, have 2 grown children and 4 grandchildren. They live in the Daytona Beach area, where Dan grew up. You can follow him on Facebook or Twitter, read his blog, or preview all his books by visiting his website at http://www.danwalshbooks.com.

 

My Impressions:

The Jack Turner Suspense series by Dan Walsh is a great choice for those who love suspense with a little history thrown in. The third book in the series, Unintended Consequences, is almost all WWII action and intrigue. The love story of Jack’s grandparents is introduced as newlyweds Jack and Rachel make a stop at Jack’s grandmother Renee’s home during their honeymoon tour. When Jack is called away on some university business, Rachel settles in for the exiting tale Renee spins. The story revolves around American-born Jack Turner as he sets off to join the RAF before America enters the war. He is also on a quest to discover the truth behind his mother’s death and the chance to find his twin brother. While that intriguing story is enough to make this book, Walsh adds the thrill of dogfights during the Battle of Britain, a wartime romance, and a daring escape. My husband and I listened to the audiobook which was again expertly read. We both loved this book — action combined with great storytelling make this one a recommended read from both of us.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

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

 

 

 

Audiobook Mini-Review: The Number of Love

4 Nov

I decided to do a little Christy Award reading in anticipation to the announcement of the winners on November 12 and chose The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White, a finalist in the historical romance category. This is the first book I have read by White, but it certainly will not be the last. A book well-deserving of the nomination, I give it a highly recommended rating.

 

Three years into the Great War, England’s greatest asset is their intelligence network–field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack every German telegram. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, for the first time in her life numbers aren’t enough.

Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy who just won’t give up. He’s smitten quickly by the intelligent Margot, but how can he convince a girl who lives entirely in her mind that sometimes life’s answers lie in the heart?

Amid biological warfare, encrypted letters, and a German spy who wants to destroy not just them but others they love, Margot and Drake will have to work together to save themselves from the very secrets that brought them together.

Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at http://www.RoseannaMWhite.com.

 

My Impressions:

The Number of Love is the first book in The Codebreakers series, an historical romance set during WWI. That is its first recommendation — a time period I do not often read in. Historical detail is key. I found the information on the war fascinating, especially the work of spies and analysts ferreting out information on the other side. Characters are well-developed and are very likable. They also do not fit into stereotypes — main character Margot is very unconventional for her time in that she is a woman of reason and mathematics, not relying on feelings, but on logic. Drake, a great hero, is more about the emotional side of things. The juxtaposition of their personalities from the norm is wonderful. As I said spies play a big part in the novel, and the suspense kept me listening (I downloaded the audiobook) and on the edge of my seat. The faith message is very strong. I loved that the author had the characters examine not just the why of their experiences, but also for what purpose. And the way God communicates with Margot is an excellent portrayal of how He gifts us and uses us.

All 3 books in The Codebreakers series are now available — I cannot wait to get back to London during WWI. And some of the secondary characters have a series all their own! The 3 books in the Shadows Over England series are also all available. I have the promise of some great reading ahead of me.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: Adults.

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

 

 

Audiobook Mini-Review: The Most Famous Illegal Goose Creek Parade

4 Apr

In this first book of the Tales from the Goose Creek B&B series, you’ll fall in love with a small town that feels like coming home. Its quirky characters and their many shenanigans will make you laugh out loud as they touch a place in your heart.

Even though retirement is still three years away, Al Richardson is counting the days. He anticipates many enjoyable years in which every day feels like Saturday. But Al’s wife, Millie, has different plans for their retirement. When she learns that a Victorian-era home is up for sale, Millie launches a full-blown campaign to convince Al that god’s plan for them is to turn that house into a B&B.

But a B&B won’t be the only change for the small Kentucky town. A new veterinarian has hung up her shingle, but she’s only got one patient – the smelly dog belonging to her part-time receptionist. And sides are being taken in the issue of the water tower, which needs a new coat of paint…but no one can agree who should paint it.

The situation is coming to a head. Who could have imagined a town protest over a water tower? And who would believe it could culminate in an illegal parade?

Virginia Smith is the bestselling author of thirty-one novels (an counting!), an illustrated children’s book, and more than fifty articles and short stories. An avid reader with eclectic tastes in fiction, Ginny writes in a variety of styles, from lighthearted relationship stories to breath-snatching suspense. Her books have been named finalists in many international awards. Two of her novels have received a Holt Medallion Award of Merit. The first book in her latest series, The Most Famous Illegal Goose Creek Parade, was Library Journal’s top pick of the month, and a finalist for the prestigious Bookseller’s Best Award.

