Book Review : Beneath the Surface

Sometimes going back home usher us into a place of familiarity and safety, and other times our trouble follows us.  Leigh Weston returns home after facing a stalker as an oncology nurse in her last job.  Returning home meant moving into her childhood home, a welcome return, however it meant dealing with the passing of both parents, head on.  Thinking she left her worries behind, Leigh quickly finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation as well as fearing for her life.

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Lynn H. Blackburn has kicked off a new series, Dive Team Investigations, with book #1 : Beneath the Surface.  A super fast paced novel that introduces some great characters quickly and who are easy to connect with.  The story kept me hooked, trying to figure out who the “bad guy” was and what was going to happen next!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and as soon as I finished it the book disappeared from my night stand, only to be found in my sons hands!   Jacob gave the book a thumbs up too, he finished in a day or two.  There are threads of romance woven throughout but not enough to offend my teenager!  Just enough to keep you involved and hoping things will work out!  Leigh’s interest is her brother’s  high school friend, who is doing the murder investigation.  Ryan is trying to find out who is behind the murders going on in their town, while trying to keep Leigh safe at the same time.

We will both be looking for book #2!  Lynn writes a fast paced, intriguing book that keeps you going to the last page.  The character interactions are real and not forced, the family ties are always my favorite!

Seeing that sometimes life throws hard things at you and that fears threaten to steal our joy, we know that no matter what we can rely on God to walk us through it all.  That is the main message that I took away from Beneath the Surface.

You can read more about Lynn on her blog, and even read the first chapter of Beneath the Surface!


More about Lynnlynn black

Lynn Huggins Blackburn believes in the power of stories, especially those that remind us that true love exists, a gift from the Truest Love. She’s passionate about CrossFit, coffee, and chocolate (don’t make her choose) and experimenting with recipes that feed both body and soul. She lives in South Carolina with her true love, Brian, and their three children. Her first book, COVERT JUSTICE (Love Inspired Suspense), won the 2016 Selah Award for Mystery and Suspense and the 2016 Carol Award for Short Novel. Her second book, HIDDEN LEGACY (Love Inspired Suspense), released in June 2017 and her new Dive Team Investigations series kicks off in March of 2018 with BENEATH THE SURFACE (Revell).


More about Beneath the Surface

Dive into the depths of fear with an exciting new voice in romantic suspense. Award-winning author Lynn H. Blackburn grabs readers by the throat and doesn’t let go until the final heart-pounding page.

After a harrowing experience with an obsessed patient, oncology nurse practitioner Leigh Weston needed a change. She thought she’d left her troubles behind when she moved home to Carrington, North Carolina, and took a job in the emergency department of the local hospital. But when someone tampers with her brakes, she fears the past has chased her into the present. She reaches out to her high school friend turned homicide investigator, Ryan Parker, for help.

Ryan finds satisfaction in his career, but his favorite way to use his skills is as a volunteer underwater investigator with the Carrington County Sheriff’s Office dive team. When the body of a wealthy businessman is discovered in Lake Porter, the investigation uncovers a possible serial killer–one with a terrifying connection to Leigh Weston and deadly implications for them all.


NOTE : I received a copy of Beneath the Surface in exchange for an honest review, from Revell Books.

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Book Review : The Melody of the Soul

One of my latest reads is a historic novel titled Melody of the Soul.

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This story takes place in 1943 in Prague while the Nazis are deporting Jewish people.  Liz Tolsma wrote The Melody of the Soul, and she did a fantastic job of taking you into the heart of this time period.  Not only does she describe Europe in a way that makes you want to visit and be a part of it, but she dives deep into her characters as well.

Using music as a bridge to connect disgruntled Natzis, loyal natzis and the people of Prague was fantastic.  No matter who they were they appreciated and valued the music, sadly ignoring the value of the people making it.

I was quickly drawn into this story and at times, my heart broke.  It is such an important truth that we never forget what happened over 50 years ago in Europe, and one way to validate the past and the destruction is to remember and reflect on the people who lost so much and sometimes everything.

I lived in Germany in the late 70’s and early 80’s and this story was especially significant for me, to remember what I saw over there and even the things in museums, and connections them to stories like this one.

There is lots of suspense in this story, a good amount of strong moral characters as well as some romance!  I thoroughly enjoyed this story and look forward to reading more by Liz Tolsma.

NOTE: I received a copy of The Melody of the Soul at no cost, in exchange for an honest review.


