Saturday, April 10, 2021

Cooking Up a Mystery by Gail Pallotta Blog Tour and Giveaway


About the Book

Book:  Cooking Up A Mystery

Author: Gail Pallotta

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Release date: April 24, 2020

Laney Eskridge worked to put her husband through dental school. Then he left with another woman. She’s on edge from the emotional scars and her parents’ deaths. Then she hears unexplained noises in her new tea house, and her anxiety is tripled. Add a budding romance with Eric—a guy with a fear of commitment—and it’s all too much to handle. She cuts ties with Eric and plunges into making her business pay off.

When Eric discovers that Laney’s in danger, he vows to protect her. But can he make a lasting promise? Will she trust him? . . .and when they overhear a threat that could cause national turmoil, will anyone believe them? There’s more brewing than herbal tea in Cooking up a Mystery.

Click here to get your copy!

 My Review

This is a mystery for readers who like a plot that is not complex and writing that is not overly sophisticated. The movement of the mystery is easy to follow and there are a limited number of characters to remember. Laney is a good damsel in distress. She has a ton of hurt and insecurity to overcome. It took me a while to like Eric but he overcame his character flaws to become a knight in shining white foot cast.

There is a good spiritual message contained in the plot, supplemented by a devotional at the end. And there is food, yummy food. I was so glad to see recipes were included. I enjoyed this cozy mystery, an easy read.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

 

About the Author

Award-winning author Gail Pallotta’s a wife, Mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. A 2013 Grace Awards finalist, she’s a Reader’s Favorite 2017 Book Award winner and a TopShelf 2020 Book Awards Finalist. She’s published six books, poems, short stories and several hundred articles. Some of her articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums.

More from Gail

In Cooking up a Mystery running a business with no background or formal training in accounting or management overwhelms Laney, the heroine. George, her assistant, tells her she has him and God, who knows her needs. Then he adds, “You … have your mom’s wonderful recipes and you whip them up like a pro.”

I chose the food industry for Laney, a woman entrepreneur succeeding against the odds, because I have lots of cooking experience. I learned the skill at age ten. The reason, according to my father—I’d know how when I got married. I didn’t marry until I was thirty. By then, I’d received lots of instruction, so I knew how to prepare some pretty good dinners. My husband said, “You could start a restaurant.” I wanted to do other things instead, such as write, but I started one in this book.

Mt first woman entrepreneur appears in Hair Calamities and Hot Cash, a romantic comedy about a hairstylist. It’s set in Eve’s Clips, a salon in Triville, a fictitious town in the North Carolina Mountains where Laney opens Laney’s Delectable Delights.

A section in the back of Cooking up a Mystery, Laney’s Chefs in the Making, features over two dozen recipes. Only Laney’s Pineapple Rice is mine. The rest are from a book, Heavenly Delights, authored by my friend, Pam Nichols Griffin, as a fundraiser for Mission Love Seeds, a charity that helps children throughout the world and responds locally after disasters to demonstrate God’s love.

Laney’s Pineapple Rice

Ingredients:

Rice (can be instant, but not boil-in-the-bag)

Cooking oil or spray

One small onion (chopped thin)

Five cloves garlic (or minced gloves equaling five cloves)

One tablespoon fresh grated ginger

One cup fresh pineapple

Small amount of pineapple juice

One teaspoon sugar

One lime

Cook rice according to directions on the box, but substitute a couple of tablespoons to 1/4 cup pineapple juice (depending on taste) for part of the water.

Chill rice

Coat a heavy bottom skillet with oil. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, pineapple and sugar and stir. Add cold rice, break up, squirt with the juice of one lime and stir until heated and blended.

Blog Stops

Debbie's Dusty Deliberations, April 9

Blogging With Carol, April 9

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, April 10

She Lives To Read, April 11

Texas Book-aholic, April 11

Inklings and notions, April 12

Genesis 5020, April 12

For Him and My Family, April 13

deb's Book Review, April 14

Worthy2Read, April 14

Reflections From My Bookshelves, April 15

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 15

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 16

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, April 17

Godly Book Reviews, April 17

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, April 18

Because I said so -- and other adventures in Parenting, April 19

CarpeDiem, April 19

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 20

April Hayman, Author, April 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 21

Simple Harvest Reads, April 21 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 22

Labor Not in Vain, April 22

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Gail is giving away  the grand prize of a $40 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10a4e/cooking-up-a-mystery-celebration-tour-giveaway

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Blessed and Transformed by Dr. Jeannine Bennett Blog Tour and Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  Blessed and Transformed

Author: Dr. Jeannine Bennett

Genre: Christian Nonfiction (Women’s Bible Study)

Release date: October 2020

What do you do when God answers your prayers, renews your mind, and transforms you?

