Monday, June 29, 2015

PROTECTED by Vannetta Chapman

Brittany McEuen reviews:

About Protected  by Vannetta Chapman:

Erin Jacobs has devoted her life to rescuing animals. As the owner of the ARK animal shelter, she is used to receiving middle of the night phone calls requesting her assistance. But one phone call will change her life!

When Erin finds herself rescuing an infant under mysterious circumstances, she is thrust into the world of the foster care system…again! Once a foster child, Erin will now set out to do all she can to care for this abandoned baby.

Travis Williams, her caseworker, seems to see right through to Erin’s vulnerabilities. He wants what is best for the baby and Erin, but will he be able to navigate his own feelings while also following Child Protective Services guidelines?

My review:

Protected is book two in the Jacobs Family Series, however, it is also a stand-alone novel. Although the hero and heroine of the first book, Hidden, make an appearance in Protected, you do not need to read book one to understand what is going on in Erin Jacobs’ life.

I really enjoyed Hidden, but Protected took it to a whole new level for me! The interesting thing is that this story has some suspense, but I would characterize it as “light suspense”. There is definitely a villain and potential danger, but that is not what really drives the story.

What drives this book, in my opinion, is a powerful and emotional storyline. Erin Jacobs is such a complex character! The author does a great job of diving into all of her hurts and insecurities, while still maintaining that she is a strong woman. I loved seeing Erin become an even stronger woman as she learned to lean on God and others.

Travis Williams was also an enjoyable character. He is one of the best Child Protective Services workers on the team. He follows and knows all of the guidelines. But, his fear of straying from the set rules for any reason almost costs him everything!

I’m a sucker for a good romance and Protected reeled me in, for sure, with the attraction between the two main characters. Throw in the complications and possible legal problems that could arise from Erin and Travis becoming involved and you have wonderful romantic tension!

As I mentioned before, the suspense is lighter than in the first book of the series. This does not detract from the story at all, in my opinion. There were enough potential complications that could arise in this case to keep me nervous about the outcome. And the romance sealed the deal. I really loved this story and it was one that I hardly set down once I started reading it.

About reviewer, Brittany McEuen:

I am a busy homeschooling mom to four children, ranging from kindergarten to high school. I’m happily married to my high school sweetheart and am an avid reader and book reviewer. I feature book reviews, giveaways, and occasional author interviews on my blog, Britt Reads Fiction. You can also connect with me on Pinterest and Goodreads.

Monday, June 22, 2015

FATAL TRAUMA by Richard L. Mabry

Iola Goulton reviews.
Short Version:
From the Amazon entry about Fatal Trauma by Richard L. Mabry.

The gunman had nothing to lose, and therefore, the lives of everyone in the emergency room were at risk.

Dr. Mark Baker and nurse Kelly Atkinson were on duty during the standoff, but despite their efforts, at the end of the evening, three men were dead—one police officer and two members of the feared Zeta drug cartel. 

But the killing is not over, because when the drug cartel loses its members, revenge is not far behind. Mark’s life continues to be in danger, but to make matters worse he finds he is under suspicion as a killer! 

He turns to his high school sweetheart, attorney Gwen Woodruff, for help, while Kelly helplessly looks on, hiding her feelings for the good doctor. 
The characters in Fatal Trauma face life and death situations that cause them to question their faith, their priorities, and the meaning of their lives, while learning that God can use everyone— even people who’ve failed—because doesn’t that include all of us?

My Review

The Amazon book description is somewhat underwhelming, but don’t let that stop you reading it—Fatal Trauma is non-stop action from the moment a gun-toting crazy walks in to ER until the final page, and the pace is such that it’s only in hindsight that questions pop up (and there is one question I’m still not sure was answered, even by the end). As with any good thriller, there are loads of twists and turns in the plot, as well as a few red herrings and more than one unexpected twist.

The characters are excellent, especially Dr Mark Baker and Kelly Atkinson, the writing solid, and the Christian applications are well done in that they address a common modern issue—it’s not that we don’t believe, but that we can let ourselves get so busy in our day-to-day lives that we don’t leave room for God.

Mabry is well-known for his medical thrillers which utilise his own background as a medical doctor. I’ve read several of Dr Mabry’s books, and they’ve all had me on the edge of my seat.

Thanks to Abingdon Press and NetGalley for providing a free ebook copy of Fatal Trauma for review.

About the reviewer:

Iola Goulton

I am a freelance editor specializing in Christian fiction, and you can find out more about my services at my website, or follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Tsu .

I love reading, and read and review around 150 Christian books each year on my blog. I'm a Top 25 Reviewer at Christian Book, in the Top 1% of reviewers at Goodreads, and have an Amazon US Reviewer Rank that floats around 2500 (and I'm in the Top 50 at Amazon Australia).

Monday, June 15, 2015

COVERT JUSTICE by Lynn Huggins Blackburn

Sybil Bates McCormack reviews:

Author Lynn Huggins Blackburn’s Covert Justice opens, befittingly, with a storm. North Carolina-based plastics exec Blake Harrison has just exited his job at family-owned Harrison Plastics International when he ventures into the blinding rain and begins to mull the potential long-term implications of a production problem at the plant. So much is riding on his ability to make the right decisions—the stability of the business, his family’s and their employees’ financial security, and, of course, little Maggie’s future. Single Dad Blake can’t afford to fail any of them—least of all the rambunctious five-year-old who holds his heart in the palms of her tiny little hands. He’s got to figure something out.

