Book Review: A Dance in Donegal by Jennifer Deibel

A Dance in Donegal
By Jennifer Deibel
Historical Romance
Rating: 4/5

What a lovely story! It’s been awhile since I’ve been taken back to Ireland and I was not disappointed. Not only does this historic romance hit all the spots but there’s some mystery thrown in that had me guessing till the reveal.

Moira Doherty grew up listening to stories about dancing at the halla in Ireland from her mother, and after the death of her mother, Moira is hired to start teaching in the town her mother grew up in. An American to her core, Moira must navigate the differences in rural living with her city upbringing and their superstitious beliefs with her spiritual ones. However, the more she grows to enjoy her time in the quirky village, the more she begins to feel out of place except when she’s with one man, Sean McFadden. The townspeople treat her poorly and gossip about her because of her mother. Can Moira discover the truth about what happened and find a way to save her reputation?

There’s so much more to this story than on the surface. The characters are ones I’d loved to visit again. They made me laugh, cry and want to throw things. As someone who always tries to give someone the benefit of the doubt, I struggled with some of the characters. Other characters were amazing examples of how God loves us and chooses us. Lots of tears were shed near the end (but I’m a crier lol).

Note: there’s a glossary at the end to help with all the Gaelic.

Highly recommend if you enjoy Christian historical romance with a hint of mystery.

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Book Review: The Price of Valor by Susan May Warren

The Price of Valor
by Susan May Warren
Book 3 in the Global Search and Rescue series
Rating: 4.5/5
Release date: October 6, 2020

Susan May Warren never disappoints! If you need some romantic suspense and mystery in your life, read this book! I highly recommend reading the first two books in this series before reading this third one because you’ll understand so much more. I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary but you’ll be better acquainted with the characters and the background.

Hamilton Jones and Signe Kincaid grew up as childhood sweethearts but life and their careers took them away from each other. When Ham realizes that his wife is alive and they have a daughter, he knew nothing would stop him from trying to find out the truth. Signe is a CIA operative who’s been in deep cover for years and hopes to save some lives including her daughter’s. Ham is hurt and angry and trying to build a relationship with his daughter who he missed growing up. He desperately wants to believe and forgive Signe for all that she did but he is unsure. Can he trust his wife or will he lose everything he’s sought to protect?

The author has a couple stories going on at once – which is why I recommend reading the other books so you can get more background on the other couple. The story deals with disasters near and far and I always enjoy how everything comes together at the end. The author is so clever in her craft and I can’t wait to read more from her. 

Throughout the book there is a message of faith and forgiveness. Signe feels so much shame for her past and finds it hard to accept forgiveness. She and Ham both have lots of baggage from their pasts and while Ham stayed faithful, Signe had strayed without Ham there to guide her. I can only imagine the psychological ramifications of maintaining a deep cover while keeping oneself relevant and sane. Compartmentalizing becomes your friend. I love when authors deal with real-life issues in an organic way.

I also loved seeing characters from other series that the author has written. That was a lot of fun!

I highly recommend this book if you are a fan of romantic suspense and high stakes espionage.

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Book Review with CelebrateLit Giveaway: The Crushing Depths by Dani Pettrey

Crushing Depths FB banner

About the Book

Book: The Crushing Depths
Author: Dani Pettrey
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: June 30, 2020

Crushing depths

They know the power and peril of the ocean.But as they get closer to the deadly truth…An even greater danger lurks just beneath the surface.

When an accident claims the life of an oil-rig worker on the first drilling platform off the North Carolina coast, Coast Guard investigators Rissi Dawson and Mason Rogers are sent to take the case. Tensions surrounding the oil rig are high and the death has everyone on edge. Environmental activists are threatening to do whatever it takes to stop the structure from being completed, while rumors are being whispered about ancient curses surrounding this part of the ocean.

Mounting evidence shows the death may not have been an accident at all. Was he killed by one of the activists or, perhaps more frighteningly, a member of his own crew? Rissi and Mason have to sort through not only a plethora of suspects, but also their own past and attraction to each other.