Life does not always turn out the way we hope. It is often filled with tragedy, heartbreak, and loss, but make no mistake, God doesn’t abandon us during those times. Instead, God uses every experience we encounter to transform us so we can live the life He intended when He created us.

As Christians, we understand that we live in a fallen world. A world where dwelling on past failures or falling prey to the same sins seems normal. But what happens when God opens our spiritual eyes and shows us a different way to live? Do you run to Him and embrace the change? Do you find your calling and live out your purpose?

In Blessed and Transformed, Jeannine Bennett shares how much sweeter life is when you recognize God’s blessings and fully embrace His transformation of your life. She shows you there is no limit to what you can endure or accomplish by keeping God front and center.

Click here to get your copy!

 My Review

Bennett wrote this book to demonstrate how God's blessings transform us to live the life He desires for us. (93/1278) She shares her experiences of blessings from God in the first part of the book. It is impossible, Bennett says, to experience God and not experience some level of transformation. She shares her experiences of transformation in the second part of the book.

Bennett's book is a good example of how we are changed by God's involvement in our lives. She also includes good teaching on various issues like pride and being a people pleaser. She includes relevant promises from God, supporting Scripture, and reflective questions at the end of each chapter.

This book is a good one for showing how God is involved in lives and how those experiences transform people. This is the second book Bennett has written showing God's work and you can read my review of the first one, Broken to Beautiful, here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author

Jeannine Bennett is a wife to Hayden, mom to four children, and grandmother to seven grandchildren. Her children are named Sandra, Brittany, Camryn, and Zachary. Her grandchildren are Colin, Lilyana, Willow, Savannah, Winter, and Hope. She is the founder and CEO of Vision to Purpose, located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, an adjunct faculty member in the School of Business for Liberty University Online, and an executive coach for The Honor Foundation.

To those who know Jeannine, she is simply a woman who loves Jesus, is devoted to her family, and struggles with life’s challenges like the rest of us. She is not immune to bad hair days, shrinking clothes (weight gain), or sleepless nights. She loves learning and sharing the knowledge acquired to help others learn too. Her favorite ice cream is a toss-up between butter pecan and mint chocolate chip. And, although she has lived in Virginia for more than 30 years, she still calls a water fountain a bubbler. A term she grew up saying in her hometown of Racine, Wisconsin.

More from Jeannine

In my previous book, Broken to Beautiful, I shared my testimony. The first half of my story was filled with hopelessness, disappointment, heartache, and loss. The second half described accounts of undeniable blessings. I have chosen to continue my story in Blessed and  Transformed because I want to further the conversation about what happens when we receive all of those blessings.

Friends, we cannot have blessings without being transformed. Just as each trial, each struggle, each challenge changes us, each blessing is a gift that God uses to change us too.

I believe blessings are God’s way of showing that He loves us. I also think He uses those blessings to nudge us forward in pursuit of what He has called us to do.

I pray this book is a blessing to you!

In Christ,

Jeannine

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, April 8

Splashes of Joy, April 8

Library Lady's Kit Lit, April 9

Debbie's Dusty Deliberations, April 10

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, April 11

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, April 12

Because I said so -- and other adventures in Parenting, April 13

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 14

Lights in a Dark World, April 14

Texas Book-aholic, April 15

Inklings and notions, April 16

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 17

For Him and My Family, April 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 19

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 20

deb's Book Review, April 21

Mary Hake, April 21

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jeannine is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter

https://promosimple.com/ps/10a4d/blessed-and-transformed-celebration-tour-giveaway


I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Fully Known by Mo Aiken

Aiken begins her book with a bold statement. “You were made to know intimacy with God.” (130/2664) Yet she noticed a lack of deep personal relationships with the Lord among professing believers. God has made the intimacy possible, making a way for us to know Him and be known by Him. We have everything we need: the finished work of Christ, the Holy Spirit, His Word. Why is intimacy so lacking in the Christian community?

Aiken explores the roots of why we do not pursue intimacy with God. Perhaps we are so focused on doing for God we have missed being with God. Perhaps we are not willing to count the great cost to that intimacy. Perhaps we are so focused on the world we don't take the time for such intimacy. Perhaps we are not willing to repent, to be quiet, to be small.

