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Sunday, April 24, 2016

DRESSED FOR DEATH by Juliana Deering

Iola Goulton reviews Juliana Deering's Dressed for Death.

Short Version from Amazon: 
A Regency-Era Costume Party Should Have Been an Amusing Diversion, But it Seems Wherever Drew Farthering Goes, Mystery--and Murder--Are on the Guest List

Drew and Madeline Farthering arrive at a Regency-era house party at Winteroak House, excited to be reunited with old friends, including Drew's former Oxford classmate Talbot Cummins. Tal is there with his fiancée, Alice Henley, and though many present seem worried about the couple, nobody is prepared when Alice dies from an apparent overdose. Tal refuses to believe she'd taken the drugs intentionally, and a dark question arises of whether the death is an accident or murder.

The police have their own information though, and Drew is shocked when they arrest someone he's trusted and admired since his childhood--someone who's been smuggling drugs into the country for years. Stunned by what has happened, Tal begs Drew to get to the bottom of everything, but Drew has never felt more unsettled. Questioning his own ability to see people as they really are, Drew doesn't know whom to trust, and he's not ready for the secrets he's about to uncover--or the danger he'll bring down on everyone he holds dear.

My Review:

Another Excellent Drew Fathering Mystery!

Dressed for Death is the fourth book in Juliana Deering’s Drew Fathering Mysteries, following Rules of Murder, Death by the Book, and Murder at the Mikado. Yes, Drew is turning into a Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot or Lord Peter Wimsey, with dead bodies turning up wherever he goes.

In Dressed for Death, Drew, his new wife Madeline, and best friend Nick attend a Regency-era house party at the home of his old school friend, Talbot Cummins. It sounds like a fun party: everyone has  to wear Regency-era fashions and enjoy Regency pursuits, including learning the country dances of the time. Everyone (well, almost everyone) is having a lovely time when someone turns up dead. And then another someone . . .

Dressed for Death is a murder mystery, so naturally (!) I was waiting for a dead body, a crime for Drew, Nick and Madeline to solve. This took rather longer than I’d expected, so as a result, I found the first quarter of the book rather slow. Sure, it did a good job of introducing us to all the characters—the possible victims as well as the possible evildoers—and while it seeded all the necessary information, I certainly didn’t work out whodunit and how until the big reveal  at the end.

The writing was excellent. I particularly liked some of the lines, such as:
I’m not wise enough to see things as God sees them, and neither are you. But I don’t think we’re responsible for outcomes, just for doing what we’re called to do.
And:
Don’ t let anyone despise the gifts you’ve been given, and don’t you do so, either. They may not fit anyone else’s idea of a calling, but the world has all sorts of needs, and God has provided for each of them to be met, if we all do our part. It would be a shame if your part were undone.
Drew did well to get himself such a wise wife!

Deering has the right tone for a 1930’s murder mystery, and her writing is reminiscent of Agatha Christie or Georgette Heyer (her mysteries, not her romances). However, it was less of a fun romp than some of her earlier books, perhaps because the body count made it a little sadder. Although poignant, the plot and characterization were excellent, and Dressed for Death is a definite must-read for mystery fans.

Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Juliana Deering (also known as DeAnna Julie Dodson) at her website. http://www.juliannadeering.com/

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 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).

Monday, April 18, 2016

ROCKY MOUNTAIN PURSUIT by Mary Alford

Brittany McEuen reviews Rocky Mountain Pursuit by Mary Alford

Short Version (from Goodreads):
Everyone believes agent Jase Bradford is dead—everyone but Reyna Peterson. Only he can protect her now that someone wants the information her CIA husband died to secure. As the one member of their spy team not killed, Jase must remain in the shadows. Yet when Reyna leads the enemy right to his mountain refuge and blows his cover, Jase risks his life for hers. As his best friend's beautiful widow scales the walls around his heart, whether out of loyalty or love, he makes it his duty to secure her safety. But when their pursuers trap them in the snowy Colorado mountains, will it become his final mission?

My Review:
Rocky Mountain Pursuit was truly action-packed! It seemed that danger was always just around the corner (or a little ways down the mountain) giving Jase and Reyna only short opportunities to catch their breath before they had to continue trying to reach safety.

I really liked the set up for this book. As the story began, it was clear that something about the death of Reyna’s husband was not as it appeared. The ensuing attempt to discover the truth while trying to stay alive was indeed nerve-wracking and filled with last minute escapes! It was incredibly hard for Jase and Reyna to know who to trust. I enjoyed watching these two characters try to figure out all of the pieces to a very confusing and deadly puzzle.