Just as the case seems like it’ll break open, worse news arrives. A tropical storm has turned their way and soon they’re cut off from any rescue–and right where the killer
wants them. It’s a race to discover his identity before he eliminates the threat they pose.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Dani Pettrey

Praised by New York Times best-selling author Dee Henderson as “a name to look for in romantic suspense,” Dani Pettrey has sold more than half a million copies of her novels to readers eagerly awaiting the next release. Dani combines the page-turning adrenaline of a thriller with the chemistry and happy-ever-after of a romance. Her novels stand out for their “wicked pace, snappy dialogue, and likable characters” (Publishers Weekly), “gripping storyline[s],” (RT Book Reviews), and “sizzling undercurrent of romance” (USA Today). She researches murder and mayhem from her home in Maryland, where she lives with her husband. Their two daughters, a son-in-law, and two adorable grandsons also reside in Maryland. For more information about her novels, visit www.danipettrey.com

My Thoughts

The Crushing Depths
by Dani Pettrey
Book 2 in the Coastal Guardians series
Rating: 4/5
Release date: June 30, 2020

Woohoo! I love getting to know what happens next. Dani Pettrey introduced readers to some phenomenal characters in her first book of the series, The Killing Tide, and I was very impressed with how seamlessly the story continues in this second installment. However, you can still read this as a standalone and not feel like anything is missing. Get ready for a thrilling ride!

Coast Guard Investigator Rissi Dawson loves her job but when her childhood friend and crush joins their team, things get a little more interesting. Having just moved from Kodiak, Alaska, Mason Rogers was surprised to find Rissi working for the Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS). They are sent out to investigate whether a death on a nearby oil rig was an accident or if foul play was involved. Oil rigs are already a dangerous place to be and add in environmental activists, tensions are high and suspect. When the crewmate’s death points to murder, can Rissi and Mason find out who is to blame before they hurt someone else or get rid of the evidence? Are the environmental activists involved or is it someone on the oil rig? While trying to solve the case, can Rissi and Mason admit their feelings for each other and keep each other from danger? 

I always love Dani Pettrey’s characters. Rissi is so strong and resilient after the abusive past she endured. I loved seeing her as a strong and competent agent with uncanny instincts about people. It reminded me of the TV show, Lie to Me, where the main character talked about how victims of abuse can have amazing observational people skills because of what they went through. Rissi knew how to read a room. Unfortunately, Mason did not stand out as much to me in this particular story because there was another subplot regarding Noah (Mason’s boss) and Brooke (Coast Guard medic). Mason is still a sweet and strong male lead but because there are so many other characters, I do not think he got as much development. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing since I enjoyed following all the other characters on the CGIS team, but this is why I marked it down one star.

The story is fast-paced and full of action and intrigue that the reader can’t stop reading until the end when all is revealed. There was a certain point in the book where I did suspect who the murderer was but it still was a nice surprise to read. I highly recommend this book if you enjoy clean thrillers with romance and mystery. I’m sure it will be another hit!

My thanks to the author, NetGalley and CelebrateLit for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

More from Dani

Enjoy this special recipe for a Lavender and Honey Latte that makes a special appearance in my book!