Aiken uses marriage as the framework to understand God's covenantal love for us and help us understand our response to Him. She frequently concentrates on the physical intimacy of marriage, such as likening a wife being too tired for her husband's advances to our being too taken by the cares of this world to respond to God's advances. (1692/2664)

There is a great deal of good admonishment and encouragement in this book. While there is no specific strategy to help us on the journey to intimacy with God, Aiken gives many suggestions. She admonishes us to true repentance, to live in an awareness of and submission to the Holy Spirit, and more.

I am not so taken with marriage as a useful example to our intimacy with God. Marriages in this sinful world are faulty. I cannot think of one marriage I know that I would say is a good example of a relationship with God. Just as many Christians have difficulty understanding God as Father because of their own fathers, I think many might have difficulty benefiting from a marriage example because of their own or of others. And then you have the single people.

If you desire deep intimacy with God, this book will give you encouraging suggestions. Just make sure you are willing to count the cost, to engage the Holy Spirit working in you, and to surrender what is required.

You can read an excerpt here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Mo Aiken is Mo Isom, the New York Times bestselling author of Wreck My Life and Sex, Jesus, and the Conversation the Church Forgot. She co-labors for the kingdom within BOLDLIFE INITIATIVE, a ministry that exists to challenge, encourage, and equip Christ followers to pursue holy and bold lives. The team maintains a thriving nationwide speaking ministry and facilitates a faith-centered blog that has garnered millions of views to date. They regularly share prophetic words on YouTube, as well as Instagram, and freely offer additional resources through https://www.moisom.com/. Mo and her husband live with their three children in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo credit: Lindsey Hansen Photography.

Baker Books, 192 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Present Danger by Elizabeth Goddard

This is a good inspirational romantic suspense for readers who are tired of FBI agents. Jack, the hero, used to be FBI but is now a local police detective. Terra, the heroine, is a U.S. Forest Service Special Agent. I had no idea such agents even existed, watching for things like illegal logging and protecting water and soil.

In this novel, a body is found in a Montana national forest during a search and rescue operation. Jack and Terra are both on the scene, much to their dismay. They had been in love when young but then Jack had left, breaking Terra's heart. We know they still have feelings for each other. Can they work together, solve the murder and overcome hurts to rekindle their romance?

There is a good balance of character and relationship development alongside the murder investigation. We see suspense building as the investigation intensifies. The danger to Terra increases when it appears some of her family members are somehow involved. The novel provides a good combination of investigation and relationship restoration along with an exploration of the smuggling of artifacts. I appreciated Goddard's informative note about artifacts still missing after the 2003 Iraq war.

I like Goddard's writing style. It is clear and entertaining. I appreciate the good faith message included as the main characters rely on God for their well being. The novel is a good change from the typical FBI suspense.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Elizabeth Goddard has sold over one million books and is the award-winning author of more than 40 romance novels and counting, including the romantic mystery The Camera Never Lies – a 2011 Carol Award winner. She is a Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense finalist for her Mountain Cove series – Buried, Backfire, and Deception – and a Carol Award finalist for Submerged. When she's not writing, she loves spending time with her family, traveling to find inspiration for her next book, and serving with her husband in ministry. You can find out more at www.ElizabethGoddard.com.

Revell, 381 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Gospelbound by Collin Hansen and Susan Eekhoff Zylstra

It seems to be a tough time for religion in the U.S. Confidence in religion is in decline. Only about half of Americans think religion does more good than harm. (154/4739) Christians feel they are losing influence on society. We've lost ground in sexual ethics and religious liberty. (3297/4739)

The authors want Christians to have a broader perspective and not lose heart. A look at history and activities around the world will remind readers of the power of the gospel. The authors tell many amazing stories of people whose lives and actions are bound by the gospel. They are laying down their lives for the weak, the sick, the poor, the lonely, and their enemies. The stories give great hope and assurance of the power of the gospel to a needy world.

But the authors take the American church and American Christians to task as well. The church is concerned about losing privilege and power it was never meant to have. (308/4739) The authors ask if the power the American church experienced did not make it stronger but rather sapped its potential for genuine Christlike faith. (295/4739) American Christians are especially unprepared to suffer for their faith. Part of the reason is because they have been a favorite in American society. (1253/4739) We need to have faith in the midst of this anxious age and be prepared to suffer with joy.

