Trapped

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Title: Trapped
Series: Private Justice
Author: Irene Hannon
Publisher: Revell
Published: September 1, 2013
Pages: 400

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Laura Griffith’s life is altered when her sixteen years old half sister comes to live with her. They clash from the beginning, but when she runs off, Laura is determined to do anything possible to find her. Armed only with a brief note and a referral to Phoenix, Inc. Laura has no idea what she’s gotten herself into or what will happen because of her sister’s rebellion.

When James Devlin, a former ATF agent, is hired to find a runaway, he’s not prepared for the attraction he feels for Laura or the cold trail the teen leaves behind. With time of the essence, Dev does his best to find Laura’s sister before she gets into something worse than bad company, but with the trail going cold quickly, his hope is beginning to wane.

The deeper Laura and Dev dig, the more their forbidden attraction grows and the more their hope dwindles of finding Laura’s sister in time. However, Dev begins to suspect something sinister is at work with the girl’s disappearance and the more dangerous this man hunt gets. This situation might just be life or death and Dev doesn’t want to make a mistake that costs lives. Not again.

Can Laura find her sister before it’s too late or will her sister disappear never to be found again? Can Dev overcome his past and move on or will he forever hold onto his mistakes? What kind of trouble did Laura’s sister get into and will it cost her her life? Will Dev and Laura be able to date after they close the case or will their attraction fall apart under the pressure?
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Irene Hannon has done it again! Having read almost all of her books, I’ve come to expect a taut suspense with a sweet romance and that’s exactly what I got. This novel is by far my favorite of hers yet and it was something I hadn’t had in a very long time, if ever. Irene Hannon should be deeply proud of this book and I look forward to her next book on this series.

This suspense is in a class all its own. This book brought chills up my spine and was actually pretty creepy. What made it so creepy was how realistic it was and likely it is that this happens, the character that is behind the creepy seems somewhat quirky in public and them is a complete psycho in private. His younger life and his reasons for what he was doing did draw some compassion from me, though. Maybe it was just me, but there were times I just felt sorry for him. It also kept up an amazingly quick pace that actually made me stay up and extra hour just to finish it. I can’t divulge too much or it will ruin it completely but this is easily one of the creepiest books I’ve read in a long time, if ever.

The character development was impeccable. I felt each character was realistic in everything and the character that I was most able to feel for was Darcy, the runaway. I could feel her fear, apprehension, and joy like it was my own and that definitely notched up the chill factor of this novel. I also loved how Laura didn’t seem much like fighter until the chips were down. I loved the 180 from the character I thought I knew.

The romance was pretty good too. In most cases, one thing or another had to take the backseat to the main story and in Irene Hannon’s case that usually means that the romance is more of a back story the main one and this book was no different and that was a good thing for me. However, I did feel like this romance was more prevalent than some of her other novels and the parts that had romance were amazing. I loved it and I think this author’s getting better with her incorporation skills.

Irene Hannon has never ceased to amaze me with what she can come up with and this time is no different. This book was positively none chilling as I can’t wait to see how she’s going to top it in her next one. I’ve always been a fan of hers but with this one she has climbed the ranks and has marked her spot on my list. I love her work and she and this book come very highly recommended.

Overall, I loved this book. I have no complaints about the fast and scary pace, the characters or the romance. This book is perfect for people who like a like a little goose bumps with their suspense. This book is best left to the adults, but can be used as a very important message for children and adolescents. I give this book a five out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

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Mistaken

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Title: Mistaken
Author: Karen Barnett
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Published: July 2, 2013
Pages: 384

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Laurie Burke’s family has been criminals because of alcohol and the Prohibition and because of that she resolves to find at least one honorable man to fill her life. Even though she tries to find an honest man, she is a criminal magnet. Her bad run with men seems to be over when she meets federal agent Samuel Brown, because a man of the law can’t be a criminal, right?

Daniel Shepherd moved from Seattle to his hometown to help run his grandfather’s drugstore and to run away from his past. He’s interested in Laurie, but unbeknownst to him, she believes he’s rum-running with her brother and isn’t interested in getting involved with another criminal. He’s trying to win her over but with missteps and misunderstandings running abound it’s hard to get her to like him.

With Laurie showing an interest in Samuel Brown, Daniel must try and show her that he might not be who she thinks he is and show her that he might be worth her attention. As they grow closer Laurie tries to hide her brother’s illegal smuggling and her father’s drunken ways, and Daniel’s past begins to close in on him. Neither feel worthy of love but maybe God has other plans.

