Thursday, January 18, 2018

Where We Belong

GIVEAWAY
AUSTIN, LYNN
WHERE WE BELONG

Join two incomparable sisters on adventures that span the decades and cross the globe.

In the city of Chicago in 1893, the rules and expectations for Victorian women are strict, their roles in life limited. But sisters Rebecca and Flora Hawes are not typical Victorian ladies. Their love of adventure and their desire to use their God-given talents have taken them out of society ballrooms and delivered them to the Sinai Desert -- and into the teeth of a sandstorm.

Accompanied by Soren Petersen, their somber young butler, and Kate Rafferty, a plucky street urchin learning to be their ladies' maid, the two women are on a quest across the desert, chasing rumors of an important biblical manuscript.

At the expedition becomes ever more dangerous and uncertain, all four travelers sift through memories and adventures of their past, recalling the events that shaped them and the journeys and providence that brought them to this very time and place.

My Review:

An epic tale about two invincible sisters who refuse to be confined by societal expectations. And while a work of fiction Where We Belong reads more like a memoir since it is a collection of memories. In fact, the largest portion of these 470 pages is spent in past decades -- and told from the point of view of four different characters whose stories all interconnect -- the sisters, Rebecca and Flora and their two charges, Kate and Soren.

The story begins with a trek across the Sinai Desert in 1890. These forty-something sisters have led rich, colourful and unorthodox lives and the holy quest they are on provides them with time to reflect on the past decades that have led them to this point. The sisters compliment each other beautifully --- Rebecca is brash and fearless while Flora is more thoughtful and cautious.  And both sisters live their faith deeply. Their love of Jesus shines in everything they do. They are true disciples, acting as the hands and feet of Christ to all those around them. A truly inspiring and fascinating story.

Book provided courtesy of Baker Publications and Graf-Martin Publications.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

If you would like a chance to win a copy of Where We Belong, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooCA. If you add your email to a comment, remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday January 20 2018. Offer open to International Readers. Good luck.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Shattered Lullaby

GIVEAWAY
SCOTT, LAURA
SHATTERED LULLABY

Safeguarding the baby

Overhearing the murder of her sister, Lacy Germaine grabs her baby nephew and flees for their lives. But not before she's seen by the killer -- who she's certain is her lawman brother-in-law. Now an instant mom on the run, Lacy will protect the baby at all costs, and she trusts nobody. Not even her rescuer, K-9 cop Matt Callahan. Despite the police alert issued for the missing little boy, Matt believes that Lacy is innocent of kidnapping. Keeping them safe soon becomes his top priority. But no matter how deep they hide, danger finds them...until Matt is all that stands between the beautiful woman, the vulnerable baby and a desperate killer.

Callahan Confidential: Facing danger and fighting for justice is all in a day's work for this family.

My Review:

So, clearly I've been missing out on something good since this is the fourth book in the Callahan Confidential series and I'm just discovering it now. I don't know how my romantic suspense spidey senses went so askew but, thankfully, the gorgeous cover on Shattered Lullaby screamed 'buy me' so I did! Now I'll have to check out the other stories involving Matt's siblings.

I can't resist a good K-9 story and this one is tremendous! That's Duchess on the cover and she's Matt's loyal partner who can double as a babysitter in a pinch. :-) She gave me plenty of gray hairs during this read though because she's fearless! And yes, there are some pretty cool humans in this story as well. You gotta love a dog lovin' hero dedicated to his calling in law enforcement but not afraid to trust his gut in touchy situations. Like the one Lacy finds herself in. Cue nerve wracking action and edgy suspense as Matt and Lacy dive through mayhem to solve an impossibly complicated case. Four paws up for this K-9 heroine and two-legged sidekicks!

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

If you would like a chance to win a copy of Shattered Lullaby leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you add your email to a comment remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday January 20 2018. Offer open to International Readers. Good luck.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Bringing Maggie Home

GIVEAWAY
SAWYER, KIM VOGEL
BRINGING MAGGIE HOME

Decades of Loss, an Unsolved Mystery, and a Rift Spanning Three Generations

Hazel DeFord is a woman haunted by her past. While berry picking in a blackberry thicket in 1943, ten-year-old Hazel momentarily turned her back on her three-year-old sister, Maggie, and the young girl disappeared

Almost seventy years later, the mystery remains unsolved, and the secret guilt Hazel carries has alienated her from her daughter, Diane, who can't understand her mother's overprotectiveness and near paranoia. While Diane resents her mother's inexplicable eccentricities, her daughter Meghan -- a cold case agent -- cherishes her grandmother's lavish attention and affection.

When a traffic accident forces Meghan to take a six-weak leave of absence to recover, all three generations of DeFord women find themselves unexpectedly under the same roof. Meghan knows she will have to act as a mediator between the two headstrong and contentious women. But when they uncover Hazel's painful secret, will Meghan also be able to use her investigative powers to solve the family mystery and help both women recover all that's been lost?