But it’ll have to wait. Blake’s got a story time date with Maggie, and it’s already been a really long day. Persuaded that he and his team will come up with a solution to the challenges at work, Blake scrambles into his BMW and heads for home. Slowly. Cautiously. It’s pouring outside, and visibility is decidedly low. Imagine Blake’s surprise, then, when he glances at his rear view mirror and spots a pair of fast-approaching headlights. Or his utter mortification when the vehicle slams into the rear of his car—sending him careening into a ditch.

To say that Blake’s a little shaken after the wreck would be an understatement. Fortunately for him, a beautiful stranger suddenly opens the passenger side door and—two shakes later—pushes him out the other side. Blake’s stunned by the development and even more confused when the woman insists that they move away from the car. She claims that the driver of the truck that forced him off the road is headed back.

What? She must be crazy. Who would be trying to kill him—a guy without an enemy in the world? Trouble is she’s right. The nut job in the truck quickly returns to finish the job and leaves the disabled BMW crushed to smithereens. Blake can’t help wondering about the identity of the mysterious woman at his side. Or why she insists that he not tell anyone she was at the scene after she contacts an ambulance on his behalf.

It isn’t long before Blake and the reader make the formal acquaintance of brave, gifted FBI Special Agent Heidi Zimmerman at the hospital. And get this: She’s determined to remain by Blake’s side until the people who made an attempt on his life are brought to justice. It won’t be easy. Before Heidi can make any headway on the underlying assignment, she has to convince the handsome plastics exec that the FBI hasn’t made a mistake. That his life is in danger despite the fact that he runs a legitimate business… And lives in small town America… And employs half the folks in town.

A truly rewarding romp lies ahead. Author Lynn Huggins Blackburn employs clever, imaginative twists and turns in Covert Justice that lead to a climactic scene on a mountainside that the reader will never see coming. And, despite the relative brevity of the typical Love Inspired Suspense novel, Ms. Blackburn pays careful attention to character development. The resilient couple planted squarely at the center of her impressive debut novel have accumulated more than their fair share of baggage along life’s unpredictable pathways. Blake’s been wronged. Heidi’s been wounded. But they’ve met every one of the challenges they’ve encountered with courage, fortitude and liberal doses of unflinching faith. Oh, and let’s not forget the bad guys. They don’t leave one stone unturned as they campaign to forge a tattered mess of Blake’s “fairytale” life.

I’m not afraid to say it: I LOVED THIS BOOK! And I look forward to seeing more from this sensational new author of inspirational romantic suspense.

Have you read Covert Justice? Added it to your TBR list? Please leave a comment below since I’d love to hear your thoughts. Blessings until next time …

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+.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

BACKFIRE by Elizabeth Goddard

Marji Laine reviews.
To say Backfire is riveting barely scratches the surface of a proper description.

Here's the short version:
Tracy Murray had thought she'd be safe disappearing in the wilds of Alaska after her testimony put away a gang leader. But the gang symbol tattooed on an attacker's arm means the clock has run out. She's been found—and she knows the killers won't let her escape alive again. She can't fight an entire gang alone—she needs help. But when she finds herself relying on widowed firefighter David Warren, a new struggle emerges. Fleeing Alaska and cutting all ties could be the only way to survive…but it would mean leaving her heart behind.
David, another member of the Warren clan is flung into more than a mystery. This story, with Witness Protection looming, has no hope of a happy ending for him. Yet the fear that keeps passing over Tracy's eyes spurs him to continue protecting her, regardless of the risk to his heart.

My Take:

I loved these characters. Elizabeth Goddard ties up the threads of her third book of the Mountain Cove series in a perfect bow. Brief cameos from the heroes and heroines of the other two books are embellishments on this story. But David and Tracy, along with a search and rescue dog named Solomon, carried me away with their intrigue.

Intense suspense kept me turning the pages. It seemed the worst thing I could imagine was exactly the thing that happened next. The author masterfully created a twisted and helpless situation, while digging deep into the psyche of characters marked by brokenness and tragedy.

Anyone enjoying suspense or romance will love this book.

About the senior reviewer:

Marji Laine is a wife and homeschooling mom with teenage twins left in the nest. Having just released her debut novella Grime Beat, she spends her non-writing time transporting to and from volleyball, directing high school classes at a local coop, and leading the children’s music program at her church. From suburban Dallas, she loves to create scintillating suspense with a side of Texas sassy. She invites readers to unravel their inspiration, seeking a deeper knowledge of the Lord’s Great Mystery that invites us all.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Giveaway: NO PLACE TO HIDE by Lynette Eason

Our reviewer, Brittany McEuen is willing to part with her copy of Lynette Eason's book in her Hidden Identity series, No Place to Hide.

Here's the short version from Amazon:

It's not every day you see your childhood friend and one-time crush on national news. Jackie Sellers just wishes it were under different circumstances. She can't believe that Ian Lockwood is wanted in connection with a terrorist plot, and she's determined to find him and help him clear his name. But she's not the only one looking. The FBI wants him captured. The bad guys want him dead. Ian just wants to stay alive long enough to save thousands of innocent lives.

Lynette Eason throws readers right into the action from page one, propelling them along a dangerous road and asking the provocative question of how far we'd be willing to go if we were up against a wall.

How to get a chance to win this book:

It's simple. Just leave a comment at the bottom including your email address. And while you're at it, name one or two of your favorite suspense or romantic suspense authors! A winner will be chosen on June 8 and contacted through email.