BOOK REVIEW: Threads of Suspicion by Dee Henderson

Evie Blackwell's reputation as a top investigator for the Illinois State Police has landed her an appointment to the governor's new Missing Persons Task Force. This elite investigative team is launched with plenty of public fanfare. The governor has made this initiative a high priority, so they will have to produce results--and quickly.

Evie and her new partner, David Marshal, are assigned to a pair of unrelated cases in suburban Chicago, and while both involve persons now missing for several years, the cases couldn't be more different. While Evie opens old wounds in a close-knit neighborhood to find a missing college student, David searches for a private investigator working for a high-powered client.

With a deep conviction that "justice for all" truly matters, Evie and David are unrelenting in their search for the truth. But Evie must also find answers to the questions that lie just beneath the surface in her personal life.


When I saw this book description offered by Bethany House I knew I had to request.  Christian fiction - win.  Mystery - win.  Cold case files - bonus.  I knew it was the second book in a series but since I was getting the eBook version through NetGalley I decided that if I started it lost I'd set it aside and grab the first book before reading and reviewing.  And while I know there is crossover with previous character development it worked just fine on it's own so I just kept on reading.  Knowing full well I'll go back and grab the first book too, because I can and want to.  Not have to mind you but want to.  As I was reading I didn't expect to get so caught up in the lives of all those involved.  Evie with her boyfriend and her hard decisions about taking the next step.  David and his super famous fiance and their hard decisions about taking the next step.  The cold cases they were working and the lives that were changed because of what happened, and never knowing for sure what happened.  The way their totally unrelated cases overlapped into each other and intertwined with their personal lives.  All of it was engaging.  Which makes me wonder how on Earth anyone can write a synopsis of a mystery that is engaging without giving anything away?  I feel like I always miss the mark but gravy if I'm throwing out spoilers!

There were a couple of drawbacks for me in this book, outside a mostly positive overall experience.  First, at times the faith in the book felt awkward.  Even the times where it fit into the story so well it took an awkward feel to it as though 'I've got to get as much in here as possible so if a little is good a lot is better'.  That approach is sorta like salt and cooking.  When it's the right amount in the right food it's perfect.  A lot doesn't make it better.  And even a little in the wrong thing doesn't work either.  It wasn't a huge negative but I think the edges could have been smoothed a bit.  The other biggie was the lack of scene segues or even just scene breaks period.   A conversation one day goes right into another thought the next day.  An inner monologue between two different days doesn't really do it either.  I'd have to go back and reread a paragraph or two just to make sure I hadn't totally missed something.  I didn't it just didn't break naturally.  So, that out of the way lets talk good stuff.

And good stuff there is.  Henderson does an amazing job of writing a mystery with real people and real lives that draws you in.  I care about these characters, I care about their victims and I care about their lives.  And when the mysteries were solved I was taken right into it.  Evie's mystery?  Kept me guessing right up to the end.  Though how on earth those bones weren't found on accident during a scuffle or some roughhousing (I guess you have a baby spoiler there) I will never understand.  They just appeared too easily for how little physical effort it took.  But it took me through to the very end.  That makes an amazing mystery to me!  Like I said, this book had characters that I engaged with and I can't wait to go back and read the first book.  And the upcoming books in this series!

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by Bethany House and NetGalley.  I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.  I was not required to write a positive review. 

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Threads of Suspicion (Evie Blackwell Cold Case #2)
About Dee Henderson
Dee Henderson is the author of 14 best-selling novels, including the acclaimed O'Malley series and the Uncommon Heroes series. As a leader in the inspirational romantic suspense category, her books have won or been nominated for several prestigious industry awards, including the RWA's RITA Award, the Christy Award, the ECPA Gold Medallion, the Holt Medallion, the National Readers' Choice Award, and the Golden Quill. Dee is a lifelong resident of Illinois and is active online.
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BOOK REVIEW: What the Bishop Saw by Vannetta Chapman

A fire blazes out of control in the San Luis Valley of Colorado, leaving an elderly Amish bachelor dead. Bishop Henry Lapp rushes to the scene, and he learns the fire was no accident. Someone intended to kill Vernon Frey. But who would want to kill Vernon? Well, practically everyone—Amish and Englisch alike.