More about the book:

Anna has one chance for survival—and it lies in the hands of her mortal enemy.

It’s 1943 and Anna Zadok, a Jewish Christian living in Prague, has lost nearly everything. Most of her family has been deported, and the Nazi occupation ended her career as a concert violinist. Now Anna is left to care for her grandmother, and she’ll do anything to keep her safe—a job that gets much harder when Nazi officer Horst Engel is quartered in the flat below them.

Though musical instruments have been declared illegal, Anna defiantly continues to play the violin. But Horst, dissatisfied with German ideology, enjoys her soothing music. When Anna and her grandmother face deportation, Horst risks everything to protect them.

Anna finds herself falling in love with the handsome officer and his brave heart. But what he reveals might stop the music forever.

Book Review : Oath of Honor

Lynette Eason has roiled out her newest work, and it is book #1  in the Blue Justice series.  I have always enjoyed Lynette Eason’s books, but I think this might be my favorite series yet!  Why?  Primarily because the central theme is family!

Isabelle St. John is a part of a very large family, with lots of siblings!  Mom is the chief of police, dad is a lawyer, and the siblings are mostly police, with at least one an ER doctor.  Needless to say this is a driven family!  The best part?  They love each other and are deeply loyal to their family!!

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In Oath of Honor, Isabelle is part of an undercover operation that goes wrong and her partner is murdered.  While trying to figure out what happened at the scene of the crime, she dives pretty deep into a huge mess.  Ryan, a long time family friend and the brother of her partner is pulled into the mess as well as he is trying to figure out what is going on and protect Izzy (Isabelle) from targeted attempts on her life.

I always enjoy an action adventure book with some suspense, and Lynette always delivers that and more.  This book stands out from the rest in the central theme of family.  No matter what is going on, these siblings are fiercely loyal to each other, and they trust each other no matter what.  I love seeing a family, whether on paper or in real life, that is deeply committed to each other.

I loved meeting each of Izzy’s siblings in this book, and hope that we are going to get to really know them in future books!!  Since there are more than 3 siblings, I am really hoping that Blue Justice might hold more than just 3 stories in it!!

I loved this fast paced book, and of course the romance woven throughout was endearing too.  How can you not love Ryan?  And watch him and Izzy fall in love is pretty sweet!!

NOTE: I received a copy of Oath of Honor in exchange for an honest review.


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More about the author

Lynette Eason is the best selling, award winning author of the Women of Justice series, the Deadly Reunions series, the Hidden Identity Series and the currently releasing Elite Guardians series. She writes for Revell and Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense line. Her books have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists. She has won several awards including the 2013 Carol Award for WHEN A HEART STOPS in the Romantic Suspense category. Lynette teaches at writing conferences all over the country. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). Lynette can be found online at http://www.lynetteeason.com and http://www.facebook.com/lynette.eason and @lynetteeason on Twitter.


About the book

A murdered partner. A missing brother. Will Isabelle’s silence protect those she loves . . . or delay justice?

Police officer Isabelle St. John loves her crazy, loud, law-enforcement family. She knows they’ll be there for her when things get tough. Like when her partner is murdered and she barely escapes with her own life.

Izzy is determined to discover exactly what happened, and her investigation sends her headfirst into a criminal organization, possibly with cops on the payroll–including someone from her own family. With her dead partner’s brother Ryan, a handsome homicide detective, shadowing her every move, Izzy’s head is spinning. How can she secure justice for her partner when doing so could mean sending someone she loves to prison? And how will she guard her heart when the man she’s had a secret crush on for years won’t leave her side?

“Eason’s blend of realistic, fast-paced action, suspense, twists and turns, and dynamic characters make this a real page-turner.”Wayne Smith, FBI (retired)

“Lynette Eason once again pens a gripping thriller. I can’t wait for her next installment of the Blue Justice series!”Carrie Stuart Parks, award-winning author of A Cry from the Dust

Oath of Honor promises to be the beginning of another roller-coaster ride series.” Lisa Harris, bestselling and Christy Award-winning author of The Nikki Boyd Files

Book Review : Missing Isaac

Valerie Fraser Luesse is not new to writing as she has been with Southern Living magazine for some time.  However, Missing Isaac is her first novel, and it is a wonderful story!

missing isaac

The story takes place in the 1960’s and is very much during racial tensions of that period.  Pete is a young boy who has to deal with the loss his father after a tragic accident in the cotton field.  However, his dear friend Isaac helps him navigate the loss.  Isaac and Pete’s father worked together, but were also the dearest of friends.

