The House at Saltwater Point by Colleen Coble – Implausible

The House at Saltwater Point by Colleen Coble is the second book I’ve read by this author.  What drew me to the book was the setting along the coastline of Washington, the mystery of what happened to the missing sister, a little romance with some home renovation mixed in.  I wanted to like this book more than I actually did.

The story is about two sisters Ellie and Mackenzie Blackmore, one of whom is missing and presumed dead.  She leaves behind a mystery of a life that wasn’t what it seemed.  Thrown into the mix is Grayson Bradshaw, an investigator for the US Coast Guard, who is looking into a missing shipment of illegal drugs that has ties to a terrorist.  One of the prime suspects is Mackenzie and that news doesn’t sit too well with Ellie who just wants to find her sister.

What I liked about The House at Saltwater Point:

  • Grayson was very honest, forthright, nice and likeable.
  • I kind of liked his relationship with Ellie, but they went from an adversarial relationship to romance and I wasn’t quite sure how they crossed that bridge.
  • I liked the subplot of Grayson finding out that he was adopted and had biological sister and family whom he knew nothing about.
  • I enjoyed the setting of Lavender Tides, the description of the town, the townspeople and friends, waterfront, beaches and scenery.
  • I liked the home renovation career of Ellie.

What I wasn’t too keen on:

  • The storyline was rather convoluted and had too many subplots going on.
  • The story and characters weren’t very realistic. Especially, the two small town sisters trying thwart a terrorist attack.  There were times that the sisters did a better job than the FBI and Coast Guard in trying to stop the terrorists.  There sure didn’t seem to much of a police presence considering the seriousness of what was going on.
  • Early on in the book Ellie takes in a helpless small kitten. Periodically, the kitten would be mentioned but for the most part it wasn’t part of the story.  I found it distracting.  That part of the story was unnecessary and didn’t contribute to the storyline.
  • At times the story seemed the drag.
  • The characters weren’t very realistic. My favorite was Grayson, a very nice man…but he was a little too perfect.

Colleen is really good at setting a scene and describing the place and helping the reader see it in their mind.  However, the storyline was not plausible and the characters weren’t deep or realistic…much of it was very surface level.  I think that’s where it lost me, I didn’t connect with the characters.

If you just want to read a mystery to escape for a while you may enjoy The House at Saltwater Point.

Colleen Coble is a Christian author, but there nothing much about faith included in this book.  It’s clean, no profanity and or sexual immorality, and I appreciate that.  But nothing much regarding faith and characters talking about God or praying or faith being lived out in their everyday lives.

I wanted to like The House at Saltwater Point by Colleen Coble.  There were parts I did enjoy, but I think the implausible storyline and lack of depth the characters were too much to overcome.

I would like to thank Thomas Nelson Publishers and BookLook for the opportunity to read The House at Saltwater Point for free in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

 

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Justice Betrayed by Patricia Bradley – Do you like a good whodunnit?

The whodunnit storyline of Justice Betrayed by author Patricia Bradley is what caught my attention.  This is the first book I’ve read by this author and I didn’t know what to expect.  I’m not an Elvis fan and I’ve never been to Memphis, but I love a good mystery, filled with intrigue and the challenge of solving a cold case.

Detective Rachel Sloan is asked in by Vic Vegas, an Elvis tribute artist, to help solve a murder mystery from seventeen years ago that may somehow be related to her own mother’s murder.  At first, Rachel’s not too sure about this, after all it’s a cold case and she’s working in the homicide division.  But after Vic turns up dead she wonders if there may be something more to the case he wanted her to investigate.

It took a few chapters before I got interested in the story.  The story started out kind of slow and there were a lot of characters introduced early on and it was hard to keep track of them.  But I’m glad that I kept on reading because before long the story picked up pace and I was hooked.

I liked the characters, especially the relationship between Rachel and Boone, and enjoyed the mysteries and trying to figure out whodunnit.  Patricia did a good job giving the reader a feel for what Memphis may be like and the fascination with Elvis that continues to this day.

I appreciated that Justice Betrayed doesn’t contain profanity and immoral sexual situations.  There wasn’t a lot of the Christian faith in this book, a Scripture verse and Rachel acknowledging that she had stopped turning to God because her prayers for justice seemed to be unanswered.  I would have liked to seen more of the Christian faith woven into some of the characters and storyline.

If you like a good mystery, that will keep you guessing to the end, read Justice Betrayed by Patricia Bradley.  I look forward to reading her other books.

I would like to thank Revell Publishing and NetGalley for the opportunity to read Justice Betrayed by Patricia Bradley in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

Lone Witness by Rachel Dylan – Fast-Paced Suspense with Likable Characters

As someone who loves a good mystery, I’m always on the lookout for a good suspense novel and I found just what I was looking for in Rachel Dylan’s newest book Lone Witness, the second book it the Atlanta Justice series.

Lone Witness tells the story of Sophie Dawson, a prosecutor in the city of Atlanta.  After presenting closing arguments against a crooked CEO, she wanted to get started on her newest case in the white-collar crimes unit.  Though the crimes may be different from the general trial division, what drove Sophie didn’t change.  She wanted to seek justice for those who had been victimized.  After putting in a long day at work, Sophie wanted to run in to the Quick-Stop for a snack on her way home.  That one little decision would impact her in ways she couldn’t have imagined.  Instead of being the prosecutor, she would be the lone eye witness against a gang member who brutally murdered two people.

