Dangerous Illusions by Irene Hannon

Trish Bailey is on overload trying to deal with a demanding job, an ailing mother, and a healing heart. When a series of unsettling memory lapses leads to a tragic death—and puts Trish under police scrutiny—her world is once again thrown into turmoil. Detective Colin Flynn isn’t certain what to think of the facts he uncovers during his investigation. Did Trish simply make a terrible mistake or is there more to the case than meets the eye? As he searches for answers, disturbing information begins to emerge—and if the forces at work are as evil as he suspects, the situation isn’t just dangerous . . . it’s deadly. – from author’s website

I always enjoy Hannon’s romantic suspense books. The suspense is always at the forefront and this one had more of a psychological feel than some of her other ones. I absolutely loved the plot twist near the end and that I hadn’t seen it coming. That doesn’t happen often anymore and yet Hannon surprised me. It made everything make sense and yet was completely believable. I also loved how she drew in characters from the Men of Valor series and yet you don’t have to read that series to follow along. The book was riveting from beginning to end and I didn’t find it dragged through the setup.

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

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Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander

Amid war and the fading dream of the Confederacy, a wounded soldier and a destitute widow discover the true meaning of Christmas—and of sacrificial love.

Recently widowed, Aletta Prescott struggles to hold life together for herself and her six-year old son. With the bank threatening to evict, she discovers an advertisement for the Women’s Relief Society auction and applies for a position—only to discover it’s been filled. Then a chance meeting with a wounded soldier offers another opportunity—and friendship. But can Aletta trust this man?

Captain Jake Winston, a revered Confederate sharpshooter, suffered a head wound at the Battle of Chickamauga. When doctors deliver their diagnosis, Jake fears losing not only his greatest skill but his very identity. As he heals, Jake is ordered to assist with a local Women’s Relief Society auction. He respectfully objects. Kowtowing to a bunch of “crinolines” isn’t his idea of soldiering. But orders are orders, and he soon discovers this group of ladies—one, in particular—is far more than he bargained for. – from author’s website.


This was a cute little romance set during the time of the American civil war. It showed the devastating effects of the war on the women and families who were left behind. At times I felt like the romance between Aletta and Jake was happening fairly quickly especially since it hadn’t been too long before that Aletta had received word that her husband had died in battle, but I know it was a different time and that her circumstances would have played a factor in it. I also like knowing that the place in the book exists in real life which Alexander does in most of her books. It gives an added dimension to the book and authenticity.

Eyes to See by Compassion Canada

How might our vision change if God gave us His eyes to see the world around us? From Genesis to Revelation, God reveals His compassion for those facing spiritual, physical and emotional poverty, and speaks clearly about identifying and working against injustice. Woven throughout those same pages of the Bible, He reveals His eternal perspective and hope-filled plan to redeem and restore our world. With opened eyes, we are able to play a role in that story of redemption! “Eyes to See” is a 30-day (4 pages per day) perspective-shaping journey for individuals and small groups. Through these pages, we will explore the spiritual roots of poverty, as well as discover its many varied faces. We will take a closer look at our relationships with God, with others, with ourselves and with the world to gain a renewed understanding of how poverty affects us all. Finally, as we see how God is restoring all of us in every aspect of our lives, we will discover that our needs and the needs of our neighbours around the world aren’t so different after all. As we see ourselves and others in light of God’s great unfolding story, we will discover the role God wants us to play in reflecting His love to a world in need. Colour interior pages and photos. Find the free films and 6-week small group study guide at www.eyestosee.cafrom Amazon.ca

I didn’t get the most out of this book as I could have or wished to. I kept forgetting to read it daily so it might have been better if I had read it as part of a group study. That being said, there were short chapters (only a couple of pages) that were thought-provoking and gave a more comprehensive approach to poverty. It also didn’t focus specifically on poverty in third-world countries or only on poverty in North America. It included both and gave a more in-depth view of poverty than simply a lack of money. I liked that at the end of each chapter, there were thought-provoking questions related to the chapter and an action plan related to what was mentioned. Sometimes it was simply the act of noticing those less fortunate around you. This book is not simply something someone reads and forgets about. For it to be the most beneficial to a person, they need to interact with the material.

“Book has been provided courtesy of Compassion Canada and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.”

