Guilty Blood by Rick Acker

“Jessica Ames was shopping for salmon when her life shattered for the second time” (location 106).  From the very first line, I was drawn into the story.   When Jessica’s son, Brandon, is accused of murder and the evidence stacks against him, her friend and lawyer, Nate Daniels, is called on to help.  While not a criminal trial lawyer, Nate at least cares enough to make sure nothing gets missed.

This is the first book I’ve read by this author and it won’t be my last.  The story line was intricate. There were aspects in the criminal case that surprised me.  I loved that. I enjoyed seeing an autistic hacker play a big part in the case.  Kevin had such a desire to put a criminal behind bars but couldn’t understand why his hacking was a problem.

All of the trial and court aspects were so authentic and believable.  As the case went along, things became quite dangerous.  I felt like I was reading a John Grisham novel.  If you like court room drama, I’d highly recommend this book.

 

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Out of the Ordinary by Jen Turano

I LOVE this book and this series! Jen Turano is a master at creating characters, situations and dialogues that are delightful, poignant, and hilarious. I laughed out loud several times in this book. I didn’t want it to end.

Gertrude is a magnificent woman. She is willing to go to great lengths to serve her eccentric employer….even to the point of wearing a bustle made out of a birdcage! She is full of kindness and compassion and has a taste for adventure….which she needs working for Mrs. Davenport.

Harrison reads his sister’s romance novels to see what romantic gestures women enjoy. Whether they work in real life is the question. He has his own unique fashion sense. What I appreciate most about Harrison is how he looks past the surface of people to what they need and who they are.

As with other Turano books, the writing is witty and funny. Some of the situations are ridiculous and yet fit the characters. The characters are quirky. I loved how the butler stereotype is turned upside down in Barclay with his flair for the dramatic and a desire for adventure.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It can be read as a stand-alone but the backstories in the other books add to the fun and lay a foundation for what is happening here. Thank you to Bethany House for providing me with a free copy of this book. I was not required to leave a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Apart From the Crowd series:

Novella: At Your Request

Book 1: Behind the Scenes

Book 2: Out of the Ordinary

 

 

 

 

Holding the Fort by Regina Jennings

This is a delightful book. It is an easy, quick read filled with deep, thoughtful characters. I LOVED Daniel. He takes his responsibilities seriously yet has an adventurous side too. He realizes that what we think we need isn’t always what’s best for us. He loves in a grace-filled, beautiful way. He made my heart melt. There were a few exchanges between him, Louisa and Jack that had me laughing out loud.

Though I wish she would have told the truth from the beginning, Louisa’s actions were in line with who she was. She shows how hard it is to keep perpetuating a lie. Her caring, tender heart and sacrificial actions showed how her experiences at the fort had changed her.

This is the first book in The Fort Reno series and I can’t wait for book two. Thank you to Bethany House for providing me with a free e-copy of this book. I was not required to leave a positive review. All opinions are my own.

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage by Julie Klassen

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I really enjoyed this book and the traces of Jane Austen running through the pages. The village with its mix of high society and common villagers reminded me of “Larkrise to Candleford.” It felt very comfortable to me and the story flowed beautifully.  I would love to walk through the village, stop at the inn, ride the stagecoach, and visit the circulating library.   This story reminded me of some of the best things about small town life…where people take care of each other….even those who are different from them. I didn’t want the story to end and longed to see Mercy’s dreams come to fruition and for Jane to feel hope and joy. I’m eagerly looking forward to the next book.

Thank you to Bethany House for providing me with a free e-copy of this book. I was not required to leave a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Tales From Ivy Hill:

Book 1:  The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill

Book 2:  The Ladies of Ivy Hill

 

A Matter of Loyalty by Anselm Audley & Elizabeth Edmondson

This is the first book I’ve read by these authors. It was apparent that there was a lot of back story in the prior books. So I’d recommend checking out earlier books as it would make the story fuller and richer. However, I was able to figure out connections after a short time.

I enjoyed how the castle came to be used in so many different ways. I learned what a priest hole is and wanted to explore the castle. I understood why Georgia didn’t want to leave.

The descriptions of the characters are vivid and accurate. “Bruno bore grudges until they died of old age, and then had them embalmed” (location 1611). Jarrett’s disregard for others and his high opinion of himself was incredible. Gus is incredibly gracious and hospitable. He and Freya are the ones I’d most want to hang out with.

I enjoyed the twists and turns as the mystery unfolded. Everyone had a hand in solving it. I enjoyed it. Thank you to Thomas & Mercer for providing me with a free e-copy of this book. I was not required to leave a positive review. All opinions are my own.

A Very English Mystery series:

Book 1:  A Man of Some Repute

Book 2:  A Question of Inheritance

Book 3:  A Matter of Loyalty

 

 

Imperfect Justice by Cara Putman

Imperfect Justice by [Putman, Cara C.]

This book deals with really tough issues like custody battles, stalkers, and domestic abuse. It was very disturbing and I longed to see things come out right for the hurting and abused.

Emilie longs to make a difference by helping women get out of abusive relationships. When a client comes to a bad end, she feels she failed and is determined to do what she can to make things right for the innocent left behind.

I loved Emilie’s passion and felt she was very relatable. She questions her purposes and her work when things go wrong. She has her own past issues to deal with. She’s likeable and someone I’d want to have on my side if I were in trouble.

I enjoyed trying to figure out some of the mysteries in the book. It was a fast read because I had to get to the end. There was a sense of suspense and urgency that I found riveting. I’d recommend this book to all mystery lovers.

Thank you to Thomas Nelson for providing me with a free e-copy of this book. I was not required to leave a review. All opinions are my own.

 

Hand Made: The Modern Woman’s Guide to Made-from-Scratch Living by Melissa K. Norris

Hand Made: The Modern Woman's Guide to Made-from-Scratch Living by [Norris, Melissa K.]

I am not someone who is trying to live off the land or make everything from scratch but I still liked this book. It was full of tips and recipes and ideas. It talked about ways to make your home a refuge for your family and others. I found it very compelling.

One of my favorite tips was to stretch a meal by adding another side dish. Sometimes I’m not sure if a meal I’m making will be enough for the number of people I’m serving, but I don’t want to make a whole second pan. Adding another side dish is a great, easy option.

Each chapter has a different focus and everything is tied in to that theme. For instance, a chapter entitled “Simmer” talks about how God calls us to wait at times and the lessons that are learned in the waiting. This section included recipes that take a bit more time, like soups.

I loved the selection of recipes in this book and can’t wait to try some. I’ve read about many pioneer women making biscuits and now I know how to do that myself. There are helpful ideas like making a double batch so you’ll have some to freeze or substitutions if you don’t have buttermilk.

There is information on growing herbs indoors, prioritizing daily tasks, simplifying your life, decorating, gift making, etc. It doesn’t cover these topics extensively but it gives a person like me a place to start. The ideas and recipes don’t require a lot of fancy tools or ingredients. I marked many things that I want to try.

Thank you to Harvest House for providing me with a free e-copy of this book. I was not required to leave a positive review. All opinions are my own.