Blog Stops

Where Faith and Books Meet, August 12
Losing the Busyness, August 12
deb’s Book Review, August 12
Texas Book-aholic, August 13
Fiction Full Of Faith, August 13
For Him and My Family, August 13
Locks, Hooks and Books, August 13
Artistic Nobody, August 14 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)
Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 14
Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, August 14
Through the Fire Blogs, August 15
Mia Reads, August 15
April Hayman, Author, August 15
Emily Yager, August 15
Inklings and notions, August 16
Stories By Gina, August 16
CarpeDiem, August 16
Betti Mace, August 17
Lighthouse Academy, August 17
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 17
KarenSueHadley, August 17
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 18
lakaesidelivingsite, August 18
Livin’ Lit, August 18
The Christian Fiction Girl, August 19
Life, Love, Writing, August 19
Blogging With Carol, August 19
Life of Literature, August 19
Older & Smarter?, August 20
Inside the Wong Mind, August 20
Mary Hake, August 20
Melissa Wardwell- Back Porch Reads, August 21
Southern Gal Loves to Read, August 21
Empowermoms, August 21
A Modern Day Fairy Tale, August 21
Amanda Tero, August 22
Splashes of Joy, August 22
Simple Harvest Reads, August 22 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Pause for Tales, August 22
Blossoms and Blessings, August 23
Worthy2Read, August 23
Spoken from the Heart, August 23
Hallie Reads, August 23
The Artist Librarian, August 24
Christian Bookshelf Reviews , August 24
Daysong Reflections, August 24
Hebrews 12 Endurance, August 25
Live. Love. Read., August 25
Remembrancy, August 25
Lights in a Dark World, August 25

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Dani is giving away the grand prize package of a necklace, tumbler and a $50 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/ff51/the-crushing-depths-celebration-tour-giveaway

Book Review: The Woman in the Green Dress by Tea Cooper

The Woman in the Green Dress
by Tea Cooper
Rating: 4/5

After seeing this recommended on Instagram, I had to read it for myself. I was intrigued by the premise and I do love when two stories get folded into one. The mystery aspect was well done while the romance was not in the forefront which was a nice change.

Amidst the celebrating during Armistice Day, Fleur Richards receives news that her husband did not survive the war. She is confused and distressed to learn that he has left her a fortune in his home of Australia. She travels from London to Sydney in order to figure out what her husband has left her and transfer the inheritance to someone more deserving. What she finds is a mystery surrounding the shop and land owned by her late husband’s family. Can Fleur find out what happened to the supposedly cursed shop and family? Will the mysterious opal and woman in a green dress help give her answers?

The story moves back and forth between the past and present which can be a bit confusing without proper headings but the author was very good about giving you a timeline. As someone who has never been to Australia, I was delighted to learn new things about the animals and wildlife (I guess that’s the scientist in me). I loved learning about the history and am eager to read more. I was a bit disappointed that the author didn’t tie up all the loose ends but there is a satisfying conclusion to the mystery. I also felt the title was a bit misleading but it still works, I guess. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the story and characters. 

I still recommend reading this book if you enjoy romantic mysteries set in historical Australia.

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Book Review: The Blizzard Bride by Susanne Dietze

The Blizzard Bride
by Susanne Dietze
Book 11 in the Daughters of the Mayflower series
Release date: February 1, 2020
Rating: 4.5/5

I love this series! The writing is so well done and you can tell a whole lot of research went into each story. I also am a sucker for historical romance. I blame it on my daddy who always shared his love for history with me. Having never read anything from Dietze before, I was impressed with her pacing and characters.

Abigail Bracey is the new teacher in Wells, Nebraska. As much as she enjoys her job, she is also there on a job with the Secret Service, working for the Treasury, investigating a counterfeiter’s lost son. Her mission is secret except to Secret Service Agent Dashiell Lassiter who is also in town because they got word that the counterfeiter was headed their way. Abby and Dash are not only coworkers but former childhood sweethearts. Dash left her right before Abby’s entire life fell to pieces and she’s never forgiven him. Can the two of them work together to find this evil man and protect his son?

Having never heard about the crazy blizzard of January 1888, I was intrigued to learn something new and get a great story too. I love how the author wove the story of bitterness and forgiveness even til the very end. Abby’s transformation is beautiful and brought tears to my eyes. Loving your enemy is not easy but it was inspiring to read about.

Highly recommend for those that enjoy historical inspirational fiction.

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Book Review: Love By Chance by Kacy Cross

Love By Chance: Based on the Hallmark Channel Original Movie
by Kacy Cross
Rating: 4/5

When I saw that this story was available for review, I jumped at the chance. I am a huge fan of Hallmark Channel Original Movies that just make you cry and feel good inside. I knew I would enjoy the book version of the movie, Love By Chance, because I’d get to read and understand the characters better. It did not disappoint.

