16 February 2017

Review: Raging Storm by Vanetta Chapman

Exciting Sequel to Deep Shadows

Raging Storm is the second book in Vanetta Chapman’s The Remnant series, following Deep Shadows, and it’s definitely a series you need to read in order. If you haven’t read Deep Shadows, I recommend you read it before even reading this review. But you can click here to read my review of Deep Shadows.

Long story short ...

A solar flare has fried every computer chip in North America, so there are no computers, no Wi-Fi, no electricity … and little in the way of government or police protection.

(At this point I’m wondering how New Zealand would fare after a solar flare. After all, our local hydroelectric power station predates computer chips by decades, so surely it would still run. It also makes me thankful for our gun control laws—I don’t know anyone who owns a gun except a couple of farmers who keep them for shooting possums.)

Raging Storm starts with Shelby and her teenage son in Abney, Texas, in relative safety. But not for long—Shelby needs insulin to manage Carter’s diabetes, which means a trip to Austin, in the hope there will be some there. And a trip to Austin in this increasingly lawless society means facing unknown dangers.

Raging Storm seemed to start slowly, because it took a while for me to get into it. But once I did, it was solid conflict and action. There were a lot of bad people, but there was also a significant minority who tried to do the right thing—and some paid the price.

The whole novel takes place over a relatively short period of time, which means there isn’t a lot of room for character change and growth. The focus is more on fast-paced action.
I guess what shocked/surprised me most (but perhaps shouldn’t have) was the selfishness of most of most of the minor characters. Not just the low-key selfishness of wanting to do our own thing rather than something harder that is in the best interests of other people, but the willingness to abandon any semblance of civilised behaviour the moment it becomes clear there will be no consequences.

I suppose this is everyday life for people outside my first-world bubble.

An exciting dystopian thriller, recommended for those who want to read something a little outside the Christian norm.

Thanks to Harvest House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Vanetta Chapman at her website, and you can read the introduction to Raging Storm below:

14 February 2017

I'm Reviewing Still Life by Dani Pettrey at Suspense Sisters Reviews!

I'm over at Suspense Sisters Reviews today, reviewing Still Life by Dani Pettrey. It's the second novel in her new Chesapeake Valor series, recommended for those who enjoy fast-paced thrillers from authors such as Terri Blackstock and Ronie Kendig.

Click here to read my review. Here's the Amazon book description:
Romantic Suspense's Rising Star Continues to Win Fans
Blacklisted in the photography business over a controversial shot, Avery Tate answered an ad for a crime scene photographer. She expected to be laughed at, but crime scene analyst Parker Mitchell hired her outright--and changed her life. But six months ago, when her feelings for Parker became too strong, she left his employ to sort out her heart.
Now, for the first time, Avery is facing the world that rejected her to attend the gallery opening of a photography exhibit and support her best friend, who modeled for the show. But the only image of her friend is a chilling photo of her posing as if dead--and the photographer insists he didn't take the shot. Worse, her friend can't be found. She immediately calls Parker for help. As Avery, Parker, and his friends in law enforcement dig into the mystery, they find themselves face-to-face with a relentless and deadly threat.

And here's a link to the first book in the series, Cold Shot: Click here to read my review.

10 February 2017

Review: Murder on the Moor by Julianna Deering

Another Excellent Drew Fathering Mystery

I have enjoyed every one of Julianna Deering’s Drew Farthering Mysteries, but I think Murder on the Moor is the best yet. It’s the fifth book in the series, and although there is a minor subplot arching over the series, this can be read as a standalone, or as part of the series. And best of all, reading them out of order won’t hurt.

In Murder on the Moor, Drew and Madeline Fathering are called to an old house in a tiny village on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors after the local vicar is found murdered on the steps of the church. There is no apparent motive but there is a village full of interesting characters with secrets to hide … the handsome Welsh gamekeeper, the bright unsatisfied wife, the unhappy neighbours, the rough local poacher, his blind daughter who weaves yarn in beautiful colours, and the tales of an enormous wild beast which roams the moors.

