Monday, May 25, 2015

LETHAL EXPOSURE by Elisabeth Rees

Sybil Bates McCormack reviews.

Love Inspired Suspense author Elisabeth Rees wastes no time chucking widowed photographer Rebecca Grey smack dab into the throes of peril and intrigue in the marvelous Lethal Exposure. The first of five books in Mrs. Rees’ Navy Seal Defenders series, Lethal Exposure opens with Rebecca placing a frantic 911 call to the local emergency operator during the wee hours of the morning. Mrs. Grey definitely has cause for concern. Roused from sleep by the ominous sounds of a stranger rummaging through her things on the first floor of her home, she’s locked herself in the master bath on the second.

When the 911 call disconnects while she and the operator are clarifying her location, Rebecca grows concerned that help will be slow in coming. Turns out her fears are far from unfounded. The Florida sheriff’s deputies dispatched to her house fly right by her home on their way to the wrong address. Not frightened enough for our hapless heroine yet? Well, try this little monkey wrench on for size. Sounds like the stranger’s making his way upstairs.

What to do? What to do? … Finger snap. Of course. Call retired Navy Seal Conrad “Jack” Jackson, her late husband’s BFF for help.

Fortunately for Rebecca, Jack’s very forgiving. Responding to a panicked 3:00 a.m. cry for help from Ian Grey’s beautiful, talented widow is right up his alley. He’s easily ten minutes away by car, of course, and Rebecca’s already called the police. But what difference does any of that make? Once a Navy Seal, always a Navy Seal. And a promise is a promise. Caring, courageous and—maybe just a little sprung on the woman he swore to his friend he’d protect with his life—Jack jumps into action. By the time the bumbling sheriff’s deputies have grasped their mistake, and made their way back to Rebecca Grey’s now topsy-turvy home, Jack has already tussled with the bad guy and chased him away.

But, what was he after? Was the burglary a random act? Do Rebecca and her two sweet little girls remain in harm’s way?

Lethal Exposure is a quick, highly enjoyable read—chock full of every element a reader looks for in an inspirational romantic suspense novel. Rough and tumble fights. Surprising plot developments. Likeable, but imperfect, protagonists whose faith is borne of, and/or tested by, the escalating trials in which they find themselves. And, of course, growing angst and fluttering hearts. It’s all there.

But Mrs. Rees’ intimate exploration of the main characters’ internal journeys proves particularly gratifying. It’s been eighteen (18) months since Ian Grey succumbed to an untimely death in war-torn Afghanistan, but the lasting repercussions of his death linger everywhere for Jack and Rebecca. The author adroitly invites the reader into the couple’s world, their hearts and their psyches. We thoroughly comprehend the mental and emotional obstacles that threaten their capacity to commit to one another. Jack’s struggling to convince himself that things are fine just the way they are (with the exception of the dangers to Rebecca’s life that lurk around every corner—that is). Why complicate matters with talk of romance? Rebecca’s his best friend’s wife anyway—even in death, right? Our fearless heroine is equally perplexed. Jack deserves a chance to find the right woman and start a family of his own. Rebecca’s been married. Known true love. It’s Jack’s turn to be happy, and it’s Rebecca’s job to give him a push in the right direction. That’s what God would want—isn’t it?

You gotta love a book that pushes the main characters to their mental, physical, emotional and spiritual limits. Lethal Exposure—the perfect summer read for the booklover in you. Can’t wait to dive into the rest of Elisabeth Rees’ splendid new series.

About the reviewer:

A licensed Georgia attorney since 1998, Sybil Bates McCormack now writes healthcare proposals during the day while lurching haltingly toward becoming an inspirational romantic suspense author at night. She's also the crazed wife of a bi-vocational pastor and mom to two bright, talented kids. They don't call her BizzySyb for nothing! You can visit Sybil at her blog, Christian Romance/Pulsating Suspense, follow her on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter, friend her on GoodReads, connect with her on LinkedIn, and add her to your circles on Google+.

Monday, May 18, 2015


Marji Laine reviews a Love Inspired Suspense, Motive for Murder by Carol J. Post

Short Version

This trip is truly a deadly homecoming for tough and spunky Jessica Parker. Nothing less severe than a family death would make her return to the town that judged her and practically drove her away. Besides, despite the bitterness between her and her late sister, she's the only next-of-kin available. But too many things counter the suicide label the police stuck on her sister's tragedy.

Unfortunately, there are those in town who don't want Jess to dig through the details of the death. Either that, or they still hold her past against her and simply look forward to her leaving. Amid both veiled and blatant threats from various sources, Jess finds hope in Shane Dalton, an artistic type whose ghosts will drive him away soon enough.

