Crisis Shot by Janice Cantore

Tess O’Rourke dreams of becoming the first female chief of police in Long Beach, California. As commander of the East Division, she is well on her way . . . until the night she responds to an officer-needs-assistance call and fatally shoots an unarmed teenager. Despite being cleared of wrongdoing by a grand jury, Tess is so hounded by the public that she takes a job in Oregon to escape the bad press.

Winning over the residents of Rogue’s Hollow might be more difficult than adjusting to her new role as police chief in the small, backwater town. Especially when her closest friend, the pastor’s wife, goes missing and the woman’s cousin is found shot. Tess finds an ally in sheriff’s deputy Steve Logan, but as they track down Rogue’s Hollow’s first murderer, she worries that she’s breaking one of her rules and getting too close to him. – from author’s website


I thought the romance was going to be a bigger part of it based on the book blurb and a couple of scenes in the early part of the book but it was a very minimal part and sometimes wondered if it was going to show up at all. It was so minimal a part that I wondered if there was going to be a second book on the same characters and continue their stories. I enjoyed the suspense in the storyline but in the back of my mind, I kept wondering if the romance was going anywhere or would even show up that I couldn’t enjoy the book fully. If the blurb wouldn’t have misled me to believe that this book would be a romantic suspense, I may have been able to enjoy the book better. The author would occasionally through in scenes or comments that would tease that the romance was going to develop, but I felt like it never did. So, if you are going to read this book, don’t expect romance to be an interwoven thread because it was more like a few crumbs.
Advertisements

High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin

In 1917, Evelyn Marche is just one of many women who has been widowed by the war. A British nurse trapped in German-occupied Brussels, she spends her days working at a hospital and her nights as a waitress in her aunt and uncle’s café. Eve also has a carefully guarded secret keeping her in constant danger: She’s a spy working for a Belgian resistance group in league with the British Secret Service.

When a British plane crashes in Brussels Park, Eve is the first to reach the downed plane and is shocked to discover she recognizes the badly injured pilot. British RFC Captain Simon Forrester is now a prisoner of war, and Eve knows he could be shot as a spy at any time. She risks her own life to hide him from the Germans, but as the danger mounts and the secrets between them grow, their chance of survival looks grim. And even if they do make it out alive, the truth of what lies between them may be more than any love can overcome. – from author’s webiste


This book had a slightly darker tone than I’m used to in the historical books I read because of the setting and storyline. It was a different take on World War I than what I’ve read before with the heroine of the story already being married yet not being with her husband. I liked the few flashbacks of Simon & Evelyn’s love story. It made me root for them that much more. I also liked that the ending wasn’t completely happy because it made it more realistic and still maintained the overall tone of the book. The ending still brought a close to Simon & Evelyn’s story just with not everything resolved as the war hadn’t ended. It is an excellent book for those who enjoy war stories and prefer some darker or more melancholy themes.

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

All Saints movie

ALL SAINTS is based on the inspiring true story of salesman-turned-pastor Michael Spurlock (John Corbett), the tiny church he was ordered to shut down, and a group of refugees from Southeast Asia. Together, they risked everything to plant seeds for a future that might just save them all.

After trading in his corporate sales career to become a pastor, Michael’s first assignment is All Saints, a quaint country church with a dozen members. It comes with a catch: he has to close the church doors for good and sell the prime piece of land on which it sits. While developers eagerly eye the property and the congregation mourns the inevitable, Michael and his family look forward to moving on to an established church where they can put down roots.

But when the church hesitantly begins welcoming Karen (kuh-REN) refugees from Burma—former farmers striving for a fresh start in America—Michael feels called to an improbable new mission. Toiling alongside the Karen people, the congregation attempts to turn their fertile land into a working farm to pay the church’s bills and feed its newest people.

Jeopardizing his family’s future by ignoring his superiors, Michael must choose between completing what he was assigned to do—close the church and sell the property—or listening to a still, small voice challenging the people of All Saints to risk it all and provide much-needed hope to their new community. – from movie’s website


All Saints is an inspirational story based on a true story. It contains clean humor and was well done cinematically for the genre. I think my favorite line of the movie is when Forest says, “Only chickens I got is in a KFC box.” Some acting moments felt more forced than others but it didn’t detract from the storyline and the humor wasn’t too cheesy like you sometimes find in Christian movies. I’m not sure how it would appeal to people who aren’t Christians because of some of the Christian lingo and some of the jokes about denominations. However, I didn’t feel like it was overdone. I hope this film makes Christians think about what they’re doing to help other people, especially people with less than them and minorities. As a faith film, I didn’t find it cringe-worthy like a lot of them out there and I laughed numerous times because I found it funny and not because it was ridiculously cliché and cheesy. I also loved how a lot of the Karen people played themselves in the movie and that the movie was set at the real All Saints church.

