Sunday, June 5, 2016

Defender by Diana Palmer ... a book review

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Defender

Series: Long, Tall Texans
ISBN-13: 978-0373789733
Publisher: HQN Books
Available: June 28, 2016



Publisher's Description:

The man who shattered her trust is back to protect her… New York Times bestselling author Diana Palmer delivers a breathtaking story of second-chance love.

When Paul Fiore disappeared from Isabel Grayling's life, he told himself it was for all the right reasons. She was young and innocent, and he was her millionaire father's lowly employee.

Three years on, Paul is the FBI agent assigned to Isabel's case. Too late, he realizes what life in her Texas mansion was really like back then—and how much damage he did when he left.
Once love-struck and sheltered, Isabel has become an assistant district attorney committed to serving the law, no matter how risky it gets. But right now, the man she can't forgive is the one thing standing between her and a deadly stalker. She knows Paul won't hesitate to protect her life with his own. But if she can't trust herself to resist him, how can she trust him not to break her heart all over again?

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Oh my... once I began this book, I did not want to put it down!  Unfortunately, I did have to go to work and cook and clean..... my apologies, I digress!

Isabel and Merrie appear to have it all... a wealthy family, a doting father, personal bodyguards, and a loving housekeeper, Mandy Swilling.  As the story develops, we are drawn into the tension between Paul and Isabel, the girls and their father, and too many unanswered questions regarding the father and his business dealings.

As I neared the end of the book, I was enjoying how Diana Palmer was tying up all the different story lines.  Then, when I went to turn the page to the next chapter, I realized I was at the end of the book!  Since this ended with a cliffhanger, I look forward to the next book and continuing the story of Isabel, Merrie, Paul, and Mandy!

I received a complimentary digital copy of Defender from HQN Books and NetGalley for my honest review.

Happy reading,

   Ellen

Friday, April 1, 2016

Silent Sentry... a book review

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Silent Sentry
Silent Sentry

Available: April 3, 2016
ISBN: 9780989045
Rizzo Publishing
Suspense / Mystery thriller / Romance
Age range: 18 +




Publisher's Description:

Dr. Joe Scarfili runs. He’s a runner. It’s how he copes with emotional pain.

When his wife was murdered, he ran from violent Detroit to insular Grosse Pointe. He ran from his smothering, caring family to long hours in the operating room. But when he falls for Gianna, another run could cost him everything.

Nurse and entrepreneur Gianna Donnatelli is on the verge of making her dreams come true. Her company is poised to go public with a product guaranteed to revolutionize medical care and at the same time help revitalize Detroit, only she’s attacked, stalked, and flattened by an explosion. Then the danger escalates.

With Gianna’s life at stake, Joe can’t run. Despite the fact that he has no police or tech experience… Despite the fact that Gianna’s penchant for aiding Detroit’s underprivileged is the same kind of altruism that got his wife killed… Despite the fact that Gianna pushes all his insecurity buttons… This time, Joe will do whatever it takes to keep her safe.

And Gianna protects those she loves just as fiercely. Together they’ll fight to save each other and their love... Or die trying.

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

How does a young woman, raised in the affluent neighborhood of Grosse Point, end up living in one of Detroit's highest crime neighborhoods?  One that has a mind of her own to live among those who need a hand-up.

I loved this book... from the opening paragraph to the closing scene!  Theresa Rizzo has created characters so real that you feel you truly know them.  Add the well-researched information regarding the Mafia and the strong bonds of Italian families, and you have an award-winning combination.  Every time I thought I had the plot figured out, Theresa threw in more twists and turns in the story line which kept me guessing to the very end!

Silent Sentry is one of the best books I have read in a long time!  Thank you, Theresa, for pouring your creative talent into this wonderful story!

I received a complimentary digital copy of Silent Sentry from author Theresa Rizzo for my honest review.

Happy Reading,

    Ellen

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Stars Over Sunset Boulevard... a book review

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Stars Over Sunset Boulevard

by Susan Meissner
Penguin Random House LLC
January 5, 2016
ISBN 9780451475992
Women’s Fiction / Historical Fiction



Publisher’s Description:
“In this new novel from the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life, two women working in Hollywood during its Golden Age discover the joy and heartbreak of true friendship.
Los Angeles, Present Day. When an iconic hat worn by Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind ends up in Christine McAllister's vintage clothing boutique by mistake, her efforts to return it to its owner take her on a journey more enchanting than any classic movie...
Los Angeles, 1938. Violet Mayfield sets out to reinvent herself in Hollywood after her dream of becoming a wife and mother falls apart, and lands a job on the film-set of Gone With the Wind. There, she meets enigmatic Audrey Duvall, a once-rising film star who is now a fellow secretary. Audrey's zest for life and their adventures together among Hollywood's glitterati enthrall Violet…until each woman's deepest desires collide. What Audrey and Violet are willing to risk, for themselves and for each other, to ensure their own happy endings will shape their friendship, and their lives, far into the future.”

