BETWEEN HURT AND HEALING
by Jackie Melvin
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Tate Publishing
Date of Publication: February 2, 2016
# of pages: 424
Introverted Denise Staukhill just wanted a quiet life. She never dreamed she would find a man like Darren Olsen to share it with. An unexpected tragedy ends their fairy-tale romance, and Denise once again finds herself alone and devastated.
Years later, the handsome head football coach from the local high school and Darren’s best friend, Eric Ortellio, tries desperately to help her find peace. As their relationship starts to grow, the manipulative Coach Nick Nelson, trying to protect his secretive past, steps in to ruin both of them.
Will Denise and Eric’s friendship sustain thelies and manipulation that the evil Nelson has weaved? Can Denise find the strength to let go of Darren and hold on to Eric, or will her faithfulness to Darren keep Eric out of her life forever?
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When Gabriel Ash's wife and kids were kidnapped four years ago by Somali pirates, his life spiraled out of control. He left his job working for the British government and moved to a small town where he descended into near madness. But with the help of his dog, Patience, and his friendship with young police officer Hazel Best, his focus returned. So when he discovers that his wife is still alive, Ash is once again filled with hope and fear. Hope that he has another chance to find her and their two young sons; fear that, in trying, he may bring about their deaths.
Hazel is deeply worried for Ash. But even she is unprepared for what Ash seems willing to do to secure the safety of his wife and children. In fact, nothing is as it seems and loyalty, friendship, and family bonds will be called into question. When Ash learns who was behind the events that wrecked his life and his sanity, even the resourceful Hazel might not be able to keep him from getting hurt. How much is Ash willing to sacrifice in order to bring his family home and bring justice to those responsible?
Current GoodReads Rating: 3.55 Stars
Kindle Edition, 318 pages
Published December 8th 2015 by Minotaur Books
The first half read like it was a novella designed to wrap up whatever story came before. Thinking that, I would have hated the story that came before. The first half of this story was the solution to a problem that must have started so many books ago. Then I felt awkward as Hazel filled her time with little projects and investigations, as if the major solution with Gabriel didn't just happen. At a point, I didn't understand why that event was even included in this book because it was an ending to the previous one and seemed to have nothing to do with Hazel's new investigations.
I would not recommend this as a stand alone. I did love the second half, but I was so upset by the chaos of the first half depending so heavily on previous books that I would only recommend to start with the first in this series if you have any interest to read this book. You will be so distracted and confused to referenced events that are not fully explained, that you get to the point where you want to stop reading. I'm glad I read this book, but it took way too long to get to the acceleration in this story and become it's own independent adventure. I would give this three out of five stars.
Texas Lady Lawyer vs Boots King
Texas Lady Lawyer Novel #1
by Manning Wolfe
First Place, The Writer’s League of Texas
Annual Manuscript Contest, 2014
Genre: Adult / Legal Thriller / Mystery /Suspense
Publisher: Starpath Books, LLC
Date of Publication: February 18, 2016
# of pages: 310
MERIT BRIDGES, an attorney and widowed mother in Austin, Texas, works hard, drinks too much wine, and sleeps with younger men. When Merit goes after a shady corporation threatening her client, she encounters hired gun Boots King. His charge is simple, “Stop her!” Merit and her team – including Betty, a mothering office manager with a bad-ass attitude – struggle to stay alive, while they navigate a labyrinth of legal issues, and prove once again that you don’t mess with a Texas lady lawyer.
College student Joe Talbert has the modest goal of completing a writing assignment for an English class. His task is to interview a stranger and write a brief biography of the person. With deadlines looming, Joe heads to a nearby nursing home to find a willing subject. There he meets Carl Iverson, and soon nothing in Joe's life is ever the same.
Carl is a dying Vietnam veteran--and a convicted murderer. With only a few months to live, he has been medically paroled to a nursing home, after spending thirty years in prison for the crimes of rape and murder.
As Joe writes about Carl's life, especially Carl's valor in Vietnam, he cannot reconcile the heroism of the soldier with the despicable acts of the convict. Joe, along with his skeptical female neighbor, throws himself into uncovering the truth, but he is hamstrung in his efforts by having to deal with his dangerously dysfunctional mother, the guilt of leaving his autistic brother vulnerable, and a haunting childhood memory.
Thread by thread, Joe unravels the tapestry of Carl’s conviction. But as he and Lila dig deeper into the circumstances of the crime, the stakes grow higher. Will Joe discover the truth before it’s too late to escape the fallout?
Current GoodReads Rating: 3.90 Stars
Paperback, 303 pages
Published October 14th 2014 by Seventh Street Books
This book was almost impossible to set down throughout the second half. It continually grew in anticipation and never quite solved itself till the end. I was constantly second guessing my verdict and enjoyed the twists and turns this story held. The only reason it received four instead of five stars in from my perspective was the beginning being such a slow build as Joe and his backstory were introduced and his decision to interview Carl was put into motion. Once you get past how Joe came to interview Carl, the meat of the story begins and the detective in you never stops trying to guess what will happen next.
There were many parts I wanted to reread in the second half as everything was unfolding at once, just to make sure I got all the details. It was definitely a thriller and held strong to the end. I would recommend this story to anyone who loves a good mystery. I would warn that there is a flash back to a war rape that almost had me wanting to stop reading the book, but the scene was cut short and not fully delved into so I bared through it. It is a murder mystery revolving around a rape so there are a few mentions to the act to warn the sensitive.
On Lone Star Trail
Texas Crossroads Book 3
by Amanda Cabot
Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Revell, a division of Baker Group
Date of Publication: February 2, 2016
# of pages: 368
The Future Starts When You
Let Go of the Past
“She wasn’t looking for love at Rainbow’s End, just a change of scenery and a chance to rest”
Sometimes our past tries desperately to navigate our future. But what if facing our fear and going against our protective impulses is the key to our future? In Amanda Cabot’s final book in her Texas Crossroads series, an unlikely couple discovers that their differences just might be what bring them together.
Gillian Hodge was heading toward a fulfilling life as a concert pianist when her dreams and career were shattered by a motorcyclist. Now she once again faces an encounter with a motorcyclist whose bike crashes in front of her.
TJ Benjamin, who has been wandering around the country on his motorcycle, is recovering from the death of his beloved wife and feeling lost in both his life and his faith. When he finds himself stranded with a busted bike and a reluctant rescuer, he has to wonder about God’s sense of humor.
Can a woman with an uncertain future and a man running to forget his past find love at Rainbow’s End? Or are they too tied to the way life used to be? These vivid characters develop and grow while readers enjoy the beautiful Texas setting.
Interview Questions for Amanda Cabot,