Case for Christ movie review

A hard-driving journalist, Lee Strobel was exactly where he expected to be at work: on top. His award-winning investigative reporting recently earned him a promotion to legal editor at the Chicago Tribune. But things weren’t going nearly as well at home where his wife Leslie’s newfound faith in Christ went against everything Lee believed—or didn’t believe—as an avowed atheist.

Utilizing his journalistic and legal training, Lee begins a quest to debunk the claims of Christianity in order to save his crumbling marriage. Chasing down the biggest story of his career, Lee comes face-to-face with unexpected results that could change everything he knows to be true.

Based on Lee Strobel’s award-winning bestselling book and starring Mike Vogel, Erika Christensen, Faye Dunaway, and Robert Forster. – from the movie’s website


Movie has been provided courtesy of Mongrel Media and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

When I first heard that they were making a movie based on the book Case for Christ by Lee Strobel, I was curious as to how they would do it because the book isn’t written in story format. I felt like they did a good job of taking the premise and evidences included in the book and incorporate them into a story that we could follow. It probably helped that Lee Strobel was a part of producing the film. I found some of aspects of the movie didn’t come across as authentic as I would have liked, like when his wife prayed for him and the choking scene at the beginning. I was pleased with how the movie turned out and how Strobel’s conversion was portrayed throughout the whole experience. I also appreciated them showing the problems Leslie’s conversion and Lee’s subsequent quest to disprove her faith caused in their marriage. I really liked that in the end he still had to have faith whichever path he chose because he couldn’t find proof to completely eradicate doubt. It asks you the question, what are you going to do with the proof you do have?

The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck

Tenley Roth’s first book was a runaway bestseller. Now that her second book is due, she’s locked in fear. Can she repeat her earlier success or is she a fraud who has run out of inspiration?

With pressure mounting from her publisher, Tenley is weighted with writer’s block. But when her estranged mother calls asking Tenley to help her through chemotherapy, she packs up for Florida where she meets handsome furniture designer Jonas Sullivan and discovers the story her heart’s been missing.

A century earlier, another woman wrote at the same desk with hopes and fears of her own. Born during the Gilded Age, Birdie Shehorn is the daughter of the old money Knickerbockers. Under the strict control of her mother, her every move is decided ahead of time, even whom she’ll marry. But Birdie has dreams she doesn’t know how to realize. She wants to tell stories, write novels, make an impact on the world. When she discovers her mother has taken extreme measures to manipulate her future, she must choose between submission and security or forging a brand new way all on her own.

Tenley and Birdie are from two very different worlds, but fate has bound them together in a way time cannot erase. – from author’s website


I liked the story set in the past better than the one in the present. The one in present day didn’t interest me much. The romance between Tenley and Jonas didn’t seem as genuine to me. Tenley was almost a little too eccentric for me. The only way I related to her was the writing aspect and her doubts about her writing ability. I enjoyed Birdie and Eli’s story – how they loved each other, yet because of their families, they weren’t allowed to let it go anywhere. I also liked how Birdie wanted to be a writer despite all the obstacles in her way relevant to the time period she lived in. I really liked how Eli supported and encouraged her from the beginning.

To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander

With fates bound by a shared tragedy, a reformed gambler from the Colorado Territory and a Southern Belle bent on breaking free from society’s expectations must work together to achieve their dreams—provided the truth doesn’t tear them apart first.

Seeking justice . . .

Sylas Rutledge, the new owner of the Northeast Line Railroad, invests everything he has into this venture, partly for the sake of the challenge. But mostly to clear his father’s name. One man holds the key to Sy’s success—General William Giles Harding of Nashville’s Belle Meade Plantation. But Harding is champagne and thoroughbreds, and Sy Rutledge is beer and bullocks. Sy needs someone to help him maneuver his way through Nashville’s society, and when he meets Alexandra Jamison, he quickly decides he’s found his tutor. Only, he soon discovers that the very train accident his father is blamed for causing is what killed Alexandra Jamison’s fiancé—and has broken her heart.

Struggling to restore honor . . .

Spurning an arranged marriage by her father, Alexandra instead pursues her passion for teaching at Fisk University, the first freedmen’s university in the United States. But family—and Nashville society—do not approve, and she soon finds herself cast out from both.