Can Laurie finally find one honorable man or will she spend her life surrounded by criminals? Can Daniel show her that he’s not a rum-runner or will she always think the worst? How will Laurie react when she finds out about Daniel’s past? Is Samuel Brown who he says he is or is there a lot more about him then he appears? Can Laurie and Daniel’s budding relationship survive the prohibition or will it be crushed under the weight of the secrets they carry?
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Karen Barnett is a new author for me, but I must say that I’m glad I found her. I was first drawn to this book because of the cover and the era in which it was set. Once I found out what it was about I was all in and ready to read this book. My expectations when starting this book were pretty high and I so excited to see how this book turned out. This book not only met but exceeded my expectations and blew them out of the water.

This author’s true talent lies in her impeccable characters. All of her characters are fallible and misguided in some area and all, well most, are lovable and easy to relate to. I couldn’t believe how well each character was formed or how deep each characters feelings went. I found myself feeling along with the character and that is a rare thing for me. I loved absolutely every second of watching these characters try and get out of the mess they had gotten themselves into.

Her storyline is also incredible. It has just the right amount of suspense, romance, and secrets. I never expected to be ripped into the storyline so quickly or fully and I enjoyed it so much I actually finished this book in one night. I actually stayed up late trying to finish this one and see how it would end. It was a real joy to see the story progress with a wonderful pace, incredible characters, and a beautiful love story. I think this story is my favorite of the year so far.

Even the romance in this book is awesome. I got the perfect mixture of emotional connection as well as physical. Daniel is willing to do almost anything for Laurie and she can’t seem to stay out of trouble. I loved the whole set up an result and I loved to see their love in action throughout the book. Needless to say that I was impressed with the way this romance evolved and I don’t think I’ll forget it any time soon.

The topic is set in history, during the Prohibition era, but I think there’s a lesson in there for all of us. Not only does this book show that God is better than anyone or anything and is always willing to forgive, but I also think it shows that alcohol can be a dangerous thing to tangle with. I also think the author did an amazing job depicting so accurately what alcoholism is, how it starts, and how to cure it. Her colorful and accurate depiction of an alcoholic made this story come alive and held me until the end.

If I were this author, I would be so excited and proud of this book. This book not only is an amazing story and romance but it’s also and incredibly accurate depiction of alcoholism and I can’t imagine how many lives this might save or change. This book was so fantastic that this author and book just skyrocketed up to the top of my “favorites” list and aren’t coming down. This book comes very highly recommended.

Overall, absolutely amazing book. I loved it so much I have not complaints. This book perfect for those who want a romance set in the Prohibition era and want a but of suspense as well. I think this book is good for adults and possibly teens. I give this book a five out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

Deadly Devotion

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Title: Deadly Devotion
Series: Port Aster Secrets
Author: Sandra Orchard
Publisher: Revell
Published: June 1, 2013
Pages: 384

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When Kate Adams friend and research mentor, Daisy Leacock, is suddenly found dead from poisoning, she is devastated and angry. Kate knows her mentor’s death wasn’t a suicide or a careless accident. Both Kate and Daisy work with plants all day long and they were working on an herbal medicine that would treat depression. Knowing this, Kate is determined to unearth the truth about what happened to the woman who changed her life.

Former FBI agent Tom Parker is finding that it’s harder to adjust to life back in his hometown of Port Aster than he thought it would be. Not everyone approves of his new position as a detective for the local police force even though the police chief, his old buddy, gave him the job. He’s just trying to sty out of the spotlight, but when Kate Adams demands he reopen the investigation into her friend’s death, he knows he could easily be fired. He’s willing to help her even though he thinks she has something to hide.

The more Kate and Tom dig into the death of Daisy the more secrets they uncover about their seemingly perfect and quiet town, proving that no one is as they seem. With a stack of suspects and a killer on the loose both are very aware of the fact that this killer might just try and kill against I keep their secret a secret. Bad memories on both side keep them from falling in love but being thrust together by danger starts to rip apart their boundaries and open doors they never thought possible. They just have to catch a killer first.

Will Kate be able to prove that her friend was murdered or will she be forced to accept that her friend took her own life? Will Tom find out what Kate is hiding or will it plague him forever? When Tom finds out how will he react? Will the killer try and keep their secret safe or will Kate and Tom be safe from an attempt on their lives? Will Kate and Tom’s budding relationship make it or will the pressure of keeping each other safe break apart their fragile relationship?
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The cover on this book drew my eye and the description captured my attention. I was hoping that when I finished this book that I would be able to say that the contents lived up to the cover and I can assuredly say that it did. I actually loved this one and the fact that I was never really ever to fully figure who was the killer made the book an absolute joy to read. I can’t wait for the next one!