What do you do when your mother likes to control everything about you and is obsessed with your love life? Claire is a pastry chef who co-owns a struggling bistro but is determined to make it work. Her mother is determined to find her a husband at any cost. Claire’s mom, Helen, has a sixth sense about these things and considers herself a successful matchmaker. When Helen takes things a tad too far, she meets someone new who she insists is perfect for Claire – Eric, a pediatrician. Helen somehow convinces Eric to go to an art gallery event that Claire is catering. When the two meet, sparks fly and now Eric has a problem. He is quickly falling for Claire but hates lying to her. Meanwhile, Helen is still trying to control everything with Claire while neglecting her own husband and their plans for retirement. What happens when the truth comes out?

I loved reading this version of the original movie because I was able to be inside the head of the different characters and really understand their motivations and thoughts for their actions. Helen still frustrates me to no end but I know her heart’s in the right place. I loved the Epilogue because that wasn’t in the original movie. There’s also a recipe in the back of the book which I definitely want to try out.

The book is basically the movie in written form but with a more filled out story which I enjoyed reading. I highly recommend this book for lovers of Hallmark Channel Original Movies and clean, sweet romance.

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Book Review: Collateral Damage by Lynette Eason

Collateral Damage
by Lynette Eason
Book 1 in Danger Never Sleeps series
Release date: January 7, 2020
Rating: 4.5/5

Wow. That was so good. Lynette Eason always has thrilling stories but this one was extra special. Action, mystery, romance and medicine – what else could a girl need? (I’m not biased as a medical student at all lol.)

Having almost finished serving her time in the military as a psychiatrist, Captain Brooke Adams is injured overseas and sent home. She loves her job being able to help people but has never felt that she really helped any of the service men and women she saw in Afghanistan. She is determined to try to forget what happened and move on by not seeing any veterans in her new practice. That all changes when retiree Sergeant First Class Asher James walks back into her life just as bullets are flying. Unsure of why she’s being pursued, she and Asher must figure out what the bad guys are after and how to keep each other safe along the way. Will the sparks flying between these two souls help them deal with their PTSD and bring them closer together?

The military details are very authentic sounding and well explained for a non-military person like myself. It was a bit confusing in the first chapter with all the military lingo, but after re-reading it a second time, it made more sense. I guess I needed a warmup. 😉

I also love the way that Eason incorporates her faith into these stories. She has a way of weaving it all into the story without any cringe.

Her characters are flawed and need time to grow and develop. Mental health is such a huge topic in this day and age, especially with veterans. The story could be taken from the headlines – I love that she writes about what’s current and relevant for today.

Highly recommend to anyone who loves Christian military action, romance, mystery, and suspense.

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Book Review: The Noble Guardian by Michelle Griep

The Noble Guardian by Michelle Griep Book Cover

The Noble Guardian
by Michelle Griep
Book 3 in the Bow Street Runners Trilogy
Rating: 4.5/5

Abigail Gilbert is finally free! She is leaving her family who hates her and is going to meet her beloved fiancé and live happily ever after with someone who actually wants to be with her. However, highwaymen run rampant on her journey and threaten her life.

Captain Samuel Thatcher is in charge of keeping the roads safe from highwaymen and steps in to save Abby’s life. The captain is close to retiring but begrudgingly agrees to escort Ms. Gilbert to her destination in exchange for money from her fiancé for her safety.

Unfortunately, this harrying journey is more than either expected. Together they must find a way to coexist and not kill each other as they face many trials and heated discussions.