So there is good news in that we see the power of the gospel working in so many ways in the world today. But we also are admonished to personally act and sound like Jesus and to make sure our actions do not hinder others from believing the gospel. If you are discouraged, this book will encourage you. The book will also challenge you to be the example of Jesus to your next door neighbor.

There are Questions for Reflection for each chapter so this book would be a good choice for a small group to read and discuss.

You can read a sample here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Collin Hansen, an author and editor of numerous acclaimed books, is also vice president of content and editor-in-chief of The Gospel Coalition and host of the Gospelbound podcast. He has a MDiv from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and an undergraduate degree in journalism and history from Northwestern University. He and his wife and children life in Birmingham, Alabama.

Susan Eekhoff Zylstra is a senior writer for The Gospel Coalition, where she oversees coverage of faith and work. Her features on cutting edge trends in religion and church leadership are regularly rated among TGC's most popular and valuable content. She earned her master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University. Before working at TGC, she reported news for Christianity Today for more than a decade. She lives with her family in Orland Park, Illinois.

Multnomah, 240 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Sweet Paradise by Gene Desrochers Blog Tour and Giveaway

Sweet Paradise

by Gene Desrochers

April 5 - May 7, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:

In this harrowing Caribbean noir murder mystery, we meet Private Investigator Boise Montague, a man on the brink who is trying to get his life together after his wife died. He has returned to his childhood home and he’s started a private investigator firm of one. Since returning, his drinking has accelerated and he needs clients desperately before the life insurance money dries up.

Enter Junior Bacon, grandson of Francine Bacon of the Bacon sugar and rum empire. Granny’s gone missing and Junior wants Boise to figure out what happened.

As Boise delves into the mystery of the missing matriarch, a reporter associated with her winds up dead in his new office, dramatically raising the stakes. Now Boise must contend with questions from the police, the newspaper president, and the reporter's widow.

As Boise investigates he uncovers surprising truths about a woman seeking redemption, a family on the brink, and why no matter how hard we try, the past can sometimes never be fixed.

In the end, Boise must not only confront a killer, but the island's dark history and his own inner demons.

Kudos:

“Boise Montague, intrepid St. Thomas, V.I. private investigator, returns in SWEET PARADISE. Talented author Gene Desrochers delivers a suspense-filled tale overflowing with duplicitous characters and greed-driven agendas in lushly authentic Caribbean environs. A mature generation is determined to hold tight to the empire that provides them with every luxury, while the next generation attempts to fulfill its dreams … Others will compromise all that is decent. And Boise Montague will do what he does best as he separates the winners from the losers and the innocent from the guilty. A 5-star read.”
--Laura Taylor - 6-Time Romantic Times Award Winner

“Boise is back! Gene Desrochers returns his readers to the island paradise of St. Thomas. You’ll feel the warm tropical breeze as Private Investigator Boise Montague must discover [what happened to] the matriarch of a wealthy island rum producer. The deeper he digs, the closer he gets to his own mortality. Wandering and sometimes stumbling through his investigation, Boise learns about family secrets—and they could kill him. Outstanding writing and the vivid setting will keep you transfixed.”
--R. D. Kardon, award-winning author of Flygirl and Angel Flight  

My Review:

This is the second novel in a series but reads well on its own. You can read my review of the first book, Dark Paradise, here. This series is a good addition to the noir mystery genre, with a hero I love to dislike. Boise is just about everything I would not want in a PI. He drinks way too much and then hurls or passes out. He solves mysteries the island way, by drinking lots of beer and bumbling his way into suspenseful situations, needing to be rescued and finally finding the murderers. Yet, underneath it all, he has a certain moral character.

The strength of this series is the setting. The hap-hazard work Boise does seems to fit the island culture. There are a bunch of quirky island characters. And we get a bit of an exploration of the sugar plantations and their use of slaves years ago and the idea of reparations.

This novel is not for readers of cozy mysteries. There is just too much murder and mayhem and poor behavior. For those who like a dark mystery set in a dark paradise, this is the book to read.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

 

Book Details:

Genre: Murder Mystery
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication Date: April 6th 2021
Number of Pages: 299
ISBN: 9781952112379
Series: Boise Montague, #2 (Each book in the series is a stand alone mystery)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

The first coat was drying. More droplets of sweat rivered between my shoulder blades as I slugged water and Guinness alternately. Two in the afternoon was no time to be painting in the October heat, but I didn’t know what else to do and sitting around worrying about my looming penury seemed pointless.