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I love reading Susan Meissner’s novels!  Her style of writing draws the reader into the lives of the characters as they share their story.  I find myself cheering them on in good times and walking alongside them in bad times.  I found myself relating to both the main female characters: Audrey and her desire to fulfill her dream, and Violet wanting a good man and family.  Each woman overcomes many obstacles on their way to happiness.
I enjoyed the storyline setting during the filming of Gone With the Wind.  I am not up on the history of the making of the film, but Susan Meissner seamlessly weaved the girls’ story in and around the set, filming, and the “behind the scenes” work.  I easily pictured the secretary pool and the trolley rides to and from work.
So, grab a copy of Stars Over Sunset Boulevard and get lost in glamorous times past!
I received a complimentary digital copy of Stars Over Sunset Boulevard for my honest review from Penguin Random House LLC and NetGalley.
Happy reading,
     Ellen

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Jerusalem Prophecies by Terry Brennan

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The Aleppo Code

The Aleppo Code

978-0-8254-4389-3
Fiction/Christian/Suspense/Thriller
The Jerusalem Prophecies, book 3
Kregel Publications, 2015






“A thousand-year-old manuscript reveals the existence of an ancient sanctuary. 
Within that sanctuary lies the most powerful weapon in the history of the world.”

The Aleppo Code by Terry Brennan is the final chapter in the mysteries deciphered from the thousand-year-old scroll and mezuzah found in the Bowery Mission.  The scroll’s message, written in demotic text, leads a misfit group around the world and into Jerusalem seeking the “treasure” at the end of a long and treacherous road.  Before I go any further, I must digress…

The Sacred CipherBook 1, The Sacred Cipher - “A secret room has been discovered in the Chapel of the Bowery Mission.  And what’s hidden inside reveals a mystery of biblical proportions.


“When New Yorker Tom Bohannon uncovers an ancient scroll containing a dead language that has been lost in the sands of time, he doesn’t fully comprehend the danger that’s about to unfold.  Though Tom and his team of ragtag scientists and historians want to decode the ancient text, others don’t want the cipher revealed.  And they are prepared to kill to keep it hidden.  From a market in nineteenth-century Alexandrea to a library in present-day New York to the tunnels beneath Jerusalem, the secret of the cipher is gradually revealing itself across the globe.  And for those in its path, life is about to change – forever.”

The Brotherhood ConspiracyBook 2, The Brotherhood Conspiracy – “A secret as old as the prophets lies hidden in an ancient code.  That code may uncover an artifact as mysterious, and dangerous, as the Lost Ark.”


The Brotherhood Conspiracy continues with Bohannon’s group realizing there is another mystery on the mezuzah which was not understood in The Sacred Cipher.  The groups chasing them will not stop until they have the mezuzah and scroll in their possession.  Once again, the group heads out to parts unknown to seek what is hidden.  “One step ahead of an ancient gang of assassins, and one step behind the deadline for impending disaster, the team encounters the death of friends and colleagues and maneuvers through a maze of political treachery, religious fanaticism, and traitorous machinations – to the very brink of judgement orchestrated by a force greater than they could have imagined.”

The Aleppo CodeBook 3, The Aleppo Code - “A thousand-year-old manuscript reveals the existence of an ancient sanctuary.  Within that sanctuary lies the most powerful weapon in the history of the world.”

“Having chased the secret of the Cipher through a maze of treachery, death, and destruction, Tom Bohannon’s band of explorers seems to be at a dead end.  But the discovery of a tenth-century scriptural text holding the final key to the ancient code hurls them right back into the fray.”

As much as I would love to tell you the storyline and its outcome, I cannot – no spoilers in this review.  All three books are amazing!  Terry Brennan has woven a suspense-filled, theological mystery so real that you can “almost” imagine it happening today.  His use of biblical history, archeology and present-day news and political unrest intertwined with the fictional storyline will keep you enthralled to the end!

From the opening paragraph in The Sacred Cipher to the final page in The Aleppo Code, I was pulled into the mystery of the ancient scroll.  The characters were everyday people being asked to believe by faith, not by sight.  People I can relate to; people who believed the unbelievable.  I cheered them on, grieved with them, and peered around the tunnels along with them.

I look forward to many more reads from Terry Brennan!

A huge thank you goes to Kregel Publishing for allowing me to read and review these amazing books!

I received complimentary print copies of The Sacred Cipher, The Brotherhood Conspiracy, and The Aleppo Code from Kregel Publishing for my honest review.

Happy Reading,

     Ellen

Saturday, October 31, 2015

All Is Bright... a book review

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All Is Bright
All Is Bright

by Colleen Coble
A Hope Beach Christmas Novella
Publisher:Thomas Nelson 
Available October 2015
Christian fiction / Mystery / Suspense / Romance

Publisher's Description:
A romantic Christmas wedding at Tidewater Inn gives Delilah's unique gifts a chance to shine. But will her light be snuffed out before the bride and groom say 'I do'? A romantic, Christmas wedding at her seaside hotel gives Delilah a chance to shine with her unique gifts. But will her light be snuffed out before the bride and groom say “I do”?

