Sunday, 11 August 2019

Flight of the Raven

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/flight-of-the-raven/393030
 
Back Cover
 
Selene Ravenwood, once the heir to House Ravenwood, is now an exile.  On the run and free of her family's destiny, Selene hopes to find the real reason her family was given the gift of dreamwalking.  But first, she must adapt to her new role as wife to Lord Damien Maris, the man she was originally assigned to kill.
 
While adjusting to her marriage and her home in the north, her power over dreams begins to grow.  As the strongest dreamwalker to exist in ages, her expanding power attracts not only nightmares but the attention of the Dark Lady herself.
 
With a war looming on the horizon and a wicked being after her gift, Selene is faced with a choice: accept the Dark Lady's offer or search out the one who gave her the gift of dreamwalking.  One path offers power, the other freedom.  But time is running out, and if she doesn't choose soon, her decision will be made for her.
 
Review
 
WOW.  Rarely does a second novel live up to the expectations of an amazing debut novel, but I have to say, Flight of the Raven is a smashing success!  Following on the heels of Mark of the Raven, where Lady Selene made a shocking decision to align herself with Lord Damien, this sequel follows Lady Selene as she enters into a new phase of her life as wife to Lord Damien, whose kingdom is perceived an enemy to House Ravenwood.  Lady Selene is still uncertain why his kingdom is such a threat and how it all ties into her family's gift of dreamwalking.  She still cannot reason the purpose behind the dreamwalking gift.  Her immediate ancestors, even her mother, had been utilizing the gift in a cruel and evil way - was it possible the gift can be used for good?
 
As Lady Selene tries to dig deeper into the history of her gift, it is clear that the origins of it have been keep shrouded in mystery.  Ancient tomes of knowledge shed hardly any light on the matter, and she begins having horrid nightmares of being chased by the Dark Lady.  She can't help but wonder: Will the darkness be something she can escape?  Or is it her destiny?  And what of Lord Damien?  Will he yet still be harmed by her and her gift?  Will the affection that begins to grow between them be quickly extinguished?
 
The saddest thing about this book was that it had to come to an end...I literally devoured each and every page.  I will be counting down the days to when the third book comes out in February 2020.  Until then, I will most likely be re-reading the first two novels once or twice...

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.



The Number of Love

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/the-number-of-love/391570

Back Cover
 
Three years into the Great War, England's greatest asset is their intelligence network - field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack German telegrams for hints of the enemy's plans.  Margo De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages.  But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, she discovers for the first time in her life that numbers aren't enough.
 
Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy who just won't give up.  He's smitten quickly by the quick and brainy Margot, but soon the dangers of the war draw ever closer.  Margot and Drake will have to team up to save themselves from the very secrets that brought them together.
 
Review
 
Roseanna M. White's newest series, "The Codebreakers" centralizes around England's "Room 40", a place that was shrouded in mystery during the Great War, and very much remains the same today.  Arguably one of the most integral parts to fighting the Great War, Room 40 was filled with brilliant minds who quickly see patterns and hidden messages not easily picked out by the average person. 
 
Margot De Wilde is one of those gifted individuals.  She was introduced in Book 2 of "Shadows over England" series (A Song Unheard) and I was thrilled to know that she would have her own story.  Margot is a brilliant and complex young lady, preferring her books and puzzles to parties and people.  She can easily be over-stimulated in public settings and is constantly noticing patterns and numbers whether it is the number of bricks in a building or buttons on a blouse.  Margot is definitely not your average girl who fills their head with the newest fashion designs and lipstick trends.
 
Drake Elton, being an intelligence officer, is no slouch either.  Oftentimes, he must rely upon his wits in order to keep him alive.  It's no surprise that he is instantly taken with Margot, whose amazing mind equally matches her beautiful face.  What he is surprised by, is how danger seems to be following him home, making him fearful for not only the outcome of his mission, but for the safety of those he loves.
 
The Number of Love is not a fast-paced suspense novel, but a fascinating historical piece interspersed with romance.  It is clear that the author puts in a lot of research into each and every one of her novels, and never fails to jam as many interesting facts as possible in each story.  I so enjoyed this story and cannot wait until the next book, On Wings of Devotion, comes out in January 2020!  (That will be a fabulous way to kick off the new year!)


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Sunday, 19 May 2019

The Curse of Misty Wayfair

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/the-curse-of-misty-wayfair/387110

Back Cover

Left at an orphanage as a child, Thea Reed vowed to find her mother someday.  Now grown, her search takes her to turn-of-the-century Pleasant Valley, Wisconsin.  When the clues she finds lead her to a mental asylum, Thea uses her experience as a postmortem photographer to gain access and assist groundskeeper Simeon Coyle in photographing the patients and uncovering the secrets within.  However, she never expected her personal quest would reawaken the legend of Misty Wayfair, a murdered woman who allegedly haunts the area and whose appearance portends death.
 