When the police point the finger at a suspect Henry knows is innocent, the bishop must decide whether or not to use his mysterious, God-given gift—one he's tried desperately to ignore all these years—to try and set the record straight. His close friend and neighbor, Emma, encourages Henry to follow God's leading.

Could the clue to solving the case be locked somewhere deep in his memory? Will Henry find the courage to move forward in faith and put the right person behind bars? Is his friendship with Emma becoming something more?

What the Bishop Saw is a story of extraordinary talents, the bonds of love and friendship, and the unfailing grace of God.


Honestly, I'm not even sure where to begin.  It's no mystery that you can win my heart by giving me a mystery.  Given a choice I'll always go mystery, it's just my niche.  However I have other preferred (please, you know I'll read 'anything' except technical manuals people) genres and when you mix any other genre with a mystery it's going to be right up my alley. Add to that an author that creates characters and setting that embraces you like a best friend and it can't go wrong!  Henry Lapp suffered an accident as a child that resulted in a savant gift.  That gift, later in life, brought him into the English world in a way most English never get involved with.  After this encounter Lapp and many of his friends chose to relocate from their home to join a fledgling community in Colorado.  

There was so much to this story to like and I'm going to tell you about some of it, some you'll have to discover for yourself.  I'm gonna touch on a couple of things I struggled with though.  I have to admit though, I'm not certain it's a problem with the book so much as a problem with my reading schedule.  There are quite a few characters, I mean an entire community plus a couple of law enforcement and a few English as well.  Now follow along because I'm totally going off the beaten path here and share stuff that is completely irrelevant to the book but completely relevant to my reading experience.  I'm exhausted.  Sleep deficit exhausted.  Tired when I wake up and tired when I go to bed exhausted.  But reading.  Reading is how I relax, how I unwind and something that has been a part of my life as since before I have memories.  But exhaustion and reading are not the best of friends.  And reading with lots of characters when you are a person who only remembers their own name because they've had it so long when you are only able to read a few chapters at a time makes it hard to keep everyone straight and their relationships.  I mean good gravy, there was a character who was sorta important halfway through the book that I don't even remember having been there.  I felt lost..a lot.  

Now to the good stuff about the book, not me.  Bishop Lapp makes this book and I hope that future books are involved with him as well.  His faith in God, his patience for truth, and his willingness to use his gift (that has caused him problems in the past) to right a wrong are just part of what I love about him.  The mystery is intertwined to the story from the beginning and despite it being too obvious who actually did it the back and forth of the characters and the way it all played out do not stand as a deterrent for me.  Outside of the central story line and the level that Henry brings to the book I think the ending sealed the deal for me that I love this book.  

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by NetGalley.  I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.  I was not required to write a positive review.

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What the Bishop Saw (The Amish Bishop Mysteries Book 1)
About Vannetta Chapman 
The first thing you need to know about me is that I write Fiction full of GRACE.  Every plot is different. The characters change. Some of my books are mysteries, others are novellas, and some are romances. But they all are stories of light, hope, and truth. Stories that at least for a moment touch the deepest places in our heart.
Tales that whisper hope. That speak of family and community. That remind us of God and His love.

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BOOK REVIEW: June by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

Twenty-five-year-old Cassie Danvers is holed up in her family’s crumbling mansion in rural St. Jude, Ohio, mourning the loss of the woman who raised her—her grandmother, June. But a knock on the door forces her out of isolation. Cassie has been named the sole heir to legendary matinee idol Jack Montgomery's vast fortune. How did Jack Montgomery know her name? Could he have crossed paths with her grandmother all those years ago? What other shocking secrets could June’s once-stately mansion hold?