Blind Spot by Dani Pettrey

FBI agent Declan Grey is in the chase of his life–but isn’t sure exactly what he’s chasing after. Threatened by a terrorist that “the wrath is coming,” Grey fears something horrible is about to be unleashed on American soil. When his investigation leads him to a closed immigrant community, he turns to Tanner Shaw to help him. She’s sought justice for refugees and the hurting around the world, and if there’s anyone who can help him, it’s Tanner.

Tanner Shaw has joined the FBI as a crisis counselor . . . meaning she now has more opportunity to butt heads with Declan. But that tension also includes a spark she can’t deny, and she’s pretty sure Declan feels the same. But before anything can develop between them, they discover evidence of a terror cell–and soon are in a race against the clock to stop the coming “wrath” that could cost thousands their lives. – from author’s website


As with the first two books in this series, I enjoyed this book. It was fast-paced and took the reader through two unrelated cases, although at times I wondered if they were going to be connected. This book is better if you have read the whole series because it ties back to what has happened in the first two, the second one especially. I liked how the two stories overlapped with the characters. Even though it meant there were several POV characters, some only getting a couple of scenes, I still enjoyed the book as I already knew the characters from the previous books so it didn’t seem like it was overdone.

Where We Belong by Lynn Austin

In the city of Chicago in 1892, the rules for Victorian women are strict, their roles limited. But sisters Rebecca and Flora Hawes are not typical Victorian ladies. Their love of adventure and their desire to use their God-given talents has brought them to the Sinai Desert–and into a sandstorm.

Accompanied by Soren Petersen, their somber young butler, and Kate Rafferty, a street urchin who is learning to be their ladies’ maid, the two women are on a quest to find an important biblical manuscript. As the journey becomes more dangerous and uncertain, the four travelers sift through memories of their past, recalling the events that shaped them and the circumstances that brought them to this time and place. – from author’s website


Normally, I like Lynn Austin’s books but I found this one dragged along too much. It was very slow moving and I got about a quarter of the way through the book and I still had no idea what was really going on. A lot of it was flashbacks. I understand that it was to give depth to the characters and insight into how they were raised and who they were but I actually found it harder to get into the characters and follow the story. In complete honesty, I didn’t actually finish the book because I wasn’t enjoying it so it may have gotten better further into the book.

Blue Ridge Sunrise by Denise Hunter

Former free spirit Zoe Collins swore she’d never again set foot in Copper Creek or speak to the man who broke her heart. But return she must when her beloved Granny dies, leaving the family legacy to Zoe–a peach orchard nestled at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

When Zoe returns home with her daughter and boyfriend Kyle, she finds that she’s the only person in town who doesn’t expect her to give up the life she’s established far away from Copper Creek. Everyone believes she was born to run the orchard, but how can she make it her home after so many years?

Cruz Huntley never quite got over his first love Zoe Collins, the little sister of his best friend Brady. Not when she cheated on him during their “break,” not when she took off to parts unknown with good-for-nothing Kyle Jenkins, and not even now—five years later.

As life-changing decisions and a history with Cruz hang over Zoe’s head, tensions rise between her and Kyle. Even as she comes to terms with the shifting relationships in her life, Zoe still isn’t sure if she can remain in Copper Creek with her new responsibilities . . . and her first love. – from author’s website


I had mixed feelings about this book. At points I liked it, reading about Cruz and Zoe getting another chance. But at other points, I didn’t really like it, as scenes moved from one to the other so quickly. Because a chunk of the book was written when they were in high school or just out of high school, it felt more like a young adult novel to me. Even for the rest of the book, they were in their early to mid-twenties. The faith aspect of the book was very minimal which was alright except that it felt nonchalant and only cropped up when the characters were in trouble mostly. However, I liked that I got to see their past relationship instead of just reading about it from what they reveal in the present.

Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan

Tapped as lead counsel in a corporate cover-up lawsuit against Mason Pharmaceutical, Kate Sullivan knows this case could make her career. What really drives her, though, is getting justice for the victims whose lives were ruined by the company’s dangerous new drug. But when a whistleblower turns up dead, it paints a target on the back of everyone involved.

Former Army Ranger turned private investigator Landon James steps in to handle security for Kate. He’s still haunted by mistakes in his past and is determined never to let something like that happen again. But it soon appears someone is willing to do anything–even commit murder–to keep the case from going to trial.