In addition to writing, Ginny is an active inspirational speaker and frequent presenter at schools and conferences. A Certified Lay Speaker for the United Methodist Church, Ginny’s messages are always well-received by a variety of audiences in conferences, retreats and churches across the country. Her speaking ability, groomed through years of presenting dry material to bored corporate employees, has been described as entertaining, yet spiritually encouraging. “She keeps her audience enthralled through her high-energy presentation,” according to Pastor Amy Barkman, director of Voice Of Joy Ministries.

When she isn’t writing or speaking, Ginny and her husband, Ted, enjoy exploring the extremes of nature – snow skiing in the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City, motorcycle riding on the curvy roads in central Kentucky, and scuba diving in the warm waters of Mexico and the Caribbean.

My Impressions:

I was looking for a light-hearted audiobook during a particularly stressful week. I figured a few laughs along with my morning walk couldn’t hurt. The Most Famous Illegal Goose Creek Parade certainly fit the bill. Filled with endearing characters (and a few cranks) the book takes you to small town Kentucky where gossip reigns supreme! The novel revolves around married couple Albert and Millie as he tries to resist her dream of owning a B&B. Albert never stands a chance! In addition there is a new veterinarian in town who starts off on the wrong foot, literally! Add a hideous water tower and politics gone awry, and you have the makings of a crazy and hilarious read. The book is fast-paced and easy, great for times when you want entertainment above all else. I had a bit of trouble adjusting to the narrator (her emphasis on the last words of a sentence or paragraph got on my nerves initially), but either she got better or I got used to it 😉 , because I found myself in the story, not pulled away by her inflections.

So if you are having a stress-filled week, consider giving the zaniness of The Most Famous Illegal Goose Creek Parade a go.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

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

Audiobook Mini-Review: Prose And Cons

24 Oct

In Cascade Springs, New York, Violet Waverly and her grandma, Daisy, are the proprietors of Charming Books, where the power of the written word is positively enchanting…
 
October in Cascade Springs means tourists are pouring in for the annual Food and Wine Festival, and Daisy hopes to draw those crowds to the store. She asks Violet and the local writing group, the Red Inkers, to give a reading of the works of Edgar Allan Poe in the shop’s back garden to entertain the revelers. Everyone eagerly agrees.
 
Yet their enthusiasm is soon extinguished when Violet discovers one of the writers dead during the event. After the shop magically tells Violet she’ll need to rely on Poe’s works to solve the murder, she enlists the help of her trusty tuxedo cat, Emerson, and the shop’s crow, Faulkner. But they must act fast before someone else’s heart beats nevermore . . .

 

Amanda Flower, a USA Today bestselling and Agatha Award-winning mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. Her debut mystery, Maid of Murder, was an Agatha Award Nominee for Best First Novel and her children’s mysteries, Andi Unexpected and Andi Under Pressure, were an Agatha Award Nominees for Best Children’s/YA Novel. Andi Unstoppable won the Agatha Award for Best Children’s/YA Novel 2015. Amanda is a librarian in northeast Ohio. Visit her at http://www.amandaflower.com.

 

My Impressions: 

I loved my return trip to Cascade Springs, NY and the magical bookstore Charming Books! The cooler temps and cozy mystery Prose And Cons made my morning walks a treat. Author Amanda Flower has certainly created a charming setting, fun and quirky characters, and a real puzzler with Prose And Cons. I love a mystery that keeps me guessing, and this one’s ending was a complete surprise. I never suspected whodunit! In addition to the mysterious goings on in the village, Violet discovers long-held family secrets. Main character, Violet, is an intelligent and intrepid sleuth, who is assisted by her houdini-feline Emerson, and an insistent bookshop that literally throws the clues at her. There’s also a hunky chief of police I am cheering on for a future romance for Violet. And for fans of literary-themed cozies, Prose And Cons cleverly combines classic literature and clues to the murder. The first person narrative is complemented by the reader of this audiobook — I felt I was in the midst of the action. Prose And Cons is the second book in the Magical Bookshop Mystery series and can be read as a standalone, but you really need to start at the beginning. Book 3 releases in a few months — I can’t wait to find out what Violet faces next.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

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

Audiobook Mini-Review: Crime And Poetry

17 Oct

Rushing home to sit by her ailing grandmother’s bedside, Violet Waverly is shocked to find Grandma Daisy the picture of perfect health. Violet doesn’t need to read between the lines: her grandma wants Violet back home and working in her magical store, Charming Books. It’s where the perfect book tends to fly off the shelf and pick you . . .