This fast-paced story is everything you’d want and more. I didn’t quite know what to expect when I started reading this story but I knew it would be good because of Michelle Griep’s ability to weave a fun and provocative tale. When I first started to read, I wasn’t aware it was part of a trilogy. It can definitely be read as a standalone book. After realizing it was part of a trilogy, I found that I had read the previous books but didn’t realize it because that first book was from back in 2015. I will have to revisit those other two books in the series to jog my memory but that isn’t necessary to appreciate the wonders of Griep’s gripping action. The characters are lovely and you feel their tension and conflict. Very well written and highly recommended.

My thanks to Barbour Publishing for a copy of this book via Net Galley. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received. 

EDIT: Buy this book here!

Book Review: Fire & Ice by Mary Connealy

Fire & Ice
by Mary Connealy
Rating: 4/5
Book 3 of the Wild at Heart Series
Bethany House – Fiction | Christian | Historical Romance

Bailey Wilde is the last of the Wilde sisters to stick around in the West. She is also one of the best (and smartest) ranchers in the area. Ever since she served in the Civil War, she’s disguised herself as a young man and worked hard to be the son her father wanted and loved. Her only real competition is Gage Coulter, who is trying to gain back access to his canyon of 5,000 acres of grass for his cattle. Ever since he found out that Mr. Bailey Wilde had set up a homestead at the entrance to his canyon, he’s been trying to find a way to buy the land or barter a deal to trespass through her land to give his cattle access. He’s determined and will get his way, despite any warning gunshots that Wilde shoots his way.

When Gage finally figures out the truth about Miss Bailey Wilde, he continues to try to barter a deal with her, but she refuses. When Gage shows her his plans to force another opening to the canyon, Bailey gives up. She will have to find another place for her herd to graze. She is disappointed but still determined to make this work.

After a long and lonely winter, Bailey is overjoyed to see Gage, despite the circumstances. She is shocked when he proposes marriage, in order to fool his mother, who is coming to visit him. In her loneliness, she decides to marry Gage in exchange for the rights to the canyon and her homestead. Can Bailey and Gage find a way to make this marriage work? Can they learn to trust and respect each other’s skills? Can they learn to let go of their pasts and see the promising future that’s before them?

Ending this novel was bittersweet. I didn’t want the series to end. I’ve enjoyed all three books in the Wild at Heart series and I can’t wait to see what else Mary Connealy comes up with next. She is incredibly talented at creating characters that are flawed and lovable and frustrating and endearing! I love all of the humor and faith she infuses into her stories. She pulls me right into the historical setting and I’m not content until I find out what exactly happens to the main characters.

Although you could read this book by itself, I would recommend reading the other two books first just to be more familiar with some of the other characters. I recommend this book to anyone who loves a great historical romance with comedy!

I received this book for free from the publisher and NetGalley but was not required to give a positive review.

Book Review: In Firefly Valley by Amanda Cabot

In Firefly Valley
by Amanda Cabot
Rating: 4/5
Book 2 in the Texas Crossroads series
Revell – Fiction | Contemporary Fiction

After losing her job, Marisa St. George returns to her hometown of Dupree, Texas, where she has accepted a business manager position at the newly renovated Rainbow’s End resort. The resort is about to have its grand opening, but they already have one mysterious guest, Blake Kendall, a friend of the owner’s.

Blake is in need of some rest and relaxation, since he’s tried everything to get over his writer’s block. His trip to Dupree could be just what he needs to feel inspired again. As a successful author, he’s kept his identity a secret by using a pseudonym. He believes his stories are just entertaining and nothing more; however, Marisa unknowingly hates his books and how his main character glorifies smoking and especially drinking. The attraction between Marisa and Blake is practically electric, but will Blake’s secret drive them apart? Can Marisa learn to forgive and forget the past?

Amanda Cabot really knows how to create characters that I want to root for and get to know. In this second installment in the Texas Crossroads series, I got to reconnect with the characters from the previous book, At Bluebonnet Lake, and find out what’s been happening. I was immediately thrown into this small Texas town with its quirky but lovable characters and nuances. The characters have to deal with real life situations that make them so relatable. She expertly weaves faith throughout the story in a way that makes me want to read more!

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys light, fun, contemporary romances.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.