The storyline of this story is very intricate yet pretty simple to follow. I got so enraptured by this storyline that I found the world around me completely fading away and the only thing left was me and book filled with so much intrigue it practically spilled out of the pages. I never felt left behind or like the wording was choppy and I certainly never felt bored with this one. This author has a gift for storytelling and she uses her full gift in this one and I loved it.

My favorite character by far is Kate. She’s tough, stubborn and the complete polar opposite to a damsel in distress. Though some of her choices in this book were questionable, I can’t say that they didn’t fit her nor could I say that I wouldn’t do the same thing. Her character struck a chord with me and hooked me from the instant she marched into the police station with all that red-headed anger and demanded her friends’s case be reopened. Her character is a perfect mixture between stubborn, spunky, and vulnerable. Her character completely made the book and I can’t wait to see more of her.

The suspense was actually a mystery to me. With so many suspects and so many reasons why each would’ve done it, I had a hard time figuring out who killed Daisy. The suspense was intricately woven together and each suspect’s secrets exposed, making you really realize that people really aren’t always who they seem. The suspense had a nice steady flow and never really let up for the majority of the story making this an enjoyment to read.

I’ve only read one book by Sandra Orchard before and it was a Love Inspired novella and I don’t think it properly portrayed her talent for suspense and storytelling. I am literally waiting on pins and needles to read the next book in this series and have the rest of the small loose ends tied up. This novel was fantastic and I would definitely recommend it to anyone regardless of what they normally read.

Overall, fantastic. I think I might have found a new favorite author. I have no complaints about this one. I highly recommend this one to anyone who likes suspense novels. This book is best left for adults and mature teens. I give this book a five out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

Lone Defender

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Title: Lone Defender
Series: Heroes for Hire
Author: Shirlee McCoy
Publisher: Love Inspired
Published: September 6, 2011
Pages: 224

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Private investigator Skylar Grady goes to Cedar Creek, Arizona to find a deadbeat dad behind on child support payments. She soon finds out that this “simple” case isn’t so simple when she finds herself abandoned in the Arizona desert. Now, along with trying to find out why someone wants her dead, she also must try to get out of the hot seemingly endless desert alive. Sounds easy enough.

After six days of tracking, former patrol agent Jonas Sampson finds Skylar near death and weak. Hours after finding her he’s thrust into a life or death situation and he’s determined to get them both out alive. After making it out of the desert alive, Jonas is determined to find who’s responsible for the attempted murder and to get Skylar to go home, well maybe one of two.

Skylar refuses to go home and is just as determined to find her almost killer. They feel an attraction for each other and being thrust together doesn’t help that attraction. They need to combat murderers, complacent sheriffs, and a growing attraction that neither of them really want or need. With a determination to find out who wants them dead and come out alive, they search for clues despite the odds and the “help” from the local police.

Will Jonas and Skylar ever get together or will past fears keep them from each other? Will they find out who wants them dead before they succeed or will they end up six feet under without an idea who killed them? If they get together will Skylar and Jonas’s attraction wane after the excitement fades or will it get stronger with time?
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I usually read a book to be transported to a new place and hopefully a new climate. Much to my disappointment, this book was set in my home state and offered me no escape from the temperature or climate. Despite my disappointment, I gave this book the benefit of the doubt and tried to really enjoy it. What I found surprised me a little.

Thankfully, the author didn’t really keep the story focused on or in the desert. However, her descriptions of the hot, dry climate is really good. She describes it realistically and doesn’t hold any punches when it comes to how deadly it can be, guns and hitmen no included. In fact, the descriptions in the whole book is fantastic. Her description greatly help this book.

The suspense is typical for a novella and one that can be figured out by even the newest suspense readers. Like I said, it’s pretty easy to figure out who wants the characters dead, but surprisingly it’s not easy to figure out the motive behind it. That alone keeps you guessing and adds a little twist to an otherwise lackluster suspense.

The romance is also typical of a book this size. The characters feel a mutual attraction that the author unfortunately doesn’t really touch on very much. It also has that sudden declaration of love that leaves both the reader and the characters shocked. The romance seems stiff and kind of cookie-cutter for the genre and size of the book.

Starting any book this size, you honestly don’t expect much from them. You expect a rushed storyline with a quick romance that is easy to read in a day or two and most of the time, you get what you expect. Though I don’t love the suspense imprint of Love Inspired, I also don’t hate them. They give a quick suspense fix when I want to read one but not an entire book to get it. They have their pluses but don’t go looking for a full novel quality book in these little guys.

Overall, this book is good for a quick suspense fix but not full novel quality. I recommend this from someone who loves these kinds of books or someone who’s starting out in this genre. I give this book a three out of five.

*I received a complimentary ebook of this book from the publisher through the netgalley program. All opinions expressed are my own.*