And there are the village secrets Drew gradually uncovers, one of which will lead him to the truth about the murder … if he isn’t killed first.

Murder in the Moor is set in the 1930s, and is written in the classic style of writers such as Agatha Christie, and Georgette Heyer (who wrote ‘contemporary’ mysteries as well as her better-known Regency romance). The style and tone perfectly captures the feel of the era, especially the different classes, and the ending was perfect: unexpected, yet obvious enough (in hindsight) to be satisfying.

Overall, recommended for mystery fans.

Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. Julianna Deering also writes as DeAnna Julie Dodson, and you can find out more about her at her website. You can read the opening to Murder on the Moor below:

9 February 2017

ACRBA Tour and Review: Once Confronted by Lynne Stringer

6 - 10 February 2017

is Introducing 
(By the Rhiza Press, 1 October 2016)

By Lynne Stringer

About the Book:
After a normal day turns disastrous, Madison Craig tries to put her life back together. She’s jumping at shadows and finds even familiar places terrifying. Can she forgive the men who hurt her?
Her friend Evan Mansfield sees no need to do anything but hate their assailants. He struggles with bitterness, but Maddy wants to move on. What will she do when one of the men asks for forgiveness? 

About the Author:
Lynne Stringer has been passionate about writing all her life, beginning with short stories in her primary school days. She began writing professionally as a journalist and was the editor of a small newspaper (later magazine) for seven years, before turning her hand to screenplay writing and novels.

Lynne is the author of the Verindon trilogy, a young adult science fiction romance series released in 2013. Her latest novel, released in October 2016, is Once Confronted, a contemporary drama. Visit www.lynnestringer.com for more information.
Lynne is the author of the Verindon series including The HeirThe Crown and The Reign.

My Review

I reviewed Once Confronted last year, and thought it was excellent. Click here to read my review: Once Confronted by Lynne Stringer.

7 February 2017

Review: The Swap by Nancy Boyarksy

Great first line—it promises suspense by the bucketload, and that’s definitely what The Swap delivered. Nicole and Brad are from LA, and have swapped houses for three months with Muriel and Freddy Lowry of Chiswick, London. Nicole hopes the trip will help revitalise her marriage,

The thing which impressed me the most about The Swap was the research. I’ve lived in London, and the details were spot on, from the description of Victoria Station to Nicole’s fascination at her first visit to Sainsbury’s (one of the major UK supermarket chains).

Most books I read that are from American authors but set in England (or anywhere outside the US) are riddled with vocabulary and setting errors, so it was refreshing to find one that not only had no noticeable errors, but perfectly captured the London I remember. The only thing which caught me was when Nicole commented about how a character pronounced ‘vase’ as ‘vaaze’. Well, that’s how I pronounce it, so I was left wondering how Nicole pronounces it.

But that’s not to say the story wasn’t good. It was. Yes, I still have fingernails but only because I set the book aside a couple of times to recover. The plot and suspense were both excellent, with plenty of unpredictable twists. If The Swap has a failing, it would be that the characters weren’t quite as good. I didn’t get the impression Nicole grew or changed as a character, but that is often the nature of thrillers.

I requested The Swap for review because it was from Light Messages Publishing, and I’ve recently reviewed another Light Messages book which was Christian fiction. I therefore assumed Light Messages was a Christian publisher, as few publishers straddle both markets. In terms of writing and editing, The Swap was by far the better book, but it’s definitely not Christian fiction. There is a lot of bad language, as well as violence and sex (not on the page, but implied).

I checked the Light Messages website, and there is nothing to indicate they are a Christian publisher (despite the name, which seemed like the kind of name a small press focusing on Christian fiction would choose). I’m now left wondering why a general market publisher published the other book, which was full of Christian romance cliches. Perhaps that’s the explanation: they don’t publish Christian fiction, so didn’t realise the other book was full of badly written cliches and too many romance tropes.

No matter. I'm glad I read the swap, and I'll be watching for the sequel.

Thanks to Light Messages Publishing and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.