Monday, July 18, 2016

Brittany McEuen reviews: DEEP SHADOWS by Vannetta Chapman

Brittany McEuen reviews Deep Shadows by Vannetta Chapman.

Short Version:

All It Takes Is One Night
to Plunge the World into Darkness

Life in Abney, Texas, is predictable and safe—until the night a massive solar flare wipes out all modern technology.

Shelby Sparks, novelist and single mom, had one goal: to provide for her diabetic son. In the wake of this global disaster, her mission hasn't changed. Only now, medication is a priceless commodity and the future resembles an apocalyptic nightmare.

Max Berkman and Shelby were once sweethearts, but he lost his chance at claiming her love years ago. When the abrupt loss of power ushers him into a leadership role, he rises to the occasion. But his highest priority—to keep Shelby and her son safe—could prove to be the biggest challenge of all.

As the brilliant northern lights give way to deep shadows, Max and Shelby's faith will be tested like never before. Only one rule remains: Find a way to survive.

In this first book in an eerily plausible dystopian series, a memorable cast of characters must navigate a familiar world thrown into chaos.

My review:

Deep Shadows was such an interesting story. Set in a small town in Texas, life quickly changed from normal to disastrous early on in the book. The major disastrous event and people’s reaction to it felt uncannily realistic and plausible.

I really liked the main characters in Deep Shadows and felt so invested in their lives. Shelby was quite the momma bear when it came to her son’s health. I enjoyed watching her learn to let Carter be the man that he was becoming. Max added great direction and thought to the story, as well as wonderful heart. He really worked to protect those he cared for.

The sense of desperation in this novel was tempered with growing unease about what was going on in the world outside of Abney and even the dangers that lurked just beyond the borders of this town. There were many twists and events that I did not see coming. It made for a very exciting story.

Deep Shadows caught me and held on from the first page till the last, and even days later I found myself thinking back to the people and setting, wondering what will be next for them and how they will survive!

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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, July 11, 2016

Marji Laine reviews: MURDER MEZZO FORTE by Donn Taylor

Marji Laine reviews Murder Mezzo Forte by Donn Taylor.

Short Version from Amazon:

He is a reclusive history professor with musical hallucinations, she a headstrong professor of religion, a converted Wiccan. Earlier, they solved a campus murder, but now police say they formed two-thirds of an illicit love triangle with a newly-murdered female colleague and they're probably guilty of her murder. A leak of the alleged scandal to the college administration threatens their jobs. Their desperate attempt to prove themselves innocent of the triangle and the murder plunges them into a tangle of unsavory corporate relationships among college trustees. And it puts their lives in danger from a mysterious criminal organization that seems to have tentacles everywhere.

Can this ill-matched pair's stumbling efforts succeed against the entrenched forces of the police, the college's incompetent administration, and that powerful but unseen criminal organization? If not, they may end up unemployed, in prison, or suffering a fate much worse . . .

My Take:

Murder Mezzo Forte begins andante (moderately) and winds up presto (intense and fast). (Yes, I got a kick out of all of the musical references!) Seriously, Donn Taylor showed brilliant acumen in more than his writing.

Preston Barclay, Professor of History at Overton University, is one of the most well-rounded characters I've ever "met." He did more than leap from the page. With his wry wit and odd quirks, he dragged me inside. His puns had me laughing aloud. Then he stumped me with his erudite vocabulary, leaving me thankful for my dictionary app. 

But the clever character with the personal soundtrack was only the beginning of the layers of this book. I'm not usually a fan of first person perspective, but it was perfect for the narrative throughout the book. The supporting characters were liberally fleshed out with layers of unique personalities. 

And the plot was outstanding. It spins up like a funnel cloud from an unexpected and unexplained death. The professor insists throughout, that he isn't investigating, but he might as well be. Everyone else believes that he is, and that twists the knot even further. Before long, he has threats on his life and outright attacks, so if he wasn't investigating the strange death before, he'd better start. As the puzzle develops and deepens, the hopelessness of his situation also plunges. 

The mark of excellent fiction is the way it leads the reader along a trail of emotions. Murder Mezzo Forte certainly does that.

About the Senior Reviewer:

Suspense Sister, Marji Laine, loves books and writing. Her own Grime Fighter novella series, about a crime scene cleaner, involves mystery, romance, and a touch of suspense.

Living in a Dallas suburb with her hubby of almost 30 years and her twins - the youngest of four - she spends her days homeschooling and transporting her teenagers to various functions, especially volleyball games. She also directs the children's music, helps with the youth choir, and sings in the adult choir at her church, as well as coordinates the high school credit classes along with the website of a large home school co-op.

Join her at or follow her on FacebookTwitter, or visit her Amazon author page.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Iola Goulton reviews: MISSING by Lisa Harris

Iola Goulton reviews Missing by Lisa Harris

Amazon Description:

Nikki Boyd Enters the Deadly World of Counterfeit Drugs to Find a Missing Woman

Nikki Boyd isn't usually called in on homicides; her forte is missing persons. But when a case with two murdered and two missing pops up on a quiet suburban street, she's ready to start the investigation and find missing homeowners Mac and Lucy Hudson. When the first clues lead her to the boat of her friend Tyler Grant--and another dead body--Nikki must untangle what ties Tyler to the Hudsons. The clues pull her into a deadly maze of counterfeit drugs and a killer who will stop at nothing to silence anyone who threatens his business--including Nikki.

Christy Award-winning and bestselling author Lisa Harris puts readers right into the action in this fast-paced thriller that will have them turning pages long into the night.

My Review:

Missing is the second of the Nikki Boyd files, following Vendetta. In Missing, Nikki and fellow Tennessee Bureau of Investigation missing persons investigator Jack Spencer are called in to investigate the disappearance of Mac and Lucy Hudson. Only the two dead bodies in their ransacked house soon show it’s more than just a missing persons case, and Nikki soon finds links closer to home.

Missing is a fast-paced and well-plotted thriller. There are some romantic undertones, but the emphasis is definitely on the suspense plot, especially once it becomes clear that Nikki might be a target—along with Tyler and his family. The characters were excellent, the plot outstanding, the writing top-notch, and the Christian element an underlying thread (although there was no great emphasis on this, and the pacing of the novel means anything more would have seemed out of place).

I read and enjoyed Vendetta, both the actual missing persons plot and the subplots about Nikki’s own missing persons case—the disappearance of her sister, Sarah, ten years ago—and Nikki’s growing feelings for Tyler, her dead best friend’s widow. Missing moves both plots somewhat closer to resolution, providing a welcome overall story arc to the series, and I’m looking forward to reading the next story in the series.

Overall, Missing is close to perfect, a recommended read for all suspense fans.

Thanks to Revell and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About 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 FacebookTwitterPinterest 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).