What I liked about Lone Witness, was not only the courtroom drama, suspense and mystery, but also the characters.  They had interesting careers and were decent, likable people that I came to care about.  Rachel challenges the reader not to automatically categorize a character (defense attorney) as good or bad or assume you know their motives.  This book has some surprising twists and turns and it was interesting trying to figure out who done it.  I appreciated that the character’s Christian faith was woven into the story.

Not only did I find a good book to read in Lone Witness, but I found an author, Rachel Dylan, whose work I liked and is new to me.  I look forward to going back and reading her earlier work and future novels.

I would like to thank NetGalley and Bethany House Publishers for the opportunity to read Lone Witness in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

 

Dangerous Illusions by Irene Hannon – Filled with mystery, intrigue and characters you want to get to know

Author, Irene Hannon, is relatively new to me and I really like her work.  That’s why I was excited for the opportunity to read her new book Dangerous Illusions.

This mystery is about Trish Bailey, a woman’s whose life has been filled with much tribulation over the last couple of years.  Two years ago, her life was turned upside down when she lost her husband and father and nearly lost her mother, Eileen.  Trish is a dutiful daughter and has been caring for her ailing mother in addition to working as an art teacher at an inner-city school.

Matt Parker seems like a nice guy, but Trish has no interest in romance.  And just who is this stranger that seemed to blow in out of nowhere and land on Matt’s doorstep one dark and stormy night?

After all that Trish has been through, what more could go wrong?  Well, that’s where Dangerous Illusions starts.

As I started reading this book, I was hopeful that things would turn around for Trish.  Instead, circumstances went from bad to worse.

I don’t know if it was the author’s intention in writing the book for readers to be able to relate to Trish and feel overwhelmed as the vulnerable character might have, but that’s how I was feeling as the book started.

At first it seemed so dark.  I felt very uncomfortable as Trish was the victim once again and this time at the hands of some very unsavory characters.  Detective Colin Flynn was like a breath of fresh air and I hoped he would be able to see the truth through some murky troubled waters that were overwhelming Trish.

Though the book seemed to start off dark and it felt like evil was prevailing, I pressed on because my experience with Irene Hannon’s writing is that she is a safe writer.  I appreciate how she doesn’t have her characters do stupid things to put themselves in danger.  She doesn’t have them making bad decisions that make no sense.

I liked the mystery and intrigue in Dangerous Illusions and Irene does a great job in developing characters and relationships in her book.  The characters seem real and like someone you would want to know.  I really liked the characters Colin and his long-time friends Kristin and Rick and fellow officer Mac McGregor.

I recommend Dangerous Illusions, especially if you like a good mystery. I appreciated how Irene Hannon wove the Christian faith into the storyline and characters.  I appreciate that there was no profanity or explicit sexual scenes and that the author shares and respects my Christian faith and values and doesn’t assault them.

I would like to thank Baker Publishing Group and NetGalley for the opportunity to read Dangerous Illusions by Irene Hannon.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

 

Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer – A Thought Provoking Interesting Read

I love a good mystery, and that’s what drew me in and want to read, Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer.  This is the first book I’ve read by this author so I didn’t know what to expect.

The story starts out in 1943, when young Hazel is watching her 3- year-old sister Maggie.  She only turned her back for a few seconds, but that’s all it took and little Maggie was gone.  What happened?  Would they ever know?  Hazel and her family were devastated by the loss.  Its impact would ripple down and impact future generations.  Fast forward to present day, Hazel’s granddaughter Meghan is coming for a visit only to be surprised and find her mom Diane there too.  When the long-held secret comes out about Maggie, Meghan has hope, that as a cold case investigator, she may be able to finally bring some closure for her grandmother that she loves so dearly.

Bringing Maggie Home turned out to be a little different than I anticipated.  It focused mostly on the people and their relationships.  Through this story, you can see how one horrible event can impact people far beyond the initial tragedy.  There were times, I felt like the story dragged a bit, because I was wanting to get on to solving the mystery.  When in fact that’s secondary to understanding people.

I struggled with the character, Diane.  She was just downright unpleasant and I wanted to slap her.  She was rude and I didn’t like her.  But as the story went along I came to understand her more.  I really liked the characters Hazel and Meghan and their loving and caring relationship.  Another likeable character was Sean.  I liked how he lived out his Christian faith.  I greatly appreciate it when the Gospel message is woven in to a book by a Christian author.

For those of you who love solving mysteries, don’t worry, you’ll get to the bottom of what happened to Maggie in due time.  That part of the book was interesting too.  I wish it had been a bigger part of the story.

But all in all, I recommend Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer.  There were times reading it was painful because of the bitterness, hurt and anger the characters were dealing with.  But it caused me to reflect on my own life and relationships.  I went through a range of emotions as I read this book.  I found it hopeful in that characters grew and changed overtime and you saw the Lord at work in their lives.

I love finding an author whose work is new to me.  Not only did I get to enjoy Kim Vogel Sawyer’s newest book Bringing Maggie Home, but now I can go back and read her earlier books.

I would like to thank Blogging for Books and WaterBrook Publishers for the opportunity to read Bringing Maggie Home for free.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.