When Isaac disappears without a trace, Pete determines to find him and solve the mystery.  While searching, he encounters a young girl, Dovey, who lives in the woods with her extended family, almost hiding from the real world.

I really loved this story, and did not want to put it down.  The love that Pete shares with the people in his community sees no color, simply people.  He goes out of his way to love those that so many in his community avoid, and he grows into a man that chooses to always do the right thing.  I loved the way Pete and his family rise about the tensions of the time and do not let it change them.  I love the determination to solve a mystery, at whatever cost, to settle young man’s mind and heart.

There are multiple story lines going on, and each one is lesson in itself.  I loves Luesse’s story, Missing Isaac, and I look forward to reading more of her stories in the future.  Her experience of living in the south has given her imagination a multitude of settings as well as personal interactions over the years, that will make for some great characters!  She handles tough issues with candor and sensitivity that it can teach us all a few lessons in life.

This is a very clean and wonderful book to share with the young adults in the house, and I hope my boys read it so we can dig into some of the subjects addressed in the book!  There is a such a thread of redemption, forgiveness and love that I know they will enjoy the book and really hear a good message!!

NOTE : I received a copy of Missing Isaac in exchange for an honest review from Revell Publisher.


more about Missing Isaac

Isaac believed in luck. But from Pete’s point of view, Isaac’s luck had all run out.

When Pete McLean loses his father in the summer of 1962, his friend Isaac is one of the few people he can lean on. Though their worlds are as different as black and white, friendship knows no color. So when Isaac suddenly goes missing, Pete is determined to find out what happened–no matter what it costs him. His quest will lead him into parts of town that he knows only through rumors and introduce him to a girl who will change his life. What they discover together will change the small Southern town of Glory, Alabama–forever.

With vivid descriptions, palpable atmosphere, and unforgettable characters, debut novelist Valerie Fraser Luesse breathes life into the rural South of the 1960s–a place where ordinary people struggle to find their footing in a social landscape that is shifting beneath their feet.


Luesse_ValerieValerie Fraser Luesse is an award-winning writer and a senior travel editor for Southern Living. Specializing in stories about unique pockets of Southern culture, Luesse has published major pieces on the Gulf Coast, the Mississippi Delta, Louisiana’s Acadian Prairie, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. She lives in Alabama.

Book Review : All Things Now Living

All Things Now living is a new Young Adult fiction book written by Rhonda Bauer Olsen. My 16 year old son, Jacob read this book and is going to share his thoughts.

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This book is a dystopic novel that centers on the adventures of Amy and how she helps save an entire city from destruction. Overall this was a good book. There was some really good character development, and the relationships didn’t feel forced of artificial.  Amy struggled with he decision to follow what she has been told all her life or to step beyond that and act on information she has learned on her own.

The book had a lot of romance in it, and as an adolescent boy, I didn’t really enjoy that aspect of the book.  I think that my favorite part was the setting.   I have read several dystopic novels, and this setting was definitely my favorite.


More about the book:  

Her whole life Amy has been taught the people of New Lithisle deserve to die, but when she falls for Daniel, she determines to save him.

Sixteen-year-old Amy doesn’t like anything to die, she won’t even eat the goats or chickens her mama has butchered every fall, but she can’t let herself pity the inhabitants of New Lithisle. In a few short months the dome they built to isolate themselves from the deadly pandemic is predicted to collapse, but her whole life Amy has been taught it’s God’s will they die. They traded their souls for immunity to the swine flu virus, brought God’s curse upon themselves by adding pig genes to their own.

Then, while on a scavenging trip with her father, Amy is accidentally trapped in New Lithisle. At first her only goal is to escape, but when she meets Daniel, a New Lithisle boy, she begins to question how less-than-human the people of New Lithisle are.

Amy’s feelings grow even more conflicted when she learns she didn’t end up in New Lithisle by mistake. Her father is secretly a sympathizer, and was trying to prevent the coming destruction.

Now time is running short and Amy has to decide if she will bring the computer program her father wrote to his contact or save herself. Installing the program could prevent the dome’s collapse, but if Amy doesn’t find her father’s contact in time, she’ll die, along with everyone else.


NOTE: We received a copy of All Things Now Living in exchange for an honest review.