I liked the romance between Jase and Reyna, however, it developed very early on in the story when the characters had not known each other long. The speed and intensity of their feelings for each other surprised me a little, but I think the author provided a good and realistic finale that made for a truly satisfying ending.

Rocky Mountain Pursuit was full of twists and turns and questions about who could be trusted. This was the first book that I have read by Mary Alford and I look forward to reading more in the future.

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, April 11, 2016

TAILSPIN by Elizabeth Goddard

Marji Laine reviews.
Don't forget to breathe as you read Tailspin by Elizabeth Goddard! You might even need to take your blood pressure half-way through to make sure it isn't going too high!

(Preview the book by clicking the cover!)

Here's the Short Version:

DIVING INTO DANGER

Nothing can stop Sylvie Masters from scuba diving to find her mother's downed plane—except possibly the hit man determined to keep the truth from surfacing. When brave bush pilot Will Pierson comes to her rescue, she knows she can still reach her goal, but she needs his help. Will wants answers about the crash, too, especially since his mother was the missing plane's pilot. He'll be the hero Sylvie needs, but can he ever trust her? Sylvie is shrouded in secrets that keep leading her back to Mountain Cove. Secrets someone will kill for. Will may protect her, yet no one can persuade her to end her search…not even a killer.

My Take:

I felt like the suspense never ended in this story. Did the bad guys ever sleep? I'm not sure if it was the breath-taking flights, the fact that every few pages held an insurmountable crisis, or that much of the action revolved around diving and water that had me holding my breath, but I sure was!

I will say that Elizabeth Goddard outdid herself with the intensity of this plot-line. I almost feel sore from the running and swimming and hiking that this heroine did. But the writing was done in such a vivid way that I couldn't help but live through the terror right along with Sylvie.

And I loved the verse that propelled Will, from Isaiah 40:31, "...they shall mount up with wings as eagles...." Outstanding scripture for a bush pilot! That scripture brings the story a whole new layer when further developed in the author's note at the end of the book. An eagle's wings are actually heavy if the bird tries to fly on its own. It has to wait for the wind to lift it so it can rest while soaring.

Cool, huh! And that theme of resting and trusting was woven all through this story! What a wonderful break this book offered. I highly recommend it to anyone loving suspense. Non-Stop!

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 MarjiLaine.com or follow her on FacebookTwitter, or visit her Amazon author page.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Iola Goulton reviews Thin Ice by Irene Hannon.

Here's the Short Version:

After losing her parents in a car accident and her sister to a house fire, Christy Reed has been mired in grief. Life is finally starting to feel normal again when an envelope arrives in the mail--addressed in her sister's handwriting. And the note inside claims she is still alive.

FBI Special Agent Lance McGregor, a former Delta Force operator, is assigned to reopen the case, but he's coming up with more questions than answers. If Ginny Reed is still alive--who is the woman buried in her grave? Where is Ginny? And is Christy a pawn in a twisted cat-and-mouse game--or the target of a sinister plot? As he digs deeper, one thing becomes clear: whoever is behind the bizarre ruse has a deadly agenda.

Bestselling author and two-time Christy Award finalist Irene Hannon warms readers' hearts as they root for a romance between Lance and Christy, but she pulls out all the stops as this high-stakes thriller chills to the bone in a race to the finish.

My Review Another Winner from Irene Hannon. Thin Ice started with a bang and didn’t let up all the way right to the last page. Lance McGregor is a brand new FBI agent who finds himself with a mystery involving Christy Reed, an attractive ice skater who appears to be receiving letters from her sister, who supposedly died in a house fire two months earlier. Lance and Christy are both excellent characters, and their mutual attraction almost sizzles on the page.

Hannon adds to the tension by including scenes from the viewpoint of the kidnapper, and these were well done: too many novelists give their evildoers horrific childhoods, as though that is to blame for their adult actions. Hannon shows that while this antagonist did have a difficult upbringing, he was also a cruel boy who has grown up to be a cruel man who blames others for his less-than-perfect life.

It’s classic Irene Hannon: a strong hero with a military background (and the emotional baggage that brings), a beautiful yet self-sufficient heroine who understands people (especially the hero), a suspense-driven plot with plenty of unpredictable twists and turns, and a strong underlying romantic tension. Add in a good dose of Christian faith, and you’ve got a classic Irene Hannon novel. She’s one of my favourite romantic suspense authors, and she delivers another winner with On Thin Ice. Recommended for romantic suspense fans.

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