Soon Jack’s famous daughters come knocking, determined to wrestle Cassie away from the inheritance they feel is their due. Together, they all come to discover the true reasons for June’s silence about that long-ago summer, when Hollywood came to town, and June and Jack’s lives were forever altered by murder, blackmail, and betrayal.

As this page-turner shifts deftly between the past and present, Cassie and her guests will be forced to reexamine their legacies, their definition of family, and what it truly means to love someone, steadfastly, across the ages.


I've honestly sat here, for what feels like ages, trying to figure out how to write this review.  It's not that it's a hard book to review, though it is so much more complex than you can begin to summarize.  It's not that it's a less than glowing review, I honestly can't find one actual negative about this book.  It's not... you know I think that's my hangup.  I'm so used to always starting with my synopsis of the book, what I took away as vital to the story.  I just can't do that here.  This story is involved, and engaging, and no 'summary' can begin to do that justice.  If I can't summarize where do I begin?   How do you make Cassie, and Tate, and Hank (girl - go figure) and Nick into a summary?  How do you blend June (the month) 1955 and June (again, the month) 2015 and Hollywood (in both timelines) and small town middle America Ohio (again both decades) and summarize that?  There is love and intrigue and even the mystery which sneaks up on you in just the perfect way that you don't feel stupid that you missed it but don't feel shocked that it happened.  Seriously, this book has wormed it's delightful way onto my favorites book shelf.  And that it was a 'oh why not' choice from Blogging for Books tells me that I know I'm going to have to 'oh why not' entirely more often.

See, now this paragraph is hard too.  This is normally where I share with you things that I believe could or should be better.  I got nothing.  Perhaps I'm viewing this book through rose colored glasses, perhaps I was so drawn in by the story that I truly read for pleasure and completely glossed any critical reading observations or drawbacks that may be present in this book.  Do you feel like this review, so far, is really just a walk through about how I review?  I do.  But seriously, I got nothing!  So let's move to the good paragraph, you know where I tell you all the good stuff.

But then I get down here and realize that once again, how do you take all the good stuff and not create a whole new novel to review a novel?  I'll start with bare essentials.  Characters - developed, engaging and completely bond-able.  Even the characters I was intended not to like, or just couldn't stand did their job but drawing me to their personalities.  Plot - engaged.  Even transition being the two timelines was seamless and enhanced each part of the story instead of creating a distraction.  I was so drawn in that I forgot to read critically (remember?).  Story-line - amazing.  The story line took the perfect plot and married the amazing characters into something that was difficult to put down, drew me into their worlds and made me regret that I pushed through it so fast.  I needed more and as any amazing (favorite shelved) books should do, you mourn the finishing of the story.  I'm so glad I 'oh why not'-ed this book and I want more from this author.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by Blogging for Books.  I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.  I was not required to write a positive review.

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June: A Novel
About Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
I write novels. So far, each one has been about searching for one’s place in the world, which, when I think about it, is what I’ve been doing for most of my life.

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GoodReads Monday

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren's Page Turners. To take part, you simply choose a random book from your TBR and show it off. Don’t forget to check out her blog and link back to Lauren’s Page Turners.
 Back to my incredibly unmanageable Kindle library (seriously there's more books there than a normal person could read in a lifetime!) for this week's Goodreads Monday.  
A charming historical novel set in the late 1800s. Born and raised in the hills of Kentucky, Laura “Copper” Grace loves the wilderness of her home in Troublesome Creek. But when her stepmother threatens to send her away to boarding school to become a lady, Copper faces the possibility of losing everything that is precious to her. Copper must come to terms with her family and discover the true meaning of home. Nothing can drag her off the mountain, until the day she realizes that God has other plans for her life.

Check out your digital library and pick one that's been there a minute and share it below!