Shane's undercover FBI mission can't be risked, nor can his convictions about getting too close to anyone be reverse. Even by a chic brunette who challenges and entices him. But if the two of them are going to find the truth about the murder, they'll have to learn to trust - something they never allow themselves to do.

My Take

Motive for Murder had all the elements of a top notch suspense.

Broken characters with spark and quirks, Shane and Jess gave a semblance of familiarity. As though seeing them in person wouldn't be a surprise. And their romance lit up the pages from the first chapter.

The activity in this story never stopped. The first page opened with a shock followed by a surprise, and the spinning details continued to seep into the action of the story until the culmination. Carol Post set up a clever mystery with threats that amp up in every chapter.

Mystery and suspense lovers will enjoy this new Love Inspired Suspense offering.

About Senior Reviewer, Marji Laine:

With 2 still in the nest, and a brand new daughter-in-love, this homeschooling mom of 4 spends her time chauffeuring for volleyball, choir, babysitting, and church activities. Between trips, she and her hubby of almost 29 years host a college Bible Study and work together with a children's choir that Marji has directed for several years. When not writing, reading, or driving, she enjoys singing in her church choir, performing in musicals, photography, digital scrapbooking, and NASCAR.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Giveaway: UNDETECTED by Dee Henderson

This drawing of Undetected by Dee Henderson is for the contiguous United States only.

Here's the short version of the story:

When asked what he does for a living . . .
Commander Mark Bishop is deliberately low-key: "I'm in the Navy." But commanding the ballistic missile submarine USS Nevada, keeping her crew trained and alert during ninety-day submerged patrols, and being prepared to launch weapons on valid presidential orders, carries a burden of command like few other jobs in the military. Mark Bishop is a man who accepts that responsibility, and handles it well. And at a time when tensions are escalating around the Pacific Rim, the Navy is glad to have him.

Mark wants someone to come home to after sea patrols. The woman he has in mind is young, with a lovely smile, and very smart. She's a civilian, yet she understands the U.S. Navy culture. And he has a strong sense that life with her would never be boring. But she may be too deep in her work to see the potential in a relationship with him.

Gina Gray would love to be married. She has always envisioned her life that way. A breakup she didn't see coming, though, has her focusing all her attention on what she does best--ocean science research. She's on the cusp of a major breakthrough, and she needs Mark Bishop's perspective and help. Because what she told the Navy she's figured out is only the beginning. If she's right, submarine warfare is about to enter a new and dangerous chapter.

Your turn: What is the best thing about Romantic Suspense? Romance or suspense? Please leave a comment on this post, with your email included, before Tuesday, May 18, 2015 in order to be included in this drawing. Winner will be contacted through email.

Monday, May 4, 2015

DISTORTION by Terri Blackstock

Sandra Ardoin reviews.

For years, Juliet has been a loving wife and mother to a doctor, the man she met in college. When Bob Cole is gunned down, it’s not only the end of Juliet’s marriage, it’s the beginning of a nightmare in which her husband’s secret life puts his whole family in danger.

Someone wants what they think Juliet possesses and they won’t stop at threatening her. It’s up to Michael Hogan and his part-time investigators to discover the truth behind Bob’s activities before Juliet and his children are caught in the crosshairs of desperate criminals.

Terri Blackstock is an author whose stories proved instrumental in beginning my reading of Christian fiction on a regular basis. Distortion is the second book in her Moonlighter’s series about three very different sisters who moonlight as private investigators for a company owned by Michael Hogan, the boyfriend of the middle sister.

This is a book better understood if the series is read in order, which of course, I didn't do. It took me a while to sort out the back story of all the characters involved. So I recommend reading Truth Stained Lies first. Then again, because you’re reading this blog, you probably don’t need a recommendation to read a book by Terri Blackstock.

The mystery surrounding the life and death of Juliet Cole’s husband is the focus of this book, however, she is not the only major character affected by the crime that underlies the whole series. The story is told from the points of view of several characters—among them, sisters Cathy and Holly, as well as Michael.

If you’re looking for romance, it’s there, but light. The characters and their relationships are realistic, sometimes heartbreaking. But what intrigued me most about this story was a twist inserted toward the end. Ms. Blackstock could have taken the expected route in the plot that would wrap everything up in perfection, but chose not to do so. Maybe it has something to do with the third book’s story, Twisted Innocence, but I guess I won’t know that until I read it. J

Sandra Ardoin is a multi-published author of short fiction who writes inspirational historical romance such as her Christmas novella, The Yuletide Angel. She’s the married mother of a young adult and lives in North Carolina.

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