Through connections with the Harding family, Alexandra and Sy become unlikely allies. And despite her first impressions, Alexandra gradually finds herself coming to respect, and even care for this man. But how can she, when her heart is still spoken for? And when Sy’s roguish qualities and adventuresome spirit smack more of recklessness than responsibility and honor?

Sylas Rutledge will risk everything to win over the woman he loves. What he doesn’t count on is having to wager her heart to do it. – from author’s website


I thought this book was a sweet little romance in a setting with some difficult topics. The historical setting and society were well displayed and I could feel what society was like at that time with black people being freed but were still not accepted by most of the whites. I liked the first half of the book better as there was more conflict and it was more nuanced. I felt like the climax of the story wasn’t well displayed and couldn’t really tell you where it was. The climax wasn’t as clear cut as I like them to be but I still enjoyed the story.

A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White

She’s Out to Steal His Name.
Will He Steal Her Heart Instead?

Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they are no longer pickpockets—now they focus on high value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. Rosemary’s challenge of a lifetime comes when she’s assigned to determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany. How does one steal a family’s history, their very name?

Rumors swirl around Peter Holstein. Awkward and solitary, but with access to the king, many fear his influence. But Peter can’t help his German last name and wants to prove his loyalty to the crown—so he can go back to anonymously writing a series of popular adventure novels. When Rosemary arrives on his doorstop pretending to be a well- credentialed historian, Peter believes she’s the right person to help him dig through his family’s past.

Anger and danger continue to mount, though, and both realize they’re in a race against time to discover the truth—about Peter’s past and about the undeniable attraction kindling between them. – from author’s website


I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this book. At the beginning of the book, I didn’t think I was going to like Rosemary. I found White did a fairly good job of making a thief the main character and making her believable and lovable at the same time. At times the book was a little slower in pace than I would have liked because there wasn’t as much dialogue because of Peter’s stuttering. I found Peter to be endearing and the stuttering made him more so. I liked the suspense aspect as a secondary feature in this story and how it was woven throughout the story so you didn’t forget that it was supposed to be part of the story. I also didn’t figure out who the bad guy was until it was revealed which I always like because it’s not super obvious.

Beneath Copper Falls by Colleen Coble

As a 911 dispatcher, Dana Newell takes pride in being calm in tough circumstances. In addition to her emotionally-charged career, she’s faced enough emergencies in her own life. She recently escaped her abusive fiancé to move to tranquil Rock Harbor where she hopes life will be more peaceful as she trains her dog with Bree Matthews.

But the idyllic town hides more danger and secrets than it first appeared. Dana is continually drawn to her new friend Boone, who has scars inside and out. Then she answers a call at her job only to hear a friend’s desperate screams on the other end. Soon the pain in her past collides with the mysteries of her new home—and threatens to keep her from the future she’s always wanted. – from author’s website


I loved being back in Rock Harbor and seeing beloved characters like Bree, Kade, and Davy again, as well as Samson. It was like seeing friends again after several years. Dana didn’t seem as damaged as I would normally expect from someone who had been in an abusive relationship and had recently gotten out so at times I found her character a little unbelievable because of it. At times, I also felt like there were too many POVs but I could understand it for the complexity of this story.

The part of the book that I liked the most was how we were being led down one way until Coble started throwing things in to cast my suspicions on someone else. There were enough clues thrown in as the story moved along that I could have my suspicions on who the actual serial killer was and yet not be certain who it was until the end when Coble. The suspense is woven throughout the whole book and even in the tender relaxed moments, the suspense isn’t completely forgotten.

The Captain’s Daughters by Jennifer Delamere

When a series of circumstances beyond her control leave Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater which is presenting the most popular show in London. A talented musician and singer, she feels immediately at home and soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage.

An injury during a skirmish in India has forced Nate Moran out of the army until he recovers. Filling his time at a stable of horses for hire in London, he has also spent the past two months working nights as a stagehand, filling in for his injured brother. Although he’s glad he can help his family through a tough time, he is counting the days until he can rejoin his regiment. London holds bitter memories for him that he is anxious to escape. But then he meets the beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate can’t wait to leave behind. – from author’s website


This book was decent. I did, however, find myself getting quite annoyed with Rosalyn. I get really frustrated when the heroines in books are flirted with or pursued by a man who obviously does not have good intentions and the heroine is absolutely taken in by it. It was quite frustrating with how naïve Rosalyn was in this regard. However, I really enjoyed Nate. His interactions with his family and his convictions endeared me to him. Honestly, if it wasn’t for Nate’s character I might have stopped reading the book because of how frustrated I was with Rosalyn.