The used old-timey clock radio I’d picked up at Bob’s Store babbled on about hurricane warnings as reception fizzled in and out. It was the latter part of hurricane season and we’d seen minimal storm damage in the region. We might dodge hurricanes for one or two years running, but it was never long enough to truly get complacent about them the way places like New Orleans had.

The overhead fan whirred. Outside my door sunlight filtered thinly through a cloud, illuminating the traffic circle a faint ocher. As I considered the faded lines denoting parking spaces and the cracked pavement, a young man bobbed into my line of sight. He was one of those people who walked on his toes at all times, like the tendons in his calves were so tight his heels couldn’t touch the ground for more than an instant before popping up again. He squinted at the building, turning his head back and forth, then perusing a sheet of paper clutched in both hands. A green Osprey backpack hung loosely off his shoulders. People in California used them for hiking. He tugged at the built-in sippy straw and sucked. The bubbly slurping of the last drops of water in his pouch filtered up to me. Disappointment clouded his face.

His attention snagged on my door. I grinned and gave myself a mental pat on the back. He shifted one hand to his hip and gave a slight lean. I wasn’t sure whether I should let him see me in my ratty painting outfit, but figured that could be explained by the wet door. A spooge of cantaloupe paint dominated the center of my gray t-shirt. I eased the door open a couple more feet.

“Help you?” I asked. “You look lost.”

“Nice door.” He pointed at his forehead and swirled his finger around. “You got some.”

He was college-aged and his face was sunburned, as were his arms. He wore a Hawaiian shirt and khaki pants, a classic tourist outfit.

He continued to stand in the same spot, squinting and considering the sheet of paper. I returned to my inner office, needing another sip of water and the breeze from the fan. Out my open doorway, I could barely make out the top of his Caesar-style haircut.

“You should get a hat!” I hollered out.

His head rose up from the paper and he pushed up on tip-toes so I could see his eyes. “The sun’s doing a number on you,” I said. “Want a drink of water?”

He stared at me a while with a strange stillness, like he was in no hurry as he weighed every option. This boy was a local and he would pull me into events that would rock one of the largest industries in the Virgin Islands.

“Do you have Perrier?”

***

Excerpt from Sweet Paradise by Gene Desrochers. Copyright 2021 by Gene Desrochers. Reproduced with permission from Gene Desrochers. All rights reserved.

 

Author Bio:

Gene Desrochers hails from a dot in the Caribbean Sea called St. Thomas. He grew up with minimal supervision and free-roaming animals in a guesthouse that also served as a hospital during wartime. If you ask, he will regale you with his Caribbean accent and tennis prowess.

After a lifetime of writing and telling short stories, he ventured into the deep end, publishing his first novel, Dark Paradise in 2018. Sweet Paradise is Gene’s second published novel in the Boise Montague Series.

He lives in Southern California with his wife, step-daughter, and two cats.

Catch Up With Gene Desrochers:
GeneDesrochers.com
Goodreads
BookBub - @problemsolvergene
Instagram - @authorgenedesrochers
Twitter - @problemsolverge
Facebook - @ggdesrochers

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!


Click here to view Sweet Paradise by Gene Desrochers Participants

 

Enter To Win!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Gene Desrochers. There will be two (2) winners. Each winner will receive an Amazon.com gift card. The giveaway begins on April 5, 2021 and runs through May 9, 2021. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours


 I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Monday, April 5, 2021

Three Missing Days by Colleen Coble Blog Tour and Giveaway

Three Missing Days

by Colleen Coble

April 5 - 30, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:


Book Three in the gripping romantic suspense series from USA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble.

A chilling murder.

Chief of Police Jane Hardy plunges into the investigation of a house fire that claimed the life of a local woman as well as one of the firefighters. It’s clear the woman was murdered. But why? The unraveling of Jane’s personal life only makes the answers in the case more difficult to find.

Her son’s arrest.

Then Jane’s fifteen-year-old son is accused of a horrific crime, and she has to decide whether or not she can trust her ex, Reid, in the attempt to prove Will’s innocence—and whether she can trust Reid with her heart.

Her stolen memories.

Three days of Jane’s past are missing from her memory, and that’s not all that has been stolen from her. As she works to find the woman’s murderer and clear her son’s name, finding out what happened in those three days could change everything. It all started with one little lie. But the gripping truth is finally coming out.