Violet has every intention to hightail it back to Chicago, but then a dead man is discovered clutching a volume of Emily Dickinson’s poems from Grandma Daisy’s shop. The victim is Benedict Raisin, who recently put Grandma Daisy in his will, making her a prime suspect. Now, with the help of a tuxedo cat named Emerson, Violet will have to find a killer to keep Grandma from getting booked for good . . . 

 

Amanda Flower, a USA Today bestselling and Agatha Award-winning mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. Her debut mystery, Maid of Murder, was an Agatha Award Nominee for Best First Novel and her children’s mysteries, Andi Unexpected and Andi Under Pressure, were an Agatha Award Nominees for Best Children’s/YA Novel. Andi Unstoppable won the Agatha Award for Best Children’s/YA Novel 2015. Amanda is a librarian in northeast Ohio. Visit her at http://www.amandaflower.com.

My Impressions:

I am always up for a cozy mystery! I love quirky characters, charming locales, and a puzzling mystery. I chose Crime And Poetry by Amanda Flower to make the minutes and miles pass quickly on my morning walks — it was a great choice! I had previously read her juvenile mystery fiction and one book in her Amish cozy series and knew I would find a humorous and entertaining read. But I have to say that Crime And Poetry exceeded my expectations. While it had all the elements I look for in a cozy, it also featured a magical bookshop that not only finds the perfect book for patrons, but aids main character Violet in her quest to find whodunit! I loved, loved the characters, including the adorable Houdini-cat and the loquacious blackbird. Violet solves the case and finds closure for a tragedy in her past. She discovers her place in the village of Cascade Springs and has two hunky guys vying for her attention. Very satisfying! The narrator of the audiobook was perfect for the first person style, having a wonderful sense of timing and inflection.

I liked Crime And Poetry so much that I downloaded book 2, Prose And Cons as soon as The End was pronounced. If you are a fan of cozies, you’ll love this one too.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(I purchased this book from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Audiobook Review (+ Giveaway!): Kill And Run

19 Jun

 

Five women with seemingly nothing in common are found brutally murdered in a townhome outside Washington, DC. Among the many questions surrounding the massacre is what had brought these apparent strangers together only to be killed.

Taking on his first official murder case, Lieutenant Murphy Thornton, USN, believes that if he can uncover the thread connecting the victims, then he can find their murderer.

Before long, the case takes an unexpected turn when Murphy discovers that one of the victims has a connection to his stepmother, Homicide Detective Cameron Gates. One wintry night, over a dozen years before, her first husband, a Pennsylvania State trooper, had been run down while working a night shift on the turnpike.

In this first installment of the Thorny Rose Mysteries, the Lovers in Crime join newlyweds Lieutenant Murphy Thornton and Jessica Faraday to sift through a web of lies and cover-ups. Together, can the detectives of the Thorny Rose uncover the truth without falling victim to a cunning killer?

 

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband and three dogs (including the real Gnarly’s klutzy nephew Sterling) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with LaurenWebsite  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

 

C.J. McAllister (narrator) is an Audible Approved Producer — “Audible Approved producers are the best audiobook producers in the business.” Only a small number are awarded this honor.

C.J. has produced best-selling audiobooks in multiple genres/styles, TV commercials/promo teasers, animation projects, interviews (TV and radio), corporate presentations.

 

 

My Impressions:

Combine the fast-paced action of a political thriller with the elements of a police procedural, then add a healthy dose of humor and big personalities of a cozy mystery, and you get the first book in Lauren Carr’s Thorny Rose mystery series, Kill And Run. Set within the District of Columbia within the halls of the highest military leaders, this novel will appeal to die-hard mystery fans. I found the characters engaging, the writing well-done, and the mystery puzzling indeed. I did have a few suspicions that played out within the pages of the book, but Carr added a few surprises I didn’t see coming. All in all, this one is a very satisfying mystery read.