A century later, Heidi Lane receives a troubling letter from her mother - who is battling dementia - compelling her to travel to Pleasant Valley for answers to her own questions of identity.  When she catches sight of a ghostly woman haunting the asylum ruins in the woods, the long-standing story of Misty Wayfair returns - and with it, Heidi's fear for her own life.
 
As two women across time seek answers about their identities and heritage, they must overcome the threat of the mysterious curse that has them inextricably intertwined.
 
Review
 
Suspenseful?  Check.  Thrilling?  Check.  Creepy?  Check.  Read with the lights on?  Double-check.
 
The Curse of Misty Wayfair is another exciting read penned by Jaime Jo Wright, who has two other similarly written stories on the market.  They are all stand-alones, but if you are a fan of a suspenseful, slightly creepy read that spans the present and the past, I highly recommend that you read them.
 
This novel in particular is so jam-packed with various historical tidbits such as post-mortem photography, mental asylums, and how superstition can grip not only a person, but a whole town.  As Thea Reed attempts to uncover the secrets of her past, she discovers that facts are shrouded with curses and superstition, making it difficult to find the truth.  In her quest, she unwittingly stumbles upon deadly secrets over which someone will do whatever it takes to keep buried.
 
In present day, Heidi Lane also embarks on a journey into her past, made all the more difficult when she encounters the same superstition that Thea Reed battled many years before.  Through it all, Heidi struggles with knowing what to believe and battling her deepest fear that she is going crazy. 
 
The Curse of Misty Wayfair will grab you from the first page.  I read this book in record time (and then wished I hadn't so I could read yet some more!).  I've thoroughly enjoyed each one of Jaime Jo Wright's books and highly recommend them all for suspense lovers. 
 
 

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
 

A Desperate Hope

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/a-desperate-hope/391970

Back Cover
 
Eloise Drake's prim demeanour hides the turbulent past she believes is finally behind her.  A mathematical genius, she's now a successful accountant for the largest engineering project in 1908 New York.  But to her dismay, her new position puts her back in the path of the man responsible for her deepest heartache.
 
Alex Duval is the mayor of a town about to be wiped off the map.  The state plans to flood the entire valley where his town sits in order to build a new reservoir, and Alex is stunned to discover the woman he once loved on the team charged with the demolition.  With his world crumbling around him, Alex devises a risky plan to save his town - but he needs Eloise's help to succeed.
 
Alex is determined to win back the woman he thought he'd lost forever, but even their combined ingenuity may not be enough to overcome the odds against them.
 
Review
 
Every single book of Elizabeth Camden's that I've read, I have loved - and A Desperate Hope is no exception. 
 
Highlighting another member of the Drake family, A Desperate Hope follows Eloise Drake, an incredibly smart young woman who loves her job and is determined to make her own way in the world.  However, when she is advised she will be sent to Duval Springs to assist in demolition of the town, her love for her job battles with her desire to forever lock away memories of her past with Alex Duval.  When it becomes clear she has no choice but to go with the demolition team to Duval Springs in order to keep her job, she reluctantly packs a suitcase and braces herself for the impending encounter with Alex.  Her orderly, prim personality instantly clashes with Alex's passionate character, awakening forbidden memories and longings she believed were safely buried away.
 
Over the course of the story, there are constant tensions between Eloise and Alex, Eloise and her guardian, Eloise and the townspeople, and Eloise and her boss, who is also a potential suitor.  All the tension threatens to spin Eloise's carefully ordered life out of control, and she struggles between wanting to do her job, and desiring to help a town that she once was enthralled with.  In the midst of all the inner turmoil, danger dogs at Eloise's footsteps, and she is perplexed at who would do her harm.
 
Alex has his own struggles in being torn between his loyalty for his townspeople and his love for Eloise.  He desperately wants both, but has a difficult time in seeing how it can all be possible without someone being hurt in the process.
 
With romance, danger, and wonderful historical detail, A Desperate Hope was an engaging read that I thoroughly enjoyed. 
 
 
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

The Bride of Ivy Green

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/the-bride-of-ivy-green/376580

Back Cover
 
Spring is in the air...and change is too.  Mercy Grove has lost her girls' school and is resigned to life as a spinster, especially as the man she admires is out of reach.  She contemplates leaving Ivy Cottage to become a governess - a decision with consequences she never imagined.
 
Meanwhile, her friend Jane Bell is facing a difficult decision of her own.  Should she accept Gabriel Locke even if it means giving up her inn and destining another man to a childless marriage?
 
When a secretive new dressmaker arrives in the village, Mercy, Jane, and the other ladies of Ivy Hill attempt to befriend her, but they soon suspect she isn't who she claims to be.
 