My Review:

A timeless story that explores the ripple effect a tragedy causes across generations. It's a rich, multi-layered tapestry of emotion that really made an impact on me. Told from the multiple view points of Hazel (grandmother), Diane (daughter) and Meghan (granddaughter) with the occasional flashback, it really illustrates the power a parent's words and actions hold. And how they shape the future generations beyond the moment they are said or done. This was an eyeopening read for me.

I adored Hazel. Closing in on eighty, we get the benefit of her memories first so it's easy to see how the disappearance of her sister shaped the rest of her life. But since she's buried that secret for decades, her daughter and granddaughter don't have the same insight the reader does and that makes family dynamics complicated. Especially between Hazel and her daughter.

True confession: Diane irked me from the very start. My least favourite character, I was bordering on hostile for most of the read. But Sawyer does an exceptional job of weaving a tale of grace and forgiveness and  the patience it takes to live both truthfully so that was a huge takeaway lesson for me. :-)

Meghan is easy to love. She's has a unique relationship with her grandmother and it's that bond that catapults these three women onto a journey of discovery and healing.

One of my favourite quotes from the book is courtesy of Hazel -- a woman of faith paired with a wry sense of humour. "God, not to be irreverent, but sometimes I wonder if You listen to me at all." (p. 52) I can totally relate to that sentiment and might be guilty of saying the same thing from time to time. :-) Unfortunately, Diane has had a very different experience with religion which has left her contemptuous of anything to do with faith while Meghan is quietly questioning thanks to the gentle but direct encouragement of a friend. Loved the insights that come from the realistic mix of characters at different stages of their faith journey.

A page-turning family drama with the hint of romance and plenty of mystery.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

If you would like a chance to win a copy of Bringing Maggie Home, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you add your email to a comment remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday January 21 2018. Offer open to International Readers. Good luck!


Monday, January 15, 2018

Threads of Suspicion

GIVEAWAY
HENDERSON, DEE
THREADS OF SUSPICION

Will her latest cold case unravel before justice is served?

Evie Blackwell's reputation as a top investigator for the Illinois State Police has landed her an appointment to the governor's Missing Persons Task force. With so much public fanfare surrounding the launch of this elite investigative team, the political stakes are high, and the team will have to produce results -- and quickly.

Evie and her new partner, David Marshal, are assigned to a pair of unrelated cases in suburban Chicago, and while both involve persons now missing for several years, the cases couldn't be more different. As Evie opens old wounds in a close-knit neighborhood over the disappearance of a college student, David searches for a private investigator whose last case involved a high-powered client.

With a deep conviction that "justice for all" truly matters, Evie and David are unrelenting in their search for the truth. But the questions that lie just beneath the surface in Evie's personal life are also begging for answers.

My Review:

This is the second Evie Blackwell Cold Case mystery but reads well as a standalone. The special cold case task-force is now official and working on their first cases. Threads of Suspicion features David and Evie in a fascinating play-by-play of police procedures. And I do mean fascinating.

It's like watching a crime drama show only getting all the clue building bits they skim over to get to the action scenes. This suspense is the opposite. Low on action and danger but high on the painstaking work police officers put in before they make an arrest. It's rich in dialogue, friendship building and complicated romances (David and Evie are both in serious relationships -- but not with each other.)

Evie is an astute, tough-as-nails cop but surprisingly vulnerable in her personal life. It's an intriguing contrast -- the confident and brilliant investigator doesn't mesh with the caution she carries into her romantic relationship. Love the rich, deeply thoughtful conversations she has with Rob. His steadfastness and patience as he waits for her.

 A brilliant glimpse into the complicated world of investigative police work -- not your typical action-packed suspense but captivating all the same.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

If you would like a chance to win a copy of Threads of Suspicion, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you add your email to a comment remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday January 21 2018. Offer open to International Readers. Good luck.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

January Giveaway - WeekTwo



WON BY LINDA MOFFITT
WON BY CAITLIN M.
WON BY SUSAN P.
WON BY TAMMIE EDINGTON SHAW
WON BY PAM WESTFALL
WON BY CARYL KANE
As always, I'll contact the winners by Monday evening (but if you didn't include your email, it will be up to you to send me your snail mail address at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca,) I try to order books within a week of receiving a winner's email address but sometimes I'm a bit slowpokey -- like I haven't ordered last week's books yet. Oops. Will get right on that! From time to time a winner and I don't connect so I have a month time limit -- if I don't reach you within four weeks, your win is forfeited.