My Review:

This is the third book in a series and it does not read well on its own. Much of the plot in this book relies on knowing what happened in the previous two. There is backstory added from time to time but readers will not appreciate the issues in this novel without having read the previous ones. You can read my reviews of them: One Little Lie, Two Reasons to Run.

While there are a couple of murders in this novel, the plot deals much more with the past events in the lives of Jane and Reid than it does the current events. There is much about the cults both of them were involved in. In that sense, Jane's personal issues are much more prominent than the police investigation. The investigation into the most important murder is handled by others so we do not see much of the process.

I don't like it when suspense happens because of lack of thinking by the heroes. Jane not answering a call from a friend in a timely fashion when she certainly could have (or let Reid do so since he was along). Also, looking at crucial evidence in an unsecured location and leaving it out in the open. It was no wonder suspense ensued. And then there was Jane thoughtlessly causing noise when they were sneaking up on bad guys. Of course, the bad guys got away.

This is a novel for readers who like one concentrating on relationship issues stemming from previous experiences, especially in the context of family. The strongest aspect of this novel a good exploration of trusting God when things go bad. Jane's faith is not strong and readers experience her struggle over her lack of confidence in God and herself.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

  

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Published by: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: April 6th 2021
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 0785228543 (ISBN13: 9780785228547)
Series: Pelican Harbor #3 || These books are Stand Alone Mysteries but are better if read as a series!
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ChristianBook.com | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

“I know what you did.”

The muffled voice on her phone raised the hair on the back of Gail Briscoe’s head, and she swiped the perspiration from her forehead with the back of her hand. “Look, I’ve reported these calls. Don’t call me again.”

She ended the call with a hard finger punch on the screen and stepped onto her front porch. The late-May Alabama air wrapped her in a blanket of heat and humidity, and she couldn’t wait to wash it off. She should have left the light on before she went for her predawn run. The darkness pressing against her isolated home sent a shudder down her back, and she fumbled her way inside. Welcome light flooded the entry, and she locked the door and the dead bolt with a decisive click that lifted her confidence.

She stared at the number on the now-silent phone. The drugstore again. Though there weren’t many pay phones around anymore, the old soda shop and drugstore still boasted a heavy black phone installed back in the sixties. The caller always used it, and so far, no one had seen who was making the calls. The pay phone was located off an alley behind the store by a Dumpster so it was out of sight.

The guy’s accusation was getting old. Counting today, this made seven calls with the same message. Could he possibly know about the investigation? She rejected the thought before it had a chance to grow. It wasn’t public knowledge, and it would be over soon. She clenched her hands and chewed on her bottom lip. She had to be vindicated.

But who could it be, and what did he want?

Leaving a trail of sweaty yoga shorts and a tee behind her, she marched to the bathroom and turned the spray to lukewarm before she stepped into the shower. The temperature shocked her overheated skin in a pleasant way, and within moments she was cooled down. She increased the temperature a bit and let the water sluice over her hair.

As she washed, she watched several long strands of brown hair swirl down the drain as she considered the caller’s accusation. The police had promised to put a wiretap on her phone, but so far the guy hadn’t stayed on the phone long enough for a trace to work. And it was Gail’s own fault. She should have talked with him more to string out the time.

She dried off and wrapped her hair in a turban, then pulled on capris and a top. Her phone vibrated again. She snatched it up and glanced at the screen. Augusta Richards.

“I got another call, Detective. Same phone at the drugstore. Could you set up a camera there?”

“I hope I’m not calling too early, and I don’t think that’s necessary. The owner just told me that old pay phone is being removed later today. Maybe that will deter the guy. It’s the only pay phone in town. He’ll have to use something else if he calls again.”

“He could get a burner phone.”

“He might,” the detective admitted. “What did he say?”

“The same thing—‘I know what you did.’”

“Do you have any idea what it means?”

Gail flicked her gaze away to look out the window, where the first colors of the sunrise limned the trees. “Not a clue.”

“Make sure you lock your doors and windows. You’re all alone out there.”

“Already locked. Thanks, Detective.” Gail ended the call.

Ever since Nicole Pearson’s body had been found a couple of months ago, no one needed to remind Gail she lived down a dirt road with no next-door neighbors. No one wanted to buy the neighboring place after such a lurid death, so the area remained secluded other than a couple of houses about a mile away and out closer to the main road.

She stood back from the window. It was still too dark to see. Was someone out there?