As manager of the Tidewater Inn, Delilah Carter has been planning a spectacular Christmas wedding for her friends at the grand hotel overlooking the ocean. While picking up still more twinkly lights and some last-minute groceries for the reception dinner, a huge truck runs her off the freezing, wet roads into the dark night. Her car stops just short of an enormous tree and the truck speeds off into the night. Delilah escapes with her life and has almost convinced herself the whole thing was an accident, but then she begins to receive threatening phone calls. With the wedding just hours away, she’s distracted and anxious. Then Sheriff Tom Bourne stops by the inn and volunteers to help.

Tom has always had a soft spot for Delilah, and he’s determined to protect her. But he is pulled away by a bizarre Christmas stunt that has the neighborhood reeling, and Delilah is attacked again.  Will Delilah have to cancel the Christmas wedding at Tidewater Inn? And will Tom’s protection be enough to save Delilah from the shadowy figure looming in the background?

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

All Is Bright is another keeper for my bookshelf to revisit over the years!  I have enjoyed many of Colleen Coble's novels and this one did not disappoint.  Novellas concern me that the author is only able to scratch the surface of the story line, but that is not the case with All Is Bright.  Colleen Coble seamlessly develops the characters and the story line in a way that makes the reader feel as it you are reading a full novel.  I enjoy vising Tidewater Inn and those that reside there.

So, grab All Is Bright, your favorite warm beverage, and curl up with a heart-warming read that will give you a break from your own hectic life!

I received a complimentary digital copy of All Is Bright from Thomas Nelson and BookLook Blogger program for my honest review.

Happy Reading,

     Ellen

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Ties That Bind... a book review

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Thresholds

The Amish of Summer Grove, Book One
ISBN: 978-1-60142-699-4
WaterBrook Press
September 2015

Book Description:

Ariana s comfortable Old Order Amish world is about to unravel. Will holding tightly to the cords of family keep them together or simply tear them apart? 

Twenty-year-old Ariana Brenneman loves her family and the Old Ways. She has two aspirations: open a cafe in historic Summer Grove to help support her family's ever-expanding brood and to keep any other Amish from being lured into the Englisch life by Quill Schlabach.  Five years ago Quill, along with her dear friend Frieda, ran off together, and Ariana still carries the wounds of that betrayal. When she unexpectedly encounters him, she soon realizes he has plans to help someone else she loves leave the Amish.  Despite how things look, Quill's goal has always been to protect Ariana from anything that may hurt her, including the reasons he left. After returning to Summer Grove on another matter, he unearths secrets about Ariana and her family that she is unaware of.  His love and loyalty to her beckons him to try to win her trust and help her find a way to buy the cafe because when she learns the truth that connects her and a stranger named Skylar Nash, Quill knows it may upend her life forever.  

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I always enjoy a wonderfully written story of the Amish and Ties That Bind did not disappoint.   Author Cindy Woodsmall introduced me to a close-knit family and their Amish community living a simple, God-fearing life in Summer Grove, Pennsylvania.  I was drawn into the lives of Ariana and her family from page one.  I found myself cheering her on as she works toward buying the cafe and felt my heart stop when she learned the truth regarding the night she was born.  I was wondering how Cindy Woodsmall was going to tie up all the storylines in the book and then realized this was the first book in a new series!  I was so excited and disappointed... I love the book and now I have to wait for the next book to learn the outcome of Ariana's life!

For more information on Cindy Woodsmall, her books, and Amish recipes, check out her website.

I received a complimentary copy of Ties That Bind from WaterBrook Press and their Blogging for Books program for my honest review.

Happy Reading,

     Ellen

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Eve... a book review

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ISBN: 978-1-5011-0142-7
Available: September 2015
Publisher: Howard Books: An Imprint of Simon and Schuster, Inc.


Eve by Wm. Paul Young takes an elaborate look at Creation and God’s unending love, grace, and mercy.  Woven into a story of one girl’s search for meaning in her broken life, we find ourselves seeing a new side of God and His all-consuming desire of reconciliation with us.  It did take a while for me not to focus on the characters titles: Collector, Guardian, Healer, Mender, Scholars, and Engineer just to name a few, but to focus on their jobs and accomplishments.  As I neared the end of the story, I saw truths in my own life which were mirrored in the novel, Eve.  This will be a story which will be revisited often – in book and in thought. 
A few of the many nuggets gleaned from this story:
“Prayer is mostly about talking to God – about life and people and what is before us and who matters to us in that moment” (p. 101).  ~ Gerald
“… trust is about relationship, not power.  When two dance, each is always respectfully attuned to the other.  There is a timing of relationship, and that is Ruach’s (the Holy Spirit) playground” (page 257).  ~  God / Adonai
I received a free copy of Eve from NetGalley and Howard Books for my honest review.
Happy Reading!
      Ellen
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