Newlyweds Jessica and Murphy have settled into a familiar routine that, while not exactly conventional, works for them. But murders past and present put them both on the firing line. They, along with members of their family, dig deep into murders of five women with the Army as their only connection. With threats within and without the military complex coming at them, they are determined not to be deterred from discovering and bringing to justice those who are guilty.

With its D.C. setting, Kill And Run has a great political feel. Readers will love the behind-the-scene glimpse into the workings of the Pentagon. The secret (and fictional?) Phantom team lends a cloak and dagger element that I loved. There are plenty of shady characters to deal with, and the reader needs to pay close attention to keep up with the tangled web of threads connecting them. Corruption abounds at the highest levels, and the Russian mob is involved! Murphy and Jessica are extremely likable, as are the minor characters that fans of Carr will recognize. But if this is your first foray into Carr’s crime stories, don’t worry. I jumped right into this newest novel and series with no confusion. The narrator does a great job of bringing the story and its characters to life.

Kill And Run is a fun addition to any mystery library. Please note: this book is not Christian fiction, but targeted to the general reading audience. Make sure to read the content rating below.

Content Rating: Kill And Run is rated PG-13 and contains murder scenes. There is also violence associated with military assignments. The book contains sex scenes which are not overtly explicit. There is a little profanity.

Recommended.

Audience: adults (see content rating above)

To purchase the audiobook, click HERE.

(Thanks to iRead Book Tours for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Giveaway!

One winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift card! (open internationally). Click on the link below to enter.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/defcd44e276/?

Audiobook Review: Taken

22 Jul

51L8ur9medL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_An investigator who knows tragic loss firsthand,
and his new client, missing far too long…

Abducted at the age of sixteen and coerced into assisting the Jacoby crime family, Shannon Bliss has finally found a way out. She desperately wants to resume some semblance of normal life, but she also knows she has some unfinished business to attend to. She might have enough evidence to put her captors behind bars for a very long time.

When Shannon contacts private investigator Matthew Dane, a former cop, to help her navigate her reentry into society, he quickly discovers that gaining her freedom doesn’t mean her troubles are over. If the Jacoby family learns she is still alive, they’ll stop at nothing to silence her.

If justice is to be done, and if Shannon’s life is ever to get on track again, Matthew will need to discover exactly what happened to her–even if it means stirring up a hornet’s nest of secrets.

 

imagesDee Henderson is the author of 14 best-selling novels, including the acclaimed O’Malley series and the Uncommon Heroes series. As a leader in the inspirational romantic suspense category, her books have won or been nominated for several prestigious industry awards, including the RWA’s RITA Award, the Christy Award, the ECPA Gold Medallion, the Holt Medallion, the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the Golden Quill. Dee is a lifelong resident of Illinois and is active online. Visit her at http://www.deehenderson.com.

 

My Impressions:

In my opinion, Dee Henderson’s books have come a long way since her O’Malley series. Still big favorites of her fans, I have found from online reviews and discussions that her later novels have been met with mixed feelings. Taken is billed as romantic suspense, and from the above blurb you would think that it is fast-paced with elements of danger. Well, I really didn’t find that to be the case. All of the action takes place before the book even begins. And while main character Shannon Bliss is in some danger from her former captors, she is well-protected and never comes within reach of them. So, does this mean I didn’t like the book. Absolutely not! I really, really liked it because it showed the rest of the story. Taken explores what happens after the rescue — a time when the trauma finally takes root, a time when normal really isn’t.

Main character Matthew Dane is experienced in the handling of kidnap victims. His own daughter, Becky, was once one. When approached by Shannon Bliss, the victim of 11 years of captivity, he sets up an elaborate network of professionals and friends to ease Shannon’s reentry into normal life. I found the process very intriguing. Henderson does an excellent job of detailing the pain-staking work that needs to be done to ensure the physical and emotional well-being of a victim. Taken is to me a mystery, as the past is uncovered to reveal just what happened to Shannon and why. The suspense comes not from car chases or narrow escapes, but from the unfolding of motives. I listened to the audiobook and the timing and narration were very good.

If you are expecting a novel in the same vein as Henderson’s earliest novels, then you may be disappointed. But if you want to immerse yourself into a detailed and articulate novel of after the crime, then Taken is for you.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(I purchased the audio version from Audible. All opinion expressed are mine alone.)

 

Audiobook Review: Center of Gravity

26 Aug

510K4Y1r7LL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_The truth could cost her everything.