Together the women of Ivy Hill look forward to one wedding, but surprises lie in store and dearly held dreams may yet come true.

Review

In Jane Austen style, Julie Klassen has written another lovely novel filled with sweet romance, supportive friendships, abiding faith, and a touch of mystery.  Mercy Grove is easily the main female character in this novel, but her friends, Rachel and Jane, make up a great supportive cast with their own interwoven side stories.  The Bride of Ivy Green is by no means a fast-paced novel, proceeding more like a leisurely stroll, inviting the reader to pause, take a breath, and just enjoy the simplicity of life in Ivy Hill.  I will be the first to say that I greatly enjoy a thrilling suspense novel, but in a world run by a fast-paced culture, it is like taking a holiday to be able to sit back and relax to a sweetly written novel that is more about the characters and their development then whipping through the story. 
 
I am sad to see that this is the final book in "Tales from Ivy Hill", but am quite happy with the satisfying endings for all of the characters.  Successfully tying up all the characters that have made their way through the "Tales from Ivy Hill" books is no small feat, and I applaud Ms. Klassen for accomplishing it with such ease.  I am excited to see what is next for Ms. Klassen, full well knowing that her next work will be another fabulous read.


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Mark of the Raven

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/mark-of-the-raven/392670

Back Cover

Lady Selene is heir to the House of Ravenwood and the secret family gift of dreamwalking.  As a dreamwalker, she can enter a person's dreams and manipulate their greatest fears or desires.  Soon after the gifting, however, Selene discovers that the Ravenwood women have been secretly using their gift to gather information or to assassinate those responsible for the fall of House Ravenwood to the Dominia Empire hundreds of years ago.
 
As she becomes more entrenched in Ravenwood's dark past, Selene longs to find out the true reason behind her family's gift, believing that its original intent could not have been for such evil purposes, but she is torn about upholding her family's legacy - a legacy that supports her people.  Selene's dilemma comes to a head when she is tasked with assassinating the one man who can bring peace to the nations - but who is also prophesied to bring about the downfall of her own house. 
 
One path holds glory and power and will solidify her position as Lady of Ravenwood.  The other path holds shame and likely death.  Which will she choose?  And is she willing to pay the price for the path chosen?
 
Review
 
I find fantasy novels can be very hit and miss.  Either the author re-writes the same story that has been written so many times over, or creates a story so "original" or different, that it is difficult to follow or engage in as the world system is so complex and/or there are way too many main characters and plots that as a reader, you feel you need some sort of map or encyclopedia to the story in order to follow along. 
 
However, I can safely say that Mark of the Raven hits the ball out of the park.  The storyline is perfectly unique, and for a lack of better term, so utterly cool.  As I was reading the book, all of my expectations were blown away by the originality of the plot, the ease of following the plot, awesome characters, and the detailed setting.  Mark of the Raven is the perfect adventure story with a kick-butt female lead, strong male counterpart, classic battle of good v. evil, family tensions, impossible choices, and special "secret" gifts. 
 
The back cover of the book gives a great synopsis without giving much away, so rather than run the risk of giving any spoilers, I will not add to it.  All I can say is this: Mark of the Raven was awesome read.  I cannot wait for the second book!!
 
 
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
 

In Too Deep

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/in-too-deep/388960

Back Cover

When the Carrington County Sheriff's Office dive team is called in to recover a body from a submerged car, they aren't prepared to find an encrypted laptop - or an unsettling connection between investigator Adam Campbell and the dead accountant.
 
Adam turns to his friend, Dr. Sabrina Fleming to recover the files from the laptop.  But the deeper they dig, the deadlier the investigation becomes.  When evidence implicates members of Adam's own family, he and Sabrina will have to risk everything to solve the case. 
 
The truth could set hundreds free - but someone is willing to do whatever it takes to silence anyone who threatens to reveal their secrets.

Review

Book two in "Dive Team Investigations", In Too Deep follows a similar format to its predecessor, Beneath the Surface in delivering a fast-paced mystery and a thrilling climax.

The world of computer forensics is fascinating - and not one usually highlighted in mystery novels, as DNA forensics usually takes the forefront in the fictional world of investigations.  I really enjoyed the fun character of Dr. Sabrina Fleming, a superhero buff that wears converse sneakers, drives a Mini Cooper, and lives in a tiny home.  But behind her quirky persona, she is a genius and a whiz with computers.  No matter how locked up a computer drive is, or how damaged, she always is able to draw some clue, some secret from its database.  She is the go-to expert for the dive team, much to Adam Campbell's pleasure as he secretly admires her.

In Too Deep was the perfect mash-up of suspense and romance.  I was hooked from the first page and really wished it was longer!  Fans of Christian suspense will not be disappointed.  The final instalment to the series, One Final Breath, comes out September 3, 2019 - I cannot wait!!



Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.