Get to Know Me


I was tagged in this fun post by Kristin at A Simply Enchanted Life and with a little peer pressure decided, why not.  It was a cute idea, even though I really didn't learn anything new about her I thought it would be fun and perhaps interesting for my blog readers to get to know a little bit more about the me behind the screen.

ABOUT

NAME:Janet (Fizzy)

NICKNAMES: Meme, Fizzy, Jan (online), Janabel (at Kristin's house)

BIRTHDAY: August 18th

STAR SIGN:Leo

OCCUPATION: Member Services Representative (for USAA banking)

LIVING IN: Missouri

APPEARANCE

HAIR COLOR: depending on the season light brown/dark blonde to medium brown

HAIR LENGTH: Currently,mid-back

EYE COLOR:Hazel green/brown

BEST FEATURE: Random personality 

BRACES: Never had 'em

PIERCINGS: Each earlobes (one each - I have freakishly small ears), previously have had upper ear (same spot twice but...well) and navel (previously)
TATTOOS: One

RIGHT OR LEFT:Left

PICTURE: My weekend reality with The Minions of Mayhem.

FIRSTS

REAL HOLIDAY: If you mean vacation in the European sense, Alaska in 1992 right before my senior year of high school.  Spent some time in and around Anchorage and then flew out to a small island off of Kodiak to visit family

BEST FRIEND: I went to kindergarten and 1st grade in Springfield, before we moved, and Janie Raye lived on the corner and her grandparents across the street from me.

AWARD:Gaa, that's a hard one when you get as old as I am.  Possibly 5th grade Knowledge Bowl winner, including trophy!

SPORT: Softball.  I played 6th grade and was/and remain horrible at it but it's still fun.  Being a leftie I should have an advantage right?  If I actually had good depth perception and peripheral vision perhaps.  Or even the ability to recognize the strike zone as a batter.  The easiest way to get me out is to throw high, the higher the better because I'll go for that before a ball in the strike zone. Every. Single. Time.

CONCERT: Again, age is a drawback.  Perhaps um maybe Ray Stevens?

FAVORITES

TV SHOWS: Law and Order: SVU, Iron Chef and Chopped, House
COLOR:Slate Blue

SONGS:There are so many for different reasons.
RESTAURANT: TGIFridays, China Pearl (local and sadly closed), Chipotle 

SHOPS:Since Fashion Bug closed on me I now frequent Cato, Shoe Carnival, and Amazon

BOOKS:Gone With the Wind (seriously, I own the movie but refuse to watch it because I don't want to hate it...yes I've never seen the movie), Forever Amber, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, Summer Sisters

SHOES:Flip Flops, I'd wear them year round but for like snow and cold.  In the winter I love my ankle boots.

BOOK GENRES: Mystery, Christian, Amish, Sci-Fi, Young Adult, Middle Grade, Picture Books, Award Winners, Cereal boxes, almost anything but directions to put something together or a technical manual

CURRENTLY

FEELING:headachy

SINGLE OR TAKEN: Singlish.

EATING: Leftover Kathy's Pasta chicken alfredo

THINKING ABOUT: If it would stop being so stormy then maybe my head wouldn't hurt?

WATCHING: Netflix screensaver 

WEARING: Mario PJ pants, a gray tank top and a cream holey comfy oversized sweater

Future

HAVE KIDS: Minions of Mayhem already, don't need no more!

WANT TO TRAVEL: Only missing 13 of the states and I'd love to go overseas as well.

Do you believe

In Yourself: Yes, however the level of belief depends on the topic.  

God: Yes! 


Miracles: Yes! 

Love at first sight: Lust yes, attraction yes, Love no.

Ghosts: Maybe.
 
Aliens: Perhaps.

Soul Mates: I believe that you can have more than one 'soul mate' and that soul mates are so much more than just love.  Many people in my life speak to my soul but it's not just about marriage.

Heaven: Absolutely!

Hell: Yes.

TAG TIME
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