Her whole life, Ava Carson has been sure of one thing: she doesn’t measure up to her mother’s expectations. So when Mitchell Carson sweeps into her life with his adorable son, the ready-made family seems like a dream come true. In the blink of an eye, she’s married, has a new baby, and life is wonderful.

Or is it?

When her picture-perfect marriage begins unraveling at the seams, Ava convinces herself she can fix it. It’s temporary. It’s the stress. It’s Mitchell’s tragic history of loss.

If only Ava could believe her own excuses.

Mitchell is no longer the charming, thoughtful man she married. He grows more controlling by the day, revealing a violent jealous streak. His behavior is recklessly erratic, and the unanswered questions about his past now hint at something far more sinister than Ava can stomach. Before she can fit the pieces together, Mitchell files for divorce and demands full custody of their boys.

Fueled by fierce love for her children and aided by Graham Thomas, a new attorney in town, Ava takes matters into her own hands, digging deep into the past. But will finding the truth be enough to beat Mitchell at his own game?

 

 

52C-300x231After six years behind the anchor desk at two CBS affiliates, Laura McNeill moved to the Alabama Gulf Coast to raise her family. Her accolades in broadcasting include awards from the Associated Press, including Best News Anchor and Best Specialized Reporter.

Laura works at Spring Hill College as the school’s web content and social media manager and​ is active in her community—participating in fundraisers for the American Cancer Society, Ronald McDonald House, and Providence Hospital’s Festival of Flowers.

Laura was recently awarded a 2-book deal with Thomas Nelson Publishing, a division of HarperCollins. Her novel, Center of Gravity, set in Mobile, Ala., will be published in July of 2015. Laura is represented by Elizabeth Winick Rubenstein, president of McIntosh and Otis literary agency in New York.​ Her writing awards include those from William Faulkner-Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, Writer’s Digest, RWA, and the Eric Hoffer competition.

She holds a master’s degree in journalism from The Ohio State University and a bachelor’s degree in English from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. She is currently pursuing a second master’s degree in interactive technology from the University of Alabama. She is a native of Upstate New York and currently resides near the Alabama Gulf Coast with her two children.

 

My Impressions:

I first heard about Center of Gravity from a discussion on a FB group. Published by Thomas Nelson, it is promoted for the Christian market. There were some comments on the page about the profanity used in the book and if there is ever a reason for it to be included in a Christian novel. Rightly or wrongly, the discussion peaked my interest, and I checked the book out on Amazon. The premise was intriguing and the 4 and 5 star reviews outweighed the 1 stars, so I used an Audible credit and commenced to listening. What I found was a un-put-downable psychological suspense novel. What I didn’t find was a Christian novel.

Ava Carson has an idyllic marriage — or so she thinks. Mother to her adopted son Jack, age 8 and her biological son Sam, 16 months, she has a doting and loving husband, a beautiful country club home and a life that seems to good to be true. And that’s because it is. Ava’s husband Mitchell is a sociopath and, when he snaps, he snaps BIG!

Center of Gravity is riveting. The unraveling of Ava’s marriage is unnerving and caused me to have a knot in the pit of my stomach while listening. Many reviewers say it wasn’t really an enjoyable read, and it wasn’t. But it was very good despite the disturbing twists and turns. Well-written with a good sense of place (Mobile, Alabama), it is told in the first person POVs of Ava, Mitchell, Jack, Ava’s attorney Graham, and court-appointed psychologist Lucy. Lots of POVs to be sure, but it really worked. Everything about this book was good, except . . . this is not a Christian novel.

When I pick up a book from a Christian publisher there are a few things I expect — no profanity and a message of hope/redemption even if subtly woven through the narrative. I admit, I like my books with an edginess that is not always found in Christian fiction. I like real people and real problems and the characters don’t have to be Christians. But I do want a message of God’s grace or mercy or sovereignty; something that will point readers to a God bigger and stronger than the circumstances they are facing. Center of Gravity did, indeed, contain profanity. It wasn’t rampant, but it was there. But that’s not my big issue with the book. Ava and Jack were such compelling characters. There could have been so much they could have learned through their struggles if one or two other characters that had relationships with God could have intersected with their lives. The only spiritual event in the novel was when Ava shot up a prayer to “angels” or “a higher being”. Really!? Center of Gravity was a good secular novel. Unfortunately, it could have been an excellent Christian one.

Audience: adults.

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