As danger closes in, Landon can’t help but admire Kate’s courage and resolve–but will her determination not to back down become too great of a risk? – from author’s website


In the first couple of chapters, there were four different point-of-view characters which I didn’t particularly like because I couldn’t get into the characters. Each POV was also short making it harder to delve into any one character or scene. They got a little longer further into the book but it took a while before I could actually relate to the characters because I wasn’t following any one character for a substantial period of time.

A Matter of Trust by Susan May Warren

Champion backcountry snowboarder Gage Watson has left the limelight behind after the death of one of his fans. After being sued for negligence and stripped of his sponsorships, he’s remade his life as a ski patrol in Montana’s rugged mountains, as well as serving on the PEAK Rescue team. But he can’t seem to find his footing–or forget the woman he loved, who betrayed him.

Senator and former attorney Ella Blair spends much of her time in the limelight as the second-youngest senator in the country. But she has a secret–one that cost Gage his career. More than anything, she wants to atone for her betrayal of him in the courtroom and find a way to help him put his career back on track.

When Ella’s brother goes missing on one of Glacier National Park’s most dangerous peaks, Gage and his team are called in for the rescue. But Gage isn’t so sure he wants to help the woman who destroyed his life. More, when she insists on joining the search, he’ll have to keep her safe while finding her reckless brother, a recipe for disaster when a snowstorm hits the mountain.

But old sparks relight as they search for the missing snowboarder–and suddenly, they are faced with emotions neither can deny. But when Ella’s secret is revealed, can they learn to trust each other–even when disaster happens again? – from author’s website


I thought Ella should have been older than her mid-twenties because of how long it would have taken her to become a lawyer and in the position she was in in the law office and then became a senator. It also seemed a little unbelievable for Ella and Gage to only have known each other three days before the betrayal and then not see each other for three years and yet still have such strong feelings for each other. I was also sometimes confused about whether the characters were skiing or snowboarding. At times the wording made me think they were snowboarding and then in the next scene it seemed like they were skiing. Maybe I’m just not familiar enough with that world to differentiate between the terms used. Putting those few things aside, I found the characters likable and the overall story enjoyable. Seeing the redemption in their relationship with the history of the lawsuit between them and then putting it aside to help find Ella’s brother and his friend while battling the elements was a nice little story.

Justice Buried by Patricia Bradley

In an effort to get her security consulting business off the ground, Kelsey Allen has been spending a lot of time up in the air, rappelling down buildings and climbing through windows to show business owners their vulnerabilities to thieves. When she is hired to pose as a conservator at the Pink Palace Museum in order to test their security weaknesses after some artifacts go missing, she’s ecstatic. But when her investigative focus turns from theft to murder, Kelsey knows she’s out of her league–and possibly in the cross hairs. When blast-from-the-past Detective Brad Hollister is called in to investigate, Kelsey may find that he’s the biggest security threat yet . . . to her heart. – from author’s website.

I enjoyed Kelsey’s character and how she was interested in computers but also old things. I could relate to the contradicting interests and it made her more likable. I liked Brad’s character well enough, although the situation with Elle, his ex-fiancé, was a little frustrating and off-putting. I also didn’t entirely like how it concluded itself. The suspense in the book kept me on the edge of my seat and I enjoyed constantly trying to figure out who was behind the murders but never quite being sure until the climax. It made for an enjoyable cold case turned active investigation.

Over Maya Dead Body by Sandra Orchard

FBI Special Agent Serena Jones arrives on Martha’s Vineyard with her family, ready for a little bit of R&R and a whole lot of reminiscing as they celebrate the engagement of an old family friend. But crime doesn’t take a vacation, and she’s soon entangled in an investigation of a suspicious death tied to an antiquities smuggling ring.

When her investigation propels her into danger, Serena must stay the course and solve this case before anyone else dies. But just how is she supposed to do that when the two men in her life arrive on the scene, bringing with them plenty of romantic complications–and even a secret or two? – from author’s website


This is the first book I’ve read in this series and it would have been better if I had read the first two books as they were referenced on several occasions and I think I would have been more able to relate to the characters. Reading only this book, I didn’t get enough of a description of Nate and Tanner for my liking. For example, it never mentioned their ages or gave much of a description for what they looked like. Despite there being two murders in the book, I didn’t find the suspense to keep me on the edge of my seat, but that could also be because I wasn’t as invested in the characters.