Pull back the reins on your imagination. But once the shudders started, they wouldn’t stop. Her hands shaking, she left her bedroom and went to pour herself a cup of coffee with a generous splash of half-and-half from the fridge. She had a stack of lab orders to process, and she couldn’t let her nerves derail her work.

The cups rattled as she snatched one from the cupboard. The coffee sloshed over the rim when she poured it, then she took a big gulp of coffee. It burned all the way down her throat, and tears stung her eyes as she sputtered. The heat settled her though, and she checked the locks again before she headed to her home office with her coffee.

No one could see in this tiny cubicle with no window, but she rubbed the back of her neck and shivered. She’d work for an hour, then go into the lab. The familiar ranges and numbers comforted her. She sipped her coffee and began to plow through the stack of papers. Her eyes kept getting heavy. Weird. Normally she woke raring to go every morning.

Maybe she needed more coffee. She stretched out her neck and back and picked up the empty coffee cup.

Gail touched the doorknob and cried out. She stuck her first two fingers in her mouth. What on earth?

The door radiated heat. She took a step back as she tried to puzzle out what was happening, but her brain couldn’t process it at first. Then tendrils of smoke oozed from under the door in a deadly fog.

Fire. The house was on fire.

She spun back toward the desk, but there was nothing she could use to protect herself. There was no way of egress except through that door.

If she wanted to escape, she’d have to face the inferno on the other side.

She snatched a throw blanket from the chair and threw it over her head, then ran for the door before she lost her courage. When she yanked it open, a wall of flames greeted her, but she spied a pathway down the hall to her bedroom. Ducking her head, she screamed out a war cry and plowed through the flames.

In moments she was in the hall where the smoke wasn’t so thick. She pulled in a deep breath as she ran for her bedroom. She felt the cool air as soon as she stepped inside and shut the door behind her. Too late she realized the window was open, and a figure stepped from the closet.

Something hard came down on her head, and darkness descended.

***

Excerpt from Three Missing Days by Colleen Coble. Copyright 2021 by Thomas Nelson. Reproduced with permission from Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved.

 

Author Bio:

Colleen Coble is a USA TODAY bestselling author and RITA finalist best known for her coastal romantic suspense novels, including The Inn at Ocean’s Edge, Twilight at Blueberry Barrens, and the Lavender Tides, Sunset Cove, Hope Beach, and Rock Harbor series.

Connect with Colleen online at:
colleencoble.com
Goodreads
BookBub: @ColleenCoble
Instagram: @colleencoble
Twitter: @colleencoble
Facebook: @colleencoblebooks

 

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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Colleen Coble and Thomas Nelson. ONE (1) winner will receive ONE (1) physical set of the first three books in the Pelican Harbor series. (U.S. addresses only). The giveaway begins on April 5, 2021 and runs through May 2, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Get Outside from Ink & Willow

I am an outdoor person having been introduced in childhood to the joys of being in nature on family camping trips on the Olympic Peninsula and in the Cascade Mountain foothills. Now, decades later, I still get my daily dose of fresh air on the beaches of the island on which I live or the urban trails surrounding my home.

I have reflected rather infrequently on the spiritual potential of my roaming outdoors. Using this journal has inspired me to do that more often. The fingerprints of God are all over the Pacific Northwest in fir trees, beaches, islands and snow clad mountains. I am encouraged to document my outdoor adventures, recording my memories and impressions. There are pages upon which to write my reflections like noting unusual beauty or hearing the whisper of God in the forest stillness. There are even some blank pages for sketches or mounting memorable photos.

This book includes suggestions for travel, noting places to visit in each U.S. state. There are tips for hiking, information on clouds, navigating by the stars, how to identify animal tracks and trees. My favorite information was on photography. I love to document my adventures with photos and the instruction on nature photography is great.

If your an outdoor person, you'll like the information and prompts in this journal that will help you make the most of your experience. If you are not so much an outdoor person, you'll be inspired to get outside and see the fingerprints of God everywhere you look.

Remember, every journey begins with a single step. Get outside and refresh your spirit.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Ink & Willow, 224 pages.

Ink & Willow is an imprint of WaterBrook Multnomah, imprints of Penguin Random House. Ink & Willow products infuse contemplation and inspiration into the regular spiritual practice of creative-minded Christians, wherever they are in their faith journey. Each thoughtfully curated gift product is based in biblical truth and sparks a reminder of how God reveals beauty in the midst of our ordinary.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)