LOOKING AHEAD TO NEXT WEEK'S GIVEAWAYS:

A great glimpse into criminal investigation
Angsty family dynamics and a mystery

Heart-in-throat action right from the first page

Epic historical
Heartbreaking and hopeful

PLUS -- SINCE I'M REVIEWING A NON-FICTION BOOK THIS WEEK,
I AM HOSTING A READER'S CHOICE GIVEAWAY OF
ANY CHRISTIAN FICTION BOOK IN PRINT
LOOK FOR DETAILS ON FRIDAY

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Murder at the Mikado

GIVEAWAY
DEERING, JULIANNA
MURDER AT THE MIKADO

When a celebrated actor is found murdered in his dressing room, all signs point to Drew's old flame. But behind the curtains nothing is what it seems and this quickly becomes his most puzzling case yet.

Just as Drew Farthering thinks his life has calmed down some, Fleur Lanids, a former girlfriends, reappears, in dire need of his help. She's married now, no longer an actress -- but the lead actor in her former troupe's production of The Mikado has been murdered, and Fleur is the police's number one suspect.

Drew would rather focus on his fiancee, Madeline Parker, and their upcoming wedding, but he can't leave Fleur and her family in the lurch -- even if she did break his heart once. As Drew, Nick, and Madeline begin investigating, they discover more going on behind the scenes of the theater troupe than could ever have been imagined. It seems nearly everyone had a motive, and alibis are few and far between.

Both the murder case and the presence of the beautiful, exotic Fleur put a heave strain on Drew and Madeline's relationship. Will their still young romance survive the pressure?

My Review:

published in 2014
My thanks to my public library for keeping me well stocked in retro reads!

If you love British period mysteries you will adore this series. I'm waiting with bated breath for the Drew Farthering Mystery series to become the next BBC runaway hit! It's bound to happen sooner or later and I'm hopping for sooner!

A beguiling mystery with so many interesting players I formulated a dozen scenarios before discovering the whodunnit. So love a mystery that challenges my armchair sleuthing skills. Clearly I need a make-up course on spotting the villain since I tend to suspect everyone in a Drew Farthering mystery. That's because of the multi-layered secondary characters with slowly emerging back stories -- it just seems everyone could be driven to murder with the right incentive!

And I think this might just be the most romantical book in the series. Drew and Madeline in a pre-wedding flurry. He cuts a dashing hero -- she knows how to keep him in line. The banter is priceless -- all the dialogue is so Dowton Abbeyish it thrills me to my toes.

Droll humour, a puzzling mystery and the thrill of romance -- what more can you want in a cozy mystery?

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

If you would like a chance to win a copy of Murder at the Mikado, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you add your email to a comment, remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday January 14 2018. Offer opent o International Readers. Good luck.

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Texan Twins

GIVEAWAY
NAVARRO, JOLENE
THE TEXAN TWINS

Big Texan Reunion

Between providing for her five-year-old twins and achieving her dream of running a wildlife sanctuary, Danica Bergmann has no room for anything -- or anyone -- else. So when the wildlife volunteers she's taken on turns out to be Reid McAllister, her secret husband, who disappeared before she got a chance to reveal she was pregnant, it flips her world upside down. Six years ago he wasn't worth chasing down, but Danica can tell Reid's a changed man -- and he's still the only man she's ever loved. It's a long road to redemption, but can Danica learn to trust Reid with their children...and their future?

Lone Star Legacy: Big Texas sides, bigger Texas hearts

My Review:

It can be tricky to make the 'secret baby' trope work for me so it takes some fancy footwork for an author to convince me that I'm going to  buy into the heroine's reasons for keeping her baby a secret from the father. I'm prepared to dislike said heroine from the very first page -- if I even end up reading the book! Yes, I'm that opinionated on the subject and I know a lot of other readers who are too. But guess what? Jolene Navarro did a brilliant job winning me over! And she's a new-to-me-author to boot! So I guess the moral of the story is never say never -- there's an exception to every rule.

I totally get why Danica hasn't told Reid about their twins. That drama plays out quietly in the beginning pages of the book as Navarro delivers a deeply emotional insight into Danica's backstory. And even when Reid shows up on the scene and it would make total sense to tell him about their girls I understood why she held back. I didn't like it. I didn't agree with it. But I felt it. All the emotions that are hitting Dani fast and furiously. The way it all starts spiraling out of control until she can't seem to catch her breath. And either could I.

This is a tentative second chance love story full of missteps and poignantly tender moments. It's about God's grace and the fact that forgiveness is an action. I laughed, I cried, I wanted to wring some necks, gag some of Danica's family members and purse whomp some holier than thou secondary characters. A totally awesome emotional roller coaster of a read!

GIVEAWAY OPPORUNITY:

If you would like a chance to win a copy of The Texan Twins leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you add your email to a comment remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday January 14 2018. Offer open to International Readers. Good luck.